I have a question about a friends child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DammitJanet, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This little girl is just two years old but...ohmygosh!

    Ok...I have known this child since she was born so I can give you pretty much a complete history. I also know both parents fairly well.

    Pregnancy went fairly well with routine ob care. Mother did smoke pot during first trimester before she knew she was pregnant but quit when she found out. Father is a avid pot smoker who I believe abuses pot to cover a mood disorder.

    This little girl is the youngest of 5....but is the only child living in the home. She is also the only girl. The 4 boys...the oldest born to fathers first girlfriend, and then the next three born to his first wife, all have various diagnosis's most common being ADHD. The oldest is ADHD and ODD. I believe at least two of the other boys have ADHD alone at this time. There may be some learning disorders thrown in the mix that I am unaware of.

    I believe there is some substance abuse issues in the fathers family...in the mothers family there is at the least alcoholism.

    Ok...about this baby. She did her basic physical milestones on time. She turned over, crawled and walked at appropriate times. What was odd was her lack of eye contact and facial expressions. She wasnt a smiley and giggly baby. I noticed that from the beginning and kept worrying about it. She didnt coo at you. She was too content to lay there and watch tv or watch the toys. She was too content with her schedule. She was basically just tooooo content. She didnt interact.

    Fast forward to when a baby should be starting to make sounds like ma ma ma and da da da and ba ba ba...it didnt happen. It still didnt happen up to her 18 month check up. The child was mute except for screams and screeches. Finally around 3 weeks ago she has started some babbling but it isnt in anyway trying to imitate english.

    She is also very defiant. If her parents tell her no, she will stare at them and do it anyway. Its a very deliberate action. We sat there and watched while she was told very clearly not to touch the box and she looked right up and them and reached out and touched the box. She got her hand popped. She was moved, given a toy to distract her...she went right back to the box and touched it again.

    Her parents are exasperated.

    What does this sound like to you?

    Im leaning towards Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    My difficult child was similarly defiant at age 2 but in his case his motivation was sheer curiosity.

    Defiance in a two year old is an iffy thing but the combination of speech delay as you describe it along with the lack of interaction would concern me. I would definitely want an evaluation, including Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) assessment.

    The guidelines for Autism screening by the American assn's of pediatrics and neurology read like this:

    Absolute indications for immediate evaluation:
    No babbling, or pointing, or other gestures by 12 months
    No single words by 16 months
    No 2 word spontaneous (non echolaic) phrases by 24 months
    ANY loss of ANY language or social skills at ANY age

    Those can be found here on the second page

    Are you close enough to this family to speak up cautiously? If you do talk to parents they should know that pediatricians often don't take this seriously and need to be pushed.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    She meets the complete criteria for autism that you have outlined...sigh.

    She just turned two on November 9th and goes to her two year checkup soon. I know the parents are going to push for help because they are at their wits end. I was afraid that they were going to be less than open to a problem but when I heard them say they wanted to medicate today...well...I think that might not be a problem now.

    Im very familiar with defiant kids...lmao...and this kid makes my defiant toddlers look tame. Im around my sons girlfriend's little boy quite a bit and he can be a handful but he listens when you get onto him.

    Autism is what I have been fearing.
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Honey, you haven't lived until you have a kid like this in the house! I had to supervise mine nonstop (literally not leave a room without him if I could help it) because his determination to do what he wanted knew no bounds. He brushed his teeth in the toilet, wrote on himself or the walls, emptied out cupboards and the fridge, fed his sister concoctions (once a glass of water with hot pepper mixed in. In the time it would take me to move laundry from the washer to the dryer anything could happen. He just didn't learn a lesson: I bet he and I went head to head over pushing a chair to the counter 100 times whereas that would have been a done deal with my others after one or two attempts.

    Those guidelines are indicative of the need for immediate referral for evaluation, including for Autism, not for confirmation. If you decide to pass them on to the parent make sure they understand the difference between referral and a definite indication of Autism! Parents get really nervous at the first mention of the word Autism, and understandably so. But what happens if they don't go into their pediatrician armed with some concern and determination of their own is that they get partial evaluations such as through early intervention and not the whole works that is really needed at that young age.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am wondering how to broach the subject as gently as possible because I dont want to scare them into not getting her tested. Right now I think they only suspect "hyper". They tend to think everyone can be hyper like my son Jamie and take medications and be perfectly normal...then they think Cory is just crazy. Weeelll...I think they have met their match for Cory in their daughter.

