Gifted, Spoiled, ADD or Aspergers - what's your opinion? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm totally baffled as to how to handle my 4 year old DS and would like some outside opinions. Here's the deal. He is a healthy, extremely active boy, a physical learner (has to be hands on with everything), extremely affectionate and highly intelligent. For the first two years he met all of the milestones right on schedule, then at three he started picking things up like wildfire, being able to easily to 48 piece jigsaw puzzles, incredible artwork and such. We started going to the zoo twice a week over this past summer and in a few months knew every animal's name (personal name, like Bubba the red panda), what they ate, whether they were nocturnal or diurnal, etc. He is a collector - his only toys, other than art stuff and puzzles, are Thomas trains and Schleich animals, of which his is obsessed with collecting every single one. He potty trained very late (actually he's still not fully and refuses to poop in the potty). That's some basic background, now here's the issues.

When something does not go exactly his way he freaks out, ranging anywhere from throwing himself on the floor kicking and screaming to hitting/biting (usually directed at me or his brother, he's never done this to anyone else) but going as far as damaging stuff. One day I poured him the wrong flavor of juice and he ran screaming into his bedroom and tore all the posters off his wall, then tore them into pieces and then sat crying on his bed saying he didn't know why he did it. And the triggers are most times ridiculous (in my mind) things, such as he missed the first two minutes of a TV show. He does not show aggressive behavior to other kids (though he likes to be physical with them, like wrestling and hugging). But I have no clue how to handle this behavior.

My DH says he's spoiled (I follow positive parenting and DH is an iron rod kind of guy); his pediatrician says he seems ADD but we'll have to wait until he is older to see for sure; a friend of mine with an autistic daughter says he sounds borderline Aspergers, and I am just not sure what to think. So, based on these things what do you mamas think? Feel free to ask any questions and don't worry about offending me.


I forgot to add that he just started preschool two weeks ago and is doing excellent. It is a Montessori school and his teacher says that so far she sees nothing unusual about him other than that he is a very passionate boy.
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#2 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 09:25 AM
 
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It's really hard to say, isn't it? I just read your description and based on that little information and his age, I'm tempted to say not to over-analyze his behavior too much. At 4 years, kids are still in transition from toddlerhood to childhood: there's still a lot of toddler behavior, but our expectations seem to become higher because our children start exhibiting "big kid" behavior. Soooo, I guess I would really just wait and see. If he just started pre-school, then maybe he's still adapting - he may be loving it, but he might be also stressed by it and melts down easier at home where he doesn't need to act perfectly being surrounded by unconditional love. I'd say if things don't get better in 4 weeks then make an appointment with your ped for an evaluation.

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#3 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 09:33 AM
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Honestly? Sounds like a 4-yo boy. Boys (and girls, but especially boys) have ENERGY!!!!!! And they need good solid outlets for their energy. My son is in a gymnastics class, for example. (or you could try karate, etc.)

Make sure your ds is getting enough sleep. Make sure to avoid artificial colors (contributes to ADD-like symptoms.) Don't let him go too long without eating (healthy foods, of course.)

And when my son gets really out of control, like hitting me or his sister, I'll impose a punishment like, "No computer games today."
Kids do need boundaries. Of course I also try to teach him at the same time, saying, "Use your words instead of your fists," etc.

If your son tears all of the posters off the wall, don't replace the posters (at least for awhile.) Also don't reward him for his bad behavior by giving in and giving him the juice he wants just because he threw the fit.

But try to give more choices ahead of time (before he has time to throw the fit)--offer him two choices of juice if that is available, etc.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#4 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have always thought that he was just being a typical boy, but I've started questioning myself because of what other moms have commented on. Every time I tell any of the other moms in my mothers groups about these meltdowns they all say the same thing- Have you had him tested? He sounds special needs. This behavior has been going on for as long as I can remember, so it isn't anything new.

I am definitely going to cut out the dyes. I never knew anything about that, and when you mentioned it I realized that there really is a lot of dyes in their current diet. For as crunchy as I am with our lifestyle (CD, attachment parenting, cosleeping, recycling, etc.) I have been horribly lax on our diet.
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#5 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 10:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alysonb View Post
Ior as crunchy as I am with our lifestyle (CD, attachment parenting, cosleeping, recycling, etc.) I have been horribly lax on our diet.
It happens to all of us somehow, somewhere. We can't be perfect all the time. The dyes definitely make a difference in my son.

As for your original question about your ds's behavior, I happen to think Asperger's (really anywhere on the spectrum) is also gifted.

Trust your instincts. And if you're really wondering, get him seen by a developmental ped. IMO, the sooner the better on that.

 upsidedown.gif  Please see my Community Profile! energy.gif blogging.jpg about Asperger's Syndrome!

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#6 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 11:12 AM
 
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I think he sounds really cute and smart and probably would like a bit more structure.
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#7 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 11:18 AM
 
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Well the only thing I can say for sure is that I don't think he's spoiled. I don't believe that a spoiled kid behaves that way. It sounds to me like he just has a really low threshold for frustration. I do have a son that is ADD and some of what you said sounds very, very familiar to me, but that doesn't mean your son is ADD either. The only thing I can suggest is to try and force him to be very clear as far as communication goes so that he gets, within reason, what he expects to receive. Try and give him some control too, over small things, that will help.

