I am wondering, and overwhelmed with anxiety (to be honest) about my son, who is 3 years, 4 months, and am concerned about Asperger’s Disorder.. Sorry if this is long, but I hope these details help. (I live in Canada, where the socialist system means long waits for assessment, which is painful).
The main “red flag” for AS is the fact he can read (probably like a 5- year old, maybe a bit higher), and seems to still parallel play in nursery school. Our Pediatrician, without asking much details, suggested we read about AS when she saw him read a sign in her office, and asked us to find out about nursery school. (Her assessment, otherwise, was nil, so her opinion means nothing here). He had been there for about 5-6 months, and we were surprised he stood out as not really talking to the other kids. There were no other obvious behavior issues, but simply lack of socializing. He has a 1.5 year old brother, who is just coming to life language –wise, and he seems to engage him, but it’s hard to at how meaningful given their differences. He did do some baby talking for a while, but this is passing now. He loves socializing with us, and family or most adults, and seems enamored with some kids older than himself.
So, naturally, I have been obsessing about looking back, analyzing him, etc, and am lost as to when/if certain things are red flags. Here are some things I have concerns about:
Stims? At 2 (to late 2 years old), he was obsessed about playing with the steering wheel at the park, and would choose this first. He would really love it, make an occasional face while doing it, maybe a visual stim here and there ( a grimace with eyes closed, maybe partially open), but hard to say, and maybe play for 10 minutes or more, than move on, and maybe come back later. He loved steering wheels in general, noticing them on cars (including toys, especially when he was first getting into them), but never did any other repetitive spinning of objects, including at home. It seemed isolated from a repetitive spinning point of view.
With his new dinky cars, he loved to run them, one by one of the edge of the couch, and crash them onto the floor, maybe the wall. This eventually stopped, but was his favorite/main way of playing with them for some time. He has never lined things up, stacked obsessively, etc.
Currently, he likes to jump up and down 2-3 times, intermittently (for example, when playing, he will do some activity, maybe build a Lego thing, then stand up, jump a few times and go back to it; or maybe when bored, and in the kitchen with us, and kind of moving around doing things). He has never done this for a prolonged period, and it is not too often, but is daily, and more when he is excited or has some energy to burn.
Finally, he will occasionally, especially in afternoon, seem to want to run up and down the hall, from kitchen to front door, or in basement back and forth, maybe 5-10 times. He seems distractible when doing it, but likes to do it. I t seems he needs to just burn a little energy, but I am not totally sure. From my reading, I am having a hard time understanding when something is a “stim” or not. He has never flapped hands, twirled, used his hands in a funny way, verbally stimmed, etc. Just the above behaviors.
His development seemed normal to us, but being first time parents, there has been little reference until the little brother came along, and he himself is just accelerating, trying to do everything his big bro does. Always had good eye contact, smiled early, babbled early,, responded to us, loved (and still loves) hugs and cuddling. He spoke words by one, progressed well, and now speaks in sentences which seem normal for his age. Sometimes a little disjointed in his wording, but he corrects himself quickly. He could count early, to 20 in his mid-2s, but we did a lot of counting especially going up stairs (we have a lot of them). He knew his ABCs and numbers early, but, again, saw a lot of them. He picked up reading somewhere at about 2.5, but I don’t know if that is precocious, or was skewed by my persistent pointing out of every word, with sounding, I read to him, many books a day, from about 5 months and on. (I was determined to make him a good reader!) He did seem to memorizes the names of a lot (maybe 25) of his dinky cars right away (like Honda civic, Acura, BMW, etc), I think maybe by sound at first, but he was able to eventually read the names on the bottom. He loves cars, but never obsesses about them. He has tons of books, loves reading together, but will chose toys over them , likes if we read to him more than reading himself, and seems to follow the pictures/gist of the story well. But if you ask him, and push him, he can read those words and sentences. The only odd language thing we notice is he will sometimes repeat a question a few times in a row (2-3), even if answered, although not on any repetitive topics. He does ask questions a lot, and often will do that instead of referring to an observation directly (for example, ask “What does he have on his head?” instead of just saying what is on the persons head). So, is this repetitive questioning? There has been no echolalia, or strange manner of speaking that I can tell. He sings some songs, and at one point seemed to pick up nursery rhymes rather quickly, but we didn’t hear about them for long. He knew the planets, in order, quickly, mainly because we started reading a book about them, and he was pretty interested in them for a while, but only really knew their names, order and a brief detail I taught him about each (I.e. Venus is brightest, etc), but he hasn’t talked about them since we stopped talking about them . (I mention this only because I keep seeing that damn astronomy thing come up as an obsession in so many references!)
