Concern about three-year-old girl~~~Apsergers? Something else? Typical toddler? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 09-11-2013, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi!~



 



I hope you are all having a good night...it is boiling hot where I am.

Sorry about the weird format, it went crazy when I edited it.

 



I am writing in hopes of getting some mothers' perspectives on my daughter.  She just, just turned three, and I have always noticed some oddities about her behavior.  Right now, I am not considering evaluation, since I don't want to jump the gun and put a label on her before I need to...but if intervention becomes needed, I don't want to lag on that, so I'm hoping to solicit your honest opinion/ideas.



 



~~She is very bright.  Not really interested in drawing, but learned many colors (including tertiary shades) by 1-and-a-half.  She will memorize stories and songs quickly after hearing them once or twice.  She knew all her letters by 2, and can match them out of context and recognize some words.  Is very interested in numbers, loves to talk about them, can count pretty well to about 15 or so...not so remarkable for three, I guess, but leads to the next item



 



~~Motor delay that seems to be resolved.  She was 3 weeks preterm, normal length, low weight for gestational age, and head circumference below the curve (it did catch up).  Missed the milestone for laughing, otherwise normal language.  



 



~~Number obsession.  She is obsessed with the number eight!  If you have something with an 8 on it, say, a book with a page number of 48, she will demand that you give over "my eight page", sometimes having a fit if she doesn't get it.  Notices 8s and 8 shapes/figures of 8 everywhere, even in unintentional spots like a looped rubber band.  Always mentions it.  Sometimes, if she is having a meltdown, she will invoke the number eight like a deity, yelling "number eight!!!" while she struggles.  She will also invoke the name of her favorite color (yellow).



 



~~Handwashing preoccupation.  Maybe just stalling for time sometimes, but often genuinely upset if she can't wash her hands at a moment's notice.



 



~~Avoidance of contact with other children, and some adults.  She has stated to me "I don't like children", and she will avoid them in social situations (she is an only child).  Example: the other day, she was in the playground on a riding-horse, and a little girl came up to her.  "Hi, I'm Sophia.  What's your name?" the girl asked.  My girl's response was to clamp her eyes shut and sing "boom boom ain't it great to be crazy" (sadly apt, jk).  Seems to avoid eye contact with people other than her parents and grandmother.



 



~~Meltdowns.  These examples of extreme noncompliance involve laying on the ground/floor, screaming "No!" repeatedly, some physical aggression, and disregard for her body in space.  She frequently hurts herself on accident during these tantrums.  They are increasing by the month.  Once she's on a roll, she is pretty unstoppable.  The trigger is generally a difficult social scenario, such as being in a playgroup or "school" of some kind, especially if there is some kind of program to it.  If she is asked to do something as part of a group, a meltdown is likely.  I did send her to Sunday School last week, and she was very noncompliant with me before it started, but then pretty good (if uninvolved) once she was alone with the teachers and other kids.  I spied on her through the door and she was off in her own world eating popcorn and staring into space while the other kids chattered and watched a Bible show together (wtf Sunday School screentime!).  So anyway maybe it's a parent rebellion issue, since she seems non-tantrumy when we're absent.  Unfortunately, I have taken to offering her "rewards" for good behavior in an attempt to avoid tantrums, which as we all know can lead directly to the bad behavior.  At any rate, these tantrums are scary for me because she could so easily hurt herself or somebody else, and because their frequency is increasing.



 



~~She is very sentimental, and will cry at sad songs or stories.  Especially upset about any story/song where a child is separated from its mother.  Seems mother-oriented and has some kind of separation anxiety issues (not sure why, maybe because I had to go back to work when she was 4 months old.  But I've never even spent the night away from her.  We cosleep and she nursed until she was almost 3).  When I'm around, she is often cruel to her daddy and won't even talk to him.  A common refrain from her (in response to many things, and directed toward different people) is "Don't look at me!".  She is very obsessed with a little boy she knows, but when she sees him she won't even say hi. However, her extreme interest remains--when he's not around.  She does a little pretend play on her own, which is good.



 



~~No allergies/intolerances, but when she was an infant she had a bad reaction to wheat; this reaction involved the bowels so I won't gross you out with details.  I had to eat gluten-free stuff for months on end.  She also outgrew an intolerance to chocolate (as a nursling, that is, if I ate chocolate).



