(Sorry, long) Any thought appreciated
01/11/07 12:13 PM
My son is 4, he will be 5 in April. He's outgoing, friendly, and always seems to want to meet everyone. I had him home with me most of his life until he started preschool this year. He'd briefly been in daycare but he clashed with the woman's son. The other kids there were mostly babies. Any time we observed him with children he seemed fine, if not over-eager and a bit "pushy" but we wrote that off as being over-eager for friends due to the isolation of
being an only child.
The daycare provider observed some issues, and we took them to the pediatrician. Often playing alone, not interested in projects and coloring, and he said at the time "wait, and see."
Now, in school, the problems are worse. Things we dismissed as "he'll get it once he's around other kids" are not shaping up as we'd hoped, and in fact, things are getting worse. We wonder what we are dealing with, and for me, a lot of this is looking awfully familiar.
He refuses to use eating utensils despite constant reminders and reprimands, for years this has been ongoing.
He clings to routine and fights change. Examples: the pacifier went on to almost 4 years of age, sippy cups are still necessary because he cannot drink without playing in his drink - seeing the liquid seems to distract him from drinking, and he finally potty trained last summer, but continues to use diapers at bedtime and when he just can't concentrate enough to remember to pee and poop in the toilet (sick, overly upset).
Collects the printed directions that come with everything - beanie babies, cars, anything he can
acquire – the IKEA computer desk is a good example of something he understood how to put together better than the adults, but it takes no expert to call his obsession with collecting directions o.c.d.
Collects maps and reads them ably – I recall the time he found his backup daycare center in on a map of our city the first time he looked at it.
Collects rocks and cars. Itself, this isn't unique, I guess.
Has temper tantrums that exhaust him. Again, I guess not unique.
Enjoys saying repetitive words and phrases. Not unique, just seems like he should have outgrown it by now.
Eats the same few foods over and over again. Will not try new ones. Had issues with dairy digestion but seems to have overcome that and now can drink milk and eat cheese without stomach problems.
Seems to lack understanding of cues (physical and verbal) from other kids when they’ve had enough, or when they’d prefer he stop a behavior, when they cry due to something he’s done, etc. He “turns them off.” Shows no sign that he cares, understands or reciprocates with other children.
Erupts with loud, angry outbursts when playing games if he loses or if another person makes any effort to win.
Has absolutely no concept or understanding of sharing, fair play, “one-for-me, one-for-you.” Then he complains that other kids don’t like him. It is of course something he's been asked to do with friends and with parents as a way of teaching him how to behave properly, but he simply does not "get it."
Will not willingly color pictures or do art-related projects. Gets into trouble at school for not coloring, just scribbling. Uses only one color.
Loves the computer and does very well on it, even on programs requiring math and verbal skills.
Operates a computer and other electronics very expertly at the technical end of things.
His verbal language skills are wonderful and he has a large vocabulary, but he is very literal and is a parrot and will repeat exactly what he is told or overhears.
He never admits what he is thinking, or why he does anything, if he even knows the answer himself. I tend to advocate for him that when he says "nothing" or "I don't know" it is probably the truth. Will not talk about his day at school, says he does not remember what happened, what he did at school, and does not recount any stories or past occurrences when asked.
We believe he can read some words but he will not admit it, yet when we don’t want him to know what’s on the paper, he knows somehow. He spends a lot of time looking at his books. I'm not sure he understands them, but he can read them.
Yells at his teacher, calls her a liar. He gets very, very angry with her, but I believe maybe she's very strict and a "demander" and this doesn't work well with him, and so she might "set it off." He often speaks to parents as equals. Thinks he is the boss. He does not understand his status as the child. He sort of thinks of himself as superior somehow. If you ask him who is the boss, he responds (with no trace of sarcasm) "I am."
He does not like to sleep alone, he often cries to sleep with us. We normally will make him sleep in his bed. OK, sometimes I let him climb into our bed.
He gags when crying or upset, and can actually make himself vomit. He does this at school a lot.
He refuses to follow rules at school, and discipline and punishment seems to not affect him. He seems to respond only to rewards or loss of things like TV or DVD’s. We find he has to feel like he’s getting something or losing something for punishment to be effective.
He refuses to use facial tissues on his nose and wipe himself when he has a bowel movement, despite the fact that he does get sore from not keeping his backside clean. The facial tissue problem is causing major issues at school for him. (He attends a small parochial preschool. We already know we will place him in a public school kindergarten next year.)
Has no desire to keep trying something once he’s failed. “You do it!” Or “I don’t want to.”
He gets “stuck” on one thing if you try to tell him too many things at once. He cannot follow multiple instructions, ideas, rules, etc. A classic "One-Track Mind."
He doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything – strangers, cars, traffic, anything. He doesn’t seem to have any sense of danger or fear of the world, of getting lost, or hurt. The only fear I've detected seems to be the a fear of the dark, and of sleeping alone.
Even as a baby he was not very affectionate. He used to push away from anyone who paused to touch or hug him for more than a split-second. He had to be taught to be physically affectionate, or to tolerate hugs and kisses. His nature from birth was to avoid physical contact.
Robbie has a particular physical “tic” when he is over-stimulated, he places his hands over his cheeks in a specific way and makes stress-face. I have film of it. He's done this since birth. Less now, but still daily. Teacher mentions it a lot. Very noticable, kids sometime ask me what's wrong with him when he does it. It's like an involuntary thing. Very difficult to explain unless you see him do it.
Robbie “lectures” and often does not respond when spoken to, rather his spoken “response” has nothing to do with what you are saying to him or asking him, giving one the impression he isn’t listening at all to the person speaking to him, rather one has the impression that he has his own “inner dialogue.” Often an adult can interpret this behavior to mean Robbie is
avoiding discussing something, but I’ve seen him do this in situations where there is nothing
uncomfortable being discussed at all. It is also something his grandfather (my dad) does consistently.
He appears to become physically ill at the sight/smell of raw meat, especially raw red meat or organ meat. Fish does not seem to be a problem; he has even handled raw, dead fish with no problem. He does not seem to be upset at the idea of meat being dead animals. It's a smell or sight issue more than anything else, I suspect. He's very sensitive to sight and smell.
Certain sounds bother him if they are loud, the blender is one, and if he knows a bothersome sound is coming, he'll run a distance away, cover his ears and "brace" for it. When a repairman came to the house once, he went into his room and closed the door - which is very unusual for this very curious child who is usually right in the face of anyone doing any kind of construction, installation or repair work. But this man used a saw on metal, which created a high-pitched sound that drove Robbie out. I found him cringing in bed under the covers with a pillow over his head after the man left the house. (Hot water heater installation, man had to saw pipes to custom-fit.)
Robbie talks excessively. When he talks he has a good vocabulary, but sometimes the words are strung together strangely. For example, “Yes, I don’t.”
Many of these behaviors and difficulties Robbie exhibits were also exhibited by me as a child, leading me to believe whatever this is, it also affected me as a child, and to a degree still does especially in occupational settings, where it’s hard to socialize and read people and takes a lot of effort at putting forth “normal” social behavior that does not come naturally. I feel that I know how Robbie thinks and feels and that he truly is confused by what the teacher wants from him and that there is definitely something wrong, and that it is genetic in the family on my side, since it’s evident in at least the four generations that I have known. In fact, I was reading a lot of books about Narcissistic disorders, and I was starting to think that this was it. Now, I'm starting to suspect Asperger's and maybe also dyspraxia. We are making an appt to have him evaluated through the school system. Medical insurance won't cover it. My sister in law said "Don't let the school system evaluate him, they'll label him!" But at this point, does that even matter? Doesn't the child just need help? And the way things are going, I think one way or the other he's going to be "labeled" anyway. I expect no support from the extended family because whatever the "experts" say they'll poo-poo it and say "he's fine!"
This is a lot, I know. Any thoughts, insights, advice? Anything at all, please?
Thank you in advance.