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aspergers vs gifted signs in toddler

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
My 18mo seems a bit ahead compared to others in my march 09 club on another board. She's independently counting to 12 and knows all her letters, colors, shapes. I'm not drilling her, she just picks it up. I didn't think much about it and just figured she was smart. Then someone else posted about their child counting and someone came back with how that's not normal and it's a sign of aspergers.

So I'm reading more about it and she does seem to have some of the traits. She is not a cuddler. When DH or I come home, she doesn't get excited. She can play alone for long periods. But some of the other signs she doesn't have. She does point and wave, and makes eye contact. She has been average with the physical stuff, not delayed.

Does anyone have experience with this? We just had her 18mo appt and I don't want to go back to the dr if I'm just being paranoid. But if she does have aspergers, I want to start any therapy asap. What do you think?
post #2 of 36
There is really no way to diagnosis over the internet, but there are many traits of gifted and aspergers. Here is a helpful article:

http://www.sengifted.org/articles_co...Children.shtml

The author of this article, Dr. Webb has a *great* book on this as well, that is worth getting from the library (or buying, if you can swing it).

Your little one is young, and if you are concerned I would take her back to the ped. Because that is really the place to go.

I just wanted to say that yes this is something that parents think about, yes there are children who are both gifted and have aspergers, and yes there are children who are gifted, look like aspies, but are not.
post #3 of 36
I'm guessing she is your oldest/only child right now? This is actually pretty typical of first kiddos in my experience. (we get lazy with the more kids we have, lmao)

The person saying that being smart means Asperger's is wrong though. Yes, one of the traits commonly associated with Asperger's is above average intelligence but there is a LOT more to it than that. The other things you mentioned really don't raise any red flags with me.

I should also mention that the "doesn't get excited (ie: emotional)" is a bad stereotype kids with Autism and Asperger's are saddled with, more often than not kids on the spectrum are very emotional. I'm sure you didn't mean any offense though, and it should put your mind at ease as well.

Asperger's generally isn't diagnosed in children that young either. Its not something that is looked at until more in the early school years because it focuses more on peer-to-peer relations and language development.

I don't know if it helps but in school I was in the gifted classes and I also have Asperger's. I was a preschool teacher for 10 years, have worked with a lot of spectrum children and have a child with Autism.
post #4 of 36
I have a DD who is both gifted and has Aspergers. Asperger's cannot be dx'ed that young because all the traits of Aspergers occur in typically developing toddlers!

I don't see any red flags in your post at all. If you child has NO delays and NO sensory issues (meltdown over load noises, scratchy clothes, etc) then I would assume that the person who told you your child might be on the spectrum is a bit of an idiot.

Counting, even at a young age, just isn't a red flag.
post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Thanks, you've made me feel better. I'm not going to worry about it then because I guess it isn't something that needs early treatment if she does/will have it. I didn't mean any offense with the no emotion comment. It was on a lists of traits on some random non medical site. She rarely has any meltdowns unless very tired though.

I went back to the thread over there and it really went down hill after the autism comments and got shut down. I've learned my lesson to stay away from those other boards. Come back over here where people are not out to bring each other down all the time.
post #6 of 36
Fingers crossed that this works - On page 5 of this document there is a great pre-screening chart to tell the difference between the two:

http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ860954.pdf
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dachshund mom View Post
I've learned my lesson to stay away from those other boards. Come back over here where people are not out to bring each other down all the time.

Yeah, stay away from those boards!
post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
Yeah, stay away from those boards!
Took me four years to recover from my experience on a mainstream birth club forum before I dared to post to MDC!

My DD had similar traits at 18 months, btw. Combined with that, and the fact that IQ is mostly hereditary -- definitely seems that way in my family, anyhow, and I recall some twin studies indicating such -- I started assuming she was probably gifted at that point. Got the tongue lashing of the century over on the other board when I dared to say what I was thinking.

I was right, BTW.

(And before anyone thinks I'm bragging about the uber-genes in my family... let it be said that while both sides of DD's family have generations of very high IQ and long lifespan, there's also lots of diabetes, some severe mental illness (schizophrenia and bipolar I), familial adenomatous polyposis, asthma, eczema, multiple sclerosis and Asperger's. All in me, DH, or our immediate families.)

Now I'm going to have to draw a genetic family tree for my own entertainment value... hehe.

