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Is there a developmental disorder in my three year old?

Forum: Children with Developmental Delays and Disorders


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April 30th, 2013, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3
Hello, I am new to this site but I'm hoping to find advice or answers to my sons developmental problems he has been having and I was hoping that there are other Moms here who may have three year olds with the same types of problems and what they could be, if anything at all to have concern over?

My son has recently turned three and he is behind on his talking, he has only just started to put together two words and sometimes three but not often or frequent yet and prefers at the time being, to speak using only one word... he will often copy the last word an adult says when speaking to him or repeat words and will sometimes make grunting sounds and babble still. He did not start talking much at all until he turned two and a half apart from basic one word to get what he needed. I find that he will listen well at home and can play games where you can put more than one object onto or into places when asked so he follows direction well with me... he has been attending a few speech and language sessions lately and they last around 45 mins.. he is interested and cooperates well but when it comes to doing the activities that we can do well at home, he cannot do it for them? I was told that he is still using pretty basic vocabulary and to practice on verbs at home and that he uses repitition alot and cant follow directions after about 30 mins of the session... is this good or bad?

I have also experienced occasional outburst that are so extreme, he has lashed out and screaming so loud that his face turns red and I get scared he will hurt himself with his tantrum, these have only happened about four time though since born and a few times with his father (divorced).

I just wondered if anyone out there thinks this is really concening or if they reflect somewhat normal behaviour in a child this age?

Many thanks... Im such a worried mum...
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May 1st, 2013, 05:56 PM
Spyctre's Avatar Arwen
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Freaking Louisiana
Posts: 9,231
Well, I'm not a doctor so I can't tell you what's up, but I have taught preschool and can tell you about other children.

I have seen 18 month olds speak complete sentences and 4 year olds that could only say a few words. 3 is on the later side, but it's not too uncommon in my experience. Some just don't talk a lot until later. They sometimes seem behind when it comes to following directions, but they all eventually seemed to outgrow it.

My favorite student ever could only say one sentence when he came to the school, and he was 4 years old. It was "I'm going to tell your mama." He had delayed speech so he would get frustrated and lash out. The last school he was at had a teacher that constantly said this to him so that's all he said. His first teacher at our school thought he was sassing us, but when I asked his mother that's what she told me.

He had a language explosion not 3 months later, and it was like he'd been talking his whole life. That seems to indicate some form of Autism to me, but I can't tell you for sure. I'm just the teacher. But it seems like a lot of Autistic kids will take forever to do stuff, and then once they start, it is mastered. My oldest was like that. Didn't roll over till 5 months, but the day she started, she could do barrel rolls across our living room.

Tantrums are normal. My neurotypical daughter throws them, my Autistic one was always as calm and laid back as could be. I found out the lack of tantrums make our neurologist here raise an eyebrow.

30 minute attention span seems awesome to me for a 3 year old! I don't have a 30 minute attention span, and I'm 31.

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May 2nd, 2013, 09:06 AM
*Jennifer*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: California
Posts: 5,500
I don't think language delay alone is a big red flag of autism. However, you are his mom and if you feel something isn't right, get him evaluated. I know fear keeps us from moving forward. Hubby just told me a he knew something was up with our son a year ago, but his fear kept him in denial. HUGS

