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