--K
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dachshund mom View Post
Thanks, you've made me feel better. I'm not going to worry about it then because I guess it isn't something that needs early treatment if she does/will have it. I didn't mean any offense with the no emotion comment. It was on a lists of traits on some random non medical site. She rarely has any meltdowns unless very tired though.

I went back to the thread over there and it really went down hill after the autism comments and got shut down. I've learned my lesson to stay away from those other boards. Come back over here where people are not out to bring each other down all the time.


I managed through all the mainstream stuff during pregnancy and the first part of year 1, but when DD had 100 words or so at birthday time, that's when I was run outta town on a rail. Apparently a BABY is threatening to some people. Thank goodness for MDC!

I wouldn't worry about the counting, either. And I think kids go through phases of lighting up when a parent returns. I used to worry DD wasn't properly attached to me b/c she didn't smile when I came home, but it was just a phase.
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dachshund mom View Post
So I'm reading more about it and she does seem to have some of the traits. She is not a cuddler. When DH or I come home, she doesn't get excited. She can play alone for long periods. But some of the other signs she doesn't have. She does point and wave, and makes eye contact. She has been average with the physical stuff, not delayed.
I just wanted to comment about this. When DD was a toddler, she was often extremely independent. She would happily be on her own and completely ignore us (except at 3 a.m., when she refused to sleep!). Our presence or absence didn't seem to impact on her. It could be very frustrating because I would try a gentle discipline approach with her over something, but she just didn't seem to care what we said or how we reacted. It's hard to discipline a child who doesn't acknowledge your existence. She seemed to exist in her own bubble at times. Not always, but enough that it made me wonder sometimes.

Anyway, flash forward a few years, and she is the most social, happy child you can imagine. She interacts well with all ages. Her teachers comment on her EQ. Adults comment that it's nice when a child can carry on a conversation with them. We've moved fairly often, she's changed schools quite a bit, but she always finds a group of friends fairly quickly. Yesterday, she came home from school bubbling over about things that happened, asked me to go for a walk with her and her dog, made me pinkie-promise that I would leave the dinner dishes for her to wash up, and then spent a couple of hours on the sofa with me, legs on my lap while we watched some t.v.

I can't diagnose your child. I'd pay attention to any instincts or feelings in your gut that you may have, and explore the possibilities. Keep in mind, though, that there is a wide range of "normal" for personality and many traits, particularly social, develop as a child matures. It sounds like your gut is telling you that your child is just fine - and from this distance through the computer screen, I'd agree.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proxi View Post
Fingers crossed that this works - On page 5 of this document there is a great pre-screening chart to tell the difference between the two:

http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ860954.pdf
Just want to thank you for posting this. It's what I've been looking for, for my wonderful "quirky" son. And from what I can tell from the list, the Asperger's label does not quite seem to fit him. Still, it's enlightening. Thanks again!
post #12 of 36
Just wanted to add that I've got a bright, quirky kid who doesn't like to cuddle who nonetheless does not have Aspergers. If not liking to cuddle was a sign of Asperger's a lot of the world would be diagnosed with it!

For our son, part of it is that he has some sensory stuff, but part is his personality. I had to teach the child how to hug. He has never, to my memory, said "I love you." When he was 2 or 3, the closest he would get was "I really really like you."

But, he's still very attached to us (even at 9 ). He shows his love in a dozen different ways. I just hope he finds a life partner who is understanding!

So, to the OP: Enjoy your daughter. Look for the other ways that she shows that she loves you.
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I don't see any red flags in your post at all. If you child has NO delays and NO sensory issues (meltdown over load noises, scratchy clothes, etc) then I would assume that the person who told you your child might be on the spectrum is a bit of an idiot.
Even those sensory issues, in our experience, aren't necessarily indicative of long-term problems, which I think is part of why diagnoses that young are difficult. My son from 2.5-4 had terrible, terrible meltdowns. There were some obvious sensitivity issues - mainly with seams and buttons on clothes. We were able to work with him on them, and at 5.5, they're not a problem for him at all.
post #14 of 36
I've thought about the whole gifted vs asperger thing a lot (since I have a child who is both) and I think there is a thin gray line between "gifted and a bit quirky" and "special needs but still gifted." It's really just a matter of degrees. Bill Gates is quirky if you watch him talk. A little quirky really isn't that big of a deal, though it can make dating in high school difficult, it's not something that needs to be addressed in therapy.

