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Anxious about toddler speech delay

(86 Posts)
riojabotherer Mon 05-Aug-13 19:22:00

Hi all

I'm not really sure if I should be as worried as I am about this, but hoping for a little advice.

My son will be 21 months old later this month and isn't yet talking. He babbles lots and makes lots of the right sounds (though I've never heard any hard c sound' but I can't say for sure that I've heard anything aside from the odd 'Ma/Mum/Mama'. What's confusing and really hard to describe, is that he will make a sound like, say, 'Uh-oh' but without opening his mouth, much in the same way as we'd say 'Mmm' in agreement. He'll also imitate what I'm saying sometimes in the same way, a sound with the right intonation, just without speaking. He also makes an expressive sound from the back of his throat that I can make, but not describe. Sort of like saying a 'c' sound with your mouth closed.

He learned to point early and I think he feels he can get everything he wants without talking. He follows fairly complex instructions well and picks stuff up easily. I'd say his understanding is surprisingly good for his age.

Whether or not it helps for context, he walked with help early but didn't want to let go of my hand until he was 16 months. Lack of confidence, I would say. As I recall he was later making sounds than other babies when younger.

I'm awaiting an HV assessment to see how delayed he is. That was long - thanks so much for reading.

2boysnamedR Mon 05-Aug-13 19:46:48

Hi not really sure I can help but you on the right track looking into this, not sure what's the normal range at this age, but if he is having 'conversation' with you that's all good. Sounds like you need him to be assessed by salt but he maybe too young? Ask if you can put his name for it anyway as they normally have a long waiting list and by the time he gets to the top of the list he maybe the right age?

2boysnamedR Mon 05-Aug-13 19:48:09

Don't worry too much but at same time listen to your instincts and get it checked out

riojabotherer Mon 05-Aug-13 19:51:54

He definitely converses in his own way, yes. He's been nodding and shaking his head for a long time, and he makes an 'Uh-huh' sound for yes. Thanks so much for replying - I've called the GP and I'm hoping the HV will make an assessment soon but it's only been a few days since I made the call. We have private cover so hoping that we can move quite quickly if need be. I just want to help him as early as possible - a lot of this is anxious first time mum syndrome but I feel he needs a hand.

zzzzz Mon 05-Aug-13 19:54:45

Mine is language disordered but had some words at 18months. However he did speak without consonants first. It took me a while to work out that was what was going on.

Have you had his hearing tested? Some children can have great hearing for some tones and be very limited in others. So could hear doors bang but not speech.

Have you seen SALT?

Certainly in my area you can self refer to both hearing and SALT but waiting lists are long.

I think you are right to be concerned and asking for some clarity on things from professionals.

It is very very positive that he understands instructions, uses gesture to communicate and picks up stuff easily.

It's a common vibe when discussing children with language/speech delay to characterise them as being content with the status quo and a little lazy/not bothering to talk. I have never read any sporting evidence for that idea nor seen any instance of that in RL.

If your child does end up having a communication disorder of some sort, you will hear this trotted out by various people (neighbours, parents, friends, teachers, even SALT) it is insidious and I think very unfair. Blame the child is the easiest option, followed by blame the parents, followed by blame the previous professionals involved, usually depressingly followed by "you must learn to accept the child is only capable of XY and Z".

2boysnamedR Mon 05-Aug-13 19:56:30

If your worried then your not being anxious. Better to do something and he then start talking non stop than to wait a year and find his speech hasn't moved on. Conversing is really good sign. Keep talking to him about everything all the time and pause for him to respond. I hope the gp and hv get back to you ASAP. If you go private keep on the nhs waiting lists too.

riojabotherer Mon 05-Aug-13 20:10:53

ZZZZZ Thanks - it's lovely to hear from someone who knows a bit about all this. I called the SALT folks but they weren't all that helpful due to
summer hols and I got the impression there'd be a long wait. I'm getting quite a bit of 'he's only young' or 'he'll suddenly start talking in full sentences one day'. I'm sure that can happen, but I'm not about to ignore the problem on the off chance.

I think his hearing's fine, but that'll form part of the HV's assessment. I've never suspected an issue there but it'll be good to confirm one way or the other.

I might video him going about his business so I can show the HV the sounds he makes. He's quite slow to warm up around strangers sometimes and I do worry he won't make a single sound when we see her!

Family and friends dismiss any potential problem because they see how good his comprehension is, but I'm not going along with that anymore. You're right, the lazy line has come up a few times.

2boys Thanks for the tip about waiting lists!

SingySongy Mon 05-Aug-13 20:25:34

It sounds as though you're doing the right thing to be seeking some help. Best case scenario is that you won't actually need it by the time you get it, but then there will be no harm done. Talking Point is an excellent website if you need some info in the meantime, here:; and the ICan website is also really good:

Re the lazy thing. Actually, the laziest thing of all is to have an efficient means of verbal communication - most of us are lucky enough to listen and talk without any conscious effort at all. I think children with speech and language difficulties get a very raw deal if they're described as lazy - life can be very tough and hard work for them at times.

zzzzz Mon 05-Aug-13 20:29:30

Get him on waiting lists for SALT and hearing ASAP on NHS but if you have private health cover this is one of those times it is a dream (sadly we aren't in that position any more). You may get seen in as little as week with private cover (you need the NHS assess because some schools are funny about private Recomendations so you want to be seen by someone they're used to too).

The truth is nothing they would do would hurt any child. If he grows out of it then "Hoorah and how silly of you". grin. No one will care. If on the other hand he needs hearing aides or intensive therapy now, you will have helped him immensely.

