Special needs vs spirited? Introverted vs antisocial? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 10 Old 08-02-2009, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
heatherweh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,318
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
DS breaks my heart. He is 3 yo and I don't know if he is just high-needs or spirited or what. He is introverted and socially awkward. Since birth he is slow to warm up to new people and new places and always attached to mama. He is serious. He is sensitive. He is strong-willed. He always chooses work over play. He is intelligent and I think he is right on-par with normal development with the exception of social-emotional skills.

At the nursery at the gym he just stands in one place and watches the other kids or on a good day goes and plays by himself in a corner, which admittedly is a step up from the crying and tantruming that he displayed until recently. When people greet him he usually just looks at them somberly and refuses to say hi. When people, relatives for example, try to swoop in for a hug or smooch he will fight them off or completely melt down. When kids sing Happy Birthday at parties he always puts his head down or looks away, like he can't handle the emotion of it.

I try to accept him as he is, but I worry a lot. I want him to be happy and happy seems so hard for him and even then it seems so fleeting. This is how he is and has been from birth and there are really no particular issues with his environment or anything that might be a "cause". Will he be able to attend regular school or will he require homeschool or special education classes is one of my major concerns.

TY for reading and sharing any thoughts.

Book lovin librarian nerd mama to Caleb 6/06 and Aiden 4/09: and 1 angel 11/07. "No one cries alone in my presence."
heatherweh is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 10 Old 08-02-2009, 01:02 AM
 
williamsmommy2002's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: the microwaves did it
Posts: 1,933
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Both of my kids are on the autism spectrum. The behavior you described is much like my youngest son's. He just turned 5 and was in a school program earlier this summer. He did ok but didn't really talk to the teachers and didn't interact much with the kids. He just was able to have "happy Birthday" sung at his party but he is extremely noise sensitive. Honestly, he is on the fine line between being different and definately being special needs. He also is pretty intelligent.

So far we have just gone with the flow. We are waiting to see what the K class sizes wiill be before we make a decision for school. The teacher thinks he really needs a small class size so he might end up in a special ed class. He does have other issues besides the obvious social ones i'm giving but none of them really keep him away from a mainstream education.


I think your son will be just fine. The biggest asset he has is you. You can teach people about being sensitive to other's needs that are different.

Misty, mama to my nurslings William(11/4/02) and Parker(7/13/04).
williamsmommy2002 is offline  
#3 of 10 Old 08-02-2009, 04:02 AM
 
That Is Nice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 6,798
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi!

I am going to give you what I hope is a hopeful answer.

I think at three years of age, his personality and other traits could change drastically in the coming years. He's still so young.

Have you undergone any sort of testing with child development experts?

I think it's still a bit early to worry about his future actions and responses in school, but what I would do at this point is testing in order to receive any early intervention type services that you can get for him.

Best of luck!
That Is Nice is offline  
#4 of 10 Old 08-02-2009, 04:41 AM
 
Britishmum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 4,195
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have to say that I don't agree that you should not be concerned, and I don't think you can stop yourself worrying.

But you can take action, which will help you on this path. It is impossible to say whether your ds has special needs, or whether he will go to school, or what. I was in your place 5 years ago, and now my child is a very happy, homeschooled, high achieving, somewhat introverted but often goofy 8 year old kid.

It took a lot of reading and research on my part before I found my path. My recommendation is that you read up on sensitive children (The Highly Sensitive Child - I think that's the correct title, but google it), sensory integration (the Out of Sync Child is my favorite), and giftedness. You say your ds is very intelligent. Many gifted children are twice exceptional and have sensory issues. There are therapies to help with this - OT can work wonders, and the sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the rewards.

What you describe is worrying. I have had many, many sleepless nights over the same issues. For us, homeschooling was the answer (or one of the answers, anyway). It is a joy to us to homeschool, so don't see that as a negative.

I too worried about autism, but somehow, it didn't fit. I read and read, and my child would fit about 95% of the descriptors, but not all. There are many other disorders that have very similar symptoms. My personal view was that we'd seek help anyway, and that the diagnosis was immaterial. What we needed was help at the early stage!

For us, withdrawing from the entire preschool and school arena was a huge relief too. Once we did that, the stress levels dropped for the entire family, and we were able to make real progress. Maybe reconsidering preschool might be useful?

eta that my kids could not stand Happy Birthday, and I know several other gifted kids for whom this is an issue. At 3, my child feared birthdays as she realized that this meant you were getting older and therefore closer to dying. My youngest child had exactly the same fears. Or maybe for your ds it is sound sensitivity. But this is not uncommon - I just avoided those birthday celebrations. It made life much easier for us all.

HTH.
Britishmum is offline  
#5 of 10 Old 08-02-2009, 09:25 AM
 
That Is Nice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 6,798
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
My recommendation is that you read up on sensitive children (The Highly Sensitive Child - I think that's the correct title, but google it), sensory integration (the Out of Sync Child is my favorite), and giftedness. You say your ds is very intelligent. Many gifted children are twice exceptional and have sensory issues. There are therapies to help with this - OT can work wonders, and the sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the rewards.
This.

I think this is a solid suggestion.

We worried, too, because there were signs of developmental delays. But we (well, mainly just me) did our homework...we researched, asked questions, talked to experts, had our child tested, tested again, asked more questions, and found the best care and services.

I do think the best medicine for worrying is taking action and finding the services that your child needs.


Best of luck to you as you navigate all of that.
That Is Nice is offline  
#6 of 10 Old 08-02-2009, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
heatherweh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,318
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In "The Out-of-Sync Child" nothing really fit EXCEPT there is a checklist for what type of sensory integration issues your child might have. He fit all of the ones under social-emotional, but that was it. No other categories. The book doesn't then break it down by category, so I combed through and there isn't any place that mentions that particular problem or more importantly what in the world you can do about it.

"The Spirited Child" fit, particularly the sections on introverts obviously. The book made me feel better in a way because it recognized that it is personalities not parenting that make a child "spirited".

We had early intervention for DS for speech therapy when he was around 2 years old (still paying the bills on that one- ouch). He speaks fine now but was just a late starter it seems. At that time we had him evaluated by an occupational therapist and she said he's on the range of normal and doesn't need oc therapy. She did say it might help to read books about introverts and to try and accept that he probably will not become social and may always avoid group play in favor or one or two friends.

I might take him to the gym nursery and he will kick and scream and cry and I have to drag him in and he will sit there and watch the other kids the whole time but not participate in playing and when I pick him up he doesn't want to leave and says he had fun?

Book lovin librarian nerd mama to Caleb 6/06 and Aiden 4/09: and 1 angel 11/07. "No one cries alone in my presence."
heatherweh is offline  
#7 of 10 Old 08-02-2009, 10:30 AM
 
That Is Nice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 6,798
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherweh View Post
In "The Out-of-Sync Child" nothing really fit EXCEPT there is a checklist for what type of sensory integration issues your child might have. He fit all of the ones under social-emotional, but that was it. No other categories. The book doesn't then break it down by category, so I combed through and there isn't any place that mentions that particular problem or more importantly what in the world you can do about it.

"The Spirited Child" fit, particularly the sections on introverts obviously. The book made me feel better in a way because it recognized that it is personalities not parenting that make a child "spirited".

We had early intervention for DS for speech therapy when he was around 2 years old (still paying the bills on that one- ouch). He speaks fine now but was just a late starter it seems. At that time we had him evaluated by an occupational therapist and she said he's on the range of normal and doesn't need oc therapy. She did say it might help to read books about introverts and to try and accept that he probably will not become social and may always avoid group play in favor or one or two friends.

I might take him to the gym nursery and he will kick and scream and cry and I have to drag him in and he will sit there and watch the other kids the whole time but not participate in playing and when I pick him up he doesn't want to leave and says he had fun?
It sounds like you've done a lot and have a good understanding of your child.

Have you tried gradually getting him involved in social activities for his age group? Some things that come to mind would be activities that are free where you can make an early exit if you need to or if your son becomes overwhelmed.

