whats "normal" for 17 month old — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

whats "normal" for 17 month old

hi there,

I am having issues with my daycare arrangement for my 17 month old.  I am a FTM and have been having issues with daycare provider not being able to get my daughter to nap which has spiraled into a whole bunch of things.  She thinks my daughter has Sensory processing disorder (SPD)  and has suggested I look into this.  I have online, I disagree....but for the sake of my daughter have decided to pursue with her doctor and have her evaluated by a place that specializes in 0-3 year olds.  This hasn't happened yet so in the meantime I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this disorder or has a child around this age if you could offer some information (really of any kind) that is typical of this age.  She will be 18 months at the end of September.

TIA


Re: whats "normal" for 17 month old

  • Hi, you might want to check out the Special Needs board. They might have some answers for you.

    My questions.. Do you have problems getting her to nap on the weekends? Is their routine/timing different? I know some day cares switch to letting kids nap on the floor at a certain age (rather than in a crib) so is that the problem? Not napping not is a thing most kids do at some point so I wouldn't go straight to a medical issue unless there are other problems as well, but that's just me. Good luck! Let us know what you find out!
  • yes she does nap on the weekends and yes their timing is different ( I have addressed this with them).  she needs a nap by 10:30 and they are trying to put her down at 12:00.  I have been "working" with them for two weeks now trying to coordinate times and routine without success.  and yes she has recently transitioned to the floor too. I feel that the not napping is the cause of the other issues but I am not sure hence the proceeding to the doctor.  that is why I was kind of hoping someone would have some helpful info on what is typical for a child this age.

  • What specifically is she seeing that makes her think your daughter has a sensory processing disorder? Is she super sensitive to textures (refusing to touch new things, feed herself, etc)? Is she extremely upset by noises or lights? I'm just not quite sure what behavior you want to know is normal or not.
  • there was a page and a half of reasoning but some of the things she listed were:

    frequently falls or trips for no apparent reason

    fisted grip on crayons: not using silverware properly

    always on the go (short attention span)

    takes socks off; wont wear a hat

    hitting, pinching, frequent temper tantrums

    mouths objects excessively

    climbs on furniture

    hard to have a two way conversation: language seems behind

    enjoys messy play

    --- I guess the things I am wondering about most are language and movement because I feel she is right on point.

  • Ok.... That all seems like normal behavior to me.
    The tripping and falling- has she had a lot of ear infections? That can affect balance.
    Fisted grip on crayon is totally normal at that age. Daughter uses crayons/markers at least 5 days/week (she's obsessed) and she VERY RARELY starts out with a three point grip, but always slides to fisted. At 19 mo.
    Silverware is a practice thing- daughter still doesn't consistently use hers, and only a spoon correctly.
    Activity level would have nothing to do with a SPD, but again, a lot of kids are super busy at this age, and toddlers aren't exactly known for huge attention spans.
    Not liking socks and hats- normal toddler behavior.
    Hitting, temper tantrums, etc-- could be normal depending on frequency/intensity etc. that would be a pediatrician question, but wouldn't point to SPD, I wouldn't think.
    Mouths objects- teething? Even if not, exploring objects with mouth is still normal at this age.
    Climbs on furniture- normal toddler behavior (frustrating, yes, but actually shows development)
    Conversation- ...... I'm not sure what she means by this. Does daughter look at you when spoken to? Babble to you and on her own? Again, pediatrician question about language development.
    Messy play- totally normal toddler behavior. If she DIDN'T like messy play at all(coupled with a lot of other things) I'd be more likely to think SPD.

    I worked with infants and toddlers for 8years, and I'd be a little concerned with a teacher who knew this little about toddlers!!

    If your daughter had had a lot of ear infections, that would explain both the tripping/stumbling and the language. Out of your whole list, that would be the only things I'd clarify with your pediatrician for sure that she is on track. The rest may be difficult behaviors for a teacher to deal with in a classroom setting, but if she's unable to get a toddler to nap, then I'm assuming she's not great at classroom order either, and your kid may be picking up stuff that other children are doing too.....

    Sorry for the super long response, I just feel that if this is what your child's teacher thinks is abnormal, I kind or wonder if she has any toddlers who she thinks are doing well!!!
    mrstrax
  • See this is my dilemma --- I think its pretty normal behavior too & the things that aren't are pronounced by lack of sleep in my opinion...like the frequent temper tantrums, hitting, pinching. 

    no she only had one ear infection when she was an infant ... she does trip and fall but I don't think its excessive and its something I notice her do more when she is tired or trying to run (which is relatively new for her)...but sometimes she doesn't skirt around objects on the floor

    the language thing is the one that I am having the hardest time with because my daughter has quite a few words that she says and uses in context & her receptive language I thought was good ... I say come on get your doll we have to go & she gets her doll and heads to the door ... when I tell her to wait because  I have to lock the door she stops and waits while I lock the door ... she understands a lot ... whether or not she obeys when I say no climbing on the chair .. well that's a different story

    she is still teething so I don't think saying she mouths things excessively is accurate for her age


