Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
Quirky or a problem?
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Questions in the Autism & Asperger's Syndrome forum are answered by researchers at the New England Center for Children. Topics covered include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Antisocial Personality Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, blindness, bullying, clinical depression, deafness, dyslexia, mental retardation, and social alienation.

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Quirky or a problem?

I asked this in the community forum too.
My daughter is almost 5 and struggling in kindergarten. She is extremely bright, has a excellent vocabulary for her age. She spoke early, is very creative, has an awesome memory for certain things (people, places, events) but she is having problems with learning things like her alphabet, numbers and rhyming. She is also struggling with her fine and gross motor skills. Her teacher says she gets lost in the classroom sometimes and gets very confused with the classroom routine. She is friendly and social but is having trouble connecting with her peers and making friends. I am sure the fact that she goes into tangents about things, goes off topic a lot, and breaks into song on occasion does not help. She is also very literal and can get confused in conversation.  I have noticed over the past year or so that she has been exhibiting some odd behaviors: hair sucking, hand licking, sniffing things. She is a happy little girl and has a huge imagination, so much so she often has trouble distinguishing her own thoughts from reality. The counselor at school just thinks she is young. She thinks there are concerns but she is not behind enough on any one thing that would raise major red flags at this point.  I love that my little girl has always been unique. She sees the world a bit differently and there is nothing wrong with that. I think part of me feels like I am making a big deal over nothing and part of me says something is not quite right. Am I right to want her to be tested?
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It is just my opinion, but anytime a parent has concerns about their child, whether these are behavior issues or strictly medical issues, they should hsave these checked out.  In this case, I would begin by talking to your child;s pediatrician about your concerns.  be sure to prepare ahead of time--make a list of all the behaviors that concern you (I always suggest preparing ahead of time, because in the moment, many people forget to mention some important things).  You might consider breaking your list into 2 categories.  First, what are the behavioral deficits that you see (things that other children her age are doing that she is not).  This list could include things like her difficulty learnin the alphabet and numbers, problems with fine and gross motor skills, difficulty with social interactions with peers, etc.   The second category could be considered behavioral excesses: what behaviors is she engaging in that typical children her age do not engage in (or at the very least, other children do them much less frequently).  These behaviors include things like singing at inappropriate times, hair sucking, hand licking, and sniffing sniffing things.  Bring these concerns to your pediatrician's attention, and ask if she could be evaluated by someone who has expertise in the assessment of young children with developmental disabilities.  perhaps it is that she is "just young", but if not, there are some things that can be done that would be helpful, and the sooner these can be started, the better!

Best of luck with you and your family!
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Jason C Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-DBlank
The New England Center for Children
Southborough, MA
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