x-posting in Gifted and Special needs – particularly asking from help from posters with 2E-children!
DS, 4, has been seen by a children’s psych for behavioural problems in preschool (pushing boundaries and aggression, being rejected by classmates because “he is always annoying us!”) and at home (rigidity, tantrums, sleep issues, sensory seeking behaviours again with pushing of boundaries, apparent inability to stop annoying and/or aggressive behaviour).
DS often appears to be unable to respond appropriately to social cues, mostly from peers, but also from parents (starting out gently “this is hurting me/your sister/your classmate. Please stop this” will end up in having to push/pull him away physically, sometimes even having to hurt him in the process to protect ourselves or others). He is often almost compulsively chatty, wriggly or goofy. But he can focus very well as long as an activity is adult-directed, only “losing it” at the transition. (The psych thinks he is very good at compensating, until exhausted).
The psych, after consulting with us for 2 hours, wants to test for Aspergers. The IQ test will be next week.The ADOS and ADIR will be in early March.
I have tried to find out what exactly latter two consist of, and they appear to be mostly a questionnaire for parents (I may have that wrong?). This worries me, as it is so highly subjective – does it mean a parent could talk their child “into” or “out of” a diagnosis? What are objective measures for a clinician to go on – particulary as the IQ testing may be unreliable too, he is just 4! I find alternative explanations for everything...
So he has interests which are probably unusual for a typically developing kid but which do not appear to me at all unusual for a gifted kid: he talked exitedly about the science DVDs he wants to watch, named the planets for her, explained how lightning happens. He likes technical toys, is interested in wires and trains, none of which appears obsessive to me. How can you tell whether a child that loves to lecture about stuff that fascinates him is gifted or has Asperger’s?
He prefers non-fiction to fiction – possibly because anything that is too intense can send him into a meltdown (a sad line in a book, a sad-sounding lullaby)? He loves some Lindgren books (Pippi Longstocking and Troublemaker Street). He can play pretend, easily with parents and older kids, fro a while even with peers, if somewhat structured (can play grocery store nicely for a while until he “loses it”, start sto annoy/poke/kick etc.)
He has flapped his hands, but rarely, when very excited, upset or bothered by sand on his hands. H has never lined up toys or insisted on a particular order of things (I wish!)
I also understand that auditory overresponsivity, tactile and proprioceptive sensory seeking and a general tendency to overstimulation are typical for Asperger’s – so how can you tell whether it is “just sensory” or “Asperger’s sensory”?
The problems with boundaries and body language, low co-ordination and muscle tone, aversion to swings and trampolines – Asperger’s or maybe slight hemispheric cerebral palsy from his premature birth and NICU stay? The rigidity and inflexibility, tantrums etc at home have been helped immensely by structures, schedules, attention and sensory play (life has been a little chaotic in fall with the new baby, of course). OEs and sensory?
Is there anything I ought to know before going into this testing? Or leave it to the experts at first...?