29 answers

3 Year Old Daughter - Behind or Not?

I guess this will seem kind of odd, but I wanted to put it out there to see if anyone can give me clarification.

My 3 yr old daughter who was adopted was born with 4 drugs in her system. She has behavioral issues and nuerological issues. At a recent pediatrician appointment, the doc asked me a series of questions to assess her development. They included: how high can she count, does she recognize her shapes, does she know her letters and numbers when she sees them, can she draw a person. I was a little surprised by these questions. My 5 year old who is in kindergarten, spent the first quarter of the school year focused on these specific things! (She already knew them and I was surprised they were focused on them so heavily.) But now I'm confused - should my just turned 3 year old know these things that the same school system didn't seem to expect my kindergartner to know???? My 3 year old can count to 6 with no errors, most days she can get to 10. She can sing her ABCs (LMNOP is still a single word to her!), she doesn't identify shapes well or numbers/letters at all by sight except for E. She can draw a circle with 2 dots for eyes and a line for a mouth but nothing more in the realm of drawing a "person". She can identify her colors sometimes, but they seem to come and go as to whether she knows them or not (neurological damage may be contributing to memory problems here.)

Now the intermediate unit wants to do an evaluation on her to see if she needs to be in their federally funded special preschool to get her caught up. I'm all for having her on target - I just want to make sure that I'm not wasting tax payer dollars if she already IS on target!!! I guess I want to know what other just turned 3 year olds know.

Thanks,
K.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I received 12 pages of questions to fill out for the early intervention unit and they say that based on my answers she is far enough behind in fine motor skills and social skills to warrant an in-depth evaluation. Funny, that questionaire didn't ask me a single thing about letters, numbers, shapes, or colors! Anyway, we are going to have her do the eval and see what's recommended. It may turn out that the "academics" are only a secondary reason for this special preschool. Thanks for all the advice and making me feel better about this decision.

Featured Answers

Hi K.
First of getting is an excellent idea.....my son has PDD which is on the autism spectrum and he has been getting services since he was 2 1/2..
There is nothing wrong with seeking help, and NO you are NOT wasting tax payers dollars....you're a tax payer.
Getting the eval will show you if there is a delay or not.
Don't disspare, she's 3 so IF there is an issue, it'll be done thru a preschool setting.
My son LOVES his school and rides the school bus this year.
He's make GREAT strides and I can't thank early intervention and the AIU for all their help.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like she IS on target. I would ask the pediatrician for specifics as to WHY they think she might be a good fit for the special pre-K. They may be basing that recommendation solely on the fact of the previously stated behavioral issues.
Also, I do know someone who utilized a special pre-K and the extra-attention that the child received was well worth it...and now the child is attending a "regular" school and doing quite well.
Best of luck to you all.
-L.

Being a pre-school teacher children who are three are not required to know all of those things.

If the Dr. is worried about those things, have her tested by the IU, they will be able to tell you better if she has any delays or not. They will also not place her in a program if she doesn't need to be. The people at the IU are professionals at what they do and will be able to steer you in the right direction

More Answers

Hi K.
First of getting is an excellent idea.....my son has PDD which is on the autism spectrum and he has been getting services since he was 2 1/2..
There is nothing wrong with seeking help, and NO you are NOT wasting tax payers dollars....you're a tax payer.
Getting the eval will show you if there is a delay or not.
Don't disspare, she's 3 so IF there is an issue, it'll be done thru a preschool setting.
My son LOVES his school and rides the school bus this year.
He's make GREAT strides and I can't thank early intervention and the AIU for all their help.

1 mom found this helpful

My sons couldn't do any of that at age three because I didn't teach it to them. I was big on "play time". And you're right about them learning it in kindergarten. I think the important thing here is not whether or not she is ABLE to count, etc. but whether or not she is CAPABLE of doing it. Like say if you tried to teach these things to her, does she pick up on them. Also maybe the pediatrician is just being super analytical due to her special circumstances. I don't remember them caring much about academics at this age when I went to the pediatrician.
Having said that...I would still go for the eveluation just to stay on top of things. If she truly does have developmental delays, then the sooner you get help the better.
God Bless you!

