Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders



Aspergers Symptoms in Infants, Toddlers, and Older Children

Aspergers, considered to be a mild form of autism, consists of problems with socializing and communication with others. While the average age of diagnosis of Aspergers in kids is around age 7 to 9, recent research regarding early warnings signs may enable clinicians to diagnosis prior to 12 months.

Aspergers Symptoms in Infants—

Many infants and toddlers exhibit signs or symptoms of Aspergers from time to time; however, this may reflect normal youngster behavior. Failure to meet expected developmental milestones doesn’t necessarily reflect a symptom of Aspergers. With these facts in mind, symptoms of Aspergers may be detected in infancy.

• Early Signs— Kids generally attain certain developmental milestones within the first year of life. Some of these include unassisted standing, crawling, and simple gestures, including waving. Some kids with Aspergers fail to attain these milestones within the first year, potentially serving as an early warning sign. Within the first several months of life, an infant with Aspergers may fail to interact appropriately with his environment. These infants may avoid eye contact and interactions, prefer solitude, and avoid attention and affection. Later in infancy, some kids with Aspergers may show problems reacting with activities and objects. These kids may over react or fail to react at all. Initial signs of repetitive behaviors may emerge at this time as well, such as rocking.

• Abnormal Non-Verbal Communication— Babies with Aspergers might exhibit abnormal methods of non-verbal communication. Normally, a youngster will look another person in the eye and have appropriate facial expressions or exhibit predictable body postures or gestures. Infants will not look at people speaking to them or react to auditory stimuli. They will have subdued facial expressions. Body posture, or body language, will be noticeably abnormal in babies with the disorder.

• Lack of Social Skills— A problem with the development of social skills is one of the most common symptoms of Aspergers. This manifests as an inability to communicate properly with others. Infants and toddlers will exhibit this symptom by showing delays in social development. Babies may not exhibit a social smile until much later on in their life. Infants may totally ignore the voices of the moms and dads or strangers, or conversely cry and become irritable when confronted with any form of social contact. As the youngster ages, the lack of normal social skills becomes more apparent.

• Language Development— A key difference between autism and Aspergers is the normal development of language found in kids with Aspergers. By 12 months, a youngster should begin saying single words, including kids with Aspergers. The Aspergers child’s first words are often unusual despite reaching this developmental milestone. More complex words, such as "mountain" or "sheetrock" tend to emerge before simpler words, such as "Mama" or "Dada."

• Obsession with Complex Topics— Young kids with Aspergers may become obsessed with complex topics, such as intricate patterns or music. Toddlers will become enraptured by a stylized pattern on a fabric or in a book. Babies may also listen to music that would typically be ignored by a normal youngster. This obsession becomes more apparent as the youngster ages. These children may be unable to focus on any other aspect of the environment once they notice the object of their obsession. Behavioral conditioning will be necessary to help alleviate this symptom.

• Poor Coordination— Uncoordinated movements are a common symptom in Aspergers. Kids may be seen moving clumsily and be unable to coordinate movements of the hands or feet. They might exhibit an odd posture or have a stiff, rigid gait. Infants may show a delay in learning how to crawl or walk, and may also exhibit a delay in fine motor movements, such as grasping an object.

• Reflex Abnormalities— Infants with Aspergers appear to demonstrate abnormal reflexes versus normal kids. Kids with Aspergers tend to exhibit a persistence of the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex beyond their fourth month of life, when the reflex generally disappears. When infants 4 months and older without Aspergers roll over, they turn in the same direction as their head is facing. Asymmetrical tonic neck reflex is the opposite of this; the infant turns over in the opposite direction to where the head is facing. Kids with Aspergers in general continue to show other reflexes that disappear in other kids at the same age. Additionally, they may lack reflexes that should develop by a certain age, such as the head-verticalization reflex at 6 to 8 months. An infant who has developed this reflex will maintain his head in a vertical position when his body is tilted. Infants with Aspergers show delays in this reflex; their heads will tilt along with their bodies. Detection of these reflex problems in infants requires assessment by professionals trained in special techniques.

• Intervention— Detecting Aspergers is crucial in improving the long-term outcomes for these kids. Prevention of later life problems, such as mental illness, social illness, and underemployment, may be avoided with early intervention. Therefore, knowledge of early symptoms of Aspergers disorder in infants remains paramount in mitigating outcomes for these kids.

Aspergers Symptoms in Toddlers—

Toddlers (approximately ages 1 to 4), may not show specific symptoms, but certain behavioral abnormalities may be noted.

• Communication— Unlike toddlers with autism, a toddler with Aspergers generally does not experience difficulties in language development and speech. Vocabulary is often advanced in toddlers with Aspergers, though as language develops, moms and dads may notice that the youngster has difficulty properly using their vocabulary. Toddlers may talk incessantly about one subject, without acknowledging the listener.

• Delayed Concept of Joint Attention— The idea of joint attention is the rather abstract concept that two individuals (e.g., the toddler and his parent) can be focused on the same thing. An example of joint attention is looking at a picture in a book together. A toddler with Aspergers may have a hard time getting this concept.

• Delayed Pointing— One of the developmental milestones of the first year of life is to be able to point to a desired object. By one year of age, a youngster will probably be pointing to objects that interest him. However, a toddler with Aspergers may not reach this milestone until later.

• Delayed Use of Gestures— Actions such as waving or giving a toy when asked seem like simple tasks. However, to a youngster with Aspergers, these simple gestures may not occur "on schedule" and may instead be delayed. This is because such gestures involve interaction between the youngster and another individual; such social interactions are difficult for the youngster with Aspergers.

• Motor Skills— Problems with motor skills are a common symptom of Aspergers. Delayed learning in playing catch, potty training, learning to ride a bike or walking on tip toes are usually noticeable in kids by the age of 3. Their movement may be described as clumsy or uncoordinated. While symptoms are sometimes noticeable as early as infancy, many moms and dads sense something different about a youngster with Aspergers by the youngster's 3rd birthday. In some cases, early language skills are retained, but the lag in motor development may be the first sign that something is different than "typical" 3-year-old behavior.

• Nonverbal Communication— Abnormalities in nonverbal communication are often apparent in kids with this condition. A lack of eye contact may occur accompanied by limited facial expressions which correspond with words the toddler is speaking. The youngster may also exhibit unusual body movements and gestures.

• Preoccupation— One of the most apparent symptoms of Aspergers in toddlers is their intense interest in a single topic, such as trains or maps. Kids with Aspergers want to know and spend a lot of time trying to learn about their hobby or interest, and they may use an advanced vocabulary and exhibit a high level of expertise on the subject. Some Aspergers toddlers need to establish rigid repetition and routine in their daily activities.

• Reading— Toddlers with Aspergers are often not diagnosed until later in childhood as they sometimes learn to read very early. The perceived advancement overshadows the fact that the youngster with Aspergers often cannot comprehend the words he is reading.

• Repetitive Behaviors— Repetitive interests and behaviors are defining components of the diagnosis of Aspergers. However, repetitive interests are actually quite normal in toddlers. While it is very difficult to determine with such young kids, some signs that behaviors and interests have crossed the line from "normal toddler who loves trucks" to "concerning toddler who seems too wrapped up in trucks" may be noted. These include a very specific interest (e.g., not just "trucks" but "the front bumper of trucks"); an interest that is unusual compared to his peers (e.g., a 3-year-old who intensely focuses on brooms); and an inability to shift focus from the area of interest to other things.

• Sensitivity to Stimuli— Some toddlers with Apsergers will have an unusual sensitivity to loud sounds or lights. They may also be bothered by other physical stimuli (e.g., they may be sensitive to the way certain clothing or material feels or need their socks to be on their feet in a particular way).

• Social Difficulties— Toddler’s with Aspergers usually have difficulty in social situations, such as when playing with other kids. This could be due to delayed motor skill development causing clumsiness, notes Toddlers Today. The interests of a toddler with Aspergers tend to be very limited, causing the youngster to have a very narrow focus of activities and interests.

• Social Skills— A common aspect of Aspergers is demonstrated by poor social interactions. Toddlers with Aspergers may seem to have one-sided social interaction and limited ability to form friendships. Non-verbal behaviors are also notable in these kids (e.g., unusual facial expressions, failure to gesture, aloofness or the inability to make eye contact). These symptoms become more apparent by the age of 3, and most kids are diagnosed between the ages of 5 and 9.

• Symptoms Related to an Associated Condition— Though there is still a lot of research that must be done, it seems that certain disorders may be associated with Aspergers (i.e., kids who have Aspergers may be at higher risk for having other disorders). For example, one study found that ADHD was often seen in a population of kids with Aspergers. So a toddler with Aspergers may also show symptoms of ADHD. Other conditions that have been found in kids with Aspergers include anxiety disorder and depression.

Aspergers Symptoms in Older Children—

Kids with Aspergers have deficits in three areas: communication, physical coordination and development of a range of interests. Aspergers is an autism spectrum disorder, meaning that it is on a continuum of development disorders that includes classic autism. Most kids with Aspergers are able to function with less difficulty than those with classic autism. A set of classic symptoms define Aspergers. A youngster with Aspergers may or may not display all of the symptoms listed below.

• Clumsiness— A youngster with Aspergers may seem clumsy and drop things. He may fall easily and try to avoid physical games that his peers are playing. He may have odd, repetitious movements or walk stiffly, as though he is in pain.

• Inadequate Math Skills— The youngster with Aspergers may have inadequate math skills, but will do well in vocabulary. He may have noted deficits in his ability to learn some subjects, but will speak like an expert about another. Learning abilities may vary greatly from child to child.

• Lack of Empathy— Although a youngster with Aspergers is not mean, he may seem to be oblivious to the feelings of others. If someone's pet dies, he may not show sympathy as other kids might. He may seem to be interested in himself only, but does not purposefully do cruel things. H may seem emotionally immature for his age.

• Limited Non-Verbal Communication— A lack of eye contact when communicating is a sign of Aspergers. The youngster may have few facial expressions, and he may stare into space while speaking. He may make few gestures while speaking and adopt an odd body posture. He may not watch the facial expressions or body posture of the person who is speaking with him. The youngster with Aspergers may not seem to pick up on humor or any speech that is not direct, such as sarcasm or the use of figures of speech.

• Obsessive Interests— Another sign of Aspergers is obsessive interests. The Aspergers child may hone in on one or two topics and devote an extraordinary amount of time to studying them, looking at them or talking about them. This topic may vary, with some examples including an object, a musical score, an animal, the weather, sports history or visual patterns. He may seem uninterested in any other subjects, and most of the conversations he begins may be about his topic of interest.

• Unusual Speech— A youngster with Aspergers may have an unusual speech pattern, as though he is reading what he is saying. His voice may remind you of a robot, or he may have a monotone, as if he is depressed. His speech may seem overly formal or well thought out, instead of spontaneous. Alternatively, he may speak rapidly, without noticing that others speak more slowly.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook


Elizabeth said...

I found this to be very interesting! My daughter is 4 years old and has been diagnosed as having PDD-NOS. However, I've had a few experts mention the word Asperger's. Should I push for a diagnosis or just wait till she is older? She is already getting therapy. But the public school does not accept her diagnosis (since she is not speech delayed). So I can't get her into the special preschool. For now I am homeschooling. I am just curious if you think it is ok to wait.

I just love your blog. I learn so much from it!

K.Ann said...

I have never blogged in my life, but I am going nearly crazy trying to mak sure my 10 year old son is diagnosed correctly and not mis= or over diagnosed! He is very gifted, and it is not omly in one subject, his only weakness being processing speed, which is in "normal" range. His handwriting is horrible and he's very clumsy and awkward physically, but inelegible for OT services through school because these "do not negatively impact" his achievement, which for now is high. He has been diagnosed by docs as ADHD, has had his neurotransmitter chemicals analyzed and found (all) to be off the charts, I know he has Dabrosky's Overexcitabilities (all!), and has had a doc at KKI rule out Aspergers due to his speech. Yet he is on the verge of being diagnosed with Aspergers through tests at school (I work there and a colleague and teacher of his with experience told me she believes he has it. I have read much on gifted kids and am aware there is a very fine line between the 2 and that they of course overlap often. I will be sceduling with a neurologist. He fits SO many characteristics, yet seems to have empathy, a wide range of interests (borderline obsessive about EVERYTHING because he love to learn), and speaks with incredible tone and emotion (and volume of both types of course). He will be eligible for much needed help (socializing- with peers, not overreacting esp.)with the diagnosis, but I don't want him labeled as such if it is not so! Any words of encouragement or advice would be welcomed! I have read til my eyes and brain are numb! Thanks from a mom at wit's end

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I have a daughter of 11 who in my opinion is showing signs of Aspergers or some form of autism.

