Aspergers Symptoms in Infants, Toddlers, and Older Children

Aspergers (high functioning 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.


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.

Resource: http://www.onlineceucredit.com/youtube/asperger-skills-ep5.html

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

A mother's intuition: Jaden and Asperger's syndrome 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.

A mother's intuition: Jaden and Asperger's syndrome 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

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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 of.my 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 !!!!!!???????

Unknown 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.

Anonymous 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.

Anonymous 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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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

pinkpirate said...

I have a 2 year old and I think he may possibly have asbergers. He does not show any empathy at all, no response to changes in tone or facial cues. He is delayed in much of his speach, but then he impressively also knows his entire alphabet, colours, shapes, can finish complex puzzles ect.. actually he is obsessed with them. He gets very melt down with any changes out of routine sometimes. If he has a different pollow or blanket that is not very soft like satin or fleece ect..he will jit himself, thriw his head into things and tantrum for hours. It is quite exhausting. He does like hugs and to play games ect.. he can be so sweet, he can also kick headbutt bite... very quick temper. Highly intelligent, but he can't do other simple things like ask for something or form a sentence. He needs to be on intense routine to not have meltdown modes. He has a turned in step and can be a bit clumsy. Does anyone know if this could sound like Asbergers? It is so early but my gutt is something is quite different with him than my other two were. Iy is not a bad thing I fully embrace all children are different and a gift, I just want to accomodate his needs to my best ability.

Unknown said...

My granddaughter just babbles like a 5 month old baby and she is going to be two in October.

Smart one said...

Hi can you please give more details on therapy you had for uour son.My son is 3 can speak and started playing imaginative games . But there is lot of bodytensing and hurting with slightest excitement.Since he can speak the local pre school does not consider him Atypical . Iam wondering what is best for him
Therapy ? Or regular private pre school.He learnt and improved leaps and bounds with inhome therapy in just 2 months.
please share your opinion.

Unknown said...

I have a nephew that will be 3 the end of April 2017. His Mother had him at 17, she herself is very immature and ignores all advice from other Moms! Very hard to deal with! My concerns with NY nephew are that he has zero verbal skills, says maybe 4 words that are recognizable, but not in context. The rest is this rapid hyperbabble. He goes instantly from one extreme emotion to another, ie. Happily playing with a toy to throwing the toy or smashing it repeatedly while screaming at the top of his lungs and crying inconsolably. Then one second later is happily playing with another toy. He rarely shows affection, he has to be asked many times for a hug or kiss, and acts like its hurting him if its given without talking him into it first. He watches 3 specific cartoon type shows, but only 1 specific episode, over and over and pays full attention. Any new shows are dismissed quickly and a tantrum ensues until one of his regular shows are put on. His eating habits are strange, he will not use utensils, or keep food on a plate or bowl, he smears and mashes things together, eats rapidly like it will be taken from him, and his hands shake. He insists on having ketchup on everything, but on the side, it cannot touch anything or it won't be eaten. He has to dip food in the separate ketchup blob. Food served without a side of ketchup won't be eaten, and a tantrum is thrown until the ketchup comes. When he is scolded for anything, he hurts himself, he hits himself in the head, or if put in a "timeout" corner, slams his head Against the wall screaming the entire time until he's released. Then he instantly stops crying/screaming, and plays. His Mom has been pleaded with to speak to doctors to no avail, she is convinced its terrible twos, and that's that. He makes little to no eye contact, if and when he does its very brief, and its like he's not really looking, rather doing it to get you to stop asking. He did not sit alone till 9 months, crawl till 14 months, and walk till 20 months. He seems to prefer everything loud, busy, and chaotic, rather than calm. If it is quiet, he will make as much noise as possible, when asked to stop, he gets louder. He rarely sticks to one activity for more than a few minutes, rather prefers to have multiple things happening at once that he can rotate to. He refuses to clean up anything, including himself, baths are like a death sentence. I have so many concerns with his behaviors, these are maybe half. ANY IDEAS what this could be?? I'm convinced its some form of autism. And possibly more. Please! Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!! I have considered calling his doctor myself, as he sees the same one as all three of my kids do. Please help!!

Unknown said...

