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Beau-Bo

Beau-Bo

Male / 1 year & 10 months

Share the first part of Beau-Bo's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?

My husband was born with a cleft lip and palate and when we decided it was time to expand our family we always knew our chances of conceiving a child with the same condition were going to be higher. Our 20 week anatomy scans were always done by doctors (not technicians) so they would be able to conduct a more thorough exam and diagnosis whether or not the child would have a cleft right away. It wasn't until our third child, Beau that we were given the news our son would be born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. I remember leaving that appointment and I couldn't stop crying. Honestly, I spent most of the remaining 20 weeks of the pregnancy finding myself crying on and off so worried about what Beau had in store for him. Thankfully I had my husband to rely on. His experience of what he had gone through (surgery, bullying, speech, etc.) helped me to better prepare mentally for what Beau would have to experience. Each cleft journey is so unique and even to this day I still find myself concerned for what lies ahead for Beau in his development through speech, dental procecures and future surgeries. Like with any child, I don't think you ever stop worrying about the future but we do our best to prepare and take each day of his journey one step at a time.

Delayed speech or vocabulary observed at 1 year & 0 months

G's Son

G's Son

Male / 6 years

Share the first part of G's Son's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?

When my son was newborn (a day or two old) he had what I know believe to be spasms. I videoed it and showed the doctor, and I was told it was startle reflex. Nearly six years down the line, my son has cognitive and language delay and motor stereotypies. He is waiting to be assessed for autism, but nobody seems to be able to put their finger on the cause of his issues. He is very sociable and has great eye contact, and apparently has some traits of autism, but also traits that don’t fit the autism diagnosis. I’ve been treating him biomedically for the last three years, and he is making good progress. He attends mainstream school, with a full-time one-to-one assistant to support him. Obviously I want the best outcome for him, and don’t want to miss anything.

delayed speech observed

K

K

Male / 13 years & 6 months

Share the first part of K's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?

Keith was a good baby. He met all his milestones early; he was rolling over, crawling and walked at 8 months. The area he lagged in was speech. Around 6 months, I noticed he wasn’t doing any babbling. He started having chronic ear infections and had tubes placed in his ears at about 9 months so I attributed that to his slow developing speech. His speech began to pick up at about 18 months. He started stringing words together and talking in short sentences. He was interested in other children and would play with neighborhood kids. His father is in the military and deployed right before K’s 2nd birthday. Towards the end of the deployment Keith began losing words, he stopped talking and developed what I called gibberish, non-verbal noises he would make constantly replaced language. He stopped being interested in other kids, the friends he used to play with, he stopped interacting and talking with them and stopped making eye contact. It was very confusing and concerning for me so I referred him to early intervention for an evaluation.

Delayed speech or vocabulary observed

L

Leo

Male / 3 years & 6 months

Share the first part of Leo's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?

No answer added.

speech delay observed

S.

S.

Male / 6 years & 2 months

Share the first part of S.'s story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?

After the age of two, these was a gradual regression in his speech development. He began to gradually loose his ability to say the alphabet and numbers as he used to and slowly began replacing his words with grunting sounds. This later became associated with repetitive flapping of the hands and repeating the same you tube kid video over and over again.

Delayed speech or vocabulary observed at 5 years & 6 months

R

RosieSue

Female / 3 years & 11 months

Share the first part of RosieSue's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?

She couldn’t hold her head up till after a year old. She was very far behind her twin brother who was hitting milestones right on time or early. She was a floppy baby. She couldn’t coordinate suck swallow and breathe. She barely ever cried or made noise. Didn’t start babbling till over a year old.

Delayed speech or vocabulary observed at 0 years & 0 months

Zuzu

Zuzu

Female / 4 years & 6 months

Share the first part of Zuzu's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?

I distinctly remember leaving a message for my pediatrician after Zuzu's 8 month appointment because I had forgotten to mention that she wasn't babbling. She's my second child so I knew that the expression of noise was very different than babbling. My pediatrician said to "wait and see" and that maybe her bilingual environment contributed to some form of 'normal delay.' I took her advice and kept an eye on it. I got most concerned when Zuzu was 15 months old. A family member wondered why her face was asymmetrical and that tipped me over to decide to go to a neurologist. I was already aware - and concerned - that she was behind with walking and talking, and this seemed like yet another issue (incidentally, I didn't notice the asymmetry myself!) To be honest, I had somehow convinced myself that she probably had an issue but that the issue wasn't serious. After all, there are a thousand reasons why a child would be talking late and I figured it was mild. My mind didn't put all the symptoms together b/c I guess I was in denial about the bigger picture - it's hard to see that there's something wrong with your child. Eventually, by 18 months, I finally 'saw' that all these small concerns might actually add up to something more important that I had been missing.