Last edited by *Jennifer*; May 6th, 2013 at 09:18 AM.
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May 3rd, 2013, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3
Hello, Spyctre, I appreciate the experiences you have had and sharing them with me... My boy has tantrums and had lots when turning two (terrible two's perhaps??) And he behaves like a typical three year old and is happy and full of beans! But when it comes to communication with other adults and children he cannot do this very well, he is able to communicate really well with me and family members but couldnt follow directions on the first attempt towards the end of the session or the therapist would have to repeat the instruction before he could answer correctly, he seemed somewhat distracted and I am assuming this just means that he was losing interest as it was coming to the end of the session, his concentration with the other funner activities were great though.. it seems my boy likes to respond to the family and has recently started asking why and what and I pick up two and three word sentences alot more so I know he is capable... I feel he understands directions well at home and can do all of the homework given such as putting pictures of animals/insects on a picture when asked to pick up certain ones, he can do all of them at home but has trouble even doing two at the session. Is it selective hearing and maybe that he needs more experiences of being around others/social interaction... also, would getting more of a schedule/structure in place at home improve my childs abilities? I also wonder if maybe getting him into nursery would help greatly also as we only currently attend playgroupd and go out alot to social places or see the family... I dont know alot of mothers with children that I can meet with or maybe Im not very sure how to make friends... my boy has an older sister from another relationship, that he sees two or three times a week and has lots of cousins from this side that he also sees...?

Many thanks for all the replies I really appreciate the advice and comments
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May 9th, 2013, 12:18 PM
Carwen*Angel's Avatar Fly away on my zephyr
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Manchester, UK
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It's probably quite early to tell if there is a significant developmental delay, but if your intuition tells you something's up, there's no harm in setting things in motion by mentioning it to the ped. My son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of 4. It took quite some appointments and observations to get there. Xxx.

would getting more of a schedule/structure in place at home improve my childs abilities?


In my experience as an autism mom and a teacher, children with any sort of fear, anxiety or confusion issue - not just developmental delays - benefit from having a very regular schedule and structure to their day. A visual timetable or "now and next" board with pictures may also help, so the child is always warned what is coming up next and how the day will go, in advance. When a child has the security of a routine, when you do occasionally need to diverge from it (providing you warn them) they seem in my experience far more able to cope.

Re socialising - this is the prime area my son had REAL difficulties with. He found it VERY difficult to adapt to a busy, loud nursery at the age of 3 having never been to anything like it before. We didn't do mums and tots groups or anything like that because I was working full-time when he was small, and he didn't go to a day nursery because my mum looked after him. So nursery was a BIG shock and he reacted with high emotion and aggression. If you think this is an area your child needs help with, based on my experience, I would suggest starting smaller than nursery - perhaps a small moms/youngsters group or playdates with friends/family in the first instance. Xxx.

Hope this helps!

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May 17th, 2013, 02:01 PM
Amazona's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Montreal, Qc
Posts: 8,642
Im not new to JM but its my first time on this board.

My son is also 3 (Dec 09) and we have submitted last year (Nov) the paperwork to have him evaluated for possible autism/PDD.
Were in Canada so we have 15 long months to wait for an eval, so thats why we did it.

Our son has a severe expressive and receptive language delay, according to the private speech therapist we consulted. That means he could only speak about 10 words last October (he was 2.5) and had (still has to some degree) trouble understanding what we said/asked or follow even simple commands.
Now granted, we speak 3 languages at home, but still... even considering that, he is really delayed.

We started speech therapy and zootherapy (therapy with animals) in Dec and hes now up to 60+ words, so its a big improvement. But still only talking in single words.
Sometimes hell combine a few but always the same phrase (quest-ce que cest, which means "whats that" in French).

He had trouble relating to other kids at daycare but that has changed a lot in the last few months.
He loves to play with his baby brother (11 months old) and seeks to play with other kids, but his limited speech is a problem when the other kids dont know him (you know how kids can get).

So if youre worried, have him evaluated but Im puzzled as to whether this is a form of autism or not.

In our case, the eye contact is hit or miss, but hell go as far as grabbing your face if he wants you to pay attention to him (Ive tried ignoring him to see which will be his reaction).

Most of the time he "plays deaf" if hes not interested in what you ask or demand, so we had him evaluated for his hearing, which is absolutely normal.

Ill make a post with his behaviour and see if anyone can help me figure him out
My beautiful boys!
Max (3.5 yrs old), Sebastian (11 months old) & Tomas (10 yrs old = 70 human years )

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behaviour, delays, developmental, speech, three year old

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