Developmental Delays — The Bump
Special Needs

Developmental Delays

Hi everyone, I have two boys 4 and 2 they both have problems with speech and social play. My two year old barely makes any noise at all unless he's yelling or screaming. I am working with infants and toddlers in my area to try to get ideas to help grow my youngest's vocabulary and get him engaging in toys but the process is not going smoothly. My older boy is in a special education preschool where he gets speech and OT and we have them both going to private speech once a week. I'm scared, not because I'd love them any less if there was a problem but I feel like I'm missing a piece of the puzzle like I'm just out of reach of helping. Some times I think it's my fault genetically we have a lot of autism in my family or maybe I did something while I was pregnant that gave them this disadvantage either way I feel really guilty. I'm hoping to find ideas to help the boys develop and other people dealing with global delays.
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Re: Developmental Delays

  • Hi! First of all, it is NOT your fault. You may already know that inside, or maybe you don't, but it regardless I wanted to make sure you hear that. Second,  though you seem to be asking specifically for ideas/strategies to use, I think this is even more important: you clearly know about local special education resources for preschoolers,  but are you aware there's special ed for infants and toddlers? As long as you're in the US, there are services. Each state is required to provide early intervention to children with special needs ages 0-3 under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Contact your school district and pediatrician to find out how to contact your local early intervention referral line. You don't have to be alone in this, there are experts who can work with your family to identify the pieces of the puzzle that you may not see. Another bonus is that under age 3, services are for the FAMILY so you learn how to help your child; after age 3, schools are only required to serve the child's educational needs, the home and family are no longer the focus. What state are you in? When does your younger one turn 3?
  • We have early intervention here my youngest is doing that but the services are really spotty and they just ask me for my ideas. It's really not helpful I can't wait for my youngest to turn three but that wont be for about 8 months. We live in Frederick MD. The school my older son got to go to when he turned 3 is amazing he gets extended school year too. I just wish there was something I could do to flip the switch for them especially my youngest. On a positive note he has started sitting with family members in their laps he never did that before. 
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  • I'm sorry your early intervention program isn't helping. It sounds like you got a bad provider. I think of it like school for any kid: the school may have an excellent (or awful) reputation, but your child's and family's experience will be almost entirely dependent on how good the teacher is. 

    See if you can switch teachers for your youngest.  Ask the private SLP, and definitely the teachers at the preschool, for specific names of a good EI teacher. That preschool is getting all the EI grads, if the teacher has been doing this for a few years, she'll most likely have noticed a trend that kids who had X provider have better skills/more prepared parents and will have an opinion. 

    Do either of your kids have an autism diagnosis? Have they been evaluated? My next idea is to find a parent group locally, diagnoses-specific if you can. Those parents have been there and can clue you in to the best resources around
  • They haven't been evaluated yet I wanted to get their speech up before hand. Thanks for the suggestions I will look into them
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  • I would also strongly recommend getting both kids evaluated for autism now if there is any chance at all that someone might think they could possibly have autism, even if you think they don't. Though you may not like the label of autism, that label is like a magic ticket to intensive and effective services. Autism therapies like ABA have strong research support, are now covered by insurance, and in my experience are effective for many, many children, even those who don't really have autism. I've seen several children "cured" of autism, not because they were truly cured but because they never really had autism (just developmental delays that had similarities to autism) and the intense therapy helped them. Waiting to get their speech up could have 2 outcomes: they don't completely catch up, and you've now missed the opportunity for intensive services in the early years when they are most effective,  or they do improve in speech (though maybe still with gaps) and they no longer qualify for the autism diagnosis and services that can address speech and social skills as well as other gaps. You have a choice to make: which is more important, that your kids get the services they need to reach their greatest potential, or that you avoid the label of autism? In a way it feels like tricking the system to pursue an autism diagnosis you're not completely on board with, but parents of kids with ASD have been such amazing advocates that their kids have access to things that other kids in need don't. And if your kids might possibly fall into that ASD category, it will only help them to take advantage of what's out there.
  • I hear and feel your frustration!  Please stop feeling so guilty regarding your children’s speech and social play issues.  Just being their mom is the most important and crucial role in both of their young lives and it sounds like you are providing the help they need by making sure they have therapies and special preschool education that will eventually improve their current delays.  Progress may be slow right now but these therapies your sons are involved in will eventually produce positive outcomes. Your ST should also be able to provide you with additional resources to help grow vocabulary.  I truly admire, most of all, your love for your children and your dedication to help them, but also wanting to help other people deal with global delays.  Being your children’s advocate is an important job, and with patience, your anticipated goals will be reached! And think of the wonderful impact you will have on this world!   Good luck!!


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