1 mom found this helpful

I would recommend getting the early intervention eval. I had one for my son because of an interruption in his physical development related to illness and medications. While I was interested in the physical portion of the eval they did the entire eval - language, cognitive, daily living skills, etc. Each portion of the eval was short and the evaluators were very kid friendly. They were done in our home. Having your daughter evaluated will not be wasting taxpayers money. You are concered about your daughter's development and you indicate she has issues that could be affecting her development.

My son is 3 1/2. Upon turning 3 he could count to 10, he had just about mastered the ABC song, he knew most of his basic colors and was good at knowing shapes. He was not good at writing letters or numbers though he could recognize 4 or 5 of each when he saw them. He loved for us to draw for him but was not big on drawing things himself. He is only now becoming interested in drawing - balloons and carrots are his specialty and he likes to trace his hand. He balks at drawing people. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter will be 3 in March. She has been able to identify most shapes and colors, sing the ABC's, and count at least to 10 (she gets higher now) for a really long time now. And she can spell her name, Rebecca. I was surprised to see her draw a person the other day because I never showed her how and she did quite well for what I'd expect of a toddler. As for number and letter recognition, she's starting to recognize some letters, but not so much with the numbers.

Now, does all of this mean that your daughter is behind? I don't think so. I mean, she's only three. I've always thought that my daughter was a little advanced because she seems to be ahead of a lot of the other kids her age at church. I'm curious now to see what the pediatrician asks at her three year appointment...

I think that all kids do different things at different times. I think some are just like that. They learn quick, remember easy, or something and some don't. She may have her own issues due to her being born with drugs in her system. But, I also think that she may just be learning at her own pace, as all kids do at some point. My just turned 3 year old step-daughter, seems so smart, picks up on things fast and amazes me at times. I feel lucky with that. But, I know that another child who is a little younger than her is still learning alot of the things my step-daughter knew at that age. On the other hand, another child I know the same age knows alot more than that one. If that didn't get all jumbled up there, my point is, I think that from you said, she does know a great deal. I don't see it being a problem, but you never know, and I am not a doctor to say what problems she has due to her situation. I guess you don't want any stone unturned, but I don't think you should stress too much on it and make the situation out of hand either.
I know my nieces were so different growing up. I wondered if the one was ever going to talk..she was so quiet. Than all of a sudden she was talking in sentences. Than she had a hard time learning to read, and her mom worked with her on it for a summer and after that- she was fine. She loves to read, it's still a habit for her to read with her mom at night before bed. Because she wants to now!

I think you should watch out for things due to the situation, but also not stress about it all too much!!!

You have to think of the pros and cons. It could also upset her development by leaving the home so young. You could look at it both ways. It seems she is caught up, or the school would let you know. It sure sounds like she is doing fine, to me. You can teach her new things at home just as well as they can in preschool. I always liked the activity books they sell in the stores for the different ages. Get some of those and enjoy teaching her.
Don't forget that the doctors sometimes get more money when the give referrals. It may not be in this case, but you never know. I don't trust them.

As a preschool teacher I would not stress about what she doesn't know and focus on what she does know. When I was teaching the 3's (I now have 4's) I wasn't worried about how many letters they knew or if they could draw a person. They weren't ready for it. It wouldn't hurt her to go into a preschool progam, but I don't think your daughter is behind.

Hi K.,
I have a son who just turned 4, and to me seems bright and loves to tell stories and play. I remember at his 3 year check up, them asking me those questions. I remember thinking is he supposed to know all this stuff already? I have two older girls, so at that time I felt he didn't know all of it, but that he would learn at his own pace. I think they are general questions they ask every parent, and you shouldn't worry if they want to evaluate her because that is what additional programs are for, to make sure when she starts kindergarten she is ready. My sister-in-law has 11 month old twins that were evaluated because they were slow, and they were observed a few times in her home, and then they were satified with their development. It's just an extra pre-caution most of the time, and it's free. Best wishes, E.

Any more the schools want the kids to know everything. When my kids started school 3yrs ago they needed to know there abc and how to count to 20 I think it was and how to write there name and know there address and colors and numbers and shapes.

I belive that your child is ok, But if it would put your mind at ease and might give her the head start that she needs, It can't hurt to have her tested.

