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Thread: Passivity in friend's 19 mth old

  1. #1

    Default Passivity in friend's 19 mth old

    Hi all



    I wondered if anyone might have some comment on firstly whether the following issue is 'normal' and secondly if it isn't, how to broach it with my friend.

    Her 19 mth old daughter has been noted as being a bit slow in development by the MHCN. Physically I think she is fine, not that much different to 'average', but I've noticed as she and other toddlers are getting older her emotional/behavioural development seems quite far behind. Also her speech. She is VERY passive, doesn't really interact in play with other children or toys very much (kind of walks around holding things and will push buttons on some things, but nothing more). She resists efforts by my daughter to touch or hug her quite fiercely (in fact, if she isn't in a good mood she won't even let her Mum touch her). When my friend takes her to a playground, soft play or anything like that she basically just stands and watches everyone. She will pick up dirt, etc, and kind of wander around, but won't 'play' unless Mum is doing something with her (like putting her on the slide, etc). She goes very stiff when you lift her, even to put her into a swing, which she obviously likes. She doesn't laugh very much at all, kind of has a smile and open mouth, but no sound. She is very vocal when she is upset, screams, gets very worked out, but this is really the only time she ever displays emotion. She also doesn't speak much. She has a couple of things she says over and over, but not at appropriate times. I think she can say 'mum' and 'dad', but haven't heard her. She is small for her age (wasn't at birth) and very light. Although personally I think this has a lot to do with her (inadequate) diet, that consists of a lot of milk and yoghurt and not very much protein (I see this little one five days a fortnight as my friend comes over to look after my daughter all day and I mind her on my own as well). I took my DD to her 18 mth check up yesterday and she can do pretty much everything expected for her age, but I doubt if my friend's DD is hitting the majority.

    The trouble is, although I'm starting more and more to see a gap forming between her development and other toddlers as they are getting older, I don't really know how to broach this with her Mum. The MHCN did say she was a bit slow in developing in a lot of things, but not to worry. My friend was very upset at her comment and indicated that the MHCN just didn't like her so wasn't being fair. So I'm not sure if I talk to her at all, or just wait until a professional gives their opinion at some point. I'm also not sure if my friend's anxieties about some things are just affecting her daughter's behaviour, rather than it being a developmental issue. I don't think she has any intention of sending her along to a kindy any time soon where they would probably pick up on this and try to help (not that I'm suggesting she does, it's just that the only little one she is around the same age is my DD, and I think my friend just assumes that Lucy and a couple of others are just 'ahead', which I'm not sure is the case. All the others are a few months or so younger).

    What does everyone think? Suggestions please! Incidentally I'm having a very hard time bonding with this little one since she's not very friendly. If that's the right word.

  2. #2

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    Jennifer, I have no idea how you can broach the subject with her, as it is so easy as a parent to take things the wrong way, even if it is well intentioned. We had a smiliar problem with friends of ours - we had a suspicion for a long time that their son was autistic as he showed all the classic symptoms, but there was no way known we could have suggested that to them without them getting really offended as they put it down to him just being really 'busy'. They eventually got him diagnosed by referral from his preschool teacher.

    IKWYM about bonding with the child too, it's hard when you feel like every effort you make is refused, even if she doesn't mean to.

    Maybe you could leave a few pamphlets laying around about various things and she may put two and two together herself kwim?


    I will also move this to Baby and Toddler General Discussion....

  3. #3

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    I can imagine how difficult it must be trying to figure out how to broach the topic.

    Early intervention is really important so your friend would be doing the best for her daughter if she got her properly assessed asap.

    I geuss if I wanted to raise the idea I would start by complimenting an aspect of her parenting skills and also praising something about her daughter before I mentioned that I was concerned because in just a couple of areas she seems to be having trouble. I'd say that I'm only raising the topic because I'm fond of her daughter and I know that she would want me to be honest so that she can do the best for her daughter because she's a great, caring mother and all us Mums want to do the best we can to help our children reach thier potential.

    I'm glad it's you not me because I really suck at handling the akward moments.

    Do you ever discuss literature with your friend?
    I ask because there is an autobiography recently released called Look Me In The Eye (or something similar) written by a guy with aspergers. Maybe you could approah the topic via the book IYKWIM.

    Good luck.

  4. #4

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    this is a really hard thing to try and deal with for you.

    After reading all that you have said i agree, your friends DD does sound a bit slow in development but are you sure its not just a personality thing as well, you did mention she has an anxious mum, this could make her very wary of other children. My DS has only just started to 'play' with other kids his age, but if he is in the wrong mood he will just watch other kids play and do his own thing. maybe its a bit too early to be able to tell if she is just a bit slower than others at the moment or if she does have an issue that needs attention..

    have you discussed this with your MCHN, maybe make an appointment to see ur MCHN and vice your concerns with her, she may ne able to discuss things with you more.

    GL, you must be a great friend to be so caring, i hope your friends DD catches up to the other toddlers soon.

  5. #5

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    Hi girls

    I've been wondering how much it is to do with my friend's parenting after your comments. Although some of the things I've described may point to something sinister, so might her general lack of enthusiasm from Mum and her personality. So I'll watch and observe over the next couple of months before saying anything. We've also had a think about how long we continue to have Lucy looked after by her, given we are putting her into kindy next year for a day a week. I think she needs a bit more active stimulation and will probably find some excuse to look for a nanny without another child. For eg, we want slightly longer days than my friend is willing to offer.

    We'll see how it goes...

  6. #6

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    Could you encourage your friend to socialise a bit more too? That might make it a bit easier to tell if it is an actual problem with the little one or if it is just a result of her environment. She might start to see for herself that there may be a bit of work needed in some areas of development. It's rare that a mum doesn't question it at all kwim?

  7. #7

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    Jennifer, I'm sure it must be really hard for you to watch it, but I'm not sure I'd be willing to say anything to your friend. Without knowing at all what she is like, and how close you are, I'm assuming she'd just get her back up and it would probably affect your friendship. I'm not saying that your friendship is more important than this little girl, but if you're friend doesn't want to hear it, she's unlikely to act on it ATM. It sounds like she wasn't very receptive at all to the MCHNs comments, so I'd guess that she's not yet ready to deal with any problems that there might be with her daughter.

    I have a friend who is in a similar situation ATM, it's killing her not to say anything, especially as she is trained in childhood development, but she has realised that it will ruin their friendship, and the mum likely won't do anything anyway.

    ETA That's a good idea Sherie. I do agree that mums will usually question these things, but whether or not they act on it is a different thing. That's like admitting there's a problem, which some people find difficult.

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