Can't talk or won't talk? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 03-04-2010, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I bet you're all getting pretty sick of me by now

Julian turned 2 last December and isn't really talking. He has about 25 words he'll use regularly, seems to understand plenty, communicates nonverbally (points, nods/shakes head, makes up signs, etc.), seems quite bright on the whole.

Here's the thing. He's never shown an interest in talking. He won't watch your lips when you talk. He won't mimic. You ask him to say something and he gives you this look of scorn and goes off to do his own thing. You catch him sitting in a corner whispering to himself and he'll act like he wasn't doing anything interesting at all. He doesn't get frustrated if he can't communicate. He doesn't try to say words and get them wrong. He just doesn't TRY. It's like he communicates well enough to have his needs met & he's okay with that.

He's had two ST sessions so far. None of the evaluators or the therapist seem to have any idea what to make of him. He has some symptoms of motor processing issues but not many. And he has this body-language thing he does where he'll very elaborately stonewall you if you try to make him perform -- and apart from talking, he ONLY does this with things I KNOW he knows how to do. It's like:

me: Julian, can you say x?
J: Yeah!
me: Say x!
J: [body language & facial expression of "Not on your life."]

What I'm reading is that if they're having meltdowns because they can't communicate, then they can't talk. No-one seems to have a sense of what the issue is if they just don't seem to care about talking.

EDIT: He's due for the hearing screen tomorrow. Should've been earlier but it was postponed four times due to strategically placed snowstorms.

EDIT EDIT!: This is also a child I had to literally bribe with organic Cheerios to crawl and walk. He could walk just barely touching something for support since 7mo or so. He just wouldn't let go until 16mo. When I rolled out the bribery. Whereupon he immediately walked like he'd been doing it for months. Is he just not a self-starter?
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#2 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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Honestly at 2 I wouldn't worry about it. Boys are known for being late talkers. Since he understands and communicates in his own way I say he will talk when ready.

My youngest brother didn't talk till 3. He would point and we got him what he wanted so he figured why talk. But man once he started he would not stop lol.


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#3 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 01:44 AM
 
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My DS didn't talk AT ALL until he was 2.5 years old. He's now 4.5 and still has some speech issues like "T" for "C" but we work on it at home here an there . Most people can infer what he is saying and most of what he says is understandable, just not all all of it.
Honesty the range for talking is huge. My Dd said her 1st word at 9 mos.
Both kids were introduced to sign language. Obviously DD lessons didn't last long but DS had nice grasp of many signs which aided in his communicating to us, including needing to use the bathroom. He was potty trained before he could talk.

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#4 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 02:05 AM
 
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I wouldn't worry. Thats as many, quite likely more words as my DS had at that age. He had seriously 3 words at 22-24 months - mamamamama dadadadadada and no! - that was it. Around 24-25 months his words exploded. Seroiusly. He'll be 3 on monday and everyone tells me he talks REALLY well - and he does. And they are then absolutely shocked when I tell them the above, and even more so when I inform them that no, he never had any therapy. I really think people get far too worked up about how their child 'should' be saying/doing X, Y or Z at age X, Y or Z.
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#5 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, today he passed his hearing test with flying colors -- what they could do of it anyway. He wasn't digging the headphones. But he seems to hear fine & there's no fluid in his ears. The mystery continues!
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#6 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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My 2 year old didn't talk much. Probably 10 words or less. At 2.5, he had less than 20 words.

My pediatrician is very, very laid back, and he said, "ah, let's see where he is at 3."

I worried. A lot.

It didn't make much of a difference. Sometime about a month before his 3rd birthday, he had this massive language explosion. And he started talking. And talking. And talking.

He's 3.5 years old now. He talks from morning to night. He wakes up talking. "Hey, mama!!" He goes to bed talking, "hey brown bear, I went to the park today...zzzzzz". All day long. I have to tell him my ears hurt to make him stop talking.

These days, I feel silly for worrying.

I do think that there is a point where you should worry. But, according to my (admittedly very laid back) pediatrician, that point is very rarely before age 3 in an otherwise developmentally appropriate child.
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#7 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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Sounds like a motivational problem more than an ability problem. There is probably nothing wrong with him. Talking requires a huge effort at that age and some people prefer the path of least resistance, some like the challenge. I think it's the same with children.

My advice is to praise him like he's discovered the meaning of life when he does talk. Ignore him when he doesn't because it sounds like if there's an easier way for him to get what he wants, he'll use it.

Having a "lazy" toddler has its advantages. My 19mo screams and tantrums every 5 minutes because she's just GOT to do something that she's not ready to do herself (like putting on clothes- she can put on her pants but they always end up backwards, shoes end up on the wrong feet, etc.). It's nice to have a kid who says, "OK mama, you do it and I'll just sit nice until it's over," instead of EVERYTHING becoming a huge battle! Enjoy THAT while you can!

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#8 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ped's very laid back too. VERY laid back. To the point where I'm probably going to switch peds. Not that I don't like laid back when it comes to things like vaccines but, well, here's an example.

