Sunday, December 05, 2010

a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact

First things first, the winners of the book, "Positive Discipline" are commenters #9 and #70 on my post from last week. Here's hoping I counted correctly.

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Liz and Sarah, please drop me a line at TheAmazingTrips@gmail.com and I'll get the books mailed to you, as soon as possible.

Now, here's how I see this "book club" going...

We read a chapter. I'll summarize the high points in a blog post, we "discuss" it. The first chapter is only 12 pages long, so if Liz and Sarah send me their contact information in the next day or two, I'll get the books shipped out within 48-hours and I suspect we'll be ready to start next weekend.

Does that sound like an acceptable plan?

Great! I love it when everyone agrees.

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I'm really so excited to dive in to this book. Unlike two weeks ago when the weather was warmer and we could spend time outside, today it was freezing cold, I'm still sick and I had to fight the urge to wrap children in Christmas lights and stick them in the attic. I've got a lot of faith riding on what I'll glean from this book and fully expect that when I'm done reading and dissecting it, I'll be an improved person. Miraculously, Sundays at our home will be transformed in to peaceful occasions where we all stand around, holding hands and singing hymns.

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In other news...

Henry turned 41 months old, yesterday.

Or rather, three years, five months.

His first day of preschool was this past Monday. According to his teacher, who just so happens to also be our next door neighbor, things went very well until the last 10 minutes of class. It was within the last 10 minutes that a little boy named (she spelled it for me) R-O-B-B-I-E got too close to Henry and tried to snatch something out of his hand and well, suffice it to say, Henry doesn't like R-O-B-B-I-E.

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She shared with me that Robbie is also "nonverbal" and something else something else something else, I lost track of what she said from that point on.

Henry talks all the time. Or, at least he makes NOISE all the time.

NONVERBAL?

Wha...?

Fast forward to Friday afternoon when Charlie had to take Henry in for a physical at 2:45 PM. Now, I note the time because I consider it important since Henry is, just this week, phasing out of his afternoon nap. In my opinion, when children are cheerfully rolling down the hallway at 10 PM, it's a good indication that mid-day rest is no longer necessary.

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So, my husband takes a nap-weaning Henry to the doctor's appointment, at a time which days before, he'd normally been half-way through a two-hour siesta. And, suffice it to say, the appointment didn't go so well. According to Charlie, Henry went BONKERS. He grunted and screamed and thrashed on the scale and tried to eat the paper that lined the exam room table.

He acted like a NONVERBAL crazed-child.

When my husband called me, on the way home, he was on the verge of tears. "Jen, are we in denial? I really think that there might be something wrong with Henry. They want to call in a pediatric psychiatrist and speech therapist and ... Jen ... they think there's a SIGNIFICANT problem with Henry. The doctor told me, point blank, normal three year old children DO NOT act like this. They think that he might be autistic or ... or ... who knows what. The County will be calling us for an in-home appointment."

I can't really remember the language skills of my other children at three years and five months. I can't really remember exactly how they behaved at that age. But I do remember that until they reached five years old, I worried endlessly about how "normally" they were developing.

Maybe I am in denial. Or, perhaps I just don't worry about these things anymore because our children seem perfectly normal to me and they all seem to be developing, just fine, at their own pace. So what if Henry runs around and roars like a dinosaur? He's a rambunctious little boy and he's got a vivid imagination. Is that a handicap?

Our pediatrician in California was very laid-back and never highlighted any concern for Henry. Perhaps I'm overly sensitive, but since we've moved to Virginia, I'm meeting a lot of people who are really pushing their young children to achieve. For instance, within the past couple of weeks, I've met two parents who claim their three-year-olds can read.

Our six-year-olds aren't even reading as well as these toddlers purportedly are.

Does this mean that I've failed our children?

Does this mean that the three-year-old will be doing calculus earlier, too? Will they graduate from college sooner and be that much closer to RULING THE WORLD? Wait a minute. Shouldn't a "normal" three year old run around roaring like a dinosaur?

Okay, so Henry doesn't like the dentist. Nor does he like to have his haircut by anyone other than Charlie or myself. He doesn't like anyone, except for us, coming near him.

When the pediatrician was conducting his physical on Friday, Charlie said that he kept screaming, "IT'S NOT YOURS! IT'S NOT YOURS!" and the doctor thought that was unusual.

"What's not yours, Henry? What are you trying to say?"

I'm surprised the doctor didn't pick up on that. Why, I think it's brilliant that my little three-year-old knows that his body is NOT yours and he doesn't want you to touch it.

Granted, Henry is coddled a lot more than his siblings ever were. He is the youngest and he is very much treated like the baby by me, his father and all his siblings. I think that like his older brother, who just recently tested higher than what is required to graduate from Kindergarten (!!!), he is incredibly bright. He will sit and turn pages of a book for an hour or more. He might not talk much, but he can sing the entire alphabet and has an obsession with his father's tools and anything that resembles a reptile.

(Or, a space ranger in a purple, white and green suit.)

He is also instantly calmed by the power of touch. He will sit and stare in to my eyes (eye contact, that's a good thing, right?!) with his hand on my "belly." (I've got a chub roll that he just loves to pinch.) What I want to remember most about this age is the way that he'll call out to me, "MOMMY! I WANNA TOUCH YO BELLY."

If I'm unavailable, he'll go after his father's ears.

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Which always knocks him out.

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My baby is fine.

Certainly, he's fine!

Einstein didn't talk until he was three.

Why, I'll bet I'm raising a genius.

I'm NOT delusional.

Where's my hymnal? I need to sing something.

50 comments:

  1. I'm sure he's fine. Oh boy.

    Yes you are entering the land of the Crazy Mid-Atlantic Uber-Parents. I live in this land and it drives me to distraction!

    Um . . . anyway I'm sure he's fine. Certain of it. Seriously.

    Was just listening to a friend of mine rant about how they are pushing the 2nd grade at my son's school - already using the 4th grade curriculum! Why do this? It's not helpful.

    My son is in kindergarten and here I was thinking he was making GREAT progress with letter and sound recognition, reading (a tiny bit), sounding out . . . he was way ahead of where my daughter was at this age! But her school did no reading at all in kindergarten - she's reading Harry Potter (on book three) now in 2nd grade so "starting late" certainly didn't hurt her!

    My point is I just got sideswiped by my son's teacher at his assessment - oh Jen he's WAY behind apparently! Because he doesn't know all his sight words and isn't reading as well as the (mostly redshirted) others. What. Ever.

    I could go on and on about this but I will stop boring everyone.

    What's sad is that he is picking up this "I'm stupid" message. Asinine! Meanwhile this is why people redshirt boys around here. You will see!

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  2. Normal children don't go bonkers and throw tantrums in frightening new places when their sleep schedules are thrown off? Normal three year old boys don't grunt and scream and hit and eat paper?! I'm not sure whether to laugh or scream!

    With three small children, I'm extremely partial to mother's intuition. Doctors, teachers, parenting coaches, authors, and all the other self-styled experts have their own biases from which they make judgement calls. Unfortunately, we often learn decades later that the advice they so confidently hand out is pure hogwash. Sometimes we learn new things about development and the growth and functioning of the human brain. Sometimes we learn that the information was out there, and the "experts" simply refuse to let go of their pet theories.

    I have come to strongly question the kind of blind faith many parents put in these "experts," often suppressing their own screaming intuition along the way. You are the one who lives with your son every day. You are the one who has watched him develop from the moment he was born. You are the expert on him, not some random stranger who has seen him for a few minutes, or a few hours of a couple days a week. The fact that he doesn't fit the "average" doesn't necessarily mean that there is something wrong. (Although there may be.) As a scientist, you well know that the very nature of "average" means that there are always data points that exist very normally on both sides of the range of "average." Our society seems intent on setting an ever-narrowing range of normal and forcing everyone into it that they can, then medicating the rest.

    The best advice I can give is to take a deep breath and step back. Realize that he's three and a half. Taking another month or so to make a decision is not going to hurt him, even if something is wrong. Listen to more of what the pediatrician and the school teacher have to say - ask them questions, dig deeper into their theories, read some books about child development - and then make your own educated decisions. Reading your blog over the past few years, I feel safe to say that you are nothing if not willing to stand up for your children! You are their first, best, strongest advocate.

    Good luck,
    Sarah

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  3. I think I missed something on the first read-through... you mean Henry's teacher thinks he's nonverbal? (I read that 'also' as she thinks Robbie is nonverbal as well as being a pain in other ways). But he talks a lot, right? Is his annunciation any good? It really can't hurt to get him evaluated if you have any questions... it's not like they are going to turn him into someone he isn't, and if he's having a minor speech delay you can qualify for free services through your school district.
    BTW, one of my kids was reading at 3. I'm not saying this to brag, I'm saying this to back up your friends who are claiming their kids can do it. It's definitely possible. He walked up to a friend of mine and said "you have gap on your shirt".

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  4. I'm sure he is absolutely fine. But have him evaluated through the school district. To date, the most thorough and accurate evaluation I ever got was on Austin, through Child Find. Ask your pediatrician to refer you. If there is something going on, they will pick it up. You will know exactly what level he is at in every single category from ONE source, instead of going to three or four specialists.

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  5. Jen, pleasepleasepleaseplease get the speech and psychological assessment. If nothing else, it will provide you peace of mind about Henry's skill level. But I say this having slogged through speech therapists and special ed preschool with my older son. It finally got to the point where his behavior was not of a normal child - and it was obvious - that I broke down and got him a psychological assessment with a pediatric psychologist. We'd known about his speech delay for years, and had been addressing that for a while, but the bottom line is that my five-year-old was diagnosed as a high-functioning autistic last June. We now have him in behavioral therapy and additional speech therapy (which targets the autism-triggered delays), and the difference is just stark. Not that I didn't cry my eyes out every day for a week after receiving the diagnosis. I still have a hard time remembering that my son - my sweet little boy - is autistic. He's just... him. One word didn't change who he really was.

    I'm sorry, I'm seeing red flags in what you are saying about Henry in just this one post. Please get the assessment - for his sake.

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  6. i am sorry that you are living among ambitious neighbors and presumptuous doctors.
    what if henry is not talking? what if he was grumpy? is there a level of grumpiness that shoulnd't be exceeded?? does every child has to behave according to the "norms" to every situation at any given time? oh, of course, it's easier to just blurt out the popular word -it's either autistic, or add these days-
    ltg

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  7. I remember that your Mum was concerned about him too when you stayed with her? Maybe it is worth getting him checked out.
    Rebecca

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  8. I think you are right and he is a normal three year old. I have a nephew who walked around roaring and stumping his feet like a dino at 3 or 4 and now he is a perfect 7 year-old who likes dinos, can read very well, is affectionate and outgoing.

    We have all types in my family. I could read at 4, could speak at 1 and have always been super outgoing. My parents on the ohter hand BOTH didn't speak until they were 3. My dad is an outstandingly bright man. My mom was the fourth child and grandma thought she might be retarded, until one day when she was three they went to fetch grandpa from the hospital where he worked. When grandma encouraged her to say hi to daddy, she said: "Doctor David!" She grew up to be quiet, with a love for books and a special gift for languages.

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  9. Henry is 3. Granted, I've never met the child, but he sounds just like every other 3 year old kid out there. It is his job to be obnoxious and scream if he doesn't like something.

    I'm guessing a month into preschool that little guy will be expressing himself in a more "normal" way. His family understands his language at home. He has to learn the language everyone else speaks at school.

    Sounds like your dentists and doctors out there don't have the greatest bedside manner!

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  10. Hi Jen, When we moved from Florida to S.C. Lisa was in first grade. When I went to a conference the teacher recomended speech therapy. OK sez I, took her to the first session, and I spoke. "Oh your from Boston?" No more therapy!

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  11. We lived outside DC 9 years ago and thought people were insane. They were worried about that their 2 1/2 years didn't recognize their alphabet! So many studies have proven that it is better to wait until later for formal education, and that letting children be children by playing, exploring on their own, and help with jobs around the home. These children actually do better academically and are better adjusted later in life.
    Personally I would NOT deal with anyone from the "County". Tell them that you are handling it privately. Most of the doctors there don't understand children that haven't been in day care since they were 6 weeks old. Children that have been at home with their parents and siblings since birth usually have more imagination and are more willing to express discomfort around strange adults than children that are use to being around many different strangers (think of all the different adults in a day care center).
    Do some research online for yourself. Then take a look at your son when he is feeling good, has had plenty of rest and is in a place where he feels safe. Then if you have worries find a doctor that you can trust and deal with it, or do more research and do it yourself. You love him and understand him better than anyone.
    Why would you let someone, no matter who, who has only seen him for maybe 5 minutes make that kind of judgement? All children are different, as you know. Let him learn and live at his own pace and not what some "professional" believes that ALL children should be doing.
    I am the mother of a 16, 13, 10, 7, and 5 year old and have had different people including doctors freak out about all of them at one time or another. I get comments all the time about what nice, smart, mature children I have. We have lived in 5 states and 2 foreign countries but DC seemed to have more parents worried about what university there 3 year old would be in and putting pressure on their 6 year olds to be the "smartest" kid in class or school with all the extra academic classes after school.
    When we lived in DC we went everywhere zoo, Smithsonian's, different forts, Civil War battlefields, B&O railroad, White House, Capitol, the monuments much of it was Free. Get you kids out and enjoy it. Some of our neighbors had lived there their entire lives and hadn't been to some of the places we visited and we only lived there for 8 months.
    -jp

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  12. We lived outside DC 9 years ago and thought people were insane. They were worried about that their 2 1/2 years didn't recognize their alphabet! So many studies have proven that it is better to wait until later for formal education, and that letting children be children by playing, exploring on their own, and help with jobs around the home. These children actually do better academically and are better adjusted later in life.
    Personally I would NOT deal with anyone from the "County". Tell them that you are handling it privately. Most of the doctors there don't understand children that haven't been in day care since they were 6 weeks old. Children that have been at home with their parents and siblings since birth usually have more imagination and are more willing to express discomfort around strange adults than children that are use to being around many different strangers (think of all the different adults in a day care center).
    Do some research online for yourself. Then take a look at your son when he is feeling good, has had plenty of rest and is in a place where he feels safe. Then if you have worries find a doctor that you can trust and deal with it, or do more research and do it yourself. You love him and understand him better than anyone.
    -jp

