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#70720 - 03/08/10 08:42 AM Re: Aspergers? [Re: Artana]
slhogan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 40
Hi, I'm not expert, but I'll tell you what I've seen, if it helps any. As a teacher, I can see a difference in the Asperger's kids vs the non-aperger's gifted kids. It's hard to put my finger on it exactly, but there is just something off. I've never worked with kids as young as your son, so I don't know what it looks like at that age. In older kids/teens, here's what I see:

They admire kids their age and follow them around, but really only "socialize" and "play" with younger kids. They seem really "normal" when they play with young kids, but never seem to fit in with kids their own age.

They are interested in specific topics and talk about those topics constantly. They seem clueless to the fact that everyone in the group is bored of that topic and they don't pick up on the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) hints that everyone is getting annoyed with them.

They are physically awkward. Perhaps not clumsy, but they never seem to do as well in PE and sports.

They struggle with small talk and banter. They stand in the group and listen to the joking around, but if they contribute its usually something that doesn't quite fit. One example I saw just the other day: a group of 6th grade boys are being macho--playfully shoving each other's shoulders and making mild insults. They are basically nice boys and are trying to include the boy with Asperger's even though he he annoyed them earlier in the day by talking way too long about what he ate for breakfast. The boy with Asperger's does not really understand the unspoken boundaries; he shoves too hard and make a cutting insult rather than a playful insult. The other boys shout "Dude! What's your problem?!?" and leave. The Asperger's boy doesn't understand what went wrong.

Sometimes when I watch the Asperger's kids trying to fit in, I imagine tourists trying to fit in with a foreign culture. As tourists they've learned how to speak the language, but they don't understand the slang or the body languge. The natives are nice and include the tourists in their day to day life, but the tourists basically just follow the group around rather than truly belonging to the group. They might call these friendly natives their "friends" but there isn't a real connection there.

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#70721 - 03/08/10 08:51 AM Re: Aspergers? [Re: slhogan]
intparent Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 539
My D who is now 14 was recently diagnosed with a non-verbal learning disorder. She was much like your son at that age. She came a long way on a lot of those issues over the years. She really didn't start to come out of the parallel play mode and make real friends until 4th grade, and does reasonably well now in high school. She has learned to compenstate for her NLD over the years, but it might have been easier if we had gotten an earlier diagnosis. Not saying this is what your son has, just that it is a possibility.

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#70724 - 03/08/10 09:23 AM Re: Aspergers? [Re: Lori H.]
bh14 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 367
Nothing seems to stand out to me as AS. Early reading does not indicate AS. He may just be gifted, or even poissibly, one explanation is hyperlexia. Playing parallel at that age isn't that odd. Sometimes kids may just be more comfortable playing alone as they are playing with a group. The writing thing.... could be a boy thing. My DD never had to be taught how to hold a pencil etc. and could write like crazy at a young age. My son, totally opposite. Still working on handwriting at almost 6!

Good for you for researching and be thankful you have a doc that is alert, but that doesn't mean you have reason to worry. With so many kids being diagnosed on the spectrum now-a-days, or so it seems, peds. may be more willing to investigate the possibility than to dismiss any concerns.

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#70754 - 03/08/10 01:26 PM Re: Aspergers? [Re: Artana]
JJsMom Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/09
Posts: 921
Originally Posted By: Artana
Hello,
I have a son diagnosed with AS. I have to say that there is nothing that sounds particularly concerning right now, but I agree that you should wait until older to really start worrying about AS. A couple of really obvious things you should look out for:

- Likes predictable schedules to the point that if something changes, even if warned before hand, you get tantrums. Bigger shifts in schedules will really show this (moving him to a new school, new afterschool program), even when the child him/herself anticipates and is excited by the idea of the change.

- Like you noted, disengaging. I agree that at this age, it's hard to tell if it is a Gifted child just doing his own thing, or not.

Another thing is that my older son is really cuddly and has lots of eye contact with me, but he doesn't really show tight affection to other people. Even my mother, who he adores, has noted this. I was told by several professionals that this is very common with AS, so it's hard, sometimes, for a parent to see the social disengagement.

Hope this helps.


The above are the exact things that ruled out the Asperger's diagnosis for my DS6. We were especially concerned about his need to be scheduled (even as a newborn). While DS6 still has issues with his schedule being thrown off, it's moreso regarding his stomach, he adapts well to schedule changes (moreso now as an older child), especially since being in K/1st grade.

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#70771 - 03/08/10 04:43 PM Re: Aspergers? [Re: JJsMom]
ksy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/07/10
Posts: 11
My heartfelt thanks to those of you who have replied- I can't believe how many, and the honesty and time taken (and fast!)...I've been pretty lost, and the internet can be a misleading place, as you all know..reaching out to people with experience, vs. the usual syndrome descriptions, makes a huge difference.

I guess I am stuck on sorting out the subtleties,which seems to make all the difference in diagnosis. I am in Canada, meaning huge line-ups (like a year) for assessment, so I have to go private, and am trying to make it all count.

