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Language at 21 months

(41 Posts)
Learningtodraw Mon 08-May-17 21:29:51

Hi mnetters. Please give me some advice/reassurance please.
My 21 month old is not talking. He does plenty of animal sounds and he signs a fair bit. But there is very little spoken words.
If promoted he can repeat words - cat, lady, car, ball but he very rarely spontaneously comes put with words. He's done that maybe 5 times.
His signing is spontaneous and is a conversation. E.g. i showed him beach one day then the next day he just signed it and keeps asking to go to the beach every day now..!! He also just cane out with milk and owl one day. He understands pretty much everything and he has started signing sentences - pointing at something then at himself to say he owns it. We have basic signed conversations too.
But there is no recogniseable words, lots of babbling and lots of playing around with sounds and conversational like tones in his chatting. He has no problem telling us what he wants tho.

I know signs and animal sounds count as words but I'm naturally anxious and i want to be told if his language is ok or if i need him checked out. Every other child his age i meet (friends kids) is talking.

user1491572121 Tue 09-May-17 02:56:32

Take him to the GP and ask for a hearing test...if he's not had one already? Has he had any ear infections?

Learningtodraw Tue 09-May-17 06:37:01

I'm pretty sure his hearing is fine though as he understands all that we say. Surely if his hearing was dodgy he wouldnt be understanding what we say?

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Tue 09-May-17 06:41:48

I also had this worry with my ds. I requested a hearing test to rule anything like that out, and at around 26 months got an initial SLT appt. Felt I was brushed off during that, so organised a couple of private sessions with a speech therapist which was hugely useful.
The biggest change was when ds moved from nursery to pre-school room at 2.8. Being with 3-5 year olds made him go from a few single words, badly pronounced, to speaking sentences by age 3. He's still behind on his pronunciation but hardly surprising given that he started quite late.

ToDuk Tue 09-May-17 06:46:16

Definitely get his hearing checked. I'm a Teacher of the Deaf and lots of children have a hearing loss without the parents realising. It could be a fluctuating loss which would mean he gets enough of what you say to get by, or he could be using visual clues like sign or lipreading. Children are amazing at looking like they're hearing. Plus there's nothing to lose... if he isn't deaf you haven't lost anything by going for a check.

Also well done on the signing. This will help with his language and once he does start to speak he will have all the words and concepts to pin his verbal language on.

AuntMarch Tue 09-May-17 07:05:52

Children all develop at different rates in different areas. It can't hurt to raise it with your GP, but at this age I'd not panic.
Does your child spend much time with other children? As someone said, I would bet you'll see big leaps when he goes to nursery.

I'm sure if you've been signing you already know that vocalising everything you sign is helpful. It sounds like you are already doing pretty much what they'd advise so well done.

FWIW my brother was a slow talker. Deffered to SALT (speech and language therapy) and only needed a couple of sessions. Also, I work in a nursery and we are making a lot of referrals for assessment over the last couple of years - he's not on his own! Very few children are not closing the gap later on without a medical issue such as hearing playing a part.

Out of interest does/did he use a dummy? That can be a factor and often rapid progress is made when that's limited.

bumblingmum Tue 09-May-17 07:15:41

Sounds perfectly normal to me, especially as he can sign. It sounds like he prefers signing and is finding that more useful than talking. From what you've said, he can talk but chooses to sign.
My second didn't really talk until quite late which was a surprise compared to the first but all at once she started putting sentences together - it was almost overnight. It might have been when she moved rooms at nursery and was with kids that spoke more?

daisydalrymple Tue 09-May-17 07:24:27

Dc3 is 2.7 and has only really started increasing his vocabulary in the last couple of months. At his 27 mo check with the hv I estimated he had just under 20 words. He could communicate fairly clearly when he wanted anything though.

Now he can count to 20, says his full name, repeats any new word he hears and talks in basic sentences.

Learningtodraw Tue 09-May-17 08:56:21

Thanks all. He's with a childminder 4 days a week who has a mix of kids up to age 4 and primary age kids before and after school too. He understands instructions like go and get husband and pull out your high chair and we'll have breakfast, which to me indicates there is no hearing issue.
But i'm aware that you need language input early so i don't want to leave it too late.

He doesn't use a dummy. He did have a tongue tie which i suspect reattached.

I'll phone the HV team this morning.

ToDuk Tue 09-May-17 09:33:13

Please do still get a hearing test. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say a child doesn't have a hearing loss because he's heard things they say. That doesn't mean they're hearing right across the range. If there's no loss then that's great but if there is early intervention makes a huge difference.
To get a hearing test you need to be referred by the GP.

