Aspergers Signs

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mandy, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    This is one of the possible diagnosis that Cole may have so I am trying to gather more information on it. I have researched the heck out of it on the internet, but wanted to get some parents input on the signs and symptoms their children had with Aspergers. It is so hard for me to remember where my older child was developmentally at Cole's age that I figured I needed some perspective. lol

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!!!
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Most kids with Aspergers speak on time, in fact may speak early and with great articulation. As they get older they can sound like "Little Professors." A speech delay means Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified (the other kind of high functioning autism).

    Often sensory problems with sound, light, textures, foods, etc.

    Often poor eye contact with strangers

    Inability to play socially APPROPRIATELY with same-age peers. He may PLAY, but not in an appropriate, give-and-take way. He may converse, but more monologue or butt in with his own topics than join the conversation (this is from early age)

    May read early (hyperlexia)

    May copy by rote what others say or television shows they watch

    Great rote memory

    Cluelessness/immaturity about things that other kids seem to get just by existing--(pottying maybe, any sort of socializing, may make a huge deal out of taking a bath, etc)

    Big time trouble with transitions.

    Sometimes rages if frustrated or tired/can be defiant and inflexible

    Often doesn't play with toys or play's strangely with them as in maybe lines them up or dismantles them rather than using imaginative play

    Poor imaginative play unless copying something seen on television (good at remembering television shows)

    Often flat affect and lack of expression (more with Aspergers than Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified)

    With Aspergers some kids are plain brilliant, but some are bright, but may excel in one area (like math) and struggle in others. This is also common in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. Aspies are often interested very early in techie stuff, like computers.

    Literal thinking--no gray areas. If you say "You're making me blue" he may say "You aren't blue" and be perfectly serious.

    Strange sense of humor, but often very clever sense of humor

    Often not much into cuddling

    The opposite would be goes up to complete strangers a nd hugs them and acts like he's known them forever (social cluelessness/even most little kids know you shouldn't do this to strangers)

    These are some things I remember. My son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, but some say it is Aspergers. He did have a speech delay, so I call it Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, just to be politically correct :) He is doing really well with interventions.
     
  3. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    One of the characteristics that we saw was an obsessive interest in one topic to the exclusion of any other. My difficult child ate, sleep, walked, talked dinosaurs for 3 or 4 yrs. He was immersed. Nothing else interested him.
     
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    On the subject of language delay, it's not the same as speech delay. OK, I live with pedantry so maybe it's just me being pedantic, but speech is not the same as language.

    Exampe - a child who lived over the road form us, had a drowning accident which left him brain-damaged. He lost his ability to speak. Before the accident the boy (aged not quite 3) had been bilingual, Spanish and English. After the accident the doctors in the Sydney hospital told the parents, "He appears to have lost any capacity for language; he is not responding to our commands."
    They were only speaking in English to him because the parents had told the doctors that the boy spoke English. Spanish is not a common second language here.
    But the boy's father insisted that his son know when dad was in the room.

    It took months, the boy survived and came home. I think they had realised at this stage that the boy still had understanding in Spanish.
    One evening the parents had a party and invited us. Later that night it was time for the little boy to go to bed. He'd been enjoying watching people at the party, being surrounded by noise and laughter. But he was tired and whining, as tired toddlers will do. I sat with him and talked to him; he was unresponsive and kept making whining sounds. So I counted his fingers. He whined. I counted in Spanish - the only Spanish I know - and he shut up, instantly, and looked at his fingers as I counted them. That to me proved that while he had lost his speech, he certainly had his language, at least at the receptive level.
    Some years have passed now, they moved away to follow medical treatment and dad's work. Last time I saw him, he was learning to use a computer, was bilingual again but mostly using English because that was what he had to use at school. However, he still was showing no signs of speech.

    difficult child 3, on the other hand, appeared to have no language. He WAS verbal, in that he clearly could make the range of sounds, but his speech was echolalic (he would repeat sequences of sounds, which were often strings of words he had just heard someone say; he would also repeat over and over, entire movie scripts or songs from the radio, although any background sounds such as obvious instrumentation were also uttered as if the sounds had equal importance). difficult child 3 therefore had speech, but not language.

    It is important to be aware of the distinction.

    Also, the various definitions of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) do change depending on who is diagnosing, where they did their training and where they live, it seems. So keep an open mind.

