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toddlers who line up toys

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
My toddler for a while now has been lining up toys in rows. Now, I have read that that is one of many signs that a child may be Autistic. My toddler is also a late talker, and may or may not be high on the Autism spectrum.

I have also read that children who go on to exhibit talents in math and music, etc, later in life, also have a propensity to line up toys.

Do any of you with gifted children have experience with your children lining up their toys when they were toddlers?
post #2 of 31
My autistic child was never a toy liner upper. He's also not a linear thinker in the least and is extremely creative/imaginative.

My typically developing child was a big line things up kid. He is a very linear thinker (he's imaginative too...but not like his twin). He is interested in counting and maps and days of the week and time and memorizes rhymes and songs and all those linear things. I think the lining up was just a sign of how his mind works. He's not gifted...just linear!

Typical kids do line things up. So do autistic kids who are looking for sameness and have linear minds. My autistic kid was into sameness too, but not lining up!
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbgrace View Post
My autistic child was never a toy liner upper. He's also not a linear thinker in the least and is extremely creative/imaginative.

My typically developing child was a big line things up kid. He is a very linear thinker (he's imaginative too...but not like his twin). He is interested in counting and maps and days of the week and time and memorizes rhymes and songs and all those linear things. I think the lining up was just a sign of how his mind works. He's not gifted...just linear!

Typical kids do line things up. So do autistic kids who are looking for sameness and have linear minds. My autistic kid was into sameness too, but not lining up!
Interesting! Thank you! I think in my toddler's case, it might be linear thinking (but who knows? so early to be able to tell anything). However, I do know that my toddler seems to be able to remember songs well, and also has a really good memory about events and places and people. I'm not sure if there is connection in all that, or not.
post #4 of 31
It is a common play behavior among typically developing kids too.

Many of the traits of various developmental disabilities can be seen in typically developing kids too. That's why diagnoses aren't made based on single characteristics. If you are concerned about autism I would read and look for an overall pattern of symptoms not at a single trait.
post #5 of 31
my 10 year old niece line up toys! She is no even near to be autistic. Don't worry, it's not related
post #6 of 31
My 4yo likes to line things up, and was a late talker. Both of my kids were late talkers though. And while I think he is pretty smart, I don't see any particularly gifted qualities, and have no concern about autism.
post #7 of 31
Another set of twins here. One of my boys is a total liner-upper. He really picked up numbers and letters quickly and has me sing new songs over and over again until he has them memorized. He's majorly easy to deal with, almost always listens to instructions or does what I ask. Other than that he's pretty normal - I wouldn't say gifted at all.

My other ds is not a liner-upper at all and I have sometimes wondered if he has some slight developmental issues or maybe more sensory issues. He's not interested in much of anything really. He does like to sing and will look at books occasionally. He's more of an explorer and he does things when he wants to, not when I want him to. He's much more diffucult to handle and is way more sensitive. I have to prepare him for anything that will be happening out of the ordinary - visitors, special trips, etc - or he just flips.

Really, I think it just varies by kid.
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
It is a common play behavior among typically developing kids too.

Many of the traits of various developmental disabilities can be seen in typically developing kids too. That's why diagnoses aren't made based on single characteristics. If you are concerned about autism I would read and look for an overall pattern of symptoms not at a single trait.
:

Oh, I know. I'm not looking at just one trait. I was just curious about this one today since it's been happening a lot lately with my toddler.

We have seen a developmental pediatrician who noticed multiple signs of Autism, but it wasn't a clear cut case...so we're still waiting and will undergo more evaluation.

You are right that traits of vrious developmental disabilities can be seen in typically developing kids, and vice versa.
post #9 of 31
My nephew does this and is also a late talker. He just had a lot of testing done, and his diagnosis is developmental apraxia of speech. So, this behavior is not necessarily linked to Autism, but if his speech is delayed, it might be a good idea to do some testing so he can get some help catching up before school.
post #10 of 31
I've heard from multiple sources (I think one of them was here) that many people, children and adult, also exhibit autistic behaviours. Example: Probably the most gifted person I know, she's not autistic, still has a perpencity for some unusual behaviours that look quite a bit like stimming. Actions repeated over and over again that would hold no interest for an average person. She does a lot of lining up, she spins things (and herself at times), rocks back and forth. Once in high school we stopped at a play ground, she spent almost an hour with the little handle on the track (you know you hold on to it and kick off and and up on the other side) she'd grab hold and 'throw' it forward just to watch it bounce back.

Anyway, just rambling on partly because I'm board and partly because I think I have a point.
post #11 of 31
My DD, at around 18 months, started what we called "the line up game." She LOVED to put things in lines, and we bought her a bunch of matchbox cars specifically for this purpose. She lined up cars, books, refrigerator magnets, and would sometimes start a line of something on our coffee table and then have it run off the edge of the table and continue in line on the carpet.