  • Ok, that's good language for a 17MO!! Is this a small daycare with many age groups together, or is it one where children are grouped by age in a classroom? (Maybe she's comparing her to much older children and grouping her in with them in her expectations?)
    My daughter does the tripping/stumbling when she's tired (I call her my drunken sailor ;) ) so that makes sense as well if she's not getting a nap in.
    If the teacher doesn't want to work with you on getting your child to nap, in your place I would probably start looking for alternative daycare. A 17mo should still be napping, and not napping can cause them to fall behind. A tired toddler is a cranky toddler, and is also not able to learn as quickly or retain new skills easily.
    I would still talk to your pediatrician about language development, and where he/she expects her to be. And your pediatrician might honestly be someone you could ask about how to talk with your daycare provider about what expectations are normal for her age!!
    Zerotothree.org is also a good resource for both parents and teachers about development and ways to help your child.
  • its a home daycare with a 4 year old, 21, 12, and 4 month old & her daughter who I believe she has to count because she is 6.  I am going through with the evaluation for SPD for my own piece of mind and to ensure that if she does have it... she gets the help she needs but I am going out of my mind waiting for that to happen. After her evaluation I will have to make a decision to stay or go but I hate to pull her out now when I will most likely be changing daycares when we move in July.   She is willing to "work" with me on the naps but it is not working.   My daughter has not transitioned from two naps to one nap yet and this is part of the issue too.  I pick her up some days and she hasn't napped at all and immediately falls asleep in the car or she has finally napped at 2:45 or there about.  Its frustrating because when she is home she naps around 10 and 2 and bed at 8:30.  the whole thing is a mess.  thank you so much for your opinions.  it makes me feel less crazy for being mad and frustrated !


  • oh and I will check out that website.. thanks


  • Sounds normal to me. My 20 month old does that stuff and I'm not worried. I don't think you have anything to worry about but if it makes you feel better go ahead and get an evaluation. At least maybe they can educate you on warning signs etc that you can teach the daycare provider to look for and educate her a little.
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  • zoeylove said:

    there was a page and a half of reasoning but some of the things she listed were:

    frequently falls or trips for no apparent reason

    fisted grip on crayons: not using silverware properly

    always on the go (short attention span)

    takes socks off; wont wear a hat

    hitting, pinching, frequent temper tantrums

    mouths objects excessively

    climbs on furniture

    hard to have a two way conversation: language seems behind

    enjoys messy play

    --- I guess the things I am wondering about most are language and movement because I feel she is right on point.


    I highlighted the things my 17 month old does.  There is also no two way conversation lol he doesn't use many words yet, and when LOs that can't express themselves get frustrated because they lack the language to express themselves, they hit, kick, bite.

    A sensory processing disorder might appear more like a child who makes a lot of loud verbalizations (screams a lot and for no reason, may go on for minutes at a time), or who screams/runs away/throws a fit/covers ears when they hear a loud noise or music too loud, or who sits and puts their head as close as possible to loud music.  They may also shy away from touch, and make react negatively towards touch.  They may also strip all their clothes (not just socks, that's silly, all kids take off their socks) or tear at tags or pull at items of clothing.  

    Unless your daycare provider is trained in SPD, I don't think she should be making those kinds of suggestions... What means do you use to get her to nap at home?  Is it usually a struggle with you?  Or out like a light?  If you have a good routine, they should be able to use those things at daycare to get her to sleep also.  Mine was a die hard twice a day napper, but recently when the times of the first nap got less consistent, he started taking much better to the one nap around noon.




  • she has always been difficult to get to sleep even as a newborn ... now her nighttime routine is generally fine as long as she doesn't nap too late but that's completely understandable.... that is dinner, tubby, book, prayers, sleep by 8:30.   to get her to nap we feed her, give her a drink, and sit with her until she falls asleep ... then transfer her to the floor (this is where she needs to nap at daycare).  I didn't  have the best routine because a lot of the time we can not be at home for her naps in regular life .... for three weeks I have been trying to modify my schedule to be at home for at least her first nap and reduce the amount of personal attention she needs  to fall asleep so that the daycare provider can copy this but it is working for me but not her.
  • She sounds a lot like my son, and our pediatrician isn't concerned. Does your daycare provider have any training regarding kids with special needs?
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  • I think your toddler sounds very normal and I would never think the things she listed are of concern? have you been unhappy with other aspects of your provider? I might look into switching if I were you.


  • I don't know if she has any training ... I know she was a teacher but not sure if it was special needs or not and honestly never thought to ask  ... I hadn't been unhappy with anything until recently when this all kind of blew up...we are waiting to see the results of the evaluation before making a decision to move her ...since my original post I had to leave work  again to pick up my daughter  for ??? I don't even know what and at that point decided I needed to observe what the hell was going on...I  spent the morning from 7-12 at the daycare in hopes of figuring out what is going on ...I learned a lot and have since purchased a cot, bought my daughter her own baby doll (which will be her lovey), brought a book of nursery rhymes, and made recommendations on a few other things for the feedings.  It worked for one day for one nap so we will see if she continues to nap....she is at the age to switch to one nap anyway so I am fine if  she naps at least once for a decent amount of time. 
  • That's a great idea you had going to observe. Even if SPD is found an OT works with you & day care to find solutions for daily life. Keeping her on her 10 & 2 nap schedule would be a BIG STEP!

    However, a lot of those listed including mouthing, socks, hitting-etc, messy play are SPD 'symptoms'. My DS has many of those. SPD is different in each kid though. Hard to 'diagnose'. BTW it's not even a real diagnoses anymore!
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