Speech Delay observed at 0 years & 8 months

C.

C.

Male / 4 years & 9 months

Share the first part of C.'s story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?

My son (nicknamed C.) is a sensory seeker. He's very active. At 18 months, he was constantly moving and doing a lot of physical activities that I didn't see other kids his age do. He also had an enormous amount of trouble self-soothing at night to go to sleep. He was having trouble going from a highly aroused state to a calm, relaxed state where he could fall asleep. We tried sleep training. We tried to do all the typical things that people tell you to do at that age. None of it worked. I just felt like something was off. Like there was something else going on. And when he would wake up in the middle of the night, which a lot of kids that age still do, he just couldn't go back to sleep. He was in a highly vigilant state, wide awake. It was at 18 months that I first mentioned this to his pediatrician. She said, “Well, his nervous system is still maturing. Let's see what happens”. As the months went on, and he started to walk, we noticed that it was like he had no sense of where he was. And then feeding challenges started: he was a really good eater until he wasn't. It was very dramatic. We felt like there might have been some sensory-related stuff going on with either what we were putting in his mouth or what he was seeing. We still struggle with feeding. I mean, it's gotten better. But picky eating was a big indicator of his condition. Then there was the activity level and the lack of focus. C. had a hard time staying focused on one activity. My son was born extremely premature at 24 weeks. Not everybody knows that 24 weeks is the line of viability. He was literally four days after the line. It was a very traumatic birth for him and also a traumatic labor for me. He was born weighing 705 grams. I'll tell you why I say it in “grams.” Because when they are born that early, every gram matters. They consider your probability of surviving partly based on the number of grams you weigh at birth. After he was born, all the nurses kept coming into the recovery room saying, “Oh my! He's 705 grams! Isn't that amazing?” There was like this celebration. He was a little bigger than normal for 24 weeks, but 705 grams is actually one pound and nine ounces. He was tiny. He fit in the palm of my hand. He was very, very small. He spent about five months in the NICU, and it was a very complicated NICU journey for him. Every child in the NICU has their own story. He was challenged with a host of medical issues that almost claimed his life, and also were potentially going to impact his development. When we came out of the NICU we were linked with Strong Start, which is Washington D.C.’s version of early intervention. We started Strong Start at about four months of age, if we correct his age for his premature birth, or eight months old from birth. We were working on some very basic things around gross motor skills, making sure he was moving his head right, that he was making eye contact, some of those typical infant developmental milestones. From the beginning, I had a sense of vigilance around potential delays in his development. In that respect, I think my story might be a little bit different than most families. I already had a heightened awareness that things were probably not going to be typical. The challenges that I had were really the struggles with the system. We knew C. was going to need a lot of therapy. We knew that he was potentially going to be diagnosed with a host of medical conditions that we couldn't predict in his early infant years. I was very proactive about it. But it was still very, very challenging to get the right services, to know who the right people were to talk to, to get coverage from insurance. I always tell people who have questions about what it is like to have a child who was born early or has special needs: this is all really hard. You have the typical challenges of raising an infant. And then you also are a medical coordinator, you’re an insurance advocate, and you're an expert at X, Y and Z diagnosis. You have a host of different hats that you have to put on every single day. The system is not always cut out to support you, right? It's almost the opposite. There are some days where I wake up feeling, “Okay, I'm in fight mode. Let's go!” I have to fight to get through the day, to be able to accomplish the things that my son needs in order to continue to develop and to thrive. That’s our overarching experience. He is now three years and seven months old. When you're born early, they use “corrected age” (based on the date you should have been born, so to speak, if you came to full term at 40 weeks) versus actual age for the first two years of life, because there is a developmental lag. The medical and school systems assume that by the time you are two years old, the child should have caught up, unless there's a major medical issue. Then after two years, you use only on the actual birthday so to speak. So he's actually three years and seven months from his day of birth.

speech delay observed

S.

S.

Male / 4 years & 9 months

Share the first part of S.'s story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?