    Today I tried the Super Nanny techniques to try to get the child to lay down for a nap. I literally stood at her door for an hour while she cried and kept trying to come out. Every time she did, I would point to her bed, Say BED, and turn her around and close the door. It was exhausting.

    One thing I do think the parents need to do that they are refusing to do so far is completely child proof the house. You simply cant have nicknack's out with kids like this. Its all well and good to teach normal kids not to touch pretties but kids like this dont learn normally. Its too much temptation. The mom actually was aghast when I told her that she couldnt put xmas presents under the tree until after the child went to bed on xmas eve this year or the child would rip them open. She was like...well what on earth am I going to do with them? I said hide them someplace...behind the couch, in your closet, in the trunk, at a friends...whatever...but you cant put them out. Its just too much temptation for her. She would spend all day every day saying no and trying to stop her from getting into the packages...not worth it. You have to Breanna proof her environment. Less No's to deal with.

    Heck I dont think I have ever stopped having a childproof house...lol.

    Anyways...Im thinking of talking to my therapist about our early intervention program to see if its any good. If it is...maybe I can convince her to make an appointment there along with her pediatrician. I do know we have a developmental evaluational center nearby.
  6. Ltlredhen

    Ltlredhen New Member


    I am raising a child that sounds very much like what SRL was describing. Absolutely exhausting to say the least.

    When my difficult child was as young as a year I was noticing things that my kids and others didn't do. He would try to pull up and push the knobs on the TV like most do and when we would correct him he just laughed. We would move him and he would immediately go right back. As he got a little older and we would pop his hand to make h im stop he would also laugh. It didn't take long to realize you could probably beat his hand off and it wouldn't make a difference to him.

    My home has changed drastically. I first put everything that had sentimental value or was expensive upstairs. All furniture was arranged to limit his access. It can be so frustrating to me when I think about it for to long. It was the best thing to do though. I spent my entire time saying "NO" and now if there is anything downstairs that gets destroyed, hey, it's replaceable. Not worth the fight.

    Absolutely everything that could possibly cause a meltdown is anticipated and avoided at all costs is my motto.

    My brother in law told me that difficult child would be much better if I would only spank him. I told him I could spank his legs off and it would not make a difference and he replied that obviously I had not spanked him hard enough. Needless to say I don't have much use for him.

    I feel for these parents and anyone having to interact with a child like this. So difficult.

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This child doesnt even laugh. Thats another oddity. The only time she shows what passes for laughter is when she is being really rough housed with like being thrown up in the air by her dad. She has always liked that from a very young age.

    My grandbaby would be scared out of her mind if we tossed her up in the air like that but Breanna was routinely being tossed at this same age and liking it.
  8. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Hi Janet,
    Look into sensory integration as well. You may be able to broach the speech issues and sensory issues as needing early intervention without ever bringing up the "A" word.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    You are clearly a loving and caring friend. I am glad to know you.

    It sounds like autism. And she won't "get it" as far as normal consequences (like being burned by something hot) for at least several tries, if at all.

    One hting that does not help is if the parents are not consistent about making her stop, gently but firmly.

    It is really hard to raise a child like this, even without your own substance abuse problems.

    Please continue to encourage them to get help for her.

  10. TerriH

    TerriH New Member

    My son, who has aspergers, shows many of those traits. In him it is not defiance: it is an inability to transition to something else. If he WANTED to touch the item, he COULD NOT think about anything BUT touching the item, until he was older.

    And, what Sisie said is well worth repeating! Consistancy is important because so many of our kids are not flexible. Once they learn something, it is very hard to change it. And, routine makes the world easier for the kids to deal with.
  11. TerriH

    TerriH New Member

    Ltlredhen, yeah, my son laughed when I spanked him too. It made him angry and he LIKED being angry! The adrenalin, the excitement, and the inspiration to do something REALLY rotten!

