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Language development questions

(12 Posts)
JoinTheDots Tue 26-Mar-13 09:29:04

Hi all

I wanted to find out if this sounds familiar to any of you.

I went to see a speech and language therapist when DD was about 18 months to ask if her development was normal (was concerned about not being able to make loads of the sounds you need to be understood - they said it was all normal) and when you see them they write to your GP and to your HV, so I did not want to go back to the drop in unless my concerns have any validity as the GP and HV might start to think I am paranoid.

I am concerned about DD who is 2 years 7 months, as she seems to rely on a lot of stock phrases e.g. at breakfast if I ask her what she wants, she will always say Cheerios, even if when presented with them, she rejects them and steals my toast. It is like she has learnt that if she hears "what do you want for breakfast" the appropriate response is always "Cheerios" and so is not actually understanding the question. She repeats what we say to her a lot if asked a question (e.g. what are you doing DD is responded to with "What are you doing DD?"). She also repeats her favorite books and stories to herself while she plays, or when she is sat eating. I hear lines from books being mumbled to herself all the time.

However, she is able to start a conversation e.g. if she sees a cat, she will say "cat in the outside!" and point out of the window. Or will bring me toys and say "Play shopping list?". She also understands instructions, and will go and get her shoes and coat if asked, or show me where she has put something if I want her to.

Am I being paranoid? She used to be under the care of a developmental Paed when she was younger because of delayed development and I am probably looking a lot harder than most parents do at her development because she has previously been investigated.

Anyone think the above is familiar?

firawla Tue 26-Mar-13 09:49:45

The not understanding the questions, and repeating things back to you would worry me a bit. I would just go back and see someone, it's not paranoid and even if you were, she's been under developmental paed before so it would be understandable.

SJisontheway Tue 26-Mar-13 09:55:33

I wouldn't worry too much about the cheerios response. I think its fairly typicaltoddler behaviour to ask for something and then reject it. At least all of mine did similar. Not sure about the repeating.
I wouldn't worry about looking paranoid. If you have concerns, you should have them addressed.

JoinTheDots Tue 26-Mar-13 09:58:20

I forgot to say, she also refers to herself as "you". She used to refer to herself in the third person, which I understand is normal of young children, but I was modeling pronouns for her, so saying "do you want something to drink?" and she will now say "you want some drink" meaning I want some drink. Is that also something to mention when I go back to the speech and language therapist, or is that something other children do for a while before they get the hang of pronouns?

Thanks Firawla, by the way, makes me feel a little less like a paranoid mum.

gourd Tue 26-Mar-13 11:43:15

At least yours is actually using words! Our 2.5 yo is exactly the opposite in some ways- seems to understand everything, will follow really specific and detailed instructions, enjoys long stories with few pictures (Old Bear stories by Jane Hissey for bedtime and The Brothers Grimm, The Golder Bird is a favourite at the moment). She seems to be able to actually count (if you draw dots on paper, she knows how many up to 6 at least), recognises some number shapes and letters and sounds them out ect but will not talk! She can dress herself more or less fully, and will sit and play the game of ladybirds with us, taking turns nicely (game involving dice, cards and number recognition), will sit and do 30-50 peice jogsaws for 2-30 minutes by herself, recognises many shapes and has started to draw faces and people that actually look like something (dots for eyes and nose, circle for head, and stick-legs etc). She has recently come on loads physically with balancing on one foot without holding on, jumping, rolling over (forward rolls) and hopping etc so we've no convcerns there. She will even tell me that for example that oil comes from sunflower seeds and that birds eat seeds (making connections and proper conversations) but this is with no or little actual words - she mimes/makes animal noises/drinking/eating noises etc but does not talk much at all. We are really concerned now as she was 'talking' aged 18 months but seems not to have developed much further than that since then. Names for colours are indistinct, although she does use the exact same sounds for each colour every time so she is trying and we do understand exactly what she is saying. She isnt actually saying blue green etc though, but 'boo' for blue and 'dee' for green which doesn't even sound very like green. She says 'bur-bur' for purple and 'reh' (no 'd' sound) for red. She doesn't use any any phrases, only single words and very few of those, yet she is able to understand when we are talking about what we may do at the weekend for example and will tell us she wants to have ice cream and watch the steam trains but doesnt want to go to the park etc, so seems to understand everything we say and yet has very, very limited speech. I am frustrated by her lack of speech - for ages we werent too worrieda dn just though it;d come, but it hasn't and now she is way behind the expecetd norms. She doesnt seem to want to talk and just shouts 'Nooo!' if we ask her to tell us/use words, or ask, Can you say? etc. She occasionally repeats back to us when we sound a word out slowly but not very often, she mostly laughs at us when we do this so we fell really silly! We were referred to SALT in Jan but were told waiting list is 4 months so hope first appointment will come through soon. Just hope they have some ideas that will work as all the tips I've read about and tried havenl;t made any difference!

