September 18, 2009

It's All in the Family


Yesterday I took Cameron to see a developmental psychologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. What is clear is that my almost one-year-old son isn't doing s0me of the things that he should be doing at his age. What isn't clear is how Cameron's developmental issues are related, if at all, to his exposure to Fifth Disease in utero.

The psychologist began the test by producing a small red ball out of a large black suitcase. She put the ball on the table and asked Cameron to pick it up. Cameron responded by swiping the object off the table.

Next, the psychologist retrieved what looked like a dog chew toy from her suitcase and a small washcloth. She put the toy under the washcloth and asked Cameron to "find the hidden object."

Cameron swiped the objects onto the floor without looking at them.

The very nice but increasingly frustrated woman then produced a small baby doll and toy bottle. "Feed the baby," she instructed Cameron.

Cameron took one quick look and sent both the baby and her source of nourishment flying.

"How about this?" asked the psychologist, attempting to hand Cameron a rattle, then a wooden block, then a metal spoon. All objects were met with a force greater then themselves. My son chucked the spoon so hard that it hit a medical student who was watching the test from a corner in the room.

Ten minutes later, the test came to an abrupt halt. Everything in the room that wasn't nailed down was on the floor.

"I can't really evaluate your son if he is going to throw everything," the psychologist told me as she tapped her pencil on the table and tried not to look annoyed.

"That's okay," I said, packing up my stuff and moving towards the door. "I know now that there's nothing wrong with him."

"How do you know that?" the psychologist asked. The woman put down her pencil and peered at me from behind thick-rimmed glasses.

During the test I had an epiphany. My son's behavior made things crystal clear.

"Because he's just like my other kids," I answered matter-of-factly. Hugging my son tightly to my chest, I marched out the door.

71 comments

Amy said...

He's not even a year old yet and she was wanting him to follow those kinds of directions? Yeah, I think my kids and your kids would get along great!

regina said...

yeah for you!!!i went to a psychologist for my non-verbal son (he was 7 at the time) where she thought she would test him by asking him questions. seriously? i ask him questions all the time, then answer them just myself exactly who they should be. we have yet to have an argument in his 11 years.

LeMira said...

We, too, have done several of those tests. The one I remember the most was given by a doctorate student who didn't seem to know them meaning of the word toddler. It was scheduled for 3 hours, and my son was two years old. After one hour, I was ready to throw a tantrum.

Finton's Mom said...

Girl, Finton will be 1 on October 13 and he couldn't do those things either! NO WORRIES! He does like to kiss his sock monkey, that's about the only thing we can tell him to do that he does! :)

TORI said...

He is so stinkin' cute.

celeste said...

Been there. Done that. The boy is exactly who is supposed to be, at his age, developmentally.
Relax.

Kari M. said...

My daughter turns 1 at the end of October. Seems like she's just figuring out that when she moves her arm a certain way, things end on the floor. THAT's the cause/effect you're aiming for at 12 months, isn't it? I mean, I know I have no training in this but. . . he sounds typical to me!

Jon and Alyson said...

This is my very first comment...I stalk your page like every day looking for a pick-me-up. Does that make me a drug addict?? Anyways my little lady is 1 and she was diagnosed with White Organic Brain Disease and she is no where near even swiping stuff to the floor, so YAH for Cameron. She is barely touching/holding things and doesn't quite comprehend the sitting position...were navigating it though! hehe Hope things go well with the next test...perhaps he should work on better aim to soc the doc, just a suggestion ;)

Mindi D said...

Ha ha i love it!! Good for you!

AVONLadyinSC said...

As a counselor I have to say I laughed my behind off at this post. There is no way in the world a kid that age is going to be able to do all of those things right. Not to mention, his reaction was very normal. He did something to the object mentioned to him, which is very age appropriate. Good for you for recognizing it. Bad for the psychologist ..ugh psychologists

natthefatrat said...

power to the mama! i love this blog, you're my hero.

