I know that most if not all here are not trained medical professionals, but I am just looking for some guidance and knowledgeable opinions...
A little background, my wife and I have 2 daughters, a 7 year old (first grader), and a 4 year old preschooler. My wife has a nephew who was diagnosed with Asperger's/ASD about 2-3 years ago. He functions pretty well, but definitely has some social struggles that he deals with. My question deals with my daughter 7 year old. There are some issues that we deal with with her that make me think she too could be on the spectrum, but in other ways I don't think so. The following are some things I see in her that lend me to think she could be on the spectrum:
- Strong willed/difficulty dealing with change - She has expectations in her mind of how things should be and if there are deviations from those expectations a very long meltdown/tantrum will ensue. This can be as simple as what she eats for breakfast (the same thing everyday) to which seat is hers in the living room, to the order in which she gets ready in the morning, and a number of other things.
- Desire to wear the same clothes - She regularly, I mean 4 to 5 days a week wants to wear a specific pair of pants, specific pajamas, over and over again.
- Directs the play of others - specifically with her younger but to a lesser degree with friends at school sister she will often control play and decides how everything should be done. I honestly don't see the way she acts as "spoiled, always needs her way" as much as she really has an expectation in her mind of how things should work and expects the play to go a certain way.
- Serious rule follower - rules are very important to her. She doesn't break a rule, generally (basically ever), but if there is one broken she will point it out. At school one day recently her entire class got in trouble for talking too loud, when the class was asked who all was talking, she was the only one to raise her hand. She really respects the rules and will be honest and admit when they are broken.
- Only has a few interest - basically her time at home is taken up with art and mindcraft/electronics. her art is generally the same (very nice, but not varied much) mostly its rainbows, unicorns, and family members. There will be a few breaks from these for other things like riding her bike for about 5-10 minutes or so, then it will be back to art/ipad.
-Some small speech issues - she is in speech therapy for a few small speech issues, but I am told the issues she has are common for her age range.
-Doesn't show affection in physical ways often - if asked to she will give a hug, and she will come up in my lap if she feels sick, but otherwise she generally doesn't show affection physically. She will respond to an "I love you" with one of her own, but doesn't offer one on her own.
-Repetitive movements - She doesn't have many repetitive gestures, but she does squeeze her bottom lip together repetitively (she pinches it), especially when she has finished something that requires a lot of focus (i.e. a gymnastics routine, working on a puzzle, deciding on colors for a drawing, etc.).
-Watching her think through things sometimes just makes me think something is off. It is hard to put into words.
-She will often bounce between talking in an age appropriate manner and reverting to either baby talk or remove the "to be" verbs/articles from her speech in an unusual manner. I.e. "I smart" instead of "I am smart" or something similar.
Some things that make me think that she isn't on the spectrum is that she does really well in school all around. Top grades in her class in math, reading (2nd grade reading level instead of 1st grade which is the grade she is in), good handwriting, etc. She has a number of friends, although I don't really know what type of connection she really has with them. She will tell you that a number of kids in her class are her friends.
Anyway, I know this was a really long post, but I just wanted to see if I could get some thoughts from knowledgeable people on whether or not this is something I should even be concerned with.
Thanks for any input!
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