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  13. Part 2
    Why would you let someone, no matter who, who has only seen him for maybe 5 minutes make that kind of judgement? All children are different, as you know. Let him learn and live at his own pace and not what some "professional" believes that ALL children should be doing.
    I am the mother of a 16, 13, 10, 7, and 5 year old and have had different people including doctors freak out about all of them at one time or another. I get comments all the time about what nice, smart, mature children I have. We have lived in 5 states and 2 foreign countries but DC seemed to have more parents worried about what university there 3 year old would be in and putting pressure on their 6 year olds to be the "smartest" kid in class or school with all the extra academic classes after school.
    When we lived in DC we went everywhere zoo, Smithsonian's, different forts, Civil War battlefields, B&O railroad, White House, Capitol, the monuments much of it was Free. Get you kids out and enjoy it. Some of our neighbors had lived there their entire lives and hadn't been to some of the places we visited and we only lived there for 8 months.
    -jp
    ps. sorry so long

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  14. I wanna touch you belly is the funniest.line.ever.

    Good luck Jen....I bet your preschool teacher who lives next door can give you the best guidance, honestly.

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  15. You're hilarious! I'm in the library right now and I'm trying to stifle my laugh. hahaha :)

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  16. Welcome to the hyper-competitive DC Metro area, where wealth and insecurity often go hand-in-hand. My husband and I have met some lovely friends since we moved here, but we've also experienced our share of judgemental looks and even comments from other parents (mostly moms) while out and about with the kids. Just spend 5 minutes reading the General Parenting forum of DCUrbanmom.com to see it in action.

    On a lighter note, a twin mom friend of mind found this video and I think it's brilliant (though, sadly, true of this area). Enjoy http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7148143/

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  17. Are you saying he acted that way in the doctor's office because he has a nonverbal student in his preschool class? Are the other kids acting that way?

    There's probably nothing wrong with him, but might not hurt to have him evaluated. What harm could it do?

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  18. BlackOrchid12/6/10, 1:30 PM

    Oh it absolutely CAN do harm to have Henry - a THREE YEAR OLD - eval'ed by the county/school.

    You can get on a ride that they won't let you off very easily! And it's not going to do much more than take up your valuable time, emotional reservoir, and probably money too by the time you're done. I could tell you a million stories!

    Speech! Don't get me started on that! what a waste! My son has problems with his speech - OBVIOUS problems with Ls and Rs - and I keep requesting evals (!!!) to be told "oh he's fine." But if a child acts up? You're sent right to "speech." They don't mean speech, Jen.

    I don't want to scare you, I'd just recommend you read over CrunchyCon and Anonymous (jp)'s comments here once more. They are VERY GOOD COMMENTS.

    I'm not as good at writing as they are.

    HE'S THREE YEARS OLD!

    For Lohan's sake!

    Ridiculous. I was always top of my class - nearly perfect SATs - loved to read my whole life! And I didn't learn to read until the END of my 1st grade year. Reading early is fine, but not a big deal. There is no evidence it means much of anything. Pushing skills too early? That is harmful. But that's my tangent. I'm just getting geared up for my own fight here!

    These little guys! Jen, you had Good William - very different situation. Henry is a boisterous boy! It's going to be different. Never had these problems with my daughter! Sigh.

    I loved this from Crunchy:

    "Our society seems intent on setting an ever-narrowing range of normal and forcing everyone into it that they can, then medicating the rest."

    YES. WORD. SOMETHING MORE THAN WORD. Very well put!

    well you can email me maybe so I don't take over your comments. We can buck each other up!

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  19. I'd at least consider the doctor's words and those of the teacher.
    You do know your child best but they also have LOTS of experience with children.

    We actually had our son repeat kindergarten because his teacher suggested we do so based on "confidence and maturity issues." At first we were hurt and indignant that she would even approach us on such a thing. Then we decided that even though we love and know our child best, it might not be the most objective kind of love and knowledge, so we deferred to her years and years of experience with children and had him repeat. It was the best decision we ever made for him and he thrived in school - never struggling in any area at all following that first year of kindergarten.

    I only say this to say that sometimes it seems like others are being too harsh on our kids or set their standards too high, when really they might really know what they are doing and be concerned for our child. And what a relief you will feel if you have Henry evaluated and are told everything is fine. On the off chance that there are issues to deal with, it's better to deal with them when he is three than when he is older and it will be much harder for all of you.

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  20. Another thought to consider is that maybe he's still a bit stressed from the move. We moved over the summer too. And after a month of packing, us living in our camper for a month while our new house was being finished, and then a couple of weeks of unpacking, I think our whole family felt a bit shell shocked. It took a couple of months to settle in to the new place, routine, and house. That could be affecting Henry's behavior. Anyway, just thought I 'd throw that out there. I do think I'd go ahead with the evaluation though. It certainly can't hurt.

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  21. Amy C: That's fantastic, we'll do GREAT here. Not only are we broke, we're extremely confident. :)

    There's definitely a different "feel" to this area and I thought perhaps I was imagining it, but seeing some of this feedback, here, just confirms we're living in an uber-parent environment.

