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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Am I a bad mother or does my child have AS?

Posted by on Apr. 7, 2013 at 6:50 AM
  • 41 Replies

We discovered this year that my husband has Aspergers. It was suggested to us by a friend and although we havn't yet got the official diagnosis we are pretty certain as he exhibits all the classic symptoms.

Naturally, I looked to my two small children for symptoms after the discovery of his AS. My oldest, who is turning four this month, worries me. I honestly don't know if I'm just a bad mother or if something is different about her. Sometimes I feel so helpless. And after a bad day like today I can't sleep over it.


The major thing is her anger. She has major tantrums. She responds to everything with anger. She gets anxious and frustrated easily and lashes out.

She is also very energetic. Which seems to go on overdrive when there is a lot going on around her.

She doesn't like loud noises. The bathroom fan for instance. The vacuum. A sudden loud noise makes her scream.

She has complete meltdowns if we go out to eat at a busy place. I have to exercise extreme control of her to avoid embarrassing tantrums. I usually place her in a corner beside me and constantly reassure her and talk her down. Telling her to take deep breaths.

Today we went to have her and her brother's pictures done. She was all over the place. And the photographer even became frusterated because she wouldn't listen. She couldn't do what she was asked. The photographer would try to joke with her and tell her to do something but she would just make these awkward funny faces and freeze for half a second before moving on to the next awkward pose.

She doesn't listen well. I dunno if that's my fault. I feel like it is. I give her time outs when she misbehaves but she doesn't seem to get it. She repeats bad behavior and I don't know how to get through to her. She often runs from me when she knows she is in trouble or if I tell her to do something she doesn't want to do. I know this isn't an AS thing but I just wanted to lay out all the problems I have with her because I'm not necessarily sure it is AS.

She doesn't like wearing clothes. She has a blanket that she doesn't go anywhere without. It's the only thing that can soothe her and she's carried it with her since infancy. She prefers the softness of that against her skin. I dress her every morning and she just strips down. And every night before bed I put her in her pjs and she just takes them off. Sometimes even in public or friend's houses she will try to strip down. Of course I discourage it and she is getting better when out but at home I don't even try to stop her.

She has an extreme interest in disney princess'. She knows everything there is to know about them. Even at two she could tell you what colors each princess wore and their names. She always asks me to sing their songs. And gets very upset if I sing the wrong one. But I wouldn't say she is limited to that interest. She also loves playing barbies. And she cannot get enough of cartoons and dress up games on our phones.

She has trouble with the concept of joint attention. She doesn't like sing-a-longs for example. Only one person can sing at a time. And if I try to join in on her song she gets very upset. She doesn't like sharing at all, though she understands it's good to share.

When reading a book to her she doesn't follow the story. She looks at the pictures but the words seem lost on her.

Her speech has always been a little delayed. But recently she's gotten much better. She mixes pronouns a lot. His and her. He and she. You and me. She isn't very good at conversations. She doesn't seem to grasp the whole concept of what is being talked about. And often responds with random tangents.

She does make eye contact. Though not all the time. I have seen her avoid it occasionally. Although I just attributed it to some random shyness because it's usually with people she doesn't know or family who isn't around a lot. Also when she is in trouble and I'm trying to explain the behavior to her, she looks away and stares at something to the side. Then she will respond with a tangent thought. For example she'll say, "Cause we need to go to the store." Because I briefly mentioned the word store while I was speaking to her.

I've not had much opportunity to observe her socially. Mostly because I stay at home with her so she isn't in school. She has a little friend who lives next door. And her cousin who visits occassionaly. And of course her little brother who is two years younger than her. She isn't shy. She is very energetic and seeks out her peers. She's sometimes a little awkward though. She stares and doesn't seem to be able to hold a conversation, but she plays fine. For example, once at the library there was a little girl a little older than her who she approached. She shyly said hi and asked the girls name. The girl told her but my daughter didn't seem to hear and repeated the question several times. Eventually the little girl gave up and just started playing and my daughter joined in. She also doesn't seem to pick up on when they don't want to play with her. I've seen her at the park follow children around who would just ignore her and she seemed oblivious to this.