    The current consensus in Australia seems to be that if they meet the criteria for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) AND had a history of language delay, they get a diagnosis of autism. If they NOW have speech and are able to cope academically (or come close to coping) under optimum conditions, then they are deemed to be high-functioning autistics. If they have the hallmarks of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) but with no history of language delay, they are labelled as Asperger's.
    Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified is the label reserved for those who don't quite fit into these groups.
    Then there is the group who don't quite meet the criteria for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), but who come close - Asperger's traits. That's easy child 2/difficult child 2.

    Interestingly, my boys have made amazing strides in improvement. They have both come a very long way and adapted really well. difficult child 1 didn't have language delay but he did have a lot of trouble with written communication, and also with making value judgements about which bit of information was important and which was not. In other words, he was a shocker when it came to writing essays and finding reference material.
    But easy child 2/difficult child 2 seems to be getting worse as she gets older, or at least worse in some ways.

    Also interesting - difficult child 3 is now doing so well, we've often had people (Special Education trained people, at that) say to us, "He's no longer autistic." Even his Speech pathologist insists on using the label "Asperger's" in her reports of him. But she never saw him when he had language delay, it was really quite badly delayed.

    MWM, in Australia your son would be labelled as autistic, unless he doesn't quite meet the other criteria. But then - a lot of people here will define autism as the severely handicapped, and Asperger's as those who are high-functioning. History of language delay then isn't considered.

    All this comes back to the history of autism and how it has been described. We should never forget, this isn't a specific disease entity that can be identified under a microscope. It is a SYNDROME, which is a collection of signs and symptoms which may or may not be connected (but appear to be so). Cause unknown. Within the syndrome are possible sub groups but the definitions are shifting and changing, like ripples of wind on the water.

    Kanner identified/described autism back in the 1940s or earlier, in the US. At about the same time Hans Asperger was writing about it in Europe, but thanks to a number of things in the way (including language barriers), the work of Asperger didn't get recognised in the US until the 1980s when his papers were translated into English. Ironic.

    So about that time, and as people became more aware of how Asperger's work fitted beautifully into current understanding of autism to flesh it all out into a broader definition of autism spectrum disorders, we find that diagnosis rate begins to rise fast.

    My own observations are that understanding has continued to shift and change since my kids were first assessed. difficult child 1 was diagnosed as NOT autistic, when he was 6. Mind you, nobody said what it WAS, either. By the time he was 15, understanding had shifted, or difficult child 1's case had become more apparent - I don't know. But he got his diagnosis which was later confirmed independently.

    Here are some links of use.

    The first one is the WIkipedia link on autism - worth a read to get an overall understanding of it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism

    The second is the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire, in case we haven't already bombarded you with it. It's not officially diagnostic, but I found it really helped me get a good understanding, and also helped me show the doctor the things that worried me. I did the test on my kids, printed the results and showed the doctor, for his opinion.
    You can find this on www.childbrain.com.

    I hope tis helps. If not, ask more. Stick around. We really understand this one!

    Marg
     
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I've cut and pasted from MWM (because I'm lazy) and because so many of my difficult child's "habits" are so similar. He does not have as many signs, though, and is very high functioning.

    ***
    Often sensory problems with sound, light, textures, foods, etc.--craves stimulation of computers and noise (aka Chucky Cheese) and then has a complete meltdown afterward.

    Often poor eye contact with strangers-- people say he's rude.

    Inability to play socially APPROPRIATELY with same-age peers. He may PLAY, but not in an appropriate, give-and-take way. He may converse, but more monologue or butt in with his own topics than join the conversation (this is from early age).--
    Will only attend birthday parties if he likes the venue (aka with-computers, etc.), will leave the party during what other kids consider a fun activity, and play by himself on the piano or on a computer keyboard and we will have to go find him in another part of someone's house or even in a diff part of a public bldg. (he's pretty much outgrown this part).

    May copy by rote what others say or television shows they watch--would repeat his sister's stories and pretend they were his, such as what she did today in school. When you asked him what he really did he would scream, "I don't KNOW!" Now that he's older, he will tell you that he doesn't want to talk about it, and later on, once he's chilled out at home, he will talk about his day on his own time.

    Great rote memory--time of the day to the minute, aka 12:06, but can't remember where he put his backpack.

    Cluelessness/immaturity about things that other kids seem to get just by existing--(pottying maybe, any sort of socializing, may make a huge deal out of taking a bath, etc)--a huge issue with-taking off shirts, especially turtlenecks, putting on shoes, taking turns (finally "got it" about 2 yrs ago).

    Big time trouble with transitions. BIG TIME. MAJOR ISSUE.

