Thursday, March 20, 2003

ADD, autism link may be overlooked, author says

Talks on book scheduled in N. Ky.

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

NEWPORT - Diane Kennedy, mother of three, has been on a personal mission for the last eight years to inform people about the relationship between attention deficit disorder (ADD) and autism.

Book signing
Who: Author Diane Kennedy
What: Signing of her book, "The ADHD Autism Connection"
When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble, Newport on the Levee
Multi-disability training event
What: Seminar for parents and service providers of children with special needs
Who: Diane Kennedy, keynote speaker
When: Saturday, March 22, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Immanuel United Methodist Church, 2551 Dixie Highway, Lakeside Park
Cost: Free
For reservations, contact Dena Gassner at 341-8408 or
She will bring her knowledge and personal experiences to Barnes & Noble at Newport on the Levee tonight, and to Immanuel United Methodist Church in Lakeside Park on Saturday.

Kennedy's 12-year-old son was misdiagnosed at the age of three as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). He actually had Asperger's Syndrome, a social communication disorder and form of autism.

The difference is that in ADHD with ODD, the behavior is defined as willful. With Asperger's Syndrome, the behavior is not intentional on the part of the child. "He was very defiant and was having 2-hour temper tantrums. He couldn't cope with a change in routine or new surroundings," said Kennedy. "We would go to someone's house and he would hide under the couch or behind a plant."

As her son's behavior got worse, Kennedy began to explore ADHD and autism further. She found her son was not willful."Can you imagine being told since you were three that this is your fault? Think of the repercussions as the child gets older," said Kennedy. "If we just call it hyperactivity and throw medication at it, we'll never touch the social issues. We need to better identify what the problem is."

In Kennedy's book, The ADHD Autism Connection she talks about her 12-year-old son and two older sons, one who also has Asperger's Syndrome, the other who has ADHD.

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