Special Needs

social/emotional delay with PDD

I'm hoping someone will know what I should be asking for.  My DS was previously diagnosed with PDD-NOS and will be 3 in May.  We are currently working with a physical therapist and a speech therapist.  However, in talking with both of them today I think our core issues are way more social/emotional than either of these.  While he does have some minor speech delays he has a huge vocabulary (300+ words), can make his needs known, and has reasonable articulation.  His issues are more he has repetitive speech when he gets anxious or can't figure out what to say.  While he has some sensory issues, I genuinely believe most of his "delays" in the PT area were the result of him not wanting to interact with the therapists that did the eval vs. him not being able to do something.  For instance, they said he had a fine motor delay since he wouldn't string beads.  So I go out and buy the same wooden beads to work on it.  He does 3 for me that night in about 5 minutes.  By the 2nd PT appt. he did 5 for the therapist.  He is exceptionally strong willed and frequently refuses to do anything someone else suggests.

I have enquired about playgroups for children with delays to try to get him used to being around people (long story but we've moved overseas 3 times since he was born and he has spent a lot of time alone with me) but no one has any suggestions.  I've tried taking him to Gymboree and other typical kids activities, but that usually results in a tantrum when he is required to do circle time or forced to be close to other children.  So regular activities are too much for him, but I can't seem to find anything for children with this sort of social delay.  Can anyone offer some suggestions on what else I could try?  I really feel like this is our core issue that is causing so many delays in other areas and I have no idea what type of treatment I should be looking for.  Our service coordinator is nice and helpful when I'm specific with requests, but doesn't come up with enough suggestions for my tastes.

Re: social/emotional delay with PDD

  • Random thoughts I have:


    1. What about a regular playgroup that is just a group of moms and kids hanging out, with no set activities?

    2.  What about a regular preschool that is willing to adapt their day for him?  It might take some work to find out.  A mom in my mom's group always dropped her son off right after they finished circle time in the morning, and picked him up right before they started circle time in the afternoon.

     3.  Do you have any play places that just do drop-in, not "classes"?  We have one kind of like Gymboree but it is just drop in and play.  Does Gymboree have drop-in times?

     4.  Do you belong to the Y or anything like that, where you could take him to the gym childcare, and slowly introduce him with you being there at first and leave for longer periods of time to go exercise? 


    HTH gets some ideas flowing for you!  It can be frustrating, I understand.


    Also, once he turns 3 won't he switch out of EI into the school district?  You may find that he will have SN preschool options at that point. 

  • Yes, he will qualify for the SN preschool at 3, but unfortunately that is in May, just before school lets out for the year.  This means that although we know that is coming it will be almost 6 months from now until that starts.  I was really hoping to make head way into this area sooner than that, especially since he will be going to school so it isn't so traumatic.  

    Since we have moved so much we don't have a regular playgroup and I haven't found the other mothers in new places very supportive of DS's outbursts (which I know are difficult to understand).  It is very had to meet people.  We do go to the Open Gym at Gymboree which is usually fine, but DS doesn't go towards toys if another child is too close by.  He will sometimes climb on a structure with another child, but as its a rotating cast it doesn't give him a chance to get to know a child regularly.  I've tried the gym daycare (in multiple countries) and it was a disaster.  He  either cried the entire time until they came and got me or practically hid in the corner until I got back.  I just don't think he's ready for that.

     I guess that leaves me with preschool and I've been loathed to start trying to find one of these, because so many of them around here require you to be potty trained at this age and we have started.  I know this is going to be an issue with DS (he screams no potty, no potty if I ask the dog if she has to go) so I've been waiting on that.

     Auntie - we do plan on continuing the speech therapy and our therapist said basically the same thing as you about what the therapy will teach.  I'm really not looking to stop anything that he is doing now.  I want something more.  I totally agree with you on the drop in places after the gym incidents.   I haven't thought about playdates not in the home - but he does tend to panic when others touch his stuff so this is a good idea. 

     I just feel like I'm in this continual holding pattern and constantly search for answers or ideas.  Its exhausting.

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  • Auntie - Thank you for those additional suggestions.  I haven't been able to find a camp or lessons near me, although I'm still calling around.  I've asked all of the therapists and the service coordinator for suggestions, but haven't gotten a lot.  I'll discuss ESY issue with them when they do his preschool evaluation on Friday.  I have a few speech camps left to call, but most of them don't really focus on children who have issues similar to DS's.  We do an activity every day (swimming, nature museum, science museum, indoor inflatable area, park, etc.)  and we are going to try an activity class at the Y.  I'm going to speak to the instructor in advance to try to get some understanding on how much DS can do.  I'm hoping that will work out. 

     I do have a nanny 3 mornings a week which I know is much more help than some others have.  Unfortunately with DS's therapy schedule, DH's work schedule (he might get home to put the kids to bed 1-2 times a week), our moving, and the fact my youngest is around a year and also a handful, it still feels like too much.  I don't mind saying I'm seeing a dr. and taking antidepressants to help deal with all of this, but it is so overwhelming.  In addition to the normal mommy guilt I worry I'm not doing enough fine motor work, did I remember to model my speech right, etc. 

     Thank you for your responses to all of us who are new to dealing with this.  I'm sure your experience was much harder in the beginning since there is so much more out there now.  I appreciate any ideas you have.

  • I am a SLP, just reading through some posts.  Just a thought...is there a university around you that may have programs for kiddos exactly like your child?  I know the Communication Disorders graduate program I attended had some great "preschool" classes to work with what you are describing.  I am really not a huge advocate of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, although I think it has it's place.  Have you looked into that option.  Again, not saying it is the RIGHT answer, just throwing it out their in case it is something that works for you. 
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