 



Sorry this is SO LONG!  I hope it provokes some kind of response from one of you.  Of course, I love the little thing like crazy and I expect that if she's not exactly typical, she is at least headed for a good, full life.  I am very grateful for how lucky I am in any event.  So, if this rings a bell let me know.  If it seems like a normal three-year-old going through life, let me know.  I really and truly appreciate your time and caring.



 



thanks!



D.

 



editing for a PS:



She has been given a selective/delayed vaccine schedule.  No shots at birth, no MMR or Chickenpox, had flu shot last year, and as an infant had DTaP, meningitis, and one or two other baby shots.

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#2 of 21 Old 09-11-2013, 08:43 PM
 
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It's always difficult to answer these posts. When you have a hammer....

 

On the one hand, I'll say that tantrums are normal in a 3 year old. And also, it is normal for kids at age 3 to still be interested in "parallel play" rather than playing with other kids in a truly cooperative way. My DD was 3 when she started preschool and during observations the teachers pointed this out to us, my DD was still in "parallel play' mode. So it's not unusual that she doesn't want to play with kids yet. 

 

With that said, what you describe sounds very much like my kids, especially my daughter, who was diagnosed with Aspergers at age 9. 

 

I can't advise you as to whether it is better to get "labelled" early or not. I didn't figure out what was going on with DD until she was 8. I don't think getting her diagnosed any earlier would have helped her, mostly because she wasn't in school (we homeschool) and I could tailor her days to what she could handle, etc. 

 

However, I wish that **I** had understood what I was dealing with earlier, so I could have dealt with things more appropriately. I have regrets about things I said to her, or ways i tried to deal with things, because I didn't understand what was going on. So I wish I had known sooner, but for her I don't see that it would have made a whole lot of difference. 

 

Then again, I really have no way of truly knowing that. :)


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#3 of 21 Old 09-12-2013, 05:52 AM
 
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Seems to be lots of quirky things that could be red flags for Aspergers. I have two with that diagnosis and they are exceptionally bright as well. Lots of bright kids are quirky and its hard to know the difference sometimes. But I would say its always good to know early if a child has Aspergers because they can be exceptionally difficult to parent and getting the proper support for that is important. A diagnosis helps you weed out a lot of parenting advice that is just junk for these kids! And labels do get you services and I think early intervention is better than waiting it out. There is so much more available to help a child in early childhood compared to later childhood when statistically most kids get their AS diagnosis. Mine were 11 and 13 and most therapies were geared toward much younger kids. I feel sad we'd missed that window. 

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#4 of 21 Old 09-12-2013, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by earthmama4 View Post

Seems to be lots of quirky things that could be red flags for Aspergers. I have two with that diagnosis and they are exceptionally bright as well. Lots of bright kids are quirky and its hard to know the difference sometimes. But I would say its always good to know early if a child has Aspergers because they can be exceptionally difficult to parent and getting the proper support for that is important. A diagnosis helps you weed out a lot of parenting advice that is just junk for these kids! And labels do get you services and I think early intervention is better than waiting it out. There is so much more available to help a child in early childhood compared to later childhood when statistically most kids get their AS diagnosis. Mine were 11 and 13 and most therapies were geared toward much younger kids. I feel sad we'd missed that window. 

Thank you Earthmama! This is very helpful. If you have time, can you tell me what the red flag-ish things might be? Or how what I've described seems similar to your children? I've looked at online lists of traits, but am having a hard time seeing how her quirks match up (other than eye contact--that seems kind of obvious, but she's not universally bad at it). To a parent with special needs kids, this will seem like a dumb question, but I am out of the loop. I agree that getting intervention sooner rather than later is a good idea, so this kind of response is very welcome. Thank you so much for your kind response!

And thanks Piglet, although "It's always difficult to answer these posts. When you have a hammer...." kind of hurt my feelings, but maybe that was the point. Also, you don't have to answer if it seems like a stupid post! Right? I know it's kind of a stretch to ask strangers for help/advice in such an unrealistic, disembodied environment, but I think that is one of the nice things about online message boards--you have an artificial community that has a specificity of focus that a real community will lack, since the online community is self-selected while the real community is organically composed and therefore more diverse. Anyway, sorry to have annoyed you.


