ETA: This is way longer than I thought....
Most people think I am crazy to think there is ANYTHING to even mention about my DS, who is almost 4, but I am trying to figure out what, if anything is 'different' about him. Is he just shy? Or is it something more? He's the most loving, engaged, kid, but has SUCH a problem in any new/social situation. A bit of background...
AJ has ALWAYS been a quiet kid and was in speech therapy at 2 years old because he only had about 2-4 words. The therapist pretty much discovered that he was just so ..... well, mellow, that he never felt the need to talk. The fact that I knew his every need just exacerbated that. So, we made some adjustments and sure enough, within six months he was right on track (and still is). So, we solved that problem, but have never been able to solve the other......what I call his 'social anxiety'.
AJ is NOT ok in any new situation with new people or places. It takes him much much longer than the average kid to warm up to new places and people. It took him three months to say more than a few words in preschool. Now he runs in and plays with two or three kids that he calls his 'friends' but won't talk to most of the others unless he has to. He also will never talk when he is 'called on' in class (things like yelling out your name in a song, etc). He also won't talk to our neighbors, etc. when they ask him 'how old are you?', etc.
Today, there were some kids playing next to us at the beach and they had bubbles, which he loves. He actually went over to the VERY outskirts of where the bubbles were floating (away from the other kids, but this is a HUGE improvement because normally he won't leave my side to venture to a new situation).....but then completely freaked out when he realized what he had done and was inconsolable. He kept saying 'I didn't want to play with the other kids!!'. I kept telling him it was fine, he didn't have to do anything he didn't want to (as I always do) but he really freaked himself out.
None of this really affects him in the day-to-day. He loves preschool, loves his friends and teachers there, etc. They LOVE him there too and just say that 'yes, he is much quieter than the other kids...but he is a joy to have in class and really loves to be there.'. He loves to help the teachers with projects, etc.
Also, it should be mentioned that he has a problem with noises. He hates loud noises or things like blowdryers, running the bath, motorcycles, etc. He always blocks his ears or I have to shut the door when I am doing any of that. Even today, the tide had come in so there was only a little bit of beach and we were walking near the small waves and he was having a really hard time with it because the 'noise' scared him (even though his white noise machine is 'ocean waves'). He said he was scared.....he's scared a lot :-).
Honestly, I don't know if I am crazy and maybe I just have a shy guy, or if I need to figure out how to work on the problem. Because it's not affecting his everyday life too much, maybe it's ok and he will just be the kind of kid who has one or two friends and never joins a group. He is pretty much unable to do sports or things of that nature because he will not go and join a group and freezes up if he is made to do it. That will last for WEEKS, and then he will finally adjust and love it (I know this from sticking with things like group swim classes, music classes, etc). But how can I expect the soccer coach to deal with him for weeks on end until he warms up to the idea?
Anyway, I've done tons of research and most of what I have found has been so much more severe than him, that it just doesn't fit. Has anyone here dealt with this??