My youngest son turns 3 in a month and has only started to say more than just 'no', 'car' and 'more' in the last few months. He understands everything and has no apparent hearing problems. He is otherwise a very healthy and happy little boy.
Over the past few months he has shown more interest in trying to say different words, rather than just communicating (successfully!) using gestures, expressions, noises and 'bop' (for any word he can't/won't say). But he still doesn't say many/any consonants so it is very difficult for anyone to understand him easily (even as parents we still struggle at times).
He has one older sibling (almost 5 yrs) who has a tendency to 'translate' for him - we have tried to discourage this to give him a chance to talk for himself - and now that my older son has started school, my younger son doesn't have his translator on hand every day!
He has been to day care/nursery for 2 days/week for much of this year to help him socialise and use speech in a non-home setting.
We try to encourage him to talk more clearly by asking him to say things properly or repeat them after us eg before he can have things, when playing games, reading books, talking about things etc
Should I be worried? Should I see my GP and get a referral into a speech therapist or should I wait til he's 3 and a half years and see how it's improved?
Does anyone have any suggestions for things we can do at home to help him?
You should chat to HV who have responsibility for screening for speech problems and would the person to refer him for SLT. He does sound delayed, but don't despair, he probably just needs a bit of focused help in getting his speech sounds out. It's a terrific sign that he understands everything. Just might need some help with getting the sounds out right. A proper SLT assessment would help you understand better what he needs, and would give you good tips how to help him.
You could get a single one-off SLT assessment privately, in mean time, to give you a snapshot of where he's at & even some basic exercises to do.
Your son sounds exactly the same as mine, complete with same age sibling who translates. My ds went to SALT in July, has been given lots of practice exercises, and is supposed to see them again next month. It has helped a little, but he has a long way to go. I'd get your referral done for him now if I were you, so that he doesn't pick up lazy habits and has to relearn words. It gets harder as they get older.