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Some reassurance please? - 4 yrs old, development delay, no major cause found

(13 Posts)
2017morework Sun 29-Jan-17 20:35:24

(4 years old) DS's speech development and his behaviour mostly equal to that of some other 2.5 years old children. I've been researching for all possible reasons and rule out of them one by one if not matching. So far, we are 100% sure he's not ASD or autistic. I sort of suspect he might be ADHD and might also have auditory processing disorder.

DH did not believe that DS is really behind of his peers, until he saw some other 2.5-4 years old children. He started talking to friends that how hard for parents to see their child far behind in terms of behaviour and maturity.

When I talk about behind, meaning the way he behaves really not like a normal 4 years old. He can't rarely engage in conversation and he still loves to run/jump up and down like without a brain. The contents of his talk are also very 2 years old play and no way to reach the logical and consistent level of his peers.

But he's not a typical child. He's a dreamer. He doesn't like to play toys in their conventional way and he always invents his own way to have fun with them. He plays really well on his own as he can with no exception always keep himself busy and entertained. 95% time, he's a very happy kid. He doesn't like to follow rules, but he has a soft heart and he likes to make friends but not all the kids want to take him as friend due to his speech delay. The comments we got from other people outside the family are mostly about "He's such a good boy (does what you tell him to do)" "He's always very well behaved.". Certainly, not always, but in general he's very easy going.

We are still trying to find ways to help him (like the speech therapy and probably will try some therapy aiming at APD too). But we just aren't sure if he will carry on to be behind or ever progress to a reasonable level of maturity. We've heard some teacher/specialist implied "Children like this (delayed development) might always have some level of difficulty in their whole life" and "always still need some extra support (learning difficulty)."

I've been begging DH to have a second child. DH today said he's not sure if my DS would ever be "normal" or his "wishful" thinking that this is just a phase could be true.

Sorry for my long whining words here. Could any of you could provide some reassurance with your experience that if no major reason is found, development delay could be just a phase. Or they will never be shaken off and even block their progress altogether one day...

Feeling really sad for DS...sad

2017morework Sun 29-Jan-17 20:37:32

Hi, want to be clear, I'd like to hear your own positive experience if you don't mind to share.

That's the main purpose for this post, as I'm just feeling terribly sad right now.

QueenOfHumboldtCounty Sun 29-Jan-17 21:45:54

Hi I am not an expert, I just have a 4 year old too who is a total day dreamer. I wonder what makes you certain he is so delayed? Have his teachers/nursery staff said so? Who have you consulted? Are you just comparing him to your friends kids? In my limited experience with what I see at DS's nursery, there is a vast array of ability at this age. My DS is also around 2.5 years for a few social/personal development targets. Your DS sounds like a real joy, what child behaves themselves all the time anyway?!

2017morework Sun 29-Jan-17 22:11:11

QueenOfHumboldtCounty, thank you so much for extending these kind words. In some way, it's a gut feeling. When you see all the other children of his age or even much younger, the way they speak and the way the play (toys/in the playground). Just not the same level of maturity. DS also has a very fainty heart, refusing to watch anything slightly scary (all stories have bad people unfortunately) and refusing to do any exercise which might get him hurt/fall.

He still can't tell the basic colours and seems taking lots of effort to count to 5.

In some other ways, the most respectful teacher told me her son's 7, he still needs speech therapy and "children like them would always need some extra support". I read as she recognise my son's behind and was just too kind to "label" him.

I just can't imagine he can cope with the reception year this September. Am I too sensitive? Is your DS your only child by the way? In some way, I wish he has a sibling.

lougle Sun 29-Jan-17 22:18:16

Do you only want positive stories in the sense of 'they all catch up in the end'? Or do you want positive stories in the sense of 'yes my child was also behind, will always behind, but it's not as bad as you think'? Once you've answered I'll post smile

QueenOfHumboldtCounty Sun 29-Jan-17 22:29:44

I have a DD too, she's 19 months and I found it has helped DS a lot, he's started playing with her and showing her how to do stuff, very sweet. It was the best thing that we could have done for him I think, it's helped him share and be less self-centred. It seems like you're focusing on academic achievements but how is your DS at practical things like feeding and dressing himself. Having a second child with only 2.5 years apart was difficult at the start but now that DS is more capable it helps. Oh and DS doesn't really like scary things either, he hates dinosaurs, pirates and skeletons and much prefers to watch peppa pig with his sister. He also loves sparkles and jewels as much as his more traditional "boys" games wink And my friends DS (also 4) goes to dancing while his female cousin does rugby!