This way if there is a delay in her learning you know of it know and can get the extra help when she starts school to help her keep moving forward.

Dear K.,

It sounds to me like you daughter is doing just fine! My 4 year old daughter is in preschool and is learning to recognize, letters, numbers, shapes and all of those things. I personally don't think your daughter sounds behind at all. All children have stregths in one area and need a little help in another. It kind of sounds like they see an excuse to test out a program and figure this may be the situation to push for it. I would go with what your heart tells you on this one. My opinion is that she IS on target and they are only little for so long so why push so hard on a three year old. I would say in a year have her evualated again and if she is not progressing then look at your options. She is after all only three. Be confident in whatever decision you make! After all you are her mommy and you know her better than any other person can! Good Luck!

R.

K.,

I would definitely take advantage of the help you are being offered....Like another mom said it can't hurt. My son is 2 1/2 and has been able to recognize all the letters of the alphabet for about a year now...counts 2 twelve...he knows his shapes and colors...he came along quickly with those types of things but was a little slower with his physical stuff (walking talking drawing). All kids progress differently...I'm sure you little girl is exactly where she needs to be but when you're being offered help you should go for it! Good luck to you and your family.

It sounds like she IS on target. I would ask the pediatrician for specifics as to WHY they think she might be a good fit for the special pre-K. They may be basing that recommendation solely on the fact of the previously stated behavioral issues.
Also, I do know someone who utilized a special pre-K and the extra-attention that the child received was well worth it...and now the child is attending a "regular" school and doing quite well.
Best of luck to you all.
-L.

Hi K.,
Unless your last name is Einstein, your daughter would not know letter names or would be able to count to 10. I teach kindergarten students reading. The ones I work with do not know the letter names. Your daughter may or may not know the difference between a letter and a number - probably if you read to her alot. How is your daughter in other developmental things - is she potty trained, does she talk in sentences, does she know how to communicate to you that she would like something? Does she know the names of things?

Ask the doctor what would qualify your daughter for this preschool. Due to the drugs in her system when born, she may have developmental delays, attention problems,and language problems such as being able to answer who, what, when, where, and why questions. A speech/language pathologist would work with her if her language skills were delayed. Perhaps the doctor is just being cautious in order to detect any learning problems. The preschool program is called "Head Start" and is really a good one. Have your daughter evaluated, you have nothing to lose by doing that. Ask a lot of questions, go see the preschool, ask for clarification on anything you are not sure of. But don't beat yourself over the head because your daughter cannot name the letters or count high!! It will all come with time.

L.

Hi K.,

I wanted to let you know that I have a little boy who turned three in December and sounds pretty much like your little girl in terms of mental development. He can sing his ABC's and count to 10 with no trouble. He can identify colors, but that was only a fairly recent development. He can identify shapes. He cannot identify letters or numbers by sight. As far as drawing a person, I have no idea as he doesn't care much for drawing. If I taught him how, he would probably be able to do it. He is a very bright little boy. He loves books and we read to him often. So from the limited information that I have about your precious girl, it sounds like she is quite "normal." I would seek a second opinion. The range of "normalcy" is so large. Much luck to you!

It sounds like she is pretty close to being on target. They ask about these things because at different ages because children are able to do different aspects or parts of these things at different ages. For instance, in drawing a person, their first drawings may be blobs without any features then they develop into drawing a stick body with a head that has eyes and a mouth and may or may not include a nose. As they develop further, they add more features to their drawings and move past stick figures.

I would have her tested, mainly because of the drug history and the doctor's recommendation. It is not a waste of federal tax dollars. That is what the money has been set aside to do. It sounds like her doctor thought she may be on the borderline and with her being born with drugs in her system, he wants to be sure she is where she is supposed to be. It may end up that she tests completely average rate of development. It may be that she is ahead or behind by a little. The instance of developmental delays and learning disabilities is increased in children born with drugs in their system (whether legal or illegal). Some of these delays can be corrected by a little early intervention. Testing her will tell you if she would benefit from early intervention. It does not bind you to sending her to a specific preschool or to accepting the governmental assistance should her tests say she could use it.
Sometimes if there are developmental delays, the early you catch it means less need for intervention.