DD was a late talker and was in EI for speech therapy for awhile but graduated from the program around 2 1/2. Since then she has had no other delays, no sign of autism. She just turned four in July and will start preschool next month, and although we think she is just the neatest little kid around, we don't see any overt signs of giftedness, either. She loves puzzles and mazes and dot-to-dots, which might meet the same organizational need that the line up game used to.

DS is 2 1/2 now and occasionally will line things up, but he isn't nearly as interested in it as his sister was. He was a really early talker and doesn't have the same passion for organization, either.
post #12 of 31
hi,

ds1 was into lining things up as a toddler. To the point when people would remark about it - e.g. with wooden cubes, the grain of the cubes MUST all be running in the same direction, the curved/straight sides of the cube must all be in the same placement, and it MUST be a perfect line. I still remember waiting for him late one night to finish lining the cubes up all the way across the living room to his satisfaction before he finally walked/crawled back to the bedroom.

DH would roll his eyes, but I would usually wait for him as *ahem* I was also rather anal-retentive about such things when I was small, so I can understand how DS1 feel.

And nope, DS1 is not autistic. He's four now and he can be quite good at tidying up the house for me when inspired! lol.
post #13 of 31
My ds lined up things when he was 2 and 3. He was a very early talker.

Like another poster mentioned, everything had a place, and an order, and he couldn't go to bed till it was all where it should be.

He's not autistic, but he is a tad persnickety. We've often been told he'll make a good engineer someday.

He is all about math and science, and always has been.
post #14 of 31
My oldest used to line toys up when he was a toddler. He also used to make patterns out of them. And he spoke late (first said "Mama" at 21 months). But he is not autistic. As he grew older, that became much more apparent.

Like Roar said, it is part of a bigger picture.
post #15 of 31
DS1, late talker, late walker obsessively from the time he was 18 months and still does it now, he's 10, lines things up. He is gifted in math and music. Not even a hint of Autism.
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I've heard from multiple sources (I think one of them was here) that many people, children and adult, also exhibit autistic behaviours. Example: Probably the most gifted person I know, she's not autistic, still has a perpencity for some unusual behaviours that look quite a bit like stimming.
One most assuredly doesn't preclude the other... but I do stuff like that allllll the time. Over the weekend I managed to convince a group of people to bury me in sand; Yes, it was magickal and there was a spiritual reason to do it, but it was also me being *desperate* for the sensory experience. In fact, going into my sensory issues here would be a complete divergence from the topic, and could take all day.

OP: My oldest lined up toys fanatically; He was not a late talker by any definition, nor is he autistic. One of my nieces also lined up toys fanatically; She was a late talker and is autistic. They're both very bright kids, and they both crave organization. That doesn't make it any more comfortable to fall onto your pillow and find that you've fallen onto a color-sorted row of Matchbox cars. :
post #17 of 31
DD, now 3, was a big line-upper at about 18 months, and then got really into puzzles around 6 months later. She still arranges magnets on the fridge.

She was an early talker, FWIW, shows no signs of autism, but shows many signs of being musical.
post #18 of 31
My son was more of a liner-upper than dd, and he still loves to sort/organize/arrange/line up. He would line up his toys in all sorts of patterns. He also likes making number patterns on his rug using playing cards. He developed speech exceedingly early-- first several words by 6 months old, and three word sentences by his first birthday. With his sensory issues, anxiety and social struggles, we think he may be on the Asperger's part of the spectrum (we are not pursuing diagnosis) but regardless, he is still the same gifted, intense, obsessive, quirky, humorous, engaging son that we dearly love.

That said, my daughter also enjoys a fair amount of sorting her toys, and she definitely is not on the spectrum.

I think that many traits seen in individuals who ultimately receive an autism diagnosis can also exist in neurotypical individuals...that's why, even though my son exhibits a constellation of those traits, we aren't quite sure that autism describes him. And in our case, we aren't quite sure it matters.
post #19 of 31
my 4yo lines up toys (and has since around 2yo) he also was a head banger. but is not autistic. he has some SPD issues. otherwise is your typical 4yo (except he has begun teaching himself to read!) not sure if that is a gifted thing or what? I am amazed though as his dad and I did not read until 7-8yo and no one has "taught" him how to read.
post #20 of 31
My ds also lined up things in patterns. Did you know that there are shades to matchbox cars? Oh yes. Sometimes they are dark glossy black, matte black, greyed black..... He'd arrange by color, size, number of decals, etc. Any way that you might classify these cars, he'd arrange them.

He's also my kid that at age 3 was drawing rainbows in the ROYGBIV color scheme from memory. No one had ever discussed that the colors of the rainbow were in a pattern, but he saw it. He has always been quick to see a pattern and any deviation. He is not on the spectrum.
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