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Asynchronous behavior? Or lame parenting?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi all, and thanks for reading.

My son, who turned 4 just a couple of weeks ago, started Montessori this month. He's a bright little booger- not sure he's "gifted" per se, but he's very clever in regards to phonics and reading. Examples: reciting the alphabet, backwards and forwards at 20 months, reading at 2.5, chapter books by 3.5., writing elaborate stories, etc.

Much to my surprise, at school he seems "babyish" in comparison to his peers. He talks too close, is difficult to understand at times, speaks incessantly about his experiences at home (which simply confuses the other kids), repeats questions constantly, is bossy, asks "where's my mommy?" all day...

It's painful to watch the other kids reject him- which they are.

During his first four years, I very rarely set up play dates with other children his age, since he had no interest in playing with others in that regard. We did some classes, but the focus was always on a shared activity, rather than one-on-one relationship building.

Did I blow it? Or is this type of behavior somewhat normal?

Thanks for any sharing. I feel absolutely crushed right now.


Leigh
post #2 of 19
First, if your kid was reading at 2.5 and chapter books by 3.5, yeah, he's gifted.

Obviously you are a concerned parent on MDC and worried about your kid - so let's take bad parenting off the list of choices!

I'd see the question now more as is this just immaturity/asynchronous development or something more. How has he seemed in other social situations? Does he do okay at the park, with family, with neighbors at the grocery store, etc. If he's navigating those situations in a developmentally appropriate way, then I wouldn't worry about something like a social skills disability (like Asperger's). If you are seeing a lot of difficulty in a variety of settings then it might merit more examination. http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/tc...drome-symptoms

Assuming he's generally fine but struggling at school, there are things you can do to help him. First, I'd talk with his teacher and get his/her ideas about what has helped similar kids. Could they help find him a buddy and shadow a bit to help him get engaged in play?

One thing that sometimes helps is arranging some playdates with school kids outside of school time. That can help build some friendships that might carry over into school. The teacher might be able to suggest some good candidates. This is a really helpful book: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Friends-A.../dp/096220367X

The other thing I'd suggest is role play. As a bright kid he likely will learn quickly how to practice different situations. Talking about home when other kids don't have a reference to understand would be a good example of something you could work on. Giving him some standard conversation starters might help too.

Does he seem unhappy to be going to school? When he keeps asking where you are - I'm wondering if he's feeling anxious.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Roar.

The Asperger's link was pretty terrifying. There have been times, over the past couple of years, when I've been worried about Asperger's or autism, but hoped he would mature out of some of his quirks. He's certainly a little eccentric, but whether or not his behavior is symptomatic of a psychosocial issue, only an expert can say.

I think I need to get him check out by experts.

Thanks again.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Roar~

By the way, thanks for the book recommendation! I just ordered it, along with two other titles geared specifically towards children. Hopefully, they'll help us both navigate through this transition.
post #5 of 19
aw, he's only four. he is still a baby. he'll figure things out.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by leighellen View Post
Thanks, Roar.

The Asperger's link was pretty terrifying. There have been times, over the past couple of years, when I've been worried about Asperger's or autism, but hoped he would mature out of some of his quirks. He's certainly a little eccentric, but whether or not his behavior is symptomatic of a psychosocial issue, only an expert can say.

I think I need to get him check out by experts.

Thanks again.
The more you learn about ASD, the less scary it is. One of the coolest kids I know is autistic. It's just one more difference, which brings it's own ups and downs.
post #7 of 19
try to set up a playdate outside of school 1 on 1 with one of his classmates. that will go a long way to easing the preschool social stuff. i agree that he sounds gifted.
post #8 of 19
I was listening recently to my 4 yr old interacting with other kids and a lot of what you said about your son's social development is really similar to her. But what I did notice is that while it was bizarre and babyish behavior from my perspective, none of the children took any notice of her. They were all off in their own lands doing their own weird 4 yr old things. I wouldn't panic.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by leighellen View Post
The Asperger's link was pretty terrifying. There have been times, over the past couple of years, when I've been worried about Asperger's or autism, but hoped he would mature out of some of his quirks. He's certainly a little eccentric, but whether or not his behavior is symptomatic of a psychosocial issue, only an expert can say.

I think I need to get him check out by experts.
DS has always been a bit quirky, and Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children was really helpful in weeding out what he isn't, and how gifted traits can overlap with other disorders.
post #10 of 19
I think it's typical for all kids to develop in different areas at different rates. It's particularly easy to expect kids who are precocious to be precocious in all things, and sometimes they're not .

Some kids need more time to learn social dynamics and norms. You're son has had somewhat less time that perhaps other kids his age, and he needs some time to catch up. That's ok.

I ditto the recommendation for the Misdiagnosis book - it's a great summary of commonly seen gifted traits.

As for if he's on the spectrum - sure, maybe. Maybe not. I think that the autism spectrum is just that (a spectrum ), and there's plenty of quirky people who may or may not be diagnosable. I think quirky is cool; I think atypicality is pretty cool in general.

I think the tipping point is when an issue is substantively inhibiting an individual's life. From the sounds of it, your son may just need some increased social experience. I know (or have known) plenty of four year olds, and they're often pretty unique. The rejection your son is experiencing may also be related to the social skills of the other children, as they're still learning social skills themselves.
post #11 of 19
Leigh,

rushing, as I am at work.

