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When advanced vocab and fast speech plus poor pronunciation and randomness equals "what the heck...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Has anyone gone through this?  I need some coping measures/strategies/reassurance.

 

DD's speech has always been really understandable in that she spoke a lot, fast, and articulated.  She skipped the phase where toddlers sound like cavemen.  Her rhythm and fluency just started out near adult-like. 

 

But, lately, it seems DD is putting very little effort into learning how to say new (3 and 4 syllable) words. (Those words she just picks up.)  She kind of thinks she can gloss over correct pronunciation and relies on me to understand her by using context.  Which is fine.  I mean it works.  Except, for when she uses these words randomly.  And, this happens a lot.  Half the time I can follow her logic, but sometimes I end up asking her to repeat something over and over until I can get it.  We are both getting frustrated.  And, it does not help that she speaks so darn fast all the time. 

 

If I can get her to enunciate, we are fine, but I have yet to get her to circumlocute if she just cannot pronounce the word clearly enough.  She will only repeat the word and become offended that I have no idea what she is saying.  She gets really frustrated when I guess wrong and just says 'never-mind'.  This is killing me, and I am dying to know what I am missing. I know what she has just said is something very profound (it is these random thoughts that usually are.)   Things always seem to remind her of things, and she 'sees' things in other objects everywhere.

 

Also, (a little off topic,) while I know what is in her working vocabulary, others do not.  And, it seems no matter how clear DD will say "deciduous,"  "proboscis,"  "accidentally," "esophagus," "Antarctica," or "repulsive" it is like their minds cannot go to a place where a two year old would be saying these words.  I am constantly surprised by what others miss in DD's speech.  It is certainly not helping DD want to speak to people other than me, and that is a problem.

 

I have been going with the flow, but I am starting to sense some negative effects.  This is REALLY a problem.

 

post #2 of 20

She's two. She has an amazing vocabulary, but this is a gentle developmental reminder that her pragmatics skills are not quite up there with her vocabulary.

 

Yes, it's frustrating, both for you and for her. But, this is how she's going to learn to circumlocute (given her advanced vocabulary development, it'll probably been sooner than most kids, but it's going to take a year or so), how to articulate and how to put her thoughts into a context that makes sense to her listener. Right now, she's in the very egotistical stage of development where she expects you to be able to follow her thoughts - regardless of how well or how poorly she expresses them. It's very common for preschoolers to think this way. It takes a while for them to realize that you don't know what she's thinking! And the major way they can find out is: Not being  understood.

post #3 of 20

We have something like that going on here too.  Lately DS has been speaking faster and he goes through 3 or 4 day phases of changing the inflection of his sentences and also enunciating poorly.  Sometimes he even starts adding a favorite letter sound to the middle of every word.  Last week every word had a "d" sound added in the middle shrug.gif  So I think he's sometimes lazy and sometimes experimenting.  He's also been picking up more complicated words at daycare, so when he pronounces those poorly and I don't know that he knows the word, it gets really frustrating. 

 

I try to pick up the less understandable words from context clues.  If I can't get it, I'll try to keep him talking about the subject so maybe I can figure it out.  When I do figure it out, I'll use the word in the conversation and enunciate it really clearly and he will often follow suit. 

 

On the topic of others not getting her vocab - maybe find some other families with gifted kids to hang out with?  Even if the kids are older, families who have or have had verbally gifted toddlers should be accustomed to this and encourage her vocabulary. I haven't had quite the same issue, but I do have a daycare provider who thinks DS is just repeating words he's heard and has no idea what they really mean eyesroll.gif

post #4 of 20

She's two and it's pretty normal. The general rule is that at 2, you should be able to understand about half of what she is saying. That really doesn't change because a child is intellectually advanced. They may use big words but they still have 2-year-old equipment. I wouldn't say she's putting little effort in. Those are big words for a 2-year-old and they can be difficult to annuciate properly. Much more difficult than "Mommy, can I have a cookie" which I'm guessing you could still understand quite well.

 

My youngest had the combination of a very young and normal sounding voice with classic substitutions and off sounds along with unusually high vocabulary. It was tough but I was careful not to try to make hime feel badly about it. I would say things like "oh, mommy's brain isn't working too well. You're going to have to slow down for me." He'd get frustrated with "me" at times but he eventually outgrew it. Now he's 10 and speaks 3 languages clear as a bell lol.

post #5 of 20

deleted


Edited by quaz - 5/25/11 at 10:40am
post #6 of 20

I bet what's really frustrating is that you know she can pronounce them correctly and you have even heard her pronounce them correctly at times, but she is either just rushing over the word or not caring to be particular with her enunciation at this phase.  I'm sure with time, age, and whenever she feels internally motivated to be understood, her articulation will come back.  It's frustrating and even confusing at times to know a kid has a skill, but they are not using it.   