QueenOfHumboldtCounty Sun 29-Jan-17 22:33:23

Also September is a long way off, but nursery staff should be advising you on what he might need, bringing the SENCO coordinator in if necessary. And if you want to build confidence try a drama class like stagecoach (bit pricey but might be ok for short term) xx

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 29-Jan-17 22:39:38

DD had global developmental delay when she was younger. Her milestones were significantly delayed, especially large motor skills and speech/language. At 4, she had started to speak a little, but not yet in full sentences.

She had physio and speech and language therapy, extra help at school in the early years and KS1, and we did the recommended activities at home (exercises, image and word recognition).

The gap with cognitive ability started narrowing when she was about 8. By the time she finished primary school, she was above average in Maths, reading and writing.

In Y7 she made a lot of progress with organisational skills and social skills, and these are now at expected levels for her age.

Large motor skills are still a little delayed, and her speech is immature (mispronounced words) but these delays would only be noticeable by a professional.

Most of the important things about her cannot be measured by paediatricians' charts (her creativity, her kindness, her sense of humour) but the educational system is more straightforward for her now that her development mostly falls within the range expected for her age.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 29-Jan-17 22:47:02

I did feel apprehensive about sending her to Reception. She had just turned 4. The thing I was most worried about was the speech delay, but it turned out that she was able to understand and follow instructions. She started small, using single words with the TA or teacher when in a 1 to 1 situation. After a term in Reception she was able to speak in a small group.

2017morework Mon 30-Jan-17 12:20:34

lougle, smile. I know I'm a bit fooling myself. Wishfully thinking really hard. wink

Of course, I'd appreciate your "not as bad" experience of coping. I'm just terribly worried for DS and how much this would undermine his life quality and personal achievement. It makes a parent feel sad to see the little one struggles and underachieve because no one could help...

2017morework Mon 30-Jan-17 12:24:49

QueenOfHumboldtCounty, thank you for the kind words! It does make me feel better that he's not alone. [simle] Yes, the nursery does have SENCO support plan for him, but in my view, it's quite loose and not enough to involve specialist to help. We pay a speech therapist out of our own pocket. And that's all he has right now.

Once the school admission is announced, we will try to pull in the pre-school support team. But on the other hand, we also worry if the school would "mind" taking on kids being labelled.

2017morework Mon 30-Jan-17 12:29:42

TheSecondOfHerName, Thank you! This is certainly a positive story giving me some hope one day he could catch up. DH is normally not that pessimistic, but yesterday he said he doesn't need DS to be smart or above average, he just hopes he could grow up to be a "normal" child.

You must have given your DD fantastic support over years. I can imagine the hard work and time you've put in. Your DD must have also worked really hard herself. It's not easy to shake off the labels and still achieve by putting aside any hurtful feelings some people might give to you. Really happy for you! flowers

lougle Mon 30-Jan-17 22:00:55

Ok, just checkingsmile

DD1 was mixed delay at 4. She was about 2.5 year old level for social skills, 3 year old level for expressive and receptive language, probably 2.5 year level for gross motor and five motor skills. No sense of danger. Very impulsive. Minimal attention span - no more than 30 seconds really (as assessed by an Ed Psych). She did know all her basic colours and some higher level colours such as purple, silver, etc. She was very 'spiky' in her profile - Some areas were more developed than others. She had also developed quite sophisticated coping mechanisms for her expressive language delay. She would describe the function of the thing she couldn't name. So she would say 'It pink and we go weeee' when she wanted to use the slide. Or 'me want bowl eat' for 'I'm hungry' or 'I want chicken with handle' for satay chicken....really quite clever.

DD1 was a very late 'pick up' - her delays were only flagged at 2y 9 months, when she immediately got 1:1 at preschool. She sadly started falling over soon after and we were fast tracked to hospital where she was finally diagnosed with epilepsy, then a brain malformation.

Now, 8 years on, DD1 is 11. She has always gone to Special School. She walks and talks. She has outgrown her epilepsy. She has moderate learning difficulties. She can read some basic words, up to ORT level 5 ish. Very basic maths.

DD1 seems to always operate at half her chronological age. So right now about 5 years old. She still has very little sense of danger and very little impulse control, which makes her extremely vulnerable.

This will be the thing that is most disabling as she grows - she can't make sensible decisions. She would still run into a stream of traffic if she saw a pretty stone in the road. But she can tell you that cars are dangerous. She can't apply the two.

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