Our son (nicknamed S.) is an interesting case. If you were to ever see him, you might think he was two years old, not his actual age of three-and-a-half. Not only does he model some immature behaviors, though he's well-behaved, but he's very small for his age. He wears size-two clothes still. He is getting a little taller, and he eats like a horse. But he just stays very thin. He’s not even 30 pounds. He has a little sister who is 10 months old who is catching up to him in weight. She's close to 20 pounds. She’s right around the 50th percentile for everything. He's still around 4%. On his growth chart, he has been less than the 5th percentile his whole life. And then speech-wise, he's actually more like a nine month old (not a three-and-a-half year old). For whatever reason, again, we can't figure it out. His expressive delay is huge and he does not talk. I would say that what he understands is a lot closer to a match for his physical size (of 2 years old). If we say “Hey, slow down,” if we're outside walking around, and he gets a little too far ahead, he'll slow down. If we say, “Okay, we're about to cross the street. We’ve got to hold hands,” he puts his hands up. He knows we're going to cross. If I say, “Alright, you’ve got to sit down in your chair.” Then, instead of standing up, he sits down. But he can’t talk. He's so small physically, and that has got to be holding him back in some way. I'm probably wrong, but I feel like that in my heart. Our son was born with a couple of strikes against him. His mother had a two-vessel cord during the pregnancy . He was basically always very, very tiny, through the entire process. To the point where we even got geneticists involved. And they were telling us it could be some kind of skeletal dysplasia. It could be this. It could be that. They were telling us a number of things that it could possibly be. When S. was born, he was supposed to go naturally. We ended up trying to induce early. I think it was three-and-a-half weeks early. That didn't work, so they did a caesarean. When we went home from the hospital, he was actually below five pounds. Then, right away, he had an inguinal hernia, so he went through surgery. As well as that, he had digestive issues. He was allergic to milk. It took us a little while to figure out what was going on. As he grew, we noticed that he wasn't hitting a lot of his milestones, whether it was movement, or speech, or others. He finally started crawling around a year old but he was not very good at it. And he didn't walk independently until he was just about two. We started to notice when he wasn't developing language. He also has a little bit of a lazy eye, which I think is genetic. I had the same thing when I was a child. These were all little things that we knew were somehow contributing to what was happening. Those were our first indications when we started to put together these puzzle pieces.

delayed speech observed

receptive language delay observed

expressive language delay observed

M.

M.

Male / 12 years & 3 months

Share the first part of M.'s story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?

In utero, we already had a few challenges that came up. We found out about clubfoot at one of the early scans. It was a non-issue really, in the scheme of things. When M. was born, he had left clubfoot and torticollis. Those were the only issues of note. We started seeing a physical therapist right away for torticollis at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. My dad, who is a retired physician, noticed that M.’s eyes were non-reactive to light at about three months old. (It wasn't the pediatrician who noticed. It was my dad.) That is where I would say our journey really began. Then, one by one, other issues started to crop up over the years. For his vision, we saw an ophthalmologist. We went to one ophthalmologist when he was still three months old. This is one of those stories: The doctor was like, “Well, he could be blind.” We thought, “What? What are you saying to us?” So that guy was out. We switched to another doctor. And actually, M.’s eyes just kind of caught up to other kids. He was diagnosed with cortical visual impairment years later, and he wears glasses, but his eyes did catch up to a degree. Some of my friends have a similar story, too. You end up seeing a lot of different physicians to get all the information you need. But after this, M. wasn't really meeting the expected milestones. We had gotten into Early Intervention early. He must have been six months old. He needed physical therapy because he wasn’t rolling over and the torticollis was unresolved. Then, at 12 months, M. wasn't really verbalizing at all. I think one of the main reasons M. was given an autism diagnosis early on was because of his visual impairments. It's the way he used vision: when he's thinking, he looks someplace else. When he's walking, he doesn't look and instead he uses his feet to feel. He wasn't he wasn't making eye contact when you were talking to him, and then he also wasn't speaking. The autism diagnosis is definitely not correct. It helped us get therapy early on, but it also was not accurate. Later on, that diagnosis also didn’t help get other kinds of support. I always knew it wasn't autism because of his social engagement. M. was always so sweet and engaging. He was also given a diagnosis of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified). I don't think they give it anymore. It was a catch all: “We don't know what's happening here, so we’ve got to give you something.”

no speech observed at 1 year & 0 months

receptive language delay observed

expressive language delay observed at 1 year & 0 months

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