When is lining things up just lining things up?

Avatar for weaintgotmoney
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2011
When is lining things up just lining things up?
1
Fri, 04-25-2014 - 3:36pm

They say one of the [many] signs of autism is lining things up. But is it also a phase as well? My DD is almost 3, shows no signs for autism other than lining things up. She'll line up blocks, dolls, etc. It has me a bit worried, though her pediatrician has never even suggested something was off (i.e., she's met all her milestones early/on time, language is fine, plays with others well, etc.). So really I'm just wondering if lining things up can be a phase. 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

Lining things up can be a phase, and it also can indicate a problem.  You need to pay attention to your child to know the difference.

Many children from about the age of 18 months to about 4, line things up, and also sort things. Today, my 27 month old granddaughter today was sorting thru my dried floral craft supplies.  Seed pods that made noise went in one line, cork fans went in another, and wicker balls in another. She was very pleased with herself, and you could see her thinking as she sorted.  HOWEVER, if she lined things up exactly the same every time, if she had a meltdown if I tried to rearrange the order of the things in the line, or if she seemed anxious, fretfull, or fearfull, and the lining seemed to relieve those symptoms, I would be concerned.  Autisim is only ONE cause of "inappropriate" lining and sorting.  OCD and Tourette Syndrome are also common causes. Kids with OCD line and sort to ward off anxiety, and instrusive thoughts, and the arrangment often must be "just right".  Kids with Tourette's line and sort as a tic, which they do almost without concious thought, and have a hard time stopping, if you interrupt them.  So watch what happens as your child lines, and experiment with interrupting her, and rearranging the line.  Also, pay attention to when and how she lines, and see if there is a pattern of time or precipitating event.  If you feel this is NOT normal, talk to your ped, but be SURE to explain everything you have seen.