Hi, I’m Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger’s Syndrome Survival Guide. In today’s newsletter we will discuss…
Asperger’s Syndrome – Q&A:
Why Does it Often Take Years to Diagnose?
Asperger’s Syndrome can be diagnosed at any time during one’s life. It is present from birth, but is not usually diagnosed until a person reaches school age, around six or seven.
Asperger’s Syndrome – Not Typically Diagnosed until Elementary School
The deficits that make up Asperger’s become most apparent when your child tries to interact with a large number of other kids his or her own age. The challenges of Asperger’s begin to show once your child tries to do a number of school related activities and has difficulty with them.
Asperger’s Syndrome – Things start to Become Clear
Before your child started school he or she may have just been seen as eccentric, a little odd maybe but fine, or just “quirky.”
Once he or she is seen against the contrast of their peers, and asked to perform more difficult tasks, the problems become easier to see and diagnose.
Asperger’s Syndrome – Early Warning Signs for Your Child
Warning signs to look for include:
- not wanting to be around other kids
- playing alone all the time
- complaining that other kids hate them
- not playing appropriately with toys
- inappropriate emotional outbursts
- unusual attachment to routine and need for sameness
- lack of social reciprocation
- not seeming to know what to say or do in social situations
- lack of eye contact
- clumsiness and coordination problems
- obsessive interests
- overly formal speaking and language
Asperger’s Syndrome – Parallel Play versus Playing with Other Kids
Up until a certain age, most kids do “parallel play,” in other words they play alongside each other instead of necessarily with each other.
Once they get to the age where they are starting to play WITH each other, and your child isn’t (late preschool age, perhaps age three or four, although it is different for everyone) then this could be a warning sign.
Sometimes time itself is the best predictor. You can never really be sure until you give it enough time to accurately measure your child’s abilities.
Children CAN be diagnosed with Asperger’s at an earlier age, certainly; it is just not as common.
Be mindful and keep track of your child’s progress. Are they reaching certain common bench marks for their age? Do they seem to be “fitting in” well enough socially with their playmates? Are there any behaviors that seem to be a “red flag” and necessitate further looking into?
It is not about being overly scrutinizing of your child but being tuned in and present to their development. Keeping these things in mind, if Asperger’s Syndrome is in the picture it may be recognized early on and considerations can be made sooner which will be beneficial to your child.
…And for more excellent information on Asperger’s Syndrome and high functioning autism read the Craig Kendall book, The Asperger’s Syndrome Survival Guide.