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Has anyone had a toddler with speech delay who caught up in the end and was considered 'normal'

(27 Posts)
Whoknewitcouldbeso Fri 13-Nov-15 17:35:50

My 35 month old has recently switched preschools as I wasn't convinced the one he had been attending was the right setting for him. He has speech delay, we have ruled out hearing problems and have gone down the SALT route too. His new pre school has a lovely dedicated SENCO who feels they may need to arrange outside help for him and is going to assess after Christmas.

He has made massive improvements recently but still isn't conversing. We have individual words and some two or three word sentences. He is also parroting us now which he never did before. So I was feeling quite upbeat but the conversation today has made me feel a bit negative again.

I did some Autism quizzes online and he scored 0, so I don't think he fits into that diagnosis, although I understand he may have something else!! I just wondered if anyone else had a toddler with speech delay who caught up in the end and became an average kid in class?

Thank you

Jellyandjam05 Fri 13-Nov-15 19:17:05

My DS is just about to turn 7.
When he started school his speech was very unclear and it was only me who could understand anything he said (and even then I often struggled). We had been worried for a while and started to process of SALT when he was in preschool. We ended up getting private therapy sessions due to long waiting lists and the blocks he did get being only for five weeks at a time with a waiting list in between.
As I said he is now just about to turn 7 and doing brilliantly. By the time he had finished reception class his speech was assessed again and we were told it was then age appropriate. We worried about him going to school but in fact he is now above average in the class, at parents evening we were told he was above the expectation for reading and maths and at expected for writing. He absolutely NEVER stops talking and people who meet him for the first time now don't notice at all that he had to have Speech Therapy.

ghnocci Fri 13-Nov-15 19:22:09


DD had a speech delay and had SALT when she was 2-3. She was pretty behind at that point.

She's now 4, in reception, and an articulate little chatterbox. A few different people have commented on her language being good and have looked aghast when I've said she had a speech delay!

Good luck

longdiling Fri 13-Nov-15 19:22:24

I can't help with your question but I wonder if there's any way you could scrape together the money for private speech therapy - as mentioned above?

A little boy I look after who was completely non-verbal at the same age as your DS was offered hardly any SALT help at all so his folks paid for it privately. The change was remarkable - it was like she completely unlocked all this language ability that was hidden inside him. He's still significantly behind his peers but making huge progress now.

SevenSeconds Fri 13-Nov-15 20:04:45

Yes, mine! He was discharged from SALT age 4 and is now in year 1 and doing really well (above average).

He did have hearing problems though (needed grommets).

LadyintheRadiator Fri 13-Nov-15 20:16:18

Yes. Though my DS does have some mild issues but not speech related, and is very bright (I might be biased but his teacher agrees).

We were under SALT before he turned 2 and when he started school his speech was terrible. I had to translate everything he said for almost everyone. Learning to read when he started school definitely helped and fantastic staff in the foundation team put a lot of work in with him. Now in year 3 and speaks and reads aloud beautifully, I never thought he would be where he is now. Whenever he is chosen to read in an assembly I am still shocked as I truly never thought he would be.

The Hanen book 'It Takes Two To Talk' is a great resource and very reassuring, a gentle non-judgmental guide to providing more opportunities for communication. Tools and techniques that most parents don't have to think with children whose speech is not delayed.

chipstick2810 Fri 13-Nov-15 22:24:15

Yes, I coincidentally found my ds's old paperwork today. His pre school flagged his speech delay and we were referred for speech therapy. His speech was assessed at nearly 3 and again a few months later before starting speech therapy and was diagnosed as having a moderate speech delay. He was discharged after the 6 week term as he had caught up. By 3 and a half he was speaking very well, though he has always been very shy and quiet, particularly with adults. I think this was just a natural progression on his part rather than the therapy. He's now in reception and speaks very well.

cuntycowfacemonkey Fri 13-Nov-15 22:39:42

Personally I would consider private SALT as I don't really subscribe to thw wait and see approach. If there is an issue then working on it now while he's just three is going to lead to a much better outcome than waiting until he is in primary school.

DS started with a private SALT at the same age and continued with it for 3 years, his speech in now within normal range. He was diagnosed with ASD when he was 4 so I was glad I didn't just wait and see as advised by the HV and NHS SALT.

Fizrim Fri 13-Nov-15 22:42:05

Yes. DD had lots of individual words as a toddler but didn't like to string them together into sentences. We didn't get much SALT help as early tests are all about individual words and she knew plenty of them! Very quiet in Reception year and put on the register, but her language improved - SALT discharged her a couple of years later. By the end of year 3 the school wanted to remove her from the register too.

She also copied speech, absolutely mimicking words and intonation, and still occasionally slips into this if stressed (although it comes in useful abroad, she sounds like a native!).

cuntycowfacemonkey Fri 13-Nov-15 22:47:03

Echolalia is often associated with Autism but is also a normal part of child development. This link might help you to see if the way he is copying phrases is out of sync with typically development

gandalf456 Fri 13-Nov-15 23:04:59

Yes she caught up in the end. However, although not diagnosed, I think she had a receptive language problem. They thought it was expressive with language processing problems. Many thought she was okay because her speech was fluent sounding but couldn't answer basic questions when spoken to directly so you just got this stream of consciousness on her terms.

She is eleven now and has normal speech but is very behind in English. Her spelling is poor and, even though her reading is fluent sounding, you realise she hasn't taken half the book in and her vocabulary and grasp of grammar is poor

TheRealQueenOfEngland Fri 13-Nov-15 23:22:30

DH had major language delay as a child. He spent 2 days a week of primary school in a special support unit. He's now a brilliant university lecturer, although he still struggles when under extreme pressure.

nightsky010 Sat 14-Nov-15 22:43:47

DC was non verbal until about 32 months. At around that age he began to talk and within a few weeks w speaking in full sentences (typical of ASD).

He is now 7 and his speech & comprehension is abut 6 months below where it should be. His problems are very obviously (high functioning) ASD rather than just speech. Despite the HF ASD he is average or a bit above average academically at his non selective Pre-Prep. Due to the ASD his main strengths are fact based learning, whereas interpreting texts and essay writing he finds harder.

nightsky010 Sat 14-Nov-15 22:45:14

Ps. My uncle did not speak a word until age 4. He is not the most articulate person I can think of, but is well within the 'normal' range.

Missyaggravation Sat 14-Nov-15 22:51:27

Yes, my middle DS. Had an assessment at 36 months, randomly just developed skills from then on. He had a few words then, haven't had any input since, but requested an observation by a educational psychologist, awaiting the results ATM. He is 9

Witchend Sun 15-Nov-15 08:01:49

No but I had a dc who spoke in full.sentences at 20 months, long convoluted ones like "actually I going to choose towel in moment" was one.
A friend from.toddler group had a sc almost exactly the same age wh was referred to SALT (NHS) at 2.6yo for lack of words... I think she had 3 words at that point.
WW lost touch and met again at swimming when our dc were about 4.3 yo and you couldn't have told the difference in language skills between the two of them.
I was so happy for her.

Witchend Sun 15-Nov-15 08:02:10

Dc not sc

Ancienchateau Sun 15-Nov-15 08:20:35

DS had a speech delay as a toddler/young child. He was in fact dx with a severe and specific language disorder. He had some speech therapy but it seemed to right itself aged 7. Mostly this was from being in mainstream and being surrounded by NT peers I believe (we were told he had to go to a special school aged 4).

When he was 10 he was offered an (English) Scholarship to a selective London independent school. We moved abroad when he was 11 and he was fluent in the language after 2 years. He has also taken up 2 other languages at school and finds them "easy". He told me the other day he wants to study languages at university.

drasticfantastic Sun 15-Nov-15 08:30:06

My nephew had delayed speech. He didn't have any speech at all until he was over 2, and then progressed slowly. He had private SALT I think. He has absolutely caught up!

He's now 10 and never shuts up... grin

I think he'd caught up by ages 5-6 ish.

enderwoman Sun 15-Nov-15 08:34:35

My son had speech delay and speech therapy. He's predicted A* in GCSE English and German- I did not imagine him catching up never mind in a foreign language smile

heavenlypink Sun 15-Nov-15 08:42:48

A friends son who was attended a language unit throughout primary school has headed off to university this year - he's having assessments for dyslexia but has otherwise done great!

MissTriggs Sun 15-Nov-15 13:35:36

Yes but it took work. We also switched pre school and had similar conversation with senco
Great to hear that his language is coming on.
crucial thing is to figure out what kinds of challenges he has (receptive language problems can be missed).

redexpat Sun 15-Nov-15 13:42:44

GREAT THREAD. Have a meeting with speech therapist and nursery primary carer on Tuesday to discuss progress (or lack of it sad) of DS who has just turned 4.

Whoknewitcouldbeso Mon 16-Nov-15 08:11:59

Thank you everyone, it's been really fascinating reading all your stories. Makes me feel a little more hopeful!

The very weird thing is he seems to recognise written words and says them as though he is reading. Today he said 'milkshake' when the channel 5 milkshake logo came up with the twirling sun. Said 'talk' and pointed to the word talk on the tablet and looked at the underneath of his shoe and said 'walk' and the word walk was indeed part of the sole pattern. I can't help but wonder if there is a lot more going on in his head than I'm giving him credit for or maybe he just has a great memory for stuff I might have said previously.

Witchend Mon 16-Nov-15 11:47:56

Who my db had a major speech delay, and he learnt to read before he learnt to speak many words. He then taught himself to write phonetically, which he used if he couldn't make himself understood. By 3yo he was much more fluent in writing than talking.
It actually helped his reading and writing because he needed it more.

He could also see how a word should be said phonetically, which helped his pronunciation (which was terrible).

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