Re: Could my niece be on the spectrum?
None of that sounds like a defect to me. Babysitters don't need formal training, in my opinion. They do need to be loving and keep the child safe.
Because you mention this is a four year old only child that has little social interaction beyond her parents, I would not suspect anything you mentioned.
It is normal for her to learn to do her own thing and to think of toys as her own. Rather than worry about her, maybe you can get involved and gently teach her when you are around. It does seem she could use some socialization and gentle teaching. You could ask if you can take her on short outings to get her used to being around other adults and around children her age or younger since she has little of that kind of interaction. Bossy & demanding is typical of only children, and of the first born, esp. if they are indulged some by her parents.
It isn't a mental defect for certain people to be more social and others not so much. Learning what belongs to who and doing things on her own reflects being an only child...it appears that's all it means. Those skills are typically learned by social interaction, and adult reinforcement. An only child only has her own toys.
Her language skills reflect how her parents interact with her. I didn't know it until I heard my recorded voice, but I spoke like a little girl until my voice changed from being hypothyroid. This child from your description is acting just like a child with no siblings. It is not a big deal. Later on in school she can learn more about people. If home schooled, it still is no big deal. Eventually she will be exposed to other people, and hopefully she will still be her own person rather than a mime.
I know grown adults that are pigeon toed and waddle. Everyone is built differently. I hate for children to be judged as defective because they are not always someone's idea of perfect. My feet were turned in when I was a child. This changed as I grew up. I had no interaction with other children as there was a seven year and longer stretch between me and my older siblings who never played dolls or dress up with me or gave me any attention beyond when I was a baby. I became content with myself and never became highly social. I still enjoy a lot of time to myself, my books, and my art.
If her mother does not play dolls with the child, there is no reason for the child to think to make up scenarios. Why any four year old should be playing with Barbie dolls or think of herself as 'being' the doll escapes me. There is a belief going around now that babies must have formal training from birth on how to be a person, but I have not seen anyone fail from not being pushed along. I have seen people develop anxiety and fear of failure from not being accepted for who they are, though.
Just love on the little girl and give gentle instructions when you perceive she doesn't know the limits between what is hers and what belongs to others. You might get to see her open up and really blossom.
Last edited by jillian4; 08-20-2013 at 06:56 PM.