    Sometimes rages if frustrated or tired/can be defiant and inflexible. BIG TIME ISSUE. Still is. Especially rages and is inflexible if he's been on a computer game for several hrs. Can't seem to fit back into real life again.

    Often doesn't play with toys or play's strangely with them as in maybe lines them up or dismantles them rather than using imaginative play--never had a pacifier, blankie or favorite toy until he was about 8, and then slept with an aluminum and plastic truck. Lined up toys at the top of the stairway. If anyone touched one, it was total chaos. Still does it but only yells for a min. if someone walks over him. Doesn't "get" that he's in anyone's way at the top of the stairs.

    Poor imaginative play unless copying something seen on television (good at remembering television shows)--Could not make up stories for assignments at school; often copied other kids' papers, even when it came to family Christmas rituals.

    Often flat affect and lack of expression (more with Aspergers than Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified)--can smile and laugh, sometimes hysterically, but more often has a blank or almost angry/scary stare.

    With Aspergers some kids are plain brilliant, but some are bright, but may excel in one area (like math) and struggle in others. This is also common in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. Aspies are often interested very early in techie stuff, like computers.
    Yep.

    Literal thinking--no gray areas. If you say "You're making me blue" he may say "You aren't blue" and be perfectly serious. "I've told you a million times," (No, you've only told me twice!); When driving, pretending there's a chauffer, "Home, James." "That's NOT James! It's Daddy! James is the babysitter's boyfriend!" Total meltdown ensues.

    Strange sense of humor, but often very clever sense of humor--Absolutely. Comes up with-zingers at very appropriate times, perfectly blending personal habits with political issues.

    Often not much into cuddling--only when he wants to, on demand. No clue when anyone else is sick, for ex.

    Had to learn facial expressions by memorization--I sat down at the kitchen table with-him when he was 8 or 9 and made a bunch of faces and had him guess what kind of mood they represented. He was clueless when I pretended to cry and used a tissue. When I smiled, he didn't say "happy," he said, "Okay." When I laughed out loud he said he knew what it meant but couldn't come up with-a word for it.
    The only one he got right was anger.

    I would add that each day is different. Some days he is higher functioning than others. I see a lot of similarities between my son's behaviour and my dad's, and my dad has Alzheimer's. Some days he's great, other days he's totally clueless. A good night's sleep and lack of stress makes a huge difference for both of them.

    The same goes for bipolar--sleep and lack of stress are paramount. Anything that affect us adults, such as temperature, weather, hunger, lack of sleep--will make us cranky but we deal with-it. The reactions from these kids is multiplied tenfold.

    Also, with-bipolar, the moods tend to continue on for several hrs or even days after a particular trigger has been eliminated. I noticed with-my son, that once the trigger is elminated, he is back to new the very next day.

    He has anxiety issues and we still haven't figured out whether that's a cause or effect so all I can do is tell you what we've learned up to this point.

    Best of luck! It's all a learning experience.
     
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Something I meant to emphasise - because of the language delay (and you will find this too, MWM), the way words have been laid down in difficult child 3's head is different, to how it is for people who learned language when younger. It also means there isn't the same level of connectedness between words and meanings in his brain. This means recall and word-finding skills are impaired, despite difficult child 3 now having a vocabulary in the superior range for his age.

    Vocabulary isn't enough; it's how we use it, how well we can access it, that shows the abilities best. It needs work, there are exercises and games that can help. I found the 20Q game has helped a lot, but only to a certain extent. But there will always be problems in this area, primarily due to the history of language delay.

    Marg
     
  7. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    Sorry, Cole's mom, ya'll mind if I stick my head in here too? i don't mean to hijack, but I'm kinda plowing my way thru this subject with- my difficult child who has most of these traits too:
    *socially inappropriate (hugging etc)
    *can't look at a stranger (hides behind me or puts her head down, doesn't speak to them)
    *major trouble with transitions (although better lately)
    *inflexible in some aspects, high anxiety
    *sense of humor took a long time to develop (didn't GET the punch lines)
    *never played with- toys the way they're intended - most ended up broken. Playsets etc just got scattered and never used. Imaginative play is almost non-existant, but I see her play "school" all the time. Papers or books are lined up then.
    *sensory issues to things on her head (barrettes etc) and clothing has to fit a certain way or she'll have a fit
    *speech delay (ST until 4th grade)
    *expressive language delay

    however, doesn't fit neatly into the box for really any of these diagnosis's. Her IQ is low, memory is bad (although much much better now), and she's ok socially for the most part. I mean, she has a couple friends. She is such a cuddler too.