Some symptoms of AS my daughter doesn't seem to have. She's not clumsy. She did take a long time to learn to ride her trike. Actually, she just mastered it. She couldn't peddle for a long time and steering at the same time was hard for her to learn. But that's the only instance I can think of as far as clumsy or uncoordinated. She runs and jumps and rarely trips or falls. She likes to dance.

She doesn't seem to have any nervous ticks. Her father used to flick his wrists several times in a row. She does jump a lot when she is overstimulated though.

We have a good schedule at home. We wake up, eat, nap, and go to bed at the same time every day. But she doesn't seem to need a strict routine beyond that.

She seems to have plenty of facial expression. And she has what I would consider a normal amount of empathy for a child her age. Her brother will cry and she'll comment that he is sad. She will ask him to be happy.

That's everything I can think of. I really appreciate those of you who took the time to read it all. I guess I just really needed to get it all out. I couldn't sleep. I doubt myself as a parent a lot. And I worry I'm doing something wrong with her.

She has a dr appointment coming up, at which I planned on bringing this all up. But if any of you could give me your opinion now I think I could sleep better knowing one way or the other.

I go back and forth on whether I think she has AS or not. I sometimes think maybe she just is a quirky kid with a behaviorial disorder or I'm just not a good mother. I admit I'm sometimes passive with her because she is just so hard to get through to.

Anyways, thank you again for reading. And I would REALLY appreciate any comments.

by on Apr. 7, 2013 at 6:50 AM
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Replies (1-10):
TheJerseyGirl
by Michele on Apr. 7, 2013 at 7:34 AM

 First of all, welcome to the group!

In all honesty, it could be a lot of things or simply th fact that she's 4! I would bring it up at your doctor's appt and see if he sees any concerns that need to be evaluated

lancet98
by Bronze Member on Apr. 7, 2013 at 7:44 AM

Okay.   Edited to add - good moms worry.   In that I agree with some other posters.   There's nothing wrong with worrying about things.   If it helps get ONE person diagnosed and get help intead of struggling along, worry is good.

For one thing, it's doubtful your husband has Aspergers - there's no description of him, but still, it's unlikely.   For another, it's doubtful your child has Aspergers.

 There is too much 'he's a guy' type behavior these days being 'self diagnosed' as a disorder.  

If either of them have Aspergers, let that be determined by a specialist, such as a psychiatrist (for your husband) and a child psychiatrist (for your daughter).

BE SURE not to take either of them to some sort of quack who diagnoses EVERYONE with Aspergers.   They are out there these days.

Nothing you have described in your daughter is to the degree where it actually calls for a diagnosis of Aspergers. 

Of course it's hard to really paint a picture from anyone's description, but it just does not sound like she has Aspergers.  In fact, she sounds like a normal 3-4 year old child.   They tcan be very quirky, uneven in development, and still be normal.   That's why it's exhausting to be a mom, LOL.   Because each kid is a little different and they don't all develop according to the chart.   They have personalities (right from the first moment they see the light of day).   And no two of them develop the same.

As or your husband, you didn't describe him.   So I don't see any compelling facts that suggest he really has Aspergers either.

In other words, find out for sure.   I'm not saying it's impossible. 

  I'm saying without a description of the father, and ESPECIALLY without a decent clinician giving him a diagnosis,  it just doesn't sound very convincing.   Even if he was diagnosed, I'd be suspicious because there are clinicians out there who will diagnose anyone with anything.   I'd want to hear it from someone I really trusted and respected.

Maybe it's a lot worse than your words convey, but I remain unconvinced at this point.  

 I'm also not at all in favor of the trend to diagnose someone with a disorder when they only show a few mild hints of it. 

In truth, I am very sure that MANY people show traits of MANY disorders.  

Some people are disgustingly energetic(in the MORNING even, for pity's sake), but don't have mania.   Some people have peculiar ideas, but don't have schizophrenia.  My SO is shy but he has a mild social anxiety(had it all his life), not Aspergers or schizophrenia.   My neighbor's boy has tantrums and restricted interests, but it just is not to the level where he should be diagnosed with Aspergers.