J had mild anemia. At the same time of that bloodwork, his white count was slightly raised (only slightly, and it resolved itself -- probably an ear infection or something).

Doc (airily): Well, it's probably nothing, but you know, certain cancers can present this way ..

Me: What.

Doc: It's rare, but --

Me: What kinds of cancer?

Doc (literally waving one languid hand in the air): Oh, you know. Leukemia. Lymphoma.

And you know what? He never ordered the bloodtest to check for them. I had to ask for that scrip myself.

So I don't trust him. Hee. But it's nice hearing about these kids who just have the switch flip in their heads and start talking. Admittedly J's been like that often for other things -- pointing, nodding/shaking, etc. Nothing, nothing, nothing, and he'll literally wake up one day doing it. So weird how their brains knit themselves together.

I can't wait for him to talk. Like, really talk. In sentences. And hold a conversation. Wah. I'm to the point where I (non-intellectually, granted) sort of assume he never will!
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#9 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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I agree w/ the pps. At his age, it's very common for boys to have few words. Ds was a "late bloomer" with speech, too. But, at about 25 mos. he started rapidly adding words to his vocabulary. By the age of 3 he now has countless words and speaks in full sentences. Your ds will probably hit that stage where it all "clicks" soon!
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#10 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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This is very interesting to me because I can see some similarities in my almost two-year-old. He can talk, and has many words, but he sees them more as a parlour trick when he can call something by name. When he is required to actually TELL you what he wants? Waaaaaah! But on the other hand, he's also pretty calm about letting me get him dressed when we're in a hurry too, so it's not all bad.

Anyway, thanks for indirectly reassuring me too...

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#11 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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My DD wouldn't do the "say x" thing for me either, but she did for her Nana. Go figure.

Some kids are real perfectionists. Maybe he doesn't want to say anything unless it is perfect (like he did with walking)...

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#12 of 24 Old 03-05-2010, 08:52 PM
 
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Sounds alot like my ds. I will be back to post the whole story. Bottom line is he is fine, in speech therapy for articulation but fine.
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#13 of 24 Old 03-06-2010, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mine definitely does seem to be a perfectionist .. or something. I don't know. I never EVER saw him working on things like pointing or shaking/nodding head .. and I never modeled either for him by the time he learned them. He just started doing them. Perfectly. *shrug*

I like all your stories. I've been wondering about things like apraxia or autism, but it could just be he needs the proper motivation. This child's lucky he's cute. He's driving me batty.
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#14 of 24 Old 03-06-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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I honestly wouldn't worry - and personally would not be doing ST (espeically at this age!). Children do things in their own time. My son was pretty 'late' with eveything as well. 11 months for sitting up - 11 months!!! lol He didn't crawl until much later and didn't walk until he was nearly 2! He certainly wasn't talking either until nearing three (and really with only us being able to understand him).

But - he is a perfectionist. Just like me. He just doesn't see a point in wasting his time fumbling about. He would rather just wait until he can do it. So - whilst he was 'late' doing everything - he just did it. Perfectly. No fumbling, falling, etc. He just did it. And I guess when you look at it that way, he was right on time with everything.

I also don't really think children need any extra motivation. Simply being human (and the social creatures that we are) - they have intrinsic motivation and that seems to be enough. Children are such individuals!

And if I am honest - I hope this baby I am due soon is the same! lol I could not imagine having a 9 month old trying to walk for example! lol

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#15 of 24 Old 03-06-2010, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reassurance, annofloxley. Mine sounds a lot like yours. I just feel that in my case, erring on the side of caution (with the ST) is preferable. At least while it's free and he loves his therapist.
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#16 of 24 Old 03-06-2010, 09:31 PM
 
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DS has finally started talking, (all the time!), and he just turned 3. At 2 he would only say a handful of words. He is an EXCELLENT non-verbal communicator. We had him in EI for speech for a few months and the instructor said that his non-verbal skills were so in-tuned with ours that he didn't really have a need to talk.

He has always waited for the last minute to do any major motor skill, (crawling, walking, talking). Now I can't shut him up

I would suggest Early Intervention for speech or a speech therapist if you're concerned. My son loved his. He was only in the program for 6 months but it really did jump start his verbal skills.

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#17 of 24 Old 03-06-2010, 10:19 PM
 
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I think my dss was a lot like your son. When I met him at 2 years old he only had about 5 words that he used. He understood just about everything but just wasn't interested in talking. Like your son, he didn't try and mispronounce or get frustrated about it, but he just didn't care and didn't try. At 3.5 went from having about 25 words to talking in full sentences almost overnight. Literally one week he didn't talk, and the next he was a fluent speaker. At almost five now he is completly caught up on speech.

Ds is 14 monthes now and the only word he says is Hi. He also seems to be very uninterested in speech. I'm not really worried. I expect he will probably be similar to Dss.

