Lurking with questions about DS

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2003
Lurking with questions about DS
4
Tue, 08-26-2003 - 4:48pm
Hi, I'm new here and have been lurking to get as much info as possible...this will be a long one! I am a first time mom with a 2 1/2 yr old boy. He was a preemie born at 32 weeks but no health problems, just small (3lb 11 oz). Vaughn hit milestones pretty much on time, was mostly friendly with an occasional fussy period when crowds would bother him. By the time he was 1 1/2 he was walking and talking up a storm. Now he is 2 1/2 and I am worried by differences I see in him. I don't know if I'm over analyzing this and could use some help. Vaughn has always loved to line up and organize things. He will steal my shampoo and lotion bottles and line them up on the side of the tub. Same with his foam bath letters. He liked to "stand them up" (which is kindve hard!) on the edge of the tub and get upset if it fell over. Same with his cars. He "drives" them across the carpet and parks them in a perfect row. He did flap his arms when excited until about 1 1/2 but no longer does that. As a 1 year old he liked to touch every thing to his lips and no longer does that but now he has a blankie in which he likes to put the tag between his toes or brush it on his ear when he is tired. It seems to relax him.

Socially, he loves to interact with adults and older kids, loves an audience. Kids his age he can play along side but doesn't really interact with as much. If another kid takes his toy he may hit him/her. The hitting really escalated after he turned two. It seemed really impulsive. If he was told no, he would walk up and smack my leg. Time outs and books on hitting as well as giving words to his feelings have worked well but he still needs to be reminded when he occasionally raises his hand to me. He was a "love-biter" at one time (about 1 1/2 but grew out of it). My husband thinks my fears are unnecessary. He says he is a typical "only child" by preferring adult interaction and he is not as good at climbing because I probably help and intervene too much (this is probably true).

What is normal toddler behavior and temperment? What differences are there in an older child and one with siblings?

Vaughn is extremely bright. Knows all letters, counts to 30, knows most colors and shapes. Memorizes and sings songs easily. Has a great sense of humor (loves to tease) and speaks fluently while using great adjectives and emotion. I am just confused that these can be markers of Aspergers as well as gifted children. And I know Aspies can be gifted as well. I do not want to be in denial but it concerns me that there are no "medical" tests to dx this. I would test in a minute if there was a clear cut blood test. I just don't want to jump too soon and label my son.

Please offer any advice you may have. It would be greatly appreciated.

Shelley

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 08-27-2003 - 11:46am
Hello and Welcome,

That would be a really hard call. On the one hand, you are mentioning some issues that can be common amung children with asperger's. On the other hand they may also be common amung gifted children. (for instance the knowledge of numbers and letters). The one thing that really stood out was the lining of objects. Often children with AS have poor play skills and will organize and line rather than play appropriately with toys or otehr children. I would wonder, does he play appropriately with toys? How frequently does he line objects? My AS dd did do a lot of lining when she was that age. Either that or carry little toys around and wander. She really didn't have appropriate play skills. My 3 y.o. ds also did some lining of things, but he can also play appropriately with toys as well. He does have sensory needs, but is not ASD.

Mostly, I would say to watch closely as he develops. You are right to be sure and keep a close watch. It sounds like he has a lot of positives as well so you need not be horribly concerned, but I do think your fears warrant at least caution and observation.

Another thing you can do is contact your local early intervention and have him evaluated or screened to see if there is anything significant going on. The only problem with that is often when they are younger it can be hard to determine the cause of the issues with a young child and you may not really find out a lot more until they are older. THis comes from experience. My ds (7) started with evaluations around 3. We knew something was up but it took until he was 7 to have him diagnosed with asperger's. His is milder and it can be harder to determine it with those kids until they are older. That was a source of great frustration for me.

HTH at least a little.

Renee

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Wed, 08-27-2003 - 5:09pm
Hi, Shelly, welcome to the board! :)

I saw your post yesterday but didn't respond b/c I wanted to check on a few things before replying. In other words, I wanted to consult with a friend who is a dev ped. LOL. I just got back from talking to him, and it turns out that he saw the exact same things in your post that I did. So, here it goes...

First, I agree with Renee, get him in to see the Early Intervention dep’t at your local school district or county aid dep’t. I would give you a link to get started, but they are all regional and I don't know where you live (yet). I'm not saying that there IS something wrong with your DS, but certain things DO stick out.