    Just wondering how subjective the criteria is for a formal diagnosis.

    (by the way, I took the brainchild quiz and she scored a 97.)
     
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Egads, Terry. Actually your boy sounds more Aspie than mine...lol. Mine has outgrown most of that, although he has some of that still there. It's not so much outgrown, but he's had so many interventions he is much more understanding of social norms and aware of what is socially appropriate. I just threw out there some traits...lol. He does have most of them, but to a mild extent and he no longer rages for any reason. Ever. Ever. Ever. He is quite well behaved.
    One other thing L. does is talk to himself when he sits in his room. He sounds like he's having a blast. This is how he got diagnosed with bipolar. Big warning!!!! The psychiatrist throught since he was talking to himself that he was hearing voices (hallucinating). Then when he asked, "Do you hear voices in your head?" my son said, "Yes." When the psychiatrist asked "Are you sure?" He said "Yes, I'm sure!!!" So he put him on mood stabilizers and antipsychotics and said "bipolar!!!" Well....

    Later, after he was off medications and doing great and diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, I asked about all this. He says, "I talk to myself because there's nobody else to talk to." He said it very matter-of-factly. And he actually talks mostly about what he's doing. I'll hear him say, "Ok, where is my backpack?" and he never ANSWERS himself. He added, "It's easier for me to understand when I say things out loud." Aha!!!! And...

    About answer the psychiatrist "Do you hear voices in your head" he said, "I do hear voices in my head. You just talked, and I heard your voice." Literal thinking.
    There is no way he hallucinates and he is far too even-tempered and happy to be bipolar. Beware. That's why I recommend NeuroPsychs over Psychiatrists. Many just don't know a whole lot about high functioning autism and can mistake it for ADHD or bipolar. Then you have a real mess on your hands when the kids are not given the right school interventions and are put on heavy duty drugs that they don't need.
    Just a vent :)
     
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Nancy, you said, "Her IQ is low, memory is bad (although much much better now), and she's ok socially for the most part. I mean, she has a couple friends. She is such a cuddler too."

    A few things on this - you say her IQ is low; is this a score on a test, or your own observations? Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids can often be brighter than they seem. Both my boys "failed" their first IQ tests but have since scored way above average. YOu can also have a very wide range of IQs in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Frankly, IQ tests were not designed to test anyone too far outside the normal range, or too different. So the result on an IQ test is probably NOT an accurate measure of her true ability.

    "OK socially" is NOT the same thing as "having a few friends". difficult child 1 has a few very loyal friends; they're also Aspie. Kids with Asperger's tend to gravitate together and bond. difficult child 3 is very sociable, he loves people and will chatter to total strangers. However, he's not appropriate with it. The cuddliness - easy child 2/difficult child 2 is a cuddlebunny, as I call her. She would want a hug form me at any time, and would sulk if I refused or said, "Not now." I mean, it's often not appropriate. difficult child 1 would also snuggle into me especially when we were out in public. difficult child 3 has always been happy to give me a hug, although he did better when I asked for a hug. He didn't like people just reaching out for a hug, without warning. But that's not unusual.

    MWM, about the "hearing voices" - I've mentioned before on this site, a book by an Australian woman, Wendy Lawson. The book is called "Life Behind Glass". Wendy Lawson has Asperger's Syndrome and now does a lot of work lecturing on it and working to raise awareness. But when she was about 19 she was diagnosed as having schizophrenia in much the same way as your son was diagnosed as bipolar. A doctor asked her, "Do you hear voice?" and she replied, "Of course I do." She then spent the next ten years or more (not sure exactly how long) in a locked psychiatric ward. She just accepted it all, because of course the doctor must be right.

    Her story was similar - as she said, "You do HEAR voices, you don't SEE them."

    It's all part of the literal-mindedness of the person with Asperger's.

    ON the subject of medications - we just got home from the pediatrician. He's changed difficult child 3's medications to Strattera. We're to stay on the dex until we've had five to six weeks on the Strattera to get it "on board" and then we're to stop the dex to see if the Strattera is enough for him to function on. we're also trying to see if this improves difficult child 3's anxiety.

    So there is always flexibility, always the chance to fiddle this or that to try to help.

    difficult child 3 is going to keep working on his Maths extension work over our Christmas break (which goes until the end of January) so we can actively test any changes due to the Strattera. We test his ability to concentrate, with Maths, and with computer games. I might even get difficult child 3 to draw up a spreadsheet with the various options and to give himself a score out of ten for Maths functioning, and game functioning, every day. Fifteen minutes' working is all we need to get a measure.

    Here is one good way to harness the obsessionality, the meticulous data recording and the need for routine.

    Marg
     
  10. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    You guys are wonderful!!!:D I read more useful information in the last 15min than I have gathered throughout the internet! Here are some of cole's signs also so you can see why I am at such a crossroads as to what I think his diagnosis might be.

    *Cuddles with me/afraid of strangers
    *will look at you but looks away a lot when you are talking to him esp. when i am trying to correct him
    *will run away in store if not in cart
    *Stays on the same subject even if you are trying to change it(he was stuck on spongebob talking w the psychiatric)
    *speaks well and will pick up phrases heard anywhere
    *he doesnt identify anyone as his "friend"
    *will initiate some play but prefers to play by himself
    *obsession with vaccuum at around 18mo-3 1/2
    *gets "stuck" sometimes when trying to say a sentence so he starts over at the beginning every time
    *could identify some shapes, letters, numbers, his name
    *he could not draw any of these onto paper ~ all shapes looked the same
    *can dress himself but needs help with coat & small buttons
    *rages are improved with gluten free/low sugar diet
    *can go into a rage for an hour or more esp. if he is tired
    *can not get him to sleep at night easily
    *does become violent while raging and his eyes glass over
    *will repeat "I want a snack" over and over until he gets one (also does this with other things) like a broken record

    Those are a few I could remember from our session. However, I have no idea how he did when she was testing him for the hour. If you can think of anything else important with aspergers PLEASE list it!! Thank you so very much!!!!:D
     
  11. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Okay I went to brainchild and took the questionarre(Thank you Marguerite!!!). My results were moderate Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), but when i went back over and changed a few of my answers he came up as Mild Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (went down 3 points). So would this fit into the Aspergers category??
     
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Egads, Terry. Actually your boy sounds more Aspie than mine...lol.

    LOL! Could be!

    he no longer rages for any reason. Ever. Ever. Ever.

    Yaaay! Woo hoo! I am waiting for that here.


    About answer the psychiatrist "Do you hear voices in your head" he said, "I do hear voices in my head. You just talked, and I heard your voice." Literal thinking.

    Aaaargh!!!


    Many just don't know a whole lot about high functioning autism and can mistake it for ADHD or bipolar. Then you have a real mess on your hands when the kids are not given the right school interventions and are put on heavy duty drugs that they don't need.
    Just a vent :)


    I agree.
     
  13. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    At age 4 it often is tough to nail down a diagnosis of AS vs. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). If he's on the spectrum (or even in the neighborhood) a good diagnostician can help give you a working diagnosis that will gain services and insurance coverage for therapies. By working diagnosis, I mean that it might be adjusted somewhat at a later age but that's okay because you have enough to go with.

    Does he (or did he ever) line up toys or other household objects into straight lines or formation?
     
  14. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    The other night he was "playing store" which consisted of lining a bunch of toys up on the bed. I have seen him drive his cars around outside also though when he is playing by himself. He is definitly destructive with his toys and he still chews on the kids toys and DVD's which drives his older brother UP THE WALL!!!;)
     
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ah, yes, FFC. I forgot about the repetition and persistance. A big one.
    "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom." He can stand at the top of the stairs and repeat himself for 1/2 hr. I'll be working in the kitchen and can hear him. I used to run at the first call, but I'm trying to train him to wait. Quietly. :)

    Yes, it is very subjective. The other thing is, these kids know enough to fib during direct questioning, which skews the answers and makes them appear more functional in certain areas.

    Oh, in regard to eye contact when under stress, my dogs always look away when they're being disciplined. They don't just avert their eyes, they turn their entire heads away. When difficult child was 3 or 4, he picked up their habit. I thought it was very funny. He would literally turn his head away, and sometimes walk over and face the wall. Of course, we didn't notice that it fit into a pattern. Armchair quarterbacking is always easier ...
     
  16. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Terry the repetition can almost drive me insane!! lol Especially when I am feeding the baby and can't stop right then!! AHHHHH!:D All i hear is....

    "I want a snack, I want a snack, I want a snack, I want a snack...."

    I am glad she did the extensive testing so that he doesnt get the bipolar diagnosis right away because of the family hx. He just doesnt seem to quite fit the bipolar diagnosis but I am unsure how she will see it when I go back next month to get the results. I have definitly started leaning towards some form of PPD after researching both of them extensively. I know not everyone has all the symptoms of a particular disorder, but he was actually very quiet as a baby and not colicky at all. If we took him to a restaurant he would just stare at everyone and was really good. He didnt start tantrums until he started trying to communicate with us at abt. 18months. He also would not respond to pain hardly at all as a baby and it still has to be a really good boo boo to get him to cry.