    I was relieved when I found out he hated being bored! So, I started putting him in the corner instead, and I quietly stood by to make sure he stayed in! But, there were a LOT of people who thought he should be spanked, and as it turned out I could not reason with a single one of them! It didn't MATTER if he did better with being sent to the corner, people who believe in spanking believe in spanking! The end!

    But, the best revenge is living well. The little guy is now well behaved, and a good student besides!
  12. Janna

    Janna New Member

    [ QUOTE ]

    She is also very defiant. If her parents tell her no, she will stare at them and do it anyway. Its a very deliberate action. We sat there and watched while she was told very clearly not to touch the box and she looked right up and them and reached out and touched the box. She got her hand popped. She was moved, given a toy to distract her...she went right back to the box and touched it again.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Sounds like my difficult child 2. He would INTENTIONALLY STARE you in the face and do whatever you told him not to. Smirk. Laugh. Like a freaking psychopath.

    Can I tell you, that Dylan with the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (although with the BiPolar (BP), too, Janet), although he was defiant, it was uncontrollable. He never intentionally did things to upset me. He never smirked as he did something. He never TRIED to get in trouble. It was something different. And Dylan has full emotion (too much sometimes LOL). He's never had a problem with laughing, etc.

    Gotta wonder if that little girl doesn't have a mix of stuff. Maybe some depression? Some neglect? Poor kid, regardless.

    At one time Dylan fit almost all criteria for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Then once we got the BiPolar (BP) diagnosis too and got that taken care of, he dropped to "mild Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)".

    Such a puzzle. You're a good friend.

  13. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Janet, This sounds like my difficult child when he was little also. It could be Autism. It also sounds alot like Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Did mom drink while pregnant? Even just a little has been shon to cause this in susceptable fetuses. Only an full evaluation will determine the extent and possible cause of the child's behavioral and developmental problems. I hope the parents heed your advice and seek help for her. by the way New evidence shows that what the father does in the way of substance abuse can have a phisological effect on the child also. Substance abuse can alter his DNA contribution to the baby causing birth defects and learning disabilities. -RM
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    With the father's possible history, it's chicken or egg. IS he a possible substance abuser because of an underlying hereditary disability? Or is the disability seen in the child the result of substance abuse? Frankly, it doesn't really matter. Answers are needed.

    Autism sounds really likely to me, too. difficult child 3 was a lot like this - other things missing with him as well. As for locking things away and child-proofing the house - he would successfully break in to anywhere that was locked, including child-proof locks; he would climb to ceiling height if necessary to get a key. I couldn't wear all the keys round my neck all the time. If he couldn't find a way to break in to something he anted, he would take it apart. Apparently, husband did things like this too, as a toddler. His mother told me years ago how husband as a kid of 18 months had been left in his play pen but had been too quiet - she went to see what was up and found he had dismantled the entire playpen. It was a pile of timber slats and nuts and bolts.

    I agree about not mentioning autism to the parents. If the subject comes up, use the term "high-functioning autism" and emphasise the likelihood of high IQ needing to be tested for, when she's older. But where possible, don't mention it. If they are looking for a label, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) may not be so scary.

    A vital starting point - she needs her hearing checked and a speech pathology assessment. Point out to them that a lot of behaviour problems can result from a hidden hearing problem, which itself can be caused by something as simple as a chronic middle ear infection. But it's important to get it checked out FAST, to give the child the best chance of making up lost ground, linguistically.

    Also - go to www.childbrain.com and do the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) assessment on her. It's informal and not officially diagnostic, you can have a peek for yourself and if you think the parents can handle it (or, conversely, they're heading back into denial) then get them to do it also. They can take the printout to the doctor to show him the things that are worrying them about her. Besides the test there are also guidelines on how to answer the questionnaire as accurately as possible, so if the doctor accuses them of being over-generous in their rating, they can point to the rules and explain their reasoning.

    Yes, I'm thinking autism also. Don't refer to it, but suggest they get her ear health and speech assessed ASAP, and institute therapy (which they can do themselves, after some initial professional guidance).