    I'm so not that way. I'm definitely of the mindset that letting kids be home and play in the mud is the absolute best thing for them to do until they reach kindergarten.

    Anon @ 1:43, no, I'm not drawing any parallel between the nonverbal boy in Henry's class and the way he behaved at the pediatrician. My point was simply that he went nuts because he was tired, in a new environment, and takes serious offense whenever a stranger tries to touch him.

    Due to their prematurity, we've had all of our children evaluated and I always thought it was a good thing. I'm not opposed to having someone check Henry out, because I think it's important to have your eyes wide open to a child's developmental progress.

    BUT, I think it's important to taper that with common sense. Kids DO develop at different rates and their social circumstances dictate a lot of who they are at this age.

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  22. I'm sure he's fine but... I would certainly follow through with whatever testing they recommend. My oldest son has Asperger's and he was started on speech therapy and occupational therapy at the age of two. He's now 23 and doing quite well.

    The competition is exhausting and it never ends!!! Which colleges were your kids accepted to, what Intership do they have, did they get into Grad school and do they have a job!

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  23. I have to agree with Deanna. I disagree with those who have never met him, trying to reassure you that he's absolutely fine and not to worry. (Yet somehow trained professionals who have met him are out of line for making a suggestion to have him further looked at?). I'm a speech-language pathologist and we are not out to get you-quite the opposite! I've worked for "the state" and that does not mean that somehow those like me are deviant or whatever someone suggested. I have sensed red flags in your posts but does that mean I would be ready to say there's anything wrong? Absulutely not! But, on the flip side, I have walked into a home and within five minutes could make a diagnosis. And after referral to a developmental pediatrician who does make the official diagnosis, it was accurate. SLPs can be part of a team that makes the diagnosis. There have been many times where I have been the first one to tell the family that there are signs of autism. Not even the pediatrician has suggested it before, and the child would go on to be diagnosed. Not patting myself on the back but making the point that we are trained in ways (some of them) are not. But a good pedi will spot "it" (meaning a speech-language delay or other developmental problem) and do the right thing. Not all are equal, just like every other profession. A referral is suggested when someone (like your pediatrician) questions whether there is a problem. Believe me, if there is, early intervention is key (studies back it up) and whether there is a diagnosis or not, it does not change who he is. Best wishes to you. I can make my email available to you if you I can be of any help. Referrals to specialists, I might add, have nothing to do with "the new standard for being #1" in everything as several commentors have alluded to. (And reading logos like "GAP" is not truly reading, it's more visual recognition unless you can give the letters g-a-p to them on a notecard and in all different fonts-more or less- and they STILL read it). From a mom and a speech therapist, I feel for you and wish you the happiest outcome of all.

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  24. I remember reading a bunch of times you commenting about his poor behavior and maybe you feel that you've coddled him too much and haven't really used much discipline for him. I only think this because you have mentioned it before.

    I'm of the opinion that you should get him evaluated for a potential problem but that it could be just a wake up call that it is time to lower the boom and start expecting better behavior of him and get very strict. At some point he has to learn to get along with others and in a social setting and know what is expected of him. Even respecting a doctor. I know it was a "stranger" trying to listen to his heart and such but you do have to instil in them that it is not ok to act like that. Did Charlie punish him afterwards for acting terrible in the doctors office?? And what do you normally do in that situation or do you make excuses for him (like no nap).

    Now...please don't think I am a super strict parent but I would have just died if my child had acted like that and they would have been punished...time out or something. And my kids do act up too. Anyways, just curious if Henry was punished or if you all are making excuses for his behavior everytime and that could just be your issue that he hasn't had to act right because he gets away with it. Sounds like right now that may be the better alternative than a medical issue. Both are not good though. So sorry you are having to deal with this!

    Carolyn

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  25. Hi, Jen,

    I'll second what Deanna said.

    I brought up my concerns regarding our son's communication issues at his 3 year well visit and was asked, "does he ask questions?" "Yes." Well, it's probably fine, we'll follow up in six months...". I followed up four months later when it became impossible for me to ignore the fact that he was neither communicating nor behaving like other children his age.

    When I told my closest family and friends about what we were facing, at least four of them responded that they had felt for a while that EJ was not a typical kid, but they didn't want to say anything for fear of hurting my feelings or in the hopes that maybe he would grow out of it ("Oh, don't worry, he's fine, boys mature more slowly than girls").

    More than anything, EJ needed us to be willing to recognize that he needed help AND he needed us to accept that he needed help sooner than later. We could not provide help for him as long as we kept chalking up all of his issues either to his immaturity or our imperfect parenting.

    I feel that you and Charlie will do your due diligence on whatever concerns Henry's teachers & doctors may have. That much I am certain of.

    I'd also like to say that while there may be a cultural difference in the expectations of children in the DC suburbs, it is wrong to stereotype a child's teachers and doctors as if "county" teachers and "presumptuous" doctors are out to do harm. Most of us have spent a lifetime trying to help children and their families; to categorically dismiss our concerns in such a manner is unfair.

