The comparison game began, he was 3 , he had three older siblings and one younger. I kept trying to convince myself he was on his own time line to hit those milestones, that he was fine, nothing was wrong , I did not need to concern myself. Then that mama bear instinct kept kicking in, I resorted to a trip to the pediatrician office in hopes of validating my concerns.Our long time pediatrician did not have my same concerns he was on the wait and see path. I on the other hand did not feel I had a minute to wait, I pleaded for testing, pleaded for answers and that’s when it all began – our journey to discovering our son would be labeled with a label that brings confusion, a label that does not have answers, a label I did not want him to live out.
We spent years of testing including psychological, motor skills, neurobehavior studies, EEG’s, MRI’s , blood tests, research studies at the University of Washington. I learned words I never heard of and often wish I did not need to know. The outcome over and over was you have a child that is like a puzzle, we don’t know why, we don’t know how , and even better yet they did not seem to to know where to send us for help or what help we needed. We walked out of many medical appointments not knowing where to go with the information we were handed, where to take the new word we were given “High Functioning Asperger’s” all we knew is we were desperate to help our son on his path.
Asperger’s syndrome is a neurological disorder in the family of autism spectrum disorders. Because every child exhibits a different set of symptoms, there is no precise checklist of behaviors that must all be present for a diagnosis. Instead, there are many behaviors that may be signs of Asperger’s syndrome. Here we’ve rounded up 10 of the common behaviors to watch for, as shared by moms whose kids have the condition.
1. Fixation on One Activity
Many children with Asperger’s syndrome are preoccupied with a single or a few interests and focus on them for hours on end. As Circle of Moms member Karen R. shares: “The most common report from every parent I know . . . is that their kid fixated on something (their cars, their blue toys, their books) and played or attended [to] that thing for an outrageously long time.”
2. “Little Professor” Speech
“Typically a child with Asperger’s sounds like a little professor,” shares one Circle of Moms member, Sheila D. “They tend to have advanced verbal skills, but due to the autism aspect of the syndrome they might seem fixated on a topic that they want to talk about all the time.” Children with Asperger’s syndrome may also speak more formally than usual for their age or prefer talking to adults.
3. Difficulty Reading Social Cues
Social difficulties are another key sign of Asperger’s syndrome. Reading body language may be hard, as well as taking turns or holding a conversation. As Eliana F. shares: “Group work at school is also hard for him, as he does not understand waiting his turn or accepting others point of view.” Similarly, Colleen notes: “My son is very social, but he doesn’t engage in two way conversations. He just talks and talks.” As a result of their social difficulties, children with Asperger’s syndrome may seem isolated from their peers.
4. Need For Routine
“Structure plays a big part in our lives now,” shares Wendy B. Like many children with Asperger’s syndrome, Wendy’s granddaughter needs routines. “Otherwise it is very confusing for her. So shower is at 8:30 p.m. Bedtime is at 9:30 p.m. Breakfast at 8:30 a.m., lunch at 12, supper at 6. You get the message, very structured. If I want to take her shopping, I start telling her a few days ahead — that way, it doesn’t upset her, but we still follow the same routine.”
5. Emotional Meltdowns
“My boy tends to have meltdowns when he gets overwhelmed,” shares Circle of Moms member Ylice. She’s not alone: many children with Asperger’s syndrome can’t handle routines or plans going awry. Amanda B. describes it as an “inability to control emotions when things are ‘out of order.'”
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