He walked at 11 months, runs well, climbs and jumps well, can throw a ball, catch ok (not great);still struggles with a tricycle, but we haven’t pushed him much on it since age 3. He occasionally likes to skip when running. He can do pretty big puzzles now. He does not like drawing too much, and resists much attempts at learning to draw/write (a poor circle now, at best). Potty training still a struggle, but are just pushing him over last few months, as he never seemed interested. No tantrums (the odd, typical one for certain situations, wants, etc., and nothing odd or in public), routine obsessions (although what kid doesn’t have routines every day?). He’s fine in crowds, groups, noisy places. Plays alone happily, and seems to have some imaginary play. Has sometimes struggled to stay still in group sing- alongs, but sometimes can. Briefly didn’t like the vacuum, or my drill (at 2-2.5), but no overly weird reaction, and tolerates now. He is scared of dogs (not sure why, although my dad had a big dog which overwhelmed him when he was just 2), but no other big fears.
So, sorry for the length, but I have been in a panic. It all seems to boil down to poor socializing, advanced reading, some repetitive behaviors, of which I have no idea how significant they are, and poor drawing (both ability and desire). ANY opinion you can give would be greatly appreciated.
youtube and look put in seizure Video's . some of what you say sound's like your son is having absence seizures.there are quit a few there to look at.
I would have your son doctor send him to see a Neurologist if he has not been to see one and have them do a EEG and run some blood work.
you didn't say if your son is on any medicines or has been on any in the past?
there also is something called sensory disorder.
The way the Doctors and Schools want to handle all these things seem to be drug them. The bast thing you can do is make sure you fight for your child and have them checked for everything.Because it seems these day's that if a child is hipper and has a hard time learning that a child has ADD or ADHD or is AUTISTIC.
They don't seem to think about other things that can be going on with children like, other children picking on them,divorce parent's, children not liking there Teacher or the School .Or that the child is stressed and that kids don't know hoe to talk about it and handle it the way adult's do.
There ia a mother on the ADD/ADHD form .I think you should post there and ask about
Sensory Processing disorder.
Also my son has Seizures and not all of them can be seen,That is why I asked if he had been to neurologist and because you wrote this .
. He would really love it, make an occasional face while doing it, maybe a visual stim here and there ( a grimace with eyes closed, maybe partially open), but hard to say, and maybe play for 10 minutes or more, than move on, and maybe come back.
It does sound like a lot of stimming to me. I'm a mom with 2 kids on the autism spectrum, one with aspergers and i teach at a school for autistic children. Anyway, in the US we have school psychologists and autism specialists that work for the schools. They can do testing for FREE here in the US. I'm not sure if you have something like that there in the school system. Also, you don't have to wait until they enter formal school for autism testing. Here they will test in the school system at 3 years old so they can provide intervention for those children early on. In the US they have 45 days to complete this testing once you have requested it.
You have plenty of reasons to be concerned. My heart goes out to you. If you have to wait for the medical system there to get him tested than start the process now. A medical Dr. is not the person to do the testing. It is usually a Psychologist or Psychiatrist who is familiar with autism spectrum disorders. The testing will be long. It took 4 days and about 3 hours per day for my daughter to be tested. They did very thorough testing. With the testing information you will get a diagnosis and also much needed information on what will help your son.
Take care and God bless your family.
You are doing what is right for your son by investigating this now.
PS Many kids who stim do it with there eyes closed and sometimes with their head tilted back. Also, jumping is common, I believe it is a way to relieve stress in the body and can be a stim as well. Many stims are used to relieve stress in the body. It is their way of coping with it. Stimming is not all bad as some believe it to be. Take care.
Thanks so much for the reply...I wonder what you think is so so concerning? I am lost about the stimming part, and how it is defined. With his jumping,he is usually focused on an activity he is doing, i.e. is excited, and will jump up and down a few times, then continue his activity. He has never closed his eyes, put his head at an angle, etc. No hand flapping. He just gives a "Pleased" jump. Its funny, because you read how 15-20-% of NT kids have sterotypies, and the jumping up and down (briefly) never seems to make lists of the ASD ones. He seems sonormal other than these little quirks, soit all a bit overwhelming!