A diagnosis serves one and only one purpose.   The purpose of a diagnosis is to make a person's life better - in other words, to get the insurance coverage, the school programs and adult services that they need.  If they have hints of a disorder or mild problems, dealing with it is more going to fall to the family than to the school or community.

lucasmadre
by Kari on Apr. 7, 2013 at 7:54 AM
1 mom liked this

First of all if you weren't a good mom you wouldn't have observed all these things about your daughter and you wouldn't be so worried. I think it does sound like she may be somewhere on the spectrum as many of the things she does and needs sound familiar to me. Don't panic, you are doing a great job managing her anxiety. Have her tested and see what the experts think. If they think she has AS or ASD then there is lots of help in place and lots of things you can do (some of which you already do naturally) to help her. 

PS There is NOTHING wrong with being quirky but if she is having trouble processing the world around her then some special services will help her navigate this crazy world a whole lot better :) 

It's going to be OK and you are a great mom...I can tell. XOXO

amberklo
by Member on Apr. 7, 2013 at 7:59 AM
I agree with this


Quoting lancet98:

Okay.   Edited to add - good moms worry.   In that I agree with some other posters.   There's nothing wrong with worrying about things.   If it helps get ONE person diagnosed and get help intead of struggling along, worry is good.


For one thing, it's doubtful your husband has Aspergers - there's no description of him, but still, it's unlikely.   For another, it's doubtful your child has Aspergers.


 There is too much 'he's a guy' type behavior these days being 'self diagnosed' as a disorder.  


If either of them have Aspergers, let that be determined by a specialist, such as a psychiatrist (for your husband) and a child psychiatrist (for your daughter).


BE SURE not to take either of them to some sort of quack who diagnoses EVERYONE with Aspergers.   They are out there these days.


Nothing you have described in your daughter is to the degree where it actually calls for a diagnosis of Aspergers. 


Of course it's hard to really paint a picture from anyone's description, but it just does not sound like she has Aspergers.  In fact, she sounds like a normal 3-4 year old child.   They tcan be very quirky, uneven in development, and still be normal.   That's why it's exhausting to be a mom, LOL.   Because each kid is a little different and they don't all develop according to the chart.   They have personalities (right from the first moment they see the light of day).   And no two of them develop the same.


As or your husband, you didn't describe him.   So I don't see any compelling facts that suggest he really has Aspergers either.


In other words, find out for sure.   I'm not saying it's impossible. 


  I'm saying without a description of the father, and ESPECIALLY without a decent clinician giving him a diagnosis,  it just doesn't sound very convincing.   Even if he was diagnosed, I'd be suspicious because there are clinicians out there who will diagnose anyone with anything.   I'd want to hear it from someone I really trusted and respected.


Maybe it's a lot worse than your words convey, but I remain unconvinced at this point.  


 I'm also not at all in favor of the trend to diagnose someone with a disorder when they only show a few mild hints of it. 


In truth, I am very sure that MANY people show traits of MANY disorders.  


Some people are disgustingly energetic(in the MORNING even, for pity's sake), but don't have mania.   Some people have peculiar ideas, but don't have schizophrenia.  My SO is shy but he has a mild social anxiety(had it all his life), not Aspergers or schizophrenia.   My neighbor's boy has tantrums and restricted interests, but it just is not to the level where he should be diagnosed with Aspergers.


A diagnosis serves one and only one purpose.   The purpose of a diagnosis is to make a person's life better - in other words, to get the insurance coverage, the school programs and adult services that they need.   With an underline under the word NEED.


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SecularMomma
by on Apr. 7, 2013 at 8:05 AM
2 moms liked this

I didn't describe my husband. So I really don't see how you can give an opinion in his case.

I don't believe in self-diagnosis either really.  But he won't get a diagnosis and I have to live with him. Maybe I shouldn't say he has it without the official diagnosis but we are certain (as certain as we can be) he does. He really is a textbook case.

As for my daughter, I'm not certain. And I don't ever make that claim. I'm not assuming anything. Just asking because I couldn't sleep...


Quoting lancet98:

Okay.

For one thing, it's doubtful your husband has Aspergers.   For another, it's doubtful your child has Aspergers.

Don't start out by assuming every behavior means Aspergers.  

 There is too much 'he's a guy' type behavior these days being 'self diagnosed' as a disorder.  

If either of them have Aspergers, let that be determined by a specialist, such as a psychiatrist (for your husband) and a child psychiatrist (for your daughter).

BE SURE not to take either of them to some sort of quack who diagnoses EVERYONE with Aspergers.   They are out there these days.

