I am keeping my little cousin for the week while his parents are on vacation. He is four years old almost five and has his hands in his mouth the whole time he is awake. I was wondering if there was anyway I could work with him on this while mama is away. They say he is just behind but I personally think there might be more to it. He doesn't speak, eye contact is very rare, and he sits/rocks while flapping his hands a lot. This is all very new to me and I only have him 5 more days. But I if anyone has dealt with this and has any suggestions I could try I would love to try.
As much as you want to help, the parents have to get involved first and acknowledge that something is not quite right. Once they do that, they can probably talk to their local school district and set up an assessment for their child. Unless the parents feel something is 'off' they will probably ignore what you say. I work as an SLP, so I thought my BIL would listen to me, but it didn't work that way.
Maybe you can broach the topic as seeing a show on autism somewhere, and you noticed your cousin doing some of the same things as the kids in the video, and maybe you should take him to a professional to get him looked at?
I went through this with my nephew, and they are just now starting the assessment process at nearly 4 (I broached the topic about his verbal/social communication with them when he was around a year or so). What did it for my BIL was hearing 2 other people (an OT and a PT) voice the same concerns. The pediatrician my SIL uses said there wasn't a problem because my nephew could say hippopotamus, so he was fine.
You could try giving them the "Child Find" number for their district. Since they already acknowledge that he is "a little" behind, you could present it as a program that will help him with readiness for K. If you don't have universal pre-k, you could also present it as him having access to pre-k that he wouldn't otherwise have.
Be careful. Generally, I think it's better to let parents come to conclusion to seek assessment on their own (or let a professional such as a teacher suggest it). I would not recommend mentioning autism at all even though I agree you're seeing potential signs of that.
I don't think you'll be able to work on the hands thing in this short time. That's an ongoing issue with my son and it's not one easily tackled at all let alone in a week. Just enjoy him, join with him as much as you can, and continue to take good care of him.
Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys!
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