I teach special ed and when I was pregnant I attended several trainings to learn more about autism. I found myself praying that my child would be okay and it was often in the back of my mind that the statistics were pretty alarming. Low and behold three years later my daughter was diagnosed with Aspergers. I am trying to come to grips that I have got a special child on my hands. I want to look so far into the future for an answer or some comfort that she will be okay. I'm even in denial at times because she does sooo much that does not fit the classic profile. For example she can shoot a basket, pedal on a bike, hop on one foot, etc. I have been told that most kids with Aspergers are clumsy or uncoordinated. She also is very loving and maintains great eye contact. She is not picky with food and does not appear to have any sensory issues like lining up things or being obsessed with a topic. The two main issues are speech and social interaction. She cannot sustain a conversation and still uses echolalia. She answers more questions now but they seem to be very scripted. She loves to talk about other kids and often is excited to see them but hesitates to engage in actual play with them. I really don't have a question but I would like to hear from parents who have a similar situation on their hands. I would like to know what kind of intervention is working for them.
Obviously there are some developmental concerns here, but I'm shocked that this warranted a diagnosis of aspergers, especially in a three year old. There's an interesting recent book out, _The Mislabeled Child_ - by Dr.s Eide, which looks more subtly at a variety of developmental issues and red flags, and how some conditions are sometimes mistaken for others. I had a son who was diagnosed with asperger's at three, and is now diagnosed with anxiety, but is no longer considered on the Spectrum (though personally I think there's a lot of gray area, and I still find it useful to think about asperger's in relation to my son). I think there can be lots of reasons for the behaviors you mentioned. By the way, we had good luck with a social pragmatics group and OT (my son does have motor delays), as well as weekly playdates with the same kid. I learned to get down and help them join their play narratives, so that they were really playing together and negotiating. We still have social delays, but I see a HUGE difference over the last 18 months.
Thanks for the tip I am going to look into RDI and continue to be aggressive with social play during the early years. I spoke to my doctor again about why she thinks aspergers so early on. She said it is not set in stone but there are a few unusual things that she sees often in aspergers children. Before my daughter was two she said her ABCs and recognized every letter of the alphabet. She could also count to 20 in english and spanish and also recognized the numbers as well. She would point out shapes in our house such as my make-up compact and say circle and point to a stop sign and say octagon. All these things happened in early two. Her babble sounded chinese which my doc says is an observation made by many parents with asd kids. One other peculiar thing she checked was my daughter's hand. She has a Simian line that runs straight across her hand. Most people's 2nd line curves down. My doctor said you can find this line in many austistic children and downs kids. I will definetly read the book you suggessted.
I also think 3 yrs is young for an Aspberger's diagnosis. Did you complete any ratings scales (ex. CARS)? I've never heard about the Simian line characteristic either. Your daughter may be quite bright and have strong rote memory - I guess I don't think it's unusual for a 2-yr-old to be able to recite and label especially when mom is a teacher (which increases the likelihood of increased exposure to books, knowledge, vocabulary, etc.).
It sounds like you are doing a great job with your daughter by teaching her about the routines in her life. Keep teaching her how things are organized and about different routines she will experience in her life (ex. how kids play at the park & what kids do/talk about at a park). Keep her with her peers as much as possible both in and out of school. As she gets older, her social differences will become more apparent but the kids who have many different experiences under their belt seem to adapt and generalize best. Join Girl Scouts, 4-H, etc. If she doesn't do well playing with her same-age peers, try having her play with someone a year or two younger. That way, someone is following her lead but isn't too young to object to anything that may be socially "off." Natural consequences from peers are powerful lessons.
