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Old 06-01-2018, 07:27 PM
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Thumbs down Odd Child - Help!

I am a teacher at a preschool/childcare center. I recently had a child join my class of 3 year olds and I don't know what to make of him! I can blame some things on bad parenting and quirkiness, but I am also wondering if there might be a bigger issue (aka potential diagnosis).

Firstly, upon meeting this child I knew something was off. He is 3 years 7 months old, and can read. However, he has NO concept of what potty training is, and is therefore still in diapers. Our classroom is meant for 3 year olds and is therefore not equipped to have a child in diapers. We have been trying our best to potty train him, but it has become clear that he just does NOT GET IT. Mom and dad said he was "potty training defiant" but that's clearly not the case-he isn't being stubborn, he genuinely does not understand the concept. He can say "in the potty" when I ask him where pee goes, but when I ask him why his diaper is full of pee he will reply "because I want to put it in the potty" which makes absolutely no sense. He also goes back and forth on whether or not he even tries the potty at home, so I can't get a straight answer which is frustrating. He is obviously smart enough to read, how do I get the point across that he needs to be at least TRYING to put pee in the potty?

Secondly, he has some other behaviors that may be quirks, but also seem too off-putting to still be considered typical. He repeats a lot of what he hears, which is frustrating and annoying for myself and his classmates. It doesn't seem to be the kind of mimicking you see in someone with aspergers, because there is no self-soothing component to it. It almost seems like a reflex for him to repeat what has just been said. No matter how many times I tell him or ask him to stop, or how many different ways I phrase it, he keeps doing it! He also makes strange faces when I try to really communicate with him. For example, when I was trying to tell him that we pee in the potty at school, I finished with "do you understand?" and his eyes got VERY wide, but otherwise his face showed no emotion. And then he just responded "understand." With NO emotion or tone in his voice.

Lastly, he has had some very odd and over the top responses to very normal things. As a group, we stepped into an elevator once, to go to the next floor of the library, and he immediately began to scream bloody murder and cry. He only calmed down once he was out of the elevator, and acted like nothing happened. He did it a few minutes later on the way back, but showed zero signs of being nervous or worried as we got ready to go and pushed the button-he only lost it when we got inside. The odd part was that we had already been in an elevator together before and he handled it like any other normal kid! I would normally assume that he doesn't get out much, but then I remembered we had been in an elevator the same size with the same amount of kids previously with no problems! He had the same crying/SCREAMING response when a teacher told him that he needed to go back to the bottom of the steps on our playground. He didn't have the space to turn around, so he had to crawl back down the stairs backwards. He immediately began shrieking and shaking with fear, and the teacher had to physically move him off of the stairs because he refused to budge and seemed unable to piece together how to crawl backwards down a few steps (ate age 3.5).

Mom and dad have proven to be fairly clueless in terms of realistic expectations for this child. They were shocked that we go on field trips with a group of 3 year olds because he frequently runs away from them in public, and they apparently assumed it was common for kids to sprint away from their caretakers. I simply told them we don't have that problem and it wouldn't be an option for him to just "run away" from us. They also suggested that I show him a YouTube video to help him calm down if he ever has a meltdown. I just responded "good to know" instead of telling them that their almost 4 year old should have better self-regulation than that, and that we do not use screens in our school and I have 15 other kids to take care of and I would never have the time to turn on a YouTube video and watch it with him just to calm him down. The child also FREQUENTLY has disgusting boogers hanging out of his nose, and had an absolute melt down when I forced HIM to wipe them off of his face. I soon realized it was because he genuinely did not know how to wipe his own nose at 3 and a half....

Basically, the parents are obviously not the best in terms of being aware of what is socially appropriate/acceptable for a child his age, but part of me wonders if the inability to comprehend the idea of potty training, frequent nonsense responses to simple questions, and other odd behaviors are something more than bad parenting.