As a toddler, I found that her speech was delayed until she was at least 2 1/2 and when she did start talking, she never said obvious words like 'mama'. Her speech was inaudible as she was speaking in her own language and she needed speech therapy. She was not understood until she was 5.

Since then, I've had concerns. Her social skills have always been delayed and even now she relies on me to help her with various things even though she is 11. She finds it hard to make friends, cannot maintain eye contact with others, has various sensory problems (e.g cannot wear her hair in any other style, will not wear tights or trousers due to their feel etc). She has major anxiety and she also fails to realise when things she sees are fictional such as cartoons. She gets very upset when anything around her environment or circumstances change. Overall, she is very immature for her age and other children often call her wierd and tease her by trying to tell her that something bad is going to happen to her such as the world is going to end ( and she believes it)

Her problems have always been considered as emotional as her dad suffers from anxiety and depression and it was felt that this was affecting her emotional development. However, she has had various interactions and had tests done that revealed that she seems largely unaffected by her father's problems. This has left me considering that her symptoms are being caused by something else that she has no control over.

I have been waiting a year to get her referred for tests but no one in the medical profession seems interested. I am finding it increasingly hard to deal with my daughters behaviours and I need to find out some answers. Can anyone out there offer me any advice please??

Many thanks

Anonymous said...

hello! k ann,i am like you(sorry i speak spanish)my son has 13 and he is very gifted too,we came from Argentine this year and here in the school are sure my son has asperger,he doesnt want to speak an he doesnt look at the eyes,but this is new because my son him self has made his own asperger diag.and the school belive in all the simptoms he has now!!!i want to know if asperger can apear sudenlly at the aye of 13,because he never had those simtoms,i know my son knows all about asperger and he is doing everything to be asperger,the thing is that the school dont bealive us that he has never show those somtoms before.... thank you

Anonymous said...

I have a daughter that just turned 3. She has been exibiting signs such as rocking.saying the same thing over and over. She is not developmentaly delayed at all. She is already drawing faces with details such ae eyes ears etc. she has spacial issues at times and can be very eccentric aboout certain things..wanting things a certain way. I took her in a year ago to be assesed for autism and she wasn't delayed on anything so they sent us on our way. Its a year later and I still feel like there is something different about her..did any of your chidren have these behaviors?

Debra said...

K. Ann, I sympathize with you and completely understand that you do not want your child to be labeled when socializing with peers. I found great techniques on teaching social skills on this Youtube video.


Anonymous said...

The fact is schools are not physicians and while a teacher may have seen a kid or two with certain disorders...she/he is not an expert. Truth is, being socially awkward is a part of having ADHD. ADHD kids don't see or react to the world like other kids and this creates a barrier between the two. ADHD kids are often gifted as well. I wouldn't read so much on aspergers, I would read more about ADHD. Or talk to your kid about how having ADHD affects him emotionally. Often times these kids just take a pill and everyone thinks it fixes all problems associated with ADHD...but that is not the case. As one who studies psychology and a former ADHD child (now adult) his brain doesn't work like everyone elses, and other kids know this...I would seek a therapist who can assist him in connecting with the world.

Karly said...

My son is 7 years old and has been diagnosed with ADHD NOS with developemental delay. His doctor doesnt talk to me though, she only talks to me when we have an appointments. Recently I have been doing tons of research on ADHD and Aspergers, and I am thoroughly convinced that my son has Aspergers and not ADHD. I realize that they have similar symptoms, but there are alot of key differences. You would honestly have to spend as much time with my son as I do to see all of his quirks. If I were to turn on any random kid movie or any kid show, my son would not watch it. he would just watch bits and peices of it while running around playing with toys and talking incessantly(sp?).. adhd right? well right now he's sitting perfectly still and quietly watching a specific sesame street show that he's found on demand and loves. and NO he is not on medication right now. He only focuses on what he is interested it. by 3 years old, he could tell you the make and model on ANY car you see on the road, but could not articulate a conversation with an adult. Socially, my poor baby struggles greatly. He has completely one sided conversations, talks constantly, will only play what he wants to play and how he wants to play. He cannot play games with rules or any type of structure. one minute he will be completely gung ho about playing something with another kid, and the next thing you know, he isolates himself in his room and refuses to come out or isolates himself in a corner outside and says he just wants to play by himself. He has rigid rituals and routines in the morning and after school, its the end of the world if we have to stop somewhere after school instead of going straight home. He wakes up at 5 am every morning and watches the news, he knows what the weather will be like everyday, along with be obsessed with his calendar in his room. you can ask him what day any date falls on in the next month or so, and my son can tell you. He knows all of the moon phases and hovers over his world globe for sometimes hours. my son is on the autism spectrum, i am convinced, and i will fight for him to get the help he needs!

