My son is 3yrs.4mos. He began Montessori in January but was often home sick & never adjusted (first time away from home). He began school again in Sept. It has been almost 8 weeks now; and he won’t join any group activities (3, 4 & 5 year olds in class). My son says he’s afraid. He remains at his desk or asks to go outside. He will play with kids 1 - 1 or in small groups (3 year olds only). At recess, he often holds the teacher’s hand or will play with his cousin. When the teacher gives instructions, he only follows them if she asks him directly. On the drive home sometimes he’ll scream uncontrollably if I ask about his day and then fall asleep.
We recently went to a children's Halloween party. Initially he interacted with two kids but when the room filled up he would not talk. He would only nod or smile except once he asked me if he could leave the room. After the party I helped tidy up. He sat waiting on a chair; his body ridged & eyes with a distant gaze as kids played around him. The room slowly emptied; when there were about 5 kids & 4 adults remaining, he leaped off the chair suddenly and became interactive/extroverted. It was like an on/off switch. At home, he then reenacted “bingo” yelling bingo many times as if at the party.
My son walked at 13mos, potty trained willingly at 16mo & is physically coordinated. His vocabulary is advanced. He sings the ABC song, counts to 12, knows shapes/colors, recognizes his name on paper & reads a few words. He plays well 1-1 and in small groups, shares/ takes turns, & has an active imagination. Until recently, when my son was excited, his whole body stiffened; he’d stand on his toes as his whole body trembled with his arms stiff and extended & fingers spread. It looked odd. I asked that he clap instead when excited. Now he skips side-to-side and jumps when excited. The trembling is less now.
Could this behavior (no group participation) suggest selective mutism or autism?
Thank you so much.