Concerned about Bipolar in 2 Year Old

by Sara
(Wilmington, NC)

I am very concerned about my 2 (3 in May) year old. First a bit of family history - my husband's sister and mother are both bipolar (diagnosed as adults). My 5 year old son was diagnosed with profound autism. By 18 months, I knew my now 2 year old did not have autism, but because of his brother and some quirks - we have had him evaluated by the early intervention program and he is in a developmental day program and gets some services already. He is very intelligent - he reads at a 2nd grade level, tested near genius IQ and has very good receptive and expressive language. He is not aggressive at all - a very loving boy. Some of the things that concern me are:

- Night terrors. These started when he was very young, I'd say 12 months old. He has them EVERY night - and sometimes up to 5 times per night. He just starts screaming and talking saying things like "NO, NO!" - and it is almost impossible wake him out of it. He flails around and such and wakes everyone in the house. He will even get up and run around sometimes - still in a sleeping state. Banging into walls, etc.

- He has some OCD behaviors. Not as extreme as his brother - but still there. And definitely likes a "routine". HE has to be the one to open the door of the car when we are going out, he has to kiss his baby brother before we get out of the car... silly things like this that he will melt down over if I forget

and screw up the regular routine. Even if I say "Oh, I'm sorry, let's go back and do it the way you want." It's too late, I've ruined it.

- He has extreme temper tantrums that will last for over an hour at times.

- He is very moody. When he is "sad" he verbalizes this. He goes to cry and sulk. 30 minutes to an hour. When he is done he'll say "OK, I'm happy now" - and he is. This will be over nothing. No reason brings it on.

- He gets very giddy/goofy at least once a day. Uncontrollable laughter - over things that don't really seem funny at all. It's cute, but strange.

- He relates better to adults than his peers. At school, he circles around them watching - and will not initiate play. He has to be invited in to play with friends by his teachers. Once he is invited, he seems to be fine. But, he will often talk about letters, numbers, words... things they do not understand.

- Has periods of "spacing out" where his expression is blank and he just stares at you and won't talk or answer questions. Zones out. For 30 minutes or so.

He was given the diagnosis of PDD-NOS, even though he does not fit the profile they usually see. They want to make sure he gets services and is followed. They want to test him for Asperger's when he is older and auditory processing disorder. They really don't know what to think of him. Bipolar was never mentioned, but I am getting concerned reading about the symptoms I am seeing here.

Any thoughts?

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