When my daughter was a baby, it was obvious to me that she was smart. She loved to learn whatever she could! For example, she learned her body parts when she was 14 months old! At 17 months, she knew all her colors! I remember taking her to Gymboree music class. She'd be sitting on the parachute which had all the colors of the rainbow on it. The instructor would be busy doing something. To pass the time, I would say to her, "Yellow," and she'd crawl to the yellow color on the parachute. Then I'd say, "Purple," and she'd crawl to the purple color. We had a blast playing this game, while the other mothers would look on with their mouths hanging open, wondering why their kiddos couldn't perform this nifty trick yet. Okay, I was showing off a bit. My daughter wasn't walking yet, so I needed to feel good about her other accomplishments!
She also was great about matching up colored beads with the corresponding colored sticks. At first I was really proud that she understood this concept at such a young age. However, over time, she still seemed to match up her colors almost obsessively. It started to worry me--even before I suspected that she had autism. I remember one day, when she was about 3.5 years old, I purposely mixed up the colored bead on colored sticks. I'd put a purple bead on a green stick and a yellow bead of a blue stick. I made the most colorful combinations! After I was done, I asked my daughter, "Isn't this beautiful?" She looked at me like I was absolutely insane. She gave a polite nod, but then quickly redid everything so that all the beads were correctly matched. It was at this point that I began to wonder if something was going on with her.
About a year later, we went to a park. It was a beautiful day out, and she was having fun running around and playing. She went to a park toy that had these beads that were meant to be played with for the tactile sensation. Each one had two colors on it. I noticed my daughter carefully adjusting each one so the same color was turned up. A little boy came up and ran his hands over the beads to enjoy the feeling. This messed up my daughter's work, and she started to tantrum. I had already been considering getting my daughter assessed for autism. This incident was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I realized that her behavior was not typical.
Even now that she's 6, she still has an inflexibility when it comes to color. In kindergarten last year, she learned the order of colors in the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple). Now she still insists on arranging colors in that order if she's drawing a rainbow. She'll criticize a book if the illustrator doesn't get the order right. I guess she'll always be a stickler when it come to issues of the rainbow.