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Old 06-13-2013, 09:57 AM
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Default Four-year-old nephew - Help! (Kinda Long)

*WARNING: This is really long!*

I don't run a daycare, but I do babysit my nephew 4 days a week, from morning to night. He'll turn 4 at the end of June. He seems to have some issues that I can't quite put my finger on, and I was hoping some of you could give me a little help or at least point me in the right direction.

Okay, first for a short back story...

I started watching him a few months ago. His mom - my ex sister-in-law - asked me to start babysitting, because she said that he was getting very spoiled since her other babysitter pretty much let him and her kids run amok, no schedule, etc.

SIL works two jobs, one from 8AM - 3PM and another later in the afternoon/evening. My brother works from morning until around 5PM, when he comes to pick up Nephew. Both parents get along reasonably well, no problems sharing custody, etc.

Here are a few examples of possible problems I'm noticing...

~Nephew can't seem to answer simple questions, particularly those that start with "why", "where", "when", etc. I placed a bowl on the table earlier, closed my eyes, and asked him to tell me where it was. All he could tell me was "It's right there" as he was pointing to it. He also can't answer other basic location questions and has difficulty discerning from my house, dad's house, and mom's house.

~ He has NO concept of "time". Not like 3:00, 12:00, etc, but with basic time concepts like today, yesterday, daytime, nighttime, morning, afternoon, night. I asked earlier if it was daytime or nighttime, and he said nighttime. He also can't answer when he eats breakfast, lunch, or dinner (morning, afternoon, night), or when he goes to bed or gets out of bed (night, morning).

~ Asking a "why" question is pointless, because he just can't answer it. He has no clue.

~ He frequently just repeats questions back that are asked of him instead of just answering them.

~ He can't answer most questions when given 2 or 3 choices. Instead of picking choice A or B, he'll say "yes" or "no", or come up with some other random answer, like "blue"or "I saw a firetruck".

~ He repeats, repeats, REPEATS the same question even after I tell him "No" and explain WHY he can't do something. For instance, he asked if he could play with cars earlier, and I told him no, because the floor needed to be vacuumed and couldn't vacuum with cars on it. He then asked me this same question no less than once every 5 minutes.

~ He doesn't seem to understand why he's being disciplined at ALL. If he sits, he can't tell you WHY he's sitting. Oftentimes, he'll get up out of the chair when his time's up and go do EXACTLY what landed him in it the first place. AGAIN!!

~ He fidgets somethin' FIERCE and will NOT look someone in the eye or even at them at all when they're talking to him.

~ And, the kicker... Even after I GIVE him the answer to a question, he STILL CAN'T answer it. For example, he couldn't answer me when I asked him when he ate breakfast, so I told him that he eats bf in the morning. Asked him again, and still couldn't answer. Even after repeating this routine over and over and over and over.....



He also has some behavior issues (sneaky, lying, ripping books, breaking toys, screaming at my kids, etc). I'm about at the end of my rope. I've brought these issues up to BOTH parents, and they both seem to brush it off. I hear things like "that's weird", "he's fine", "he doesn't do that at my house", or "well, he's 3".

I've NEVER had any of these types of problems with my kids. I'm not super strict, and I don't expect children to be perfect, but I'm really very concerned.

I know every child is different, but DAMN! Am I crazy? Should I just let it go, or do you think that there may be an issue here?

Any suggestions will help!

Last edited by *In*2*Win*; 06-19-2013 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:46 PM
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I take it he doesn't have any siblings.

My two youngest are autistic and don't get along alot. They fidget, have no concept of "no" and have had various communication issues over the years. I have an autistic brother so was familiar with many of the signs and knew my middle child was. However for some reason I had no clue about my youngest. She seemed so docile, happy by herself, loved when her sisters were in school and then had issues in preschool. Wouldn't do her worksheets, didn't communicate well with others, seemed shy to the teachers.

It got worse when we started Kindergarten. She didn't want to get in line with the others. Was afraid to talk to classmates but followed them around. Started having melt downs more and going crazy after school. When I filled out the paperwork I recognized all the signs and she is more like my brother than my middle child sometimes.

Now, I don't know by your descriptions if your nephew is truly autistic, but I do know, that if he is then he does not have control over a lot of his issues. It is not a behavioral problem, it is neurological. It takes a lot of work and training to teach autistic children about life skills. Early intervention is key. Most school districts have an intermediate unit that can observe children before they start school and recommend the appropriate therapies.

One thing to consider, especially since some parents might not be receptive to advice, just because they act one way at home doesn't mean they are okay and something is wrong with you. My one daughter was more perfect at home by herself than at home with siblings or at preschool/Kindergarten. My other was more perfect at school then at home with the distractions of her siblings. She seemed to hold it together in school trying not to be different and would fall apart when she got home. They both needed sensory diets to cope in the transition from school to home.

He may appear to be acting out because he needs something. Unfortunately he doesn't know what will meet that need. Your SIL might not notice something now but the behavior gets out of hand the older they get, it is like the terrible twos starting late.

If your gut feeling is that your nephew is not acting age appropriate, than it should be looked into, especially before school starts. When school started for my youngest it was about a phone call a week with the school asking me if they could test my daughter for something. That is actually rare.

