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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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Discussion Starter #5
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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #10
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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This little boy sopunds as though he could benefit from the "supernanny" type of approach.

Consistent loving discipline and a decent diet.

all refined foods should be banned.... and add also sounds like a possibility , but diet and routine should be a priority.
 

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Just reading this thread through right now - something is definitely off here, I think your instincts are right on to question the situation. Probably a combination of factors but autism seems pretty possible. Three is an age where there ought to be a fair amount of communicating with parents and adults, not just extremes of screaming or zoning out. And the peeing in the living room is odd - when Jamie was little we had him at a co-op preschool for 2 1/2 to 4 year olds, and I don't remember any kid ever doing that...

Lots of luck to your friend and to the little one. With a lot of love and a lot of help he should be fine, but sooner the better...

Fran
 

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This links up with Megan's thread on parents.... I'm sure she's a lovely woman but wow... I got a telling off when I made too much noise (especially in a public place), I certinly didn't get any sweets.
 

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It sounds like a combination of behaviour and something else, whether it be ADHD, ADD, Autism or Aspergers. The zoning out I have seen in children with Aspergers. The completely zoning out also could be petit mal. Really from a description it is impossible to say.

It won't really be possible to "diagnose" anything at 3 years old. Children should never be tested for anything behaviour wise until they are 5 at the very earliest. We have had children come to our school with a label they were given too young, when they have been retested by the educational psychologist some years later the label was removed- nothing was wrong, but a wrongly given label can stick with them for life and effect them in so many ways.
 

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I really think you should be careful getting a medical diagnosis from people who are not doctors and have not ever seen this kid.
 

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Zalensia, the medical and educational communities differ with you. A correct diagnosis can be made at age 3. In fact, many experts feel that a diagnosis of ADHD or autism is made by age 3 and those who are diagnosed later are questionable. I'm not sure that I agree.

This child needs a medical evaluation first. I would question the hearing, do to the limited vocabulary, as kids with allergies have hearing that comes and goes with extra fluid in the ears. The extra fluid can occur slowly enough that the child doesn't understand that it isn't normal and it doesn't always cause pain. A look at the asthma medications, which can cause hyperactivity in some children, should be a large part of the evaluation. The doctor also has an advantage at seeing a large number of children of the same age and knowing what is in the normal spectrum of behavior/development.
A child psycholoigist may be recommended for further evaluation - behaviors and disablities. Parental education classes may be recommeneded for both parents.

Sometimes parents don't know enough to know that there is a problem. My s-i-l didn't - my nephew had a very limited vocabulary at age 2 and the speech was muffledly (figure that one out). When the family was around at Christmas, several of us with older children metioned our concern and recommended a checkup. He got tubes in is ears the following week. The folowing year, he was diagnosed with Aspergers.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I was wondering about the hearing thing myself. I am pretty sure my friend said he had a couple of pretty bad ear infections very young. But it does seem anytime I had been around him and his mother was yelling something from a different room that he could hear. But as I said I don't see them very often either.

The child is at the doctor pretty frequently so I don't know if they have said anything to my friend or not about his behavior. Maybe he acts different in those situations...who knows? I definitely think his environment is affecting him in a bad way but I didn't know if it was something more.

I wish the best for him.
 

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Kris, do you still work in health care? You might check to see if your local hospital does free developmental screenings. If so, you could gently recommend your friend take advantage of it. Also, alot of states offer early childhood intervention programs for kids who have developmental delays and the like. Your local school district should have info about this.

I had a friend whose child seemed off as well. Not as extreme as Noah, but enough that all the parents in our playgroup were concerned with his development and lack of language skills. This boy only grunted to communicate :( Further, the mom was not planning to send him to preschool.

I found out that our school district was offering screenings for its preschool program which was free for kids with special needs (including bus pick-up) and ridiculously cheap for everyone else. Without mentioning my concerns about her child, I told her about it casually ("free or minimal tuition!") and said I was checking it out myself. She went and her child was accepted as a special needs student -- his language was well behind his peers.

If one of these services is available, suggest it as something that she might want to check out. You don't have to mention your concerns. You could recommend it as a health care professional :D

If nothing else, I'm sure his preschool will pick up on the behavior. However, there are alot of other resources out there. This family needs help on a number of fronts. The parents are certainly not providing a safe, nurturing environment for him. The lack of routine, bribing with candy, etc. would certainly cause a child to act out. Children don't feel safe when they have no stability or routine :(
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I will check into that. Thanks for the idea Lisa. I know that kids really do thrive on routine and habit. I went to a parenting 101 class as part of my job at work. The speaker couldn't stress the routine and structure enough. Our department offers community education classes and I agree to host that one (introduce the speaker, hand out surveys, etc). It was quite informative. I wish all of my friend's with kids could have attended.
 

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My brother used to get alot of ear infections more then a normal person does, my parents couldn't understand and finally took him to an ears nose and throat doctor to see if he had any ideas. Turned out he had alot of fluid in his ear canal and this was causing the infections. It was also the blame of why he was having such a hard time talking and forming words properly. The doctor said for my brother to hear it was like having our head underwater and someone talking to you above the water. He had to have tubes in his ears for a year to help drain them, no one knew he had tubes in his ears unless we told them. Of course he couldn't get water in his ears so he had to wear something like a head band over his ears or ear plugs if he was having a bath/shower or swimming. He now forms his words alot better and he was around 4 or 5 when this happenen he is now 13.

He also acted alot like a spolied child and my parents in no way spoiled either of us. Some days he was worse then others to the point we wanted to lock him up in his room and wanted nothing to do with him, he's also get violent, he tried to stab me with a screwdriver once when I told him it was bedtime. The doctors put him on medication and it turned him into a zombie, he was all bones and skin there was no fat on him, he was never hungry and when he was he only want chips or candy etc. it did help with his behaviour but my mother didn't want her 6 year old son boney and so zombie like. We now know he as ADHD and a food allergy that caused him to act the way he did. If he eats wheat/gluten he reverts back so fast you wouldn't believe it unless you saw it. People tell us there is no way eating a mouthful of bread can change a persons behaviour but it does and drastically, he can't help it either and has said on many days when he has stolen a bite of "normal people food" that he's being a jerk along with the "a" word and several others. That's hard to hear from a kid who wasn't even 10 at the time. He is now on a wheat/gluten free diet and is on several herbal solutions that really did wonders for him. There are also pellets now that help his body with wheat/gluten when he eats it say at a birthday party. It's not the answer as the pellets just a short term solution but at least when he goes to a birthday party, hockey party etc he can eat what everyone else is eating.

Even before he was found to have this allergy and ADHD he acted differently in each place we brought him, we couldn't eat out as he really would act up but if we went to a family members house or to say a doctor he acted perfect.

my mom reads into ADHD, food allergies as well as Autism things alot now as even my dad shows it a little. There is something called Fragile X as well that my mother is sure is in our family as my grandfather shows some signs of having being a carrier and passed it on.

Hopefully something is looked into, and he gets some help. It may be nothing, it may be something such as Fragile X or ADHD. The Best of luck.

If anyone wants to read about fragile X here's the article
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1818268,00.html
 
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