Okaa-san said...

I would not wait. My son is three and has just been diagnosed with aspergers. He was originally misdiagnosed at 18mo as having sensory issues, but when the original recommendations on how to deal with it failed and he started escalating, I demanded a reevaluation. It took almost two years to be heard, but finally I was. They have done EEGs, MRIs, speech testing (his speech is very formal) and other testing and the local elementary school has done their own testing with child psychologists. The determination, after months of rigorous tests, is that he most definitely has aspergers. It is best if they find the real problem as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it is to help them later on. If you even have a possible aspie, it is best for her to find out as soon as possible.
My suggestion is to get your child tested both at school and the doctor. The more opinions you have the better. It is the most commonly misdiagnosed condition that I know of and, as moms, we have to push and trust our gut to get our kids help.

In my case, it was hard for me to be heard on my son's behalf and I have a hard time making myself heard. I've always known that I might have aspergers myself, but by the time I realized it was a possiblity I had it, I felt it was too late to get help. I did not know it was a (possibly) genetic condition that I could pass on.
My son has always been exceptional to the point of abnormal and I was shocked to realize very very early in his life that I had no normal boy on my hands. He spoke his first word at 3 months. His first sentence at 6mo. For a while, everything was normal except that I had a very young baby that could talk.
Then he started to obsess... He would line up his toys, starting at 9 months, and arrange them by color and size. Over and over for hours he would do this. Then came foreign language. Japanese, Chinese, German... he learned faster than I could keep up teaching him. I was, and am, extremely proud.
At 18 months, we hit a turning point... his world seemed to crumble at the slightest change in schedule. If I made him the wrong food for lunch, he would go into screaming fits that lasted hours! (the longest fit lasted 12 hours until he finally passed out)
I thought "how did he get so spoiled?! What did I do wrong?!" But soon it was babies crying, cars starting, washing machines, bright lights, the wrong television show, trying to redirect his interests..... all would set him off. And when the fit was done? Poof! Forgotten. He didn't want to talk about it, claimed he didn't remember what had just happened, and that was that. Back to his obsessions and rituals.

Anonymous said...

U all do know they r doin away with a diagnose of "Aspergers" and going with "Autism" come 2013. Im my opinion, aspergers is a mild to moderate autism. Correct me if im wrong.

My 4 yr old son has Autism, not severe. He doesnt talk, but tries makin the sounds. He will say, "no", "baby", etc. He says a few words, but always has. Very sensitive to loudness. He plays well with other kids, but more so he does his own thing, he dont get the "relations" of playin, but will roll a ball back and forth. He gets ticked easy too. Not potty trained yet. Sleeps well. Eats like crap and eats like a year old with messes. He always always always smiles for people. He isnt afraid of adults and socializes fine. He makes weird faces from time to time.

Anonymous said...

I knew from the time my son was an infant that something was different. People just said that I was to regimented and nervous because he was my first child. He had his own internal schedule and was extremely rigid about it. If I didn't follow his little internal clock exactly he would completely melt down. He was and still is sensitive to light, sound and certain types of clothing. This is a great article for those just starting to suspect differences and questioning themselves. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

U should look up apraxia as well. My nephew is 4 and sounds exactly like ur son. They diagnosed him with apraxia and does speech 2-3 x a week and he's learning to talk. I feel he may be autistic to, but I have read that u can be autistic with apraxia. They lack the muscle control to form words

ninya.theresa said...

