Asperger's, PDD-NOS, or something else? (little long, sorry)
My 6yo son, Connor worries me. I don't know what might be wrong but I have been trying to get his dr to test him. He has unusual mannerisms. I know you can't give an actual diagnosis, but does this sound like anyone else's child? I don't know whether it might be something like Aspergers or PDD-NOS or something else. It really worries me.
He follows people around to the point of being stepped on or elbowed accidentally. This includes complete strangers. He walks up to strangers and strikes up conversations, gives them hugs and tries to kiss them. He does not seem to understand what "stranger danger" means.
He is very intrusive. He does not understand personal space. He will sometimes put his hands on your throat, chest, or breasts when he is talking to you almost as a person would touch your arm in conversation.
He does not understand slang, sarcasm, figures of speech, or "who, what, where, when, why, how" questions. For instance if you ask him "How old are you?" he will answer with, "My name is Connor." He doesn't understand concepts like "under," "begin," "end," "above." And, he mixes up pronouns.
He walks on his toes, runs and jumps in inappropriate places. He repeats phrases several times. He has no fear of things like moving vehicles or poisonous animals, but is terrified of crickets or moths and other harmless things. He displays inappropriate rude gestures (like making farting sounds when someone is eating). He throws tantrums for no reason.
He completely ignores the Lincoln Logs he got last Christmas but plays constantly with the lid to the Lincoln Log container. He cries inconsolably if you throw away a pine cone or stick.
He eats and snacks constantly. He is not a chubby kid, but he snacks out of boredom and gulps down food to the point of choking and vomiting.
What does this sound like to you all? It would help if I could narrow down the things I ask his dr about instead of walking in and saying, "all this is happening, I need this test and this one and this one.....etc." Thanks everyone! And I'm sorry it is so long.
there are certainly symptoms of ADHD in what you mention. And some of the things sound like 7 year old boy things.
How does he do in school? What do his school teachers have to say?
Here is a good site to check out common symptoms - http://www.help4adhd.org/en/about/what/WWK1
I also post on the ADHD forum if you have any questions.
I also wanted to say that many many of these are similar to my sensory kid. My son has sensory integration disorder.
He has meltdowns over thingst hat seem to make no sense to me and has a hard time calming down. He has trouble with personal boundaries, knowing the flow of conversation, general social skills. Walking on toes can be sensory related and has to do with the feeling of the foot on a particular surface (including not liking the shoes, socks or the grass in barefeet), my son does 'stuffing' which believe it or not is a term actually used in occupational therapy for a form of putting food in the mouth in order to get input into the nervous system (involves stuffing the mouth full), motor planning goes into play and not knowing exactly the proper way to build something could fall into this category (my son is very smart but somet things he just didn't get. Guess what? We had lincoln logs too that he didn't touch. he does love lego sets however). Making unsafe choices in which he can get hurt is a hallmark sign of sensory kids. Their nervous systems look for input and their impulse control is unreliable.
Your son sounds like mine. We've overcome a lot of these things. My son was evaluated by an occupational therapist and receives occupational therapy weekly. This is something most kids think is a blast as it involves 'gym time' in which activites/games are played that work directly on the nervous system (swinging, crawling through tunnels, climbing up ladders, etc.) and then small room time in which they work on social skills, behavior modification, etc. Most kids really really love OT.
Here are some things you can do for the stranger issue. Cut out pictures from a magazine of people. Single shots of different people. Then go through your pics and pull out shots of your closest family members. Then find some inbetween people--- casual friends, school friends or draw something to indicate who those people are. Have him sit on the ground like your kitchen floor. Use masking tape and make three lines in front of him. Tell him that the line farthest away is for strangers. the middle line is for aquaintences, school friends. The line closest is for family and very best friends. Then hand him the pics and help him decide where they go. Once he has them all laid out, talk to him about what is appropriate with each one. We hug, kiss, hold hands and stand close to family/best friends. We give high fives, and stand near aquaintences. And we smile and just say hello to strangers. This exercise helps give direction that kids can relate to with the pics. Then you can role play if you were a stranger, an aquaintence, and then a family member/best friend. As he is in public, redirect back to those three categories to get him thinking which the person he is trying to interact with is.
For standing too close----- you can do this exercise to help illustrate it. Get a hula hoop and put it around him. (could use a swim floating ring too if you have that). He's comfortable. Then you try to get in with him. He'll laugh as that will feel too close. This illustrates personal space. Then you can talk about how close he should stand to someone. he shouldn't try to stand inside their imaginary hula hoop. Another thing my boy really liked and responded to was robot arms. You start walking like a robot with your arms stiff going up and down out front. Tell him to do it to. Then when you walk towards each other, your arms will hit. So, you have to be robot arms distance away from someone. I would quietly tell my son when he was too close "robot arms" when he was getting to close to a peer.
Try a chewy snack for his desire to fill his mouth. Encourage him to not stuff it but to enjoy the chew.
anyway, I have lots of ideas and things that have helped my boy. let me know if you'd like any more info.
PS: he certainly could have multiple things going on such as add/adhd as well. Often things overlap. SensoryProcessingDisorder (SPD) is an excellent web site that describes sensory for your reference to look at. good luck
Have you had your son evaluated yet? I really recommend a comprehensive evaluation by a reputable team, including a child psychologist with experience with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I would not only go to an MD - they do not tend to spend the kind of time needed to make an accurate and thorough diagnosis.
It is really hard to suggest a diagnosis without seeing a child in person. There are many things that this could be and there are a lot of diagnoses that include ADHD and sensory symptoms, including ASD. ASD is a possibility but it now way a certainty. Also given your comments about his excessive eating, it will be important to rule out Prader-Willi syndrome (although this is not very likely)
A well trained psychologist is a perfect person to start with and even more ideal if they work with a comprehensive team - as it sounds like he also needs a speech and occupational therapy evaluation. I would start by checking local well regarded Children's Hospitals. You can also ask your son's Dr. but rather than asking for a test you should let him/her know that you are worried about your son's development and about the possibility of ASD and then ask for a referral to a good psychologist/comprehensive evaluation team. Most good psychologists will be able to identify what is going on with your son even if it is not ASD.
Sorry that you are struggling with this - I know how hard it can be to not have any answers or know where to go for help.
Just so you know (to provide a context for my answer)- I am a child psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and I specialize in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ASD.
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