12 answers

Wanting Advice on Strange Behavior of a Toddler

My nieghbor, friend, and previous care giver of my baby has a almost 3 year old daughter who displays strange behavior. First, it is important for me to know if I should even mention anything to her, as she has noticed things but not really elaborated on it. Her daughter has been quiet and shy for most of her life and lately for the last year she has been downright strange. She does have a new baby brother (6 months old) but as I say it has been going on before that. We (all the neighbors) sit out front with our children each night and week-end. The children range from 6 months -12 year-old and have known each for many years. The girl who I will call (Jane) for any idenity issues just sits there not playing, talking or, looking at anyone. She could sit there for 3 hours and never make any attempt to communicate with anyone (although she does speak with her mom just fine) if you even say her name like Hi Jane, she bows her head even lower than before and cries. She also cries if any child or anyone other than mom gets close to her. I have observed her many times just by natural curiosity.... just watching a leaf for over a hour while aas many as 5 chilren play house, tea, scooters, bikes, and every other normal children play all around her. She just sits and seems withdrawn, unhappy, and emotionally detached. Her mom has told me that she is not like that at home, only when others are around. She told me that now even when Jane's grandmom comes over (they are very close) she begins to act strange. My question is: Has anyone seen this type of behavior? Could it be some form of autism? Any advice or comments might help me decide if/when/how I should approach the subject and if I need to at all. One more word is that Jane's siblings act normal. They play and are happy.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Autism has many different forms and i have a friend whose son has autism and he also displays some of those same signs. Maybe you should talk to the mother if yall are at all close and just ask some questions. That might help the both of yall .

More Answers

My Niece behaved somewhat like this. She would not even talk to her mother in front of other people. She wouldn't even ask to go to the bathroom at daycare. My sister took her to therapists, a family counselor and a play therapist. This is tough on the parents! Trying to figure out why their child went from just shy to totally interverted. Ths is called " voluntary mutism. Meaning, the child can talk and has the age appropiate vocabulary but refuses to talk. This is hard to figure out due to the child not speaking. It's hard for the therapist to obtain enough information from family and the child will have no verbal contact with the therapist.
My niece did not even speak at school to teachers or to other students on the play ground. I understand this affects only about 5% and only 1% in the most severe case.(this was my niece) She finally came around between 8th and 9th grade.

I doubyt it's autism my boy is autistic and he cant speak at all it sounds more to me like someone has abused her in some sort of way and now she is uncomfortable with others I would recommend her mo take her to a therapist to get to the bottom of if because if it was or is happening it could have a severe impact on her life.

The Mom sounds like she's aware of it and concerned but at a loss as what to do about it. I would tell her (the next time it comes up) to speak with her pedi about it.

My friend's daughter has something called 'selective mutism' and it kinda sounds like how she can act. I think it has to do with an anxiety disorder. It was something I've never heard of or seen before. She wasen't diagnosed until this year when she entered the public school system.

The child should be evaluated for a social skills disorder (and this could be anything from autism to simple slow developing skill set.) My son is haveing the same evaluation done but with him it seems to be a short-term stress realated issue. Her behavior seems extreme. Please for the familys sake mention it to them.

You have my best regards,

Not to be overly paranoid, but could she be abused in some way? That can affect behavior.

Autism has many different forms and i have a friend whose son has autism and he also displays some of those same signs. Maybe you should talk to the mother if yall are at all close and just ask some questions. That might help the both of yall .

Maybe it is just me, but that does not sound all that strange to me. She may just be shy! I know I was growing up and did not grow out of it until High School. There may be more to it, but it could also be something minor.

could be a type of autism, or maybe just that the poor child isn't well socialized, and just does not know what to do arround others

It sounds very much like autism to me. I would just mention it to Jane's mom, and recommend her to see someone about it... I imagine it is very scary for Jane to go through life without knowing why she is so afraid of social situations.

My question would be...is the mom married or does she have alot of on and off boyfriends? I knew someone who was a single mom and her daughter acted the same way....especially when males (of any age) were around. It turned out that she had been abused by one of her moms boyfriends and was very ashamed (even at 3 years old). I know it is extreme and hard to think about, but if that is the case its better to get it taken care of sooner than later.

I am thinking autism as well. However if Jane's mom is not ready to deal with it, I don't know how far you will get and you may alienate them. You can maybe pull some research off the internet for them and leave it where it can be conveniently found for mom to read. Or you can say, I was reading an article on other kids that display Jane's behavior if you are interested I can share it with you. Sometimes it comes down to acceptance by the family before anything can be accomplished. Many parents operate on the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" theory. So if mom doesn't see a problem then keep gently finding things to share and maybe someday you can make some progress....
Good luck

I was also thinking Autism or Asperger's Syndrome. You don't want to offend the mother, but if there's a way you can try to suggest it in conversation (if she ever brings her behavior up to you again, even in passing). It's so important for her to learn more about it herself so she can possibly better "Jane" and see a developmental Pediatrician. She may not be ready to admit that there's a huge problem. Good luck to you!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.