Concerned about 3 year old nephew– need opinion from moms

posted 3 years ago in Parenting
Post # 31
Member
304 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Hi! Speech therapist here. I disagree with previous posters who have said that boys just tend to be behind and that what you’re describing for your nephew is normal. What you’re describing is a 3-year-old who only says single words (not putting together 2-3 word phrases), and has a limited vocabulary, sounds like under 50 words total. So to me, if the way that you’re describing him is an accurate picture of his communication, it would seem that speech therapy or something similar would benefit him. A child like that would be considered to have an expressive language delay.

HOWEVER, as others have mentioned, you need to gauge your relationship with your SIL in order to determine whether she’d be receptive to talking about this. As others have mentioned, you may be opening a can of worms, she might react defensively, and she is probably doing the best she can for her son! Hopefully her pediatrician would say something or make a referral to the local school district to complete an evaluation. It may not be your place necessarily to say something. If my sister or best friend had a child presenting with obvious delays, I might say something, but not sure if it would be worth it with a SIL.

Post # 32
Member
480 posts
Helper bee

I am not so sure that I agree with the others saying “depends on your relationship with his mother”. If you have a good one, that is great and will help, but this is about the little boys life! I don’t know how not learning to talk like kids normally do can affect a child? But I assume it can get very hard for him when he gets older, if not allready, and others are way ahead of him when it comes to all that…

What will happen when he is 6-7 and starts going to school if he can’t talk like normal 6-7 year olds do? It would be a shame if he has a normal intelligence level but would have to go to a special school because he didn’t get help with his speach in time.

I think you should bring it up, asap, since you seem to be sure nothing is done to help him and since nobody addresses the issue with his mum, you, as someone who has noticed and care, might have to be the one to do so. It’s not about you and the mother, it’s about the boy and his future! He deservs to get all the help he can with this, it must be so frustrating for him on so many levels, how will he ever develope any normal social skills or relationships with kids his age if he communicates like a 1 year old? 

Post # 33
Member
233 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I have 2 children with special needs. My daughter has autism with severe oral apraxia  (a neurological condition that Impacts her ability to coordinate oral movement) and my son who has ADHD and mild oral apraxia.

Optimal intervention for developmental delays is time sensitive. That isn’t to say there isn’t benefit for later intervention, but ideally, intervention ahould be early. A lot of parents of kids  with delays dont recognize — we can be too close to the  situation. Looking at this as a risk/benefit analysis, the main benefit to you having a discussion about your observations with SIL  is the child could receive earlier intervention. The main benefit to staying quiet is you preserve whatever relationship you have. I dont think those benefits are equal. If it were me, I would have a gentle, supportive conversation with her. If she flipped out I would take comfort  that I tried to advocate for her child. There is a possibility the child is  already receiving intervention and you just  dont know.

I do need to challenge your assumption that the child has delays  because of its upbringing because of you believe that it’s going to come out on your discussion. I am an intelligent woman who did everything right in my pregnancies. I read books on child development. I used to receive emaila about expected baby milestones and how to stimulate my baby’s emerging skills. I read to my babies from birth. All that did for me is allowed me to identify tjat there were issues  (both times I went to the pediatrician amd said “This  is what I’m seeing and this is what i think it is”).  The guilt you experience when you are told your child has a delay is overwhelming. We need to stop blaming parents. Maybe she’s a bad mom, maybe shes a great mom, but judging her isn’t going to help that baby. Supporting her and truly listening just might.

Post # 34
Member
231 posts
Helper bee

elsie347 :  I’m in a very similar situation with our nephew! He’ll be 4 at the end of the month though and his sister is also in 4th grade. He also has a lot of screen time and was not potty trained up until this month. He also has behavioural issues that, I believe, is the result of a lack of boundaries/not being taught right and wrong. This time last year, his speech was not good either, but it honestly just took him a while. He’s much better now, but it’s occasionally difficult to understand him still, especially if people don’t know him. 

All that said, I definitely don’t feel right mentioning any of this because it’s not my place. My Darling Husband brought up his behaviour over Christmas (to his sister – the Mom) as he was hitting my Darling Husband and screaming. It did NOT go over well with my SIL. She refused to speak to Darling Husband until he apologized.

Post # 35
Member
233 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

mrstac :  Not potty training by age 4 and speech delay has nothing  to do  with knowing right from wrong or being shown boundaries. I would stop speaking with a family member, too, if they told me my child’s delayed milestones were because of my parenting. 

 

Post # 36
Member
304 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

bibilicious :  I totally agree, that if the child truly needs help, he should get the help he needs. And yes, it’s always better to start intervention early. I used to work with children who were 2 years old, and the amount of progress a child can make with his speech before age 3 is really astounding, if the child and parents have the right tools! The earlier the better for the good of the child.

