speech and other developmental issues in 7 1/2 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 06-15-2009, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have some concern about my nephew who turned 7 in February, and was hoping for some perspective. He has some issues that don't necessarily seem related but I wonder if they can be all part of something larger that I am not seeing? Here's the list:

- lots of articluation errors, such as substitutiing /w/ for /l/ and /r/, substituting /v/ or /d/ for the voiced /th/ in words like "those" and substituting /f/ for the voiceless /th/ as in "thing." Plus he has a frontal lisp. Supposedly he was actually getting speech therapy this year but it was inconsistent and I think he may have stopped. There is no change in his speech that I can hear. I seriously think that he's still going to talk like this at age 10.

- gross motor issues that I can't quite pin down...but he runs kind of weird, with sort of bent knees, almost like a baby gorilla. He's not bow-legged, though, but his feet might turn out a bit. Shouldn't a 7-year-old use a standard running gait, you know, arms pumping, like an adult? He also seems to avoid playground equipment, and when I see him try, he's very slow and cautious and doesn't seem sure of how to climb. Other kids his age, especially boys, would be leaping from pole to pole, jumping off platforms, zooming down slides.

- some age-inappropriate behavior that's just kind of unnerving. Here's an example - this weekend he was visiting my house and I had taken a walk with SIL and BIL, leaving DH and DD (age 10) alone with him. DN was napping - he hadn't slept well the previous night, and when he woke up he went upstairs to the bathroom. When he came down he was naked from the waist down and just was about to sit back down on the couch as though nothing was wrong. DH asked him, "where are your pants?" and he said he didn't get to the toilet in time. DH goes upstairs and the bathroom floor is covered in urine and DN's clothes are in a heap in the middle of it. It's not the accident itself that I think is so strange - it's the way he just said nothing and expected to just continue the day with no pants on and leave the bathroom like that. He didn't even go into his suitcase and put on dry clothes.

- he seems to space out whenever the attention is not on him, for example, DD plays the viola and wanted to play for SIL and BIL. DN idolized DD, so you would think he'd like to watch her, too, but you would have thought he had been asked to watch grass grow. He just sat there as if nothing was happening.

My husband pointed out that other than the content of what he talks about and his vocabulary - he's extremely bright and his language skills, with the exception of pronunciation, are way above average - he does not seem to have matured in at least two years. He's right.

Whether or not we will do anything about this I don't know - SIL is very sensitive and defensive, blah blah blah. But my question is, is this in the range of normal? Is there some kind of syndrome or something that explains all this? Is he just somewhat developmentally delayed even though he's really bright?
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#2 of 6 Old 06-15-2009, 01:48 PM
 
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It sounds to me like he might have some sensory issues/dyspraxia. If this were your child, I would highly recommend the book "The Out of Sync Child" or "Sensational Kids".

He might not have known what to do about the pants - if he's like my son (only without the occupational therapy ds received), he would need help finding things and getting them out. I think ds would have been embarrased and asked me to come up to help, so it's a bit odd that your nephew came down naked. But not majorly so, just a bit. Ds was just very late in self-care skills, and part of it is that he has fine motor delays, difficulty in motor planning and a lousy sense of where his body is in space. Ds is 8 and just learned to button when he was 7 (dd learned at 4), and still can't cut anything.

It's tricky though - if this is your brother's sister, I would let him handle the conversation. If your SIL is defensive, it might be because she senses that something is wrong but doesn't know what to do about it.

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#3 of 6 Old 06-15-2009, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your thoughts, LynnS6. I will take a look in the library - I think I've seen "The Out-of-Sync Child" there on the shelves.

He definitely is capable of getting his own clothes from his parents' suitcase and dressing himself. He's fairly independent in his self-care; last fall when we visited them at their home I often woke up and found he was the only one up and had gotten himself a bowl of cereal and was eating and reading at the kitchen table. I do think it is odd that he came down half-naked. It wouldn't be so odd if he just came down like that to ask my DH for help, but he came down and was going to just sit down on the couch with Dh like nothing had happened. That seems very odd to me at the age of 7 1/2.

SIL is my husband's sister (I'm assuming that's what you mean - my brother's sister would be me! ) and yes, I agree it should be him and not me saying something, if indeed anything is to be said. SIL and BIL are highly educated, intelligent, conscientious parents in most ways and are doing a great job - DN is a kind, gentle, smart boy. I adore him. But they seem utterly clueless sometimes about where he should be developmentally. He only stopped needing a pull-up at night about six months ago, and I know that's not so unusual for boys, but when SIL told me about it, it was clear she thought all kids still wore pull-ups at night and was offended when I used the term "bedwetting." As far as her not knowing what to do about it, that might be true, though the speech thing was being addressed and now it has somehow been forgotten.

Anyway, any other thoughts would be helpful!
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#4 of 6 Old 06-15-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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In general I think it's better not to say something about a child's development to the parent unless you are directly asked. It never feels good to be told something might be "wrong" with your child. And the majority of people are going to feel defensive and negative even if the concern is warranted. I'd leave this to the parents, teachers, doctors, etc. involved regularly in your nephew's life.
Sounds like there may be some articulation issues and motor planning stuff like Lynn said. Those two often go together. But I say as a parent with a kid with "stuff going on" that it's not usually a good idea to offer your thoughts unsolicitated--and I know that's hard when you care about the child.

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#5 of 6 Old 06-15-2009, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbgrace View Post
In general I think it's better not to say something about a child's development to the parent unless you are directly asked. It never feels good to be told something might be "wrong" with your child. And the majority of people are going to feel defensive and negative even if the concern is warranted. I'd leave this to the parents, teachers, doctors, etc. involved regularly in your nephew's life.
Sounds like there may be some articulation issues and motor planning stuff like Lynn said. Those two often go together. But I say as a parent with a kid with "stuff going on" that it's not usually a good idea to offer your thoughts unsolicitated--and I know that's hard when you care about the child.
I pretty much agree with you. I wasn't posting so much to decide if DH or I should say something to SIL as much as I'm probably trying to find reassurance that he's fine and might grow out of these things. That's what DH and I have been hoping but after realizing that he has barely changed in a couple of years as far as the issues above are concerned, we're just worried about him.

There are only two children in our family - my DD and SIL's DS. They get a lot of attention and I guess, sometimes, too much from their loving aunts and uncles.
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#6 of 6 Old 06-15-2009, 04:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sbgrace View Post
In general I think it's better not to say something about a child's development to the parent unless you are directly asked. It never feels good to be told something might be "wrong" with your child. And the majority of people are going to feel defensive and negative even if the concern is warranted. I'd leave this to the parents, teachers, doctors, etc. involved regularly in your nephew's life.
Sounds like there may be some articulation issues and motor planning stuff like Lynn said. Those two often go together. But I say as a parent with a kid with "stuff going on" that it's not usually a good idea to offer your thoughts unsolicitated--and I know that's hard when you care about the child.
But what do you do if you are one of few adults involved in the child's life regularly, and the parents are either unaware of the issue or haven't chosen to give you the information you need to adequately care for their child?

There's a child in my life who is similar to the OP's DN, but shows a language delay too. It would be a lot easier to care for her if I had a better idea of what was going on.
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