Would you diagnose this child with something? Would you bring it up to the parents? I'm not sure if this is just an odd kid with bad parents or something that is more serious. Help!
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Old 06-01-2018, 07:59 PM
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I certainly don't think you should try to offer a diagnosis to the parents. And I wouldn't assume that they are bad parents because their child is not potty trained at 3.5. I do think that the behaviors and details you provided suggest that this child likely has a sensory processing disorder at the least and perhaps is on the autism spectrum. That, however, can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. Does your center do Ages and Stages or some other developmental screening? That may be a good tool to use to suggest that the parents should have a discussion with the child's pediatrician. Have you discussed your concerns with the director of your center?
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Old 06-01-2018, 08:57 PM
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I know it isn't my place to give a diagnosis, but I truly feel like there are some atypical behaviors and responses. I also feel like mom and dad couldn't get through to him with potty training, chalked it up to "defiance" and enrolled him in school so we could do it for them. Maybe they aren't "bad" parents, but they certainly aren't doing him any favors by having almost no age appropriate expectations for him like wiping his own nose, being able to self soothe, or sitting on the potty at home (especially when he has no aversion to it, he just doesn't seem to understand that he needs to pee there and NOT in his diaper). They also warned me that he wouldn't drink out of a regular cup at meal times, because he refuses to drink out of anything except a water bottle at home. They weren't even sure he knew HOW to drink from a regular cup. Luckily, without them around, he's been drinking from a regular cup at meal times without any fussing or difficulty...so this leads me to believe it isn't a sensory or motor issue; it's the fact that they let him make the rules and run the show. It's hard for me to consider asking for him to be assessed by a professional when it may all be due to the parents enabling certain behaviors. We don't do developmental screenings at this age per say, but we do follow a play based developmental reporting tool, which he is proving to be "typical" on. His speech is clear and he knows letters and numbers, but something about him is just very scripted and forced. His responses to questions are grammatically correct and easy to understand, but they aren't logical or relevant.
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I certainly don't think you should try to offer a diagnosis to the parents. And I wouldn't assume that they are bad parents because their child is not potty trained at 3.5. I do think that the behaviors and details you provided suggest that this child likely has a sensory processing disorder at the least and perhaps is on the autism spectrum. That, however, can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. Does your center do Ages and Stages or some other developmental screening? That may be a good tool to use to suggest that the parents should have a discussion with the child's pediatrician. Have you discussed your concerns with the director of your center?
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Old 06-02-2018, 04:57 AM
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It sounds like this is ignorance on the parents' part? Everybody is pushing academics down providers and parents' throats so yay, let's get our kids reading at an early age! But to heck with teaching self-help skills.
I would have a sit down talk with both parents and tell them what your expectations are and how you need them to help you as a team player, teach their ds these necessary skills to help him excel in school and group care. Was he in group care before? It sounds like he's either been babied or parents really have no clue.
Maybe find a chart of normal development in children around his age group, and find ways to help him reach those milestones together. Stress the fact you are all a team and you're not doing it alone.
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Old 06-02-2018, 08:47 AM
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Ignorance on the parents' part is what I'm thinking. A lot of his strange behaviors could be chalked up to little social interaction with peers, because he has never been in school or group care before. However, the inability to comprehend the concept of potty training and the inability to either understand or follow directions like "do not repeat your friends" is troubling and very frustrating. Not to mention the scripted, forced, awkward ways he communicates makes me wonder about a spectrum disorder. Again, though, this could just be from watching way too much TV and not having enough real human interactions. He is reaching developmental milestones (except potty training), so on paper he seems like a normal kid. When you meet him though, it's like talking to a robot that is pre-programmed with responses. I don't want to offend them and tell them their kid is just plain WEIRD, but I also worry that his strange behaviors will cause other kids to avoid him when he needs to be interacting with peers the most!
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Originally Posted by Josiegirl View Post
It sounds like this is ignorance on the parents' part? Everybody is pushing academics down providers and parents' throats so yay, let's get our kids reading at an early age! But to heck with teaching self-help skills.
I would have a sit down talk with both parents and tell them what your expectations are and how you need them to help you as a team player, teach their ds these necessary skills to help him excel in school and group care. Was he in group care before? It sounds like he's either been babied or parents really have no clue.
Maybe find a chart of normal development in children around his age group, and find ways to help him reach those milestones together. Stress the fact you are all a team and you're not doing it alone.
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Old 06-03-2018, 02:03 PM
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I guess I don't have any good solutions for you, but I have a dcb who acts just like this aside from the potty training. He has the robotic voice, scripted conversations, strange faces, repetition, random freak-outs over odd things, fixation on certain video games, just not understanding even simple directions if they are out of our ordinary routine. He is not generally disruptive, can read at 4 years old, is sweet and always seems crushed that he isn't doing something right, but turns around and does it again in a different variation of the situation. I have also suspected ASD or similar, but when I had his parents get him evaluated by the school district last year they only diagnosed him with a slight speech delay. His younger brother, 2, seems very typically developing, so I don't think it's really just a matter of parenting. It's frustrating when you know something is off but feel you don't have any options aside from hoping everyone figures it out when he gets to kindergarten.
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:52 PM
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This is honestly SUCH a relief to hear. Thank you!!
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Originally Posted by Jiminycrickets View Post
I guess I don't have any good solutions for you, but I have a dcb who acts just like this aside from the potty training. He has the robotic voice, scripted conversations, strange faces, repetition, random freak-outs over odd things, fixation on certain video games, just not understanding even simple directions if they are out of our ordinary routine. He is not generally disruptive, can read at 4 years old, is sweet and always seems crushed that he isn't doing something right, but turns around and does it again in a different variation of the situation. I have also suspected ASD or similar, but when I had his parents get him evaluated by the school district last year they only diagnosed him with a slight speech delay. His younger brother, 2, seems very typically developing, so I don't think it's really just a matter of parenting. It's frustrating when you know something is off but feel you don't have any options aside from hoping everyone figures it out when he gets to kindergarten.
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Old 06-04-2018, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiminycrickets View Post
I guess I don't have any good solutions for you, but I have a dcb who acts just like this aside from the potty training. He has the robotic voice, scripted conversations, strange faces, repetition, random freak-outs over odd things, fixation on certain video games, just not understanding even simple directions if they are out of our ordinary routine. He is not generally disruptive, can read at 4 years old, is sweet and always seems crushed that he isn't doing something right, but turns around and does it again in a different variation of the situation. I have also suspected ASD or similar, but when I had his parents get him evaluated by the school district last year they only diagnosed him with a slight speech delay. His younger brother, 2, seems very typically developing, so I don't think it's really just a matter of parenting. It's frustrating when you know something is off but feel you don't have any options aside from hoping everyone figures it out when he gets to kindergarten.
I Have this kid!! speech delay too! only difference is mine has severe food issues (he eats like 8 foods TOTAL)
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Old 06-05-2018, 01:52 PM
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I Have this kid!! speech delay too! only difference is mine has severe food issues (he eats like 8 foods TOTAL)
Yep, that too. He really does try for me, at least, just genuinely can't handle a lot of textures, and after a year he has added peas, whole wheat bread, and several previously rejected fruits to his list.
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:17 PM
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My little guy will take a bite, roll it around in his mouth and start gaging. He eat most bread (plain, no butter) and some pasta (again No evil sauce). fruit is no go, so are most veggies! Oh and he wont drink water.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:48 PM
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Many kids who are "gifted" have asynchronous development.

