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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5111
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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We have had behaviour problems with my5-year old almost since

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We have had behaviour problems with my5-year old almost since she was born. When she was six months old, she had to be hospitalised for a crying jag that seemingly had no cause and lasted for 36 hours. As a toddler taking her anywhere was very stressful because of the shouting, continual demands, running away, breaking things and climbing everywhere. She is 5 now, and has started school. She doesn't listen to us or her teacher. It is very hard to get her attention. Although she is bright, she continually makes the same mistakes behaviourally and in her school work. She snatches things from other kids' hands, and has stolen too. She tells so many lies you never know whether to believe her or not. We have stopped her hitting her little sister (mostly), but she is mentally cruel to her. She is slowly becoming alienated from the other kids in her class. She is also very full-on - rough in play, shouting all the time, running every where, getting too close to people and pushing things in their faces. She wets the bed. She breaks everything she gets her hands on. She is continually arguing with me and her dad. She has these odd circular thought patterns where she will dwell on, and keep referring to the same idea over and over for long periods, compulsively. Having said this, she is a good kid at heart. She is kind to our cats and voices compassion for those in trouble and especially for animals.. She is witty and very funny and creative. She sits writing stories and drawing at home. She is very friendly to everyone and talks happily to everyone she encounters. Ever since was a tiny baby friends, family and total strangers have remarked that she is highly intelligent, even a genius, but you wouldn't know it from her performance at school.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say can imagine this is a very frustrating situation for you and I can also sense the worry. And I agree with you that there are grounds for concern.

I know you are focusing your suspicions on some behavioral problem, maybe some personality problems. But I want to share with you my first impression, the first thought that came to my mind as a psychologist who has worked with kids and teenagers quite a bit: I would like you to have her evaluated for possible Aspergers Syndrome or a similar spectrum disorder. I know this was not on your list but it is on mine: the snatching things from other kids, the lack of ability to comply with social rules were one thing; but when you got to the circular thought patterns, I knew that I was in the right direction; then the sweetness at the end along with the ruthlessness in the first part of her description make it clear to me that you need to have Aspergers ruled out.

Please: I am not diagnosing. I am giving you my first impression for what I would want you to rule out.

Let me give you the name of an excellent book I use with parents that has a checklist in the back that you can use to make your own informal evaluation if there is perhaps an Aspergers connection here. The book is Parenting Your Aspergers Child by Sohn and Grayson. Here is the Amazon web page for it:

http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Your-Asperger-Child-Individualized/dp/0399530703/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285651809&sr=1-1

I have multiple copies of it in my office to give to parents because I think the proactive approach they use is sensational! They have checklists at the end of the book for symptoms for you to see informally if you think Aspergers may apply to your daughter. She's pretty young but their checklist should help you a lot. AND even if you rule out Aspergers, I think you will find some of the ways of working with her using their principles in getting dressed in the morning will be very helpful.

So now let's move beyond that first impression. Whatever it is, you need to get her to an experienced child psychologist. I would ask for referrals from school psychologists or counselors you might know or from clergymen or doctors. It needs to be someone who is experienced with a wide range of disorders in kids. Interview the psychologist. Don't just accept the first one. Look at their office; if it looks like the kind of place that has some space set aside where you think a kid would like to be in, that's a good first sign. Even if you are using NHS psychologists make sure to follow as many of these steps as possible. And the kid-friendliness of the office is important even for an NHS psychologist. Now, first though, make sure the psychologist can do an evaluation for Aspergers or refers you to a setting like a children's hospital that can do the evaluation.

Okay. I know how difficult this is for you but be hopeful! These steps will help you get working with your daughter on these problems.

I wish you all the best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5111
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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