Hi folks (new user here) - My 3.5 year old son never seemed to fit the mold. All of the childrearing books we've read, websites I've looked at, professionals we've talked to, etc, never seem to apply for the combination of issues we see with him. Perhaps some of you have thoughts about how we can help him? 1. Ever since he was born, he was extremely attention-needy. He's slowly improving in this regard (baby steps, which is great!) but compared to any other kid his age around, he seems to need dramatically more attention from us or he shuts down. We've tried suggestions we've found such as "give him focused attention for 15 minutes a day" or some such, but doing that sort of thing actually makes the problem worse. When we give him focused attention (especially on days when he's home because he's sick, for example), his expectation levels increase. 2. He doesn't interact much at all with peers. He has a younger sister that he's crazy about, and he actually does ok these days playing with older kids (junior high and up, I suppose) that he knows really well; but he won't interact with his peers at all. It was actually a significant daycare challenge for us when we started him at 2.5; we had to remove him from an exceedingly well-respected local daycare center (all of our friends and co-workers love it) and put him in a small home care, because he just wouldn't socialize with any of the rest of the kids. He just stayed on his own there and cried. We have a weekly play group that we take him to, with friends of ours and their kids; after a year and a half of doing this, he still refuses to sit at the "kids table" with the other kids to eat. He knows the other kids by name, but avoids them. 3. Disciplining him is a major challenge. He's not a mean kid, or anything like that, but he pushes us as any preschooler might. The challenge is that he responds to very little from a discipline perspective. The best technique we've found after much reading and trial and error is the "Magic 1 2 3" sort of thing where we count him when he's acting out, and punish him if we get to 3. The main challenge is coming up with something to impose that works. Time-outs don't work on him: he likes playing in his room, and refuses to sit in the corner. At times, we'll strap him into a booster seat as the only technique we can think of to keep him in place for something resembling a time-out. I sometimes wonder if there's a practical distinction between strapping him down while he's screaming (which we sometimes need to do, it seems) and spanking him (which we don't do). We sometimes have marginally better luck with taking away privileges; we'll impose an early bedtime, or remove books before bed, or something like that, but that is typically not an immediate response, which goes against common wisdom. If he runs away from us outdoors (which is somewhat common), we're generally thoroughly perplexed as to what to do. One local educator suggested: "hold his hand whenever you're outside; it stops it, and he won't like it and he'll learn." The problem is he LOVES attention, and it doesn't help. It seems that he's old enough to learn to not do this sort of thing, but we can't figure out for the life of us how to teach him, especially when we're managing a younger child at the same time. 4. He does very poorly with being left with others. He's improving dramatically, which is good, but only with people he knows well. Getting babysitters is a massive undertaking for us. So... we're exhausted. We've got a loving, smart, needy son that demands much of our attention (and we've got a younger daughter, no less!). He thoroughly doesn't interact with peers, it is extremely difficult to find something that changes his behavior, and he is hard to leave with others to give us a break! We did have him screened by a local professional, who indicated that he did not have Asperger's. In fact, our dear son chose that moment in the screening to ham everything up, played with toys enthusiastically, and joked with the therapist. The therapist indicated that our son had no trouble making eye contact, and engaged with him plenty. Of course, we were in the room... Also, if I look at web pages that describe Asperger's, none of the other symptoms seem to apply. Just the social one. The main suggestions the therapist had for us was "Magic 123" (ok, we're doing that), and to slowly expose him to playing with other kids as we could within his comfort levels so as not to overload him. The main problem we have there is that it's actually hard to achieve; apart from our one fixed weekly play group with established friends, we can't succeed at forming other relationships for him to get playdates. After one visit where he ignores the other kids, other parents lose interest. He isn't fun around other kids. We try our best to do local activities (library games, that sort of thing), which he does, but again, he doesn't really engage with others. He's only 3.5, so things may improve as he ages; but at this point, we're actually worried about his readiness for school when the time comes. We suspect we'll be waiting an extra year for kindergarten. We know that he's bored right now in his home daycare; but he won't engage in any kind of preschool or group daycare setting. As such, it's impossible for us to imagine him sitting in a group and participating in any kind of activity with other kids, especially without us around. We're trying to work with the locals pros, but does anyone here have any ideas what's going on with him, and how we might help?