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#8 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alysonb View Post
When something does not go exactly his way he freaks out, ranging anywhere from throwing himself on the floor kicking and screaming to hitting/biting (usually directed at me or his brother, he's never done this to anyone else) but going as far as damaging stuff. One day I poured him the wrong flavor of juice and he ran screaming into his bedroom and tore all the posters off his wall, then tore them into pieces and then sat crying on his bed saying he didn't know why he did it. And the triggers are most times ridiculous (in my mind) things, such as he missed the first two minutes of a TV show. He does not show aggressive behavior to other kids (though he likes to be physical with them, like wrestling and hugging). But I have no clue how to handle this behavior.
This sounds like a bit of perfectionism (with himself and expecting it of others) and/or control issues. Nothing over the top, IMO, just trying to give the behavior a label so that you can think a little more to see if it applies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alysonb View Post
I have always thought that he was just being a typical boy, but I've started questioning myself because of what other moms have commented on. Every time I tell any of the other moms in my mothers groups about these meltdowns they all say the same thing- Have you had him tested? He sounds special needs. This behavior has been going on for as long as I can remember, so it isn't anything new.
Not knowing who these moms are, but until you have a child that's "extraordinary," you can't really relate to a child like yours. I, on the other hand, can relate to a lot of what you posted with my own ds, so I get it. It's very easy to think something is wrong with a child who is highly passionate, sensitive, and active. But you need to remember that you know your child best, so really listen to your gut.

As far as being spoiled.....dh often thought that I allowed my ds way too much freedom and flexibility. So I encouraged dh to deal with ds more actively.....and over the course of time dh changed his mind. Now dh gets why I do things the way that I do. I can anticipate issues that are going to cause a melt down or freak out and re-direct appropriately. I completely get the getting the food exactly right - in the right bowl, the right temperature, etc. My ds knows what he wants and wants it that way. Actually, by being completely sympathetic to seemingly illogical reactions, I've bonded in a stronger way with my ds. Now, when I empathize with his frustration, ds is more open to listening to suggestions on how he can handle it or work through it. Over time, he's now self-monitoring himself much better and he's much more flexible. It's a process. IMO, telling someone - adult or child - that they should or shouldn't feel a certain way about something completely invalidates them as people. That's frustrating in and of itself.

I'd also pay attention to what your ds' teacher is saying. Not that teachers always get it right, but if she's saying he's doing fine and recognizes his passion, then I'd say the learning environment is really working for him. Maybe you can think of ways to bring more of "that" into your home. It's also my experience that dc's are often more difficult at home - kind of a release of emotion in a safe place, but if your ds can hold it together at school, I'd say it's a very good sign that he has the capability, not the inability to self-regulate.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#9 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 11:48 AM
 
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If there was a significant concern like Asperger's, I think his teacher would be seeing that.

Some kids are much more intense and more emotional than others. This book might be of some help. I'd pay particular attention to the chapters about sensitivity and perfectionism. http://www.amazon.com/Parents-Guide-.../dp/0910707529

Also, I'm wondering if you've tried talking with him about this stuff outside of the moment. In the moment you can't get anywhere obviously, but after if you talk him through other options how does that go. It might be a help to read kid's books about anger and help him plan for how he will cope in the moment. It doesn't mean he'll necessarily remember in the moment, but starting to build a vocabulary of words about emotions and of acceptable options might be good.
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#10 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 12:03 PM
 
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I feel like the guy with a hammer who sees everything as a nail, and I am hesitant to say this, but just for you to look into a little.... He sounds a lot like my DD, who has NonVerbal Learning Disorder.... what that means, is they learn verbally, and anything nonverbal (body languange, social stuff...) is very hard for them. Until she was in school, I knew she was high-needs, but she did a lot of what you have said about your son - including slamming into her room and tearing all her pictures up! (They were her artwork, too.) It is often mis-dx as ADD at first.

http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/yourchild/nld.htm

I am not diagnosing him, just giving you another thing to look into.
I agree with pp - he does not sound spoiled. And many SN kids are gifted, as well.
Good luck, and big hugs. It is hard, having a child who is not "typical". Try to find a way to accept him for who he is, which may mean "grieving" the "typical" child he is not.

Having said all this, it is entirely possible he is not SN - just a very sensitive, passionate, bright child. I agree w/pp - trust your gut. You know him best.

~*The days are long, but the years are short.*~
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#11 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the great advice. I do try to sit down with him one on one after he calms down and talk about what happened and try to explain better ways to handle things. He's also very dramatic which doesn't help. His imagination just blows me away. Last year he was kicked out of Sunday School every week for disrupting the class. He doesn't handle sitting in one place for long (I think he gets bored), and he hates forced transitions. I think that is why he loves his Montessori school, because he works at his own pace and transitions himself.
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#12 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 05:39 PM
 
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I agree to go with your instincts and keep pursuing, researching, watching. My dd with Asperger's wasn't dx until 4.5 b/c I couldn't get anyone to listen to me that it wasn't my fault and it wasn't a discipline problem!! I highly doubt most teachers would have thought ASD and most definitely not any doctor thought ASD. I had one tell me that she most definitely was not Aspegerger's when she was three. : It's frustrating, but trust yourself and find those who will support you. I also wouldn't put him in situations that don't set him up for success. He may like to do things b/c he's bright but watch for the sensory overload.
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#13 of 13 Old 09-22-2007, 08:04 PM
 
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He could have shadow traits. My 5 yr old DD is like this-- frighteningly smart, prone to intense meltdowns, yet she is very friendly and able to function well in a school group environment.

Just keep an eye on him and if you think he is developing serious social impairments down the road, or if he starts to stim severely/ self-destructively, you might want to have him evaluated.
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