    I know you cant help me diagnosis since your not doctors, but....:D

    What do you guys objectively think after seeing all his symptoms/signs??
     
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Yup. Sounds like it to me. Of course, we can't diagnose our kids for ourselves, you need a suitable professional to do that, but if I were buying lottery tickets, I'd put big bucks on this one.

    Mild Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or moderate Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - you might do the test again in a few years time and find the score slightly different. No worries.

    The thing we often forget - we all are part of the spectrum of humanity. What is "normal" anyway? If you go back through old medical texts from 100 years ago you will find some very odd conditions such as hysteria (listed in my herbal under "Diseases of Women") and nocturnal emission (listed under "Urogenitary Diseases"). There are other things listed as "Diseases" which are now considered normal occurrences.

    My point is, a lot of what you describe and what we experience with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids, is normal at some stage of a child's development. The issue here is a matter of extremes, both in degree and for how long it continues. It DOES change as they get older. You will have noticed a section for "resolved" in the questionnaire. These days we tick a lot more "resolved" boxes than we used to and as a result, difficult child 3's Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) score is lower.

    Most of what you describe, if not all, is very familiar to me.

    *Cuddles with me/afraid of strangers
    The cuddling me especially when other people are around - that was difficult child 1, rather than difficult child 3.

    *will look at you but looks away a lot when you are talking to him esp. when i am trying to correct him
    Sometimes they need to do this in order to concentrate better on what you are saying. It varies from kid to kid, but often they find the visual input plus auditory input just too much overall. Being stressed reduces their ability to cope, and this means that a child who MAY be able to make eye contact while listening to you, needs to look away in order to concentrate better on what you're saying.

    *will run away in store if not in cart
    This may not be running away, so much as getting distracted or seeing something he wants to look at. Interesting when you say he likes to play shop and then lines up his toys. This would fit with mild Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), in that he is playing an imagination game (unusual) but using it primarily as an excuse to line up toys (which is what Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids love to do)

    *Stays on the same subject even if you are trying to change it(he was stuck on spongebob talking w the psychiatric)
    Oh yes! I know this one! It's perseveration, being obsesed with a particular topic. I'm sorry, but this one is particularly difficult to shift and will take a lot more brain maturity for him to be able to politely listen to topics he's not interested in. The rules of conversation and changing topic are quite socially advanced and do not come naturally. You need to take time over years and patiently instruct him.

    *speaks well and will pick up phrases heard anywhere
    This is part of a very advanced coping strategy. He sounds a lot like difficult child 3 in that he craves to be 'normal' (which means he feels that he isn't, even if he doesn't know why he feels different). Part of being 'normal' is using the same terms, phrases etc. All kids do this to a certain extent. The really bright ones take very little exposure/repetition before they've "got it". Memorising these phrases is the first step. Using these phrases is the second step. Using them appropriately is the third.

    *he doesnt identify anyone as his "friend"
    That is sad, but not unusual. The other possibility is a kid who identifiesEVERYONE as his friend. What used to happen with difficult child 3 at school - kids would beat him up, then just as difficult child 3 was going to tell the teacher what happened, these kids would suddenly say to difficult child 3, "I want Occupational Therapist (OT) be yourfriend." And difficult child 3 would swallow this line and refuse to tell the teacher who hit him, because they were now friends. Of course, the 'friendship' only lasted long enough for the teacher to decide not to intervene. difficult child 3 did learn in time that such kids are lying, but as he has learnt to not lie (he is so bad at it, he always got caught) then he can't understand kids who DO lie.

    *will initiate some play but prefers to play by himself
    It's safer to play by yourself, especially when friends don't understand the rules as well as you do.

    *obsession with vaccuum at around 18mo-3 1/2
    Obsession with all sorts of things, often quite unusual things, is common in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).

    *gets "stuck" sometimes when trying to say a sentence so he starts over at the beginning every time
    difficult child 3 does this. So does his father. even easy child 2/difficult child 2 does it a bit. It's called "speech dysfluency" and stammering is another form of speech dysfluency. Interestingly, difficult child 3 does it with his piano playing too - he would get stuck at a point in the music and keep playing the same note until he got unstuck; or instead, go back to the beginning of the musical 'phrase' and start over. And make the same mistake and go back. Over and over.