2boysnamedR Mon 05-Aug-13 20:29:42

Well my don has a speech delay, I too was told he will talk at 2, then he would talk by three, then they all catch up when they get to school. Unfortunately he didn't. I had all the above comments. I knew he would not magically wake up one day talking. Again unfortunately I was right. I had a years wait for salt. Please don't let me scare you though. Some kids DO wake up one day with verbal diaorerea

2boysnamedR Mon 05-Aug-13 20:32:07

Also my son has been profoundly deaf at times and I never noticed so don't dismiss a hearing test. My son seemed to hear everything - but he didn't

2boysnamedR Mon 05-Aug-13 20:34:13

I 'think' he was referred to salt just before he turned two - sorry I can't remember exactly

riojabotherer Mon 05-Aug-13 20:41:12

I'll definitely be interested in the hearing test. Might give the doc a nudge in the morning. Can anyone tell me what the hearing assessment involves? I can't imagine him being happy sitting there with headphones on - is that the type of thing we'll be doing?

I am quite scared, if I'm honest, and no-one else is taking it seriously. It feels very good to talk to you folks. I know that we are very lucky with him in many, many ways but my heart aches when I think of him struggling to make friends etc.

sunshine175 Mon 05-Aug-13 20:41:32

My ds only said da at 24 months or da da. hearing test was ok. Then he said na...for a while. we saw salt who said don't worry. 30 months he suddenly started talking. 34 months he developed a stammer probably because he had so much to say and his mouth couldn't keep up.

now at 50 months he talks for England grin but can be dysfluent when excited or tired. At first Salt gave us exercises to encourage mouth movement and speech sounds eg blowing bubbles, licking lips, and lots of singing with him. She asked us to ignore stammer and give him lots of time to talk and keep it low pressure. Both approaches have helped with the different speech problems he had.

At your point I was worried sick. I can't say it will be ok. Your child may be different to mine but I wanted to give you some hope - things can change speech wise very quickly and now he doing great.

zzzzz Mon 05-Aug-13 20:51:59

My ds had lots of friends when he was at school. He is the more "approachable" of my twins, he also is severely language disordered. He's funny and loveable and very hard work, but I was so terrified for him when he was a toddler.

Hearing tests involve two audiologist and lots of noises left and right and things in boxes. He will have fun.

Same with SALT really.

grin there are tons of language/speech challenged children's Mums and Dads on this board (and a few SaLT too).

2boysnamedR Mon 05-Aug-13 20:52:14

My son had to wear headphones but I think he was a bit older - about 2.5? They make the hearing test age appropriate so don't worry about that. Try not worry or look to far ahead, it might just all come in a rush like sunshine says. But if not then your laying some groundwork to get the help he might need ( let's hope not). I think it's good to worry a bit - it shows how much you care for him. But also there's things to do in a certain order and timeframe. You want answers now understandably but he needs have the assessment first, so just focus on each step and try not to look to far into the future.

riojabotherer Mon 05-Aug-13 21:00:28

sunshine that's a lovely story, you must have had a rough couple of years, though. It's such an interesting area - the more I find out, the more fascinated I become.

He does say 'Na' or 'Neh, neh, neh' when he's annoyed - I think it might be his way of saying 'No', but not sure. Maybe he's trying out all the vowels for size!

He can hum a nursery rhyme or two perfectly. He's a funny little fish.

I do feel guilty that we aren't exactly social butterflies - he mixes with other children once or twice a week. He'll be starting a couple of afternoons at nursery in January to help with that. He's definitely a thinker rather than a joiner at this stage.

What I need to do most of all, I think, is to stop comparing him to other children.

riojabotherer Mon 05-Aug-13 21:02:19

You are all so bloody kind - thank you!

ShoeWhore Mon 05-Aug-13 21:06:14

OP I think you are absolutely right to get this investigated - obviously I hope the results are reassuring for you but ime it pays to listen to your intuition. People often say things like ooh he'll suddenly talk in sentences (I was ready to punch the next person who mentioned bloody Einstein!) and they mean well but actually if it delays you getting help it's not really very helpful.

We had ds's hearing tested just to tick that box so he could be referred to SALT - turned out he had really bad glue ear and very limited hearing. Does your lo say a full range of consonants? Ds said "d" for most consonants and (I now know) that is a classic sign of impaired hearing. You could also see if he can understand you as well if you put your hand over your mouth or think about how well he responds if you call him from another room.

Don't worry about a hearing test anyway - the audiologists are great at engaging the children and ds always enjoys his.

re the friends thing: ds' lack of speech has never held him back in this respect, he is a sociable little chap and has always got on well with other children even when his speech was really difficult to understand.

He was chat-chat-chatting away very happily to me today so even if you do need some help along the way, it doesn't mean he won't get there. Do let us know how you get on and ask more questions if it will help.

riojabotherer Mon 05-Aug-13 21:21:56

Thinking about it now, when he babbles he says d, b, m, n, r, l, v and s. I hear t and f less often, and I'm not sure I've ever heard the others.

He can hear me from another room, I'm sure of that, but I'll definitely try talking to him with my hand over my mouth just to see. Very interesting.

Handywoman Mon 05-Aug-13 21:53:56

riojabotherer another one here with a dd with a history of severely delayed and disordered language <waves>. I too was fobbed off, by HV, nursery teacher, but soldiered on...

Private assessment revealed severely delayed and disordered language. My dd's history is very different to yours, except that you have a hunch, like me, that your ds needs an assessment. Go with your gut, it is rarely wrong. If he wakes up one day with verbal diarrhoea then hoorah, job done. But waiting lists for NHS SALT tend to be long. You are doing the right thing. In my case private SALT was amazing for dd2 - happy ending there too.

riojabotherer Mon 05-Aug-13 22:04:29

Hi Handywoman, thanks for the encouragement. Let's hope our story ends as well! I'm very glad I started this thread. If I'm honest I hoped everyone would say I had nothing to worry about, but this is really great advice and it's spurring me on to push for the help we need. Whatever the outcome my little chap will have been very lucky.

Wish I'd picked this up sooner - looking back I'm sure I used to worry that he was later starting to babble than other babies. Better late than never, eh.

JJXM Wed 07-Aug-13 17:57:19

I went to GP when DS was 2 and did not speak at all and told to come back in a year because the GP's nephew was 3 and only recently started talking hmm. So I self-referred to SALT and 15 months later DS still has no words and a dx of ASD.

Ignore anecdotal evidence and go with your gut - even after dx people will still try to convince you that your child will speak Shakespeare out of nowhere (or like MIL try to convince me that DS doesn't have autism angry)

riojabotherer Wed 07-Aug-13 21:49:58

I'm awaiting a hearing test appointment for him. The HV said she would discuss it in her weekly meeting. Not sure what's to discuss, really. I would like my son's hearing tested - please arrange! Have a feeling I'll need to work at being more patient.

JJXM Hope you don't mind me asking, but were there any other indicators that lead to the ASD diagnosis, or did they dx purely from lack of speech? Sorry if I sound naive - new to all this.

2boysnamedR Wed 07-Aug-13 22:53:59

Crickey jjxm - how do they get so wrong?! I have a biggish gp surgery so like to see one gp, then another one if I don't like the first ones attitude lol!

Rio - no don't be too patient. Write your concerns down in a short letter ' I am worried ds is consistently behind his peers, I want a referral to salt ASAP' hand it over to the hv, if no joy tell her your self referring him anyway so please can you have the contact number. The same with hearing test but that should be a shorter waiting list.

On a side note my 16 month old is not walking talking pointing etc - the hv still has the cheek to tell me 'oh don't compare them, they all walk by two ' where have I hear that before?! Oh yes! It was you mrs hv. Good job at five has doesn't still have severely delayed speech isn't it?

If your not on list for hearing and salt by two weeks then just get pushy. Don't get fobbed off with the wait till he two then 2.5 malarkey. If he is gibbering away at two you always just cancel it ( but I wouldn't anyway as I think you'd need the peace of mind)

zzzzz Thu 08-Aug-13 00:25:01

Do NOT work on being more patient. You work on being firm yet polite, (and if that doesn't work, being a pain in the arse grin ).

Phone the HV in exactly one week and say

"I am obviously still concerned about his speech. I don't want to wait any longer. Have you made the referal for a hearing test and SALT assessment?".

If the answer is "yes", praise and thank lavishly.

If the answer is "no", explain that "in that case I think I'd like to self refer today, can you give me the phone number of the people who book hearing tests and the people who book SALT assessments".

Make phone calls and wait for appointments.

I find it invaluable when people don't do what I want to just repeat calmly what action I need from them and/or offer to bypass them and do it myself.

riojabotherer Thu 08-Aug-13 16:11:10

Right, inspired by your advice I've left it not a week to call the HV, but a day, and as a result she is coming next Thurs with audiology forms. I guess she wants to take a look at him for herself, though I did warn her he might not be himself with a stranger in his living room.

Working on speaking to him in very simple words and sentences, and have stopped saying 'X, can you say...' Usually when I ask him if he can say a particular word he looks at me and shakes his head as if to say 'No, Mummy, and you know that!' We've also been watching the Baby Oxbridge Learn to Talk DVD, which may be a waste of time, but he's enjoying it. Apart from that I'm trying to forget about it all.

2boysnamedR Thu 08-Aug-13 16:40:01

Well done you!

Let us know what you think of the DVD my baby is not a talker at 16 months. Anything is worth a try

zzzzz Thu 08-Aug-13 18:03:26

You star! Well done. There is absolutely no point in waiting to go on a waiting list. Much more logical to get on the waiting list and cancel if you need to.

Loopytiles Thu 08-Aug-13 19:00:58

My dd has speech delay and if you pm me I'd be happy to send you some tips for stuff to do to help that my speech therapist friend gave me that I typed up, in fact might just cut and paste them here! Dd is three now and doing better but stillmuch behind others of her age.

riojabotherer Thu 08-Aug-13 19:36:26

Loopy yes please, cut and paste away if you don't mind - bet there are loads of us who would benefit.

What's your little girl's story?

hazeyjane Thu 08-Aug-13 19:48:19

Well done riojabotherer.

I'd be interested in the cut and paste too, Loopy!

riojabotherer Thu 08-Aug-13 20:08:54

2boys the DVD is quite good I think - 30 mins long and a bit like Baby Einstein but less American and more focused on words and sounds with a few signs thrown in. I found it on Amazon where there are lots more reviews. Guess it's aimed at younger children really. It makes me feel like we're doing something about the problem while we wait for the professionals. Think Loopy's tips will be fab.

You don't have to Google much before you find loads of info about speech delays and autism. I know there are many worse conditions, but still I find myself trying to find stories where kids were just late catching up. Must stay away from all search engines...

Loopytiles Fri 09-Aug-13 18:32:01

I will post the info on monday, can't find them in my home emails and files but know they're definitely on my work computer!

Think speech / language disorders (without any other conditions) are by far the most common developmental issue.

DD (as far as we know) just has speech delay. She never really babbled and at 2 had hardly any sounds or words, had only started saying "mama" around 21 months (was amazing when she did after waiting so long!). Can now, at nearly 3, communicate OK, even little sentences, good range of words, and she's made great progress, but it can be upsetting seeing other DC her age so much further on with their language, she finds it hard to keep up with them when playing etc, and only a year to go before she starts school sad.

there's a reassuring thread somewhere in education about DC who had / have speech issues and learning in primary school, some mums of older DC who were OK.

2boysnamedR Fri 09-Aug-13 19:46:14

My sons delays are due to dyspraxia so there are other reasons but yes - a delay can be that alone, glue ear, late starter, no reason at all etc.

I went to fab class on speech ' Speak clearly' I think. It was from a private salt and aimed at child care workers

riojabotherer Fri 09-Aug-13 21:56:40

Ah, Loopy, it sounds like she's making great progress! My little chap has also made some good steps over the last few days. Wonder if it's the DVD or me just speaking to him in very simple terms. Really proud of him.

2boys, that class sounds good. I'm off to buy straws this weekend and will appropriate one of the kittens' ping pong balls so we can play at blowing it across a table. Might as well make this fun!

riojabotherer Wed 14-Aug-13 14:38:01

How is everyone doing this week?

Calling Loopytiles - don't forget to post your tips when you get a moment; think we'll all find them really handy.

HV visiting tomorrow. I do hope m'boy pipes up a little bit while she's here!

confusedofengland Wed 14-Aug-13 15:33:52

Hi Rioja, we have 'met' on my thread about my DS2, 28 months, with speech delay.

I hope your DS is doing OK & that your HV visit goes well tomorrow. I invariably find that mine doesn't play ball when we have appointments, but I'm sure yours will be different. Fingers crossed for you.

DS had a second hearing test today. The first one in June found fluid & redness in both ears. This time there is fluid & redness in the left ear, but not the right ear. Audiologist said she couldn't say to what level his hearing is impaired, particularly as he didn't cooperate fully with the tests. So, we have a third test in November. Another wait & see. I am quite fed up with it all tbh, I just want somebody to do something.

OTOH, SALT last week said he wasn't showing pretend play skills, but he has been doing loads of that at home (feeding/kissing dolly etc, using random objects as a phone/hairbrush). He is also mimicking a lot of what we say, but not the words, just the sounds. I think that is positive, but I don't know! Does anybody have any experience of that & what it means?

Good luck again rioja

riojabotherer Wed 14-Aug-13 15:42:17

Hi Confused, and thanks for the good luck.

There is no way mine will play ball, either. In fact, so many of these visits and tests seem to be hit and miss. If they don't feel like pretend playing (and I bet mine wouldn't in unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people), they won't. Toddlers do what they want, when they want! I think if yours is doing all that at home, that's the test passed, but clearly I am no expert...yet!

We've got a lot more mimicry of sounds here lately, too, which I think must be positive. That seems to be the step before speech, in the experience of the other mums I know.

We can be fed up together. Your situation sounds so frustrating. All this 'wait and see' stuff drives me mad, and I'm only just starting out.

riojabotherer Fri 16-Aug-13 06:58:41

Right, the HV came and was actually very helpful (surprise). She didn't fob me off and completed audiology forms to get him in the queue for a hearing test. She watched him going about his business, remarking that she sees nothing to make her think there are any other issues aside from the late speaking. She thought him bright, in that he responds to bribery of the 'eat your veg and you can watch TV' type, but I'm thinking she just doesn't get how much he would do to watch Abney and Teal!

She left loads of notes with good advice to help with speech delays and also detailed guides to the sounds children should make, and when. Later on when I'm on my laptop I'll type some out here in case anyone else can use them, though I guess anyone further down the road with this will have had such info already. One big one is to stop asking questions, so instead of saying 'Where are your shoes' you'd say 'I wonder where your shoes are'. This reduces pressure and apparently most children begin to volunteer more speech as a result.

Mixed feelings really about the visit. The notes are great, but she still said there's no NHS support until he's two, then it could be a long wait. Whoever suggested upthread that private medical insurance doesn't cover this stuff was dead right, so it'll be up to us to finance any treatment if we want to get on with it sooner. I think I will still have him assessed by a speech therapist and see how we go from there.

The HV also said we ought to get out to more toddler groups/classes etc, so we'll up our commitments a bit after the summer hols.

confusedofengland Fri 16-Aug-13 09:11:52

That's great that it was a helpful visit, Rioja and that HV didn't see anything other than talking to be worried about with your DS. I would definitely agree with her on the toddler groups - I have been told that singing in particular is good for language & I can see with my own DS that he is starting to do things through songs eg pointing out body parts (Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes), clapping/stamping feet (If you're Happy & you know it), animals (Old McDonald) etc.

It might be worth asking her if there is a speech therapy group in your area? My area set one up earlier this year & I was lucky enough to start going with DS when he was 23 months. It helped by giving me strategies to encourage communication & also because it was a small group (5 DC) with 1-1 HVs/Children's centre workers, so DS got lots of attention (doesn't get as much at home because has an older brother) & I could ask questions.

zzzzz Fri 16-Aug-13 09:59:14

Lots of thoughts but not particularly positive and I am dripping with children this morning so can't marshal my thoughts to present this well.

Your child is 21 months and not forming any words, regardless of HV "not seeing any other issues" this is a glaringly obvious delay. Even a trained (and the training is long) peadiatrician, psych, or other healthcare practitioner would be highly unlikely to be able to give you such a reassurance after such a brief encounter.

In 3 months time our child turns 2 and could receive NHS support (according to HV), why isn't he on the waiting list for this? What support IS on offer? (Ask her point blank because identifying what's on offer in your region can be very difficult).

The issue you have raised with her is speech, what possible rationale can there be for not referring him to SALT for assessment?

I have never heard "removing pressure to speak" being the main thrust of differentiation for speech delay (it would seem more appropriate for selective mutism which would only be relevent if he spoke in some settings).

For both sentences, the language is too advanced and the meaning too embedded. Simplifying your language will allow your child to understand more readily. But you need some nouns first, putting the words together comes later.

2boysnamedR Fri 16-Aug-13 11:17:17

Hi. I was told when my son was young keep the language simple so from 'oh look it's the red car!' To 'red car' or 'car'

Your ds does need to be on the salt waiting list now really. Ask how long your wait is. Mine is a year here!

Singing classes are good. I take my baby to one and we do the same songs all term. Good repetitive stuff!

I also spoke to the charity iCan - but I'm further ahead than you. I have decided to top up with private salt - but my ds gets dla which is paying for it.

I have lots of info on talking - no idea how to get it on this site thou? Will try to get the speak clearly contact info as they have info packs you can buy which are very good

riojabotherer Fri 16-Aug-13 11:41:48

zzzzz I think I'll call and see if I can get him on the SALT waiting list, then - good point about not waiting until 2 for the list, at least. The no questions thing is interesting, but he'll follow fairly lengthy instructions, so in a way I don't feel I need to do this with him, but anything is worth a shot. It's like he's used to the way we speak to him - comprehension isn't the issue, it's just response. I'm grateful for your directness, thank you.

2boys I'll have a search for that, too. Off now to track down a good therapist in our area.

riojabotherer Fri 16-Aug-13 11:50:40

Grrr - to think I felt quite positive yesterday...Just called the HV team who tell me referrals are not accepted until the child is 2 years 6 months. At least this makes my mind up that I'm going to look for an assessment privately, so at least then a professional speech therapist can tell me the score.

What a pita.

Thanks for listening - sure this won't be my last rant.

zzzzz Fri 16-Aug-13 12:46:56

Phone SALT direct and ask if you can self refer now. HV may mean "they" are only allowed to refer after 2.6.

zzzzz Fri 16-Aug-13 12:50:51

Google expressive language delay or disorder.

Sorry to type and run, family birthday in a few days and children high maintenance.

In hindsight we spent too much too early, though assessment seems a priority to me.

2boysnamedR Fri 16-Aug-13 12:52:32

Really? That is beyond cr@p! Did she say how long the wait was from there? Do you want the website to find a registered private salt?

If he can follow complex instructions that's really good! My son can still only do tasks one at a time. I guess that looks positive that this just pure speech delay? I hope so!

Private assessment is not cheap! I would phone back your hv for the salt contact number. Phone them directly and ask. Is it correct that he can not join the waiting list until he is 2.5. How long is the waiting list? Then contact a few private salts. When do they think is good age for him to be seen? How long are their waiting lists? Price for assessment and then advice / theropy sessions ( you could just do one theropy and take the given materials and stop there for a while - it doesn't have to be on going).

Sorry lots to think about there. You seem concerned so I think you need to do something. Private does not have to be ongoing - it can just fill a gap while you wait. Again he might be talking his pants off by 2.5! If not you need to have a back up plan.

2boysnamedR Fri 16-Aug-13 12:55:41

I am planning to do one assessment and then one therapy session with a private salt. If I think it's with it we will carry on - but maybe once a month or two months. It's so poor we have to talk about private care.

confusedofengland Fri 16-Aug-13 13:40:42

rioja that is very poor! I seem to be among the 'lucky ones' because I raised the question of speech/hearing at DS2's 24 month review (literally a few days after his birthday), and HV referred us for hearing test & speech assessment straight away. That was in April & we have had 2 hearing tests (June & August) & a SALT assessment (August), as well as group SALT in March, even before his 24 month review. I am also about to ring HV to get DS 2-year nursery funding, which SALT said he should have.

2boys gives good advice on who to talk to. Better to get him on every waiting list going, then cancel if you don't need it any more, than see at 2.5 that he still needs help & you have to wait months for it.

Hello, I've been lurking as my 2 1/2 yr old is not talking. It sounds odd you can't go on SALT waiting list. I went to GP when she was just over two and got put on waiting list and here it was 4 months. It is a local rule about the HV referring in that case, as that was not an issue here.
I'd recommend going to your GP and ask to be referred to salt and paediatrician. If waiting is like here, now's the time to do it.

riojabotherer Fri 16-Aug-13 19:42:34

Hi turbochildren - welcome to the club! It sounds like I need to self refer, or at least have another chat with the GP. I don't know why there's such reluctance to add a child to a waiting list, it's just a...waiting list.

How long do you expect to be waiting?

Thank you smile
From going to the GP to her first appt it was about 3-4 months. The HV also offered to refer at the 26 month check-up, but as it was already done by the GP she just added a hearing test. (back on waiting list for that one because I had no-one to mind my two loud older boys smile
You son is just shy of 2, which is maybe why they are dawdling, maybe give them a push by saying that you know the waiting lists are long, and you want to have support in place, not be back to square one when he is older and may really be struggling.
Don't let them fob you off as a first time mum, your concerns are totally valid.

zzzzz Sat 17-Aug-13 11:17:10

If you're not on the list, you don't mess up their image for timely intervention.

Be very clear that getting on the list and subsequent assessment may not lead to any intervention at all even if it is the best thing for your ds. The only person who is going to plan what he needs and get it for him is YOU.

It's exactly the same as if he was short sighted, you would notice, go to the optician, order glasses and organise check ups.

There are no professionals/departments who organise or manage things for your child.

riojabotherer Sat 17-Aug-13 19:12:24

zzzzz Your children are very lucky to have you for a mum.

Turbo I keep forgetting about the hearing test part, but really don't think he has a problem there. Even that appointment won't be for a few weeks. 'How long is a piece of string?' was the HV's comment!

amymouse Sat 17-Aug-13 20:29:17

Hello; a bit late to the thread! My DD is 2.11 and has some speech delay. She was never a great babbler at all and although was very social, was very un-verbal! She was premature and I knew from reading things that speech delays could be quite common in prems so I started signing with her from around 1 year old which has been invaluable. She just looked a bit blank at it all until 18 months and then gradually started signing back and said & signed her first word just before her second birthday. We plodded on a bit more, slowly accquiring more words (nearly always with signs), finally got to see (multiple) SALT who were all less use than a chocolate tea pot. One was quite useful at assessing her range of sounds a while ago, promised to provide some help and promptly disappeared off the face of the planet never to be heard of again and never appeared to have bothered to type up her notes. Argh! DD loved music and picked up most words/sounds that would stick through songs. She didn't join in but obviously just absorbed everything and at home would use one key word and/or a sign to ask for her favourite, which turned out to be nearly everything! Just recently, she has suddenly exploded in terms of words. She still mainly only uses one word and has a bit of trouble with things with lots of syllables, but has quite a lot of words all of a sudden and they are getting clearer. This week she has started putting the odd word together (this afternoon: "nice bin" whilst draping herself over the bin. Quite batty) which is such a relief to hear.
I'd definitely try and self-refer to SALT. I think they can be either very good or less so, but you'll never know until you get to meet them! Keep pushing. Also, I think some Sure Starts have some SALT provision which can either be drop-in or referred by a Sure Start worker (bribe with chocolate biscuits maybe?).

zzzzz Sat 17-Aug-13 20:56:08

Thank you rioja what a lovely thing to say.

There are tons of us on the board with S&L delayed/disordered children. I feel so lucky to have found this place. There's tons of advice and loads of different approaches. We don't all agree all the time, but I find it SO helpful to have somewhere to talk about this stuff.

sophj100 Sat 17-Aug-13 23:45:03

It is easy to dismiss any concerns when children develop so differently and you can't make comparisons with another child. However, it can never hurt to seek professional advise and I agree, go with your gut.