For a kid who is truly on the spectrum, normal life is a struggle. Things that others easily do and can handle just fine are huge deals. It really doesn't matter how high that IQ is, functioning is difficult. Helping the child overcome their challenges -- just so they can be some what happy and live their life in ways they want -- is a priority.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

For a kid who is truly on the spectrum, normal life is a struggle. Things that others easily do and can handle just fine are huge deals. It really doesn't matter how high that IQ is, functioning is difficult. Helping the child overcome their challenges -- just so they can be some what happy and live their life in ways they want -- is a priority.
Thank you for writing this!!! We are just starting the eval process with my 4yo son. He is so verbose and bright (he's my little professor), but it is the mundane daily things, like getting dressed, brushing teeth, getting in the car, etc., that make our lives so difficult. You put it into words perfectly!
post #16 of 36
I agree with those who said that counting at that age has very little to do with Asperger's. Your child sounds just fine.

That said, I'll echo carmel23's statement:

Quote:
I just wanted to say that yes this is something that parents think about, yes there are children who are both gifted and have aspergers, and yes there are children who are gifted, look like aspies, but are not.
We had some concerns about DD and Asperger's when she was a toddler, and in fact even now she splits traits between the two lists in the document Proxi provided, though more checks would be in the "gifted" column. In particular, she remains intense and rigid. Nonetheless, while she is probably on the grayer end towards the spectrum, we no longer feel concerned that she actually Asperger's.

BTW, I find it slightly annoying/silly that a gifted child apparently needs to be "interested in team sports" (the chart lists that as a gifted, not Aspie characteristic). Come on, people.
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
BTW, I find it slightly annoying/silly that a gifted child apparently needs to be "interested in team sports" (the chart lists that as a gifted, not Aspie characteristic). Come on, people.
The lists are general characters contrasting the difference. Neither a gifted or aspie kid is going to fit either list exactly, and for many kids, some traits seem to be more on one side but still have some on the other. And at some stages of development, certain things seem more obvious or more important. That's why it hard to sort this out for some children.

Team sports require a combination of social interaction and physical coordination that is tough (or impossible) for aspies.

If you'd ever seen my DD near a soccer game, you'd understand. She isn't weird for social interaction -- she just doesn't understand why doing something as part of a group or team is fun for many people. Instead, so many people running around and attempting to kick *the same ball* is just scary. It's overwhelming. Also, aspie's tend to have a variety of motor planning problems, problems understanding where their body is in space, and processing problems that make reaction times slower. And when other people on the team are expecting you to actually help making something happen, the pressure can cause anxiety, and anxiety problems are common in aspies.

And it's not something that just shows up in competitive teams, but rather playing with kids in the neighborhood or a game at a family picnic.

It's not so much that:
"all gifted kids like team sports,"

but rather,
"if your child understands the give and take of sports, enjoys the idea of being on a team, is at least averagely coordinated for a child their age, etc., then they most likely aren't on the spectrum."

From watching neuro-typical and ASD kids, I'd generalize it more:
"If your child enjoys doing something as a group, partly because it is a group, and can participate with their peers in variety of activities they like, whether that be scouts, being in a play, dance class, etc., then you most likely don't have a lot to worry about."
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
The lists are general characters contrasting the difference. Neither a gifted or aspie kid is going to fit either list exactly, and for many kids, some traits seem to be more on one side but still have some on the other. And at some stages of development, certain things seem more obvious or more important. That's why it hard to sort this out for some children.

Team sports require a combination of social interaction and physical coordination that is tough (or impossible) for aspies.

If you'd ever seen my DD near a soccer game, you'd understand. She isn't weird for social interaction -- she just doesn't understand why doing something as part of a group or team is fun for many people. Instead, so many people running around and attempting to kick *the same ball* is just scary. It's overwhelming. Also, aspie's tend to have a variety of motor planning problems, problems understanding where their body is in space, and processing problems that make reaction times slower. And when other people on the team are expecting you to actually help making something happen, the pressure can cause anxiety, and anxiety problems are common in aspies.

And it's not something that just shows up in competitive teams, but rather playing with kids in the neighborhood or a game at a family picnic.