Donna said...

What an idiot doctor. Good for you for storming out of there and letting her know that she doesn't understand kids at all. I wouldn't worry just yet, he seems to do things most 1-yr-old boys do, throw everything!

Mandy and Alex said...

Good for you! Bravo!

Marlin and Tomena said...

I have 3 boys in a row and 2 girls.... Boys just throw everything and hit everyone. At least mine do. They like sticks, ropes and rocks. Dirt and guns. And my 1 yr old boys probably wouldn't have done any of those thing she asked for either.

Lisa S said...

You keep lovin' that little cutie pie and work with him at his own pace, and he will develop when he is ready. Although I will tell you to again have him evaluated by age three to make sure his speech and language need any assistance. Early intervention is amazing. I work with kindergartners and preschoolers with speech and language delays and disorders. I have seen some miracles happen when kids get the right intervention.

Lindsay said...

Geeez.. I guess my 15-month old twins are developmentally behind too then!

Feed the baby?? Really?

Good for you!! He is precious.

Not so typical said...

Seriously? My son is 16 months old and loves to throw things all over the place. Are you sure that lady was a real doctor?! lol

mbailey said...

Good for you!! My son just turned 2 and has been through a battery of tests! He's totally normal...just chooses not to talk! I don't blame him when his older sister barely shuts up! haha....Hug your babies...they are perfect!

~j. said...

I love you.

dana said...

The child, besides being cute as a bug, is obviously brilliant.

Vicky said...

HAHA!! I've also 'been there, done that'!! Great job on putting them in their 'place'!!

TheQueen@TerrorsInTiaras said...

He's exactly like my kids, too. And adorable too. :)

Shosh said...

hysterical!!

Tonia said...

My 14 month old does the exact same things. She's a genious :)

Molly said...

My nine month old throws EVERYTHING. SO your kid is most likely, a genius.

Stacy said...

I wish I knew how to post simply a THUMBS UP or a HIGH FIVE to you.

I hope that chick got the "suck it" message that blew through the room in your wake out the door.

Hillori said...

As a note of encouragment, my 11 year old still throws everything on the floor, and he's developmentally on task. Is that encouraging??? Sigh....

Mommy Fabulous said...

Beautiful!

xjustdebrax said...

I work in childcare, and have been working strictly with 1 year olds for the past 7 years, and I have to tell you that your son sounds completely on track!

The "tests" she was using was mentioned in classes I've taken (I have my AAS in Early Childhood), but her approach was completely clinical and not geared towards the age of the child at all. You can't just set items in front of a one year old, give orders, and expect them to be followed. With that age you need to play with the children while observing their behavior and reactions.

katrina said...

Awesome-- I am clapping like a seal! Cameron is Da' Bomb!! And you are the perfect momma(no matter that you are the meanest) Truly though, I am in awe of you-- with the way you handled the situation. I actually had tears in my eyes! Thanks for sharing this-- I will remember this next I am faced with a situation like this.

Amy said...

OH, I love it, I love it, I love it!! Way to go! Nothing greater than the realization that pretty much EVERYTHING they do is normal, even if that's just the normal for your own family!!

Oh, and my word verification was cowfib. How weird is that?

Anonymous said...

"Feed the baby"? What in unimaginable idiot. I think Cam should have thrown the baby at the Dr.

Mommymel said...

From my experience with my one and only boy (who is 9 months) she should have told him not to touch any of those toys and left them just barely out of reach, or let one of his siblings try to play with them in the room... then they would have probably gotten the performance they wanted! Honestly, my kids couldn't do most of that stuff till they were TWO.

Sarah said...

Oh holy heck! Really??? What kind of rejective doctor thinks a 1 year old is going to do that stuff??? My daughter is almost 14 months old and takes instruction rather well...but "feed the baby"? Ugh. I too and dealing with drs being lame. Our 14 month old weighs all of 16lbs and they are bound and determined to find something wrong with her....first we cleared her of possible CF, now they are trying to deem it malnutrition. Seriously? They've never watched this child eat!!!