The route I took when concerned with speech delay, was to request a GP referral to SALT and in the meantime, to rule it out, I requested a hearing test, which proved negative. I then requested a referral to a Developmental Paediatrician, without waiting for the SALT assessment, as it saved time.

A mother's instinct is not to be ignored. It is easy to be persuaded that we worry about nothing and most of the time, that can be the case. However, knowledge is power and you can never have too much of it.

I made a right pain of myself by ringing constantly to speed up the waiting process and, in the end, got a cancellation.

Good luck with it all and be assured, whatever the outcome there is always support out there. x

marchduck Sun 18-Aug-13 03:04:52

Rioja, I'm no expert at all, and I so don't want to seem like I'm second guessing anyone whom has seen your DS, but I have to say that I find the suggestions that the HV gave you a bit odd; that you should say 'I wonder where your shoes are" in preference to 'where are your shoes?'
At 24 months, my DD had only a few words. She didn't understand a direct question like 'where are your shoes';so not a chance that she would have responded to 'I wonder where your shoes are'. I can see how this approach might work with some children, but it's not what I would automatically do with a child with language delay. The way my DD acquired language was for me to entirely cut my language down to the most basic level. I would have just said 'shoes' and pointed. Any other words were just background noise to my DD. I'm Not saying for one minute that your DS has ASD, but the most helpful book we used was Hanen 'More than Words' - it is aimed for DC with ASD. The communication techniques are great, and are so helpful for DC that are slow to acquire language, even if they don't have ASD.
That's the another great thing I learned from here; a delay is not a halt.Our DC do make progress, albeit if slower than expected.
I just wish I could find a cure for my insomnia! All the best to you and your DS

Someone may have said it earlier, but a hearing test can be for a range of sounds. I have no concerns for my daughter, because she seem to be able to hear fine. Then someone somewhere pointed out it could be different sort of sounds, I understood it comparabel to colour blindness?
Marchduck, I looked for th Hanen book on Amazon, it was well over £50. (But having written that down, I think now it could be a really good investment.)
Anyone finding their child just annoyed when you are trying to teach them signing? She seem to think, I can get my point across just fine-don't pester me.

confusedofengland Sun 18-Aug-13 07:58:22

turbo I got my copy of Hanen from the local library. When I get a moment I thought I could scan in the relevant bits, so it's on my laptop.

riojabotherer Sun 18-Aug-13 09:39:47

turbo Mine definitely finds all attempts to make him speak or sign quite annoying. It's as if he's trying to tell me that he's ok as he is, thanks. He can make himself understood really easily by pointing and gesturing. I do wonder if he's stubborn and not yet ready to speak, but his sounds are definitely progressing week on week.

marchduck the not asking questions thing came from some notes the HV gave me from a program called Reduce Pressure to Speak (probably some course or other she's been on). I don't think it's going to help in our case because he comprehends instructions like 'X, can you go and get your blue shoes'. Whether he understands the whole thing, or just filters 'where' and 'shoes', I don't know. Might help with children who aren't speaking because they feel under pressure to do so - I guess if parents have constantly been asking 'Can you say xyz', then it would be a good bit of education. I've completely stopped asking stuff like that, because it's met simply with a shake of the head.

Sophj100@ I've never heard of a developmental paediatrician, but I like the sound of it. Another good tip - thank you!

I sound like a loon, but I bought some straws yesterday to try to encourage him to pucker up. When he blows or sucks it's never with pursed lips, so, armchair paediatrician that I am, I wondered if that may be hindering his progress.

zzzzz is dead right about this being a lovely place, and I love that so many MNers are chipping in on this thread. I know I'm finding it invaluable.

sophj100 Sun 18-Aug-13 09:48:50

The Developmental Paediatrician is a vital resource as their knowledge covers a range of issues and they should spot any delay in any particular part of the child's development. Various tasks & questions, together with your input on how they are at home (as they will always behave differently during assessment), combines to give them a good picture of them as a whole.

Good luck with your investigations - remember, knowledge is not only power but it's a great source of comfort in giving you the control back. x

chocnomore Sun 18-Aug-13 09:52:22

turbo you can get More Than Words for £35

hazeyjane Sun 18-Aug-13 10:40:47

drinking through straws is great. Add in some bubbles, party blowers and a kazoo, all great for oro motor skills!

Thanks choc, will either get it or go to library smile

riojabotherer Sun 18-Aug-13 20:12:43

Ugh, does anyone else sometimes find this all-consuming? The HV told me to step back a bit and relax, but it's so hard to take that advice.

Also, more and more often I think he does say something, but then wonder if it's just that I'm waiting for it. Like today we walked past a lawnmower (sounds random, but he knows the word), he pointed I heard 'lor-mo'...or did I? Aaah!

chocnomore Sun 18-Aug-13 21:40:11

your HV sounds utterly useless. But you don't need her. just sideline the HV and self refer to SALT.

my HV was just as useless. I completely cut her out and sorted everything via self referral and GP (referal to dev paed).

clare40 Sun 18-Aug-13 21:40:31

This post has made me take action. My ds is 22 months and has said a couple of words, but rarely and not consistently. He also doesn't make a lot of sounds and rarely babbles. He does engage beautifully though and follows instructions. Anyway, I have had enough of people telling me to wait and I'm booking a private SALT tomorrow. (I was told it takes 4 months to get an appt. through the nhs and I just don't want to wait that long.)

sophj100 Sun 18-Aug-13 22:04:34

Clare - a mother's instinct is not to be challenged - trust your feelings and if it all turns out to be nothing, you can still be reassured that you were simply acting in their best interest and for your own peace of mind.

There are good arguments for both sides - yes, children do all develop at different times and at their own pace, however, waiting would not help you and your anxiety. I'm always glad I acted on my instincts, despite being told to wait and see. Good luck x

riojabotherer Sun 18-Aug-13 23:15:15

Here's another very interesting speech delay thread with some great tips from a SALT

zzzzz Sun 18-Aug-13 23:22:07

I would step back a little from the HV. Self refer to the medical professionals you want to see. You can always back off later if things resolve.

For those concidering private assessment, it's a good idea to get on the lists and go through the motions with the NHS too.

2boysnamedR Mon 19-Aug-13 00:22:50

Yes it's all consuming. Some days it is just that but then you also get to stand back at the end.

No one can say how it's going to turn out for any of our kids in truth. But I do not listen to my hv much any more.

For the last four years I have been screaming at anyone that my son wasn't quite right. Hv said he was fine. Now at almost six I find out he has dyspraxia. So he has a disability which effects his body and mind. How much more wrong could she be? She still tells me 'see I told you he was fine!' While is academically at the level if a nursary child and can't hop or balance etc.

My hv is still telling me that my 17 month old baby how neither walks talks, points, pretend play or lifts arms to be picked up is also fine. I can rest easy that I'm just over thinking it. My disabled ( less abled) child is in relatity ok.

Worse case scenario I know but I don't need a nursing degree to see I was right to by pass my hv all those years ago. I am sure if I listened to her I would be in a shock with my son in year one when the school would raised concerns and I was beginning this journey four years to late.

But I really don't trust anyone where my son is concerned. Only I have his best interests at heart.

sophj100 Mon 19-Aug-13 12:18:24

I had one visit to my HV, when my son was 18 months and voiced my concern at the lack of dialogue but all she had to say was, he is a bit short of the average number of words but don't worry, they all develop at different times. I never went back.

I requested referral from my GP, after extensive research on the internet and had a hearing test, SALT assessment and Developmental Paediatric assessment, all at my bequest. My husband and my in-laws both said not to over-react and wait to see. I didn't.

Go with your gut instinct and tell them what you want done as you know them better than anyone.

farlowz Mon 19-Aug-13 16:04:44

Have to agree with everyone else, go with your instinct. We did with our DD when at 8 months she wasn't doing things she should have been doing. She has since been diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay and we have a range of support, including SALT as she doesn't talk yet (or sit or walk or feed herself)
What I would recommend however as the waiting lists can be long is makaton signing, this isn't for deaf children, as it is used in conjunction with speech and it can really help them to both develop their speech and communicate with you whilst it is developing. I have 2yr old twin daughters and started it around 18 months. My one daughter signs superbly now and her speech is brilliant. My other daughter has started using simple signs such as more, and on her 2nd birthday last Saturday was able to "talk" to me by showing me which game she wanted to play and using the more sign.
If you can find a group in your local area it is well worth attending or you can learn it from watching and copying "mr. Tumble" on ceebeebies and through the brilliant dads that singing hands sell where they sing nursery rhymes and sign along with them. Both my girls are addicted!
Good luck!

farlowz Mon 19-Aug-13 16:05:43

See dvds not dad's! Oops!

Loopytiles Wed 21-Aug-13 12:44:08

Right, finally managed to find those notes bht posting from phone so may go wrong!

Tips for early-stage talking (one to two words)

Speak to her using only one or two words, repeated again (and again and again and again, five or ten times at once), e.g. “shoes”, “up”.

30 minutes (or as much as you can manage) one-to-one, uninterupted playtime every day.Undivided attention. Selection of different toys / books (with lots of space) around room, let her lead.Sit on the floor near her, follow her.Include noise-making toys. Show her what makes noises (e.g. tap on things, knock).

Follow her attention and talk about the things she’s interested in. Work out her focus / thoughts. Follow her gaze / moves.Comments on things she’s focusing on (adds to the fun for her and helps her to learn).E.g. name objects she points at, make it do something.

Repetition of simple words / names / phrases.Short, simple sentences (“here’s dolly”, “let’s get car”), lots of repetition of same word, e.g. “it’s the ball, ball’s rolling”.Labelling games, e.g. “Dolly’s nose, dolly’s legs, dolly’s feet”.

Speak slowly, louder than normal, lots of tune in voice, slight emphasis on the main word.Point to things when you name them.

Running commentary on things she’s doing / interested in (in v simple words).Don’t worry if seems not to be listening.The more closely your commentary relates to what is in her mind at that moment, the more likely she is to listen and learn.

Make play sounds to go with things that happen,e.g. “choo choo”, “brrm” “splish splash”, “crash”, “miaow”, “moo”. As she plays.

Say her sounds / words back to her. (Might develop into taking turns to “chat” in babble).

Respond to what she means (however she tells you – she may use gestures, noises, body language). Repeat what she means back to her – show her you understand what she’s telling you.

Wait before giving her things.Pause – don’t give her everything straight away – pause to see if she’ll ask for it with words or noise!Younger children in the family often don’t have to verbalise their needs, since their parents and siblings are alert to their needs and run around after them.  So sometimes good to be bit less responsive!

Good games / things to do:Rhymes, action rhymes, finger/toe rhymes.Turn-taking, e.g. hiding, peepo, chasing, clapping hands.

Name and repeat things / phrases during daily routines, e.g. “shoes off, coat off”, “nappy, wipes”, “oops”, “wash face, wash hands”.

Words during games, e.g. “mummy jump,  daddy jump, sally jump”Give her a little bit, e.g. milk, then say “more”? then pause.  (She may say “more” or make a noise). But if not, just give her it anyway.“Ready, steady, go”, “all fall down” during games. After she’s got used to the phrase, pause at “go” (she may say it or make a noise).

Simple instructions, e.g. “give to daddy”, “get shoes”, “up up”, “help tidy”.

Show her and name things.

Action words (eat, sleep, drink, shout, jump, run)

Things not to do (don’ts)

Questions. Don’t ask questions (which are really tests: toddlers know this). Gives them the problem of trying to figure out an answer. Interferes with listening and causes stress.OK to seek information (e.g. “do you want some milk?”). But should not seek answers / words (e.g. “what’s this?”)OK to ask her to point to things, e.g. pictures in books, objects, but not too often.

