Hello everyone, kind thoughts, advice or experiences are much appreciated. :-)
Our precious little boy just turned 3 less than 1 month ago. I have been in tears trying to decide what to do and how to help him the best way I can. At home, with friends and family he is a pleasant, playful and kind child. He follows directions at home, potty trained himself at 2.5 and is extremely smart and playful - a JOY to be around. He listens & interacts as he "should" as mentioned on the developmental guidelines that I've read (other than an expressive speech delay).
The issues that we're having is that he is delayed in speech (although doing much better with great progress over the past 6 months), and also some sort of social anxiety (not diagnosed, just noticed in certain situations). It is difficult to explain but I will do the best I can. With any situation where he feels uncomfortable (doctor's offices and other places where he is being evaluated, sometimes even large groups) he will hug me and not participate or simply cry until we leave. He is extremely stubborn and usually will not give in no matter how hard we try. I know this is not always considered "normal" behavior for a child at 3, but at home and out in public places (park, science center, zoo, most other places) he is fine. We have play dates with other children, go to the pool daily in the summer, have kids over our house, etc...and he does fine around others, interacts and plays. Sometimes becomes shy and stubborn, but that's just his personality at times. Overall pretty good though.
We recently started him in preschool based on his IEP to help him do better with situations that he doesn't want to participate with. He would cry for hours until I returned. I pulled him out (not for that reason - although it BROKE my heart each time I picked him up). We removed him because when I would arrive, he would be sitting at the table with nothing in front of him, tears in his eyes, teachers sitting nowhere near him - not interacting at all. They didn't use the picture schedule or help him in the ways that he needed while there. My husband and I were planning on moving him to another preschool but thought it might be better to start him in the fall. We're due in march with our new little one and we're afraid it might be too much change for him at once.
Today I tried to start him in speech (which is the only real thing that I was concerned with). We had our appointment this afternoon and the therapist said she would not work with him until he was evaluated for a developmental delay. I literally started crying, that was the first person who mentioned that to me. I've had him in early intervention for speech since he turned 2. While at speech today he was shy and refused to play with her toys. This is how he gets at most offices, when I asked him why he acted that way his response was "wanna stay home, mum." As soon as he got in the car, he was fine! Smiling, happy and talking. We went home and I cried to my husband as he ran around and played with his brother.
Here is the problem I'm having, I KNOW what will happen when I go to get the developmental screening. They will shut the door to start, he'll say "no" and refuse to participate (as usual). Then they will want him to go to more therapy which he hates and the cycle will continue. I've seen progress with him in the past year with these situations that he is uncomfortable with, he is getting better. In my eyes it wasn't a "problem", he has a stubborn personality -- all kids are different, right? It is my hope he will continue to grow out of this.
Just a note - some of you may be thinking why start speech but not preschool? Here is why - preschool was 3.5 hours twice a week and speech is only 1/2 hour twice each week. He is also familiar with receiving speech (although this was a new office that we were starting). I thought it would be an easier adjustment for him and also he has about an 8 month speech delay and this was my true worry.
In my eyes every child is different and will develop in their own way. I don't want to harm him by putting him in preschool when we're already having a ton of change with the new baby and also if he's not ready (which in my heart I don't feel that he is). I also don't want to deny him therapy/preschool if he truly needs it. I see the entire picture of him where the therapists only see him when he is upset and unwilling to participate in these tests.
Both sets of grandparents were shocked that the therapist today even mentioned needing a developmental screening (because they see him like I do). It's shocking to those who know him, but I see him at the doctor's offices so I have a better understanding of how he acts in these situations.
My heart tells me to wait on preschool until the fall but continue with speech services, allowing him to mature for the next 6 months before trying preschool again.
This is really hard for our family, I appreciate your advice! :-)