Like I said, it doesn't sound like she is really behind. It sounds more like a precautionary thing given her history. My friend's son went through testing and was found to have a speech delay. Someone came to work with him once a week for about 9 months. He is 3 1/2 years old. That was about a year ago. He speaks a lot better and more clearly now. His speech delay could have meant problems for him in school if he hadn't had the early intervention. But now he is on track.

I hope my message helps.

K.,

It's in the best interest of the tax payers for your daughter to be on track to a productive life. She deserves to have every chance. She may well be perfectly on track. But, I suggest you have her evaluated to get more information. Make sure you take it one step at a time. You have options at every step of this process. Make sure you know your daughter's rights: http://www.pattan.net/files/EI/EarlyInt-guide-OUT.pdf

I would be happy to talk more about this as you go through the process.

E.

I think some of the stuff is fairly on target and some lower than average. I would definitely take advantage of any services offered her. It can't hurt her.

It sounds to me like your little one is doing just fine. I have one turning 3 end of February and she draws scribbles and doesn't say the alphabet yet and everything is "two". And she's just fine. There is a lot of pressure out there for our preschoolers to know so much before they are even old enough for preschool and it usually, in my humble opinion, is because moms are so competitive these days and schools want more. My sister found out recently that her daughter needs to know how to write the alphabet, spell her name and write her address and phone number before she can go to kindergarten. Seems like a lot to me but what do I know? Keep singing with your daughter the alphabet song and other fun nursery rhymes, give her lots to draw with and don't worry. I know doctors do ask a lot of questions that help them see where the child is developmentally but those questions seem a little much. If the doctor pushes the issue I would try another doctor.

My son turned three in October and I do remember the Dr. asking similar questions. He wanted to know how high he could count, but didn't mention the alphabet. The doctor drew a square & a triangle and asked my son to tell him which was which. Then he drew a circle outside the square & asked him to identify if it was inside or outside. He did ask him to identify some colors. He probably asked a few more questions, but that's all I can remember. And my son didn't exactly pass every 'quiz' with flying colors- and the doctor just said to keep working with him, but nothing to indicate he was not on target. It seems to me your daughter is probably fine. But because of her history, it couldn't hurt to have her evaluated. Just remember all children are different and will learn at their own pace.

My son is almost 3 (in March) and he knows 2 shapes, all his colors, can count to 10 (skipping his favorite number 7!!), and does not recognize any letters yet. My other son (who is 7 now) knew all his shapes, colors, could count to 10 (or 15 -I can't remember), recognized several letters and numbers. I thought he was advanced for his age at the time (and he was). I believe my almost 3 year old is more on target for his age. It seems like your daughter is on target. I'm surprised the doctor was so concerned.
Sometimes you have to take what they say with a grain of salt. My pediatrician said my older son needed to know how to ride a 2 wheel bike at age 6 and be able to swim. He finally got his face wet and started to swim at age 6 so now he takes lessons and doesn't need a floatie. He's almost 8! He's very coordinated and plays all positions in soccer, loves to run, can hit a ball (at age 2) and throws a ball really well. He loves his scooter, but still can't ride a bike without training wheels. I couldn't do it until I was 7 or 8 either! My 3 year old can throw really well, can kick a ball, run, and ride his scooter by himself. But he can't draw a face yet. Kids develop at their own pace. I would wait and see what she's doing at 3 1/2. Kids develop so fast! Keep an eye on how she's doing and (I hate to say it!) compare how she's doing with others her age. Is she way behind in what they do? Or is she doing what the others are doing? Think back: Could your older daughter do those things at that age? I think doctors and sometimes teachers expect our kids to do more than they're ready to do. Some kids just need more time and maturity.
I hope I was able to help. If you're really worried, get the testing done. It wouldn't hurt.
J. (mom of 7.5 and a very 2-alomst 3 year old!)

I don't think your little girl is behind at all. It sounds like she is doing very well. Don't stress too much about what she can and can't do with numbers/letters, shapes and colors. She really does seem to have a good handle on it. My daughter turns 3 in May and is considered advanced. She is still just learning her alphabet, counts to 4, knows colors, and can recognize a few shapes. She doesn't recognize letters or numbers by sight yet. Her drawing is still just scribbles, but getting more deliberate.

