Starting to feel like my son is behind in speech. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 09-15-2012, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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As I meet more moms with toddlers I'm shocked when I hear how kids of the exact same age (2 1/2) are speaking, compared to my son's abilities.  It isn't the first time I've wondered about this, but I wasn't around very many kids of his age before.  He's very smart, social, and curious.  


I'm not sure what to do at this point.  I'm scared of making a big deal out of nothing, but I also don't want to be negligent.  His next well child checkup is not until February.  If I should mention it to his doctor, I don't know if I should wait for his appt or make a special appt just for this.  Are there any good online quizzes or checklists that will help me decide if there is a problem?  I've also wondered if being in a day care setting for a few hours a day would help.  He seems to like copying what other kids and adults say.


I don't know what info about his speech would be helpful to give, but for example if anyone asks his name, he never answers.  He doesn't really use sentences.  There's a couple, but I think he just has that certain string of words memorized.  Sometimes when he's doing something I'll have to ask him something several times before he answers me.  If he wants something, he'll usually just use one word, sometimes two.  


But other than that he's really social (say's "hi" "bye" "thankyou") at the right times.  Super friendly.  Has really enjoyed learning all of the shapes, colors, most of the alphabet, names of animals, everyone's name in our extended family/friends, can almost count to 20, can operate a smart phone better than I can....etc. ;)  



I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice.  Thanks!

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#2 of 19 Old 09-15-2012, 11:13 AM
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All I can do is offer my experience, which isn't much yet! My son used only grunts or gestures other than one or two words up until the past month.   In the past month he has considerably extended his vocabulary, and will use two word sentences. He is 22 months old.  My cousin has twins who were talking by one. 


Now my son understands plenty, but he is not "obedient" in terms of doing what I ask or answering when I ask questions.  He can tell me what he needs when he wants to (with one or two words), but doesn't "perform" when asked.  I think this is normal for many kids.  He will never answer when someone asks his name, he won't "give mama the blue block", but he clearly knows what his name is, and knows which block is the blue one.  And says so when it suits him. 


Memorizing is also pretty normal at this age as well (which is why the "my kid learned to read at __ really young age" works).  Just keep working on the concepts so that he's not relying on memorization.  But I wouldn't really be worried about that either. 


I know what you mean though when you notice something just isn't "right" but you can't put it into words...I don't think it would hurt to ask about it...although doctors can be pretty quick to diagnose issues where there aren't any, so I think it would depend on your doctor. 


FWIW my BIL didn't speak a work until he was 3, and at that point just broke out into sentences.  It's totally normal for somethings to take longer for some kids, and that's okay.  If your instincts (rather than overthinking something) are saying that something is amiss, then I would investigate, but on the surface, I don't think it sounds like anything is wrong. 

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#3 of 19 Old 09-15-2012, 11:20 AM
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Call your local Early Intervention which provides free screenings and services for up to preschool age (usually age 3).


EI can come out and do an assessment in your home and determine if indeed he is behind, does he qualify for services, etc... You are under no obligation to do anything that they offer or suggest to you. We used EI for my DS1 for speech until he aged out at age 3, now we receive services from the local school district. A speech therapist came to our house every week for an hour to work with DS1. Two years later, even after he no longer sees her, we are friendly and we often call each other just to chat about him. I thought my DD2 was behind for a long time but it wasn't alarming so apparent to me as like DS1 presented so I never called or did anything. She is now almost 6 and we are playing catch up. greensad.gif She gets weekly speech therapy now. In hindsight, I really wish I had not of been so afraid to reach out and see if there was a true issue when she was younger. 

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#4 of 19 Old 09-15-2012, 11:26 AM
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Here is one list of speech milestones.


I will say that every single time a thread like this pops up, there will always be people whose children just randomly started speaking in full sentences one day. And that does happen. And then there will be people like me whose has spent hundred of hours doing speech therapy with her kids, we have fought so hard for every word he has. For the average parent to try to figure out if the kid is going to "catch up" next month without any help, or if extra help is needed, it is really, really difficult. And you have nothing to lose by contacting EI for an eval.... Just my 2 cents. winky.gif

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#5 of 19 Old 09-16-2012, 06:57 AM
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I second the EI evaluation.
I did that route. My child is at a similar age as yours. I got my dd checked out when she turned 2. I had an initial visit and then a team visit. It was decided that my dd was in the normal range.

Now at 2.5yrs she is nowhere near what yours can do. No letters, count to 3, few names, and about 1/4 of what she says is understood by family, rarely understood by casual acquaintances.

Guessing, I would say your child would fall in the normal range, but the EI process is very painless. They ask fewe questions unless you actually get in the program

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#6 of 19 Old 09-16-2012, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by GuavaGirl View Post  Sometimes when he's doing something I'll have to ask him something several times before he answers me.




Originally Posted by GuavaGirl View Post

 if anyone asks his name, he never answers.  






