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Question
Posted by: MB | 2006/07/18

Destructive child

My son is 3½ years old. He's very stubborn & has a temper. His teacher said in his school report that he likes to through toys & tear out the pages of books. I've also noticed this at home & have been unable to get him to stop this destructive behaviour. How do I handle it & how do I get him to respect all things? We have no family problems like abuse or marraige problems that could be the cause of his anger. He has been seeing a speech terapist for the last 6 months as he refuses to speak & she has in turn, refurred him to a pediatrician that specializes in autism - she suspects that he might be on that spectrum, although he seems to have very few of the simptoms associated with autism. Although, destructive behaviour is one of the trademarks of autic children. He just has a lot of energy & can't seem to concentrate for too long. Is ADD not a better diagnoses than autism?

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Our expert says:
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From a distance it's obviously very hard to assess a child like this. It could be one end of the spectrum of normal behaviour at his age, or it could be more problematic. If he has been needing speech therapy for apparently refusing to speak, and a paediatrician who specializes in autism believes he mat have an autism spectrum disorder, it does sound as though there's something more going on than simple problems he'd just grow out of, and more than ADD. See what treatment the paediatrician suggests, and consider also consulting a child neurologist or a child psychologist, for further assessment

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