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Bit concerned about my nephew ...

(8 Posts)
Effjay Thu 13-Aug-15 20:28:10

We've just returned from a holiday overseas to see my sister, who I haven't seen for 3 years. She has a son (age 5) and daughter (age 3). My Mum and Dad have seen her every 6 months or so and talked about a few concerns they have with her son.

He's a lovely little boy, but his speech is very delayed - in fact his younger sister (just 3) has better speech than he does. It's not really possible to have a conversation with him and he doesn't really answer any questions. He speaks in short sentences, but not much at all.

His eating is a big problem. He has a very limited diet and he certainly won't try anything new. My sis told me that he has quite severe digestive problems due to his restricted diet - he has been going for a poo every 4-5 days, but she's managed to improve this by giving him a high fibre cookie after a meal (which is sold as a solution for elderly constipated folk). He now goes every 2 days but it still causes him some discomfort.

He's been in nursery so he's had lots of exposure to other children and other adults and will play with my son (age 9) quite happily.

Another problem is that he has unrestricted access to Ipad and computer games (age appropriate). This means he will sit down for a meal, but leave after 5 mins to play games when everyone has just got started, missing conversation and banter. He also seems to prefer solitary gaming rather than joining in with the fun. DS was a bit disappointed that he couldn't really get to know his cousin because he was on the computer so much.

My mum thinks he will be a bit of a loner when he grows up. We both think he's a bit of an enigma and can't really work him out. He saw a speech therapist when he was 3 who didn't think there was an issue at the time. He starts school in September. I wonder if there may be an underlying issue such as Asperger's that would help explain some of this.

I didn't really say anything to my sis and Mum and Dad are reluctant to upset her. But, it seems that there are some fundamental issues that she may need to get help with and it's been playing on my mind since I returned as to whether I should say/suggest anything.

MirandaGoshawk Thu 13-Aug-15 20:33:10

It depends on your relationship with your Dsis whether you can give unsought advice after not seeing her for three years. I would've thought it best to either wait to be asked or have faith that any problems will be picked up when he starts school. Has she said anything about him being 'different'?

As for the not speaking - allegedly Einstein didn't say a word until he was four!

Iggly Thu 13-Aug-15 20:36:32

There are different things in there - the iPad usage seems lazy parenting to me, the dietarry issues are sad for the poor boy. She should be seeing a doctor not giving him adult cookies.
The speech - they should tackle it.

Sounds like an intervention is needed - can you talk to your sister?

Fflightattendant Thu 13-Aug-15 20:39:34

I think school will probably notice if he seems to have any major issues - they will often pick up on ASD and so on.

You don't have to say anything - if you do though make the convo very much led by her and don't criticise her parenting. Get her to open up though if you can.

Burnet Thu 13-Aug-15 20:43:47

I don't understand, what do you think you can tell her that she doesn't already know herself?

I'm sure she has access to Google if she has concerns. I think it would sound a little strange for you to ring her to say you'd noticed his speech wasn't as good as his sister's.

Effjay Thu 13-Aug-15 20:58:19

Burnet- I agree, that's my worry, which is why I thought I'd test the waters with MNetters!

I'm a bit worried because early intervention could help with all of these things, but I think I'll talk about it if she's raises the issue first. Iggly - this is what I want to say, but I would have to do it very sensitively and diplomatically.

School is not that far off for him now, so I'm really hoping they have support for children like him - he'll be in a state school in the USA.

Glittery7 Sat 15-Aug-15 17:55:50

As a mother of a child diagnosed with ASD aged 5 and advise caution. Be there for your sister but this is her child, not yours. Keep out of it.

Benllech Sat 15-Aug-15 21:15:42

Is he being seen by a Dr for the constipation? He can get a prescription for a laxative such as movicol to help with clearing his bowels. Your sister should increase his fluids to help soften his poo, get him excercising a bit to help move things along & secretly add bran to his food where possible. She really should seek medical advice for the constipation rather than treat it herself.

If she took him to the Dr for the constipation problem, they might pick up on his developmental delay and decide to investigate further. If you are constipated your appetite goes anyway so the restricted diet makes sense. Encourage her to seek help for the constipation as that's the easiest one to solve and the rest can come later.

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