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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Question on Social Skills - Should We Worry?

10/29/2010

Question:

Hi. My wife and I are a bit worried and I`m wondering if it`s because of stress or if you think we should be genuinely concerned.

Our nearly three-and-a-half year old son has strong motor and verbal skills -- he runs well, laughs, climbs stairs and speaks in understandable (though rambling!) sentences. But he rarely wants to play with other children and though he`s only been in preschool for three sessions, he doesn`t seem to want to participate while all the other kids play together. One-on-one with us he`s friendly and pleasant, but compared to other children his age or younger, he has trouble taking turns when we try to play a game, and in the schoolyard often keeps to himself.

He`s quite a loner and his eye contact leaves a little to be desired. Yet he feeds himself well, loves television (too much) and singing theme songs and is doing fairly well with letters and numbers. Our other big concern is that he`s having a tough time potty training (It`s been going on three weeks and he still messes himself). Can you give us some advice?

Answer:

You have described a lot of positive and reassuring things about your son. Some of your observations maybe related to your son's temperament or possibly his social experiences and different exposures he has had so far. It would be interesting to see how things evolve as he continues to attend preschool (this may very well help with his toilet training as well). However, if you are concerned (parent's intuition is very valuable) I strongly recommend having a discussion with your child's pediatrician. She/He, based on their knowledge of your son, may be better able to guide you. If needed, there are several screening tools that can be used to assess social and communicative development. If the screen is positive, your child may be referred for further evaluation.
 
Best wishes to you and your family.

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Response by:

Ghada N Lteif, MD Ghada N Lteif, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University