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#5 of 21 Old 09-12-2013, 08:45 AM
 
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I took the "it's difficult to answer these posts, when you have a hammer..." to mean, when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail, when you have a spectrum diagnosis everything looks like it's similar. She doesn't want to mislead, but it looks like it to her perspective. Not that it was stupid at all.

 

Could only be quirky gifted stuff with a delay in social skills and some anxieties. Could be Aspergers or something similarly diagnosable. How is she at judging people's moods and tones? Is it way different between familiar people and less familiar? How well do you need to stick to routines to keep her happy? I'm most likely an Aspie, never diagnosed (never saw a doc for anything but shots) but always met most of the criteria about it. Actually shyness and tantrums, fixations and needing routine are all normal for some personalities of 3 year olds, so she could grow out of much of it on her own. Balancing adapting routines to satisfy her with gently and with a lot of empathy challenging her limits might be good.

 

Don't rule out food sensitivities too quickly, sometimes people can get acclimated to the things they don't really tolerate but low level symptoms continue, if they go off it for a while they get better then if it's reintroduced the symptoms get really bad. Wheat especially can do this often.

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#6 of 21 Old 09-12-2013, 09:27 AM
 
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Yes, JamieCatheryn, that is what I meant. Thank you.

 

DaisyO, I meant that *I* am the hammer, having two kids on the spectrum, so it's easy for me to see "nails" everywhere. What you wrote definitely sounds Asperger-ish to me, but I only have experience with Aspergers/HFA, so if it were something else I wouldn't know. 

 

I didn't want to sound like I could spot an Aspie just by someone's post and thus mislead you. I'm sorry I wasn't more clear!


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#7 of 21 Old 09-12-2013, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post

Yes, JamieCatheryn, that is what I meant. Thank you.

DaisyO, I meant that *I* am the hammer, having two kids on the spectrum, so it's easy for me to see "nails" everywhere. What you wrote definitely sounds Asperger-ish to me, but I only have experience with Aspergers/HFA, so if it were something else I wouldn't know. 

I didn't want to sound like I could spot an Aspie just by someone's post and thus mislead you. I'm sorry I wasn't more clear!

oops!!! My apologies...the thing is that I wasn't familiar with that idiom! So sorry Piglet, I guess I was feeling defensive. The reason for that is because I do think it is impossible to make exact guesses about unknown kids via a forum, and I must have sort of expected to get called out on that.

Anyway, that makes a lot of sense now and I'm sorry I misread. Your perspective is really valuable. smile.gif

JamieCatheryn, thanks so much for helping to clear that up. The other stuff you had to say made sense, too...unfortunately, my daughter and I just got back from the bagel shop! I think wheat is a good thing for us to reexamine. In terms of being gifted/quirky, I think she is probably just quick to learn...she doesn't have the wizardly abilities of the children described on the gifted forum (once again, I know that a forum is not the way to determine these things, but instead an evaluation. I'm probably never going to get her evaluated for giftedness). One thing I would never do is post on that forum...a couple of the ladies seem to get irate if moms post an "is my little one gifted" equivalent to my post, and now you all know how insecure I am! Argh

Anyway, how important do you think an evaluation is? Our lives aren't really disrupted, and she's only three. Do I have a year or two to see how it shapes up? Do children as verbal as her even get evaluated for HFA so young? If you don't know the answers to these questions, I totally understand.

thanks so much!
D
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#8 of 21 Old 09-12-2013, 03:32 PM
 
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Hi, I'm going through screening for a possible speech delay for my son and have researched a lot about a GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free) diet for modifying certain behaviors. You mentioned your daughter had a wheat allergy, so she might have a gluten sensitivity that could be affecting her behavior. It's still a controversial diet, but you might benefit from it. Also, adding fish oil and lots of vitamins can help. Hope this helps.
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#9 of 21 Old 09-12-2013, 04:10 PM
 
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Thank you DaisyO and sorry for the confusion!

 

I'm so sorry that you were treated badly on the other forum. Nobody should be shamed for asking questions!

