When is ‘normal toddler behaviour’ not normal??

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I have a 2.2 year old DS (been with us for 13months). The foster carer expressed her concerns over his behaviour from 9 months old and there has always been talk of ADHD but given his age there is no possibility of a diagnosis. He has changed over 12 months and is sleeping better, is generally happier and appears to be forming good attachments.

However I remain concerned about his behaviour. Many of the issues could be put down to normal toddler behaviour but my gut tells me it’s something more. Compared to his peers, his ‘toddlerness’ just seems more extreme.

If I list his challenging behaviours, they tick all the boxes of a toddler but there is something more....nursery find him a challenge too and he now spends a lot of time playing outside away from his peers. I Never take him to play dates or toddler groups because it usually ends in tears (other children - not him).

I’ve started taking him to a local charity for Bowen Therapy but that’s only 30 minutes a week. I’m becoming a recluse because it’s easier to stay at home!

Does anyone have any experience of this type of extreme toddler behaviour and anything I can try??

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Hi bunny I could have written this post, we have very similar although LO is slightly older. Been home 14 months and I also had to stop groups etc.

Our LO hitting every milestone developmentally apart from emotions. I tend to think of LO as around a year younger emotionally. Like your LO many things have improved beyond belief but the behaviour aspect is still an issue with other kids same age. I ended up not going back to work and have held off from nursery until our AD turns 3 which isn't too far away. I felt same as you that she was very similar to many her own age but there was just that extra bit that wasn't clicking for her. We have been working on a lot of sensory things like jumping, swinging, beanbag etc as she really needs a lot of physical stimulation to keep calm. I took her to all the group's early on as SW had advised this but I now believe it was just too soon and in hindsight wished I hadn't. Last few months we've kept life very quiet and just had immediate circle around and it's made a huge difference. It's becoming so clear that her confidence and attachment is developing a lot stronger now which I felt was most important. Due to start nursery in a few months time and I hope that she will cope with it more easily now than if I'd done it earlier.

Not sure if that helps but just wanted to let you know you're not alone. It's so tough being home a lot or just the 2 of you all the time. Hopefully over time this will improve. It's still such early days for our little ones. I felt like we'd brought home a miniature adult she was so independent. Was quite sad to watch. But as time has gone on she has become more and more child like and learning to play and be younger. But as I said before she defo acts more like she's just coming up for 2 rather than 3.

Feel free to PM me if you ever need a chat x

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Hi Bunny,

We brought our ad home at the age of 13 months and at the age of 6 she was dx adhd. I also had an older birth child at the time and so had been through the " normal" toddler behaviour. Everything was fine with my ad's behaviour up until about 2 1/2 - 3 ish - when i too started to feel that all was not "normal". the red flags for me where - refusing to hold my hand when out walking , she would pull away and run off, absolutely no sense of danger - constantly climbing up on furniture etc, very easily distracted - when started nursery she would go the loo and then go wandering off to other class rooms and not return to her own, impulsive, constantly on the go. As she got older the behaviour became more constant and more challenging.

if your gut feeling is telling you that something is not right - then it probably isn't. Mummy's gut feelings tend to be very accurate!! Added to which adhd is genetic so have a look at his birth family history.

Things to try? - i used to take my ad to places which limited her ability to run off - so indoor play centres, children's farms etc . I also used to supervise her really closely and anticipate problems - e.g. i used to take her to gymboree classes where close supervision is needed anyway, but also allowed her the opportunity to socialise. I also used to take her to church play groups but again supervised closely and any problems would lift her up and take her outside. It's tiring to have to supervise so closely but you have to do it - i used to envy the mums at play group who could sit and chat and drink tea whilst i was virtually sitting on my daughter - but it had to be done. Also I used reins when out so again she couldn't run off.

hope some of this helps. xx

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If your gut is telling you there is something wrong then there probably is. It's the relentless and extreme nature of the behaviours that make it different from 'typical' toddlerdom and only you will be seeing this at the moment but before long nursery and then school will see it too. We found that very close supervision and structure were needed up until quite recently (dd - 9) because she was unable to regulate alone. She still needs it in times of stress. Parties, playdates, social events filled us with dread for a long time. If I could go back in time i'd push for more intervention earlier such as Theraplay, have private assessments done at pre-school age such as OT, SaLT and Ed Psych, referral to community Paed either through GP or health visitor and involve PASW at age 2+. At least then we'd have had some support ready for when she started school. Our situation has improved hugely with the right help but it came a little too late. Sadly, the opinion of many professionals is that children 'grow out of it' but many of our children don't and they need the right support in place particularly for the start of Reception. Hope you can get the right support for your LO.

A xx

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