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  26. It will do more harm if there is a problem and he is not properly assessed. Thank goodness I did not heed the advice of some of these commenters. When my child was non-verbal at 16 MONTHS, I had him evaluated. Although everyone agreed there was just "something" about him that was off, nobody could put a finger on it. He was just under the line to qualify for services. If only he had qualified... if only..... perhaps he wouldn't have gone on for another six months with his undiagnosed hydrocephalus increasing daily to the point of breeching his ventricles. As his mother, I just couldn't see the signs clearly enough to figure it out.

    As the mother of triplets too, many, many, many..... read MOST..... of my friends have had to have their triplets evaluated for services, mostly due to long-lasting complications from prematurity. Some have qualified, some have not. I don't know a single person who says, "I wish I had never had my child evaluated."

    I have known people in the past whose children were quite obviously on the spectrum, but who would not get them evaluated, much to the child's detriment. It was obvious to me and everyone else, but not the parent. Our normal is not always "normal".

    Once my child was done with the services he needed from the school district, I simply opted out of the system and he is now a typically developing mainstreamed student.

    I say get him evaluated. If he doesn't qualify, that's GOOD. If he does, you can then still deny services and go the private route. You DO NOT have to accept public services, but you then have a good idea where to turn to next.

    I bet this is all stress for nothing though and he will be JUST FINE. Better safe than sorry though.

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  27. I think I would give him another six months to settle into a new home, a new school and no nap and then see what you and others around him think. He sounds like a handful but then, he has to compete with three older siblings and he's three years old. It's very important to know what "normal" really is. It would also be useful to observe him and his friends at pre-school, once he's well settled in and see if your observations match up to the teachers. If this is an Uber-parent area she may be highlighting issues that would be problems to some parents, but that are not to you, as you take a more balanced and reasonable view of childhood and child rearing. If she knows you are not of the same opinion, maybe her attitude will change towards Henry.

    As for the evaluations, it wouldn't be fair on Henry to send him to one based on such a short and traumatic visit. Could you repeat it, at a better time of day and having prepared him for what is going to happen - role playing it and so on so that he isn't completely freaked out?

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  28. My daughter is seven and in first grade, the teacher recently told me that she thought she should be evaluated for sensory issues. She stated that even though a lot of these behaviors are normal if she didn't start to grow out of them soon they would become problematic. Her problems are not anything like your son and the point I want to make has nothing to do with comparisons.

    What I found out when I looked into getting her some help was that most all insurance companies do not want to pay for anything after the child turns seven. I guess they figure if the kid isn't totally screwed up before then, their problems are not significant of enough. It really got my goat, she is old for her age in first grade because of being a fall baby and the problems did not become totally clear to the teacher until after she was in the classroom for a few months. So the only way we would have know about some of these issues was to put her in full day school when she was five, which considering her temperament I thought it was best to wait until she was older. Now I wish I had pushed for more sooner and I would not be faced with paying for therapy that is 100 bucks an hour.

    Good luck with whatever you do.

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  29. At no point have I ever dismissed a professional(s) opinion for any of our children.

    With the triplets, we had specialists coming in from the time they were two-months old and had only been home from the hospital for less than a week. Those "house calls" continued until they were almost two-years-old and were a good reassurance to me that the children, despite their prematurity, were developing on track.

    Despite the specialists that were coming to our house, it was me (her mother), that recognized Elizabeth required speech therapy. She had almost a year of it in California, and has continued with it, now that we've moved to Virginia.

    As for Henry, he does talk. But I don't spend much time around (other) 3-year-old boys these days, so can't compare how well his speech is developed relative to the "norm." Also, I'm not around any other children who have never been in preschool and have triplet siblings 33 months older. Those are both relevant points.

    Now that I think about it, I do think that his speech is probably somewhat delayed, but I'm not entirely sure why. We thought he had a hearing loss up until the time he was almost 6-months old, so that might be something to re-explore...

    It's important to remember that he is "only" three and I remember that when the triplets were three, I nearly cracked COUNTLESS times. Add to that, Henry is a higher energy, higher maintenance child than my other children were at this age, and to couple that with his desire to keep up with three older siblings (who constantly talk OVER him) creates a very charged dynamic.

    He is disciplined, just as consistently as the triplets, but he is also held a lot. I still carry him around in a backpack and am cuddling him, constantly. And YES, I let him touch the belly. Often. Perhaps "cuddled" is a more appropriate word than "coddled."

    I'm going in to this evaluation with a very open mind. Perhaps he's just taking a bit longer to develop his language skills. But, if we do discover there are issues, we'll address them.

    Regardless, now that the pediatrician AND the preschool have both said something about his behavior, I think it's important to do a "benchmark" to see where he stands. Even though I might think that he's FINE, I believe it's necessary to get a professional opinion. Or two. Or three.

    My guess is that by the time we're done with evaluations, he'll have outgrown whatever the issue was thought to be.

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  30. Just throwing this out there... If you have any concerns, have him evaluated before he starts school. Like other posters have mentioned, it can't hurt one way or the other. It's so much harder to have this done once they're in school unless you pay for it - and it's not cheap! I think someone else mentioned Child Find and I second that. Your little guy looks and sounds just precious!

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  31. I think you are doing the right thing getting the evaluation. I teach preschool, and I have suggested evaluations for two of my students this year. Even if nothing comes of the evaluation, it is better to have it done and know early. If Henry does end up needing services, it's great that he'll be getting them at 3 and not 10! Keep us updated. Good luck.

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  32. I love what the Dr told Aunt Grace about Lisa "oh you're from Boston" - classic!

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  33. He's 3, he's led a fairly sheltered life being the baby with his big brother and sisters hovering over him. How the heck is he supposed to act?

    I agree that it was very clever of him to tell the Doctor not to touch him, you and Charlie have probably instilled that in all the kids - by body is mine and you may not touch it without my permission!

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  34. So relieved you are going for further exploration. No nap, 3 older sibs who are chatty/overbearing, not having attended preschool, overly cuddled/coddled, whatever...and so on---none of these are reasonable explanations for a child who may be significantly impaired in 2 major areas: 1. Communication and 2. Interaction. At 3 1/2, his lack of language is quite worrisome and his unusual behavior sounds worthy of further exploration. His freak-out of not wanting to be touched by the doctor isn't something to be proud of, but rather something to be upset about and a definite motivation to take further action. You are doing the right thing in moving forward with addressing some of his issues.

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  35. There's so much anger and defensiveness running through so many of these comments- it is so, so heartbreaking to be told our kids are maybe not like everyone else, isn't it? :( That pain doesn't change reality, though, and I say this not just to Jen but to all of the heartbroken-manifesting-as-angry people here- reread what HW had to say. We love our children and spend every day with them, and know every inch of them...and sometimes that means we don't see them objectively, and we miss things. I see this at work all the time, parents who bring their children to the hospital because a friend or relative pointed out that their child's head is suddenly huge, or tilted to one side, or their walking isn't quite right, and invariably, their parents are beating themselves up for not being the ones to notice. sometimes our kids are like a Seurat painting, and we are so close up, we see all the dots, but we never see the sunday afternoon on La Grand Jatte.

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  36. Okay Jen. We need to talk... again. ;-) Believe it or not, I've been told the same thing about Brian!! In fact, my Mother was the first to bring up "autism". The most recent was his football coaches wife. "There's just something different about that child, is he autistic?"

    Luckily, my pediatrician has calmed any fears. I often felt as I'm sure you do that if it is a correct diagnosis we would work together and get each of us the help we needed. (Guess being proactive is a Coleman trait!)

    I think because of these assumptions and labels at times I tend to overprotect Brian and let him get away with more, etc.

    Although it was stated by your pediatrician I get so upset with the labels. In today's world of labels its so easy to throw them out at children.

    Although I know you and Charlie will check it out thoroughly, follow all procedures and will definitely check it out, one can hope that is a simple lack of... discipline. (Okay. There I said it!) ;-) OR that both of these children where born on the 4th of July!! Good luck. Marg.

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  37. Anon @ 8:41, you are absolutely correct that parents who are so close to a child, may not be able to objectively see that there is something wrong. That's exactly why I think it's important for us to have him further evaluated.

    JUST TO BE SURE.

    To me, it's a good idea for EVERY parent to have their eyes "wide-open". While I am an expert at a lot of things, I can't say that I'm an expert at every thing.

    I'm working on it though and getting closer EVERY DAY.

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  38. He sounds like a healthy, neurotypical three-year-old to me. However, I do agree that he needs some help with impulse control. Playing simple games like Simon Says, Red Light Green Light, and Freeze Dance can really help with that skill, believe it or not. Also easy board games like Candyland will help develop his patience and turn-taking skills. I would caution you to remember that impulsive preschoolers can grow into impulsive teenagers. And impulsive teenagers are capable of doing much more damage to themselves and others. All kids need to learn delayed gratification. (Have you ever seen the studies on the Tools of the Mind curriculum? Amazing stuff.) It will be a difficult process, but with you guys watching out for him and guiding him along, he will be just fine!

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  39. Anons at 11:15 pm and 8:41 am took the words straight from my mouth and said it so much better than I could have.

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  40. I really wouldn't worry about Henry too much. I think he was just having a bad day. We all do occasionally, don't we??? :~> :D

    I also have leared SO MUCH from you about how GREAT it is in California, and how lousey it is in the east. People in the east are very aggressive and fast paced, and want their children to be geniuses. I would want them to just be calm children. Well, children at least. :D I really think you made a bad decision to move to the east, but at least you know enuff to go back when you have had enuff (dontcha just love that spelling? :D) of the east. I mean, you know HOW to go back, you know WHERE to go back to, you know HOW to do it. California sounds so much better to me than your venture to the east, but that's how I see it. I have been trying to get to CA my whole life, but I just can't do it alone. I'm not strong enuff (there's that word again! :D).