 

There are pros and cons to testing, and some of that depends on what the rules are where you live. I'm in Canada so cost is not really an issue for us with regard to medical care, but for you that may not be the case so if you can't afford it right now then maybe waiting would be better. Also, if you get a positive diagnosis are you required by law to send her to a therapy centre or something? Her school might insist on knowing the results, etc. I'm going to assume that both of these are your decision alone...

 

Pros: your DD is too young right now to remember being tested later or to really understand why she is being evaluated so there is no fear of her sticking a label on herself. Since she is not in regular school yet you may be able to keep the results private and not act on them for a while if you need time to wait and see or think about it, etc. It is perfectly harmless to get tested. More importantly, if you do get a positive diagnosis it gives you time to research the issue and decide how best you want to approach her therapies, etc. I cannot agree more with Earthmama that most parenting advice (mainstream discipline stuff especially) is not only useless for Asperger's but also potentially damaging. Knowing what you are dealing with and the "whys" behind her behaviour will arm you with the parenting skills she needs. It will make your life easier that way b/c you will have answers. If she does need therapies with long wait lists you can get her signed up now, when it is not critical. 

 

Cons: the only real cons are related to false positives or negatives. When my kids were young, just 6 - 8 years ago, it was uncommon for doctors to be able to diagnose autism well in toddlers and preschoolers. But it seems that knowledge has grown so much and doctors are seeing so many of these kids that they are getting much better at it. Still, if I had a nickel for every parent who was told their kid was fine, but wasn't...I'd be rich. It may lull you into a false sense of security and may cause you to attempt some of the aforementioned ineffective parenting techniques in the mistaken belief that your child is able to change their behaviour if sufficiently motivated, etc. But then maybe you don't parent that way anyways in which case it wouldn't matter. :-)

 

And honestly, a false positive would not be the end of the world. Worst case scenario your kid gets taught some valuable skills that end up not being so critical for her, but will nevertheless be useful. She "grows out of it" which would probably be a positive experience for your family. 

 

That's my 2 cents worth! :)


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#10 of 21 Old 09-12-2013, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Piglet--thank you for the great points.  I think a good plan will be to just observe and see if I still feel like something's up in the near future...that way I won't miss the window of early diagnosis that you and others have mentioned.  My partner (her dad) is a special ed instructor whose students have mainly pretty serious classical autism, so he is not on board, that's the other thing.  Probably because of the extent of his students' differences, he doesn't see that she may share some qualities with them.  Maybe he will be in time, especially with the good points you make.

 

thanks for being so thoughtful!  Also I didn't mean to diss the gifted board--I've never even posted there, I've just read it a couple of times and been surprised by a couple of attitudes.  I'm super grateful for the supportive people here, and I'm sure there are some great folks over there, too.

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#11 of 21 Old 09-12-2013, 08:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Nadine8 View Post

Hi, I'm going through screening for a possible speech delay for my son and have researched a lot about a GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free) diet for modifying certain behaviors. You mentioned your daughter had a wheat allergy, so she might have a gluten sensitivity that could be affecting her behavior. It's still a controversial diet, but you might benefit from it. Also, adding fish oil and lots of vitamins can help. Hope this helps.

 I work in the health care field with people with disabilities. I have heard many stories from parents whose children (one time even a husband) who were diagnosed on the autism spectrum and they reported that when they cut out gluten the behavior stopped. Tantrums are the big thing that I recall from these conversation. One mom said that the neighbor gave her daughter something she thought was gluten free that actually wasn't and it triggered a tantrum from the girl later. The mom knew that it was from that because she hadn't had gluten for long enough that her daughter had been functioning "normally" without tantrums for several weeks or something like that. She said that after that the neighbor believed her that it affected behaviors. I work with some people who have other allergies and even though it is not a gluten allergy, it will trigger "behaviors" too - namely some form of a tantrum over something. It's that the body is so busy trying to deal with handling the allergy that it can't handle anything else, so any little frustration makes the person snap. Think about when you are in extreme pain or overly tired or really stressed out, in those situations people tend to over react and not act in their normal way. It's the same thing.


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#12 of 21 Old 09-13-2013, 06:16 PM
 
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I am answering your questions by bolding what I see as the red flags for AS and then putting my explanations in red. Hope that helps! 
 
