Worried that my friend's son has a developmental disorder - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Worried that my friend's son has a developmental disorder

A friend of mine has a son who just turned 3. He only uses about 10 words and doesn't seem to be able to formulate sentences. When he talks it is mostly gibberish. He is extremely hyper and cries a lot. I don't get to see him very often but his behavior just seems off to me. Last time she brought him over to my place he immediately ran into my living room and pee'd behind my couch. We went out to dinner later and he was jumping on the booth the whole time and writing all over the window with crayons. Everytime I talk to her on the phone he is always screaming and crying in the background about something. Last time I visited he was taking a nap and woke up crying...then he went back to sleep for 30minutes and woke up crying again. She tried to feed him dinner but all he would eat was chips and zoned out on sponge bob and you couldn't even get his attention.

My friend is giving him sweets all the time because it seems to quiet him down if she can bribe him that way. I know he doesn't have a hearing problem because she can be in another room saying something to him and he usually is yelling back "NO!". I really don't know how much "quality" time she spends with him although she doesn't work and goes to college part time. I really am not around them enough to know the whole story but it just seems like something is not right with him. She hasn't expressed any concern to me and I am afraid to say anything to her.

What do you guys think?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 04:45 PM
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The talking doesn't particular bother me, I've know a lot of kids, especially boys who could barely talk well at that age. The rest of it could be be the signs of an extremely spoiled child with no direction or limits or it could be a serious problem. Whatever the situation, she's not doing particularly well as a mother. And the sweets are probably just making things worse...

I think you'd be risking the friendship if you say anything direct without her having voiced concerns first.


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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah...I think I will wait for her to say something. He will be headed to pre-school soon anyways so they can probably make some determinations there.

I do wonder if it has something to do with the fact that her and the father are split up and share custody. They both have totally different ways of dealing with the child and I think his sleep patterns are all out of wack. The father puts him to bed by 7:30PM and "Noah" wakes up at 5:30AM the next morning. My friend lets him pretty much stay up all night and then lets him sleep-in in the morning so that she can do the same. I really do love my friend and don't discount the fact that she loves her son but I do think she could improve her parenting skills.

Noah did have some health problems as a baby...I forget what happened but I think he almost died. I know he has suffered from some serious ear infections, bronchitis, and just seems to be a sickly child. Seems like he always has a cold, stomach bug, pink eye, acid reflux etc. He does have asthma.

I think I read somewhere that babies who are born sick are more prone to learning difficulties and what not.

Hopefully I am wrong but I know that a lot of my friends and family all seemed concerned for him.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 04:58 PM
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Just going off what you've posted, it sounds chemical to me. It actually sounds a great deal like a friend's children, who exhibited autistic behavior when little. (I haven't been around them in years and I don't know if it's something they've managed or grown out of.)

In their case, it was lots of unruly behavior, some downright inappropriate (urination/defecation, hitting others, etc) with no understanding of consequence or right vs. wrong - which, in my experience, children of that age are beginning to grasp. They spoke in gibberish, often communicated by screaming, generally acted either completely wired or comatose, captivated by the tv.

I've done a fair bit of research on ADHD and autistic behaviors as they relate to diet, and there are some very strong, very compelling correlations. Reading your comments makes me think of those correlations.

Not a doctor, of course. Just my two cents as a mom who works with an awful lot of kids.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah he is definitly always at extremes when I am around him....bouncing off the walls and screaming or totally zoned out and you can't even get him to look at you.

I think his diet consists of hotdogs, chocolate, chips, eggs, and a small amount of fruit.

Last time I was over we had chicken and he refused to it. So my friend gave him a hotdog and he ate most of that. Later I grabbed a piece of chicken off his plate and showed it to him. I held it up to my mouth and nose and breathed in very loudly and took a bite and said "yummy!" with a big smile. I then handed it to him and he ate it. I think she admits defeat too easily. Although I don't have kids so I don't want to act like I would be the perfect mom either. I can't imagine what a challenging experience it would be.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 05:11 PM
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I guess the big question is how does she handle his behavior? Is she doing constructive corrections or does she just scream at him and never follow through with any of her threats? If her parenting methods aren't effective, then I would think there's no way for you to tell what's going on. If she seems to have decent parenting skills and he's not responding, then it could be something chemical. Of course it could be a combination...

The parents being split up, the differences in schedules, the sugar are all contributing factors. Does anyone know how he behaves when he's with his father? How are his parenting skills? That might be an indicator...


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 06:16 PM
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As far as a 3 year old pee'ing on the floor...
I can promise you that is completely NORMAL! ROFL!!!

I also have been divorced and my now 13 yr old son
acted out in his behavior when he was around 2-4 yrs of age.

Things were very different from home to home.....
Not as bad as your friend sounds though....

Sorry I dont think the child has a disorder.....

The Mom needs parenting classes!
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 06:20 PM
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Given what you've said about his diet, daily (lack of) routine, structure, bounderies, etc, I would REALLY lean more towards environmental issues than physical issues.

In my professional life I work with people who have developmental disabilities, but this just looks like a poor kid with no structure or positive reinforcement.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 06:29 PM
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I should add that my friends were a mess. Seriously. Very little discipline or even supervision, the house was always positively disgusting, the kids (four of them, aged three through eleven) were fending for themselves most of the time.

Still, I was around them enough - lived with them for a short time when we moved to Ohio - to know that, as awful as it all was, that wasn't the whole story. Which provoked my post.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your perspectives. I don't have kids and really haven't spent a lot of time around children so I really am not totally sure what to expect and what is normal. I do agree that his environment certainly plays a role. structure, discipline, education really seem to be lacking.

The father from what I understand could use some guidance as well. My sister used to know him and thought he was a jerk, and of course I always get my info from the mother (my friend) so she is pretty biased. Apparently though he is not very reliable and anytime Noah ends up getting sick in his care he just doesn't want to deal with it and drops him back off with Mom to be taken care of. My friend also was letting his hair grow out last winter and one day when the father had him he decided to bring him to the hairdresser and have his hair completely shaved off. My friend was livid since it was the middle of the cold winter and Noah had no hair on his head. The dad's girlfriend also chain smokes and is always doing it around Noah which is bad (especially since he has asthma). All around the situation could be better.

I guess I just wasn't sure if my worry was justified or not.
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