Right now, the socializing is so hard to figure out, at 3. 5 years. He is in nursery school 3 days a week, and I don't know if the teachers are really noticing the details (nuances) of any interaction,and I am stuck on the outside, which is frustrating. With play-dates, he seems to either want to just play with another kids toys at their house (since they are new!); or when someone comes over, he starts off so crazy, excited, maybe embarrassed, and runs around a lot (which he doesn't do at their house).I still feel he is in parallel play mode.

So I am a bit too obsessed on the other little details..I still don't know what the jumping up and down a few times, now and again,really means. I also notice he asks a lot of questions, almost as a way of conversing (not necessarily repeating the same, but as a way of pointing something out). Is this abnormal? Then a the final topper is the resistant to fine motor stuff (drawing), and although he can climb, run well, seems to give up on his tricycle, which seems odd at 3.5 (?). Finally, potty training remains a struggle..SO- do all these little things add up to a lot more? Is he just too young? All of you seem to have different kids- AS, E2, gifted,etc, so I am interested in how you can really know, or am I just asking too much (in my anxious state!)?

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#70773 - 03/08/10 04:51 PM Re: Aspergers? [Re: renie1]
ksy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/07/10
Posts: 11
Sorry- a quick bit more, specifically to your enquiry, "Renie 1", about social skills...I think he shows empathy (seems to know if someone is upset, sad), does not herd, act out, or anything- just seems to quietly go along-parallel plays, usually with what he wants to do. He'll sit and do story time, sing along (inconsistently). Also, in response to someone mentioning hyperlexia,he seems to understand words, and story content, pretty well,and definitely no routine fixation(life as a parent is all about routines, as we know!- but I've been testing him a bit, and he is pretty flexible).

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#70784 - 03/08/10 07:42 PM Re: Aspergers? [Re: ksy]
renie1 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/04/09
Posts: 229
hi key
that is good about the empathy. One theory out there is that children on the autism spectrum often lack or have poorly developed "Theory of Mind". TOM is the understanding by one individual that another individual has a different mind with different thoughts, feelings, etc. Before TOM is completely developed, it is difficult for children to show empathy, be dishonest (why? everyone knows what i know!), and to be self-conscious about their own behavior (which can be a good thing). For most typically developing kids it is there by age 5, but is starting to develop during the preschool years.. Ever since i read about TOM i feel that i just "get" autism so much more. Even with the best of verbal skills as in Aspergers, it is just so difficult to interact when you have a hard time understanding the point of view of others. So I would try to observe your child over the next year or two and see if this is coming along. As i mentioned earlier, my DD7 was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at a very young age and seemed very similar to your child as you describe. He also did flapping and jumping when exciting. However when his TOM finally kicked in, he became more self-conscious and stopped doing most everything that was not also done by his peers. At this point he looks much much more like a gifted child with ADD than a child on the spectrum.. we will get him re-evaluated eventually and hopefully we will know for sure.
irene
irene

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#70788 - 03/08/10 07:59 PM Re: Aspergers? [Re: renie1]
ksy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/07/10
Posts: 11
HI Renie..very interesting...so, using the TOM idea, I have always laughed at how , when you ask your child if he did something bad (like pushing his brother) they just say "yes". Last week, I saw him slap his brother on the back, but this time, when I asked him, he kept saying "no"...is "lying" at 3.5 years old actually a good thing?

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#70792 - 03/08/10 08:17 PM Re: Aspergers? [Re: ksy]
renie1 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/04/09
Posts: 229
YES YES IT IS!!
that is great he lied.
some kids on the spectrum never do.

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#70800 - 03/08/10 09:03 PM Re: Aspergers? [Re: renie1]
Nautigal Offline
Member

Registered: 04/22/09
Posts: 986
It sounds to me like the strongest possibility is just "plain gifted" for your guy. My DS7 is 2E with mild Asperger's--basically just the social part for him. He has had his moments of repetitive behaviors (lining things up, counting, read every license plate and sign he saw from the time he was 2, etc.), but in general his is just a total lack of understanding of social skills.

He has always been a huggy child, though, with us and with teachers and adult friends. Eye contact is intermittent. Lying is practically an art form with him (arrgh). We have never been schedulers in our house, and he doesn't have an obsession with them. So there are lots of "spectrum" things that he does not fit, but a few that he does fit that make the difference.

Your guy sounds like he could possibly be on the mild end of Asperger's, but to me it seems more likely from your descriptions that he is "just gifted" and that would account for the differences that he has with kids his age. He is simply not on the same level as they are, and they don't interest each other. My DS has had a great deal of that to add to his troubles, and it can be frustrating for him and heartbreaking for me. But if yours is not having such trouble as to make him act badly to other children, I would not worry about diagnosing anything. He is what he is, and a diagnosis is not going to change that, regardless of which way it goes. However, if he has behavior problems, I would get a diagnosis because it can prove helpful in dealing with the schools to get what he needs and keep him out of "official trouble". If it weren't for our official ruling this year, DS7 would have been kicked out of school for his "bullying" that comes from all the frustration and misunderstanding of the social situations. As it is, the school bends over backward to work with him on his social skills and get him on the right track, and we couldn't ask for more.

I have no idea if all this rambling has made any sense and I'm too tired to go back and see, so I hope that helps you. Your little guy sounds great and gifted and you'll fit right in here. :-)

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