Post # 1
I am recent a nanny to a 2.5 year old. Having lots of experience with children of many ages in the past, I know there is something “off” about her. I have gently brought up my observations with her parents, but they (maybe understandly) instantly shrug it off with a, “she’s fine” and change the subject.
Background story, her parents don’t invest much interest in her. She has an older brother and a younger brother, and her parents seem to be content doing as little as possible. I don’t think they have ever been read to, sang to, given educational toys or games, or fed the proper foods. Plunking them in front of regular cable TV for hours on end with soda and candy to keep them occupied is about the extent of their involvement.
I don’t think she is “fine”. I have just started working with her, but I have observed her in a variety of environments for some time. She is somewhat violent and seems mean-spirited with no consequence – she hits, kicks and sticks her tongue out at people she knows, and barely knows. I know this sounds silly of a child, but she doesn’t stick her tongue out to be playful or silly, she does it to be scornful. She is always frowning very deeply, and she picks up objects and puts them extremely close to her face to observe them, or bends down extremely close to them. She points with her pinky instead of her index finger. She is always, always having a temper tantrum and screaming at her parents. She is still wearing a diaper and sometimes takes it off to pee on the floor. She destroys her property. Even when she is having “fun”, it seems kind of off. She runs with her head way down, like she is ducking, and is sometimes hums in monotone. There is just something unsettling about her behaviour. I am thinking she is showing early signs of autism.
Does anyone have any suggestions or advice as to what this may be? Or maybe it’s nothing?
I just fear that, if she has some type of disorder or “problem”, it will go a long time without being properly diagnosed and treated.
Post # 3
Really, she needs to see a professional. They would know what questions to ask her and what tests to run. Unfortunately if her parents aren’t receptive, I don’t know what you can do. Perhaps you can point out a specific behavior – i.e., “I am worried about (her) because I observed her doing X, Y, Z behaviors and I feel it would benefit her to talk to someone.”
Post # 4
As a person who works in the social services field, I work with children and adults who have several mental disorders. My best advice to you is to tell her parents that she needs to be screened. Early detection is one of the best ways to give children with disabilities the most options. Not saying that anything is wrong with her it’s up to her parents. However in this field several times parents won’t accept that maybe something is wrong their child. Talk to other people who are around this little girl, the best thing for her is to go to the doctors. There are several forms of autism, and other disorders which only a doctor can diagnose. Please please take her to the doctors, in most cases caregivers (nanny’s, day cay workers, teachers ect.) are the first people to pick up on signs of delayed development. If you need any more info or need advice on ways to get this little girl screened if her parents won’t please pm me.
Post # 5
As I was reading your post describing this little girl, before I even got to the bottom where you said it, I was thinking “sounds like she’s autistic”. I have a cousin who is autistic and my mom noticed something was off before the parents did. This was 16 years ago when I was 11 so I don’t remember all the details but I think she said stuff to them and they weren’t happy but she ended up being right. It’s a sticky situation so just be careful with how you approach it and make sure you are prepared for the parents to get angry with you for suggesting it if you say something. This seems to be a normal response so try your best not to take it personally.
Post # 6
I agree that she needs to be screened by a doctor. I used to work with children who had autism/aspergers and other related disorders. The sooner it can be diagnosed the better.