Monday, July 25, 2011

A Typical Toddler?

This has been weighing on me for some weeks and is a big part of why I haven't been blogging again, like I said I would. What is a "typical toddler?" Does your almost-2-year old listen at all? Do they participate in circle time at The Little Gym, Gymboree or your local library program or Y? When you call their name, do they turn their head to look at you? Can they speak in sentences, even if only two words. Do they say something to get your attention or do they point and grunt?

My toddler doesn't usually turn to look at me when I call his name. Though I'm pretty sure he can hear (and am having a hearing test on Friday to confirm that). My toddler says many individual words in response to something--like if Dora says "Who do you ask when you need to know where to go?" and he'll say "Map!"  Or he'll point out the hippo as the mouseketool in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cartoon. But he won't TALK to me.

And the tantrums. He'll flip out if he A) Can't do something he wants to do, B) Doesn't want to do something, C) Is unable to do something (like put a square peg in a round hole) and D) if overtired or hungry. D doesn't worry me so much. But A-C do. And the lack of speech. And the NOT participating at ALL (or barely) in his Little Gym class. So on June 21, 2011, I called New Jersey Early Intervention.  They took a lot of information over the phone and an intake coordinator called me and after our phone conversation, scheduled a free evaluation.  That was on July 13th. Little Man qualified.

The two evaluators, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist, found that Little Man has delays in 1) Communication, Speech & Language (which I expected), 2) Social/Emotional Development and 3) Cognitive ability. I had my first meeting with EI last week to go over the plan in general and my cost participation, as it has not been free in over 7 years and there is a copay based on annual salary. My next meeting is to set up my IFSP (individualized family service plan) and set up what type of therapies Little Man will receive. Once I've signed off on the plan, services begin within 30 days. So by the end of August.

So since then a lot of thoughts have been going through my head.  Are there JUST developmental delays going on or is something else wrong? Little Man has, in my opinion, some red flags for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Though it could be typical toddler behavior. Maybe? I'm no longer sure of "typical."  I've bolded the ones I'm worried about.

  • The child does not respond to his/her name.

  • The child cannot explain what he/she wants.

  • Language skills or speech are delayed.

  • The child doesn't follow directions.

  • At times, the child seems to be deaf.

  • The child seems to hear sometimes, but not others.

  • The child doesn't point or wave bye-bye.

  • The child used to say a few words or babble, but now he/she doesn't.

  • The child throws intense or violent tantrums.

  • The child has odd movement patterns.

  • The child is hyperactive, uncooperative, or oppositional.

  • The child doesn't know how to play with toys.

  • The child doesn't smile when smiled at.

  • The child has poor eye contact.

  • The child gets "stuck" on things over and over and can't move on to other things.

  • The child seems to prefer to play alone.

  • The child gets things for him/herself only.

  • The child is very independent for his/her age.

  • The child does things "early" compared to other children.

  • The child seems to be in his/her "own world."

  • The child seems to tune people out.

  • The child is not interested in other children.

  • The child walks on his/her toes.

  • The child shows unusual attachments to toys, objects, or schedules (i.e., always holding a string or having to put socks on before pants.)

  • Child spends a lot of time lining things up or putting things in a certain order.

Little Man does line things up, but I wouldn't say a LOT of time. But there are a few things that worry me.  I'm on a wait list with a developmental pediatrician to evaluate him fully--not just for ASD but for his development in general. Though I'm hopeful that some of the behaviors are just toddler quirks or due to his delays.

Honestly, I am becoming bitter about how "typical" (because I won't say normal) others' toddlers are. I have lots of mom friends from the internet and I love their cyber friendship and counsel. But when I see how well they are doing. Talking. Interacting well with others. Even singing songs. I feel like I've failed. I feel so worried that my son will not go ahead in life. And he's not even 2!

Little Man is still SO affectionate--even though he won't give kisses. He likes to snuggle. He likes to play with me and his father. He loves seeing his cousins. He mostly always has a smile on his face. But he's not adjusting well to new situations (ie. daycare, that I started him in 3 times a week for a few hours) and the tantrums are getting worse, probably due to that.

I know I need to get over myself. There are children with REAL special needs and this could be NOTHING but a minor glitch. But I seem to obsess over things (always have) and it's hard to get past this.

Little Man is my only child and I want the best for him.  And I want him to be typical. Once he's there, then I'll look towards exceptional.


  1. I think some of it may be typical, especially with his speech being delayed. My daughter's speech was delayed too(she's still behind, but catching up) and she would throw fits b/c she couldn't tell us what she wanted/needed. And she still, at almost 4, does not interact too well with others her age. She will once she warms up to them, but that has only happened since going to a preschool program once a week since September. the fits have changed now that she has more words. They aren't all the time anymore, but they do seem to be more intense(maybe not what you want to hear), when we don't understand what she's saying and ask her to repeat herself.

    When I first called Early Intervention for her, no one else seemed to think there was anything wrong. But, it has done so much good for her, so I'm glad I did it. I'm sure you're doing everything you can to help your Little Man, so do not think you have failed him at all. ((HUGS))

  2. I think the downfall of the internet and is finding out too much information and of course worry comes with parenting.
    Getting opinions and evaluations is a good idea.
    Have you spoken to the daycare about tantrums there? they might have suggestions on easing it. I wish I could remember Bubba's early days at daycare... it was rough for a while.
    Either way... chin up. Hang in there! {{HUGS}}

  3. I would love to know if you managed to get a diagnoses for him? I know this post is years old but reading with interest as worried about my two year old.

    1. Hi there. This post was from just before my son's 2nd birthday. He is now nearly 7.5 and in 2nd grade. At the time, he was diagnosed with having global developmental delays and SPD (sensory processing disorder). He was in Early Intervention from the time he was 2 until the age of 3. And while his speech delays were addressed, there have been other challenges since. He was later (at 5) diagnosed with Developmental Coordination Disorder (also called DCD or Dyspraxia) and he is still struggling with meltdowns, which he should be long past. He does also have ADHD and Anxiety. All that being said, he's a very smart and extremely talkative young boy who is affectionate and fun. But his delays are still there and 5 plus years later, it's been challenging to parent him. Here is info on DCD: