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2 year old with speech difficulties - worrying myself sick

(11 Posts)
hbird1976 Sat 02-Nov-13 21:18:39

Hi everyone. This is my first post on Mumsnet although I have lurked for a while and I really need some advice.

My 22 month old daughter was seen in September by an NHS speech therapist after I referred her myself, and was diagnosed with expressive language disorder/delay and speech delay/disorder. She will be seen again in November but has made little progress. The only words she can say is 'gone' and, strangely 'ee-i-ee-i-o' from the Old Macdonald song. She shows no interest in trying to repeat words that we say no matter how hard we try and, to be honest, if we push her too much to try and say something she growls at us in anger! She communicates in many other ways, such as pointing, leading us to where she wants to go, placing our hand on objects she wants and she seems to understand everything we say. We can give her fairly complex commands such as 'go and get that tissue and put it in the bin' and she will oblige.

I feel like an absolutely dreadful mother as I can't help but think that it is my fault that she is not speaking. I thought I was doing everything right. I became a stay at home mom after years of infertility and miscarriages to try and give her the best start in life. I take her to a baby class of some sort every day so she has lots of opportunities to socialise (although she's not yet very good at sharing and can't talk to any other children). I talk to her all day long, we read about 5 books a day, we visit aunties, grandparents, great-grandparents on a daily basis so she has many other people talking to her as well.

I am a qualified early years teacher which only makes me feel like more of a failure as I can't help my own child. I honestly do not know what more I can do to help her and I feel so frustrated. I spent all last night awake in tears as I did too much 'googling' and am now worried that her life will be blighted forever, that she will always be behind her peers, struggle in school etc. I am also worried about autism although she has no other signs apart from the speech delay. Deep down I can't help but wonder if there is something wrong with her that has been missed and that it is my fault as our infertility was nature's way of telling us we shouldn't have children.

Anyway, I am planning on going to the doctors on Monday and trying to get her referred to the hospital for a check up as she is still dribbling quite a lot which worries me. If that is all clear then I am planning to try private weekly speech and language therapy.

Any advice/experiences would be very gratefully received. Thank you.

Peppapigisnotmyname Sat 02-Nov-13 22:04:51

Hi, my heart goes out to you, you're beating yourself up over this and you shouldn't be!

My story is similar to yours. My DS was the result of IVF and I stayed at home with him as I wanted to be there for him. Everything was great until he got to about 18 months old and he became very detached. He could speak a bit but wouldn't. I used to go to the library, bookshop etc to try to find the book that could get through to him - I never did. I felt like a terrible mother, all his peers were speaking, but he just didn't. My DH said 'what do you do with him all day?' I took him to the GP - got fobbed off. He started preschool and they agreed with me - something was amiss. He didn't actually speak until he was about 5 and even then it was a lot of echoalia. It took a while, a rocky road, but he was eventually diagnosed with ASD. I went from feeling the worst mother in the world to being a saint for getting as far as I did with him with no support.

I worried about his future - I still do but who doesn't? We got all the support we needed in school, SEN etc. He's nine now. He never stops talking, he's shy, sensitive and finds it hard to make friends. He's doing great in swimming, has tennis lessons, and has just got his blue belt in karate. He's of above average intelligence and is doing better than many of his peers academically. Don't get me wrong, we still have problems but when he was at the stage of your dd, I terrified of what would happen. I never thought we'd be where we are now smile

All children develop at different stages. You're right to push to get her assessed and don't be fobbed off as I was - insist. The one thing that was constantly said to me was 'early intervention is key' and that has proved to be the case for my DS. Remember, perhaps it's nothing - I've seen lots of children with odd behaviours but it passes and it was nothing. But it won't harm her to get her assessed, it can only help. Please, please, though don't be so hard on yourself. Sounds like your doing all the right things, hang in there.

PJ67 Sat 02-Nov-13 22:12:12

She sounds absolutely fine to me. She's understanding a lot and communicTing with you in her own way which is the main thing. I've read loads of posts on here about children who weren't talking at 2 then their speech took off rapidly after that.

WithConfidence Sat 02-Nov-13 22:27:59

My son had speech delay at 2 and by 2.5 Speech and Language Therapist said he was within normal for his age. 3.4 now, his pronounciation is a bit poor but his vocabulary and interest in communicating is very strong (I have once recently asked him to just stop talking, which I swore I never would!). He also said E-I-E-I-O very early too, I wonder if that is an easy thing to pick up.

Have you had her hearing tested? Even a loss of some frequency can mean they are missing out hearing how to say some parts of words.

I wanted to pass on some advice I got from SALT, do not try and push her to speak at all - without trying to make you feel rubbish that may be part of the problem. And any form of communication is to be encouraged, leading, placing hands etc is all good progress as it shows an understanding of getting what is in her head into yours.

If she points at the place where cups are kept for a drink, say 'Milk?' holding out one hand or 'water?' holding out the other. She points to one hand and you repeat the word, give her drink and repeat word again. Its a slow process but you should see improvement.

Reading is great, especially simple books you can just look through and say 'dog' 'moon' etc.

Once they do more single words you can lead to two word sentances by saying 'mummy's shoe', 'brown dog', 'light off' etc etc. If she can say 'Gone' use it, 'Daddy gone' while waving, 'grapes gone' when finishing her snack etc.

Mainly try not to worry, I've done the googling and it isn't always the case that it will be a huge problem.

hb1976 Sat 02-Nov-13 23:50:23

Thank you so much for all your supportive messages - you have no idea what they mean to me! I definitely will push to get her hearing checked as, although it doesn't seem to be an issue, you never know. I also intend to ask the doctor to check her mouth as she had great difficulty with breastfeeding and has always dribbled a lot.

I probably do push her a bit too hard to speak :-( particularly when I have a few bad days of worrying so I will try to stop doing that so much.

I have spent most of tonight watching videos about autism on youtube which, to be honest, have just made me more confused. What is normal 2 year old behaviour and what it not? For example, she has just discovered that she can click her high chair buckle in herself so has been doing that a lot over the last few days. Is this normal repetitive behaviour or not? I have only ever taught 2 children who had been diagnosed with autism and they were pretty severe (no eye contact whatsoever) so I don't really know what I'm looking for. It wouldn't have even crossed my mind if every website I read about speech delay didn't mention autism.

I'm also doubting myself about not sending her to nursery. I was intending to send her for a few mornings when she was 3 as all the research seems to suggest that this is a good age to start but now I am wondering whether being at nursery would force her into talking a bit more when she didn't have someone's undivided attention all day.

Ahhhhh, who knows!! I never knew parenting would be so hard. I had such high hopes and good intentions. It just seems like one long worry and guilt trip.

PeppaPig....it's so nice to hear that your son is doing so well :-)

Peppapigisnotmyname Sun 03-Nov-13 09:19:12

Please stop worrying. The chances are it's nothing. My hv told me most children in this age group display some autistic traits. My dd did!! It's a difficult age.

Stop googling it too. The internet is full of horror stories which are not representative of conditions such as autism. It will just scare you. Follow it up with your gp but try to enjoy her xx

chocnomore Sun 03-Nov-13 15:38:03

I think the fact that your Dd has 'only' delays in her ecpressive speech sounds encouraging (my Dd e.g. has also severe delays in understanding).

have you had a hearing test recently to rule out any underlying hearing issues such as glue ear. If not then this would be my next step (even though you think her hearing is fine).

if you are worried about ASD, then the M-Chat is a good
screening tool. you can do it online here:

chocnomore Sun 03-Nov-13 15:38:36
Geneticsbunny Sun 03-Nov-13 17:34:11

Sounds like you are a wonderful mum. You obviously love your daughter. Try to enjoy her and not to worry too much about the language thing. If her comprehension is good then that is half the battle won. Have you thought about trying makaton? It definitely helped my ds with his language.

hb1976 Sun 03-Nov-13 21:53:52

Thank you so much everyone! Such helpful advice and kind comments. I will be getting my daughter a doctor's appointment tomorrow to get referred to the hospital for a hearing test and also to check her mouth muscle tone as I now believe this is the issue (see my new thread). I have also booked a (very expensive :-( ) private speech and language assessment for tomorrow just to try and get a few more answers. Think I'm going to have to go and stand on a street corner soon to afford it all lol

Jellyandjam Mon 04-Nov-13 14:41:32

Hi. I really feel your pain and understand how you feel. I always suspected my son had issues with his speech but whenever I mentioned it to HV etc I was told 'he's a boy', 'he's a second child' etc especially as his understanding was fine. By the age of three he was still not saying much that could be understood but he had no problems following instructions or understanding. I asked his pre-school to refer him to SALT and he was finally seen by the time he was 4.1 years. He has a severe articulation disorder and so he found it hard to make the correct mouth shapes to make the sounds needed for some speech. We then moved areas and he had to go back onto the waiting list again for therapy and is now receiving individual therapy once a week and we have a private therapist once a week also. He is making really good progress and is doing well in school. I would definitely push just to get her seen as the earlier the better, my son is nearly five now and still very hard to understand. I could kick myself for not getting him seen earlier but I was told to wait, so I did. If there is no problem then you haven't lost anything by getting it checked out.
Most importantly don't blame yourself. I am also a teacher and went part time when he was born so I could spend more time with him. I have often questioned myself, but on asking one therapist about the reasons she told me that in many cases they just don't know what causes it, some children just find it harder to speak than others. Funnily enough my son also dribbled a lot as a baby/toddler. He suffered with silent reflux until he was 4 and the dribbling was part of this and I also think now looking back that it was a reason for him not talking for so long. Good Luck.

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