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Originally Posted by DaisyO View Post
 

Hi!~

 

I hope you are all having a good night...it is boiling hot where I am.

Sorry about the weird format, it went crazy when I edited it.
 

I am writing in hopes of getting some mothers' perspectives on my daughter.  She just, just turned three, and I have always noticed some oddities about her behavior.  Right now, I am not considering evaluation, since I don't want to jump the gun and put a label on her before I need to...but if intervention becomes needed, I don't want to lag on that, so I'm hoping to solicit your honest opinion/ideas.

 

Moms intuition. Lots of moms know that something is just not quite right and this is important. 

 

~~She is very bright.  Not really interested in drawing, but learned many colors (including tertiary shades) by 1-and-a-half.  She will memorize stories and songs quickly after hearing them once or twice.  She knew all her letters by 2, and can match them out of context and recognize some words.  Is very interested in numbers, loves to talk about them, can count pretty well to about 15 or so...not so remarkable for three, I guess, but leads to the next item

 

Many Aspergers kids are known for their amazing memories. My son memorized random commercials and radio jingles after hearing them once and then he'd repeat them later. His memory is one of his greatest strengths now and makes him an excellent student of science, history, etc.

 

~~Motor delay that seems to be resolved.  She was 3 weeks preterm, normal length, low weight for gestational age, and head circumference below the curve (it did catch up).  Missed the milestone for laughing, otherwise normal language. 

 

Motor issues are common with kids with AS. We had to do PT with my son for some gross motor delays around 12 mos. He caught up really fast but he was a little late in other milestones, like riding a bike, etc and was fairly uncoordinated and clumsy throughout childhood.  Understanding humor and laughing appropriately are challenging for kids on the spectrum. 

 

 ~~Number obsession.  She is obsessed with the number eight!  If you have something with an 8 on it, say, a book with a page number of 48, she will demand that you give over "my eight page", sometimes having a fit if she doesn't get it.  Notices 8s and 8 shapes/figures of 8 everywhere, even in unintentional spots like a looped rubber band.  Always mentions it.  Sometimes, if she is having a meltdown, she will invoke the number eight like a deity, yelling "number eight!!!" while she struggles.  She will also invoke the name of her favorite color (yellow).

 

Quirky obsessions are a classic AS trait. Young kids can normal obsessions but when they sort of extreme or odd, that is a red flag. 

 

~~Handwashing preoccupation.  Maybe just stalling for time sometimes, but often genuinely upset if she can't wash her hands at a moment's notice.

 

AS kids sometimes come off as OCD but it comes down to anxiety-related rigidity. Its very hard for them to be flexible and change gears. 

 

~~Avoidance of contact with other children, and some adults.  She has stated to me "I don't like children", and she will avoid them in social situations (she is an only child).  Example: the other day, she was in the playground on a riding-horse, and a little girl came up to her.  "Hi, I'm Sophia.  What's your name?" the girl asked.  My girl's response was to clamp her eyes shut and sing "boom boom ain't it great to be crazy" (sadly apt, jk).  Seems to avoid eye contact with people other than her parents and grandmother.

 

Inappropriate social responses are a red flag. The idea is that kids with AS don't pick up on social cues and how to act by imitation. They have to be directly taught how to say hi, introduce themselves, etc. Another neurotypical child picks that up by observation of their parents, siblings, or other kids without direct instruction. Inappropriate eye contact is a diagnostic trait for ASD based on the DSM-V. It can also be a trait of kids with anxiety or ADHD.

 

~~Meltdowns.  These examples of extreme noncompliance involve laying on the ground/floor, screaming "No!" repeatedly, some physical aggression, and disregard for her body in space.  She frequently hurts herself on accident during these tantrums.  They are increasing by the month.  Once she's on a roll, she is pretty unstoppable.  The trigger is generally a difficult social scenario, such as being in a playgroup or "school" of some kind, especially if there is some kind of program to it.  If she is asked to do something as part of a group, a meltdown is likely.  I did send her to Sunday School last week, and she was very noncompliant with me before it started, but then pretty good (if uninvolved) once she was alone with the teachers and other kids.  I spied on her through the door and she was off in her own world eating popcorn and staring into space while the other kids chattered and watched a Bible show together (wtf Sunday School screentime!).  So anyway maybe it's a parent rebellion issue, since she seems non-tantrumy when we're absent.  Unfortunately, I have taken to offering her "rewards" for good behavior in an attempt to avoid tantrums, which as we all know can lead directly to the bad behavior.  At any rate, these tantrums are scary for me because she could so easily hurt herself or somebody else, and because their frequency is increasing.

