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26 month old doesn't really speak, rarely responds to name & won't listen

(23 Posts)
Rasell Fri 06-Feb-15 21:49:35

Apologies as this may be a long post, but I'm not sure how concerned I should be about my LO. He's got a big brother & we're a bilingual family which are the reasons I thought he was a bit behind. He has always been a happy, smiley little boy who started walking at 10 months and has been extremely active ever since!
He's never really lets me read to him, just wants to turn the pages/do any actions in the book but has no interest in the content.
He has decent eye contact, but only when he wants. I find it impossible to catch his attention long enough to teach him face/body parts, so he still doesn't know any (used to point at eyes but no more).
He likes music but won't sit or pay any attention to nursery rhymes (does like row your boat/inch winch & wheels on the bus).
He likes animals & animal sound books & wants to touch them but has never made an animal sound (used to do chicken arms but no more).
He constantly does the things he's told not to do, looking straight at me & smiling. Sometimes he'll do it loudly then stop & run away when I come close.
His only word was 'mum' from around 18 months, but hasn't said it for ages. When he wants to says 'bye' with a wave and has very recently started saying 'ok', 'hiya' and possibly another couple of words but not clear enough to be sure.
He imitates 'shh' with finger on mouth, loves hiding & jumping out (doing it & being jumped out on), chase, cuddles, tickling, babbling to you, touching your face, watching the TV shows/movies he likes, playing with lots of toys, stacking, lining up & organising, marking with crayons & squishing playdoh, sand & water, but often seems to play a bit differently to other toddlers.
He rarely shows any response at all to his name being called or other noises, but does sometimes. We had his hearing checked a few months ago & it was fine.
We realised at around 18 months that although he seemed perfectly bright & well, he wasn't talking or listening as he possibly should be so took him to gp to be on safe side. Paediatrician visit, hearing test & speech therapist assessment later we're waiting on further appointments in april & he now goes to preschool couple of times a week to encourage speech. Preschool are concerned as he doesn't listen or have much eye contact with them at all, eats very little and climbs on tables/touches plug sockets/ does dangerous things. He shows interest in few of the things they try with him, as he's too busy running around doing what he wants.
When I say he shows little interest I don't mean he's lethargic & disinterested, but he's so busy doing his own thing he won't stop for you or pay you any attention.
He's also a very fussy eater (no fuss, just won't eat it) and alternately sleeps through or wakes up for hours in the middle of the night, full of beans.
It always takes him ages to fall asleep, after much kicking about, babbling & laughing in bed (luckily not often disturbing other son who shares room, poor little thing!).
As I said, we still have appointments with specialists but April seems a long way away. One minute I think he's fine, the next I'm worried about all sorts of issues.
Does this sound familiar to anyone who can advise me? Does it sound like there's something wrong, or will it just all fall into place soon?
Thank you for reading & any helpful advice you can give!

VLou77 Fri 06-Feb-15 22:01:19

He sounds like a very typical 2 year old.
When you say he's a very fussy eater, what exactly does he eat?

RonaldMcFartNuggets Fri 06-Feb-15 22:09:07

He sounds like my ds who is 2 but he's under paed watch at the moment. I'm hoping he's just going through a mad active stage, but yes it sounds v similar

OhMittens Fri 06-Feb-15 22:35:09

Possibly he's just a bright, high-energy child? The speech thing could be completely seperate so don't necessarily put it together. Did you have a two year check, if not, have you got a health visitor you can ask to see to give him a basic assessment (eg excercises like threading beads, stacking blocks, copying drawing lines and circles, pointing to pictures as requested, type things). How does he interact with your eldest son? Do they giggle together, play together?
Take a breath. There's lots of good stuff there in your post. Some children just are a bit different in the way they develop (I think), you know how you get all different types in an office? I bet they were all very different as toddlers & kids too. Try not to worry (yes, I know). You don't have to deal with the future today. Worry about April in April. In the meantime, read up on toddler development, get some ideas and inspiration together, maybe buy (or draw) some pictures of eyes and body parts to blu-tack to his wall, or get a doll and a doll bath so you can pretend to wash and dress the doll, "now I am drying her HAND, look at her little HAND, now I am drying her FEET, tickle FEET" etcetc. (LOTS of repetition of key simple words and he doesn't have to join in directly but just keep on playing near him). Check out My Toddler Talks - it's very good, with lots of simple ideas to encourage speech and play.
It'll be OK smile

BarbarianMum Sat 07-Feb-15 03:52:56

In all honesty, having read your OP carefully I can see a few 'red flags' for autistic spectrum disorder (asd). If you want to, you could google Autism UK or the M-CHAT test and see if anything seems to fit.