This sound so much like my daughter she 31 now , her son has Austim and she was tested and yeah high functional Austim known as Aspergers . There is a test you can do on line to see if she has it . But a license phycologist can tell you . My ex husband was very odd person and his brother and one of my brothers lack social skills really bad and my ex had depression and I belief he has it . I did a self test I was a 10 .. So I am good . Try to stay away from wheat or anything with Glutten it seems to help with there bad behavior ..

Unknown said...

It helps and inspires me so much to know I'm not alone! My names Rebecca D. And I have 4 kids. My oldest is 16 and from a different father than the younger three. I've had to make her read material on disibilities so she'd have a better understanding of why I'm not treating her 11 year old sister the same as her. I was blessed that my major in school was k-4th grade teaching and I double minored in SpecialEducation and Social Work. I had to stop my senior year or my GPA was going to drop due to my 2nd child, Hailey starting pre-kand constantly getting sent home.She was very different than my first child. First of all, I didn't expect her to be the same BC my oldest is extremely gifted and advanced.Hailey, as ababy could pinch the side of her diaper and rub it. She does this for anxiety calming effects it produces from the feel of the plastic. I've since been only able to switch her to a flat cut of grocery bag, which gets shredded every where.She wishes she didn't have to rub it but goes to bed with it every night.As a baby she would go to the quietist place like a corner or under a table and sit n rub for a long time.No other predominant developmental issues except as she turned around 3-4, she would scream a lot. If I got out of the car to walk around to buckle her in, never leaving g her sight, etc. She won't eat foods with runny sauces like Mac n cheese. She's always not liked sweet foods. She's diagnosed with ADHD and I've went through all the meds till I found concerts helped the most BC it has an antidepressant in it which helps out with her anxiety n moods.plus it last 12 hrs BC its a device built in the shape of a pill w a along inside that's safe n let's out the nedi one all day long.She used to climb furniture, she would touch people, like want to feel their texture I guess. It doesn't go over well with most kids.She's made her first friend just this year, a real best friend. I'm so excited. She's got boundary issues. It takes her a very long time to learn social ideas. She has been in therapy since she was 4 BC I knew she needed to be seen a lo g time and couldn't be diagnosed till 6,at least most doctors are discouraged to BC their brains are still developing and their base personality.She saw child psychologist for 2 years but she didn't like him but he was the only one in East Texas so what can you do. I needed a diagnosis for ssi.She was failing in school and they refused to help her until 30 days after I applied for disability for children at SSA.gov did they have to pull her out for reading etc. She's a straight A student now. When the schools disability depaert or special education tested her she qualified with them for learning disabled too. Always get the school to test them BC it is just as important as a doctor. Also the main doctor you probably need to see first in my opinion is a child psychologist. They can refer meds to your primary as well.All of my younger 3 see a behavioral therapist monthly. They help with parenting disabled kids and how to modify their behavior.I'm going to post two seoerate for my other 2 disabled kids.Yes, 3 in one family!

Unknown said...

