My older son is 3.25 years old, and I recently had a routine conference with his preschool/daycare teacher. She said he was "not getting subtle social cues"; that he could recognize expressions like crying and smiling, but didn't get that someone standing with their arms crossed and head down, apart, could be sad or want space, and when people did something like that, he didn't "take the hint", and would still go up to them and bug them to play, etc. She also emphasized how "individual/odd" he is. I've read a ton on Asperger's now, and some things fit but a lot doesn't- I don't really know what to make of terms like "severe" or "marked impairment" in social skills, they seem vague and no examples given. I don't know if my son falls into that category. He has always made good eye contact, he likes other kids and wants to interact with them- although his assays are usually verbal and he can be awkward in groups--sometimes it seems like he doesn't see the way the group shifts to a different activity and gets mad if he feels left behind. He doesn't have a strict routine; like any 3 y.o. he wants some things a certain way but he doesn't freak out if they aren't; he has lots of interests and plays imaginatively by himself and with others--with variety in scenarios; he's very curious and interested in new things; he has some close friends and the teacher says he is well-liked by his class in general. He does also recite parts of books, movies or tv shows, sings songs with complex lyrics from memory, and wakes up in the morning asking when we can watch his favorite show.I feel like there are things he does that COULD all fall under the description of Asperger's, but he's not deadly consistent with them. Example: many mornings at school he runs around the playground a few times when he first gets there and then jumps in to play- but sometimes he just doesn't, or a friend will intercept him and he goes with it. Is that Stereotyped behavior? Is an evaluation warranted?
It’s true that Asperger’s syndrome can be difficult to diagnose because there is a wide range in what is considered normal behavior, but people diagnosed with Asperger’s do have more pronounced deficits in social skills. Because 3-year-olds don’t have very sophisticated social skills, though, it can be tough to detect deficits at this age. Honestly, if you feel like your son has good social skills (for a 3-year-old) and you aren’t concerned, rest easy - your description doesn’t suggest any glaring deficits in social skills or overly ritualistic/stereotyped behavior. If you are having some doubts because of what his teacher said, though, there is no harm in speaking with his pediatrician. His pediatrician will be able to better help you assess whether his behavior falls within the normal range, and if necessary, can refer you to a professional who can do a thorough evaluation to determine whether a diagnosis is warranted.
While in retrospect, many children with Asperger's had some signs when they were pre-schoolers, it's generally too early to give them a diagnosis of Asperger's at that age....that doesn't stop some clinicians from doing so but I feel it's inappropriate because most children lag in one thing or another, and for some children they are just going to lag a little socially, but usually catch up but first grade.
In children with Asperger's, however, you usually really see them start to diverge socially from their peers by first grade, and things like hypersensitivity might become apparent or more pronounced.
If by 4.5, he still seems to have some of the non-verbal cue reading struggles you listed, I don't think it would hurt to just teach him what certain non-verbal body language means. Remember though, 3.25 is still very young, especially for boys who often take a little longer to mature.
my son now almost 17 was dx'ed with asperger's around 2 and a half he wasnt talking hated to be kisssed held sleep eat noise hurt his ears smells he could smell grass being cut 3 blocks away the supermarket set him in a frenzy due to too much stimulation, my son has some oddities still but NOBODY except me his mom knows him and sees it but others dont hedidnt say moma till after 3. so i would venture to say he was dx'd with aspergers but asperger / autism falls on this line pp some its like a measing sticck and tells just where YOUR child seems to fit on the marker, he may have a few asperger signs but he also is typical 2 something right> so look at the pdd line and ask a professional where he is he could given what youv told me and i have an aspergers child your child sounds like hes gonna bef ine just look into state agencies in ma we have a gruop alled early intervention as now i have a gransdon 22 mnths and hadnt started talking to honestly this past week and hes taking off but cuz of my son we called them in and they have decided that his late speech gave him and them the go ahead to commit to 1 yr and becuse of that next yr although his birthday is 10/17 he can start school when there is a delay they like to give them an extra year in school so hes such a baby but next fall he will be going off to scholol let me know thanks
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