He also showed no interested in crawiling, and then at 8.5 monthes just took off one day like he had been doing it for weeks. same thing with walking, no interest, wouldn't even take steps when we held his hands, and then 2 days bfore his birthday just took off walking, and was doing it full time in three weeks. Also food, no interst then at ten monthes suddenly started eating like a linebacker. I think some kids just take their time and make sure they've got it down before they take the leap.
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#18 of 24 Old 03-06-2010, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ShadowMoon, he's just started EI therapy last week. He gets it 2x/week (because he started out shy of the evaluators, so they wanted him to not take too long to warm to the therapist) but he has a TOTAL CRUSH on his therapist and hopefully that'll go well. So far it looks like she's just playing with him and narrating/labeling but I guess that's what they do to start with? But yeah, mine's an excellent nonverbal communicator too. Just yesterday at his hearing screen he was issuing fairly complex orders to the tech -- using no words at all -- and she understood him 100%.

Jules, wow, they sound a lot alike. 3.5, huh? Already I'm totally jealous of other mamas' highly verbal 2-year-olds. In another year and change I'll probably be tearing out my hair.
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#19 of 24 Old 03-07-2010, 01:13 AM
 
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We just talked to our pediatrician about DS this week. We know he has a lot of words because he can sing songs he's heard pretty well... but often he doesn't seem to know those words outside the context of the song.

Our pediatrician basically said that a speech therapist will play with the child, talking to them about the balls, the blocks, the dolls, etc. I got the impression she was saying we could do that ourselves... which I'd been trying to do.

So we're watching, waiting, and talking to him as much as we can. The good news is, he's been talking quite a bit more in the last week or so. It's like he needed a couple of weeks of quiet to process things, and now he may be doing another language explosion.

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#20 of 24 Old 03-09-2010, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your replies. It's sort of reassuring to be able to go back and read them on days like today, when his therapist says he doesn't act like any of the other kids she's worked with -- it being very clear that he understands damn near everything, though doesn't try to talk/get frustrated because he can't talk -- and she doesn't seem to have much idea of how to proceed with him. And then I hear from a couple of friends of mine with kids the exact age of mine that theirs are voicing complex thoughts (like, paragraphs, with insights into the emotions of relatives, etc) in proper English, whereas I get excited when mine bothers to try and mimic when I say "duck." And I just get to thinking that my sweet baby is broken somehow and I don't know how to fix him.
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#21 of 24 Old 03-10-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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If you know he is a perfectionist and think that might be what is going on, you could model making mistakes in front of him and keeping on trying and not being embarassed. I don't know if that is helpful at all, but maybe.

HUGS. Your baby isn't broken. IF there is a problem you'll keep looking and figuring and he'll keep growing and you'll figure some stuff out. If there isn't, he'll just grow out of this phase into something else to worry about.

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#22 of 24 Old 03-10-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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AGreed on all counts. My cousin's daughter would not talk until almost 3.5 or 4..then spoke in complete sentences. She just didn't have anything to say.
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#23 of 24 Old 04-10-2010, 09:50 PM
 
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bluejanute, if there is a motor planning problem, the EI SLP person playing with him and narrating/labeling isn't going to help him unless in the play specific sound practice is being worked in eventually. Like when he goes up, say "up, up, up" any time you go up in a routine. If you are playing with a ball toy, each time you hit the ball say "ball" Playing Cars, "beep, beep" It's hard to explain but kids with motor planning need specific practice to create pathways to learn those simple sounds/words.
Also, I'm in the same boat. Wondering if my little guy is a late talker, or having a problem with motor planning. He will not imitate and when he does with my persistance, its so inexact and each time its different. I am trying to get his approximation for simple words and build on that. Simple to complex. So if he says mamamam for open, I do try and shape it to a more similar sounding word, and after we worked on it for a bit, his approximation is "ah-puh" which is fine by me. I'm still struggling between is this motor planning or is he a late talker so I don't want to bombard him with motor planning techniques if its simply late talking. It's very hard to be still and wait.
I also would like to add, for your piece of mind, apraxia is VERY overdiagnosed by well meaning SLPs who just don't know. Its actually a very very RARE occurrence.
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#24 of 24 Old 04-11-2010, 01:05 AM
 
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I know it's hard OP, but try to ignore what your friends' kids are doing. Every child develops at his/her own pace.

My DD was very much like your DS at that age. She had about 25 words and couldn't put two words together in short sentences when she turned 2. I know she could understand everything we said, but she didn't try to say new things *at all*. And if we tried to get her to mimic? No way. She'd simply clamp her mouth shut and stare at us.

A few months later she started saying more and by 2.5 she was saying complete sentences. She is just now (at 2.75) starting to talk about her emotions - "I'm disappointed." "I'm sad." that kind of thing. And she'll mimic what we say.

It was hard because everyone I knew had kids who could say waaaay more than DD at a far earlier age. But she did catch up. I'm sure yours will too. It will happen quickly, though, and then you'll have a chatterbox on your hands!

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