3 years, 7 months isn't "too old" to not be potty trained. It is the AVERAGE age for boys to potty train. This child's brain is obviously more focused on learning to read and explore with his brain than it is with sending signals to his body that he needs to eliminate. So, for a kid who is NOT gifted, at this age, it is not uncommon to be using diapers. For a kid who IS gifted, it is even less uncommon.

A child's brain will often focus on one part of development at a time. A child who doesn't walk, but maybe talks a little will sometimes stop talking altogether when they are learning to walk because of the shift of focus. Once walking is achieved, the child's language skills will explode.

I would not push the potty training, but rather offer the potty frequently, encourage him to try, but don't push or bully the child-that makes it take even longer, and is exhausting for you and the child.

https://www.nagc.org/resources-publi...us-development
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:56 PM
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As far as the other things mentioned by OP, I would encourage the parents to have the child evaluated for "giftedness" based on behaviors and encourage the evaluators to come to daycare to observe the child.

They'll be more likely to do an eval if they think it will make them/the child look good!
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:00 PM
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My daughter learned to read and potty trained both at age 4. He sure sounds intelligent. He also has some other things that he struggles with. My daughter needed books, videos and drawing to help her understand the sensation of a full bladder an what to do with that(use the potty). Perhaps he truly does not understand some of what you say. My daughter did not understand idioms or figures of speech although she had an adult level vocabulary. She used language in odd ways, for example she used to ask for :"bread cooked in a toaster with butter spread on it" she wouldn't use the word "toast" til she was 8 She was finally diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at age 8.This is currently included as "Autism Spectrum disorders" Sounds like he also has sensory issues and social/emotional/self regulation challenges. I knew something was different when she was 3. My husband would not see it until she was 6. I punished my child when she really did not understand and did not have any intent to be naughty as a preschooler. We did not know she was wired so different and could not control it until she was 7. I hope this helps someone. Do the parents see differences?
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:02 PM
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As far as the other things mentioned by OP, I would encourage the parents to have the child evaluated for "giftedness" based on behaviors and encourage the evaluators to come to daycare to observe the child.

