This post originally appeared on the Field Notes on Allistics Tumblr.
At Alia’s recent emergency psychologist appointment, her doctor was unable to determine why she is regressing into compulsively saying “Hi, how are you?” and expecting people to respond “Fine, how are you?” Instead, we’ve talked to her therapist and to the school to incorporate methods to break this habit.
However, the psychologist did diagnose Alia with FIFA-type Sports-Seasonal Affective Disorder(SSAD). I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it is good to know that her bouts of screaming at the television and her insistence on playing soccer with her little friends (with, not alongside) have a recognized cause.
(In fact, I’ve asked my husband to talk to his doctor, as I suspect he has SSAD as well. Only he seems to have a different type – he suffers a major depressive episode right around the first weekend in February each year after being unusually happy throughout the fall and positively giddy every January 1.)
On the other hand, it is not so good to know my daughter now has multiple diagnoses, even if SSAD is commonly comorbid with Allism Spectrum Disorder.
For other parents out there raising kids with SSAD, I leave you with these comforting words from the author of the blog post I’ve linked to above:
…we can help our family members by realizing that SSAD is not a choice. We don’t yet know what causes it – it’s believed both genetics and social factors are involved, but we don’t believe it’s caused by bad parenting. Most symptoms pass within hours, so it’s possible to manage a full life even in the presence of a SSAD suffers. In fact, many SSAD sufferers have relatively normal employment histories and can even live relatively independently. Some lucky SSAD sufferers find understanding mates and even successfully raise children (there is a risk of inheriting SSAD, but most doctors agree that the additional risk of a SSAD sufferer being born to a parent with SSAD is relatively small – SSAD children are often born to non-affected parents as well).