 

Kids on the spectrum have low frustration tolerance. This triggers meltdowns and they can be intense. Way beyond normal toddler tantrums. Social situations can trigger them because they feel so anxious because they don't know what to do, what to say, what to expect, because of their social delays and not understanding unwritten social rules. She could be "off in her own world" as a coping strategy because she doesn't know what to do or what to say to the other kids in her class. She can't relate to what they are doing or saying because her brain works differently.

 

~~She is very sentimental, and will cry at sad songs or stories.  Especially upset about any story/song where a child is separated from its mother.  Seems mother-oriented and has some kind of separation anxiety issues (not sure why, maybe because I had to go back to work when she was 4 months old.  But I've never even spent the night away from her.  We cosleep and she nursed until she was almost 3).  When I'm around, she is often cruel to her daddy and won't even talk to him.  A common refrain from her (in response to many things, and directed toward different people) is "Don't look at me!".  She is very obsessed with a little boy she knows, but when she sees him she won't even say hi. However, her extreme interest remains--when he's not around.  She does a little pretend play on her own, which is good.

 

Sensitivity and difficulty regulating emotions reminds me of my AS kids. Their feelings get hurt easily and they cried at sad movies too. My son loved Star Wars but sobbed for an hour when Anakin's mom died. He was 8. Separation anxiety is common because they feel safest with mom and in their own home. New situations are frightening rather than exciting. The world of other people doesn't make sense to them. "Don't look at me" is a way of dealing with the anxiety of not knowing what the person wants from them. AS kids don't intuitively understand what the purpose behind the look is and may perceive it as a social pressure or even aggression from the other person. 

 

~~No allergies/intolerances, but when she was an infant she had a bad reaction to wheat; this reaction involved the bowels so I won't gross you out with details.  I had to eat gluten-free stuff for months on end.  She also outgrew an intolerance to chocolate (as a nursling, that is, if I ate chocolate).

 

GI issues are so common in kids on the spectrum. Especially a sensitivity to gluten and/or dairy. You won't find it in the DSM-V but I think its part of the puzzle when you are looking at the big picture and trying to figure out what is going on with your kid.

 

Sorry this is SO LONG!  I hope it provokes some kind of response from one of you.  Of course, I love the little thing like crazy and I expect that if she's not exactly typical, she is at least headed for a good, full life.  I am very grateful for how lucky I am in any event.  So, if this rings a bell let me know.  If it seems like a normal three-year-old going through life, let me know.  I really and truly appreciate your time and caring.

 

 

Just wanted to say here that you have a great attitude and your daughter is lucky to have you. If you end up with an aspergers diagnosis, its important to keep in mind that there are some pretty awesome strengths these kids have and that the key is to help them develop their talents and get support for the anxiety and social issues. I will share that though its been a really bumpy road, my two Aspies are well on their way to success. DS1 is a student body officer for the third year at his HS. He is senior, has a high GPA and planning to go to college and major in chemistry. He has friends, and has had 3 girlfriends (that has been an experience!) ! He struggles socially and needs help problem solving and still gets frustrated easily, but he is really quite functional and fully capable of taking part on all life has to offer. DS2 is a sophomore in HS, taking 3 honors classes and is running cross country. He is an excellent student and aiming for an honors diploma and then college to study environmental engineering. He is starting to make some friends, though its challenging for him and takes extra time (this is a new school for him) but he seems happy. He is a great help to me with the little kids and is so sweet. He will make a great husband someday, though he will need a somewhat patient and understanding wife (but don't they all? LOL) Both my boys have such an interesting perspective on the world and l love talking to them about anything from current events to climate change to movies. We laugh a lot and easily. They can drive me batty still, but I love them and am thankful for all they have taught me and they way they have enriched my life and refined me as a person. :throb


