My DH always picks up the twins from pre-school.
I think early evaluations are ALWAYS a good thing. If a child does not have problems, then everyone is reassured. If the child does have problems, then intervention can be started to help the child before more time is lost. Interventions at a young age allow a child to grow/develop utilizing supportive techniques that will provide them the best possible outcome in school and when they are older. The older a child is when intervention is begun, the harder it is for the child to learn skills they need. I think it's great that you have such an attentive preschool teacher and one who is directing you in a positive direction (well, except for when she misled you during parent conferences).
Difficulty transitioning is often seen with autism spectrum disorders, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's what your ds has (certainly possible, though). By getting him evaluated and diagnosed, you'll know better what issues your ds IS dealing with, and you'll be able to learn how best to help him deal with his challenges.
I have two children with mild autism spectrum disorders. Because my kids' problems are mild and the kids seem so "normal" to outsiders, we didn't get a diagnosis until this year, when the kids were 8 & 12yo (after pushing the doctors and sitting on waiting lists for an evaluation for 1.5 yrs). My kids are now entrenched in some of their behaviors, and it is REALLY hard to teach them better coping skills.
You most likely don't need to delay kindergarten for something like this, but by getting a diagnosis, you can get an IEP (individualized education plan) in place for what supports your ds might need at school.
Not all psychologists are trained in autism, and others will only diagnose an autism spectrum disorder if they see stereotypical symptoms. I once read a statement from a doctor that said something to the effect that "what diagnosis you get is less important than that you get a diagnosis you believe fits the symptoms you see in your child." I wholeheartedly agree. Some doctors that can diagnose this type of problem are: developmental pediatrician, psychologist, neurologist, neuropsychologist, and even some pediatricians. My kids were evaluated by a team of doctors at our local Children's Hospital's neuropsychology dept, and included a neuropsychologist, a psychologist/psychiatrist, a speech person, and someone else I'm forgetting.
One of the problems my family experienced was that because my kids' symptoms are mild, I never felt that my kids really matched the symptoms I'd read for autism spectrum disorders. It wasn't until I started reading posts on the "PDD-NOS/Asperger's" message board here that I started thinking "hey, they sound like MY kids!" The more I learned about the disorder, the more I realized that's probably what my kids had, even tho' they don't fit the stereotypical checklists. That's when I got on the waiting lists for an autism evaluation. (By the way, PDD-NOS stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified, kind of an umbrella diagnosis for autism spectrum disorders.)
What was most helpful to our getting a diagnosis was my writing down all the behaviors/quirks I saw in my kids, along with examples of those behaviors. Over the years, the doctors dismissed my concerns as I raised them here and there. However, once the pediatrician saw my comprehensive list of behaviors/quirks, she immediately recognized that there were some developmental delays (of course, finding the right doctor and getting through the waiting list for testing was another story). Both the pediatrician and one of the diagnosing doctors told me how helpful my list of behaviors/quirks was to their evaluation/diagnosis.
FYI, autism spectrum disorders are up something like 600% over the last 20yrs. Approx 1 in 155 kids has some level of an autism spectrum disorder. The good news is that since this is becoming so prevalent, the schools are better equipped to help our children.
Best wishes to you and your family (check out the PDD-NOS/Asperger's Board -- they are some of the best ladies you'll "meet")!
When my older daughter was 4, I was told she had cerebral palsy by her teacher. The neurologist laughed me out of his office and asked when she got her doctorate degree. Then when I couldn't get her into kindergarten, after already repeating pre-K, I had to go to the school district for testing and was told by the district psychologist that she was mentally retarded with an IQ of 71. He basically said, she'd never be able to communicate with me. He didn't get it that she just didn't like him and refused to answer his questions at 5 years old. She talked non-stop at home and had no problems communicating with anyone she liked. We finally agreed on the best course of action for her, which was putting her in a special ed class, seeing how she did, and then transferring her to another facility for more developmentally handicapped children if they couldn't handle her. She did beautifully in school, transitioned out of special ed before junior high school, now has a job, and is now in college.
I'm sorry, but I don't trust district psychologists. The other poster recommended a lot of other options for testing, that would be preferrable. I agree, early diagnosis is key, but it's only as good as the person doing the testing. If you do go forward with the evaluation, remember,you know your child best and if you strongly don't agree with the diagnosis, get a second opinion. It's very important to follow your instincts.
Does he have these meltdowns at home too, or just in school? Could he be jealous of his sister if they are in the same class? Could it just be he isn't mature enough yet to start kindergarten with his sister? I know a lot of 5 years old having trouble in school and having to repeat, not because they don't know the material, but because they aren't socially mature enough yet. I hope you find the answers you are looking for.
Let us know what you decide.
BTW, if your ds DOES have an autism spectrum disorder, a book we recently got after reading many positive reviews about it is "All Cats Have Asperger's." It's a cute way to sort of explain autism spectrum disorders both to your own child and to other people (like if you needed to explain it to his school mates, so they didn't run around thinking "Junior has tantrums like a baby"). It's pictures of cats with captions, comparing cats' independent/unique/less-cuddly behaviors to those behaviors of children with autism.
A couple of other books, if you're interested, that are written from the point-of-view of a child with an autism spectrum disorder are:
* The Blue Bottle Mystery by Kathy Hoopmann (I think the same author as "All Cat's...")This is written on about the level of a 1st or 2nd grader.
* The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark HaddonThis is written on an older child/adult level. It's written from the perspective of someone with more significant problems than my kids, but it still gives you insight into how their minds work and why they suddenly have meltdowns, etc.
I think if there is a concern, an evaluation is