I have to start off by saying that I am the most fortunate aunt of MANY nephews, each one with very unique characteristics that have me smiling all the time.
That said, as much as two of them warm my heart, they also have me concerned. I'll start with the older one and if any one of you has a bell go off or knows anything about what I'm saying, please do share as we are all doing our research.
OK, so he is 6.5 and has been held back in kindergarden because of his difficulties in school. The little guy still relied on "baby talk", could understand what we would say but couldn't really express himself with words (it was more, as I said, like baby talk). He wasn't able to write letters of the alphabet unless copying them and even then his hand would shake and the mark was very light.
His parents have him going to a speech therapist as well as to a motor skills therapist. While he is now a self proclaimed artist (his control over a pencil and a paintbrush has improved greatly) and has built a vocabulary that allows him to express himself to his own greater satisfaction (he would get so discouraged when nobody could understand him before), he still can't learn the alphabet, has trouble remembering names, and just can't figure out numbers. So, while he will be going to summer school this summer to see if he can get to where he needs to be for first grade, there is debate again as to whether or not he should be held back... and he would be 7 when school would start up again. There is suspicion of apraxia as well as of goody old dyslexia... Is any of this sounding familiar to anyone else? The child has a great sense of humor and is very social....
Then there comes his little brother who, by age is 2, but developmentally seems much much younger than his birth age (he wasn't premature). Muscularly, he was behind: lifting his head, sitting, pulling himself up, crawling, walking... That's when the first alarm bells went off. He is a very happy quiet boy, but he seems disengaged from the world. He might do the things that younger kids do, i.e. find amusement in emptying out boxed and pulling books out of shelves... but then he walks away, uninterested. He could stay in his high chair for hours and not make a peep, just staring in blank space. While he can say words, if he wants to ask for something, he will make noises instead of using words. Unless you actively ask him, "can you say cookie" (or whatever word), he will not use words to express himself.
The boys' parents are very involved, trying to do all they can, but now that the younger one is showing even more "acute" signs that they dismissed with the older child, they are beginning to get alarmed. If you have any ideas, please let me know; as much as I believe that eventually all children learn how to speak, write, and count, I am beginning to wonder if there isn't something else going on. Is it just a developmental delay, or is it something we still haven't figured out?