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#13 of 21 Old 09-13-2013, 08:58 PM
 
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Couldn't resist responding -- this sounds just like my son, who is on the spectrum. He did/does a lot of the same stuff your daughter does. She definitely sounds like she has an ASD. now as far as how useful that label is, I had to get a label to access speech, so it IS useful if you find yourself needing OT or ABA, etc early on . If you're eventually doing public school, even if she's going to be in mainstream classes. It helps to have a dx so you can request simple accommodations like extra transitioning time, sensory breaks, etc. Since it takes soooo long to qualify, access services, get on wait lists. It's helpful to start early.
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#14 of 21 Old 09-14-2013, 01:20 PM
 
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Wow, this is a like a description of my DD1! She is nearly 4 now, but when she had just turned three...wow. She has always told me she doesn't like kids. Her anxiety level is obviously high when she is around fast-movers and kids that are younger than she is. However, over the months, it has really improved! I was worried she on the spectrum as well. And the tantruming, while not quite the same as your DD's, was epic. So much so we brought her into therapy for it. 

 

With DD1 severely limiting her grain and sugar intake has helped tremendously. She also is much more comfortable with other children and is altogether coming around. What I realized is that she is a very bright spirited kid. I bought a book, something to the effect of Raising Your Sprited Child. It was eye-opening for us as a family. There was a little quiz in there, and she scored the maximum number of points for being spirited. The book also had lots of parental testimonies and techiniques for teaching them and working with them. What a life-saving book for our whole family. 

 

Over time, she seems less like a kiddo on the spectrum, and more like a quirky little one with her own ideas. Asperger's isn't usually diagnosed until about 9 years of age (I think) because MOST pre-schoolers exhibit signs. If your LO is on the spectrum after all, maybe that book would be helpful either way. 

 

Best wishes to you! You sound like a great mama and your flexibility and creativity will serve your daughter well. 

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#15 of 21 Old 09-14-2013, 09:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuchessTergie View Post
 

Asperger's isn't usually diagnosed until about 9 years of age (I think) because MOST pre-schoolers exhibit signs. 

 

It's especially hard for girls. In his Complete Guide to Aspergers book Dr. Tony Attwood devotes a whole chapter to how girls differ from boys in their manifestation of aspergers and many professionals don't recognize it as such.


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#16 of 21 Old 09-15-2013, 12:17 PM
 
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I think an evaluation is appropriate. Ds (age 4) is extremely bright. We are getting him evaluated for similar things. We are wondering if its just gifted ness or if there is also a very very mild aspergers situation. So wears getting him tested. Better to have the info sooner rather than later in my opinion. Some disagree saying that just labeling the child can be damaging. I personally don't feel that way as any other insights to support is a major plus.

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#17 of 21 Old 09-15-2013, 12:58 PM
 
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Hi there,

 

So much of how you described your daughter is exactly how my son was just before turning three. He too had gross motor delays early on, did not like being around other children, lots of sensitivity issues, as well as behavior and tantrum issues. Just before my son turned 3, we decided to have him evaluated. He was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He was and still is very high functioning and on the mild side.

 

I think that evaluations and early intervention are key. If you have an evaluation, your insurance may cover therapies that will be very helpful to your daughter. My son received ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy through our insurance, which really helped his behavior and tantruming issues, as well as teaching how to be more spontaneous and imaginative in his play. He also qualified for occupational therapy services through our insurance. The OT has helped him a great deal with his sensitivity issues and lingering gross motor issues. Had my son not had this diagnosis, we would have been paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for services that have helped him tremendously.

 

The biggest intervention that we have done for our son was first putting him on a gluten free and casein free diet and then supplementing with vitamins to heal his gut and neurological issues. This approach has been key for my son. The Autism Book by Dr. Robert Sears explains how autism is a whole body systemic issue that children can recover from. 

 

It has been a year and a half since my son was diagnosed. He is a completely different kid than he was a year ago. He now approaches children at the park and asks them to play with him. We no longer have any sensitivity issues, emotional tantrums, or destructive behavior issues. His imaginative play skills are blossoming everyday. I attribute all of these changes to the various therapies that he has been receiving this past year and a half.

