To feel hopeless and sad that my 2 and a half year old DD has virtually been written off academically already

(263 Posts)
OlderMummy1 Sun 20-Jul-14 08:43:38

My DD is 2 and a half and has got speech delay. I referred her myself to speech therapy when she was 22 months old as I realised she was delayed when I filled in a developmental profile for her. Looking back I should have referred her earlier as she didn't make as many noises and babble as much as other babies. However, being my 1st I didn't realise how significant this was.

Speech therapy has been useful for giving me hints and tips on encouraging her to speak but we are only seen every 3-4 months. I have tried private speech therapy but she didn't seem as good as the NHS one to be honest.

On her 2nd birthday she was saying only 'mama' and 'dada'. Now at 2 and a half she has about 75 words (some very clear, some not so clear) and can use 2 word phrases 'mummy car' 'daddy gone' etc.

I was reading online last night to try and get some tips on how to start encouraging her to put 3 words together but all I seemed to come across was how children with speech delay are always behind academically which leads to many of them disliking education.

Being a former teacher this upsets me greatly and I feel as if I have completely let her down by not recognising she had a problem earlier. I think I have done everything right to encourage her to speak...as a baby I talked to her none stop, she watches little TV (certainly less than her normal speaking friends) and we have always gone to a baby group/class every day. Maybe I do something wrong that I just don't see.

A few months ago lots of people were pressurising me to get her into nursery as they said this would help her speech. I found her a lovely Montessori nursery but she only went 3 times. She absolutely hated it and cried all day. She went from being a very sociable, happy little girl to a very clingy one. Luckily, after 2 weeks of not going to nursery she was back to her old self and everyone comments how affectionate and confident she is. I did find a nanny to have my 2 children for just 1 morning a week (8am-1pm). She is lovely and comes into our home. My DD loves her and is very happy to stay with her while I go upstairs to get some housework etc. done or the Nanny takes the children to the park.

This leads me to believe that it was the nursery setting that upset my DD, possibly because she couldn't really communicate with anyone. Therefore, maybe it is inevitable that she will go on to have an unhappy school life and be unable to reach her potential academically. I hated school as I was painfully shy so I have done my best to make my DD as sociable as possibly. However, it seems I have condemned her to the same unhappy experience as I had.

I have set up a room as a learning space for her which contains all Montessori equipment, art/craft materials etc. I plan activities for my DD every day and we have a lot of fun. I am so scared of her leaving this place where she is happy, secure and safe and going off to a nursery where she is destined to fail all because of her speech. According to what I have read she will be behind in everything because she has speech delay. Someone even suggested the other day that I claim DLA for her. Has she really got a disability that will affect the rest of her life?

I was so stressed this morning that I frantically tried to get her to say some 3 word phrases. She tried her hardest but didn't do great. We both ended up in tears. I feel like the most dreadful mother in the world. Heaven help my newborn if I can't even help my 1st child to succeed.

Sleepswithbutterflies Sun 20-Jul-14 08:48:55

How is her comprehension? Is it just the speech or the understanding too?

If just the speech it won't make any difference to how she fairs academically as long as she is having support to help her vocabulary develop else she may get frustrated. There is a child in ds's class who said not a word until she was 2 and a half. She had speech and language therapy and is now towards to top of the class. I don't think it necessarily follows that because her speech currently needs a bit of help then she will struggle academically.

Why did someone suggest DLA?! Are there other issues or just the speech? She's still very little.

JohnFarleysRuskin Sun 20-Jul-14 08:49:46

Wow- sympathies for your stress but you are being over dramatic! Many children have speech issues in their early years and go on to succeed. It's not a reflection on you!

JohnFarleysRuskin Sun 20-Jul-14 08:50:36

She is 2 and a half!!

oohdaddypig Sun 20-Jul-14 08:53:13

It has been stressful but you sound like you have lost perspective flowers

So so many children have speech therapy.

How is her other development?

For what it is worth, I have two friends who hardly spoke until age 3 who are, academically speaking, the cleverest people I know. Are you sure these studies are correct?

Delphiniumsblue Sun 20-Jul-14 08:53:26

You really must stop stressing about it! Children do things in their own time- you can't force them into your own agenda. My cousin's child didn't speak at all until he was 5 yrs! He then came out in full sentences and hasn't stopped since. He did well academically. My brother was written off by some teachers early on but suddenly became an academic high flyer aged 13yrs.
They are all different. My son didn't get speech therapy until he was 5yrs old- you are in early.
I'm not surprised she didn't like nursery at 2yrs- it doesn't mean she won't at 3 yrs or 4 yrs.
Just relax- enjoy life with them. Get out and about and meet people- toddler groups etc where you stay.

Nerf Sun 20-Jul-14 08:54:16

www.afasic.org.uk

This organisation might help?

blindcaptaincat Sun 20-Jul-14 08:54:29

Gosh, I think you are being really hard on yourself. The DLA comment seems utterly bananas to me!

You are doing everything possible to help your little girl and I really think that some children just develop at their own pace. My own DD did everything late (sitting, speech, crawling, standing, walking, hopping, potty training etc). Even now, at 6.5years, she is only just being dry through the night.

She has SALT and OT help at school and at no point have I felt that she has been 'written off'.

Really, try not to feel so guilty. You sound like a very good mother and your daughter will probably be indistinguishable (sp?) from her peers when she starts school. Really.

oohdaddypig Sun 20-Jul-14 08:55:36

PS OP - Einstein was a late talker...

JohnFarleysRuskin Sun 20-Jul-14 08:55:38

I don't believe the studies and I would like to see a link.