It's not so much that:
"all gifted kids like team sports,"

but rather,
"if your child understands the give and take of sports, enjoys the idea of being on a team, is at least averagely coordinated for a child their age, etc., then they most likely aren't on the spectrum."

From watching neuro-typical and ASD kids, I'd generalize it more:
"If your child enjoys doing something as a group, partly because it is a group, and can participate with their peers in variety of activities they like, whether that be scouts, being in a play, dance class, etc., then you most likely don't have a lot to worry about."
Linda, thanks for that comparison, it was really helpful! DD has some signs on both sides of that checklist. Although, we mostly suspect that she has some sensory issues. She has some red flags (toe walking and hand flapping) and can be pretty sensitive to stuff like clothes, sounds etc. She'll throw a tantrum if the volume is not loud enough on something. But I also think part of that is just that she's REALLY opinionated and will let you know what she's thinking! So we're just keeping an eye on it until she's older. Our pediatrician mentioned we could contact early intervention about the clothing/texture issues (she's weird about her hands, has to touch EVERYTHING but God forbid they get the slightest thing on them! Finger painting would NEVER work for her! ) but she even said that it''s probably more her personality than anything else.

As to the OP. Counting definitely doesn't not mean a kid has aspergers! DD also is not a cuddler, well, unless it's her decision to cuddle. Now, I can ask for a hug/kiss but unless she's in the mood, forget about it! If I were to try hug here when she didn't want to we'd have a HUGE tantrum.
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by physmom View Post
Although, we mostly suspect that she has some sensory issues. She has some red flags (toe walking and hand flapping) and can be pretty sensitive to stuff like clothes, sounds etc.
Have you read "The Out of Sync Child"? It gets referenced here on Mothering a lot. It's kinda like the bible on sensory issues and has lots of ideas for developing a good sensory diet for your child.

When my DD was a toddler, her flags (in addition to sensory stuff) were being slightly late on all milestones. She was actually a very easy baby and a fairly mellow toddler. Her self help skills were very delayed, and I remember being completely shocked when I found out that most of her age mates could dress themselves.

She was somewhat cuddly with me and her dad, and fine with my mom. Other than that, she really didn't want anything to do with other people.

The thing about kids is that there are some kids whose development seems really off when they are little, but the child is just a late bloomer and catches up in spades. And other kids like my DD, who were only slightly off when they were little who seem to get further and further away from the other kids the older they get.

Just for the record, my DD turns 14 later this week and is doing really well. She attends a private alternative school and is taking a combination of middle school and high school classes. She doesn't really understand why most people like to have friends, and she speaks to people outside our family only when they speak to her first. But she is happy and she likes herself.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
Have you read "The Out of Sync Child"? It gets referenced here on Mothering a lot. It's kinda like the bible on sensory issues and has lots of ideas for developing a good sensory diet for your child.

When my DD was a toddler, her flags (in addition to sensory stuff) were being slightly late on all milestones. She was actually a very easy baby and a fairly mellow toddler. Her self help skills were very delayed, and I remember being completely shocked when I found out that most of her age mates could dress themselves.

She was somewhat cuddly with me and her dad, and fine with my mom. Other than that, she really didn't want anything to do with other people.

The thing about kids is that there are some kids whose development seems really off when they are little, but the child is just a late bloomer and catches up in spades. And other kids like my DD, who were only slightly off when they were little who seem to get further and further away from the other kids the older they get.

Just for the record, my DD turns 14 later this week and is doing really well. She attends a private alternative school and is taking a combination of middle school and high school classes. She doesn't really understand why most people like to have friends, and she speaks to people outside our family only when they speak to her first. But she is happy and she likes herself.
You know, I keep meaning to pick this up! I've been recommended it more than once but I was always reading something else at the time. But I just finished what I'm reading this week and need something else so I'll get this on my kindle tonight.

One thing that always brings me back to this is FIL. He's an interesting guy but I'm about 99% sure he has SPD and possibly also aspergers (and we've gotten comments from the IL's about how she's similar to him). So far DD's development has always been on track/ahead with the exception of fine motor skills. It's definitely not for lack of trying. She's obsessed with trying to dress herself since she was about 1 but still can't do it. And I definitely agree with some kids being harder when they are younger and then catching up. That could definitely be it, that's why we're just waiting at this point to see what comes of it.

That's wonderful to hear how well your daughter is doing! If she's happy than you're definitely doing something right.
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