First of all, it is not normal for a child under 3 to even want to organize things much less do it on there own. Organizing can be seen in the forms of grouping (categorizing), lining up (sequencing), and something my friend, Dr T, calls ‘nooking’ (the finding of a place for every little thing and making sure it is in it's place). What you described is 'lining up' but for some reason I also got the feeling that he 'groups' things as well. While grouping is a skill kids under 3 are just starting to learn, and is therefore considered somewhat normal (to a degree), sequencing is not normal at all for a child that age. And if he is doing both, that would be considered a 'clinically significant' trait.

The other thing that stood out to me was the hitting and impulse control (or lack there of). You said that this is something that has, technically, been taken care of but you must maintain reminders? The maintaining of reminders is the very core of behavioral therapy (that's what I do for a living). It's an ever ongoing process that exceeds the clinical timeframe expectancy of 6 mo. Have you been maintaining this behavior modification for more than 6 mo? Most kids, even very young ones, will acclimate to rules and guides in only 3 months (or less, depending on their language comprehension). So if this is something you've been dealing with for over 6 mos then it's something that should be addressed.

As far as the other things are concerned I don't see any real problems at this point. Children under 3 don't actually tend to play 'with' each other, it's normal for them to play alongside and not really interact. They are still at the point of being the center of the universe from their point of view. If that kind of social participation continues well into the 3rd year THEN you might have cause for concern. But small children are egocentric by nature and it's totally normal. They also like having audiences, that's just part of being egocentric. The blanket thing is also somewhat normal, mostly b/c he changes and outgrows the stages of using it. If he didn't outgrow a certain use for it I would be concerned. And also remember that very small children like comfort things, such as blankets, bears, specific songs, etc. A time when you might be concerned about a comfort thing is when a normal person wouldn't consider that particular thing 'comforting'. For instance, my 3 yo dd (ASD) finds scratching her forearms until they bleed comforting...THAT is not normal. Another 'out of place thing' might be if he didn't like tags at all. Most kids with ASDs can't stand the way tags feel in shirts, shorts, etc, and the parents usually cut them out (just to get the kid to wear it). They complain of even soft things feeling scratchy, etc.

I haven't met a kid yet that hasn't gone through a hand-flapping stage at least once. If the stage lasted less than 6 mo or has been 'outgrown for more than 6 mo I wouldn't worry about it.

As for the preferring of adult interaction, at 2 1/2 it's actually normal for all kids, only child or not. But if by age 3 1/2 he doesn't show an interest in other kids bring it up with EI or your ds's ped.

Okay, that got long, lol, sorry. I hope that made some sense. In short, the organizing and lack of impulse control are issues that should be addressed. So far everything else seems normal. Oh, and as for the numbers and letters, that sounds like the early stages of Hyperlexia, which basically means he'll be an early reader. A lot of kids with ASDs are also Hyperlexic, but not all, and there are also a lot of kids with Hyperlexia that aren't ASD.

I hope that helped some. Feel free to field more questions or concerns, we're always here. :)

Peace,

Candes

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 08-28-2003 - 9:45am
I'm a lurker, but I had to respond to your post because your son sounds a lot like my son when he was 2. Like your son, my son liked to "park" his cars in a line. He also has the advanced speech and hitting has been a real problem. He's a very intense little boy.

We had him assessed at an Autism clinic when he was 2 1/2 at the request of his daycare. While he wasn't diagnosed, were told that he was still at risk for asperger's and that he could go either way in his development. The red flags for AS were that his eye contact wasn't what it should be, his advanced speech and his temper tantrums. We're going back for a follow up appointment next week (he's now 3 1/2).

I now feel that he's probably not asperger's, because he seems very sociable and outgoing and seems popular with other kids his age. However, I fully expect that we'll be told that he's still not in the clear, because many kids with AS are diagnosed later. Also, I'm somewhat concerned because it seems to me that if ds is AS, then his Dad is also AS and is probably more severe.

From what you've said, I would expect that if you have your son assessed, then you might be in the same boat as us. However, I think that you should still get him assessed, because then you're in the system and can get help should the need arise. They may be able to help you in other ways as well. The clinic we went to was able to assist us in finding a daycare that was more suitable to my son's temperament, which was a big help.

In the meanwhile, I lurk here which has been extremely useful. Posts from Candes and Renee and others have been very helpful to me in understanding this disorder and how difficult it may be to determine what is actually the problem in some cases.

I hope that helps some,

Norda99

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2003
Thu, 08-28-2003 - 10:18am
HI,

There is not much I can add to the good stuff that has already been said, but at the risk of pointing out the obvious: Have you spoken to your pediatrician? It may behoove you to have a sit-down consultation (no kids) and go over all of your concerns. S/he will also have the contact details for early intervention and any local specialists.

good luck,

-Paula

-Paula

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