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I don't have kids. My dog is barely housetrained - and he's 8. So my basis is not close to yours, but I think you are grand.

Two others? Girl, I want to hug you. Max truly is a gift.

As for the rest, I think you're doing everything you can - and then some - and that makes you the best mom you can be.

And your doubts? Your worries that your baby won't be liked?? Real, hard, and you sharing them probably are helping other parents. So thank you for sharing your soul and creating a place where someone out there in the interwebs realizes that they aren't the only ones.

I have no suggestions (much less answers) except to remember that Max *IS* happy. and that, my dear is a gift beyond measure.

Keep it up - even when you're tired, overwhelemed and sad - because I think you're an amazing mom, and so do your kids. They just don't know how to appreciate it yet. :)

He is a darling boy, he is. I have no input on the situation but I will say that I'm heartened that you have faith he will be okay. He may be in for a bit of a bumpy ride but he's smart and he'll work it out and you are smart and you are enlisting the aid of experts. I think others before him have probably weathered these issues and come out okay but far more scarred. The good news is that he will transcend these issues and come out the other side with a whole bag of great tricks and life will be sweet.

I hope you don't have to spend too much time holding your breath or cradling your bruised heart. Keep the faith! We're right there with you.

Reading this, you could be talking about my son, who is now 10. He didn't hit but he expressed his frustration in other ways, screaming and stuff ... he was eventually diagnosed with autism (not at all suggesting Max is, please don't read that into this!) ... our boy has 'moved along the spectrum', as they thought he would, and big school did him the world of good because he copes far better with order and routine, which isn't really a feature in early playgroups. My heart went out to you when I read how it makes you feel, I understand so, so well. And even though our lad is doing relatively well now, his speech is now much better, etc, I still worry. I worry now about high school!! I understand about them needing to find their niche in the world. I know how it is to have a child who doesn't fit in, or get invited to parties. Ours hasn't been to one in over a year. Just know that you are doing EVERYTHING right, and there are so many kind and wonderful people in the world who will help him. Vasbyt, as they say :-) I know it's hard! I know this isn't terribly helpful, but I wanted to you know that a) you're not alone! and b) Things do get better! xx

Wow! You are talking about my youngest, also 4 years 7 months (exactly on the 6th). Same speech level. Same issues at pre-school. It breaks my heart to read your post. Why? Because my older two are also 'tarred' with the same brush and I truely understand what it feels like to know that your kids are different and are not accepted as readily as everyone's else's seem to be. We took E out of his mainstream preschool and enrolled him in a special needs preschool that runs a mainstream programme with extra support. For the first time in his life he now seems the 'normal' one in the room! He has also been invited on play dates and to birthday parties. He finally has a 'normal' kids life because he is surrounded by kids and parents who understand. I get a break from feeling that I need to apologise for or explain my happy, affectionate, bright, fun loving son when I'm around these families. Despite him being diagnosed as ASD, I also firmly believe he will catch up, as his brothers did. In fact, they not only caught up but have raced on past their peers - a whole other issue all together. Hang in there. Keep the kisses and cuddles going. Find someone else who has a kid with delays and have regular cups of coffee with them.

I know I'm comparing two different school systems, yours and the one here in the United States... but here, they don't usually let kids start kindergarten (real school) until they are five. My daughter (same age as Max) won't be starting K. until next September, nine months from now. Also, kids here are often held back a year at the beginning if they seem too immature to start school, to give them an extra chance to catch up. So I'm wondering if it's possible to simply hold Max back for a year... Give him another year to develop, to grow up, to gain skills and confidence. What's the rush? Is it considered mandatory that he start this year? I'm just wondering what your options might be.

Tertia this spuds very much like Ethan's diagnosis he received.
They also put him at 2years 6 months at 4 years of age
When he went for his assessment. His fine motor
skills were also delayed as was his social and maturity. He didn't have
the hitting but he did experience temper tantrums and
Every bit of me says that you should take him to
SNAP! They have done absolute wonders for my
ethan! We found ENORMOUS changes in him after just
a year of intensive after school tutor sessions. Like
I mentioned before they have a fortune of neurotypical
kids at their tutor sessions, you wouldn't believe the
behavioral improvements! They do soooo much more
there than just speech and OT! And they're right
in Durbanville!

I wonder if it may be useful to have Max assessed by a chiropractor - one who has training in Retained Neonatal Reflexes. Contrary to popular opinion, chiropractors don't simply "deal with backs", but with the nervous system and the impact it has on body systems. Worth doing some reading, at least, and some research on appropriate chiropractic therapy. Ask around - you just may find this to be of use.

He sounds exactly like the younger brother of one of my eldests friends. Exact same description. Big speech delays, and a penchant for hitting. The diagnosis was also dyspraxia. To me, I never thought the hitting was done in a 'nasty' way but in a rather 'socially inept' "HEY YOU, NOTICE ME, PLAY WITH ME" kind of way. But not everyone sees it this way. FYI - this child started school in September this year - and from what I see and here he is doing so much better in a formal environment so there is plenty of hope to be had! I wish you strength and luck, and of course like your person said, "he IS only four, there is plenty of time to work on other stuff!"

This is close to where I am with my son - he goes in for his developmental evaluation next week. I am pretty sure they will talk about his speech issues and I'm really hoping that they will give me some insight into his behavior. I am a worrier too, and this scares me to death. He was born behind the eight ball and now this. Thank you for posting this.

Max will be fine once he discovers what his true talents are. Did you know that Daniel Radcliffe of the Harry Potter film series has dyspraxia? Because of it, he went into acting and now look at him today. :)

FWIW, I think you've shared your feelings and worries quite eloquently and with you as his mother, however stressful and heart tugging it may be at times, he will thrive in his life.

I do wonder, though, if holding him back from "big school" for another year would be beneficial. Given his age, it seems that he will be in pre-kindergarten (I'm in the US, so not sure if you have different grades there) followed by kindergarten. We have many friends who held their sons back (for a variety of reasons spanning from maturity issues to behavioral issues to cognitive delays to autism) and it turned out to be the best possible thing for their child.

Not saying you didn't consider this, you just didn't mention it.

Your post hit home...with the birthday party story especially. My daughter has speech issues (she is five) and I've worried for two years that they have caused her peers to give up on her a bit and she's lost her outgoing nature that I saw when she began preschool. Your son's future therapist's comments are very reassuring and I think they are right! Please keep them in mind, as I will try to, and he will, as you say, "find his groove"! As I said when my twins we days old, and in the crib, "no one ever told me that being a parent meant I would have to worry about them for the rest of my life!" Best to you and your boy!

In the states, children start school at 5. Some parents choose to keep them out until 6, which is allowed by law. That is more common in boys as they tend to not be as mature as girls at that age. Do you have that option? If so, I would strongly consider it. That way he could get more specialized help over the next year.

I could have written much of your post. My son has adhd. Until his diagnosis in 4th grade (age 9), he had few friends and wasn't invited to parties either. He went from behind at the beginning of 4th grade to honors classes in 5th and the class leader thanks to the correct diagnosis and treatment. After a minor set back at the beginning of this year, starting a brand new school for 7th, he was on the honor roll by the end of the 1st term.

I read your post around 5:30 this morning. Your sentence on how you love him with fierce nurturing and the others with fierce pride hit me to my core. It is perfect! It is so me that I couldn't wait to read it to my daughter (my pride!). I have been accused of favoring my son, but I don't. It's just like you said - I love him with fierce nurturing because he is MY baby and he needs me!

Thank you T for such a raw post. You are a great mom! Max is going to be fine because you will make sure of it!

Hugs, Tertia. This is big stuff, and hard to face, yet you are facing it magnificently. I say "big stuff" not because it is a disaster. It is decidedly not. Max is happy and lovely and finding his way at his own pace, and you are helping him to do so, and lining up others to help him as well. It is big stuff because nothing can injure a mother's heart like the idea of her child being hurt or rejected.

