Developmental Specialist:(

Lounge By lecrn Updated 22 Apr 2010 , 2:25am by thats2cute

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lecrn Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 6:27pm
post #1 of 14

I'm so frustrated! I just took my 15 month old to the ped. for his shots & check-up and now he has a referral to a developmental specialist. The ped. is concerned that he will not self feed or stand without holding on to something. He does cruise on the furniture and has shown progress over the last few months with beginning to walk. I'm not so concerned over the lack of mobilization, but I am with the lack of self feeding.

What's so frustrating is that I've been voicing my concerns with this since he's been about 6 months and have not been given any advice or return concern. My son does use his hands a lot when playing, grabbing, or drinking out of his cup, but he will not put food in his mouth.

My DH & I have been working with him trying to encourage him, but so far, nothing has worked. He can pick up small things with his hands, but they end up in the floor and the dog eats them.

He is an only child and has never been in daycare or around other children that much. I'm going to make a conscious effort to expose him to more children his age & older to see if that helps.

Has anyone had any experience with a dev. specialist? We go in a few weeks and I just want to know what to expect. The ped. said that they will perform an evaluation and recommend occupational therapy if necessary.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for listening.

13 replies
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Kayakado Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 6:56pm
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I wouldn't panic. He could have any kind of simple to fix issues -- bad eyesight for one. Maybe you need to quit feeding him. If he gets hungry enough he'll figure out a way to get that food in his mouth, it may just not be up to normal table manners standards but hey he's got years to perfect them. He can certainly pick up toys when he wants to play with them. Maybe he sees no reason to feed himself when his parents are doing such a great job!

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prterrell Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 7:20pm
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I do have experience, through my sister and one of her children.

My sister was referred at an early age (not sure the exact age as I was a young child myself) as she was born with no hearing in her right ear and with cerebal palsy just down her right side (her left side functions normally). She attended twice and sometimes thrice weekly physical and occupational therapy sessions for years. I'm not sure if she stopped during middle school or when she went to high school. Fortunately, other than her hearing problems (she is now almost completely deaf as her left ear has lost function gradually), it is very difficult to notice that she has CP. To most outside observers, she appears to be a left-handed person who is a little prone to clumsiness.

My sister's third son is one the Autism spectrum. We all had concerns as he approached his second birthday and was not yet talking. He would baby babble and he would grunt, but he had no words for anything. My sister sought intervention for him and he received twice weekly speech therapy until the age of three at which time he began a special pre-school program. Other than potty-training issues, he's very close to being able to be placed in a regular classroom. He recently tested out of speech therapy as he is 100% on target for his age. He will be 4 in June, so this is with just under 2 years of speech therapy and one year of schooling.

I know this is traumatic for you as a parent, and especially frustrating as your previous concerns were ignored. Fortunately, your child will be getting the help needed. Try to look at this as a positive. The earlier intervention happens, the more good it does. I'm no where near an expert on infant development, but it may be that you doctor felt that it was too early before to make a determination or that the likelihood of the problem sorting itself was high. At least the doctor's onboard now and your child will be getting the help needed. Good luck with everything.

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Ohara Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 8:53pm
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I do understand your frustration. With that said, you have been sent to the right place. The developmental specialist should do a complete evaluation of your baby. The ones we have used ( I have a special needs daughter and am also a foster parent of 15 years) do an evaluation of the child as well as ask you lots of questions. They will do fun things with your baby, like roll the ball, hide stuff under a bucket, stack things...etc. The ones we have worked with are great with babies. Know that they will do activities that he should be able to do and they will also usually do ones that are above his age range. This helps them get an accurate picture of where he is. When they get to stuff that he can't seem to do...don't panic they expect him to not be able to do some of the older things.

There may be no concern and they will tell you that or there may be an area that your child just needs a little more help with and they can assist with that as well. He's at a great age to find out if extra help is needed, and blossom with that help. Wishing you all the best.

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drakegore Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 10:08pm
post #5 of 14

getting the answers and help is the best thing you can do.
i know from experience that the worry that something is wrong can be worse than knowing what the problem is and working to help your child.
and honestly, finding out there is a problem can very much feel like you've been kicked in the stomach, but you get past that and start finding ways to help your child.

it could be something like low muscle tone, motor planning, or possible sensory issues.

getting help early is often the biggest factor in helping your child move forward. my son has had occupational therapy for sensory issues since he was 2 (he is almost 7 now) and it has made a world of difference for him. you would never know he struggled so hard from age 2-5.

if you have an "early intervention" program in your area, i would recommend talking with them too. they were wonderful to us and made a huge difference to both my child and to us as parents.

usually there are simple tests they do with the child like stacking or mimicing shapes with a crayon, nothing scary to the child. my son that it was all about playing; it was nothing that was frightening.