AuntMarch Tue 09-May-17 10:37:00

I echo the above- there could be some sounds he doesn't catch so wouldn't be able to say. It really can't hurt to be sure.

Learningtodraw Tue 09-May-17 12:34:01

I spoke to the HV. She said hearing test not necessary at this stage but to start giving him options of things and making him repeat the words. She also said to stop signing as that won't help him speak. I will not stop signing to him.

I just feel uneasy. I've worked with deaf ppl before so i know how important it is to get the language established when they are little. That's part of the reason i have always signed to him.

I work full time but have a week off coming up in early june so might make an appointment for then.
Thank you all for commenting. This is an anxious time of year for me so i don't know whether i am overreacting or not.

user1491572121 Tue 09-May-17 12:40:42

I'm not being funny but the HV isn't qualified to say that no hearing test is needed at this stage. Make a GP appointment and ask for one. THey will just book it.

daisydalrymple Tue 09-May-17 12:50:59

My dd is 8, one of her friends had delayed speech / language development and was under the child development centre until she was 5. (Speaks perfectly clear now with full varied range of vocabulary and pronunciation).

Her mum was actively encourage to sign with her and help develop language that way, as well as using lots of different words and pointing things out and giving choices as you've mentioned above. (Although whenever I was trying to encourage dc3 with choices e.g. 'Milk or water ds?' He would merely point at the one he wanted and say 'bah' (his default for anything grin)

(Makaton as used by mr tumble?) although I appreciate recommendations change all the time nowadays, so it might be different of course.

Learningtodraw Tue 09-May-17 13:47:25

User - i agree. My previous hv wouldn't have fobbed me off. I'm gutted she's left. And the recc not to sign... No.

user1491572121 Tue 09-May-17 22:59:44

I don't rate most HVs OP....I always found GPs more useful with children.

ToDuk Tue 09-May-17 23:24:59

Your HV is giving really dumb advice. Well done for ignoring it. There's loads of evidence to support the use of signing in the development of language in young children whether they're hearing or not. And as for saying not to get a hearing test now well i wonder at what point she thinks hearing matters!

user1493022461 Tue 09-May-17 23:27:38

I have no idea why everyone is focused on the hearing test. Surely he's already ahd more than one anyway?

He sounds like he's entirely in the normal range for speaking, tbh.

user1491572121 Wed 10-May-17 04:20:18

User it's normal to rule out hearing issues before looking for another reason for a speech delay. No words at almost 2 years old isn't within the normal range either.

Learningtodraw Wed 10-May-17 06:42:18

User61 - he had a hearing test at birth but that's it.

User21 - my previous hv was great. Knowledgable and trustworthy and i had a really good relationship with her.

I've made a gp appointment for next week. I have no problem if he is just late talking, i just want to rule out any issues just in case.

ToDuk Wed 10-May-17 07:08:53

User it is really sensible to look at the hearing when there are any concerns about speech. It's a really obvious thing that can easily be ruled out. The newborn hearing test is just a first check. It's a wonderful thing and helps lots of children get early intervention. However many children pass it and go on to be diagnosed with a hearing loss after.

BertieBotts Wed 10-May-17 07:14:18

I find it absolutely maddening when people in a position of trust like HVs give out advice on topics they clearly know nothing about. Stop signing? confused it's such a crock of shit based on a knee jerk feeling and yet some people would trust that because it comes from a professional.

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Wed 10-May-17 08:41:25

Also totally disagree with your HV re. hearing test not being needed yet. My HV offered one when ds was 12 months and not really babbling. I was pleasantly surprised at how pro-active she was.

FrayedHem Wed 10-May-17 08:56:02

It's also worth self-referring to Speech and Language Therapy. Some areas have drop-in clinics, others you contact directly for a referral.

mistermagpie Wed 10-May-17 09:15:07

My DS is the same age and doesn't have loads of words. He does a lot of animal sounds and mummy, daddy, pappy, doggy etc, but not a great deal more than yours. Signing is great (we did it from birth but he gradually stopped) but it might be his preferred way of communicating now so, for him, he doesn't need to come out with new words vocally when he can sign them. When we learned to sign our teacher explained that signing can result in a slight delay in verbal language and that is why it's essential to say the words as you sign them. I'm sure you're doing that, but I think this might be what your HV is getting at, she's just got it a bit wrong.

I really wouldn't worry. It's a scale and your son sounds like he is within the normal range to me.

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