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Friend's child - is her behaviour something to worry about?

(8 Posts)
notinagreatplace Wed 31-Dec-14 15:57:59

I don't have children (not for want of trying) but have had a fair amount of experience with a wide variety of children and one of my friend's children concerns me a little but I don't know if I'm overreacting.

She is now almost 4. She spends a lot of time with her parents' friends - there are some of them that she sees weekly, she see us probably every few weeks. She shows absolutely no interest in any of us, no eye contact, no "hello", no wave goodbye, nothing. If I or someone else gives her something to eat/drink, she will accept but won't make eye contact or say anything.

If one of us initiates playing with her, she will sometimes eventually respond, though even with the friends that she sees very regularly, it often takes quite a long time to persuade her to interact with them and she still tends not to do any eye contact, she doesn't seem particularly aware of who they are, I've never once heard her use a name to call/describe someone. Actually, this is making me realise that I've very rarely heard her speak at all, though I know from things her parents say that she can.

I am pretty sure that her parents don't especially think there's anything wrong or unusual, we are fairly close and speak regularly and I think they would probably have mentioned it. Obviously, I don't want to interfere or offend but her behaviour seems a bit odd to me. I see other children all the time, via friends and family, and she just seems very different to them. My friend's 12 month old, for instance, looked me in the eye and gave me a big smile and wave the other day and it made me realise that this child never ever did that, not even when she was younger.

Thoughts? Does it sound like it would be worth them seeking medical advice or is this just normal behaviour?

Pippidoeswhatshewants Wed 31-Dec-14 16:01:00

Maybe she is just shy, you could be talking about my dd at that age.
If I were you I would be more than 100% certain that there is something wrong with the girl, or, in other words, keep your beak out.

fairgame Wed 31-Dec-14 16:04:54

What is she like with other children? Does she interact with them? Does she got to nursery?
My nieces (6and 7) are exactly like that with adults. I speak to them and they hardly ever respond and they are similar with other adults. However there is nothing wrong with them. They both have friends and are doing well at school, they are just shy/uncomfortable with adults. They are a little more communicative in their own home than they are at my house.

AlmaMartyr Wed 31-Dec-14 16:05:15

It doesn't sound that odd at that age. Also, parents might not talk about their concerns. DS had some SEN issues and although, I did talk about it (had to, to stop people judging sad ), I didn't like doing it at all. At that age, I guess she'll be starting school/nursery soon and they'll probably deal with it if there's concern.

JellyMould Wed 31-Dec-14 16:05:36

It does ring some alarm bells but I'm not sure it's your place to bring it up. Is she in play school or similar? I would expect them to flag up concerns if there are any.

CastlesInTheSand Wed 31-Dec-14 16:06:14

Lots of kids with autism etc never get diagnosed.

It's up to the parents whether they want to peruse that route or not - but it won't particularly help in that a medical diagnosis does not bring any help with it. Only more knowledge.

I wouldn't raise it with them unless they mention concerns to you.

notinagreatplace Wed 31-Dec-14 16:09:38

I realise it's not my place to say anything, I just worry a bit about it when I see her. Probably doesn't help that I had horrible issues this year (stillbirth) so I see problems everywhere. Was hoping that you'd all say that it was perfectly normal!

She is in full-time nursery and is with babysitters 2-3 evenings a week so you're probably right that it would have been picked up by them if there is anything to worry about. I have also wondered whether she's maybe just quite clingy with her parents because she doesn't get all that much time with them during the week.

DeWee Thu 01-Jan-15 11:04:00

Sorry about your stillbirth. ((hugs))

Doesn't sound at all odd at that age. She may be shy, lots of 4yos do struggle to talk to adults they don't know really well. My ds, even at 7yo, is quite capable of spending time cuddled into me if it's an enviroment he's unsure in.

And just because you know them well doesn't mean they talk about that sort of thing. That's the sort of thing I would only talk to friends about who either had experience professionally or as a parent. Of my 3 closest friends one I would never talk about that sort of thing, one I mention some things because she has dc the same age and at the same school and can sometimes throw light on things they've said/done. And the third I talk a lot because her dc are very similar to mine, but older, plus she has professional SENCO experience.

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