Two-year-old seems so far behind his peers in speech development - help!(40 Posts)
Hi mums - I'm looking for some advice and perhaps some reassurance. My son will be two in a matter of weeks but he seems so far behind all his peers with regards to his speech development. All the other children I come across who are around his age (and some even younger) are talking in 2-word sentences, are curious about expanding their vocabulary (asking what's that? or pointing to new things) and able to copy someone when they hear a new word. My son is nowhere near that proficient with his language skills. He has a small bank of words he can say (at the moment I'd say he has four words he uses regularly) but they are not as clear as they could be, he seems unable (or perhaps unwilling) to copy us when we tell him what something is called. He babbles all the time but it really is just meaningless noise. I'm not worried about any other areas of his development, he is full of energy and is affectionate and generally really happy. He can do quite complex puzzles which are in advance of his age and has no trouble understanding and carrying out quite complex instructions but the speech is just not there. He was late to crawl and late to walk so I'm not sure if this is another area where we just need to be patient or whether I really need to seek professional help for him
At 2 neither of mine barely said a word. It's normal. By 3 years both were fluently bilingual
I was going to say the first step is to ask for a hearing test.
Between 2 and 2y6m you'll probably see a huge amount of progress. 6months doesn't seem like a lot but it's 25% of his life so far.
I think that if you need a speech therapy you have to wait until he's nearer 3. I'd certainly ask for a referral at 2.5 years old if he's no better than he is now.
I have 3 kids.
Dc1 spoke sentences at 3+ years old.
Dc2 spoke sentences at 9 months
Dc3 spoke sentences at 2y8m.
Dc1 and dc2 are at extreme ends of the spectrum with dc3 being more typical.
Get his hearing checked.
At 2 my DD had two words. I heard it all.....wait and see, so and so didn't speak until they were three, blah blah blah.
Eventually at two and a half I took her for a hearing test. Her ears are completely blocked wh ch is why she can't speak. I feel really annoyed and upset that I didn't take her sooner as she could have help and been talking by now.
You know your own child.
Is he your only child? Yes - get his hearing checked.
Is the radio/TV on all day? Children need a quiet background, so they can make their contribution, and not have to compete with other sounds.
Read to him, sing to him, and encourage him to join in. If you can afford it, get him some form of musical instrument - percussion, shakers, xylophone, and ideally a Keyboard (at least 61 full size keys, not a toy one.) By two our DS was 'playing' on our Yamaha organ, and could play tunes by four or five.
Thanks for all your feedback - I did wonder about his hearing but he certainly seems to react quickly enough if the TV is suddenly turned on and his cartoons are on! I also just told him to sit down and eat his dinner or he wouldn't get any yoghurt and he whipped his bum into his chair so quickly I thought he'd given himself whiplash, so I strongly suspect there is nothing wrong with his hearing, although I think I'll Definitely get it checked out to make completely sure it isn't an issue.
My husband and I spend lots of one on one time with him, doing puzzles, reading books (he turns pages at exactly the right times) and the tv is actually rarely on during the day!
I think I'll definitely get his hearing checked and if that isn't an issue maybe just accept that he is doing this at his own pace. He has always been an incredibly laid-back child so it certainly wouldn't be out of character!
My Ds would be described as delayed speech at 2..He had his 2 year assessment at 2 but they did it as soon as he was 2 due to concerns about speech...He was just slow at talking.. He is now 8 and no one would know he had delayed speech..
It is worth flagging it up but don't worry to much at 2 ..They all develop at different rates...Delayed speech is more common in boys than girls ..
Mine is exactly the same, I thought her hearing could not be a problem as she can hear a crisp packet being opened at twenty paces!
She can hear, but everything is very muffled.
I would really make a test a priority. Good luck.
Again, get hearing checked. My DD was almost totally deaf with glue ear and had very few words aged 2. She's now 5 and has sort of caught up with her peers, though the biggest delay wasn't vocabulary, it was auditory processing (ie, understanding what others were saying to her). She'd often get left behind in conversation because she couldn't process the information fast enough.
Justanother - my DS was the same, he babbled along to himself and I understood just about nothing. He overheard me one day, on the phone to my dad. I was quietly (I thought) lamenting that I couldn't understand him when he was speaking. And he actually started making more sense thereafter.
Obviously I don't think this is what you should do - it was awful really.
But you can say "sweetheart, can you say this word so mummy can hear it?" and when he is babbling ask him if he wants to tell you something.
You may well be doing this already and I apologize if I'm stating the obvious.
Needless to say, my DS is nearly 10 now and has absolutely no trouble making himself understood, his favorite word at the moment is "bollocks"!
