How do I help my Grandchild?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My granddaughter (7 years old, 1st grade) is having problems in school with behavior. She is extremely intelligent, reads numerous books each week on approximatly a fourth grade level. But, she has no self control, she talks (blurts out things) all the time and at inappropriate times. It’s very hard to reign her in once she starts talking. She also can have a melt down if she is over stimulated, ie: the Mall with all the noise and people send her over the edge. She is in trouble at school most days. My son and his family just move back to our home town, the school she was in before moving was on the verge of expelling her (they refused to allow her to enroll for next fall), she was kicked out of YMCA care last summer. She also has a high shrill voice and is extremely immature in social settings. She is very emotional, crying over each perceived slight or getting extremely agitated agressive. Please let us know what we should do and where we should go for help.

A: Please take this child to an experienced child psychologist for an evaluation. I can’t, of course, make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter. But many of the behaviors you describe are consistent with Aspergers. Although academically advanced, your grandchild doesn’t read or respond to social cues. Further, she is hypersensitive to certain stimuli. (Do some research on the internet and see if you think the descriptions of kids with Aspergers seem to match your grandchild.)

Having an accurate diagnosis is the first step to figuring out how to help. Whether it is Aspergers or something else, knowing what you are dealing with can offer a kind of relief as well as direction for what to do next. There are counselors for kids and their families and support groups for parents for almost every diagnosis. With appropriate treatment and practical support, children like your little grandchild can often learn how to feel good about themselves and fit in with peers.

I wish you all well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 May 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). How do I help my Grandchild?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/05/06/how-do-i-help-my-grandchild/

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