Copying behaviors vs actual differences in younger siblings - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-13-2010, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DS is 3.5, has SPD, low muscle tone, and some general neurological quirks... maybe some other issues going on, but that's where it stands as of now. 

DD is 20 months and copies everything he does. If he has a meltdown, she has a meltdown. If he is spinning, she is spinning. If he makes a cow noise, so does she... etc etc. So it's hard for me to know when watching her if I am seeing some red flags or if I am seeing her imitate her big brother. She flaps her hands a lot, but so does he. She freaks out in the tub, but so does he. She toe-walks, but so does he. There are several more behaviors like this.  I am finding it really hard to tell if I am looking at something that should concern me or normal sibling imitation. Any ideas/ thoughts/ experience? 


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Old 12-13-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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Is there a specific condition you're concerned about in watching her? I'm wondering because if she were low tone you would know that already so I'm assuming it's the sensory issues you're wondering about?

 

That is hard! One of mine was suspected of being on the spectrum (he is) and I kept watching his twin do stuff like arm flapping or lining things up and wondering. The thing is those things are typical at age two! That twin is typically developing. I guess I'm saying she's doing stuff that's typical at age two without sensory issues and it's entirely typical for a sibling to copy an older sibling as well. So I, too, would have a difficult time figuring out whether there are sensory issues (autism was a bit easier as there are clear things that go with that so in our case it wasn't as much of a struggle outside of my fear). I think it may be something where you'll have to know for sure with the sensory stuff in time. Meanwhile, you can use techniques you've learned via your son with her just in case if you'd like. It won't hurt and might help even if her things would resolve in time anyway. Also, a large percent of the population has sensory issues so if she does have some (I do!) it will likely not be a major issue in her life and she'll learn to cope in time. If there are other issues of concern it might be easier to tease out than sensory stuff so let me know if I am on the wrong track in terms of your concerns.


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Old 12-13-2010, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I am worried about sensory issues. My son's are pretty severe, so at this point it is hard to see it as not a major issue. We're also not positive that there's nothing else going on with him. We're waiting on evals to get it all figured out, but his neurologist seemed to think there's more than SPD and the brain injury/scarring that is going on. 

DD is also just an incredibly intense child overall, never setting a sleep schedule, not attaching to people other than me, screaming a ton for what seems to be no reason. (most of which mirrors my son, though his attachment is better. He's always tolerated his dad, grandparents, etc my daughter won't)

 

It's just really hard to tell what is her and what is imitation. The intensity is obviously her... she has been that way since birth,  but some of the sensory stuff I am just not so sure. She liked baths until a bit after we started having them share baths. Now she screams more than he does over bathtime, to the point where I can not even get her to sit in the tub.

 

I don't want to overreact to normal toddler copying, but I also don't want to ignore real issues, either. They say early intervention is so important and I don't want to waste time in denial. 


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Old 12-14-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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Would it help you to act as if? You could go ahead and get an early intervention assessment of course and get an outside opinion on her development and sensory stuff. You could use the materials and techniques you've learned with your son to address any potential stuff she's got going on.

 

I found that when I was concerned my son might have autism but we couldn't know for sure at the time it helped me to go ahead and do what I would do if he did have autism even though we didnt' yet know if that makes since? Then I didn't feel the pressure of "wasted time" and all. That said, I think early intervention is great but it's not a then or never thing like it's hyped to be. Our brain is a lot of more plastic/changeable than they once thought. Try to take that pressure off yourself. You can address what you see when you see it and it will be ok.

 

Does your son have an underlying diagnosis (you mentioned the brain injury?) Feel free to ignore that if you want but I'm thinking if your son has something underlying that she does not have that lends more credence to the idea that she won't follow in his footsteps in the severe struggles necessarily as one would assume the sensory and possibly more would be connected to the underlying issue. I know that's true in the case of my spectrum son (who was also low tone and some other stuff) but we didn't know his underlying condition until 3.5 so it didn't help me when the boys were little.


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Old 12-14-2010, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbgrace View Post

 

Does your son have an underlying diagnosis (you mentioned the brain injury?)



Yes, he had an injury to the thalamus at birth and has scarring there. He's had seizures in relation to it all and his old neurologist seemed to think that all of it, the SPD, low tone, poor sleep could relate back to the injury. 

 

Thanks for your insight. I think I am going to talk to her doctor about it. 


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