Dealing with Developmental Delays

Roo is delayed in pretty much all areas.  It’s not surprising since she arrived ahead of schedule by almost 2 months, so her adjusted ago is about two months behind.  However, she has several delays that are even greater than the two months: speech, gross motor skills and some sensory motor skills.

It is so difficult as a mother not to get defensive about my daughter’s delays.  I don’t want her to feel bad about them and I don’t want to feel bad either.  I’m doing the best that I can do for my child to help and support her.  We do weekly PT/OT and continue to assess to see when and if we need to pull in other specialists.

When she hits 18 months, in December, if she doesn’t have additional vocabulary, we will meet with a speech therapist.  She currently only says Mama and Dada.  And, she doesn’t say those words every day.  However, she does communicate extremely well – either through sign language or through pointing.  We have good mommy-baby ESP too.  I’m a good mind reader.

For her gross motor skills, our PT is so awesome.  Roo is not walking yet though she does cruise and will stand when holding onto furniture.  She won’t stand with me though – she always wants to cuddle in.  I need to see if she’ll stand with MH.  We do a lot of exercises with her at home.  Admittedly, I’m exhausted by doing PT exercises with her.  We’ve been going to PT for a little more than one year and while I know it is the best thing for her, I’m tired of having to do things with her (Bad mommy thoughts).  I wish she was “normal” and didn’t have to do this extra work.

For her sensory delays, the PT/OT says not to worry too much about it now.  She’s shown some signs of growing out of them.  For example, she used to hate letting any part of her legs and feet touch grass.  But, when we took her to the pumpkin patch a few weeks back, she happily sat in the grass amongst the pumpkins!  Another example is with food.  She feeds herself using a fork (I have to put the food on it) but she won’t pick up certain textured foods (squishy, soft, etc.).  She happily will feed herself cheer.ios or meatballs but not veggies or fruit.  However, just two days ago, I was feeding her carrots, peas and cauliflower and she didn’t like the cauliflower so kept pointing to the other veggies.  I told her to just eat the ones she liked and put the bowl in front of her.  She dug right in and picked out the little pieces of carrot and peas!  I almost cried, I was so happy!

I know that she’s growing and maturing – just at her own pace.  But, it’s hard and it makes me sad to see babies who were born a couple to few months after she was do things that she doesn’t do yet.  Last night was our mommy group Halloween party and all of the kids (even the younger ones) were running circles around Roo.

I know I should not compare but it is hard not to do.  I wonder if she will ever catch up.  Will the doctors be right when they tell me we won’t even know the difference between she and her peers by the time she is two?  I don’t believe so.  I think it will take longer than when she hits two.   I hope I will be wrong but in my heart I know that is not very likely.

Moms of preemies, what has your experience been?  Do you feel the same twinge of jealousy and sadness when your little one interacts with friends of his/her similar age?

PS: Will post a Halloween photo later!

8 thoughts on “Dealing with Developmental Delays

  1. I completely sympathize with you and had the most trouble accepting my daughter’s preemie delays when she was around Roo’s age. We were attending a Mom and Tot group and my little girl was 16 months and completely uninterested in walking on her feet. I felt so bad for her that she couldn’t participate in some of the activities because she was the only “Tot” who wasn’t walking. From my experience though, that was the hardest age. Once she was walking (at 18 months), the disparity in ability really shrunk, to the point where I rarely notice any now. I’m hoping Roo has a similar experience, as I feel for you! I wanted to be so proud of what my daughter was achieving, because it was monumental to me considering where she started, but it was hard when she was still behind “according to the norm”.

  2. All the emotions you talk about are normal.
    Give yourself the grace you obviously have for other people.
    RIght now you can see Roo’s delays and know the issues your daughter faces today. Other children will have other issues at other times in their lives and these may not be as obvious to you…or have as much potential for resolution. HONEST reality.
    Two of my nieces did not walk until over 20 months ~ both have advanced degrees and are avid hikers now. Prematurity is scary but you are doing everything possible to make Roo’s life wonderfilled.
    You are establishing a close trusting relationship with your daughter ~ this is of major value for the rest of your life. AND, all mothers get worn out IF THEY ARE MOTHERING.
    The future is not knowable; today you have a wonderful loving baby girl who is a miracle of strength and determination. She got these traits from her parents both genetically and through demonstration. You are doing wonderful work….. be kind to yourself.

  3. You are doing great – I know the therapy and exercises can be exhausting, but it will pay off! We have 32 weekers too that have been in therapy for almost a year. I have one child with similar sensory issues with foods – and I have to say that at 19 months, he will now eat almost everything. There is hope! We are starting speech therapy in two weeks because they aren’t talking either. This too shall pass and I do believe that by 2-1/2 or 3 you will hardly notice a difference.

  4. My DD was full term and still had delays with speech – not really talking much until 20 months (runs in the family on both sides) and crawling/walking. I found with my DD she would just wait until she felt comfortable doing things and then would end up being ahead of her peers who had started doing those things well before her. So now I just expect that she will be a little delayed with things and will catch up quickly once she decides to do something.

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