I'm not a paediatrician by the way so in no position to diagnose anyone. So it may not be asd at all. And if it is it will still be OK, just maybe a little different smile

The special needs boards here are very good should you ever need them. Wishing you and your son all the best

Rasell Sat 07-Feb-15 07:08:00

Thank you all for your replies!
He did have 2 year check, and he started doing things he was asked but didn't complete any; changed half way through task to play as he wished. Results were to seek further help for speech & language & cognitive skills. Nurse knew we already were.
He loves playing with his brother & they do laugh together! They play with trains, run & chase each other, he sits or lays with his bro to watch him play games on tablet, cuddle each other, he sometimes listens to & tries to talk to him & finds him in hide & seek.
He eats peanut butter, cream cheese, eggs, fish fingers, ricecrispies, bananas, meatballs (the only way I can get any veg into him), bread, raisins, strawberries, bread sticks & anything crunchy like that. No potatoes, rice, pasta, veg or other fruit, or meat or fish this isn't in a meatball/sausage shape or in breadcrumbs. He has Aptamil 2-3 morning & evening & a multivitamin & mineral.
I've looked on special need forums, but not seen anything comparable to him.
Great advice about body parts & doll, etc!
Will try some new things & not stress!
Good luck, Ronaldmcfartnuggets! Great name by the way!

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 07-Feb-15 07:16:04

I know the waiting is hard.

I don't think anyone can say just from reading here.

If preschool have concerns and you do it is right that you are going through the assessment process.

I hope it out for you smile

Rasell Sat 07-Feb-15 07:20:01

Thanks :-)
Have just put post on special needs section, too.
It's not the end of the world, either way, is it?!
Fingers crossed all our little monkeys grow up fit, well, healthy & happy! Xxxx

Dressingdown1 Sat 07-Feb-15 07:46:38

My dgs was exactly like this at the same age. He is also growing up in a bilingual family, but lives abroad, in a country where there is very little specialist care available.
We took him to a private specialist in UK at 28 months and were told he didn't seem to have asd but may have add.

Since then he has been going to kindergarten full time in his home town, and is progressing very well. He now speaks his first language well, though he is less advanced in English. He plays well at kindergarten and with his older sister. He is now 3.9 years. He is out of nappies and starting to join in more with the family. I don't see him very often (7,000 miles away) but ds reports that although dgs still seems to be a little behind where his sister was at the same age, he is developing quickly.

Hopefully your ds will be fine, and you are obviously doing all the right things to help him.

WinkyOrSmiley Sat 07-Feb-15 08:27:27

In many ways your post reminds me of my youngest at a slightly younger age. Dc3 was also a live-wire, non-communicative, non-co-operative random sleeper. He did eat just about anything that came his way, except for pasta, rice, couscous and potatoes. When he was nearly 2 he had barely 3 words, whereas dc1&2 had 100-word vocabularies and complex conversations by that age. We don't have the 18m/2y check-up here, so this lack was not flagged up.

I realised that I was so knackered and rushed that I was barely talking to dc3, just rushing him through everything that needed to be done. So I tried to slow down and make more effort to focus on him, and surround him with clear contextual language that did not demand response. For example, instead of just wedging him into his clothes, dumping in buggy and rushing out on school run, all the while calling out instructions to others and verbally checking up on them, I would focus on ds and talk through what we were doing: "Let's put Billy's coat on. First the sleeve. Put your hand in your sleeve. Oh! Where's Billy's hand gone? Where are you, hand? Here it is! Hello hand!" And so on. Intensely.

Within a month his vocabulary started increasing. Even though he still did not talk much, his understand was improving, and as both developed, so did his co-operation. He still only concentrated on what interested him, but his behaviour improved.

I wonder whether there's something similar going on for you, compounded by the bilinguality. I was also brought up bilingual - wish I could have managed to do the same with my dc.

Rasell Sat 07-Feb-15 08:56:01

Yes, winkyorsmiley, I do often have to check myself as it's far too easy to just go through the motions. I try to always make sure I talk him through it, but not often face to face as he usually looks everywhere but at me! He pokes out feet for shoes & helps put on coat, etc. We'll definitely be vigilant about it. It's amazing what a difference it made to your son - good news!
Dressingdown1, thank you, good to hear about DG. You just never know with young kids, do you?
Good luck with him & I hope you get to see them soon!

He sounds very similar to my ds who is on the autistic spectrum, he had a speech delay til he was almost three (but once he started talking he very quickly caught up and now never shuts up and is very wordy) speech therapy etc. he played differently, was into everything all day long, climbed on things, poured boxes of toys out rather than playing, extremely destructive, it was a very wearing stage.

He got diagnosed with high functioning Asd in preschool/reception class, after becoming totally obsessed with a certain tv show. He now has some help in school with socialising, rigid thinking, handwriting, personal space awareness etc.

Your ds might not be autistic, I'm no doctor. It rang bells though.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 07-Feb-15 09:32:29

Yes. unfortunately things in the OP will resonate with people with all sorts of kids. So have to wait and see what professionals say. You sound wonderfully positive and upbeat though OP, which is great smile

Glittery7 Sat 07-Feb-15 10:51:41

I can only comment from experience. My DD was very similar to the OP's son at the same age. She is now 6 and diagnosed with ASD aged 5.
It isn't a tragedy. Her speech has come on in leaps and bounds, as has her social skills and she is holding her own in mainstream education.