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

I definitely wasn't looking at this as a pragmatics issue.  That is very interesting.  It does shed a whole new light on this.  Thank you.  I will stop letting myself get frustrated when she refuses to explain what she is trying to say.  I would not say she has had a jump in language skills, but rather the opposite, in that her speech is a bit less clear, and she uses a lot of baby talk, or what she calls fake words.  It would make me feel better though if I could think of this as another 'spurt' in her speech.  

 

I couldn't think of any examples last night when I wrote the OP so I kept track today.  These are a few examples where I had to think really hard, and ask her to repeat:

 

  • "I just saw the Washington Monument!" screamed hysterically over an over super fast.  She would not slow down because she was so excited.  (It was a tall lit up white church steeple.)
  • "...Well, I was too traumatized to move..."  I can't remember exactly how traumatized was pronounced, probably "taumeetize'
  • "I just want to hibernate away from [cousin] for awhile." hibernate is pronounced 'ibernate, she cannot pronounce initial /h/.

 

Otherwise, there were about 10 or 15 times where I just could not understand her.  I wish I could remember what she said exactly, but my brain does not work that way.  They are just too confusing.  If I was able to write them down I would have them figured out.   It is frustrating.  She does seem to just leave syllables out by maybe just saying "uh" instead.  Example: "metamor-uh-is"  (It doesn't look so bad written out, but when it is coming fast and out of nowhere, it is hard. Plus, she will very randomly describe colors as metamorphosis.)

 

She has always spoken fast, but it has always seemed to help in understanding her.  Until now.  Now, because she is using big words and mispronouncing them more and more, her speed is just causing everything to run together.  She has always been random, but I have always kept on top of what she knows.  Now, she is even more random, and she is picking up words form who knows where.  For example, I had not heard her say 'traumatize' before today.  I asked her what else traumatizes her to test whether or not she really knew the meaning.  She answered "sfiders...and my cousin...and blood."

 

I sometimes wonder if it could be an articulation issue.  Both my parents were in speech therapy throughout grade school for stuttering and articulation.  DD has a real hard time with consonant blends, which seems typical, but also cannot say initial /h/ and /th/ (voiced and unvoiced is pretty weak, sounds like /s/).  She will just swallow the initial sounds.  'at, 'ose, 'eese, 'i, 'ello, 'elp.  I can't say I have met another child who could not pronounce initial /h/.

 

Also, she has started to read and cannot sound out M, N, Z, or V.  She cannot say those sounds (She can say them in words but not by themselves.)  She will just say the letter's name (and that really screws her up with M and N.)  She can say the /h/ sound when she sounds out but not in the word.  She will say /h/ /a/ /t/ but then triumphantly says 'at instead of hat.  But, she does know it is 'hat', not 'at'.

post #8 of 20

As PP stated. The physical capability of her muscles/mouth could be very different than her actual spoken vocabulary.

I work w/ 3 & 4 yr olds. Many (if not most 3 yr old) of them have initial sound deletions, mispronunciations, missing sounds, and the inability to say certain combinations ( th, ch, bl, etc) and it is developmentally appropriate. Stuttering is also age appropriate from ages 2-4 and often is seen with a jump in speech development/language growth.

 

See the chart below for the sounds and age of mastery.

 

http://isd742.org/ecassessment/assets/SpeechSoundDevelopmentChart.pdf

 

Mastery is usually due to certain muscle/motor/mouth development and unrelated to vocabulary and/or cognitive abilities. Multi-syllabic words are an exercise in muscle memory/strength/development. Also , regardless of her complicated thought processes and vocabulary--- there is the sheer exposure/social use of language that takes time and experience to develop. It will come and as she gets older- she will learn to slow down or articulate better to help her communication with other people, right now it is not likely a priority due to her age (pragmatic issue).

 

Her frustration is real too. try to keep calm and not make a big deal of it. If you see some skills missing on the sound chart that dont develop in the next few months or she continues to stutter past age 5 then look into an evaluation. It may be as simple as a combo of developmentally appropriate errors and some mild oral motor weakness (the M, N, Z sounds).

 

 

 

post #9 of 20

deleted


Edited by quaz - 5/25/11 at 10:39am
post #10 of 20

This same thing happened with DD when she was the same age. One of my friends, whose mother is a speech therapist, actually asked me if I'd had her speech evaluated, beacuse she said she was a lot less understandable than other 2-year-olds (although I understood every word she said). DD was already in Early Intervention (as she was born a micropreemie, she was automatically followed until age 5). I called her caseworker and set up an eval with a speech therapist. After a long, 2-day eval, the ST said that she was simply using such big words and displayed such sophistication in putting sentences together that indeed she did not sound like a 2-year-old, and her motor skills were simply unable to keep up with her vocabulary. At 4, DD had her first WISC test (also part of her post-preemie care) which is where her high level of verbal giftedness was discovered.