Gosh, I have been through so much of what's been posted. You are Not alone! It will get better.Do not give up!!! I posted about my first child who has Aspergers and ADHD, Hailey whose 11(technically she's my 2nd child). Now I'll talk about my only son, Haiden, whose 9. Boys are so different than girls. I was raised with 2 boys as a kid but I've got 3 girls, how ironic and happily so. My heart breaks for my son daily. He clearly shows numerous signs of aspergers but one of the rarer forms and the most difficult to deal with. I have two nephews that are 11 and fully autistic one of which lives cloths and loves my kids and my kids love him. Quick neat note: he wouldn't let anyone touch him except his mom , me, and my kids, well my youngest not so much explain in another blog here,lol. Also, please don't reprimand others for their lack of knowledge. If they weren't trying to learn, they would be watching TV right!? We should be supportive, I know I need it. I just want to break down n cry sometimes but after so long it's like you have become accustomed to the routine of the unexpected, that's me without some key words their.
My son started behavioral therapy at age 4 as well. Its a good age and adequate time to allow for thorough observation. These are only opinions remember. He was diagnosed with ADHD/ADD at age 6. If he missed his med in the morning the teacher could tell, that's how hard it is for him. He takes impulse control medication that we are just trying out. We first thought and I still think he has Violent Aspergers. I've come to recognize a lot of his triggers so at least at home with me, his episodes are less. He lacks fine motor skills.He's 9 but can't but buttons through holes or button his pants. Being self aware, as Aspergers children are, we have to deal and combat this feeling of self loathing, anxiety, and shame they get knowing they are different and can't do things like others. In my sons case, like even his little sister. At school his handwriting never improved from the first grade level although he can spell just fine. The main reason, I think they don't think that he has Aspergers is BC they are using the outdated checklist. The disability definitions and guidelines, I forget the exact technical name, have been updated recently due to advancements from studies. When picking a specialist, you need to ask how and where they do their continuing education to keep degreed. That really makes a big difference with all of these older doctors.My son was tested just this week BC he's been at the alternative campus for a couple of months and still kept getting time extensions due to His fits. They were making him rewrite giant packets and his hands physically hurt. Even though his therapist called and finally after playing hard ball and phone tag I stopped that. He hates outside. Eats like a bird. His IQ is 122 which is pretty high for a kid who hasn't been learning in school. He's bored but can't got to gifted and talent BC his behavior is "bad" and most of those kids have no siblings n don't understand Haidens outburst, I was told. I was told(its against the law for a teacher or school official besides the school district t specialist to offer a diagnosis) that he had dysgraphia- writing disorder. As a baby the only odd things my son did was army crawl very fast preferred to everything, and he hated affection, actually pushing me away. His paternal grandmother, and paternal aunts all have mental disabilities. I suspect his father does as well but is scared to get tested. Haiden doesn't react emotionally the same to things going on in his environment. He's never had a single real friend. Officially I was told that they think he has Oppositional Defiance Disorder.

Unknown said...

My 3rd,n youngest child,Piper,whose turning 8 on Dec 23, has ADHD, Dyslexia, tubes in both ears, a speech impediment she's making progress with twice a week in home. Smells and certain things maker gag or mini throw up, a.k.a. "gagger".She grows quickly accustomed to the meds we've tried so far. Luckily, she's in 2nd grade and has the nicest teachers this year. They don't just up and send her to the office. Although they all know her well. She's never malicious. She has to hug everyone around before leaving school. She makes straight A"s, but we do study. Her reading flew as soon as she got pull out help.She went from barely rewrewadi g to flying through 3.1 books. If only she wouldn't be defiant. She's very impulsive. She has boundary issues. She talks to every stranger we come across by complementing them. Even the least likely person u could. She's my sons best friend. She's also attending behavioral therapy once a month but just got bumped to twice a month. She doesn't want to sleep alone and is terrified of the dark, which I know can be a normal thing. If her cloths get the least amount of food or a drop of water she's stripping down to her underwear in the kitchen no matter how many people proclaim distress. Having 3 kids with some similar and then so different disorders makes me feel so stressed. There's no mental illness in my family and no problems with pregnancies. I ate superfoods and breastfed all my kids.

Anonymous said...