Nothing you have described in your daughter is to the degree where it actually calls for a diagnosis of Aspergers.  Of course it's hard to really paint a picture from anyone's description, but it just does not sound like she has Aspergers.  In fact, she sounds like a normal 3-4 year old child.   They tcan be very quirky, uneven in development, and still be normal.

As or your husband, you didn't describe him.   So I don't see any compelling facts that suggest he really has Aspergers either.



lancet98
by Bronze Member on Apr. 7, 2013 at 8:21 AM

 

 

Quoting SecularMomma:

I didn't describe my husband. So I really don't see how you can give an opinion in his case.

I gave the opinion that you did not present here, any convincing evidence that your husband has Aspergers.  And that would be correct.   You did not describe him AT ALL and because of that,  I remain unconvinced.

In other words, you may be certain, but I haven't read anything that makes me feel certain.   And I'm puzzled as to why you wouldn't describe your husband, especially if you're so certain.

Too, you seem to be assuming that if he has Aspergers, it's more likely your daughter has Aspergers.  

Let's assume, as most top researchers currently do, that Aspergers is a mild form of autism, without the severe effect on language that autism can have.

Let's also assume that Aspergers is genetic.   The thing about the genetics of autism is that currently, researchers do NOT see it as completely 'inherited'.   Much of the genetics of autism currently appears to not be inherited at all - no that doesn't mean it's caused by heavy metals or food additives- genes mutate all the time simply because of what they do, and mutations are just mistakes, and are part and parcel of genetics.   The genetic material has to fold, copy itself and duplicate itself.   It can make mistakes just like you can make mistakes cutting out and folding paper.

In other words, if your husband has Aspergers, that doesn't make it all that much more likely your daughter has it.   It only makes it slightly more likely.

I don't believe in self-diagnosis either really.  But he won't get a diagnosis and I have to live with him. Maybe I shouldn't say he has it without the official diagnosis but we are certain he does.

Who is 'we'?   You and your friends, you and your other relations, or you and him?

And...unfortunately, if he is an adult, he can't usually be forced to go and get diagnosed.  

Again, I'll repeat - just because someone is difficult to live with, doesn't mean it calls for a diagnosis of Aspergers.   There's a range of behavior that falls below the radar of any clinical diagnosis.   To be diagnosed, it has to be disrupting his life, in more areas than just home life, in a major way, and to a point, he needs to be the one that is experiencing the distress.

To a point, because when someone is obviously mentally ill, they may not have much insight as to how it affects others.

Again, I'm not saying he doesn't have it, I'm just saying that he may not have it.  

You have said 'we are certain he does' several times now.   Why are you saying that, and who's 'we'?

As for my daughter, I'm not certain. And I don't ever make that claim. I'm not assuming anything. Just asking because I couldn't sleep...

I'm sorry to hear you couldn't sleep.   Obviously you care and are concerned.   There's nothing bad about that.

The real question is this: If either of them got a diagnosis of Aspergers, how are you picturing that would change things?

Quoting lancet98:

Okay.

For one thing, it's doubtful your husband has Aspergers.   For another, it's doubtful your child has Aspergers.

Don't start out by assuming every behavior means Aspergers.  

 There is too much 'he's a guy' type behavior these days being 'self diagnosed' as a disorder.  

If either of them have Aspergers, let that be determined by a specialist, such as a psychiatrist (for your husband) and a child psychiatrist (for your daughter).

BE SURE not to take either of them to some sort of quack who diagnoses EVERYONE with Aspergers.   They are out there these days.

Nothing you have described in your daughter is to the degree where it actually calls for a diagnosis of Aspergers.  Of course it's hard to really paint a picture from anyone's description, but it just does not sound like she has Aspergers.  In fact, she sounds like a normal 3-4 year old child.   They tcan be very quirky, uneven in development, and still be normal.

As or your husband, you didn't describe him.   So I don't see any compelling facts that suggest he really has Aspergers either.

 

 

 

 

mypbandj
by Jen on Apr. 7, 2013 at 8:39 AM
3 moms liked this
Hugs. I feel like I'm in a similar situation. My son has aspergers (diagnosed by a neuropsychologist). And now I am seeing signs in my toddler. BUT a lot of what he is doing could also just be what two year olds do. Ya know?

