My friends 4yo does not settle at kindy & has less than 3 minute attention span. She has started to stutter & as her voice is very monotone she is really hard to understand. She is an emotional child who hits her mum & pulls her hair which is hard to watch. She never takes no for an answer, she will repeatedly ask for something getting more upset & angry untill my friend gives in or starts yelling in frustration. I don't feel she acts like most 4yo I've come into contact with. I feel something isn't quite right & this little girl needs help (so does my friend) I don't know what to say or where to go. My friend will say "she's only 4". This child freaks out if she thinks her mum is going somewhere without her, even if it is just out the front to see me off, the child has to come to make sure mum doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't sink in to this little girl & she gets distressed. I really have never seen anything like this. She won't stay with any other family member ever, she only wants to be with her mother or father.
this may not be Aspergers rather a separation anxiety. I would suggest to your friend that she speak with her pediatrician or doctor about her behavior. Of course, if the parents don't see it perhaps the pre school does. usually as pediatricians, we recommend an evaluation but she is not your child and that makes it frustrating.
If you are good friends, ask if the mom is frustrated by this behavior. If she is, she might take your suggestion of an evaluation.
Good luck.Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics