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4 year old wont talk

(10 Posts)
htweber Thu 18-Jun-15 18:15:42

ok, so my boyfriend looks after a 4 year old at work.
This kid is almost 5 and only speaks to 3 people - his mother, father and my boyfriend.
when this kid does speak his words are simple, mixed up and he really struggles.

he is asked questions - for example;
'who's car is that?' and he will respond with 'it Alex car' or ' Alex broken car'

most of the time he kind of babbles like a baby/toddler and has his own language and then he gets upset when we can't understand him.

could this be because he is a boy or lazy or just a slow learner / developer?
he has 3 other siblings so it could be that he hasn't received enough social interaction.

has anyone else had this problem? what do people suggest for helping him develop his language and boost his confidence?

Thanks in advance!

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Thu 18-Jun-15 18:17:44

Has he had his hearing tested?

girliefriend Thu 18-Jun-15 18:18:38

Not normal! Are you in the UK? What is your boyfriends job?

If in the U.K I would hope the child had been ref to a speech therapist.

Smartiepants79 Thu 18-Jun-15 18:20:34

Are his parents concerned?
On the one hand it sounds like possible selective mutism.
On the other it sounds like a (severe?) speech delay.
Does your boyfriend work with him at nursery? If so the best thing to do is to start a dialogue with his parents, start raising serious concerns and start trying to get him properly assessed by a professional.
No one on here can help that much as we know very little about him or his situation.

Smartiepants79 Thu 18-Jun-15 18:22:16

Yes, hearing could be an issue.
Being the youngest could mean he is being babied and others are doing all his talking for him.
With three siblings he should be getting lots of interaction.

Goldmandra Thu 18-Jun-15 19:37:12

If this is a child in an early years setting where you work, he needs to be referred to the speech and language therapy service an audiologist and a paediatrician.

There is no way a child's speech is like this because he is one of three siblings. You need to be very careful about apportioning blame like that.

Goldmandra Thu 18-Jun-15 19:38:13

Sorry - because he has three siblings.

htweber Thu 18-Jun-15 20:01:01

yeah, we're in the UK. My boyfriend is his carer, his parents aren't home much so he goes and looks after them on the evenings and some times during the day.

htweber Thu 18-Jun-15 20:02:02

i was suggesting that it could be because of the other three taking all of the attention away, they are more confident than him. not blaming them at all.

Goldmandra Thu 18-Jun-15 21:44:52

i was suggesting that it could be because of the other three taking all of the attention away, they are more confident than him. not blaming them at all.

If you suggested to a parent that their child's language development was severely impaired because they weren't giving him sufficient attention, they would probably feel very much blamed.

They would also probably feel quite upset by the suggestion that he is lazy too.

The best way to help a child to develop speech is to model it. Children hear the speech of adults and other children around them and try to replicate it. Sometimes, when they can hear that they are making mistakes, they might stop using certain words then start again when they have perfected them. They don't need telling they are getting it wrong or to be told specifically to say it. They just need to hear other people saying things they can copy. Your boyfriend just needs to talk to him.

This little boy sounds like he needs some professional intervention but that isn't the role of an evening babysitter. Is there reason to believe that the parents wouldn't be seeking support for him? Does he attend school or nursery?

Unless he's home educated and kept away from health professionals, or you have a concern about his parents' ability to seek assistance, I think you can probably assume that someone has picked this up and made the appropriate referrals.

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