Autism is characterized by severe impairment in social interaction skills, communication skills, and/or stereotyped (ritualistic) behaviors, interests, and activities. Asperger’s Disorder has a similar profile (restricted interests, delayed or inhibited social interaction skills), but without the developmental and language delays seen in children with a diagnosis of autism. It is hard to tell from a description whether her interest in dolls and her preference for being alone really meets the restricted interest and social skills deficit criteria for an Asperger’s diagnosis – her behavior could be well within the range of normal. However, if you are seriously concerned, describe your concerns to your pediatrician and ask whether they think a referral to a specialist is warranted. Only a trained professional who has conducted an in-person assessment can provide an accurate diagnosis. Best of luck to you.
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