    *could identify some shapes, letters, numbers, his name
    That sounds like possibly hyperlexia. My own feeling on this is that hyperlexia is one manifestation of high-functioning autism (I include Asperger's under that umbrella)

    *he could not draw any of these onto paper ~ all shapes looked the same
    Check his joints, especially his hands. What sort of pencil grip does he have? Is it what is called the immature, or palmar grasp? In other words, does he grip the pencil as if it were a rod in his hand? Or does he hold it in the more mature pincer grip, using thumb and two fingers? How does he hold his spoon? A fork? A knife? Encourage him to use a pincer grip then look at the tips of his fingers. Do they bend back past the 180 degrees? If so, then he will have poor control and also it probably gets very painful very quickly, as soon as he tries to exert any force (as in cutting his food, or writing/drawing). An Occupational Therapy assessment would then be a good idea. There are things you can do to help him. First one - teach him how to use a computer keyboard. They're never too young. difficult child 3 was using a computer before he was 12 months old. Second - consider teaching him piano, which requires him to learn to curl his fingers inwards at the tips. It can help overcome some amount of hypermobility.

    *can dress himself but needs help with coat & small buttons
    see above answer re possible hypermobility. There appears to be a subset of high-functioning autistics and Aspies who have hypermobile joints. A number of difficult child 3's drama classmates have hypermobility as well as some form of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).

    *rages are improved with gluten free/low sugar diet
    Not unusual. You need to consider other possibilities, including what else he could be getting along with the sugar. Caffeine, for example, which turned out to be the problem for my three younger kids.

    *can go into a rage for an hour or more esp. if he is tired
    That's normal for most kids, worse for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids because they have to concentrate so hard in order to cope, that as soon as ANYTHING interferes with their ability to cope, their frustration goes trough the roof. the raging is generally due to frustration. See Ross Greene's "Explosive Child" book for some really good skills and understanding. It's brilliant for this.

    *can not get him to sleep at night easily
    Is he on any medications? Stimulants can make this worse, it could indicate a need for a lower dose. If he's not on stims yet but they have been suggested, don't panic. They may not make him any worse (didn't with mine). In fact, what CAN happen, is stims can make it possible for them to focus better (if they have an ADHD component to their Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) which does happen). When the focus better, they expend a lot of mental energy on something satisfying to them but they DO find themselves getting cranky and irritable, so often they sleep more. Not always, though. But you do have to watch both physical fatigue and mental fatigue, and to recognise that your child may be getting mentally fatigued for things that you find very easy to handle. They're not necessarily easy for him.

    *does become violent while raging and his eyes glass over
    This is a tricky one. Becoming violent when raging - yep, that is normal. "Eyes glassing over" - that can happen with extreme rage, it can happen with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids who "lose it" but it is VERY subjective. Often when we fear our own kids, we add our own fears to what we see. It could be nothing more than a kid who is so angry, he has 'forgotten' to look away, his rage is overcoming his usual reticence about eye contact. And yes, they do get that angry. Try to remember back to your own childhood, dredge up as many memories as you can. Remember how you felt on a bad day; remember how you felt on a good day. Was there ever a time when you felt as bad as he does? Why? And looking back, does it all seem so silly now? Or do you still remember the hurt and betrayal? Or can you see it with both sets of eyes - the child you were and the adult you now are?

    *will repeat "I want a snack" over and over until he gets one (also does this with other things) like a broken record

    Part of the reason he does this, is because it works. The other reason he does this, is because for him at the moment, it's the easiest way. he is prepared to put up with the negative consequences, because he really doesn't know any other way well enough. You need to rehearse him in the right way to request something, which also includes either waiting until you are ready, or learning to be talked through getting it for himself. You need to not get angry, you need to stay calm and say to him (repeatedly, if necessary), "I am busy doing X now, I will get it for you when I am finished. That will be in Y minutes." Encourage him to look at the clock or to use a timer. A little sand egg timer is good for this - assuming he won't keep playing with it to watch the sand fall. Or you could both make a sand timer, using drink bottles glued together or disposable takeaway plastic food containers.

    About those disposable takeaway food containers, here is a great craft project for you to do with/for your Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) child. You get a stack of these containers with matching lids. Use round containers if you can, they're easier for this. You then get some coins and arrange every type of coin in your currency, from smallest to largest. Draw around these coins on the lids, except for the largest. You need one container plus lid for each coin type.

    Now cut holes through the lids to match the coins (except for the largest coin). Cut off the bases of the containers. Now arrange these containers, with lids, in order of smallest to largest holes in lids. Put smallest on the bottom. Tape the containers together so they form one cylinder.
    Now in the top lid (not cut yet) you make a slit big enough for ALL coins to go in. Your top container should be your biggest one.