My son is exactly the same, I knew he was different just before he turned one. He is now 10, first got diagnosed with ADHD and just recently now as Asperger's. He has certain routines and can speak about certain things intensely and with such knowledge. Very obsessed with the weather network and the news. My issues are now with the behavior, I just had a baby and dealing with the moon swings is very challenging. They become very angry or happy easily and sometimes it is very difficult to deal with.

ninya.theresa said...

My son is exactly the same, I knew he was different just before he turned one. He is now 10, first got diagnosed with ADHD and just recently now as Asperger's. He has certain routines and can speak about certain things intensely and with such knowledge. Very obsessed with the weather network and the news. My issues are now with the behavior, I just had a baby and dealing with the moon swings is very challenging. They become very angry or happy easily and sometimes it is very difficult to deal with.

Dee said...

My son is 21now. He will stare you down! Instead of avoiding eye contact. He developed physically at a very early age. His fear of seperation was obvious from infancy. He displayed symptoms of adhd early, however this behavior was an expression of his intense anxiety. He has always shown empathy for animals, yet had to learn to recognize the pain /troubles of other humans. His sensory issues were extensive and obsessions were obvious. He still struggles with social interaction (he desires friends but finds most people uninteresting.) He is very aware of his differences and "accommodates' for them well because he has learned to relate to this alien world on their terms. Living in this world is a learned behavior rather than innate. He speaks in a monotone voice yet knows to change his tone and speak up when necessary for a social interaction like a job interview. Maturity has helped him to "wear the collared shirt "for an interview, although it is an internal struggle. If I were to leave one message for parents of children with aspergers, I would say that it is crucial to ALWAYS give them a "heads up "for any transition, avoid the word "no "like the plague and allow them to make "choices,"putting them in "control "as often as possible, love them unconditionally, and let them know they can always count on you for understanding of their special needs. My son said last year, "Mom, I say I love you, but I don't feel it. "This made him feel horrible. I responded to him with the following :"son, it isn't that you don't love me, it's just that your mind has trouble connecting with your heart. "I then provided him with examples when he showed his love for me, providing the connection he was unable to achieve. He now utilizes those memories to make that connection.

Dee said...

My son is 21now. He will stare you down! Instead of avoiding eye contact. He developed physically at a very early age. His fear of seperation was obvious from infancy. He displayed symptoms of adhd early, however this behavior was an expression of his intense anxiety. He has always shown empathy for animals, yet had to learn to recognize the pain /troubles of other humans. His sensory issues were extensive and obsessions were obvious. He still struggles with social interaction (he desires friends but finds most people uninteresting.) He is very aware of his differences and "accommodates' for them well because he has learned to relate to this alien world on their terms. Living in this world is a learned behavior rather than innate. He speaks in a monotone voice yet knows to change his tone and speak up when necessary for a social interaction like a job interview. Maturity has helped him to "wear the collared shirt "for an interview, although it is an internal struggle. If I were to leave one message for parents of children with aspergers, I would say that it is crucial to ALWAYS give them a "heads up "for any transition, avoid the word "no "like the plague and allow them to make "choices,"putting them in "control "as often as possible, love them unconditionally, and let them know they can always count on you for understanding of their special needs. My son said last year, "Mom, I say I love you, but I don't feel it. "This made him feel horrible. I responded to him with the following :"son, it isn't that you don't love me, it's just that your mind has trouble connecting with your heart. "I then provided him with examples when he showed his love for me, providing the connection he was unable to achieve. He now utilizes those memories to make that connection.

Anonymous said...

Parents may wish to research sensory intergration disorder which looks a lot like ADHD and a spectrum disorder.

Anonymous said...

I have been losing sleep over my 5 yesr old son.

He has a slight speech problem, just with s's and L's etc.

He met all milestones on time. but he is very hyper, always running around the house, bouncing up and down. He does get up on his toes at times but it is normally when he is bouncing around.

His attention span is not very good. Especially with things he doesn't like example sports.

On the soccer field all the other kids are so much better. I am hoping this is him just not liking sports.

Could my son just be very unathletic and hate sports, or should I be concerned, with him being the only one looking at his shadow and not chasing after the ball?

Should we go to the doctor's now? or wait to see how he does in school?

Thanks for your time

Bess Waldrop said...