These two sentences jumped out at me. Sometimes the reason a child has speech trouble is because they are hard of hearing. It sounds like your son isn't deaf, but perhaps he is hard of hearing. Has his hearing been checked recently? I would start there to eliminate that first, then move on perhaps to early intervention....although to be honest what you describe sounds in the range of normal to me....yes, the slower end of the spectrum but I don;t think this is totally unheard of or necessarily indicative of a problem. Still worth it to look into it, as you are, but I would not panic about it.

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#7 of 19 Old 09-16-2012, 08:05 PM
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i have been worried about my twins who are going on 21 months and have about one, mayyyybe two words each and no real "mama" or "dada".


i just got their hearing tested (perfect) and called Early Intervention serves. I'm very glad i did, they have been wonderful and informative. both my kids just qualified and we have someone coming to the house once a week for the pair to work on speech and some extra time to help my son work on finding better ways to live with his wonderful outpouring of emotion.


i dragged my feet a bit and now im just trilled that i have a plan and smart folks that seem to already genuinely care about my toddlers.


we also were motivate to start a mommy and me transitional nursery school program in part to expose them to all sort of other talkers and adults that cant read their mind like i apparently do.


i have heard the hearing issue for a few folks i know, things like fluid in the ear and stuff like that causing things like this, good place to start.

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#8 of 19 Old 09-17-2012, 10:09 AM
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It does sound like he has a minor or moderate speech delay. You can contact IE in your state directly and ask to have him evaluated. The early he get some help the faster his progress will be.

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#9 of 19 Old 09-17-2012, 03:07 PM
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Sounds like a small speech delay (although luckily not as severe as what I'm dealing with).


Like everyone, I'm going to chime in and say, get a referral to Early Intervention (either through your pediatrician, or through Child Find  Or I guess you can just call your local school district and tell them you think you need an evaluation because you have concerns about speech. 


Speech therapy is totally worth it.  Even if you end up not needing it for very long, it's very helpful in getting kids more excited and enthusiastic about talking.  (As to the daycare thing--My speech therapist says it's a good idea to spend time around other kids when possible because kids are less patient communicators than adults, which kind of forces less verbal kids to put a bit more effort into their communicating)


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#10 of 19 Old 09-17-2012, 09:14 PM
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My ds is 2-1/2 as well, and is definitely at the later end of speech development, but I believe still with the range of normal.  My daughter was a "late" talker as well, at least later than her peers and late supposedly for a girl. 


Ds just started in the past few weeks to really put 2 and now 3 or 4 words together into sentences.  In these past few weeks/couple of months, I have been so amazed to watch his language "explosion"!  I was waiting for it and expecting it, but it really has taken off.  He is still not talking like many, maybe even most 2-1/2 year olds that I have met, but his progress is enough to convince me that we are on the right track.  He has always had great receptive language (i.e. he clearly understood what we were saying to him) and has communicated well in response to us even with single words or gestures, so I wasn't super concenred.  FWIW, he does not count yet except maybe to repeat 1-2-3 or another number if somebody says it, but he can tell me that he is 2 and hold up the right amount of fingers and tell me his sister's age with the right amount of fingers.  He does know some colors, but not all the basics.  Also, I'm not entirely convinced that he doesn't think his name is "baby" "no" or "stop!"  :)


If you are concerned, get an eval.  Like pp said, it won't hurt!  I am planning on waiting until his well visit in the spring, but I would definitely call his doctor earlier if I was very concerned. 

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#11 of 19 Old 09-27-2012, 02:24 PM
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Another vote for E.I.!  We had an E.I. specialist from birth on because of my son's prematurity.  She was lovely.  We were also concerned about his speech when he was around 14 months and again when he was 2 years old.  Through E.I. we arranged for a speech therapist to come to our home to do a thorough evaluation.  While we didn't end up going down the speech therapy road, it certainly didn't hurt to have the evaluation done.  It was so reassuring to have someone to call when my instincts were telling me something seemed off.

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#12 of 19 Old 09-27-2012, 08:58 PM
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If you are worried, I would call and ask for an evaluation. Your ped can give you the number to the proper resources for your town. We had our youngest evaluated at the beginning of the summer and the speech therapist thought that he was just a bit delayed in his spoken language but was right on target for everything else. Instead of starting therapy then, she typed up a list of activities for us to do over the summer to hopefully get him caught up. I didn't feel like it worked and she came out again about a month ago and agreed with me that he would qualify for services so we are starting speech therapy for about an hour/week. The eval was very easy--she came to our house and played with him while asking me questions.

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#13 of 19 Old 09-28-2012, 01:30 AM
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I second all the PPs... get on the Early Intervention tract.

I'm in the Medford area - PM me if you're nearby!


Early Intervention is where you need to be, but you have to ask for it. Your pediatrician doesn't do developmental testing. You Have To Ask.

And if you have any concerns, enough to voice? Get him tested, just so you know.


