Brilliant, socially inept kindergartner

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Brilliant, socially inept kindergartner
Thu, 09-25-2003 - 4:26pm
I've been thinking that I ought to have my son evaluated for Aspergers. Here's a bit about him. He'll be 6 in November.

Socially: He has a very hard time joining in with other kids who are already playing. He perceives (rightly or wrongly) that he has been rejected, and he makes up elaborate plans to "defeat the evil villians". He alienates himself from other kids by messing up their games, shouting strange thinks at them, "Heeeey, Fat Patrolly in a Can!" He is, however, quite good at interacting with babies and toddlers. At kindergarten and outside in the neighborhood when groups of kids are playing, he plays by himself on the periphery. His play involves lots of leaping around, spinning spinning spinning, and talking to himself. He knocks over people's things by accident, and then becomes very hurt when they tell him to cut it out, so then he deliberately causes trouble.


At 18 months, he had well over 300 words in his vocabulary. At 14 months he could identify the logo of any car manufacturer you can think of. He began reading and spelling a bit before 2.5, and now, at almost 6, could probably read this post well enough to get the gist of it, and can read something like Beverly Cleary books smoothly.

On the other hand, once he starts talking...(usually some story about Elmo's underground stockpile of dynamite that he stores next to his tank of liquid hydrogen in order to power his Mighty Power Machine)...he goes on and on forever. You can't get a word in at all. He doesn't eat or use the toilet, he just talks.

He is totally unable to have a conversation about something he isn't interested in. He also gets very mad if people around him attempt to have a conversation about something that he isn't interested in.

He also uses "potty words". Sometimes he's very creative with it, but it is offensive nonetheless, especially since he's teaching his 2 yo brother. He shouts out offensive words and phrases first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and all sorts of strange times. He is mortally offended by such things as "reward charts" or other things that call attention to his behavior in any way.

His imagination is AMAZING, and he spends 99.9% of his time there. He creates scenarios that involve underground labyrinths, complicated machinery, laboratories with bubbling chemical potions. He is an astounding inventor. At age 3 he designed a home security system that tricks a would-be burgalar into calling 911, thinking he's unlocking a combination lock. Oh, he can also do basic algebra, like, "If x is 2 and y is 3, and z=xy, then what is z?" And he beat me at chess at age 3. No one knows this, though. To the neighbors, he is a weird little boy who says odd things and hides their ball in the bushes.

Restrictive, Repetitive behaviors:

If he planned on having a cherry yogurt for breakfast, and there is only orange cream, he loses it. If the foil top tears as he's opening the yogurt, he loses it. If I pick him up from school with the car, and he was expecting to ride his bike home, he loses it.

Crossing the big street near our house is a nightmare. There is no light, and I cannot get him to snap out of his little world and focus on staying in the crosswalk and paying attention. He freaks out if I try to hold his hand. He jumps and spins around, and I am reminded of the severely autistic boy down the street.

He makes little balls of spit in his mouth and sucks it in and out. It's really gross but I can't get him to stop. He used to insist on rubbing my eyebrows.

Is usually too busy to eat or use the toilet.

This is a lot, I know. Every since he was an infant we knew he was different. He seemed much smarter than average. He'd sit for hours looking at books, and didn't seem to have that "short attention span" that baby's are meant to have. He also didn't nap like other kids. Aside from a few sick days, the last nap he took was before the age of one. We never were worried, but at age 3 we started seeing the destructive social behavior.

So, what do you all think? Okay, I know you guys can't diagnose him...but does this sound like Aspergers?

Thanks, Evelyn, mom of David 6 in Nov, and Nathan 2

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 09-25-2003 - 4:48pm
Hi Evelyn:

I recognize you from another board - but don't recall which one. Yup. Could be Aspergers. Could be other things, though. One problem is the high intelligence. Being highly gifted brings with it a whole set of odd quirks. I have one gifted DSS who is 11 and diagnosed Aspergers and I have a highly gifted DS who is 4 and just plain difficult to describe. He exhibits many of the sensory issues associated with ASP and has very little impulse control. He is very much a bossy verbal bully on the playground or play groups. We *all* get called some very creative names.

However, he is not rigid or inflexible like his brother is. If 4 y/o was expecting pasta and gets chicken instead, he'll let you know what he thinks of it, but no meltdown.

Does your DS make good eye contact when communicating with you or others? Does your DS take things very literally? Can he follow more than 1-step commands? These are also some of the problem areas we have with the ASP son. He is smart, and very literal, and we have to be quite careful what we say or promise because on top of that, he is very rigid. :-) We have sooo much fun.

Anyway, it sounds to me like your DS could benefit from a professional evaluation. Even if he's just having trouble because he's so darn bright, some social training intervention might be appropriate.

(BTW - stickers and reward charts worked for our gifted son but the younger more advanced boy thought they were absolutely ridiculous....)



iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2003
Fri, 09-26-2003 - 11:09am
Hi Evelyn,

Sounds like perhaps an eval with a developmental pediatrician or -?- (I know there are other fields also qualified to provide evaluations, but I'm not sure what they are off the top of my head). To me, your guy sounds a fair amount like my son, who is 5.5 y.o. and dx'd as PDD-NOS. The infatuation with books, the "don't focus on me" behaviors, the social self-destruct button, etc. The spit play and spinning strike me as sensory issues, but of course that's often part and parcel with the autism spectrum dx. Start the ball rolling for an eval as they often seem to take forever to schedule and complete. I'm a big believer in it's best to know what you're dealing with, hence my standpoint; in addition, even with a diagnosis it can be very difficult to get needed services or accommodations through the schools, so I can only imagine that it must be next to impossible without one.

Good luck to you, I know it's tough when you see your child's behaviors sticking out like a sore thumb in relation to those of children the same age.