I have a child that I am working with who presents a totally new situation for me. She is a preschool-aged runaway who was picked up with an eight-year-old sibling. The pair were found living in an abandoned barn - no heat, no plumbing, etc. The older sibling told authorities that they had been living there since summer. There is evidence of severe past abuse of both children. They are in therapuetic foster care now. The little one refuses to speak to adults, and rarely speaks to her sibling - and then only in whispers. She seems to have taken a vow of silence to avoid being sent back to her parents. We were able to get her name & age (4) from the older sibling, but the little one won't tell us anything. She seems well-behaved, well-mannered, aware, kind & gentle. She'll nod in response to questions, make eye contact, and smile, but she is very resistent to being touched or to having her space invaded. She is clearly very intelligent. She seems to be able to read very well, though it is hard to evaluate, and is very artistic. She'll use manipulatives or blocks to make marvelous patterns & designs. She is gentle with animals, and spends a lot of time in the nature center. She interacts with other children very little, but will sometimes engage in non-verbal games with them or allow them to join her in making block patterns. The kids aren't especially welcoming of her. They say she's a baby, or ask her why she won't talk to them. There is talk of autism, but I just don't think she's autistic. She does rock back and forth sometimes and rub them hem of her shirt between two fingers, but she seems very aware of the classroom, the feelings of others, etc. She is great at following directions, but can also be very stubborn about her self-imposed boundaries. (She'll draw a self-portrait, for example, but not a family portrait. Instead, she just pushes away the materials and shakes her head. She'll attend circle time, but only by sitting slightly behind the group and against a wall.) I see a very gifted child with a tragic background, and I want to do anything I can to help her adapt. How can I help her adjust to preschool? How can I help her connect with other children? Is it possible to differentiate stress reactions from Sensory Disorders or autism?Has anyone else experienced a situation similar to this one?