OR an auditory-processing delay....if there is such a thing. I'm really not sure if that exists or if it is a word I have fabricated to attempt to describe what I see with DS1.
OR is this a child who is just fine, but is introverted and as the oldest who is not around "older" kids, a little slower to mature socially? (but does that make sense given that his entire preschool experience, starting at age 3 years, 2 months, has been in a mixed-age 3-5? Also mixed ability, so some IEP, some typical kids.)
I'll tell you what I see, give me some insight please. (I don't typically compare my children as much as I do in this post, I'm doing it here to try to illustrate what I see with DS and how it is different than what I am seeing with DD--who has no SN.)
to give you a little background, I have worked with early-childhood IEP classes, so I have seen a few children on the autism spectrum. I know exactly what that means--that word really told me very little until I met the individuals.
DS has attended preschool on an IEP since a couple months after his 3rd birthday. (category "developmental delay")
The reason I took him in for testing was that at the age of 3, I thought he should be able to make simple choices "Do you want a red or a blue popsicle?" not repeat back "red or blue?" and look at me blank. (with me holding out both options so it's not like he couldn't just take one) He could COMMUNICATE, he just seemed unable to comprehend and answer the question. (I.E. he could come to me and say he wanted a popsicle. Then I'd ask him to choose and I'd get this blank look.)
He also did not find things in pictures till, I don't remember how old. But I do remember thinking it was odd he couldn't show me where the puppy was in a book at 18 months. Now that I have two other children, I KNOW this is not typical. (My youngest is 16 months and has been doing this for awhile.)
Again, if he was looking at the book and he wanted to show me the puppy, he could! If you said, what's a puppy say? He'd bark.
I met his kindy teacher tonight at registration. I told her about his IEP and she asked what it was...I explained this "language delay--a comprehension delay" using the color-choice example. She immediately said he sounded a little like someone in her class currently who has Asperger's. (This was not a shock to me, I've thought it...) But then she asked me a few other things, and they really didn't seem to fit.
But....he's been reading for about a year now, and he was 5 in Oct. Not unheard-of early typically....but that is something I've also heard associated with autism-spectrum. (*I* also read early.)
Here's another thing that I don't know if this is personality or what...if you ask him what he did at school, most often you get "nothing" right away. SOMETIMES if you get specific enough like "What did you do in the gym?" you will get an answer.
And if you ask him what was for lunch--the last thing of the day--he *has* to go get the lunch menu and read it. DH thinks he honestly does not remember.
I think he likes the fact that he CAN read it and so chooses to read it to us. DH has tried to insist that he tell from memory, he absolutely won't. (is this a fixation?! I see a few little things that *could* be construed that way. But they could also be explained by the fact that he's young and he likes doing it that way--he's proud of his ability to read. He, like most kids, likes his routine.
Here's another thing--he doesn't do things like melt down if I drive a different way to school. He notices, sometimes he'll comment, but he doesn't melt down.
But certain other things, like watching a TV show before bed--last night, I tried to send him without it partly out of a consequence and partly out of me needing to go out after they were all asleep. With the show--even a 10 min. short show--he's asleep literally 5-10 mins. after hitting the pillow. Last night he was dinking around in his bed awake until almost 10 PM! 2 HOURS! It's not that he was not tired, it is like he is so fixated on missing that little piece of his night that he *can't* go to sleep.
Is this a kid who thrives on routine like many do? Or is this abnormal?
OK and yet another thing. Sorry.
I took him to a restaurant with baby DS and some friends of ours last week. He got up and started running around the table and at one point was 'doing magic tricks.' When my friend's kids (7, and just a few months younger than mine) did this, she said "Hey, do you see anybody else running around? Restaurants are not the place." or something like that and they stopped.
When I tried that line on MY kid, he said "Yes, they are"...but he did stop. Just before I was ready to remove him.
This could be explained by the fact that I can count on ONE HAND the number of times my kids have eaten in sit-down restaurants, with a 5, 3 and 1 year old, it usually just is not worth it. I don't like to waste food or take people out if they are disruptive.
Also at home, he CONSTANTLY bounces at the dinner table. EVERY SINGLE DAY I have to literally park his butt in his chair and scoot him up to the table. EVERY DAY he will try to eat a mile away from the table, or sideways or something. (DD, who is THREE, will ask for help scooting her chair up, *usually*, if she needs it.)
The thing that makes me the most sick about mealtimes is he does not do this at school. Ever. I have eaten with him at school and he does not do this. I have asked his teacher and she says he eats fine there. (also the food at school has made him pickier about the food at home, don't like that either....but they are not allowed to bring lunch.)
Sometimes I feel like it is ME like maybe there is no issue at all and it's entirely my parenting that is to blame because his teacher adores him and does not see any of the behavioral things I see.
Nobody at his current preschool has ever even mentioned Asperger's or autism. *I* have not mentioned it because 1. I don't want to seem paranoid, like I'm *searching* for a label. and 2. I just don't know that it fits entirely. A *lot* of what I see can be explained in other ways.
The way his development has typically happened is his teacher and I will come up with new IEP goals for him, and almost immediately, he will reach them.
He did have one social-peer goal on his last IEP involving entering a group of kids who are already playing. It was written in early Dec. I think it was. His teacher came for home visit last month and said he's met it, he's doing *much* better.
She thinks he just needed the extra year to mature. Which I can see too. And it makes sense to me that an introverted-by-nature kid might take a little longer than some others to *want* to make friends and start using those skills. (Until about halfway through this year, he was choosing to play alone a lot--puzzles and writing, or interact with adults.)
--unlike my daughter who is already at 3, an age where they still play alone a lot--choosing older girls to play with and wants to 'play pretend', and begging to go do the Y gym daycare alone--but she is another post.-- The difference between these two is if you put them in the typical preschool room, my son at age 3 would've gone over to the puzzles. 100%. My daughter would most likely join the group of older girls over in the kitchen area.--
but that is *personality*
So before this goes any farther into not making any sense whatsoever.
Oh and for an added detail, I am taking one little bit of advice from the kindy teacher--I am going to request that he ENTER kindergarten still on an IEP, even if it is very minimal. She told me if he goes off and then she finds he could benefit from it again, they would have to do all the original interviews and paperwork AGAIN.
Whereas, if he enters kindy with the IEP, all it means is the resource teacher will check in with her on his progress and they can eventually decide one of three things--to leave it alone, to add to it, or to get rid of it.
(His preschool teacher told me before the testing that she felt he would not qualify to stay on an IEP. She did not GUARANTEE this, but she's worked with him for 2 years, she knows him, she knows the qualifiying guidelines.)
I have another behavior quirk to ask about. This same scenario has played out a few times in his life, so I'll stick with the most recent example, again it's the best way to get a feel for what I mean.
We were at the grocery store. We paid. NOTHING unusual happened. I mean NOTHING. They had a treat in the checkout. They KNOW the rule is we walk out together. (We held hands on the way in.)
DS1 takes off running out the door. I come behind with DD and the groceries, yelling his name and "come back!" There's no way I'm catching up. He runs out the second door, through the parking lot, all the way to our van. HE KNOWS THE RULES!
The *only* thing I can think of is that maybe he wanted to do it himself, not hold hands. but then WHY NOT STOP? This just seems like something I'd expect out of my 3 year old, not my 5.5 year old.
(on a typical day I'd be more than willing to let him have the chance to show me he can walk near us without holding hands. but on a typical day he does not object to holding hands in the parking lot either--sometimes his sister over me, I think it makes him feel bigger to help her.)
So then I went home instead of to the promised trip to the Y. Because I absolutely refuse to take anyone downtown who runs away from me. It's just plain NOT safe.
So then I had to go outside probably 15 minutes or so after we got home (I put the groceries away, unbundled DD--who is THREE and was disappointed, but she UNDERSTOOD!) And I had to unbuckle his seatbelt, drag him out of the van, carry him into our place, and hold him on my lap until I finally felt like he actually would not bolt back out the door. (I gave him several chances to do these things himself, I counted, usually that works pretty well. I also tried asking him "Are you going to stay in the house?" as he's screaming at me to let him go. He never did answer me.)
Is this typical?! The running is something I've seen fairly often in kids on the spectrum.....
This is NOT something he has done at school, only with me. lucky me.
OK so now I guess if you have read this far! congratulations! And I am asking for your vote.
1. Asperger's or something like it? (kindy teacher said without meeting him she really could not say but that the language-processing as I described it sounded like it could be)
2. An auditory processing issue? (his physical hearing is fine!) Oh and the preschool teacher said she *does* see this seeming inability to understand questions, or did at the beginning of this year, it is another thing she thinks has improved.
3. A typical, introverted child who needs to work on social skills and on managing his emotions and expressing them with words? (the running, there's obviously some emotion there but don't know what since he doesn't tell me. In the example from last week, he was too upset by my immediate "now we are going home!" to talk about anything other than talking me out of that. Which did not work.)
This is really hard. I don't want to be seen as "that parent" looking for a 'label' for a kid who is on an end of the spectrum of "normal." I don't want my kid to have a label that is inaccurate.
And yet, I don't want to miss something that IS accurate and could HELP him.