 

In any event, her articulation was a lot better by the time she started kindergarten. Now 9, she talks like a college student, but people can finally understand everything she says (they may think she's weird, but that's a whole separate issue) . . .

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thank you!  (especially for the links.) That is some reassurance regarding DD's articulation.  I really thought it was odd that DD still cannot pronounce her name (initial /h/,) yet every toddler we have met has had no problems.  But, I am not anywhere near getting DD eval'd for this. It has just been something that I have kept my eye on.  I am just really frustrated with what I have gathered is perfectly appropriate asynchrony.  I will keep trying to keep her talking without getting her frustrated, and just let it go. 

post #12 of 20

I'd get her more time with other people, because it's the other people's lack of comprehension that'll get her motivated to learn the circumlocution. You'll be there, obviously, to help translate when she starts to reach the end of her rope, but give her some time dealing with people who don't understand her as well you do.

 

Because you're "Mommy" and Mommy Knows All. If Mommy doesn't understand her, it means either 1. she's doing it wrong (hah! as if!) or 2. Mommy is being mean on purpose. Circumlocution isn't a solution to either problem.

 

This is based entirely on my "average" (in quotes because I don't have an official assessment or anything =D ) toddler being more willing to phrase things differently for complete strangers or even DH than me. They ask for clarification she tries something new, I ask and I get the exact same words again with an angry look or even "shhhhhhh Mommy."

post #13 of 20

I'd get her more time with other people, because it's the other people's lack of comprehension that'll get her motivated to learn the circumlocution. You'll be there, obviously, to help translate when she starts to reach the end of her rope, but give her some time dealing with people who don't understand her as well you do.

 

Because you're "Mommy" and Mommy Knows All. If Mommy doesn't understand her, it means either 1. she's doing it wrong (hah! as if!) or 2. Mommy is being mean on purpose. Circumlocution isn't a solution to either problem.

 

This is based entirely on my "average" (in quotes because I don't have an official assessment or anything =D ) toddler being more willing to phrase things differently for complete strangers or even DH than me. They ask for clarification she tries something new, I ask and I get the exact same words again with an angry look or even "shhhhhhh Mommy."

 

 

ETA: And then, if it works for your dd, you'll be able to listen to her translating herself to other people and have an easier time making the taumeetize=traumatize connection. =D

post #14 of 20
deleted
Edited by quaz - 5/25/11 at 10:40am
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

Yes, DD has started to phrase things much differently around other adults.  She seems to have picked up that kids her age can get by quite well with only repeating one word requests over and over with a cute smile.  "Milk!  Milk!  Milk!"  She even babyfies her voice a bit.  Most of the time she refuses to speak to strangers and refers all her comments to me (right in front of the person she will not speak to.)

 

She will go out on a limb every now and then and make cute little remarks to her grandparents and aunts.  The other day she commented that the Apple Jacks had nipples on them.  She also walked around with a large puzzle piece (Texas) and put a bunch of smaller state pieces on top and told my mom she was a waitress like her aunt.  This is when these types of remarks are usually met with "I have no idea what you are saying," or "I wish I knew what you were saying," or just a a confused smile.  I have tried translating these little things.  But, me explaining how she thinks the little red bumps on the cereal are nipples does not seems to help DD think she can effectively communicate with anyone other than me.  DD has to be really excited to shares things like these with them, and it is rarely reciprocated.

 

I guess a lot of it is articulation, but some of it is definitely that she is kind of off the wall.  I don't expect others to appreciate her take on the world like I do, but from DD's perspective they do come across as a bit rude when I think about it.  And, like I said before, it is not helping with her budding selective mutism.  I am more worried about that when it comes to speaking with other adults, than her ability to circumlocute.

post #16 of 20

My non-professional experiential opinion is that when your DD is with other adults and they don't understand you stay out of it until you are asked by them for help.  Even then, if your DD hasn't tried to explain again get her to try again.  My DD has done the same things you are talking about.  I think my jumping in when she was younger did hinder her and encourage a "selective mutism".  She'd stay quiet and let me do the talking because that was easier for her and more comfortable.  It does pain me to be there when people don't seem to understand perfectly clear statements (an issue with DS more right now), but I have found that it helps more to hang back than to jump in. 

 

Also, if your DD doesn't care that you don't understand her then I think you can just let it go.  You don't need to know all the cool things she thinks and says.  It's fun, but it can be a lot of pressure for a kid to be sooo attended to.  JMO

 

Tjej

post #17 of 20

deleted

 


Edited by quaz - 5/25/11 at 10:40am
post #18 of 20

I always thought my dd was very easy to understand and clear with her articulation when she was that age, but she really wasn't to people who didn't know her well.  When I was floating around to different classrooms as a breaker I noticed that the primary teachers understood a lot more than I did when the kids spoke, it sounded like garbled random words to me and like clear speech to them, so I think this is a very common thing.  Once I was around the children more I could understand a lot more of what they were saying.  It is frustrating, especially when your child sounds so clear and easy to understand to you, but it sounds like she doesn't sound so clear to other people.  Modeling clear speaking and giving it time should help the situation.

post #19 of 20
Quote:

Originally Posted by ellemenope View Post

I guess a lot of it is articulation, but some of it is definitely that she is kind of off the wall.  I don't expect others to appreciate her take on the world like I do, but from DD's perspective they do come across as a bit rude when I think about it.  And, like I said before, it is not helping with her budding selective mutism.  I am more worried about that when it comes to speaking with other adults, than her ability to circumlocute.


I'm going to gently remind you: She is two years old. Two year olds don't generally go around conversing with many adults outside the family. The average conversation with a 2 year old consists mainly of questions from adults and short answers from the child. And it doesn't last more than a couple of turns before people run out of things to talk about that they can understand. I know that your 2 year old is not a typical two year old, but she's still two. She doesn't need to master the intricacies of conversation for a bit.

 

Two year olds are generally not very well understood by people outside their immediate caregivers unless they spend a lot of time together. Part of it is articulation, but a lot of it is that they don't know the rules of conversation, they don't know how to "stay on topic" and they don't bother to check in to make sure that they're listeners are following at all. The very fact that she will talk through you/to you when strangers address her suggests that she's not really understanding that if she talks while they're there, they will hear her too! She's in the mindset of "If I don't talk to them, they can't hear me." That's a developmental change that will occur.

 

I'd also recommend that you watch your daughter's reaction for a couple of weeks to see if she's really bothered by people's lack of understanding. Yes, it's rude to you when adults don't understand, but does that mean she thinks it's rude? 2 year olds don't have the same conventions of politeness that we have. They're still learning that if someone addresses you, it's polite to respond. (Heck, she doesn't respond if she doesn't feel like it, right?) Her way of understanding these social interactions is likely to be qualitatively different from yours. That doesn't mean she won't be frustrated, but it's possible that she's not yet frustrated.

 

I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to translate for her while she's so young. Your rephrasing and giving people context can serve as a really useful model for her as to how much information other people need in order to  understand. It will give other people a chance to understand what she's saying and respond to her, thereby giving her more motivation to talk to them. I spent a lot of time translating for my oldest - partly because he refused to talk to most people, and partly because his articulation left a lot to be desired. He's 9, and he holds his own quite nicely, especially with people who are familiar to him. He's never going to chat anyone's ear off in a new situation, but he's quite conversant with the neighbor kids and with us at home.

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thank you LynnS6.  Sometimes I just need a reality check.  She is only 2.  And, the reassurance that it will click one day for her is appreciated.  That learning to speak to people outside of her family will come with development and not be squelched by people not reciprocating her conversation when she works up the nerve to do so right now.  Whether it be because she is unintelligible or just off the wall.  For the record, I do want to translate for her.  And, I do.  I completely agree with Quaz on this one when it comes to my DD's personality.  I want her thoughts and opinions to be heard. I want her to know that she should be heard. It just gets old.  The reactions I guess?  I don't know if it is disbelief or surprise.  I know my sister in particular thought I was straight up lying about the things DD says.  She told me. That was until I took violently ill at her house one weekend, and DD opened up to her during the course of the 48 hours I was seriously out of it. 

 

Today, at the children's museum DD was doing something a bit odd (nothing wrong, just odd.)  A cute older employee asked her what she was doing, trying to get DD to interact with her.  DD was explaining while she worked but would not really stop to answer.  She said pretty clearly, "I just..have to take these down here...because they keep...grabbing my attention from over there."  The woman did not understand and inadvertently started to undo all of DD's work. DD turned to her and said (not all too nicely but, hey, at least she was now speaking to her,)  "No, they grab my attention!"  I laughed nervously, apologized, shrugged my shoulders, and translated, offering that I wasn't entirely sure what she meant by that either.  In this case, the woman just furrowed her brow and was very cute about helping DD achieve her goal.  But, there have been many times where it has not gone this way.  And, in those times I have wished that DD could just speak for herself and leave me out of it.  Ugh, just a vent.

 

Oh my.  You are right.  This is so much more about me than DD.  You are so right.  In this case DD could not have cared less about actually conversing with this woman.  Your comments were very insightful as usual.  Thank you.

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