The intermediate unit may seriously just be after getting another child to get the federal funding. Sounds sad, but that does happen.

Just keep working with her, and she'll learn everything she needs to.

My daughter will be three in a couple weeks and she can count to 21, and knows her ABC's and her shapes and some of her colors when she wants but she can't draw a person. I am glad she knows how to draw a circle, aside from that it is beautiful scribble and lines. I wouldn't think that there was anything wrong. As far as I understood it children learn at different rates (which is why there are problems with schools, it's too standardized) so there may not necessarily be anything wrong just check with the doctor and the appropriate people.

Hello, I'm not sure if she is behind or not. Maybe she excells @ other things. My son is 2.5 yrs old, will be 3 in June and he can count to 10 say his ABC's, recognize colors numbers and letters, but he has been in daycare 3 days a week since he was 12 months and they focus on these things there. I have never seen him draw anyhting close to a person. He still does scribble scrabble. Also he knows things that I don't expect him to know, like his first and last name and his parents and mat. gmom first and last name and his bday. How ever I cannot get him to use the potty at all. So I would just keep working w/ her, but I don;t think it would hurt for her to go to the preschool. maybe she can just go like 3 day a week or something.

Have her evaluated just to be on the safe side. If she is going to need services the experts say that the earlier they intervene the better off the child is in the long run. Plus the taxpayer's money you will spend is your own, so take advantage.
Good luck,
Cia

Being a pre-school teacher children who are three are not required to know all of those things.

If the Dr. is worried about those things, have her tested by the IU, they will be able to tell you better if she has any delays or not. They will also not place her in a program if she doesn't need to be. The people at the IU are professionals at what they do and will be able to steer you in the right direction

K.,

My little girl turned three on Saturday and she is on target with your little one or even a little behind. I think you daughter sounds normal.... But still I would have her tested just to see what they think. I am sure they will not offer there services long term if they feel she is up to the level off the other children. But if you can get an idea now if she will need help she will be much better off in the long run. Some times you have to jump thru so many hoops just to get a child tested so if someone is offering it.... I would do it... it will put your mind at ease... and to her it will most likely be a fun time.... and also I am one of those tax payers.... you deserve it:)
H.

Good Morning!

I wanted to say that alot of the things your pediatrician asked are basic guidelines they look at...sometimes it's the little nuances that are caught during the eval that leads the child to get services that might otherwise be questionable. I would recommend having the evaluation done. They will look so closely at her development and provide services to get them taken care of. I am in Butler county and have two children in the program. I have always been amazed at the ability of each evaluator to see beyond the basic skills that are presented and see, through the help of very detailed evaluation processes, and with skilled eyes what help might be needed.

I can't help but wonder if your pediatrician didn't "see" something besides what you have mentioned. Does your child toe walk? or does she have feeding issues? Trouble sleeping? Regulating her emotions? etc.

I say take the eval. Don't worry until there is something to worry about. And even then, dig in, be proactive and enlist all the help you can.

I'll share all I know about the process! ____@____.com when and if you ever need me!

My daughter is also three years old. When the intermediate unit did an eval on her for speech these were all of the things that she was supposed to know. Colors, shapes, numbers, drawing a person (At least putting the stuff in the right place) she also had to know how to put things in chronological order, and pick things that were different in the pictures. She is almost four now but these are the things they had her do. I hope this helps

if your daughter isn't on target well, then either is my son...
he can count to 10 he may skip a number sometimes but i'm not worried about that... his abc's or ok....we are now playing games that he will learn to recognize letters ...he knows his basic shapes...his drawing skills are great to me..but as for now they are lines scribbles and circles once in awhile there's some circles with "eyes" and lines coming out of it for feet and hands sometimes more than 4...he is learning now to write his name.... but thats it for the letter so far...my son was 3 in july and at that time ... he didn't do that!...soo hang in there..

.... I'd let them evaluate her and see what they say but, don't feel like your daughter has problems.... these days they want kindergarten to read books on their own and some people excpect that done before they get there....when do we let our kids be kids....

you could prob do what the "experts" will do anyway! either way relax and enjoy them while they are young!

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