I'm going to look at this out side of Asperger's, why well i have a boy that was dx with Apergers at the age of 3.2. He didnt grow up with any of the usually behaviors for an Aspie child, he mentally developed twice as fast as a normal child. Your son is displaying behaviors that are consistent with your son being GIFTED and i would highly recommend you read about gifted children, the Hoagies gifted site is well worth the time.
My son is PG and he is unusual, i dont think he will ever really fit the disability he has been dx with, in the early years it was easy to interpret his behaviors as Asperger behaviors because he was just so outside of normal. I am not in denial, he has been retested and retested, i also have a daughter with Asperger's and 2 brothers with Asperger's, my youngest just doesnt fit anymore. I would say before you equate him with a disability, it would be worth while to read about gifted, i think you may find it very interesting. The only red flags i'm seeing is that his above normal behaviors are consistent with being gifted, advanced development and nothing i have read would make me even consider he has a disorder.
Hi - I was wondering if you had any developments since you first posted this? in general, kids love spinning steering wheels at playgrounds. that's why they're there. Early reading is okay, not too concerning, even a good thing (or why would we be pushing it so hard). In general, your child sounds a lot like mine. Loves books, loves cars, potty trained right around age 3, smart, etc. He even asks the same questions to things he knows the answer to, "What's that daddy?" "It's a school bus, son." We got freaked out by his preschool teacher because she said he sometimes didn't make good eye contact with her, so we spent too much time online, took him to a pre-K assessment (all clear there), his pediatrician (no worries from him), and a child psychologist, who said that all that stuff is just normal development, and the asking repeated questions is because children at that age only have so much to talk about and either want attention, or it's their way of interacting. His eye contact is very good now, wasn't for a couple of months (don't know what went on there), no stims, sometimes will jump up and down when excited or skip around a little, no hand flapping, good at walking/climbing/catching, imagination is getting pretty good.
All in all, the take home point from the child psychologist was that in order to be considered for Asperger's or ASD, the child's behavior has to be pretty far outside of the ordinary. There are a LOT of children that dispay unusual behaviors.
I am so sorry about your Anxiaty and worry. Being a Mom of almost 30 yrs to a wonderful son who is full spectrum autistic along with many other DD, It is scarey.I don't want to add to your worry, Your child is still very young. So use caution when getting a diagnosis or opinion. I honestly think parents are jumping into the ASD pool to quickly, But yet some not fast enough. Back in the dark ages when my son was little they really would not give an official diagnosis Untill after age 4. Many things to look at. Was his birth and your pregnancy normal un eventful, do you have a family history of ASD? Also you should have him tested by a NEUROPSYCHIATRIC MD,Also a behavioral dr speech therapists that all specialize in pediatric ASD and other DD, I am not bragging but I run circles around most gen child psychology Drs or therapist. I was in such need of answers and we had no Internet or information other than the movie Rain Man, I knew for sure in my heart and soul my son was sevearly autistic. I immersed myself in any information I could find.I flew all over the countrey, saw anyone and everyone who could see us. And after all that ,,,,I was right. My son has Autism, Schitzoeffcive disorder,Chronic Anxiaty disorder, Tourett's Syndrom and is lower intellectual functioning. So here is the way I roll. Total honesty, he is what he is, Just a diffrent type of person. I was told to put him in a home, I was told thst he will never function normally. After all the tears fears frustration. Where did we end up? Exactly where we should be. I sued 4 school districts , fought like a wild cat for services, I still do. But my son is amazing, He now lives in his own apt, with supported living services.5 hrs a day 4 days a week, He has friends , he works, He has likes dislikes, he is funny fun to be with, the biggest heart in the world, His father left us at age 3 , I was a military wife. No mega bucks, no real information, I felt like a bomb was droped on me.But god must know what he is doing because he kept me so busy I never had time for much of a pity party.So my point, please don't worry to much, baby steps. There is a ton of help out here, I started a support group going almost 11 yrs strong. I was blessed with a beautiful human being with a beautiful mind. If he is diagnosed, so be it, We had some rough years, The world keep turning, I learned most if what I know from other older autistics and thier caregivers. And maybe working and training horses,animals, aid dogs,some sevearly abused and disabled that I rehabilitated , Now they work as therapy animals. And please know things can and do change, our kids grow and learn right along with us, just in a different way. It's you journey with your child, Stay strong my friend. God bless your heart I pray for guidance and all of life's blessings for you and your family.
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