 

 I completely understand that you don't want to label your child. However, sometimes getting the label is the key to getting the services that will give your daughter the help that she needs now. The longer children go without intervention, the harder it is for therapy to be as effective, because they become more set in their behavior patterns.

 

I wish you the best of your luck. It can be hard to navigate these waters, but you are not alone.

 

Shannon

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#18 of 21 Old 09-15-2013, 04:48 PM
 
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I'm a Personal Agent/Case Manager for a Developmental Disabilities Support Services brokerage in my area, and seeing things both from a children's and an adult perspective I would definitely have your daughter evaluated.  That said, if an ASD diagnosis is made I would encourage you to seek out as many different kinds of ideas as you can when it comes to formulating a plan.  I am 100% in favor of alternatives and self-determination and that's what you won't get from mainstream doctors, psychologists, etc. Try eliminating gluten, for instance.  Focus on her strengths and her gifts.  Most of my Asperger's clients want to be video game or digital animators, and many of them have gotten farther in math than I ever did! :-)  The key piece with high-functioning ASD is social, social, and more social.  Help her learn the social skills and niceties that get (and keep) one employed, housed, and friends.  If that means she is homeschooled, and then gets involved with non-school groups for socialization, so be it.  The Parks and Recreation Dept. in my area has a whole selection of classes for homeschooled kids in art, music, dance, and other things. Get the support of other parents with kids on the spectrum.   There is strength in numbers.  But please don't avoid evaluation because you're afraid the results.  It's better to know now, and start planning early,

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#19 of 21 Old 09-16-2013, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so, so much to all of you.  Very helpful and illuminating.  I am especially interested in how Asperger's etc affects girls differently from boys...will try to find that book.  My daughter certainly has some great strengths, and is a really unique person.  Her personality closely fits the profile I'm starting to recognize in some ways, and differs very much in others.  Thanks so much for giving me some tools to use going forward to help me understand if intervention might really be appropriate.  Since the "symptoms" come and go in waves, I think I'm going to try to observe her for the next six months or so to get a clearer picture; that way, I will have something to tell her pediatrician as well as her daddy.  Then we can still be pretty early in planning things for our sweet girl.

 

thanks again, especially big thanks for earthmama4 and the highlighted/red letter analysis!  You ladies are great.

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#20 of 21 Old 09-16-2013, 01:36 PM
 
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I would recommend researching what a free evaluation involves in your area and get on a waitlist.  The parent interview portion of the  ADOS/ADIR (standardized tools for ASD assessment) is normed on 4 year old behaviours.  If you get on a waitlist now, by the time your spot comes up for an eval your daughter may be 4 and you may have had your 6 months of observing.  On the topic of getting a label, you can choose who you share it with.  And some therapies really do work better when started earlier.  I think you have to weigh the risks - the potential negatives of a label vs the potential negatives of missed developmental opportunities.

 

I highly recommend the resources at socialthinking.com.  Atwoods materials are great, as are the Kurcinka materials (the first is ASD-specific, the latter deals with "more of" kids).  I also like the book Bright, Not Broken which discusses how the characteristics of HFA, gifted and ADHD often mirror one another but are treated differently by teachers, professionals and parents.  It helped me better understand all three issues. 

 

My experience was that taking a sensory and anxiety-based approach worked wonders - helping a child to regulate themselves (first, you are their calmer and guide, while you're coaching them to manage themselves).  My now middle-school age son looked like he had an ASD to teachers for a lot of years.  We definitively ruled it out, he's multiply complicated but not on the spectrum.  But using the tools and strategies developed for kids with an ASD, primarily focusing on regulation, has helped a lot.


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#21 of 21 Old 09-18-2013, 03:05 PM
 
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I pretty much agree with the others.  I'm a kindergarten teacher.  From my perspective, (at least in my area) I find it EXTREMELY hard to get services for kids who come to school without prior testing.  It goes SO SLOW - months to years sometimes to get any help.  Then, it often isn't nearly as much as needed.  It seems that kids who get Early Intervention get a lot more help and it transfers pretty easily into the elementary grades.  This, of course, is only relevant if you are planning to send her to public school.  Also, if she does need intervention, it seems the younger they are, the more effective it is. 

 

Good luck! 


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