    Now to use this - it's a Coin Sorter - you pour ALL your change into the top container, hold the entire assembly carefully, and shake. All the coins should sort themselves out and fall through to the correct level. You should be able to then take them apart and collect your sorted coins. To take them apart safely - tip it onto its side carefully.

    Maybe play with the design until you find ways to make this work the way you want it to. You could do it by leaving the bases on, cutting the coin holes in the bases and not bothering about any lids but the top one. Then nest the containers, just make sure you have enough room between them for the coins.

    If you have a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid, they will love this. If your child is high-functioning, he will probably play with the design himself to get it how he wants. Encourage this inventiveness and creativity; this is where your child's career lies, in lateral thinking, creativity, invention and detail.

    You may as well start now to go with the flow.

    Marg
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You have gotten GREAT descriptions of Aspergers here. I can't add much more, except to recommend you take a look at books written by Tony Attwood. He is the top researcher/doctor for Aspergers, in my opinion. At least his books are the best ones I have yet to read.

    There CAN be a link to gluten and milk products. SOME children improve on gluten free &/or casein free diets. There are quite a number of books about this - and a number of people on the Natural Treatment forum can help explain it.

    My son didn't improve on the girlfriend/CF diet, or any elimination diet. He DID improve when we took as much of the artificial coloring/preservatives out of his diet. I have some AWESOME books on making your own mixes and convenience foods. It eliminates a whole lot of things that can cause problems AND it is less expensive than buying the mixes most of the time. IF you have any interest in this I can send you the titles, even a recipe or 2 to try out.

    The one thing I really think we missed the boat on with Wiz was the sensory problems. Quite a lot of the things we did sort of automatically with him because we followed his lead on almost anything that didn't really "matter". Like matching socks, socks inside out, even not wearing socks.

    But I wish we had gotten a full Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation (I didn't even know what one WAS until thank you was about 3 and Wiz was 11) at a very young age. I see how the brushing therapy, and just being AWARE of the sensory stuff has helped thank you and I really think that Wiz would have had a much easier time if we had known more.

    For one thing, until RIGHT NOW reading Marg's post I didn't know your fingers were not supposed to bend past 180 degrees. Mine always have, and all the kids' do. I thought EVERYONE's joints did that. I did learn in college that your knees are not supposed to bend past 180 degrees when you straighten them. Really freaked out a physical therapy student when she noticed it. It is one reason I have hip and knee problems.

    Whatever evaluations you have, remember, these labels don't change your son. They just try to describe him. He is still your baby, your little boy. And the labels may change quite a lot over the years. What matters is that he is still the same little boy, and you are the same parent. Just a bit more informed.

    And if a diagnosis or treatment just "feels wrong" to you, or you have a bad feeling about it - lookfor something else. because we spend huge amounts of time with our kids (as moms we even get 100% of their time for nine months - time NO ONE else gets with them), we are the "experts" in our kids. docs and professionals are "experts" in their fields of study - but NOT in our kids. So pay attention to your instincts. Usually, say 99.9% of the time you won't regret it.

    Hugs.
     
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Our neuropsychologist includes Aspergers as a spectrum disorder. My son has been diagnosed as both Aspergers and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. I use Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified because he gets more interventions and he did have a speech delay. Actually, he would echo:

    "What's your name?"
    "Name." (He knew his name)
    "Can you get your coat?"
    "Coat! Coat! Coat" (while getting it)
    He also had that persistent Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) nagging. And he will not SHUT UP once he gets something into his head that he wants to do. When he was younger it was MUCH WORSE and highly embarassing when we were with friends. He seemed like a spoiled brat who wouldn't let go until he got his way. And back then we didn't have the right diagnosis. I just knew he was "different." I think it's all just part of that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) obsessing. They can't transition thinking so they lock onto a thought and can't get out of it. This would trigger rages! He is better now. But he could badger us about, say, taking him to his favorite place, Chuck E. Cheese, for hours on end and throw a fit if we said no. And nothing would stop him from asking, even if we made him go to his room, he'd still be yelling about Chuck E. Cheese. The only thing that got him off topic, really, was to take him! And god help us if we promised to take him and the car wouldn't start. That wouldn't stop him from crying and repeating, "I want to go to Chuck E. Cheese" until I wanted to bang my head against the wall and knock myself out just so that I wouldn't hear it anymore.
     
  20. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Thank you for all the information folks.
     
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