Billy, I'm sorry I couldn't get to the computer till now--I am a psychologist in private practice and I had to be in my office today. I also know that you would like an answer as quickly as possible, but Ryan's situation is clearly complex now that I know more.
He was adopted and came to you and his mom at 12. That changes things. The first thing is that we have to rule out some disorders but I don't know what the professionals have already ruled out. So I'm going to ask about two areas that are sometimes not considered and yet can be problems. I also need to make sure I understand: his aunt and uncle live in Virginia, right? Can he stay with them next year for school? Do they live in a city with more psychologists and mental health resources than SD?
If you let him stay in SD, will he have a secure place where he will be supervised properly like with his aunt and uncle?
Okay. Now the questions to rule out disorders. I hope this isn't too much for you Billy:
The first is Reactive Attachment Disorder. I want you to look at the following website and look at the checklist of symptoms on the left hand side and see what you think. Then please report back on your impressions. Okay?
Do enough of the symptoms sound like your daughter that we should explore this? What are your thoughts?
Next is Asperger Syndrome. I think it is rather unlikely, though I work with AS teens and they are usually highly intelligent and can get very belligerent and oppositional. So, let's look at the following list and see if it rings true for you:
Has he been evaluated as being higher than average intelligence?
Does he make friends easy now and in the past? Does he play in age appropriate ways and have good social skills?
Does he tend to obsess on activities he likes and have a hard time stopping when it's time to do something different?
Does he have repetitive motions and movements? Does he also have certain habits he does over and over?
Does he bring his fingers to his mouth or make facial expressions when talking, when he's unhappy or angry?
Does he have a hard time relating to other people's feelings?
Okay, I hope you get the idea of what we're looking for.
Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.
Let's go forward from the answers to these questions.