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Discussion Starter #1
We had a home visit from Early Ed last week. She agreed with me that ds seems to have sensory issues, but said that the following observation seemed ASD to her.<br><br>
Ds gets very upset/embarrassed when faced with strong emotions, especially positive ones. For example, I was dancing with his new stuffed bear. He started to smile and then turned his head and yelled "no.” He's very sensitive to emotions of all kinds, such as anger and positive feelings that involve making a connection with others. Another examples: once when reading a book he really liked, he got off my lap and sat across the room with his back turned when we got to his favorite part. Or he won’t want to read the book at all because the emotions he feels are too strong (he likes it too much). Or he won't say he had a good day or admit to having fun at the playground. He doesn't want to put in the last piece of a puzzle b/c it's too much for him to recognize his achievement. He'll sometimes say to us (repeating what we've said to him) "I don't have to be embarrassed," but he is. He's also not affectionate at all. I'm wondering if the closeness is too much for him (he's a voracious nurser, which I think might be his way of being close to me).<br><br>
Anyway, I'm just wondering what this sounds like to you. Is this an ASD trait? Could this just be part of his sensory issues? An OT and ST are coming for an eval this week, but I'm not hopeful that they'll be of much help (the OT already said she'd be giving me suggestions for ds right out of the _Raising a Sensory Smart Child_ book--heck, I can do that myself! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ). And there's no one in town that I know of so far who can do a proper eval.<br><br>
Thanks, Kelly
 

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It's possible that it's a sort of stimming relating to strong emotions, which is an ASD characteristic. My ds jumps, laughs and does arm circles when very excited or happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I never thought about that. So stimming is basically an inappropriate response to emotions? Forgive my ignorance.
 

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Stimming is just jargon for self-soothing. It's a way to release *whatever* tension someone is experiencing, from sensory overload, emotional overload, mental overload, you get the picture, and restore a state of balance. Everybody has stims; it's just that spectrum stims aren't typical ones, or they are done 'too much' for other people's comfort levels.
 

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Sorry- I posted fast and flew. Yes, stimming is basically self soothing (I've always assumed stimming comes from 'self stimulating') as Feebee said. Some people twirl their hair, some chew a pencil, some smoke, etc. These are considered typical and most people don't think much of them. ASD kids often do more frequent/unusual forms of stims. Hand flaps and arm circles are some more common, though it can be just about anything- like saying the ABCs over and over or counting things.<br><br>
I hope you can get some answers from your evals.
 

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Thanks for the explanations. So are you saying that since this isn't a typical emotional response it could be an indicator of ASD? I'm not trying to label my ds at all; I just want to understand him better so that I can learn how best to parent him.
 

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It could be part of his inability to regulate, which is related to his sensory stuff. The question is whether his sensory issues are at all related to autism. A lot of children on the autism spectrum have sensory issues. Some children not on the spectrum have them too.<br><br>
But, my own opinion (having a child who has sensory issues but is not on the spectrum) is that even 'typical' kids with 'just' sensory issues are closer to the spectrum than other kids. Our ds has a very hard time with strong emotions as well - his OT has talked about this as a self-regulation piece that they will work on after we get the physical stuff balanced.<br><br>
I would read up on sensory issues and autism/asperbergers and see which descriptions seem to resonate more with you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
LynnS6--now that you say it, it makes sense that ds's response to strong emotions is related to his sensory issues. I hadn't really put 2 and 2 together. I've read a little about autism, and at this point he doesn't fit the criteria since he doesn't seem to have language delays. Aspergers is a little more likely, but I've read conflicting criteria for that, so I'm really not sure. And I've determined that he's got at least some form of SPD--such as auditory dysfunction and some vestibular issues, but he has great balance, coordination, etc., so he doesn't totally fit that either. Sometimes he just seems like a really high needs, sensitive kid, and other times I wonder if it's more. I know 3 yo is still pretty early to tell, but I still feel like there are enough red flags to make me look into it further.<br><br>
Thanks for your help.
 

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Bump! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Yes, this sounds very much like something we've experienced. The relevant diagnoses are sensory integration dysfunction, Asperger's and giftedness. He's very, very sensitive and anxious and of that list of diagnoses I think that is mostly due to giftedness. Not sure if that's part of the situation at your house or not. At any rate, I would just be very understanding and sensitive to it and talk him through it in a low key way. I wouldn't react too strongly or talk it up too much because you don't want to reinforce the anxiety. Not in the moment of upset but at other times, it may be good to encourage fantasy play or role play about emotions or read books that offer some more information about emotions.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Ex Libris</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7932605"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">. Another examples: once when reading a book he really liked, he got off my lap and sat across the room with his back turned when we got to his favorite part. Or he won’t want to read the book at all because the emotions he feels are too strong (he likes it too much). Or he won't say he had a good day or admit to having fun at the playground. He doesn't want to put in the last piece of a puzzle b/c it's too much for him to recognize his achievement.</div>
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Another way to possibly look at these examples is a difficulty with transitions. I don't know if he transitions well in other areas. Finishing a puzzle means that the activity is over. Reading the favorite part of his book means that that part will be over. Talking about a good time at the park means acknowledging it's over.....and so on. Transition difficulties are tied up with emotions - anxiety over what comes next, sadness that an event is finished, etc.<br><br>
Sensory kids can have problems with transitions and so can kids on the spectrum.
 

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My 4 year old DD is VERY similar. After about 2 months in OT some of it has improved drastically. She suddenly has started singing silly songs as her way of making a joke, which she could never do. She was never affectionate with anyone except when she was very sleepy, but she was a voracious nurser. When I had to cut her back for my sanity (I am also nursing her 2 y/o sister), suddenly she started asking for back scratches and other forms of touch. I think a lot of it is related to her sensory issues, they have improved so much with OT. Yet her OT and I both have a niggling feeling that might not be the whole picture. We are lucky enough to have 2 major hospitals nearby with neuropsychology departments that focus on diagnosing these issues. I don't know what our answers will be. I don't want to label her just for the sake of labeling, but getting the sensory label has led to SO much progress through appropriate therapy, so I just feel that knowing more gives us the best chance to help her.<br><br>
Ann
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the thoughts. I'd never thought about the giftedness aspect of it, Roar. I'm not sure if ds is gifted, but it's possible.<br><br>
I'd also never connected it to difficulty with transitions either, LauraLoo. Ds does have a terrible time finishing things and moving on. I suspect, though, that that's not the whole story since he just really dislikes being intimate in general and sharing a connection with others. So while I don't think it's just disliking being done with things, I'll bet the transitions contribute to it.<br><br>
I hope that OT will help ds with this, too, happilyloved. I just saw an OT for the first time today and have a more formal appt next week. And it's funny you mention your dd being a voracious nurser. My ds is too. It's one of the main difficulties I'm dealing with right now. It's a challenge to get him to cut back b/c it's his only means of calming himself. But instead of asking for other kinds of touch, he gets really aggressive and angry. I hope OT will help with this also.
 
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