Dondi said...

Good for you mama! My son has Down Syndrome & (very mild) Autism Spectrum Disorder and when he was 5 the school had to screen him for new programs. Part of the screening was a meeting with a psychologist. UGH!
At the time he was completely nonverbal and very antisocial. And knowing this she decided the best thing to do was show him a picture (that he wouldn't look at) & ask him to tell her about it (which he wouldn't do). She gave up after 3 tries & told me "it was useless". Nice, huh?

AmyM said...

My almost 1 year old son is doing the same things...throwing things on the floor is what they are supposed to do at this age...and they will do it over and over again especially if it gets an interesting facial expression from the stranger watching them! And I have a Masters in Child Development and 10 years experience and 2 kids...I think that "Dr" was a moron! Good for you for walking out!

Cindy said...

I remember when the developmental specialist came to see RJ&J when they were one. One of the questions she had was if they could hold a pencil and scribble. I looked at her like she was insane and said "You have to be kidding! I'm working *very hard* to keep them away from pencils!"

BTW--he's a cutie!

Wendy said...

Good for you!!

Latu-Vaki Family said...

seriously....my son only threw things at a year old too. and what 1 year old boy feeds a baby doll? she would of had a fit to see my son put the baby in the trash can! Cause thats were most stuff went during that year old mark.

BensonFam said...

Great post! Moms really do know best for their kids. Good for you!

Anonymous said...

You're the meanest, bestest mom, ever!! And your son is beautiful. :)

Mama-Bear said...

Go, Jana!

Twinlinebackers said...

Jana, Cameron is DARLING! I haven't seen a picture of him in a little while. What an absolute cutie pie!

Lolly said...

WTF! A 1-year-old isn't going to follow directions like that. That psychologist was trying to scare you into thinking your child was slow. Shame on her.

Lisa said...

Go Cameron!

Psychologists are nuts. Probably universally some of the nuttiest people on the planet.

You showed her!

becca said...

oh geez! Good for you! Its nice to see a pic of the little thrower too. What a cute one!

Anonymous said...

That is awesome! My mom had so many problems being pregnant with me, that the doctors did several evaluations when I was a toddler. Whenever they asked me questions, I got up and walked away, so they told my mom that I was retarded and wouldn't be able to learn more than 3rd grade level. Luckily for us, I was just stubborn and bored. I was always ahead of my class in school and once I learned how to read I could not be stopped until I was an honor student (academically, not so much as obeying, still) and merit scholar. Parent's should be careful about people telling them things about their kids. We know them best, spend more time with them and understand the influential background that went into them.

Renny said...

Um, that sounds like the worst psychologist ever. You should see if there is a Help Me Grow Program in your area because they do much better tests, and you do it with your kid, instead of some stupid woman who knows nothing trying to figure out your kid herself.
I know there is a program in Connecticut that you might be able to at least ask for a few tests from, or find out info to see if there is one in your area. I worked on a pilot program in Utah this summer, and I'm a big believer in it, they put the power in the hands of the parents, which is where it should be.
And, I laughed my head off when I read he hit the med student. That guy totally had it coming.

Bouchard Family said...

Seriously wonder what she would say about my son who is 14 1/2 months and put 95% of everything he touches in his mouth.

Katie Aldrich said...

My daughter is 11 1/2 months and she would not have followed any of those directions either!

AlsoMean said...

You were good not to laugh out loud, Jana.
Most obvious to me? The psychologist is not a mom! A mom would have moved on to "throw the block on the floor", and put a check mark in the box for "within range".
Sounds like you are also ready for whatever comes next.

Anonymous said...

What in the world is wrong with these people??? They expect a one year old BOY to feed a baby??? Give me a break! You did the right thing girl-when my boys were babies they would have launched the ball (among other things) too. Such silly tests! Karen in NC

Lani said...

He sounds just like my Cameron- he can't help it, the kid just loves to throw things:)

Tracey said...

I love that story. He is such a beautiful baby, perfect in every way. You are blessed :-)

Becky said...

He is adorable and mom knows best.

Kirsha said...

good for you!!! I think all too often Dr.'s and other medical professionals want you to think there is something wrong with your children and SURPRISE they are usually normal!!! give the kid a break he is still young!!! I am not sure if my niece who is the same age could do the things she was asking either!

KarenSue said...

Good for you! Your a good Mom maybe mean but good.

Fosters said...

Jana, when I took my then four year old to the eye doctor, he gave up testing him, too, because he said "he's just guessing, so how can I know for sure". He was 4!! Turns out, my little guy couldn't see anything, so he had learned to go through life guessing. We all thought he was an airhead and never paid attention! And it's doctors who think they're intelligent?

Eviej said...

I'd say developmentally he's right on target! She obviously doesn't have kids or too old to remember what her's were like. My kids swiped everything off the table at his age. Especially at mealtime. They could send a plate flying. I'd say that boy's just about ready for little league. He's so stinkin cute!

Sandy said...

Good for you! I read that thinking, 'oh man, that's my little boy. Why is she taking him to a psychologist, should I be taking my little guy to one?'. ;)

A said...

Good for you! MY daughter is on the autism spectrum. When she was 2, a very well known (for the area we live in) doctor watched her have a fit because she could not get out of the stroller and touch everything on his desk, and told me she was moerately autistic with a mental disability. He told me not to bother saving for college. she wont go. And get her a speech therapist and maybe someday she will talk a little. She is 4 now, and I can't get her to stop talking. She has friends, she loves school and is learning the same material as the other pre K kids. She still has some noticeable and not so noticeable symptoms of austism, but in only 2 years she has proven that Dr. totally wrong.

The Mommy said...

Good for you! Hug him just a little more tightly for making him listen to a silly psychologist, but other than that, I would treat him the same as my other kids, too!

He's adorable! I'm sure you know from experience, every kid is different. You're doing everything you're supposed to do.

Bonnie said...

He's so big Jana! What a cutie.

Anonymous said...

My son was premature. When he was 6 months old I took him to a clinic to be evaluated and there was a SPEECH THERAPIST in the room. Nevermind that he can't talk... but she didn't forget to charge me $175 for her "services".

Your son is a doll btw!

MamaOtwins+1 said...

The range of "normal" at that age is unreal!
My twins walked at 13 and 14 months, my single walked at 10 months. My twins were talking non stop by 1 1/2. My single had a total of 10 words until 26 months.

Martha's Favorites said...

Good for you! Blessings to you and your family. Martha

Post-it Note said...

my dad would have been so proud of this kid's throwing arm! he loves it when my son does anything remotely baseball. and it is considered advanced. in fact, my husband is proud of the stories his mother told him about the things that were flung off his high chair tray years ago. I hope you didn't have to pay this woman.

kids games said...

I think kids just develop at different rates. So just cause you kids is a little slower, doesnt mean her needs to be hauled off to a psychologist.

Kids needs a lot of stimulants when they little as this encourages curiosity. I suggest in some good, educational kids toys. Its alot cheaper than a shrink!

Helen said...

What an awful experience. You were right to leave.

Just clarifying for some of the commenters - psychologists are doctors of their field, but not medical doctors. My daughter's pediatrician also happens to specialize in developmental pediatrics and he's good, so I just wanted to put in my two cents that not ALL doctors are bad.

@Foster, what a lame thing for the optometrist to say. I'd take my kid to a pediatric ophthalmologist from now on since they don't need to rely on the child to figure out the vision and/or problems.

marybt said...

Good for you!

According to Ana said...

Thank goodness
I was begin to sweat when you were describing the test because my 2 year old would probably act the same way. So I am glad in the end that you diagnosed you son as normal because it's saving me a trip to the doctors office.