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Old 06-28-2011, 10:33 PM   #1
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Normal toddler behaviors? Or not?

I am willing to admit that I pretty much overreact to everything when it comes to my son...but lately I'm starting to feel as though he's getting a little more behind. This is going to be a little long, bear with me, but I'd love to get some input from moms who have been there or who might have a better understanding of "normal" behaviors vs. behaviors that could signal an issue.

He just turned 19 months old, and hasn't yet said one single word - he doesn't even attempt to, and gets really aggitated if you ask him more than once. If we are reading a book, and I say "Look at the cow, the cow says 'MOO!' Can you say moo?" he gets mad and tries to turn the page. He does not wave to people, never has, and he just now in the past 2 weeks started signing back "More", but he will only do it if you say "Show me 'more'" (so basically, he won't do it on his own when he actually wants more...he just does it if you tell him to).

Also, he is obsessed with repetitive behaviors. When we go outside, he immediately goes to the bucket of sidewalk chalk and takes out each one and moves them over to the bench, or to the grass - one by one. And then he'll move them back. He will do this for an hour, every day, every time we go outside. We went to the park recently and he spent the entire time there picking up one piece of mulch at a time and handing it to me.

And then there is the serious food aversion (as in - he doesnt eat solid foods at.all), but we aren't sure if that is medical or strictly behavioral quite yet. And the fact that every time he sits on your lap, he HAS to hold on to your thumb or he will have a mini-tantrum.

He listens and makes eye contact just fine, he is cuddly and laughs at us and his big sister, so in that respect I think he's a normal kid. But my daughter never did any of the above behaviors so this is all new territory for me, and I just want to make sure that I'm not missing some big red flag somewhere. He is already seeing a speech/feeding therapist but we haven't made any progress there...and I'm not even sure what our next step should be.

Should I worry? Or has anyone experienced these things as just normal toddler behavior?

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Old 06-28-2011, 11:07 PM   #2
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Re: Normal toddler behaviors? Or not?

My DS is 2.5, and I do see some similar stuff with him. I don't know about the talking part...I do know that everyone begins to talk at a different age though. I can't remember how much DS was talking at that age. IME boys talk a little later than girls.

DS likes to do the same stuff over and over. Picking up rocks, loading the bucket on his bulldozer, and stuff that looks like "organizing" if that makes any sense. It seems like he needs things to be just in order. At bedtime or naptime he can't go down the hall if he has seen something the needs to be put away.

As for the thumb-holding, I don't think it's weird. DS has to "hold" my moles when he sits with me. I have two small moles on my chest and he has to have a finger on each of them. He has to do it. It's a comfort thing, I guess.

So maybe that helps some...I wouldn't worry too much about your DS. Each child is so different and it's normal that your DS isn't just like your older LO.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:53 PM   #3
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Re: Normal toddler behaviors? Or not?

My boys were exhibiting some autistic like actions when they were little. No words, flapping hands, loved anything that spun (at playgroup they were off in the corner with the large trucks and the doll stroller upside down, spinning the wheels like no tomorrow!), lots of repetitive actions, etc. They eventually grew out of it all but when I had them assessed by the speech language pathologist (because their speech was the biggest issue) she said, "no they're not autistic", and that kids just like adults like routines and repetition (just that kids discovering their world will glom onto weird things sometimes!) She said big things to watch for are eye contact/social interactions and if you are able to break their concentration during a routine and how the child reacts to the interruption.

She also said it's very normal for the toddler brain to focus intently on one skill to the point of not being able to learn another - so maybe your DS is practicing his finer motor skills but not interested in speech. Once he is satisfied with that skill then he's ready to move on. If you are concerned get an evaluation - there's no harm in gaining more information plus the earlier you can get some answers, the sooner you can get access to resources to help you/him.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:55 PM   #4
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Re: Normal toddler behaviors? Or not?

My DS is 16.5 months and he just says "Dada," "Lala (grandma)", and whoo whoo for vehicles. And honestly he's not even super consistant with those. Like he days dadadadada all the time, not just when daddy's there. He rarely waves. He loves laundry and will take each item out of the dryer and into the basket and then when he is dones he will put it all back into the dryer (until I stop him, haha). He doesn't sign either.
That said, if your mama radar is going off, I don't think it would be totally uncalled for to broach the subject with your pedi or contact your local regional center for an assessment. It could totally be nothing, because all kids truly are different and develop at different paces. But as a special ed teacher I always err on the side of recommending assessment because on the off chance that he is not just a later bloomer there are many early interventions that can really help and they work best if started as soon as possible.
pm me if you have any questions and I hope you get some answers soon.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:56 PM   #5
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Hmmm that's hard because it could be normal, or not. If it helps dd likes to take things out and put them back in over and over. I consider it practicing fine motor skills, never thought anything of it. She also doesn't talk yet (well she just started saying "woah".
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:29 AM   #6
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Re: Normal toddler behaviors? Or not?

That sounds a lot like my ds at that age including the taking objects and moving them obsessively to another spot. He didn't fit most things for autism but he was a little obsessive about stuff and I did wonder. He was in speech therapy for a year and sounds like he was in a similar place as your ds except the food issues which he didn't have.

At his year re evaluation he was caught up in all areas including his speech. He still has some quirky habits and wants things a certain way but he also plays and interacts with kids fine. When he had his language explosion he really caught up and went from saying barely anything to speaking in small sentences in no time and now he can say almost anything.

I would talk to your speech therapist about what she thinks and maybe see about getting an appointment with a developmental pediatrician. We were going to for my son but it takes a long time here and by the time he got one he didn't really need to see one.

It turned out to be nothing for my ds but I hate to say don't worry it is nothing because every kid is different and maybe it is something. If you feel like it could be then I would look into it further.

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Old 06-29-2011, 07:57 AM   #7
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Re: Normal toddler behaviors? Or not?

Thank you mamas, that really makes me feel better that these could just be normal, quirky things instead of things to worry about. His therapist had us fill out a sensory evalution last time we saw her (about 2 weeks ago) but I haven't heard the results, she is out of town for the week now. As I was filling it out there were some behaviors that he was extreme with, but most of them fell under "normal" I think so I'm sure I am just overreacting but I had to ask anyway because I'm a mom and I worry.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:43 AM   #8
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Re: Normal toddler behaviors? Or not?

You should worry as that's what mom's do. Be careful about diagnosing at such a young age. If you read the criteria for most illnesses/mental health/educational issues, almost all of us will meet at least one criteria and it doesn't mean we are that diagnosis.

I kinda worried about my son and his speech but almost all mom's of boys, here and in real life say that boys speech sometimes doesn't come in till 2 +- and we can do an assessment but at this age speech therapy is more play and encouraging speech which we do. My son would say a few words, then lose them, etc. cycle. All of the sudden at 21 months he's been slowly picking up words and using them appropriately. So, its clear the words are coming. Some kids just vocally can't get them out but know/understand. One thing that has helped him a lot is the Leap Frog/Vtech toys that are very verbal (and the things like Text and Learn with buttons he loves). He gets other words we don't use and it is so repetitive that he listens to things over and over and over again. I know some people hate loud/plastic but its something to consider.

The repetition and other stuff can be normal. We have a shoe obsession here and most of the day he has to wear shoes (he just LOVES shoes which is funny as I hate them). At least I finally got him to wear his slippers inside as the hard soles and him climbing hurt.

If you are worried get the 0-3 assessment just for a baseline or talk to your ped. We did a 21 month check up for weight (he gained more than expected so yea) and she did the normal developmental screen and said a few more words would be good but not to worry yet.
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