Monday, September 19, 2011

at what point do you get concerned?

There’s a child in this house who is totally, completely unable to entertain himself.  Without a sibling or a parent to play with, he’s at a loss.  Unless someone is (figuratively) holding his hand every minute, he cannot do it.  He can’t play cars or Legos or anything else alone for even 5 minutes.  He LOVES passive entertainment, and hates that we keep TV/movies/electronic games to a bare minimum. (For him, anyway.  It’s less limited for some of the others, who are capable of entertaining themselves, can read, and have rich imaginations.) If someone isn’t actively engaging him and directing his play, he does one of two things:  1)  he wanders around the house from person to person, moping and pestering; or 2)  he will start imitating the closest person, without having much (any?) independent thought.  He mimics his brother, parroting nearly everything that is said.  If one person asks for something, he immediately perks up and says, “Oh!  Me too please!”  Doesn’t matter who is talking or what they’re asking for…he request is always for “Me too.”  Some days it seems that he’s totally incapable of a single independent thought. He does, clearly, have some independent thoughts, but they feel few and far between.

I’ve long wondered about an overall developmental delay.  He seems to be stuck in many ways at 3 years old.  His drawings look like those of a 3 year old.  His fine motor skills are about on par with a 3 year old.  His gross motor skills are only slightly better than the average 3 year old.  His language skills are a bit beyond 3 years, but his construction and syntax sure aren’t.  And after 2 years of speech therapy focusing on grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, we’re not seeing much progress.  :\ (He also has speech therapy for articulation, where progress is very slow, but we are seeing progress.)  His impulse control is on par with a 3 year old…if it’s that good.  His emotional responses to frustration and disappointment mimic those of the neighborhood toddler.  For the last bit, it’s been like living with a perpetual 3 year old.  Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE 3 year olds.  I adore their inquisitiveness and their zest for life.  I also love the fact that they are learning and growing every day, continually making forward strides.  We’re stuck deep in early 3’s here.  No signs of forward strides.  And it’s getting a bit frustrating.

I understand about orphanage delays, but this child has been home long enough that he should have outgrown much/all of that already.  He’s been home almost exactly as long as he lived in China!  One would think that we’d see progress…

So…with an impending visit to the Craniofacial Clinic at Children’s, where they have developmental pediatricians as part of the team, would you ask to have him seen by one?  We don’t currently have a dev. ped. on the team—his craniofacial pediatrician is a geneticist—but we have an awesome nursing care coordinator who could set it up for us.  Or, should I just take him to our regular (and excellent!) pediatrician and see what he says? 


  1. Jennifer, I think that I would ask for him to be seen by the developmental pediatrician. It certainly couldn't hurt and might help. Hugs to you - I know it must be frustrating for you.

  2. I agree with Anne. If nothing else, you will really know where you stand and won't have to wonder anymore. Hang in there! Hugs!

  3. No harm in checking whatever sources you have available to you...Excellent pediatrician AND more experts, if you can.

    I have to say, though, too, that I think this is somewhat of a function of being the youngest in a busy houseful of siblings. Who wants to entertain themselves when one is used to so many around to make things (so easily) more interesting? I have some of the same problem with our 7 yr old. He just doesn't like 'alone' as well as with someone, and feels at a loss when he needs to entertain himself. It's especially tough this time of year with fewer people around during the day and less opportunity for the more boisterous activities of summer.

  4. I agree that it can't hurt to go to a specialist and see what you're working with. Hang in there. You know I completely understand your frustration. I have felt that I've been living with the same two year old for four years now. She has moments of being three and four and five (not really six, in my opinion), but there is still a LOT of age two present. I would LOVE for her to move forward.