gourd Tue 26-Mar-13 11:45:13

Referring to self as third party thing or getting you/I mixed up is v common - I recall my neice doing that till she was at least 3.5 yet she has always been top of her class in everything at school so it hasnt held her back!

firawla Tue 26-Mar-13 12:50:52

jointhedots when you speak to SLT the main thing I would emphasise would be the echolalia (repeating the q back, and repeating the lines back is echolalia too but delayed) and also having memorised stock answer to questions but tell them everything. maybe write yourself a list before you go otherwise you end up forgetting points you wanted to mention! (well i do anyway!)

gourd have you googled about verbal dyspraxia or speech disorders rather than speech delay? cos it seems like her actual range of sounds is not inline with her understanding of language & desire to communicate, presuming they have already done a hearing test and ruled that out?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 26-Mar-13 13:01:02

OP what your DD is doing is called Echolalia. Both immediate echolalia and delayed echolalia by the sound of it.

It can be a normal phase in language development and should subside soon...if she gets "stuck" in the phase then SALT needs to help her get out if it. In your shoes I would be going to the HV or GP and asking for a referral to SALT as soon as possible.

equiliteral Tue 26-Mar-13 13:13:25

My DS1, although he spoke early and had a very wide vocabulary, had consistently reversed pronouns (I and you the wrong way round), echoed back questions to me (e.g "do you want a drink?" would be answered with "you want a drink.") and generally had quite a lot of echolalia in his speech at that age (ie repeating phrases from HV shows and books in his play). He did clearly understand everything, however. His nursery assured me that this was normal, however I was worried; when I looked into it what I found was that these speech patterns are often present in children with ASD, and that the advice seemed to be that in children without ASD or a language disorder, these things should have stopped by age 3. Lo and behold, DS did completely sort out his pronouns and the echolalia all but stopped when he was around 2.11. He is 4 and a half now, his speech is normal. To be honest I couldn't completely rule out him being somewhere at the edge of the spectrum, but on balance i think he probably isnt- he is a little quirky but very very bright, and overall is doing well.

I would keep an eye on her and seek professional advice if her speech issues haven't resolved themselves by her third birthday.

gourd Tue 26-Mar-13 13:34:59

firawla - thanks for that no hadn’t really thought about the things you mentioned. I do know that neither myself nor my Father talked till we were about 3 but It didn’t stop us both being able to read and write several years before we went to school - I basically only stared to talk at the same time as reading and writing (aged 3) as did my Dad so I cant help wondering if it's just the way we are in our family but back then no-one worried about it..
At what point do you start to think there is something wrong and it's not just that they can't be bothered/don’t want to? Hearing tests appeared fine though DD was not cooperative as they only had some baby’s stacking rings for her to play with sop she wasn’t interested in those. She was hungry as she didn’t not get up in time for breakfast before the appointment (she likes to play for an hour before she eats breakfast and partner let her sleep in then took her to the appointment - he did try to get her to have something to eat but she doesn’t till she’s been up a while) so half way thrugyh the tests she started to get a bit grumpy and tearful as she was hungry. She also doesn’t watch TV (neither do we) so had little interest in the screen images they made appear when the sounds came. She wanted a book or something to do and was getting really fed up being couped up in a tiny room with people she didn’t know, no toys or books and no food, so they didn’t finish the tests. She appears to hear horses approaching round the corner or the tractor or other animals coming etc well before we hear them (and tell us they are coming) and certainly well before we see them, so doubt anything is wrong with her hearing - or at least, it appears to be better than mine and my partner's but without the full hearing test results I guess we will never know.

gourd Tue 26-Mar-13 13:47:21

Hmm having looked at the verbal dyspraxia signs - yes it could be that. There are a couple or things that dont apply though - She's definitely never had any feeding difficulties - the child is HUGE! 98th centile. She always had very very good gross and fine motor skills too- was self feeding solid food at 21 weeks (she wanted to and was sitting up by herself and using her hands to grab food and seemed to chew it ok so we just let her do the BLW thing). She has been able to thread small beads on shirring eleastic or string etc since 18 months old so always been very good with her hands. All the other signs of Verbal dyspraxia are spot on though. The family history thing - well I've never thought of myself as being verbally dyspraxic! God, no, I always got prizes at school both for speaking and doing presentations and for creative and essay wrting skills but yes I was 'late' starting to talk by today's standards so we might be onto something here..
OP yours does sound like a different type of speech delay. but I'm sure a good SALT would know what to look for and how to help. I just hope you dont have to wait 4 months+ like us just to see someone for an assessment. :- (

JoinTheDots Tue 26-Mar-13 14:10:24

Thank you all

I will go back to the drop in next time it is running in the childrens centre (I think it will be mid April as I missed the March one and its once a month) and see what they say. If they also suggest this is normal but should have gone by the time DD is 3, I shall just watch and wait.

I hope your DD decides to talk soon Gourd!

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