When my older son was four, everything he did, I assumed it was his age. But the preschool obviously thought otherwise cause they approached me to get him evaluated. So we did and he qualified for services and later we got the official diagnosis.

My advice for you would be to take a parenting class or two, check out some parenting books and cds from the library. Regardless if whether your daughter is on the spectrum or not, you are going to need tools to help you help her. I always recommend Common Sense Parenting. It's just really easy to to read and simple and effective. Love and Logic is another one. And Becky Bailey writes some good parenting books too. I personally like to read all I can about different parenting methods, then take what I like and leave the rest. Most of the time, it's trial and error to figure out what works with your kid.

The next thing I would recommend is calling your school district and asking for an evaluation. That is what I'm doing right now with my little guy. My plan for him is to finish his evaluation and see what the school thinks. And then based on that info, continue to watch him grow. If his behavior becomes more typical to how I think kids usually act, I'll probably just let it be. If he continues to be quirky, I'll probably seek out a medical diagnosis.
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SecularMomma
by on Apr. 7, 2013 at 8:43 AM

My husband is a computer programmer. He is very intelligent and is gifted with languages. He speaks english as a second language so fluently most people don't even know he has only lived in the US for 3 years. He has no friends and prefers it that way. He spends most of his time on the computer working on projects that he never finishes. He cannot stop talking about a subject even after people loose interest... even after being told they don't want to hear it he has to finish. He has trouble making eye contact and often stares at objects directly behind the persons head. He exhibits very little empathy. He is VERY sensitive to light, smell and sound. He is easily overwhelmed by the children and often needs to retreat to complete darkness in our room to recover. He has a set routine every day and messing it up even slightly upsets him tremendously. He has major anxiety and anger issues.
As a child he would memorize stats and info on cars. Now his interests have changed a bit but he still rambles on and on about things. At the moment he can't stop talking about building xbox indie games. He has this quirk where he flicks his wrists several times in a row. He says he has to do it until it feels right.

I could go on. I really could. I don't have an official diagnosis on him because he won't get one. But I've done a lot of research and even had him take some online tests (not that that is reliable, I know.) But if it's not Aspergers I dunno what is. And the "we" I mention is he and I. I have not told any of our friends and family because he hasn't been officially diagnosed. It's only been 4 or 5 months since I even suspected.

I appreciate your explanation of the genetics of autism. It was something I didn't know.

I really dunno about my daughter. After reading the comments so far and re reading my post. I'm starting to think maybe I was silly to worry. Maybe she's just an anxious hyper child. Whatever her case may be I'm ok with it. I just want whats best for her.

And as for how I picture it would change things...
I dunno really. With my husband I would hope with a diagnosis we could seek out more specialized couple's therapy. And maybe he could get help with managing his anxiety and anger.
For my daughter, one way or the other, I'm just trying to understand her and do what's best for her.

Quoting lancet98:



Quoting SecularMomma:

I didn't describe my husband. So I really don't see how you can give an opinion in his case.

I gave the opinion that you did not present here, any convincing evidence that your husband has Aspergers.  And that would be correct.   You did not describe him AT ALL and because of that,  I remain unconvinced.

In other words, you may be certain, but I haven't read anything that makes me feel certain.   And I'm puzzled as to why you wouldn't describe your husband, especially if you're so certain.

Too, you seem to be assuming that if he has Aspergers, it's more likely your daughter has Aspergers.  

Let's assume, as most top researchers currently do, that Aspergers is a mild form of autism, without the severe effect on language that autism can have.

Let's also assume that Aspergers is genetic.   The thing about the genetics of autism is that currently, researchers do NOT see it as completely 'inherited'.   Much of the genetics of autism currently appears to not be inherited at all - no that doesn't mean it's caused by heavy metals or food additives- genes mutate all the time simply because of what they do, and mutations are just mistakes, and are part and parcel of genetics.   The genetic material has to fold, copy itself and duplicate itself.   It can make mistakes just like you can make mistakes cutting out and folding paper.

In other words, if your husband has Aspergers, that doesn't make it all that much more likely your daughter has it.   It only makes it slightly more likely.

I don't believe in self-diagnosis either really.  But he won't get a diagnosis and I have to live with him. Maybe I shouldn't say he has it without the official diagnosis but we are certain he does.

Who is 'we'?   You and your friends, you and your other relations, or you and him?