This article has me in tears. My son is 27 now.
In grade school, he was noted as struggling somehow, but after a 'team' diagnosed him at the school, it was determined he had no social problems, no problem in any way - sweetheart of a kid, just "learned differently". So he was placed in a step program where they kept the classroom small and 'spoon-fed' the teachings. Four years, he was in that program and he graduated from 5th grade with his peers. In high school, he struggled and it took the 5th year to graduate. With the thrill of that accomplishment, my son (being an intricate artist - especially talented with pen and ink drawings) went on to get his Bachelor's degree in Illustration at a prestigious Art college. This again, took the 5th year to graduate as he made his thesis too complicated. My husband had to tutor him through his electives throughout the first four years because those overwhelmed him... my husband (not his father) was the only person my son allowed to help him. We were incredibly proud and relieved to see our young man so accomplished!
I guess the tears come because through all of this, I NEVER received a labeled diagnosis that I could work with!! NO ONE ever mentioned aspergers. I knew something was different. and I often wished there was something I could point towards; instead, I thought maybe I was parenting wrong! I blamed myself for any delays or 'differences' I saw. I never even heard of aspergers! It wasn't until just over 2 years ago that I read a mother's blog on her autistic daughter that it triggered slight similarities I recongnized. So I began to research a little and stumbled on aspergers. When I read the symptoms, I wept. For the first time, I began to wonder ,... what if?
I have left it alone for the most part, I don't know how to tell my son what I have discovered because he HATES being labeled, and doesn't want to be seen as different. So I have to be cautious that I don't put somethign in his head that will make him think less of himself. Meanwhile, peers and family wonder what's wrong witht your kid!! He behaves inappropriately at times - socially - says things that don't fit etc. and I can't say anything because I don't want my son to hear anyone label him. So I continue to advise him to watch the things he says, and "know your audience, son". But he doesn't get it. He makes sweeping comments, offensive comments etc and doesn't 'get it'.
I just watched a powerful movie called "Temple Grandin", and although she had more severe autism... it moved my heart to see the truggles she endured albeit went on to college to earn up a doctorate degree.
I came to my computer to see if I missed infant/toddle signs in my son and sure enough ... here they are. I weep for him. I weep for the signs I missed. I weep For myself and the struggles the two of us had. All of it. A part of me is grateful that I never knew because I never treated him as different. I had to work harder and differently with him, but I never saw a disability and never spoke of it. But another part would of me would have loved to know this, so I can handle things in a way he would better understand. So I could understand differently and so I could help explain the different behaviours to my family and peers and educators.
My son is currently employed as a flooring salesman and does independent interior home designing .. lives near close family independently, and I am incredibly proud of him. Overall, he is as normal as the day is long. But every now and then ... the differences show up still today. As the movie I just saw noted ... "you are different, but not less."
Our kids can accomplish BIG things if we believe in them! Maybe it's best I never knew..

Unknown said...

Thank you for your comment. I have a 3 year old that, although he is still being tested, is thought to have Aspergers. It's nice to hear some positive feedback and encouragement from you. I'm not afraid of his diagnosis. I just feel that he is an individual, just as we all are. The diagnosis and tips from everyone will be helpful, I'm sure, but I don't share the dread because I feel that these Aspergers brings a touch of brilliance and humor into the world. Sometimes I think that the problems associated with Aspies are often more to do with cultural expectations than with those who have it.

I'm sure there will be many challenges for my son and for us, his family. I'm hoping that with diagnosis comes understanding of how to deal with the difficulties he'll face. But I'm just as excited about being his mother as I am about my other son.

Unknown said...

My son sounds exactly like yours, and his doctor and educators are all sure he has Aspergers, though he is still being tested. So yes, definitely ask your doctor to have him tested if possible.

I've been told that all of Nate's (my son) behaviors are typically Aspergers. He's just turned three and like your son he doesn't talk but is obsessed with words and spelling. I've made him lots of letters out of cardboard and play dough and stuff like that, and he communicates through that. For example, he'll write 'green day revolution radio' if he wants to hear that song. He's started having meltdowns if he can't find the right letter though. He really tries to talk but can't do sounds outside of mamama or dadada.
I don't know what country you're in but in Australia I'm finding that the more I look for professional help, the more I find. Don't be afraid to ask doctors/specialists for what you need, as your son needs you to get the help that you need. You'll probably also need help to save your sanity because I know how exhausting and frustrating it is when they're having their meltdowns or when they can't tell you what's wrong.

The letters I've made have really helped us, and also routine.

It's really nice to know there's someone out there going through such a similar unique situation. If you'd like talk more and/or trade tips I'm happy to give you my email address.
Good luck with your little boy. I hope you find a good doctor. A good one should refer you to a paediatrician or childhood intervention team.
Best wishes.

Unknown said...

Gosh, he sounds a lot like my son, and doctors have told me my son has all the signs of Aspergers/Autism, although he is still being tested as he's just turned 3. My son also does the exact same tomato sauce thing, he even dips his strawberries in it. But it sounds like his mum's not dealing with it very well, which could be quite damaging for both of them. Could you at least get her to read this blog or something similar?

Since I began the diagnosis process I've received so many great tips to deal with the meltdowns. For example, ASD kidsvreally respond to some sort of sensory distraction when they're upset. My son likes to be held very close and rocked and sung to. Or he likes cold things so I lie him down on a cold surface. And routine really helps. I think the most important point is that these little ones will not be forced to do anything so we have to find out what works for them.

I really hope the young mum gets help. Even if it's only doing a bit of reading. Maybe you could get hold of an information booklet from a support service to leave with her. I really think diagnosis is half the battle. I hope it works out well for them.

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