An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

The Hidden Diagnosis

This morning, I am biding time while my children play in their own worlds with legos and drawing pads. We’ve all been up since midnight after I had fallen asleep early last night on accident (I have no idea if they slept or not during that time). I’ve been listening to songs, reading articles, and talking to friends while trying to cling to all the reminders and encouragement to “hang in there” and to lean on my faith because of all that’s going on.
Yesterday… David had a break down during a doctor appointment I had to go to. One that involved him becoming wild and unconsolable. One that led to him striking out at the doctor (who thankfully dodged and wasn’t hurt). I wish I could say this was just a one time thing, a fluke, a random incident. I can’t. Just last night I had to put my hip back in place after being punched because David didn’t like being told he had to sit down. The day before, I had to dodge his fist because he didn’t like it when I had to enforce the rules at a local rec center’s climbing wall. Before that, he had thrown a pencil that he had been stimming with because a teacher tried to insist he put it down or hand it over.
These are new struggles that David and I are facing and I am not sure how to help him through it. Another thing though that happened yesterday was I found out about a diagnosis David was given two years ago and I was never told about. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). As I look back over the years of battles and struggles and confrontations over everything from keeping his shoes on and wearing a seatbelt while riding in cars to brushing his teeth and keeping his hair combed (and everything in between) I wonder how much knowing about the ODD could have helped make a difference. I wonder if knowing about it and being trained in how to handle it, would have possibly helped us not reach the point we’re at today. Where the protests and challenges are no longer just vocal or determined acts of defiance, but rather are getting physical.
Most of all, I now wonder what am I supposed to do next? How do I help my son, and my family, through this stage in our lives?


  1. blogmomrocks2

    At one point, my son’s diagnosis consisted of ODD but then just dismissed as just Autism…I still think that there is a touch of Bi-polar but have been told that they can’t check for that until e turns 18 (another 11 months to go). Not sure why.

    • I hope you and your son are able to get the answers and help you need no matter the outcome or diagnosis. To be honest, I am hoping the same for mine too.

      • blogmomrocks2

        …and that there are more services out there that have people who are more knowledgeable to help the child and parent. The struggle for the parent…is not knowing how to help their child with their issues and being able to make it all better.

      • I definitely agree with that.

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