I had the same thought as several of the other US posters about possibly delaying the start of big school for Max if it seems that it would help him, but obviously you are operating under a different system, and if waiting until a child is five for pre-K is unusual there, I understand that it might create more problems than it would solve. Some other posters have noted that structured environments actually work better for their children, so maybe "big school" will be a nice change for Max.

Best wishes for you and your lovely Max.

We've talked before. I'm the (now retired on disability) occupational therapist with bipolar disorder and a whole host of sensory issues that weren't addressed until I started treating myself in my 30s.

I know this is so, so hard. But the good thing is that first, Max has you. You've already educated yourself on these issues and will continue to do so. You don't let your kids fall through cracks. Second, Max is growing up in a time when we can help these issues. And that is HUGE.

If I were a child in school today I'd be in OT and PT. There are OT skills that I taught others but never mastered myself. I sew and I still can't handle scissors properly. When I was in kindergarten (like your RR) I was pulled from class to learn to walk up and down stairs correctly. There wasn't therapy, they just pulled a few of us out and we marched up and down and were given feedback. I didn't get in trouble in school (mostly because I was shy and terrified) but sensory issues affected so much, especially by the time I was a teenager.

That won't ever happen for Max. You are doing everything you can to help him with all of it now.

You didn't break your baby you know. :)

I could have written this post. Max sounds like my Child2, just minus the hitting. My boy is 6. We are starting Grade R this year after delaying for another year so he could catch up and so that we could have a year of consolidation (he's made HUGE strides in OT and ST). My nerves are completely shot. He's in a lovely school environment (they combine mainstream with SNAP) but that still doesn't stop me from worrying. Actually, the worrying never stops. I have accepted that, for the moment, he's going to be a year or two behind his same-age peers so if we need to delay school by another year, we will.
Interesting what you say about rejection. Last year my Dad insisted that I was projecting my own fear of rejection onto my child. It took me a long time to accept that but once I did, and once I could work through it, accept the situation for what it was and then move forward with it.
I wish you lots of strength ahead. Believe me, you are going to need it.

ps...I have no doubt that your boy is AWESOME.
pps...you can email me if you want to chat.

Also. I don't know who your Neuro-Paed is but I would HIGHLY recommend Birgit Schlegel. She's brilliant and I LURVE her - based at Constantiaberg Mediclinic though so maybe a bit far for you.

Considering that Max was a surprise baby and you weren't trying to get pregnant, have they considered FASD? It doesn't take much alcohol exposure to have effects on the baby. They often don't consider that in children from upscale households, but it does happen, and not just to alcoholics, normal amounts of alcohol use can result in disability in the child, and the developing brain is very susceptible to it early in pregnancy. For women who aren't trying to get pregnant, by the time they remember that they haven't had a period in a while, the damage can already be done, and it's obviously not intentional on their part. I'm just raising it since you obviously want to help him, so it is something to consider.

I've been a silent fan of your blog for a gazillion years, and will be following Max's store with great interest. My 4 1/2 yr-old son was just diagnosed with ASD, and I am very new to diving into the world of 'special needs'. I am trying to summon my You-Go-Girl advocating self that I had to call upon during our puzzling, maddening, heartbreaking infertility/loss years -- but part of me is like "WHAT? This again? No way!". I guess it just depends on the day, and how strong I am feeling. Anyway, your son looks like a doll and I wish you guys well. :)