The reason I mentioned the relationship with SIL is because you don’t want it to backfire. In order for a child to receive early intervention services or special education from the school district, you need a parent’s permission. I can not serve any of my students unless I have documents signed by their parents allowing me to complete an evaluation or start services. I wouldn’t want OP’s sister in law to feel attacked about her parenting and then not seek any help for the child because she is so angry, etc. because she would need to be on board in order for her child to get any outside help or services. It can be a very sensitive topic.

I mean, I don’t know the people in question, but if the OP doesn’t feel like she has a close relationship with her SIL, it might be best that someone else talk to the SIL, who she might be receptive to and whose advice she would follow. Pediatricians also have yearly checkups for a reason, so hopefully the pediatrician would mention something if the child is truly delayed. But as I mentioned, intervention is a parent’s decision.

Post # 37
Member
304 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

mikesgirl123 :  Agree with everything you said, and you sound like an amazing parent!

Post # 38
Member
3420 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

As long has he engages and communicates in some way, this is not a concern at this point. Maybe “Einstein syndrome” — Einstein didn’t talk until 4, and many gifted children are the same way.

But again, there’s no concern at this point. No it’s not “normal”, but it’s also not necessarily a bad thing. From what you’ve described, he does not have autism. Perhaps he has a speech impediment, but it doesn’t sound like a serious, immediate issue to me. Then again, I haven’t met him so it’s hard to say.

Since he’s not in serious danger, I would not say anything. Yes she’s not being the world’s best mom, but I’m sure she knows her son isn’t on-level. After all, he’s in daycare with loads of other 2 year olds. There is a good chance he’s already receiving intervention. Perhaps she just doesn’t want to talk to family about his special needs. To a lot of parents, that is embarrassing, unfortunately. 

I’m a former kinder teacher, currently in grad school for child development. I didn’t talk until I was 3, and I skipped 2 grades and was in gifted classes. Not saying that means there’s nothing wrong with him, just saying it isn’t immediate cause for alarm. If it was your child it may be a different story, but it isn’t. 

ETA- just so you know, the screen time thing is not ideal, but it would take a lot worse parenting than that to delay speech to that degree. It he is special needs, it is not because of her parenting style. So if you decide it is important to discuss this with her, please don’t bring up screen time or daycare or whatever.

Post # 39
Member
2146 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

he could just be shy or inverted… my son didnt talk for years as a toddler, now he wont shut up lol

 

when he did start talking he struggled with ‘baby’ words but had a vocabulary high above his age range, he had just been listening for years then skipped the whole early talking stage straight into more complex words

Post # 40
Member
1607 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

My ex didn’t start talking or responding to people until almost four. Turns out he had blocked ears and had to get them drained. After they did that he didn’t shut up. Hopefully that’s something the pediatrician would figure out   

Doesnt necessarily mean developmental delays. 

Post # 41
Member
4497 posts
Honey bee

Rather than making an armchair diagnosis of her son based on your limited interactions with him, why don’t you try to be helpful and interact with him more?  You said she’s a busy single mom – offer to take him on outings, to the library, read to him – all those things you say her parents did for the first child.  He may just be slower to exhibit – he may actually have more speech skills than you think since you’re only around once a month – he may have a legitimate problem.  However,

1.  Your SIL has raised one other kid before – she is not brand new to developmental milestones.

2.  While she sounds busy and maybe more reliant on screens than you may be comfortable with, she certainly doesn’t sound neglectful in anyway.  Presumably the child has a pediatrician and is taken for regular well child checks where they go through developmental milestones.

3.  While you THINK the daycare is just a watch them play sort of deal, if he’s having behavioral, developmental, or speech concerns they’ll probably still notice.  You only see him once a month and you seemed to notice.  Maybe they don’t “teach preschool” but daycare providers are usually pretty darn communicative with the parents – giving them a run down of how they did each day.  It’s highly unlikely she just drops her kid off with zero communication whatsoever with the daycare providers.

4.  Many states require early childhood screening before they can enter kindergarten and/or for licensed daycare providers to have training in screening and identifying developmental delays.  It’s highly unlikely he’s going to get to the age of 6 or 7 completely undiagnosed and showing up to school unable to string together sentences as a previous poster suggested.  Unless she plans to homeschool him and completely neglect his development by avoiding all screenings, someone somewhere far more qualified than you is going to notice.

I get that you care and you worry, but perhaps a better way of caring is to actually interact with the kid more and provide him more opportunities to build and utilize communication skills. 

Post # 42
Member
231 posts
Helper bee

mikesgirl123 :  We never said anything to my SIL about his potty training or speech, that is not our place. My Darling Husband said something about him screaming, kicking, hitting, and throwing a hockey stick full force at DH’s head and that she shouldn’t let him get away with such behaviour. My intent was to relate with the OP and let her know that our nephew’s speech is much better at a year older than her nephew. Lastly, SIL made no effort to potty train him because every day of his life they spend around town shopping all day, a potty was not introduced to him until two months ago. 

Sorry if my post came across otherwise. As someone with ADHD, I would also be offended if someone said that about my child. 

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