They'll be more likely to do an eval if they think it will make them/the child look good!
I agree with this. Most schools will do these kinds of evals.
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Old 06-21-2018, 03:08 PM
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As far as I know, the parents have no idea how strange he is and how little control he has over his own body. They said he was "potty training defiant" which is definitely not the case, he really just doesn't understand how to hold in his pee. I honestly believe they just think he is being stubborn. I think their blindness to the reality of his development is only hurting him.
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My daughter learned to read and potty trained both at age 4. He sure sounds intelligent. He also has some other things that he struggles with. My daughter needed books, videos and drawing to help her understand the sensation of a full bladder an what to do with that(use the potty). Perhaps he truly does not understand some of what you say. My daughter did not understand idioms or figures of speech although she had an adult level vocabulary. She used language in odd ways, for example she used to ask for :"bread cooked in a toaster with butter spread on it" she wouldn't use the word "toast" til she was 8 She was finally diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at age 8.This is currently included as "Autism Spectrum disorders" Sounds like he also has sensory issues and social/emotional/self regulation challenges. I knew something was different when she was 3. My husband would not see it until she was 6. I punished my child when she really did not understand and did not have any intent to be naughty as a preschooler. We did not know she was wired so different and could not control it until she was 7. I hope this helps someone. Do the parents see differences?
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Old 06-21-2018, 03:19 PM
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Where do you see that it is normal for a boy to not be potty trained at 43 months? Everywhere I have read says about 31 months is the average for boys. Every other boy in the class is potty trained, and they are all much younger than him, so I have a hard time believing that the average age to be potty trained is at almost 4 years old. Regardless, he is nowhere NEAR being potty trained at 43 months, which means he is still behind the curve regardless. I also worry that this child is actually not cognitively ahead at all. He gets words mixed up and can't remember things that have been told to him many times. I wouldn't categorize this child as "cognitively advanced" at all, which is what is so strange. The only thing that is advanced about this child is his ability to read, otherwise it actually takes him quite a while to catch on to things or show basic cognitive skills for his age.
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Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
Many kids who are "gifted" have asynchronous development.

3 years, 7 months isn't "too old" to not be potty trained. It is the AVERAGE age for boys to potty train. This child's brain is obviously more focused on learning to read and explore with his brain than it is with sending signals to his body that he needs to eliminate. So, for a kid who is NOT gifted, at this age, it is not uncommon to be using diapers. For a kid who IS gifted, it is even less uncommon.

A child's brain will often focus on one part of development at a time. A child who doesn't walk, but maybe talks a little will sometimes stop talking altogether when they are learning to walk because of the shift of focus. Once walking is achieved, the child's language skills will explode.

I would not push the potty training, but rather offer the potty frequently, encourage him to try, but don't push or bully the child-that makes it take even longer, and is exhausting for you and the child.

https://www.nagc.org/resources-publi...us-development
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Old 06-22-2018, 01:37 PM
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Where do you see that it is normal for a boy to not be potty trained at 43 months? Everywhere I have read says about 31 months is the average for boys. Every other boy in the class is potty trained, and they are all much younger than him, so I have a hard time believing that the average age to be potty trained is at almost 4 years old. Regardless, he is nowhere NEAR being potty trained at 43 months, which means he is still behind the curve regardless. I also worry that this child is actually not cognitively ahead at all. He gets words mixed up and can't remember things that have been told to him many times. I wouldn't categorize this child as "cognitively advanced" at all, which is what is so strange. The only thing that is advanced about this child is his ability to read, otherwise it actually takes him quite a while to catch on to things or show basic cognitive skills for his age.
Here are some articles about the topic (the first one, maybe the others, mentions that potty training and cognitive ability are not related):

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve...b_1424826.html

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/1101/p1059.html

https://www.healthychildren.org/Engl...let-Train.aspx

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/feat...rising-facts#1

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-l...g/art-20045230
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