My child never really had any social kinds of issues (but had/has other special needs) and I made it a prioritiy to give as many socialization opportunities as possible (free ones, mainly where we could leave early if sensory issues kicked in).

For us, that meant going to parks/playgrounds and playing with other kids in a parent-engaged way, kind of prompting social play. It meant going to swimming pools for the same reason. Library story hours, kids events, birthday parties, open plays and open gyms, those kind of things.

Sometimes one activity would work one time, but not another time, but we kept going steadily.

Eventually, we worked up to structured group activities that last 2.5 hours without the parent but that was after about a year of other activities.

The last thing I want to add is that there is a good chance that your child is just a natural introvert and as a parent we have to honor who they are. I am somewhat of an introvert myself and my husband more than me. I see a mix in my child. My child is extroverted in some ways, introverted in other ways (just like me). Both my child and me are more extroverted than my DH. Sometimes my child plays alone and I think that is ok. There are many times when I want to be alone myself. I think quiet and singular play is fine as long as you work on the socialization so it's not so painful and overwhelming when it happens.

For the most part, my child, even with sensory issues, plays well with other children, but plays alone about half the time, too.

Good luck!
That Is Nice is offline  
#8 of 10 Old 08-02-2009, 11:38 AM
 
QueenOfThePride's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: the frigid north
Posts: 4,530
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
From what I've read, by age three, children should have moved from parallel play into cooperative play. If a three year old does not have at least one friend that they will engage with in cooperative play, they are socially delayed and deserve to at least be tested for autism or other delays. There could be other things like social anxiety or selective mutism. The best thing for you to do is read, read, read about special needs so you can understand the type of help that will most help your child. Early intervention can work wonders for teaching social skills, and prevent a child from falling even further behind.

Tis the season, for hot apple cider!
QueenOfThePride is offline  
#9 of 10 Old 08-02-2009, 01:43 PM
 
williamsmommy2002's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: the microwaves did it
Posts: 1,933
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenOfThePride View Post
From what I've read, by age three, children should have moved from parallel play into cooperative play. If a three year old does not have at least one friend that they will engage with in cooperative play, they are socially delayed and deserve to at least be tested for autism or other delays. There could be other things like social anxiety or selective mutism. The best thing for you to do is read, read, read about special needs so you can understand the type of help that will most help your child. Early intervention can work wonders for teaching social skills, and prevent a child from falling even further behind.
I totally agree with this. Honestly at 3, I knew my youngest was a little quirky but I didn't put it all together. I already had another child on the spectrum but his isssues were different and more severe. It took his ped seeing his behavior too and requesting that he have an eval done for me to see it. Now that he is 5 you can really tell there is something going on with him. Many kids who are more mildly affected on the spectrum don't really get flagged until they start school and have problems. My son met all of his milestones until this year really. He was also denied services through our special need preschool because he wasn't really delayed in other areas.

We have been working to foster confidence in my son and work on his social skills. We use techniques that work for kids with autism because they work with him. If we didn't have the knowledge, we might approach him in a different way and would have gotten less results.

Misty, mama to my nurslings William(11/4/02) and Parker(7/13/04).
williamsmommy2002 is offline  
#10 of 10 Old 08-03-2009, 06:04 PM
 
spottiew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NoPo
Posts: 1,999
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenOfThePride View Post
From what I've read, by age three, children should have moved from parallel play into cooperative play. If a three year old does not have at least one friend that they will engage with in cooperative play, they are socially delayed and deserve to at least be tested for autism or other delays. There could be other things like social anxiety or selective mutism. The best thing for you to do is read, read, read about special needs so you can understand the type of help that will most help your child. Early intervention can work wonders for teaching social skills, and prevent a child from falling even further behind.
at age three, can he tell you what he is feeling, why he makes these choices? like 'i don't like the noise, things scare me, etc'? my kid breaks my heart a lot too- he's social enough, but sometimes doesn't seem 'ok'... my guideline for do i let him be is 'is he happy'. happy and different is ok by me, unhappy and different, not so much.
spottiew is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off