My cousin's son is 13 and very smart. His demeanor tends to be a bit abnormal such as times he presents facial muscle spasms and when spoken to, any response holds no emotional defining factors and speaks in a very mono toned manner and very slowly. He always has his mouth hung open and doesn’t respond immediately to verbal commands and to his own name. Could anyone help me figure out what it could be and what could be done to help him? Thank you.
First, I would ask your cousin about his last physical examination with his pediatrician. If he doesn't see a pediatrician, I would have your cousin make an appointment with one in his community. Pediatricians are trained in child physical and emotional development. Sometimes it is hard for familes to see variations in development especially if he is the first son in their family. Ask your cousin if he has friends and is invited out. does he have mates at school at lunch? Many of these questions bring home the issue that something in his social skills may be different.
Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics