After the incident in kindergarten when he tried to attack a classmate with scissors, Joe and Laurie decided to seek help from psychiatrists. Zach was diagnosed with severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, unspecificed mood disorder and Tourette syndrome. In addition, Zach was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder, a non-mental illness condition which alters the way one processes stimuli—sound, touch, smell—from the world.
Laurie says Zach has a combination of hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity. "He would do things like throw himself on the ground and thrash his body. Where in a normal kid it would hurt, [Zach] would get pleasure, he would laugh," Laurie says. "Sound bothered him. Light, clothing, that sort of thing. Everything was accentuated 10 or 15 times of what a normal person would experience."
* While numerous diagnoses were given to Zach, including those mentioned above, it is not the intention of The Oprah Winfrey Show to attribute any one of these disorders as the reason behind Zach's violence and negative thoughts.