I have a 3 year old boy and a 2 year old boy who both have forms of autism. They can't talk, they aren't potty-trained, they scream and hit all the time, and they constantly get into EVERYTHING no matter how many times they get in trouble for it. It's extremely stressful and I don't know how to handle them, but I somehow get by. The real problem is that I have a boyfriend that I have been living with for about three months now who has four children aged 5, 8, 10, and 11. My kids adore them, but they don't always like them back. His kids are often mean to them, telling them to go away, yelling at them, and pushing them and it always causes my children to have the most horrendous meltdowns and his kids get mad when I tell them to leave my kids alone. I've talked to (and fought with) my boyfriend about it quite a bit, but he doesn't think his kids will understand an explanation about their disorders. Recently his 8 year old son asked me why my kids were so stupid and I became so enraged it took every ounce of me to hold it back. How do I convince my boyfriend that this has gotten out of hand? What can I say to convince him that he needs to talk to his children about having some patience and understanding with mine? I love him so much and I love his kids too. They are not bad or rude children, they are just too mean to my kids. I want to be able to be happy and for us to be a family as he and I have plans to be married, but I feel like I constantly have to protect my children from his. I worry that I am being selfish in trying to make this work and putting them through such unnecessary meanness for something neither I nor they can help.

Press.MD said...

This message is inreply to Bess Waldrop, please for the sake of your childrens health and happiness address this problem immediately. To a young child the home is a safe haven full of love and understanding. This is not appropriate for older children in your home to be unkind. This can lead to very serious future problems such as depression, anxiety and social issues as well. Make no mistake this environment will hurt their psyche. Please take action you are their mother and their only hope at a happy life. It is imperative. I do not think you could Forgive yourself if your actions or lack of action hurt your children. Be strong and do what you know is right. Put your children first in your life they deserve it.

Kate Marino said...

Thank you so much for your blog! I have a daughter that shows many of the signs of Aspergers. She is now 4, was a premature baby with lots of digestive and immune system issues her first two years. Her father (my husband) has severe depression, social phobia and anxiety. He is very quick tempered and has no patience. While I see many of these things in or daughter, I also see facial expressions, laughter and more social interaction. She does speak to herself often, has advanced language skills and a HUGE gift artistically. She completely comes unglued when things are not as planned. She does not handle changes well at all and screams and cries. Her temper is very quick. I am starting to see other children shun her at daycare/preschool and it breaks my heart. Very few of the girls will play with her at all. I have two other children ages 20 and 13 from a previous marriage that are both ADHD (as I am and their father is), I have been an advocate for my children as I know what I went through as a child with mild tourettes and an abusive father. Thankfully my children have had support, love and suffered no abuse. My youngest is different though, sensory to sound, advanced language skills and that hot temper. How should I proceed? I hate to label her and it seems many professionals have to experiment to find the right diagnosis. Do you think I should wait and see how she progresses? Or should I get help now? I don't want her to feel different if I don't need to.

jennifer goree said...

Wow first thanks for sharing everyone I have a son about to be 10 who I am struggling with he has no speech problem but he has a memory out of this world can tell you everything from time he was like 2 never forgets anyone or thing he has been the best speller since kindergarten he can spell words I can't but can not comprehend math at all he is very picky about his clothes and shoes no feelings everything is about him always he does not socialize well at all he make a friend and keeps for ever he has always had a bad sepetation issue never been away from me till today yay went on overnight camp with school he has a very high demand and obsession with 4 wheelers all day everyday please I am struggling with him if anyone could tell me what might sound like

loving mama said...

Hi every one i have a 5 year old boy that gives me signs on having Aspergs Syndrom s he was smaller i saw that he was not like any other kids but i did not know what to think well all my family would think he was just to spoil like in a hispanic family that i come from there no such think like his sick or there some think wrong w him my family w just think he was to spoil but i w see some think else in him like he is obsess on going to the.Walmart if it would be for him we could go every day it would be great and he loves eating , Pizza & blue berry breakfast corn dogs & coke all the time.he also lines.up his toys gets upset very easy and can get some times hits his sisters while playing he also can't be around people or kids he would always hide some where he can't be seen even when my friends come over he goes an hide in his room until they r gone but he won't come out at all i.dont know why he is like this i just dont understand i just don't want to take him to be diagnosed im scared they w tell me he has aspergers but i made an appointment aready for him soo doctors can tell me w is wrong w him he is going to start kinder this year but some how i fell he is not ready for school i fell he is not going to make it some way he is realy smart rides his bike very very active always running around the house and expert on playing video games but for school I'm just not to sure he will make it i just don't k what to do the school issue is driving me crazy just to think is obligated for him to go to kinder this year on august and i don't have lots of money to home school him i k that cost money soo i just don't k what to do i k that in school they w not understand him and he will get frustrated and will scream a lot cuz he can't be around kids his own age !!!!!!???????