My own son could have easily been labeled with Aspergers when he was young. He had a severe speech disorder and had an extremely high vocabulary & knowledge base at a young age. He's not labeled because my friend gave me this advice which has proved to be excellent for us: "What would a label do for him other than possibly place him with students who could teach him poor behaviors? Acommodations in school don't require an IEP." My husband and I worked hard (and still do) to teach and engage our son. He's now almost 13, extremely bright and most people don't realize the issues he contends with every day. We provide a written chore list, taught him how to use a calendar at a young age and have told him he needs to learn to overcome his areas of weakness (auditory processing). Some days I want to shout for joy and other days I want to pull my hair out (maybe that's from dealing with a stubborn adolescent though). He's doing very well academically, has a strong circle of friends and is wonderfully caring and empathetic toward others (especially his brothers). We think he'll become a really great adult and I can't ask for more. I'm glad we didn't give up and there were many people who told us we were working too hard. Boy, were they ever wrong!
Be strong and use your educational background to be her greatest teacher.
Good luck to you!
I recently downloaded an e-book called "The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide" . The book has an index that you can use to address a specific question you have and presents the material in a question/answer format.
It's pretty interesting and compiled with information from professionals and parents.
I found it at parentingaspergers.com. If you are interested, I would be happy to share my copy with you. You can contact me directly at ***@****.
I will say that my son had quite a few of the signs and we worked through most of them with a lot of help from school resources. He's now a typical 15 year old (actually, I like to think better than typical) and our problems are mostly about grades and girls.
One thing I learned through it all is that for him, no one thing worked. We would work through all the parenting tips of friends and family and would have to come up with creative ideas of our own. Most things rarely worked for more than a week before the behavior problems would return.
For example, consequences of losing use of TV,computer, video games etc would just mean that he would find something else to do and he never really learned about consequences like we wanted him to. We ended up giving the consequence of "no privileges" and he would have to ask us for permission before he could do anything. That way, he would ask to watch a movie and we could say no, that is a privilege, and he would actually feel denied. I have to admit that it could get ridiculous; like he would ask to go to the bathroom and I once said no just to mess with him. But it actually worked for more than a week and he started learning the lesson of consequences.
What I am trying to say is that you come through this experience as a stronger parent, and in my case, a child that is aware that I am there for him through everything.
I am a parent of four sons,( adults now,) two have a diagnosis for Aspergers syndrome. I believe it is possible for people to have varying degrees of Aspergers syndrome, and from what you have described, your daughter may only be mildly affected by it.
I think Aspergers is far more common than people realise, and that nearly everyone has it to some degree, so it could be argued that it is part of what is' Normal.' Didn't Einstein have Aspergers?
There are those people who are etccentric characters, people who are described as 'set in their ways,' or 'creatures of habit,' and then there are those who are gifted and do well in one subject and become an expert and gain the respect of others for their knowledge, or even become famous! Any one of these might have slipped past a diagonosis forAspergers.
There are Artists, Scientists,Mathematicians,Physicians and Computer experts, who may have Aspergers syndrome and have never been diagnosed.They may not be known for their social skills and they may not be 'party people'or enjoy large social gatherings or giving speeches, but this is true of lots of people who do not have Aspergers, and no one thinks anything strange in this.
Look to the positive is all you can do. Think of it as a gift not a handicap. Most important of all is that she is happy. There are so many people out there with no diagnosis for Aspergers who are unhappy and unfocused in their lives. As you will know, Aspergers usually means a focus!
Your child will have abilities or one particular ability that could possibly take her far in the world. People without Aspergers dont usually have the gift of a particular ability or strength in a subject. Thats how I see it.They just plod along, or else theystruggle and work hard to achieve at a subject.
Tell her when she grows older that she has a gift not a handicap, because if you think about it, every one has a disability of some sort, even if its just an inability to express affection or an inability to communicate with their loved ones, but then they wont necessarily have a special ABILITY like she probably will.
A gift that's a great way to look at it. I'm finding that the more I talk about Aspergers the more I find that someone knows somebody with it. I guess you become your own expert at what works for your child. I have never been one to look for support on the web but even though I have a husband and extended family support I am the one researching and making the plans for her to follow. All the information is greatly appreciated. Did anyone have trouble potty training? My daughter goes through all the motions but will not actually pee or poo in the toliet. She says she has to potty and then pulls her own clothes down, sits on the potty, wipes herself, and flushes but no action. We tried rewards and the panties no diaper option. The problem is she can hold it for hours! and then becomes constipated. She also will cry and ask for a diaper because she refuses to go in the potty in her panties or in the toliet. If she begins to pee on the floor I will immediately sit her on the toliet but then she cuts herself off and holds it again! I finally give in due to bedtime and put her diaper back on...