Ds hAd speech therapy and dd has it now. They are brilliant kids.

YellowStripe Sun 20-Jul-14 08:56:01

I know every situation is different, but my neighbour's dd wasn't forming sentences when she started school nursery (3.5) - she is now in a more able group than my dgs who never stopped talking as soon as he was able!

Can you hassle talk to your health visitor? I do think the parents who shout loudest and longest are the ones who get what they want - so keep on.

muffliato Sun 20-Jul-14 08:56:09

She is 2 and a half. Let her be a baby don't worry so much just yet.

My friend's ds was 3 a few weeks ago. She was so worried about him as all he did was babbled. He has been referred for speech therapy which he starts next week. But he has started talking out of nowhere. It's still pretty mumbled but considering I couldn't understand a word two weeks ago, but can have a conversation with him, it's progress.

3littlefrogs Sun 20-Jul-14 08:56:20

Einstein didn't talk until he was 4.

FluffyPiggle Sun 20-Jul-14 08:56:27

It sounds like you are doing everything possible to help her! Be different if you were just sat there doing nothing or not seeking new methods to help her at all.

My OH had a speech delay for several years as a kid, his sister who is 18 months younger than him was the only one who could understand him and used to translate for him. He went on to gain a history degree smile

basgetti Sun 20-Jul-14 08:56:48

My DS had no words at all at your DD's age. He couldn't even make consonant sounds until he was over 3. He had regular speech and language therapy and an IEP when he started at school. He is now 6 and thriving, chatty and sociable and reaching all expected levels and exceeding in technology. He has never been 'written off' by any of the many professionals he has come across and I'm not sure why you would get DLA? Many 2 year olds without speech issues find nursery difficult, maybe she is just too young.

velocity1 Sun 20-Jul-14 08:57:04

At 2 and a half, I actually think she is doing pretty well, and even if she isn't as advanced as some other children, that doesn't mean it will hold her back for long. My (now 19) daughter had severe speech and language delay, she didn't even say Mum until she was 5, but after lots of help, she went to a mainstream secondary school, got her GCSE's and has successfully completed 2 childcare course at college.

Try not to worry too much about it, it sounds like you are doing everything you can for her. The future is a long way off, and she might well catch up with everyone else before she even starts education properly

bluebell345 Sun 20-Jul-14 08:58:08

I don't think it's true that if a child has speech delay they will be behind.
I saw many examples that's not true, please don't upset yourself with that, she is getting upset, too which isn't good.
she is still young, she will speak at her on time. some tv could help her vocabulary.

hebe242 Sun 20-Jul-14 08:58:35

My Dd2 had delayed speech and managed not to speak for her first term of nursery and became very withdrawn. It turned out she was dyspraxic. She is now 13. She's had lots of speech therapy and although her speech is still not absolutely perfect she is in no way held back by it. She goes to an academically selective school, has plenty of friends and had a brilliant school report this term.
When she was your dd's age I wouldn't have believed these things to be possible. I'm no expert and every child is different but I do think that being with other children helped her ultimately. But you will know your child best.

diddl Sun 20-Jul-14 08:58:41

How structured was the nursery?

Maybe a playgroup would be better?

toddler groups?

Delphiniumsblue Sun 20-Jul-14 08:59:04

Don't go seething up rooms as if she is in a nursery and don't plan so much. Just get paints out if she wants them. Let her help you in the kitchen etc.
You are letting your own experience colour your views. It is a different time, situation and she is not you. Your experiences of school are irrelevant- don't project them on to her.
Relax- she is your DD not a project!
Sorry to be a bit harsh but you really have lost perspective. Forget it all- just aim to give her a lovely childhood with happy memories and her confidence will come on in leaps and bounds!

CrystalDeCanter Sun 20-Jul-14 08:59:37

Oh mate, you sound so unhappy. You are aware of a potential issue and are doing everything to help your wee teeny daughter (and at 2 1/2 she really is still a baby), nursery didn't work out, but don't panic, no point stressing a young child if you don't HAVE to get her in care, your nanny and home 'nursery' sounds lovely to me.

I have no specialism at all in this area (so please bear that in mind), but my dd1 (now 9) only said 15 words at 2 (I was worried too so counted them), I thought she was terribly behind as all the books suggested a minimum of 100 words and early sentences. She was nowhere near any of that. By 3 she had improved a fair bit. At 9 she's totally fine.

Try not to panic and get too stressed OP lots of children take the world at their own pace and it really sounds like you're clued into the help that she may need.

Delphiniumsblue Sun 20-Jul-14 08:59:40

Sorry- setting not seething.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 20-Jul-14 09:00:01

One of my very good friends had major speech delay. To the extent that her and her brother only spoke in their own language until about the age of 10, they had to go to a specialist school.

She is married, with 3 kids. She was managing a huge department store at 21, has a degree, a MBA and other high level quals, and earns around £50k a year.

I'd ease off a little, she is only 2 and a half!

Mumof3xox Sun 20-Jul-14 09:00:32

I work with several children with speech and language delay

From what you have said about your dd she sounds like she isn't doing too badly

How is her understanding? Can she follow instructions?
Does she understand simple questions?

HPparent Sun 20-Jul-14 09:01:05

If it is any reassurance one of my children barely spoke until 3 years old. Despite being put on the "special needs" table when she started reception, she went to a super selective grammar, 10 A*/A at GCSE and A*/A A level predictions.

Personally I would hassle the speech therapy service for some more sessions. I think you are causing yourself a lot of unnecessary anxiety and she is picking up on it.

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