Have you taken Max to an ENT? My Matthew was a maniac when he was four. He got kicked out of nursery school. He broke out of school so many times, it is a miracle that he was never lost. He bit the other children. I was very much into my kids and never even hit them. I had no idea why my third child was so different from the other two. Like Max, my youngest was the joy of my life. There was a special bond and he was my baby, the apple of my eye. He was with me constantly. There was no lack of attention. I had him by my side 24/7, because if I didn't, he would wreak a havoc worse than a tornado. Oh the stories I could tell you. Never in all my years have I seen a child as wild as Matthew was, and that says a lot because I was a nursery school teacher back in the day. He was diagnosed with hyperactivity and they wanted to give him drugs. I said no drugs, and I didn't think he had hyperactivity. In my heart, I felt it was something else. Only by accident one day when I was complaining to someone that I couldn't take it any more because he was going to be the death of me, a woman told me to get his ears checked. The pedi checked his ears many times. Other than the ear infections that some children get, the pedi found nothing wrong. The woman told me to take him to an ear specialist. I did. It changed Matthew's life. He flunked his hearing test. He was 80% deaf in one ear and 20% deaf in the other. I thought how odd that I never caught it. But the specialist said it was not odd at all, because Matthew was always by my side. He heard me just fine because he was so close to me. It did make sense because if Matthew ever broke away from me and went for the street, I would yell "Danger! Come here!" and he would just smile and wave at me. It wasn't misbehavior. He couldn't hear me from afar, but since it was so rare that he was ever away from me, I didn't put two and two together. The specialist also said that Matthew was in pain but thought it to be normal. He said that some people with chronic pain cry a lot, some get quiet, some sleep, some are always hyper. Everyone is different and everyone handles pain differently. But since he had pain for so long, he thought it was normal. He dealt with it by being hyper. Luckily, his ear problems were fixed with medicine. It was a problem with the end of Matthew's tubes. They were plugged and inflamed. The specialist said that pediatricians don't have the same tools that specialists do, and that is why the pedi never discovered it. Matthew was a different person after the meds. He was no longer half deaf, he was no longer hyper, and he was very calm. He is 19 now and still very calm tempered. I panicked back then because I was terrified of sending him to kindergarten. I thought he would break out and no one would be able to find him. Upon further reading, I had found that 1 in 7 kindergarten children are misdiagnosed with ADD, ADHD, or another disorder, when in fact it is something that has to do with the inner ears. Take Max to a good ear specialist. You never know.

Did you know that Daniel 'Harry Potter' Radcliffe has dyspraxia? Doesn't seem to have done any lasting damage to him! I would say, hold him back another year. Maybe let him try Nursery School a few days a week for another year. He's young, let him have another year. My nephew was held back in Kindergarten and it made all the difference in the world for him. He was a young five when he started and just wasn't ready. The next year he did great and is a happy third grader. He gets help every summer vacation to help him maintain what he has learned. Tell you what, when you get worried and scared think of Daniel Radcliffe, that kid has been on top of the world for years now! He is successful and makes a ton of money!!

Hi Tertia, its been a while since I posted here, but I thought I had to give you some of my thoughts. Sadly, some kids won't like Max, thats not just because of his "problems" thats just the sucky part of life, but let me tell you this, even if its 1 or 2 kids.....there will be kids out there that will see passed it all and will accept and love Max for who he is and they will be there for him always, not all kids are as judging! I run an aftercare here and I see it with my very eyes.....some kids will shun other kids, others just don't care that there are issues and will like him anyway......as for teachers giving up, I had a boy in my aftercare last year who when upset would throw tantrums, scream and shout and kick and throw tables and chairs......we never once gave up on him and found a way to help him work through it......by the 3rd and 4th term, the tantrums and episodes were few and far between! You are doing an amazing job with Max and he will come out on top!

Oh man...everybody has something that they're just a little behind on. My daughter's in K here, and socially it can be rough! She's socially immature. Doesn't know really how to make friends and doesn't feel like she has many (though honestly, it's hard to get a feel for how many friends she has). Throws fits when kids won't play with her after school.

Sounds like a lot of good comments here! I can only echo much of their advice :-)

Tertia I am From New Zealand and your story reminds me of my jounry with my one and only son James has sever Dyspraxia with speech delay and low co-oranation it has been a long jounry for us from 2 years old till now. I was told he would never ride a bike but quess who just started riding a Bike 3 days ago at the grand old age of 8 and a half. I know how it feels to worry about them because of james speech delays i worry he will be picked on and have seen it frist hand but you know what he stands up for himself he is soo much stronger then me and he has taught me what real bravey is be cause of his Dyspraxia he is stronger and has made us as a family more stonger then we will ever know . may this jounry with Max make u even more a Super mum then you will ever know Hugs Luana

My daughter has a mixed-expressive receptive language disorder. She's a very tall 6 year old in Kindergarten. She also hits and children aren't very nice to her. It's been a long tough year for both of us.

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