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-Tubbs Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 10:09pm
post #6 of 14

I agree with the other posters. This evaluation will hopefully set your mind at rest that everything is fine with your little one. However, you should also know that early intervention is really key if it turns out that there are any concerns, so it's great that he's being seen at such a young age.

Hope all goes well at the appointment. icon_smile.gif

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lecrn Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 12:07am
post #7 of 14

Thank you all for your kind words of advice. I really don't think it's a hearing deficit b/c he passed the hearing exam as an infant and it's evident that he turns toward sound. It seems like it's taken him longer than others his age (I know, don't compare) to roll over, sit up, crawl, etc. I can see progress as far as the walking goes. He's just always seemed to be a very cautious child. I'm concerned that it may be some sensory issues, but I know absolutely nothing on the subject. Being in the medical field makes me fear the worst. I just want to enjoy him while he's little b/c it took so long for us to have him.
Thank you drakegore for mentioning the early intervention. I'll see if one is available in our area depending on the results of the evaluation.

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drakegore Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 12:27am
post #8 of 14

There are a lot of different variations on sensory issues so it can be very confusing. Some center around taste and mouthfeel (others can be auditory, tactile, or sensory seeking). The thinking seems to be that the nervous system is not mature when the child is born and they process information differently. there are two schools of thought on what happens as the kids get older: one that their nervous systems catch up by about age 5-7, or that they do not but children learn ways to deal with it and function successfully. i know three other children with sensory issues and all of them are overcoming/dealing the problem successfully.

early intervention can also be really helpful to you as a parent. they came into my home and did their own evaluation and then came to our home once a week and did therapy with my son and then we went to a group play therapy once a week. they also can help you when your son is ready to enter pre-school. they were excellent advocates for my son and i when he started pre-school and helped make sure my son got the extra help he needed. friends on mine whose children also had/have sensory issues who did not use early intervention, had a much harder time getting OT or PT for their children.

i wish you and your family the best.


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wyovol Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 1:19am
post #9 of 14

I couldn't read and not post. I hope that the appointment goes well and you can get some answers.

I have a few friends who have used our state's early intervention program and it has been wonderful for their kids.

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funcakes Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 2:04am
post #10 of 14

If you are having an appointment with a developmental psychologist it should be a really good thing. They really know what is a delay to be treated and what is just part of normal development. They may work with your child to modify behavior or to help develop delayed skills. You will probably be asked to watch the techniques they use through a one way mirror. They will model successful strategies for you and encourage you to do these things at home. They should be happy to answer any questions you have about your child and talk to you about your concerns. Doctors study medical issues and although they may have some sense of development, that was not their major focus and sometimes have developmental milestones a little mixed up. A developmental psychologist will clear up your doubts.
There are some specialist that work specifically with feeding disorders, and your little guy should be self feeding soon.

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cakesbycathy Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 3:40pm
post #11 of 14

Not to add to your frustration but just wanted to add...
If you have been trying to address this issue with your pediatrician and not getting feedback until this point you may want to think about finding a new pediatrician. Something to think about.

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letsgetcaking Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 5:18pm
post #12 of 14

Good luck with your appointment! I am very grateful for the developmental pediatricians and therapists who have worked with our little girl. We started seeing them when she was 10 months old because she was not eating solid foods and stopped growing. She is now almost three years old and doing much better. PM me if you like, and I would love to answer any questions you have.

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lecrn Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 6:03pm
post #13 of 14
Originally Posted by letsgetcaking

Good luck with your appointment! I am very grateful for the developmental pediatricians and therapists who have worked with our little girl. We started seeing them when she was 10 months old because she was not eating solid foods and stopped growing. She is now almost three years old and doing much better. PM me if you like, and I would love to answer any questions you have.

Thanks for your generous offer. I'll pm you if any questions arise.

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thats2cute Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 2:25am
post #14 of 14

I wouldn't worry too much about the appointment. My son was having development issues when he was a baby. I kept bringing them up to his pediatrician, but he kept telling me to wait and see what happens because all kids develop at their own pace. When his one year checkup came and he still was not meeting the milestones, he recommended me to the early intervention program in my state. They were wonderful!! They set me up with developmental therapists and speech therapists to come to my home and work with him on a weekly basis. He also saw a developmental pediatrician and she diagnosed him with high functioning autism at 18 months old. He will be 4 in August and is doing great. Most people would never think he was diagnosed with Autism. It is good to seek help when they are young because they can get the help they need when they are developing their senses and before kindergarten starts. I would definitely suggest looking into the early intervention program in your state. I am almost positive that every state by law has to have an early intervention program (sometimes called a birth to three program) and most services through them are offered on a sliding scale. Since I was below a certain income level, my services were free.

I hope that helps and if you have any questions or need help finding information about services, pm me and Ill be glad to help.

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