My ds is 2.3 years and still isn't really talking. He has a handful (maybe 10) animal, vehicle and snoring noises plus a couple of words. We took him to the SALT drop in just before he turned two and they said we were right to bring him in but he was still too young so we're going back next week to see them again. He has fairly good understanding I think, he will fetch and carry things when asked etc and has a very large vocabulary (so he can point to hundreds of things if you ask "where's the X? ") but he doesn't talk. He also doesn't try and copy what we say and he can't pucker up (so can't do kisses). Dp needed SALT as a child and his gp say that ds is just like him so I suppose we'll have to see what they say at the next SALT meeting.
I find it quite hard tbh. He sometimes gets frustrated which is difficult and I find myself worrying that normal toddler behaviour is somehow a symptom of something more serious. I'm sure you didn't mean to be Fergueon but I found bits of your post quite upsetting. People seem to assume that if your lo is speech delayed the telly must be on all of the time, or you don't engage with your baby somehow. I've had a few people do the head tilt and say things like "have you tried talking to him" (ffs) and "well my ds talked early but it was really important to us so we sang with him a lot". I suppose they think they're being helpful but it just makes me feel like crap tbh. The TV is not on all day. He gets lots of one on one attention. I do speak to him. Grump over!
Does he actively communicate with you, all be it non verbally?
Does he have a "hinderance" in his mouth a lot (thumb/bottle/dummy etc)?
Do you believe he understands you?
Absolutely get his ears and hearing checked.
If all is well there, perhaps watch mr tumble/something special together and pick up a few signs. It absolutely won't stop him from talking but it may be an extra string to his communication bow until speech develops.
I agree with getting a hearing test as that's the first step,for any speech difficulties.
My son was slow to speak, friends kept saying 'he's a boy, they are slower' amd 'he'll catch up'. He didn't he has verbal dyspraxia. If you are concerned take him to SaLT.
OP, your little boy sounds just like mine (2 years 2 months). My son had 3 single words at 18 months and has added 3 more within the last month -which was momentous for us, but obvs way behind the normal expectation for spoken language at his age. His receptive vocabulary, understanding (without visual clues), listening and attention on the other hand all seem pretty good, and everything else seems normal. I was a late talker myself, and went from a couple of words to full sentences pretty much overnight at around 2 and a half, so the people who tell you it may sort itself out in time are right - this can happen, and actually I think the odds are in favour of late talkers catching up spontaneously.
But the thing is, you can't tell which children are "just" late developers and which need intervention, so "wait and see" is playing the odds, which feels uncomfortable. Add to that the reality that SLT resources are stretched and waiting lists can be long - in this area it's 18 weeks from referral to assessment, and then at least another 18 weeks before any recommended therapy begins, so I would ask for a referral sooner rather than later as it may be some time after you ask for help before any help actually arrives.
It's worth asking questions, and finding out whether you can self refer. Here, the HV service guidance is to wait until 3 to refer if there are no issues other than expressive delay, but the SLT service's own guidance is to refer at 2 (go figure...) and when we called their helpline for advice they accepted a self referral straight away (currently on that long waiting list for an appointment). A hearing test seems a good idea too, and we're waiting for an appointment for one of those too, though to be honest will be astonished if it reveals a hearing problem as DS's understanding seems so good.
I agree that the stating-the-bleeding-obvious nature of the advice people often give is demoralising or annoying, according to mood at the time. I kind of wish we were those parents who have the TV on all day and don't engage with their toddler, because then there would be an easy fix.
My DD had pretty good understanding too, but it turned out she was a damn good lip reader! Mouthing the request and saying it yielded exactly the same response. Turning my back and saying it yielded nothing. My daughter had managed to convince my whole family that she could hear, and yet her results showed severe hearing loss. Not saying delayed speech is always hearing related, but I'd say it's definitely something worth ruling out as fast as possible.
Glad to see some sensible advice here. Firsr, get his hearing checked. Then if necessary think about a speech therapy referral. You might want to think about some simple, makaton type signs - these will encourage his communication.
I had one child who was speech delayed due to heaing problems, and they were easily solved with grommets. My other child has severe speech and language disorders (verbal dyspraxia was his first diagnosis) - people told me not to worry, he would catch up. They were wrong. Trust your instincts. It could be that he just needs a little bit of extra help and stimulation.
My DS was deaf in one ear - so the listening thing either happened or not depending on the ear nearest -
Worth a check
I couldn't even say my own name until I was two and a half (and it's an easy name to say). Apparently I went from noises to sentences and nothing in between.
I now have three degrees and a thriving career.
mathanxiety that's a great post. I hope the OP finds it useful. I certainly did and it has confirmed my instinct that private SLT is the way forward if we don't get our NHS appointment soon (or if there is a long wait for subsequent support, as I suspect). Encouraging to hear that plugging away and targeted strategies paid off eventually.
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