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Can I moan about what I haven't done for my DS?

(13 Posts)
Riverbreathes Tue 31-May-16 21:34:58

Sometime before I had DS, I believed in a child's capability to adapt. I believed the fact that I myself grew up happily in a family with full-time working parents and my parents coped with less resource at their hands proves a child can thrive with loving parents alone.

But what I used to believe has been shaken up by the challenge my DS faces (or say how I perceive he's facing).

He's 3 years and a half, but with very quirky personality and modest to severe speech delay. 2 months ago, the assessment said his speech was at 2-2.5 year level. He's never been a people pleaser and even when he was a baby he rarely smiled back at people who gave him smile. I can't say he's reserved as most of the time he's a very happy little person. But I can't understand those moments like when he refuses to look at people while saying good-bye. Like last weekend, he spent the entire two days with my friend's daughter who's 8 years old and they got along really well and he adored her company. But in the end, when we needed to leave, he literally refused to say anything to her or look at her. Because his speech is delayed, he refuses to make friends in the nursery or I can say he doesn't regard any of them as friends even though he does like the nursery teachers.

Just to clarify, he's not autistic as we've seen by an expert in the field (actually he got a comment after the 90 minutes assessment by the pediatrician saying he's charismatic) and he also has no glue ear which has been checked. Just started speech specialist last week.

I know I might be overthinking here. But today when I read a group post about how other SAHMs chatting cheerfully which summer camps they would sign up for their kids, I feel really bad. I asked DH if DS would be a different person (more sociable and speaks better) if I had been a SAHM and had taken him to different activity groups during the week and had seen more different people/children and had pushed him to have more social stimulation.

Last week, I got really frustrated with his speech (every request was "that" or "that thing" rather than proper names) and felt constantly sad about the fact that he has no friends and certainly does not regard any as his friends in the nursery. When DH came back from work (DS was asleep already), the first thing I did was to grab his arm and cried like 10 minutes asking him "Will he be fine?"...

I feel really awful for DS and also constant question myself why I haven't done more for him if I haven't sacrifice enough to make him a normal kid...

He's 3.5 and will be going to school Sept next year. I feel like he wouldn't have a good start because I haven't done enough...sad

TheKingArrives Tue 31-May-16 21:40:01

OP, you haven't done anything wrong, don't believe this lie. You sound like a lovely mum. Your ds will come through this, he might just take longer than others. Starting school might actually be the key that will unlock his vocabulary fully.

TeaBelle Tue 31-May-16 21:43:29

Honestly most parents I know say that nursery has been a real positive in terms if speech rather than the other way round. Nursery staff are fully trained in encouraging all areas of development whereas as a parent I'm just winging it most of the time. Don't feel bad at all

Ffion3107 Tue 31-May-16 21:50:19

Wow, you're being really hard on yourself!
I'd say he'd be less socialble if he wasn't in nursery. How often does he go? Have you asked the nursery staff how he plays/communicates with other children?
My DD's 2.3, if she just points and makes a noise to tell me she wants something (which can be frustrating) I remind her what the object is called.."this is a book, do you want to ask me nicely for a book?" Have you tried this with DS?
Also, you can moan all you want but it won't change anything except for your self worth! You are doing what you can now by seeing the speech specialist so just slow down and see how it goes smile

FrayedHem Tue 31-May-16 21:52:26

Please don't blame yourself. 2 out of my 4 children have had speech delays and forcing them into groups and clubs they don't have the skills for is imo a waste of time. Nursery/preschool was different as the staff could help and I kept playing with others at home to small meetings where I could support interactions.

My eldest does have ASD which I know your child doesn't, but when he feels pressured in social situations will shut down and would refuse to say goodbye especially as a toddler. (This has actually got better with time as his speech and understanding developed). So rather than he doesn't want friends/doesn't want to say goodbye it could be more anxiety based.

School is always a scary prospect for a child outside the development norms (and I also worried with my NT child!) but a lot can change in a year. You're doing the right thing getting therapist involvement and a good school will welcome your proactive approach and work with you to keep helping him develop.

FrayedHem Tue 31-May-16 21:59:13

And as TeaBelle above has posted, I was delaying my speech-delayed DS3 going to nursery as his behaviour can be atrocious but the SALT strongly recommended I put him in. I did pick carefully though as they aren't all equal in dealing with speech and social issues.

Iwantawhippet Tue 31-May-16 22:14:09

My DS1 didn't make friends in nursery. Didn't seem all that bothered by the other children. Big change when he started nursery at school at 3.9 when things clicked and he found other children interesting. I'm not sure what changed, but I guess he was a little more grown up. I suspect he would struggle on a summer camp even now. But he does well at school and appears happy. My other boys are the same age as yours, and are twins. Again, not very interested in other children, except each other.

So although your boy may have some issues with language, the friends thing doesn't strike me as unusual.