    My 2¢ worth.

    ~Cindy! :D
    ..

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  41. Cindy, California is definitely great, but so is Virginia. We're in a phase of adjustment right now, and who is to say that we wouldn't have had the same "observation" from a CA preschool teacher?

    Yes, it is faster paced around here, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    If someone came to me, right now, with an offer to move BACK to California, I'd say NO. We've "done" California, now, we're doing something new. It's new and we love new. Maybe in a few years I'd say YES to a move back to California, but we've got so many things we have yet to experience around here and I'm quite excited.

    I wish I could share with my blog readers our new personalized license plate. It is such a hoot and very much sums up my thoughts about driving on the roads, here. But alas, my husband is putting the kibosh on me publishing something that could be traced to our house.

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  42. Wow. Gotta say I'm a bit puzzled by the posters who think his freak out at the doctor's was not appropriate. He is three, not thirty-three and he didn't want someone to touch his body. That reaction is NORMAL and OKAY and really, should be respected.

    We do lots of rehearsals before trips like doctors, dentists etc so that it is not too much of an unknown, but still, they are three.

    It MOST CERTAINLY IS appropriate behaviour for a child to tell an adult that they are uncomfortable with being touched and we should not punish them for doing so. It may be an opportunity for teaching about good touching (ie doctor's office, mum and dad helping to wash) and bad touching.

    Anyway, back in my box I go!

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  43. I know, Rosemary, I agree. To me, it is incredibly noteworthy that a three-year-old doesn't want someone touching his body. We're working on this with him, because we're running in to the same "issue" with his dentist and barber.

    But what am I supposed to do with a three-year-old who is FURIOUS that people try to touch him? Do I SPANK him or beat him in to submission?!

    OF COURSE NOT. What I do is hope that he grows out of this stage, quickly. Which I'm sure he will, if given patience and time.

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  44. The thing is, some kids with sensory issues do not want to be touched; that is probably why your pediatrician is suggesting a referral. Of course having never met your son, I could not say if it's behavioral or something else. But, kids with sensory issues can actually feel discomfort (on a continum of discomfort - pain) to touch--OR, anyone of the senses (not just touch) can be hyper or hypo sensitive. A good therapist (OT, Speech) will help you sort it out).

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  45. I know you have gotten a lot of comments but I thought I would throw in my two cents. My daughter will be 4 next month and she does not like to have the doctor touch her. Especially when she is tired or doesn't feel well.

    On another note, when my younger brother was 4ish, he was stuttering and having other speech issues. His mind worked faster than his mouth. At 8, I also talked over him constantly. He went to speech therapy briefly but the most effective thing was making us raise our hands to speak during dinner so that I would stop talking over him! He was also a very active child and was busy moving.

    Good luck with the evaluation. I am sure that you will end up with the right solution for your family and Henry.

    Christine

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  46. Just to add to the already long list. I agree with the poster who pointed out that so many here who have never met Henry are telling you he is fine while trained professionals feel there could be a problem. Basically, all your readers know of Henry is what you tell us, and so much could be lost in translation. I also agree with the speech path. I am a special ed teacher, and we are not out to get you. There are strict FEDERAL guidelines and criteria that must be met before a child qualifies for services. We don't just make stuff up. And there is a team of people that make decisions, and the parents are a critical part of that team. The team has to have your permission to do ANYTHING! Basically, this comment is more for everyone else than for you. You seem to have a level head about this, i.e. you think he's fine but get him evaluated just incase. Maybe there are things he will eventually grow out of on his own. But why not have extra help if it is available to have him grow out of them in a more timely manner?

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  47. Sorry but I couldn't get past the fact that the teacher told you so much information about the other student in Henry's class.

    RED FLAG!!!

    You have a "labeller". I hate to tell you but you could have Henry reciting the complete works of Shakespeare by January and he'd still end up with a label. This could even get worse because she is a neighbour, and I assume has windows that may look out into your yard?

    The problem isn't Henry; it's the perception of the teacher.

    Word of advice. They are not your friends nor the experts. Go with your gut, keep your fears, feelings or bad day with the kids to yourself around them. Feed them no information about Henry. It's the only way to break it or at the very least minimize.

    From someone who's been there, done that, has several t-shirts and now has a 21 year old son who is an university honour student no matter what his kindergarten, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 8 teacher said about him.

    (And if I had to do it all again I would freakin' homeschool!)

    Best of Luck!

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  48. It can't hurt to do an eval - my daughter has been speaking VERY CLEARLY in upto 10 words sentences with large words for a long time now, and she is 3 and 8 months. My boys spoke just as well, but a bit later than she did.

    My nephew, STARTED speaking "on time" but his enunciation is very poor - at almost age 5 he can't make the F sound and a couple of other letters too - he's in speech therapy and it REALLY helps with his behavior, which is not so much purposeful BAD behavior, but PURE frustration and being unable to communicate.

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