EI is through the school district - you can go through them directly, but most everything else, hearing tests, actually speech-therapists evals, etc., require referrals, so the best bet is to talk to your Ped first. You don't have to make an appointment with your Ped - you can just call in and ask for a referral for Speech Delay - it's all the same basic Developmental Testing for under 3yr olds.


They'd like it better if you meet with the Ped just so they can document your concerns (and if you're on OHP, as long as you word the appointment need in that way "speech-delay concern", whatever, OHP will cover that visit inbetween your WBV appt.). It's probably best to have an appointment with your Ped just incase you need additional testing (hearing, etc.) because while your Ped won't do it, again, they just need the record of it.


The Eval that the ESD does is comprehensive: articulation, communicative, fine/gross motor. It covers everything. (I honestly thought my son wouldn't qualify for any service because he was super smart and advanced in so many ways, just delayed in his articulation... but it's amazing what comes up). It's a simple 1.5hr test, you get to be there and watch; you talk to another tester in the room to get your parental opinions. I was surprised by some of the things I saw like... oh wow, he can stack 1-2-3-4 together, he knows all his colors, oh yeah that was simple. but, hmmm, doesn't jump with two feet. ok, didn't know that.

It's an interesting test.


There's nothing scary about it all, seriously. It's just... make a call, get a referral, have your son tested and go from there. And then you'll know.


Once you get in to EI, there are a lot of options. But he should be tested first.


Good luck! I'm in Southern Oregon, but when I was looking in to EI I received a lot of communication from people in the Portland area about how Even Better the services are. From what I've researched and heard comparatively, OR ESD services are comparable to most states, neither better nor worse, but good news... if you need something outside of the school district, OHP is awesome (what a surprise!).

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#14 of 19 Old 10-07-2012, 04:28 PM
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How has he developed in other areas besides speech? Sounds normal to me fyi, but I have little info to go on. I was concerned for my daughter, but I was comparing her to kids older than her (she has a late bday and is frequently the youngest). She was also mobile alot sooner than her peers and that runs in our family. I think she just honed other skills first.

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#15 of 19 Old 10-09-2012, 06:18 PM
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My sister's son is 2 1/2 and she got him speech therapy for free through CA early intervention.  The therapist comes to her house or meets her somewhere for 1 1/2 hour and then spends the same amount of time at the daycare.  And it really is not a big deal, every kid is different.  But the earlier you get help, the better for your son!  IT is good that you want to seek help, there is some out there for your son for sure, and they will teach you ways to communicate with him as well.  Good job, mom!

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#16 of 19 Old 10-16-2012, 05:18 PM
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Like everybody else, I say go with early intervention programs with your state. My son was very, very young when I started having concerns about his speech and I called fairly quickly. The younger they are when they start, the better the outcome will be. My thought about it was that if there is a diagnosed problem and you hit it with all the resources you can, the you may not ever have to worry about it again. Within six months of him starting therapy he was caught up and age appropriate, which both the speech therapist and I believe was due to early treatment. Don't wait if you are concerned. If they come out to evaluate him and don't find anything wrong, then you don't have to worry. If they do find something, you'll know you did everything to get him the best treatment possible. Good luck!

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#17 of 19 Old 10-16-2012, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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OP here!


Thanks for the advice everyone.  I made an appt awhile ago.  It's quite a wait.  ...and then he was sick and we had to miss the appt, so now we have one scheduled in 2 weeks.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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#18 of 19 Old 10-17-2012, 07:08 AM
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I see you've already taken everyone's advice, but I thought I'd chime in with my experience.

My ds (34 months) has been receiving speech therapy services through EI for 8 months now and it's been wonderful. He had a pretty apparent speech delay, which may or may not be him being on his own time frame of talking but I wanted to be proactive. Our experience with my older son receiving speech therapy when he was 5 yrs made us more inclined to pursue help early. My older ds's delay was not as significant and not apparent until later because it was more specific sounds and pronunciation. But it was very difficult to get him help through the school district because of funding, he was behind but not behind enough. It was very frustrating as a parent being told his teacher couldn't understand him at all, but then not receving any help. We fortunately have a great non-profit clinic here which offers services on a sliding fee scale and he did wonderfully and no longer receives speech therapy (now 7 yrs).

So my point is, that when my younger son was showing a delay I jumped on the chance to get him services through EI. Now as he is approaching 3, his delay is still significant and he will be transferring to the school districts services. This has been a much smoother and supportive process than what we had with my older son. Our experience with services through EI heyave been only positive. They are always checking in to see how it's going and his therapist is great. He has lots of fun with her and looks forward to the days she comes by.

Good luck with what you find out and decide to do.

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#19 of 19 Old 10-17-2012, 02:02 PM
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We don't have IE here. My daughter is 2.5. Hardly any words at 2 but in the last couple of months very vocab has just shot up. I talked to a health visitor who seemed unconcerned so long as she had good understanding of what we were saying (she did). I have posted about this on other boards and people have pointed out it's worth getting them checked for tongue/lip ties as that can also hinder speech.

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