It's hard with these forums, because they really are trying to keep people from accidently getting in touch with someone they shouldn't trust. You could try code 720 which is Denver. And then 231 is the prefix. And my cell is 9464. I am in the Rocky's - Mountain time. And if that doesn't print out right (like the texts above) maybe the website www.youlove2travel.com will work. That is my side business and it has links to get in touch with me.
Just try to reach me sometime during the day. I am actually reading the book right now. So far, pretty good.
I was thinking back on the potty training days with my son. Keeping in mind that this was just about the time that we were realizing that he REALLY was different from other kids but not diagnosed that young. We worked with several potty training devices. One was a little plastic dragon that we would put on the floor in front of the tv and he would use as his seat for watching a movie, without wearing a diaper or underwear. I think he only used it as a toilet once. He was proud and showed it off, but he never felt the need to do it there again.
We used a reward system with m&ms. I bought the costco size bag and put it in a jar that had a wide mouth at the top and made it difficult for his little hands to wind the top off. We worked with a chart/calendar with pretty stars and stickers. We tried so many different things that I can't honestly say what it was that worked. If I had it to do all over again, and throw in a gender change, because girls are very different than boys, I would make a point of surveying everyone I know for their tricks and successes, with an emphasis on mom's of little girls. That would be so that I could have something ready to try after a week of one method that wasn't working. With Aspergers, a week is a good length of time for anything you try, not too short, but why continue with something that isn't working.
I also want to say how much I admire teachers in general but especially special ed teachers. School is a rough road for both student and parent of a special needs child and the teachers that had helped (and still help to some degree) make all the difference in the success of that child. I always tried to let Niko's teachers know how much I appreciated them, but for the parent who haven't said anything, I thank you too for taking on a very rewarding group of kids.
Its a big change! Changes are hard for people with Aspergers. She's used to doing it in a diaper. That's safe and reliable.She knows she can trust a diaper. She hasn't yet found out she can rely on the potty, so she can't relax and let go when she sits on it. Then if she sees you a bit stressed with the potty and associates feelings of her Mom wound up every time the potty appears, it will take even longer!
Relax and stop trying to get her to go on it for now.Make just sitting on it the goal. She's not ready yet. She will need her own time to get used to the idea of doing a wee or a poo in the potty instead of the diaper and she might be frightened of what will happen if she does! Its unchartered territory so far! A bit scary! Lots of things are scary for people who have Aspergers which are not for people who don't.
If you pretend its nothing to worry about; not very important; nice if she could, but don't worry if she can't, the potty might lose some of it's importance, and she will stop worrying and start relaxing! (Necessary to do a wee or a poo! )
My youngest son who has Aspergers is 20 in Jan. He holds himself all day when he's in a strange place.He told me he never ever went to the toilet at school all day, (which I only found out recently,) because the toilets disgusted him and he didn't feel they were private, with people just outside the toilet doors.
Now he goes to College one day a week and even though they've given him the key to the disabled toilets which are spotless and private and he can lock the door himself, he has told me he doesn't like the idea of going on some one else's toilet. He just can't relax and let himself do it, so he saves it all day and goes when he gets home.This is quite worrying and he seems to get constipated at times, but he still won't go on any one else's toilet, (even though we've had discussions about it to try and find a way for him that would work.)
But I do think that the way forward for you and your daughter and potty training is for you to appear unbothered and not worried, so she doesn't feel there's any pressure on her. Appear happy with her every time she sits on it, whether she does any thing in it or not, because she understands what the aim of the potty is and what she's expected to do in it! And I bet she wants to please you by going on it. She just can't do it yet! Eventually the day will come!
With Aspergers I think pressure compounds any problem and drives it deeper, and relaxing and taking off the pressure helps it to rise to the surface! Best Wishes from Mutti
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