Some very gifted kids have a lot of trouble relating to children their own age. If he is thinking about a character he read in a book, or the relationship between the pine cone and the pine tree, and the 4 yo he is playing with have no idea who this character is, or only want to throw pinecones or add them to a pinecone collection, then they are not going to be able to relate. Your DS will be frustrated and lonley. And the other kids will just think he is odd.

Your DS acting babyish can be his way of trying to relate to other 4 yo. It's called dumbing down. (check out hoagies) Perhaps he is bosy because he wants to do XYZ, and the other kids can't even comprehend what XYZ is actually about. So they are not going to want to play. And wanting mommy because at least you can relate to him.

Do you have any older kids in the neighborhood he could play with? Could you set up a play date with some of those moms? He might really enjoy it. And if he can relate and play with the older kids, he will feel such a relief knowing something isn't wrong with him, and he will gain more practice with social skills.

Totally OT: love your name. Wanted to name my dd Leigh, but wouldn't make sense over here, so she is Lea.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone.
I can't tell you how much better I feel, just being able to communicate with other parents who have so much insight to offer.

After taking a big step back, I can more clearly see that DS is warm, highly empathetic, friendly, humorous, engaged. There's probably nothing to worry about, it's just time to set up some play dates and do some role playing.
My husband says that our son's behavior is eerily reminiscent of his own at that age- and my DH has SEVEN brothers and sister. No lack of socialization there.

Thanks again, especially for the book recommendations and calming words. I think it's clear, at least, that I need to better educate myself in order to more successfully parent.

Much love!
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by leighellen View Post
Thanks, Roar.

The Asperger's link was pretty terrifying. There have been times, over the past couple of years, when I've been worried about Asperger's or autism, but hoped he would mature out of some of his quirks. He's certainly a little eccentric, but whether or not his behavior is symptomatic of a psychosocial issue, only an expert can say.

I think I need to get him check out by experts.

Thanks again.
First of all, he is definitely advanced, and not at all the product of lame parenting.

Secondly, he may or may not be autistic, but if he is, I promise you, this is not at all terrifying (nor is it psychosocial, actually). It is nothing to worry about. Many autistic people are warm, highly empathetic, friendly, humorous, engaged, just like your son. Come visit us over in the special needs parenting forum if you have an interest in this.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Brigianna~

Thanks, I will visit the special needs forum.

By the way, I didn't intend to be offensive when I said I was "terrified" at the possibility of autism. I'm a worrier: I bawled my eyes out when my son had the flu. Seriously.

p.s. I googled "psychosocial" and discovered that I've been using the term incorrectly for years. Fabulous.
post #15 of 19
I should have posted more on my original post but I was rushed... I was negligent to even mention the Asperger's link without also mentioning the misdiagnosis book so I'm glad others chimed in with that.

If you are considering getting him evaluated if at all possible I strongly encourage you to have him see FIRST by someone who specializes in giftedness. There is no way a kid reading like that isn't gifted and there is a distinct possibility he's highly or profoundly gifted and that asynchrony absolutely could look like Asperger's when it isn't. If you are really concerned about the social part of it, I wouldn't dismiss it because he deserves help with it. But, I would start with looking at giftedness first. The line between HG+ and Asperger's is a really fuzzy one for some kids and you may find a lot more productive answers looking through from a gifted perspective. If you just take him to someone without gifted experience and he's a different kid you are likely to hear Asperger's even if it isn't a good fit.

We are going to give you a big amazon bill... in addition to the other books I would strongly suggest the Parent's Guide to Gifted Children http://www.amazon.com/Parents-Guide-...1695181&sr=8-1 I think you will find a lot there that you recognize in your son.

Also, if your library has it take a look at the essay by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez in the book Maybe Baby. It is about the Asperger's misdiagnosis of her highly gifted child. http://www.amazon.com/Maybe-Baby-Inf.../dp/0060737816

I hope you'll post an update in the future and let us know how it is going.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna View Post
First of all, he is definitely advanced, and not at all the product of lame parenting.

Secondly, he may or may not be autistic, but if he is, I promise you, this is not at all terrifying (nor is it psychosocial, actually). It is nothing to worry about. Many autistic people are warm, highly empathetic, friendly, humorous, engaged, just like your son. Come visit us over in the special needs parenting forum if you have an interest in this.
Thank you for saying this
post #17 of 19
My daughter is another one that doesn't relate well to her peers. She does *okay*, but children her age generally shun her. She just doesn't talk about things on their level and I guess they find her weird

I've been trying to immerse her in more and more activities that have children her age, but aren't so much one on one time with each other (Karate, Hockey, Soccer, etc.) and it seems to be helping a little.

It doesn't make it any easier to notice that your kiddo is just different. Incredibly special, but different nonetheless.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
I feel like a complete tool for posting so many of my preconceived ideas about autism. I had *no idea* what I was talking about, having no known direct experience with autism. So glad I wrote, though, because I've learned a lot already and am continuing to educate myself. Thanks everyone.
post #19 of 19
My DS has asperger syndrome. In our case, it means that as bright as he is with reading, math, learning, he does NOT pick up social cues or learn social relating without us teaching him. So I don't have to teach him math, he does that on his own. But I do teach him social skills. That's really the practical difference, with how it comes down. He's still his great, unique, fun, happy, social kid. He loves others! But I help him learn how to relate to others.
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