Mira Smolikova said...

Our son just turned 4. We are waiting for his assessment which will take place in 2 weeks time.
I always knew he's a bit different but at times asked myself if I'm just spoiling him too much? He is very obssesed with certain things and knows so much about those things. he lines up his toys. His speech is delayed and although he talk he can't say "s" and "l".he hates Bath/shower because he can't stand having wrinkly fingers. I couldn't get him in to a short sleeve last summer.he likes his routine.
He gives us plenty of eye contact and cuddles too. He's quite short temper but also gets happy really quick.
He loves to put his hands or objects in front of my face/eyes.
Thank you for this blog.
Makes you feel not alone.

Tamara McGee said...

Some of you should look into s disorder called Dyspraxia. A lot of what you are describing fits the disorder, which commonly gets misdiagnosed with asburgers.

Tamara McGee said...

Please look into the disorder called dyspraxia. It is very similar to asburgers but if you don't think your child fits all the symptoms of asburgers then look at dyspraxia.

Lana Green said...

As an early childhood educator with 23 years of experience and as a mother of a soon to be 17 year old son who was diagnosed with Asperger's at age 3 and received multiple early intervention therapies at Vanderbilt, I am nothing short of appalled that you would use the word "normal" in an article such as this. There is no such thing as "normal"... "Normal" is a setting on a dryer. "Typically developing" and "Atypically developing" are accurate descriptors that do not marginalize these children any more than they already are in a cruel world where people who are at all "outside the box" are tormented, made fun of, bullied, etc. My son is one of the lucky ones. His hard work in the early years minimized his observable characteristics tremendously. He is brilliant, humorous, insightful and beautifully honest thanks, in part, to the "black and white" line of thinking noted in many kids diagnosed with Asperger's. For kids out there working hard to gain necessary skills to communicate effectively and live a full life and parents who are behind them every step of the way, the word "normal" is truly insulting.

Unknown said...

Im like you. My daughter is 11 and almost everything you have said is the same with my daughter. I dont seem to be getting anywear with the school or doctors. Feel like i would get more sense from the brick wall. X

Vaness said...

My son is 5 years old. When he was about 3 I notice that when ever I would call him I had to repeat my self to him like if he couldn't hear or he just would block me out. Also when he was alittle younger he had a hard time interacting with other children. Now not so much. Now for about a year I notice that he would make funny faces as if he us picturing something I will sometimes ask what are u doing or what are u thinking about he will answer me n tell me I'm not doing nothing. So I ignore it. Or make move his hand like if he gets excited about something. Oh n also has an interest in cars, trucks etc. He can tell you what type of model it is n will really scope it out. So pls tell me if anyone knows what should I do should I have him check.

Michele Meissner said...

I have seen no research more accurate and treatment more effective as the research and work of neurosurgeon Dr. Natasha Mcbride. She began her research to help her son who who has Autism. I would recommend anyone with or a child with signs of Autism to check out her book GAPS or any her lectures or writings.

Unknown said...

Hi I'm 51 and recently diagnosed with asperges. Pls try not to worry too much about your children. I always thought I was ADHD but 3 years ago a very amusing psychiatrist told me to watch Dr Grandin. She has utube videos and she is so aspie! Our brilliant minds change many things in life and I'm used to it now. Taken me a while tho lol I was sacked a week ago because I dont fit.... oh well someone else will pick up a great worker. I'm good with being so different. Just praise them and tell them to remember how smart they are when they are negative about their condition. Its best to highlight our great things and get the itchy jumper off to prevent meltdowns. They dont go away. Anne

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes. The hardest part is you feel like you’ll never actually get to know your child and how he/she views the world.

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