And...unfortunately, if he is an adult, he can't usually be forced to go and get diagnosed.  

Again, I'll repeat - just because someone is difficult to live with, doesn't mean it calls for a diagnosis of Aspergers.   There's a range of behavior that falls below the radar of any clinical diagnosis.   To be diagnosed, it has to be disrupting his life, in more areas than just home life, in a major way, and to a point, he needs to be the one that is experiencing the distress.

To a point, because when someone is obviously mentally ill, they may not have much insight as to how it affects others.

Again, I'm not saying he doesn't have it, I'm just saying that he may not have it.  

You have said 'we are certain he does' several times now.   Why are you saying that, and who's 'we'?

As for my daughter, I'm not certain. And I don't ever make that claim. I'm not assuming anything. Just asking because I couldn't sleep...

I'm sorry to hear you couldn't sleep.   Obviously you care and are concerned.   There's nothing bad about that.

The real question is this: If either of them got a diagnosis of Aspergers, how are you picturing that would change things?

Quoting lancet98:

Okay.

For one thing, it's doubtful your husband has Aspergers.   For another, it's doubtful your child has Aspergers.

Don't start out by assuming every behavior means Aspergers.  

 There is too much 'he's a guy' type behavior these days being 'self diagnosed' as a disorder.  

If either of them have Aspergers, let that be determined by a specialist, such as a psychiatrist (for your husband) and a child psychiatrist (for your daughter).

BE SURE not to take either of them to some sort of quack who diagnoses EVERYONE with Aspergers.   They are out there these days.

Nothing you have described in your daughter is to the degree where it actually calls for a diagnosis of Aspergers.  Of course it's hard to really paint a picture from anyone's description, but it just does not sound like she has Aspergers.  In fact, she sounds like a normal 3-4 year old child.   They tcan be very quirky, uneven in development, and still be normal.

As or your husband, you didn't describe him.   So I don't see any compelling facts that suggest he really has Aspergers either.







SecularMomma
by on Apr. 7, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Thank you. This way very helpful. I think I've heard of the Love and Logic parenting classes. I will look into them.


Quoting mypbandj:

Hugs. I feel like I'm in a similar situation. My son has aspergers (diagnosed by a neuropsychologist). And now I am seeing signs in my toddler. BUT a lot of what he is doing could also just be what two year olds do. Ya know?

When my older son was four, everything he did, I assumed it was his age. But the preschool obviously thought otherwise cause they approached me to get him evaluated. So we did and he qualified for services and later we got the official diagnosis.

My advice for you would be to take a parenting class or two, check out some parenting books and cds from the library. Regardless if whether your daughter is on the spectrum or not, you are going to need tools to help you help her. I always recommend Common Sense Parenting. It's just really easy to to read and simple and effective. Love and Logic is another one. And Becky Bailey writes some good parenting books too. I personally like to read all I can about different parenting methods, then take what I like and leave the rest. Most of the time, it's trial and error to figure out what works with your kid.

The next thing I would recommend is calling your school district and asking for an evaluation. That is what I'm doing right now with my little guy. My plan for him is to finish his evaluation and see what the school thinks. And then based on that info, continue to watch him grow. If his behavior becomes more typical to how I think kids usually act, I'll probably just let it be. If he continues to be quirky, I'll probably seek out a medical diagnosis.



Liveron
by on Apr. 7, 2013 at 9:08 AM
1 mom liked this

It does seem that your child is a bit overwhelmed by the world. My daughter, now 8, was the same at age 3/4 as you describe your daughter . Your daughter is eligible to be screened by your public school system. All you need to do to get that ball rolling is to send a written request. State that you would like the evaluation as you suspect your daughter has delays that might affect her ability to access the curriculum. Alternatively, you can go through her pediatrician and request to see a developmental pediatrician.

Your maternal instincts are telling you that something is not right. I have a lot of faith in instincts. I doubted my instincts regarding my son, who at age 3 was also experiencing what you say your daughter is. He was my first, so I had no frame of reference. Turns out I was absolutely right. The bottom line is that I asked myself "Is my child able to enjoy being a child? Is he/she happy?" I could not answer yes to either question. I screened out developmentally appropriate tantrums and I was still left with a mess. Follow you instincts, they won't steer you wrong. Best of luck.

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