Riverbreathes Tue 31-May-16 22:40:52

TeaBelle, FrayedHem, thank you for reminding the merits of a nursery which I should have known all along. His nursery staff are really caring and I'm 100% happy about them. Despite he doesn't have real friends there, at least I know for sure he likes the nursery days and loves the staff.

FrayedHem, as you pointed out, he might have anxiety issue. He's very sensitive to fears and dangers. I need to do more research on this. And I think what you said might be the very reasonable explanation on the refusing to say good-bye thing. He's very much avoiding things causing unpleasant feelings - an relatively "easy" child but probably on the "passive" side.

Iwantawhippet, I hope my DS would click one day too. But as I said above, there might be some other underlining issue more than development and maturity. I hope after whatever I could do for him to support, he would not become a "loner". That also intensifies my feeling of guilt that we've decided not to have a 2nd child - simply couldn't cope. He will not have a sibling or relatives around in this country, I'm afraid!

Ffion3107, I do try to encourage him to repeat back or make a proper request, but 7 out of 10 times, he just ignores me or even just simply gives up what he requests for to avoid speaking properly altogether!

Riverbreathes Tue 31-May-16 22:42:35

Thanks to you all, lovely ladies. flowersflowersflowers
Your kind words have made me feel better truly...
Also apology for the original post full of typos and grammar mistakes... :p

memyselfandaye Tue 31-May-16 22:45:10

He will change an awful lot between now and September next year.

My 5yr old didn't crawl until he was 13 months, walk until 17 months and didn't say many words until he was 3.

Now he never shuts up and runs everywhere.

lenibose Tue 31-May-16 23:15:42

My DS is shy and sensitive to. The whole 'say hello', 'say goodbye' thing can put a lot of pressure on a child. We developed a rule where he had to say 'hello' and 'goodbye' and then say nothing in between. But inevitably 20 mins later he was chatting away. But telling me that he had to ONLY say those things and wouldn't be forced to interact made it easier for him.

I also work FT and DS went to a childminder. Had no speech delay at all, so that might be relevant. However, as I said he was always shy and anxious as a child to the point where he didn't really have a 'friend' till he was 4. It took him a term of preschool to come out of his shadow. He is now a different child. Hugely popular, very social. Today a child he has never met before came to our house. 5 mins of awkwardness and circling around later they spent 4 hours playing happily upstairs. They are both 4.5 years old. If you had told me this would happen 8 months ago, I would have laughed in your face.

However, I would suggest that the anxiety/fear/shyness may or may not be linked to his speech delay. But they may not, and perhaps it might be good to address them separately for the time being while his speech delay is being looked at.

Iwantawhippet Thu 02-Jun-16 20:06:10

It is terrific that you've managed to get help with his speech before he has started school. Good for practical reasons in terms of phonics and communication. Looks like good parenting to me. So, I don't think you should be down on yourself.

Kleinzeit Fri 03-Jun-16 17:34:57

Your DS is who he is. He has his own personality, some kids are just more adaptable than others, you didn't create his speech delay and you didn't make him bad at goodbyes either. A lot of kids have to grow in to greetings and goodbyes, not just kids with ASCs. Is he unhappy because he doesn't have "friends" or is he still quite happy pottering around with the adults? If he is content then that's good, he has plenty of time. In the meantime a lot of it is about finding ways round problems while he catches up rather than trying to fix them. Maybe he can go upstairs and wave goodbye out of a window if he finds that easier.

It might help if you imagine that your DS "loses his words" when he wants to ask for things. My DS was much the same at that age - he has a great vocabulary but he does have an ASC and I feel a bit mean for all the fights we had over me insisting I wouldn't give him something til he asked for it properly. To be honest it didn't help, he just used to get frustrated and tantrummy. After he was diagnosed I realised he probably couldn't find the words to ask so instead I would zip through a list of things until he said yes. In fact my father does this a bit too. He'd be right in the middle of some DIY and shouting frantically "get me the.... the.... the....!!!!" though of course he knew the word it just went right out of head when he needed it. Oh yes, and several months after DS was diagnosed he came out with "please pause the video I want to go for a wee" and I nearly fell off the sofa in suprise. There is just no accounting for kids - DS was back to being unable to ask for a drink of Ribena afterwards.

Do you think it would help your DS if you gave up work now? As parents we can be there when our kids need us and that isn't always at nursery age. I worked while DS was at nursery, then stopped working after he started school because DS couldn't cope with after-school care or holiday clubs (plus there were other issues related to his ASC). But my DS had a brilliant time at nursery and they helped to socialise him a lot, probably better than I could have done, so it was only when he hit the more demanding world of school that anyone even realised there was a problem. I don't mean you have to give up work - just that you can think ahead and no need to beat yourself up about past decisions. If you don't think your DS will cope with summer camp then he doesn't have to go yet - or ever. He has plenty of time to grow into things and in the meantime you can be home with him or get an au pair or whatever works for your family.

Your DS will be fine. smile You are there for him and you care. You're already getting help for him and identifying the things he might struggle with. If he does have any problems, you'll help him to be fine in his own way. If he doesn't he'll be fine anyway. flowers

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