Don’t direct her (e.g. by trying to get her to do / play with / look at things of your choice).Directions mean she has to decide whether to comply. Jarring.

Don’t impose your agenda (e.g. to show her a new toy)Avoid “look at this”, “here, Josie”, “what’s this?” Interupting her thoughts / actions.

Don’t overtly try to make her talk.Don’t ask her to say or copy words or sounds.E.g. “say bye bye to Grandad”, “say mama”. Too much pressure., makes self-conscious.

Over-enthusiasm when she talks

.Negative speech/commands, e.g. “no,” “don’t touch”, “stop that”, “get off”.Want to give the message that voice is fun to listen to.Instead of using these words, when possible intercept / move her physically / distract her.

Don’t correct her speech. (But OK to repeat back in confirmation, correctly).

Things in environment that are not ideal:Computer / ipad.TV for more than 30 minutes a day.Background noise (radio, music).

Notes Hard for toddlers to “tune out” background sound – this skill needs nurturing with practice in quiet conditions.  Learn most during short, one-to-one sessions. When out and about or with other children there're too many distractions.

Pointing / gestures / sounds may indicate different wants, e.g. she might want to know the word for an object, to play with it, have a song (e.g. igglepiggle).

Some words might disappear for long periods of time.

Can’t concentrate for long, but occasionally may have spells of intense concentration on things of her choice.

Can extend from one to two words, to three/four and sentences by repeating what she says back to her and adding to it, e.g. she says "want milk", could say "I'm thirsty, want some milk please", she says "play outside", could say "I play on the slide outside".

Instead of asking Qs model what she should say, e.g. "I want milk", "I had nice day", "I fell down" (instead of "want some milk? did you have a nice day? Poor you) (this seems odd to begin with, felt like an idiot doing it, but really worked for me!)

riojabotherer Wed 21-Aug-13 16:28:28

Loopy you rock. Can't wait to try these tips. Hope all is well with you smile

Loopytiles Wed 21-Aug-13 21:23:57

Ah thanks riojabotherer, great name by the way, hope some of the things are useful.

Hei Loopy, hope you don't mind I'm copying your tips too!

riojabotherer Sun 01-Sep-13 07:35:43

Hi all, hope everyone is doing well.

Thought I'd update, as we had an assessment with a private SALT a few days ago. I just couldn't lose any more sleep over all this.

She spent an hour with us observing and discussing his personality and concluded that he is going to speak when he's ready. She thought he might be skipping single words because some children think in concepts, so often don't have the words for what they want to tell you. These are the kids who come out with sentences or complex words out of the blue.

She was pleased with his communication, listening, interaction etc.

We will go back next month to check in, but her advice was to keep going just as we are. I'm happy.

IcedCoffeeQueen Sun 01-Sep-13 09:46:19

Just came across this thread usually on this forum for ds1 but I posted in behaviour the other day about ds2, he will be 2 next month and can only say mummy, daddy (when going about his business not for us) car, hiya and me. Other than this he makes an 'mmm' sound all the time like he is acknowledging us, he doesn't know any animal noises or sound effects etc. He points although rarely and gets what he wants by crying, hitting himself or us, if he wants juice he bangs his cup off me making an 'mmm' noise
Ds is generally a happy smiley little boy who mimics us all the time, likes fiddling with toys and watching tv or getting into everything! but gets frustrated very easily.
Im starting to worry that im so invested in ds1 who is 7 and awaiting dx that ive taken my eye off ds2, although ds2 is very different than ds1 was at this age the speech thing is starting to concern me.

Will be taking on board all the tips above

riojabotherer Mon 02-Sep-13 15:34:33

Hi Iced, this continues to be a really useful thread for me, not just for the great advice but also for having a good old rant.

Glad you found it, and hope you find the info as useful as I have!

2boysnamedR Mon 02-Sep-13 22:38:19

Glad it all went ok with the private salt! Did you still put your name down to go on the nhs waiting list?

confusedofengland Wed 04-Sep-13 10:04:55

Rioja glad things went well with SALT

Hi Iced always nice to meet somebody else in a similar position.

I am pleased to report that I already have NHS SALT appointments through for DS2, to start on Monday for 5 weeks! Considering I only asked for referral at his 2-year check in April, I think that is pretty quick! Also need to badger HV for free nursery sessions.

As for DS himself, I feel he is coming on. He has 2 new words 'Daddy' and 'Na' (no). But, in the last few weeks, he has started pointing at everything in sight/sound, usually saying ah-ah, whether it's a plane or dog etc. He also now points loads when he wants something. He didn't really point at all till about 26 months, preferring to use outstretched hand & then for asking usually, so I'm pleased with this development (although I recognise it is slow to come). He is also 'talking' lots using the right number of syllables & tone of voice, but not words. Eg he will say ah-aah-ah in the same singsong tone I use for 'where are you?' if I ask him to look for somebody. And yesterday, when he wanted me to tickle him, he made the noise I do for 'here I come' again in a silly tone. There are loads more examples like this. I don't know, but this feels positive to me.

The report we got from the SALT said that she feels that as he was late doing everything (crawling 12 months, walking 17.5 months, self-feeding 18 months, clapping/waving 18 months) that she feels he is just a child who is slow to do things, but she wants to carry on seeing him to get more of a feel for who he is & any other issues IYSWIM.

We are currently watching the 'Oxbridge Baby Learn to Talk' dvd before we head out to story & rhyme time at the library. DS is engrossed, even though it is rather babyish! He is making loads of noises, although no words.

I also feel that when DS1 starts school full-time (week after next, he is starting on half days) I will be able to give DS2 a lot more one-to-one attention & this should hopefully help.

Anyway, that's all from me, hope everybody else is doing OK.

ifyourhappyandyouknowitflapyou Wed 04-Sep-13 13:24:57

My son didn't speak at that age and nobody was ever concerned , my first child so why would I be ? He only started talking recently in the last year he's 4 in January and been referred for an ASD assesment like the others said hopefully he will come on by the time you see them =) x

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