StopWhateverUDoing Sat 07-Feb-15 18:24:35

My DS was somewhat like that. He had really little eye contact from birth. I new nothing better, so thought it's OK.
At 3.6yo he was diagnosed by psychologists as asd, a year later - with just developmental delay, now - just thought to be a bit awkward socially and some lack of attention.
Sang, read and told him stories a lot (about 4 hours a day - he won't go to sleep for ages, it was the only means to make him), made a lot of finger massage for him, developed my own fine motor skills by doing various play dough things and had long walks to get him fresh air. Later he attended a dancing group for toddlers with parents to encourage him to repeat moves and socialize.
He also had some medication to deal with it, but less than usual amount for his type of issues.
Despite off no eye contact when younger, he still (at 6yo) remembers many of the nursery verses, loves play dough, music and is way better in socializing now.

OhMittens Sat 07-Feb-15 19:28:09

Also check out the Sooki and Finn DVDs

elfycat Sat 07-Feb-15 19:33:29

Have you had his ears checked by a Dr? DD1 was a late talker who often seemed not to pay attention to us at times. She seemed to have more than her fair share of tantrums and other mild behavioural changes which can now be seen to be a result of failing to understand, be understood, tiredness from concentrating so hard.

As a nurse I wondered if it might be glue-ear so took her to the GP to have him check her ears. She had excessive ear-wax almost blocking her ears and certainly affecting her hearing. Once we cleared that I was to leave her 3 months and then assess her speech to see if it would improve. She needed speech therapy which took a while to get the referral for.

StopWhateverUDoing Sat 07-Feb-15 20:04:36

YY to hesring check. As DS didn't want to cooperate, we had his ears checked by whispering "chocolate" from some 6 meters. DS clearly heard him grin.

Rasell Sat 07-Feb-15 21:32:57

Thanks to all for the replies.
Hearing has been checked but we want to check again. They could've missed something, I suppose.
Today there were 3 puzzles on the floor & he got all the right bits for one of them straight away, which he's never done before. I was very pleased!
He also really watched me brushing my teeth & then did his own (which until recently he hated having done!). He did them tonight as well, looking in the mirror, smiling!
I feel so much more confident now, thanks to all of your posts, that whatever happens it'll be fine. He's always been a happy, loving boy & that's the main thing :-)

OhMittens Sat 07-Feb-15 22:18:31

Stop that's a funny story smile but worth mentioning that some deafness ison different frequencies and during a professional hearing test they test all the frequencies. Just thought I'd add that for anyone else who may be reading. Some people can hear whispers clearly, but louder noises are distorted, as an example. Also, the condition glue ear is a temporary deafness in children that can also cause speech delays and is very hard to detect as it can come and go.
Rasell your DS is still so young, there's lots of time for him to change and develop. I still do thoroughly recommend My Toddler Talks for basic ideas and also to practice lots of REPETITION. To the point of boring (for you). Eg. "DS, put your coat on. Where's your coat? Is it next to my coat? Yes, there it is. Your Coat is on the peg. Let's get your Coat. Pause after the key word each time ( it was coat, if you hadn't guessed, ha) so it actually has time to sink in rather than just being a stream of words. Sometimes it's better to just say Coat. Clearly and firmly and holding the coat (or whatever) where he can see it. I'm sure you probably do a lot of this already but just in case anyone else is reading who might find it useful. Anyway, yes it IS the main thing that he is happy and loving and that he has a good relationship with his DBro. Lots of good stuff here. Let us know how things go.

ch1134 Sat 07-Feb-15 22:42:11

He sounds lovely. So do you. But worth keeping an eye on as some of the things he does are more typical of children much younger x

Rasell Sat 07-Feb-15 22:49:48

Have just ordered my toddler talks & the sookie & finn dvd. Thank you, ohmittens! They've got such great reviews but I would never have heard of them if you hadn't suggested them. Just goes to show how helpful these forums can be!
Everyone's giving the same good, sensible advice. I will be sure to be very repetitive! Xx

OhMittens Sat 07-Feb-15 23:29:09

You're welcome, Rasell smile Don't be disheartened if your DS does not engage with the games or play at first or even for a long time. It's better for your energy levels if you make an assumption that although you hope he'll participate or show interest, it may take ten plays or attempts on your part before he'll even look at what you are doing. and that's OK. It can be draining, it can be boring, you might feel silly but your DS can and will be taking in what you are doing on some level, even if he doesn't look like he is. He might instantly want to see what you have got or it might take seven plays before he even glances of his own accord but just keep going.

The other thing (and this is explained better in My Toddler Talks) is to W-A-I-T for a response if you ask him a question, or explain something. B-I-G pauses in the relevant places. Count to 20 in your head while you are waiting, if (like me!) you are naturally impatient and speed-talk a lot.

The book also explains how to take any response from your child as a response and build on it, even if it's not the "correct" response, even if it's a grunt rather than a word. Any form of communication is useful and valid, it all counts, all of it.

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