Hope that helps. ~ Good luck!

Last edited by starbirdy66; 06-13-2013 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:57 PM
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A lot of this sounds age appropriate. My 3 year old does many of the same things...the only thing that would raise a red flag to me is the lack of eye contact.
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:38 AM
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Thanks ladies!

He certainly doesn't have any siblings. I hoped that maybe being around my two might help him with the typical "only child" problems, but it hasn't seemed to. He HATES my 7 year old boy and yells at him all the time, but LOVES my 10 year old girl. He refuses to share too, but I think that's just the only child thing.

I don't think he's autistic, but my gut is telling me that there's something wrong. Maybe ADD or a receptive language disorder.

It just gets really frustrating that my concerns are just dismissed by both of them. She has to work two jobs, so she doesn't get enough time to see him, and he's usually too tired from work to have the energy to really pay attention. In fact, he treats Nephew like an adult, and has seemed to gloss over the "basics" that little kids need as they grow up. If that makes sense...

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent and thanks for giving me some things to think about.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:38 AM
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I'm sorry to hear your experiencing such a hard time. Caring for a child is tough enough even when things are going well. Let alone when there are challenging issues and communication challenges. In my child care I have two children that are on the Autism Spectrum. The only way the two children in my care got any type of diagnosis was when they went into there pediatrician for a wellness exam. That was the only way the parents would listen. When they did ask me what I thought or if I observed anything I would give them my opinion emphasizing that I am in no way shape or form a medical doctor. This was just my opinion and that I have been working with children for over 12 years. Boy! The look on their faces! You would have thought I slapped them. People don't want to hear your honest opinion. They will ONLY listen to a Doctor or maybe a School teacher. Another little girl I cared for went to kindergarten this past year. I never thought she was on the spectrum but I always felt something was "Off" with her. Turns out the school was having issues with her and recomended she be tested for ADD. Boy were here parents mad! All I know in all my years of child care parents don't want to hear if something is wrong with there child. It is just to heart breaking for them. And if your the one that delivers the news your certainly not going to be thanked for it. I know it comes from a place of concern. Just know if something is not right with the child, eventually it will come out and present it's self. And you wont' be the "Bad Guy".

Best of luck to you!
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Old 06-29-2013, 04:44 PM
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Really interesting topic - I am the mother of 3 sons and I had a daycare business years ago + was a Nanny -

He sounds like a 3-4 year old boy I had years ago - something was not quite right about him. Sweet little guy when he wanted to be. Later I found out his father was a raging alcoholic and his poor co-dependent mother was strung out on tranquilizers. He wasn't getting the attention and he too was the only child. Both parents were close to their 50's - had tried for years to get pregnant, to no avail. Then along came Justin.

He did later test for learning disabilities and it was caught fairly early. Mom later got her act together and sadly, Dad died a few years later of Coriolis of the liver.

Children need attention. They need family. It is sad that Mom has to work 2 jobs. Just love him and hope that if it is more than just a behavioral issue, that the parents will listen and do what is needed.

I would also say to document things - keep a journal on his behavior. It protects YOU and if the parents ever needed more insight for a physicians appointment, you could help them in that, if they are receptive.

God bless you for taking care of this little guy.YOU are making a difference to this little boy - regardless if you know it or not.

Debby

Last edited by starbirdy66; 08-15-2013 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:37 PM
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Some of these behaviors sound normal, others not so much. Every child is different. Is he 3 or four?

Some of these behaviors can just be for attention, especially in a circumstance where mom works a lot and parents are divorced, sometimes these emotional issues can reflect in the childs behaviors.

I would continue to take note of the behaviors that seem troublesome, and continue to communicate with mom and Dad. The pediatrician should take note if there are problems during the child's annual check-ups.
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:34 PM
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Default Update: Grrrrrrr!

I figured an update was in order... And I am SOOO pissed!!

Long story short -

Nephew peed on my kitchen floor. QUOTE "on purpose" because "it was a funny joke". Keep in mind that he just turned 4.

I, along with my children and fiance, decided enough was enough, decided no more! So, I told my brother, giving the MAIN excuse as we are buying a house and moving SOON. (Which they KNEW and told us was fine.) I gave her a week's notice.

She flipped out on my brother and told him my Nephew's behavior was MY fault, and I didn't "do a Godamn thing"" so why couldn't I watch her kid...

ARGH!!!!!!!!!! GRRRR!!!!!!!! I have a WHOLE new respect for full-time daycare providers/babysitters. I'm a freelance writer with a full-time job and she expects me to sit at home from 8AM to 11PM to watch her kid 'cause I don't do a GD THING???
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:14 PM
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Sorry you experienced such under appreciation. Wow!
In Texas there is a program called child find, I believe. The school can do an evaluation if there are concerns and children can attend preschool if they qualify. Maybe they would be willing to do something like that since it would be "free daycare" to them yet he would get the services he needs.
I have worked with multiple children with Aspergers syndrome and this sound similar.

Good luck
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:18 PM
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Default so sorry

I second the idea of getting him evaluated to possible special needs/services. Good luck. It will get better.
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