Can a child be bipolar and have autism?

My son is 5 years old. I think he may be bipolar, and be obsessive compulsive. His father is bipolar.

My son has temper tantrums when he doesn't get to have things exactly the way he wants them. We have taught him to go to a quiet place to calm himself when this happens.

He has a very vivid imagination, and it is usually a story about Star Wars or Star Trek.
Once he starts a story that he acts out by running around the house, with accompanying sound effects, it takes many attempts to snap him out of it. It seems manic to me.

He has been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and receives sensory integration therapy twice a week with an OT.

He flaps his hands when watching an exciting show or when he is observing other children playing outdoor games.

He sometimes does not want to participate in the games if there is a lot of running around and tagging. Instead, he wants to hold my hand and watch while he jumps up and down and flaps his other hand.

He does like to play on playground equipment and usually will make a friend while playing.
He had a best friend that recently moved away that made him sad for a day or so, and a girlfriend in his Sunday School class that he says he is in love with and wants to marry.
I can have normal conversations with him sometimes, but other times, when he is feeling overwhelmed, he will cover his ears and turn away from me.

He sometimes blurts out words like "peanut", or "macaroni" for no reason or squeals really loud.
We had his urine tested by Neuroscience, and he tested as having highly elevated dopamine and below normal serotonin.

I homeschool him along with his 9 year old sister and three year old

sister, and he is already reading, and is at his age level in all other areas of academics.

A psychiatrist evaluated him last year and didn't think he was autistic, but I'm still not sure because of the hand flapping.

He doesn't seem to fit any sort of the autism spectrum disorders because his times of normal conversation and interest in friendships. He has normal eye contact unless feeling overwhelmed.
He hugs me spontaneously and tells me he loves me, and likes to give kisses.

We have him on a gluten-free/casein-free diet and give him fish oil, but no meds.

I am wondering if this is just sensory processing disorder or what?


Perplexed Homeschool Mom

Dear Perplexed Homeschool Mom.

A child can have co morbid mood disorders and autism, however, it seems from your description that you have consistently gotten feedback that your child does not have autism. And yes, children with sensory processing disorders often have an array of behavioral problems and symptoms that can come along with the diagnosis.

Hand flapping in absence of other symptoms of autism is not a diagnostic indicator of autism.

It appears to me that you have done a very through job of covering all the basis in the assessment of your child. I am hopeful that other parents will see this post and be motivated to make those health changes as well.

Please keep us updated on your child's progress.


Kristen McClure

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