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Obsessive Behaviour


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We have a 3.5 year old boy. He is really obsessed by numbers. He walks round counting,often doing multiplication and getting it right!!. He can tell the time, order numbers 1-20, match objects to a given number. He started with us in September so we were pleasantly surprise when he could do as much as the rising 5's.

Unfortunately he isn't interacting with the other children because he can only talk numbers. He cannot follow an instruction or adapt to routines or concentrate on a activity that is not number related and his self help skills are poor. According to his mum he is number obsessed at home but she feels that his self help skills are no cause for concern.

Do you think that this obsessional behaviour is an indication of a learning difficulty.

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How well does he interact with staff? Can he express needs and wants, i.e., does he say I want a......, I need to go to ....... , can I have ........? Can he sit quietly and engage in a story unrelated to numbers? Can he share and take turns, I know he's very young but is he getting the idea of sharing etc? How is he in comparison to other children in your group of a similar age?

 

The fact that you are worried about him - means you should get another opinion from your Area Senco, mine, if I rang her, would just pop in on the off chance ask how things were and if I had any concerns about any of the children, she would observe for a few minutes, and from a short conversation afterwards with her, I would know whether I need to talk to the parent and arrange a "formal" visit from her and to refer to SLT for assessment.

 

the wheels of help for children with difficulties takes a long time to get going, and sometimes no real help is put in place until the child is in the academic year they will begin at school in my little bit of the country.

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How interesting........

 

I would echo all of Pander's advice.....

 

I'm also really interested in what part his parents have had to play in this 'obsession' - are they 'overly' encouraging this? How would he have learned to muliply without lots of parental input? Are they really proud of his mathematical abilities, and not quite 'up to' understanding that development of social skills is equally (if not more) important.......

Edited by sunnyday
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He has an 8 year old sister who is probably at this level. His favourite TV programme is Deal or No deal!!!!! The parents still think that he is "a baby" so its hard to tell if his lack of other skills has not been helped by them. No he is not developmentally appropriate in other areas It's thrown us really because he is so advanced as far as his obsession is concerned. Yes I have the area SENCO visiting in January who I will ask but I am impatient to know before then!!!!

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Panders I forgot to say that he can only talk numbers to adults or children. If we ask him to do something he looks at the clock and tells the time or uses some other number related ploy to distract the adult.

Yes it is interesting I have just found some info about child related obsessions that lists MATHEMATICS (including numerical information, dates, time-tables, diaries, maths,measuring, calenders, time, and counting) He just seems too young to have acquired these skills

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Getting any formal idea of what may be wrong will take some time, I suspect you are thinking along the lines of ASD because of the obsession thing and this may well be so, it took us from January until 2 weeks ago to get a formal diagnosis for one of our children who will be starting school in September. We have been advised to "not feed the obsessions", get her to share 1:1 with an adult, something like a four piece jigsaw, when she is successful at sharing with an adult, introduce another child, to hold back on something we know she wants, until she makes an attempt, at least, to ask for it, and to encourage her to make choices, so have two things, one thing we know she definitely will want and another we think she won't!

 

We were told that because of the way EYFS is set up now - i.e. everything within easy reach and use by children, for some ASD children this means they don't have to interact as much, particularly with adults so we must encourage choice and hold back just a little on interpreting what she wants, so that she has to interact with an adult to get it.

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We have a 3.5 year old boy. He is really obsessed by numbers. He walks round counting,often doing multiplication and getting it right!!. He can tell the time, order numbers 1-20, match objects to a given number. He started with us in September so we were pleasantly surprise when he could do as much as the rising 5's.

Unfortunately he isn't interacting with the other children because he can only talk numbers. He cannot follow an instruction or adapt to routines or concentrate on a activity that is not number related and his self help skills are poor. According to his mum he is number obsessed at home but she feels that his self help skills are no cause for concern.

Do you think that this obsessional behaviour is an indication of a learning difficulty.

 

We noticed this on a child and it was pretty obvious what we thought he had. Parents had already sent him to the speech therapist and luckily they too had picked up on it. I think you should speak to the parents ask about language and interaction eye contact at home, also any other routines - (our little boy tooth grinds and spins, totally obsessed by wheels and round things and can recognise numbers and letters, but he cant speak and ask for something or tell us what he wants) see if they have any concerns. We also have the local Health visitor drop in and we let them know of any children we might have a concern with. If the parents are too worried then tell them you are too and to visit their HV - perhaps give a little call in the to HV before they go up there to pre-warn them. If the parents are not too concerned then I would go down the SENCO route and see what they suggest.

 

Incidentally, our little boy was diagnosed with what we immediately thought Autism and he immdiately got lots and lots of help. The parents couldnt even leave him first of all he is now in with us for an hour and a quarter and improving. Hope someone can help him soon...

Edited by deejay
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We had a little boy with a maths obsession. It took two years to get a diagnosis and then it was 'severe speech and communication disorder'. We found it quite hard to accept the 'answer' but the little boy has a statement and has made a lot of progress. we has to specifically teach each small part of communication eg what to do if you want to have a lego brick tht someone else has. At the same time, we allowed him to use maths as relaxation. It seemed to work.

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