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21 month old DS still not saying any recognisable words...

(20 Posts)
fettle Wed 10-Jun-09 22:48:01

Just wanting some reassurance that it is quite probable that he will spontaneously start talking when he is ready at some point between now and when he is 3!

He's got a very articulate, bright 5 yo sister, who spoke from 16 months. He makes himself easily understood to most people through gesturing and sign-language which he has taught himself. He loves "reading" books either alone or with someone. He's happy, mainly healthy (seems to have a constant cold, but these don't overly affect his mood). His hearing has been checked and deemed "normal". He can understand very specific and complicated requests/statements. He maintains eye contact and points and follows my pointing finger to whatever I'm talking about. HV rang and has got me really worried that he should be saying more. I know that textbooks deem that he should be saying more, but I wasn't that worried until she rang.

He says something resembling "yeah yeah" when you say what he wants. Shakes his head firmly for No and says a great "uh-oh!" when things go wrong/break/go missing! Other than that, you can imagine he's saying things, but they're really unrecognisable as real words.

What you all think?
Thanks for your input.

fettle Thu 11-Jun-09 09:17:32

bumping for morning crowd!


Castiel Thu 11-Jun-09 09:21:23

Did your hv suggest anything you can do about it?

He sounds developmentally normal otherwise and is able to communicate which is of more importance than actual words said. Still, I understand that it's probably noteworthy that he's not saying more.

My dd is a couple of months older than your ds and I see a lot of similar aged children because of this. There is such a huge spectrum of normal at this age and I have read on MN many tales of children only saying a couple of words at this age and then suddenly speaking in full sentences.

So, what did the hv suggest?

Washersaurus Thu 11-Jun-09 09:25:57

If he is communicating with you then I wouldn't be too worried tbh (but I'm no expert)

DS2 is 23mo and is only just progressing from the 'uh-oh' and 'no' phase; almost everything else is called 'duh' whilst pointing grin.

He has no problems communicating with us, I just think developmentally he is more advanced physically than verbally. In contrast DS1 was talking really well at around 16 months, but couldn't do puzzles and things as well as DS2 can.

talbot Thu 11-Jun-09 09:54:35

Personally, I would advise making an appointment with a private speech therapist. My son had a severe speech delay diagnosed at 2 and after 3 years of therapy has now broadly caught up with his peers.

I am not suggesting there is necessarily a problem as of course, many children just seem to take longer. But if there is a problem, you need to know about it now as the earlier you start the better.

My experience with the NHS SALT was dire. Despite a "severe" speech problem, we were offered 2 appointments in 2 years. Hopeless.

lingle Thu 11-Jun-09 10:04:11

Here's an answer from someone who knows:

"By 18 months a child should be warmly engaged and capable of initiative and two-way communication. She should also be able to use complex gestures to communicate what she wants - taking her mother's hand and leading her to the door or toy chest, or pointing, for example. Without the use of words, she should be communicating with her parents, clearly understanding much of what they say to her, and communicating many of her own wishes back. If by 18 months the child can do these things, her gestural communicaction is developing on track and the building blocks of symbolic expression and langauge are present. .......The child who has a circumscribed language problem that will take care of itself will be mastering these preverbal gestural communication patterns."

["The Child with Special Needs", Greenspan, page 386]

To check understanding, try saying a few instructions out of context (be brutal - it's so easy to think they understand more than they do).
Check for things like being able to blow out candles in case there is an expressive speech problem.

What you say does all sound completely reassuring doesn't it and the even better news is that in the unlikely event that there is something more going on here the best therapy is lots of joyful warm spontaneous two-way interaction with you. Enjoy it!

talbot Thu 11-Jun-09 10:08:18

FWIW my son's problem was actually a physical one in forming certain sounds. There was never anything wrong with his ability to inderstand instructions or communicate with often complex gestures.

lingle Thu 11-Jun-09 10:11:16

Yeah, it seems from mumsnet lore that physical problems in forming sounds really benefit from speech therapy.

Whereas underlying communication problems benefit from, well, communication! (which you can often figure out for yourself because you know them best).

fettle Thu 11-Jun-09 20:05:56

Thank you all for your messages!
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back - it's been a busy day.

I only just considered a physical problem this morning when I noticed when he is babbling away trying to say something to me, his bottom jaw moves sideways, but before then I'd never thought it could be a physical cause.

Our problem with these massive NHS waiting lists is DH's job means that we are due to move next April and then less than 18 months after that again - it sounds as if we'll get on waiting lists only to move shortly after or even before being seen!

Not sure we can afford a private speech therapist - anyone know how much they are?

Thanks again for your advice and supportsmile

barnsleybelle Thu 11-Jun-09 20:16:01

FWIW... Albert Einstein couldn't speak until he was 3...

If your worried then go see the gp and ask for a paed referral. I went re dd's mobility and got an appointment 10 days later.

talbot can I pick your brain about your sons speech difficulties please?

My ds is 22 months, virtually identical problems as with the op, no hearing or comprehension problems but he only says a couple of words, and they aren't very distinct (yes and all gone)

He doesn't babble an awful lot but what he does say seems to come from the back of his mouth- gnnn-gnnn-gnnn googoo gaga guh type noises, and he barely moves his lips and mouth while doing that. He does say baba and things too but it's mostly gnnn noises so I have wondered if he has difficulty making all the noises he needs to. Was that the problem your ds had?

fettle Thu 11-Jun-09 21:18:34

Ooh Jamesandbanana that sounds pretty similar to my DS. Never really thought that all his noises were back of throat ones! I await with interest the response....

However I'm quite liking the thought of having spawned the second Einstein!!! winksmile

loler Thu 11-Jun-09 21:40:02

Wow some scarey things have been written here! My ds2 is 22 months - he also doesn't really say that much - normally gets his way by smiling if that doesn't work screaming and throwing self on floor in over blown manor! Am not at all worried - different children do things at different times and in different ways. He listerns to what I say - I can tell him to go and get his brown shoes/crocs/wellies and he always brings back the right thing (when in the right mood). He is happy and developing normally in every other way.

Ds1 also was a late talker - he is now 4 and very nasally but does have a good vocab range - have recently had an appointment with ENT consultant. He also had a 4 year old son and said this was a very 4 year old boy sort of thing to do and would be likely to sort itself out by the time he was 6 - and if not it was this age to take action (as at 4 lots of things physically and emotionally are still developing).

He said that many children suffer from large adenoids and 30 years ago they would have been whipped out but rather than brutal surgery they let the children grow into them now.

DS1 didn't speak over night it was a very gradual thing. The consultant also said that the delayed speach was probably partly due to having an older chatty sister.

Try not to worry - stay away from the HV if she is worrying you and try not to compare your DS with your DD (girls tend to be better talkers and she was your first so you will have had lots of time to sit and talk with her!)

PS Hello banana

lambanana Thu 11-Jun-09 22:21:43

Washersaurus my dd2 is exactly the same as your ds. Not helped by the fact that her 3 year old sister keeps saying everything for her.

I am not concerned - I can see that it is coming and just today she has been pursing her mouth up and making different sounds. She understands everything we say to her so I just think she is a late one.

tvfriend Thu 11-Jun-09 22:27:11

My DD is 23 months and has hardly any words- although literally in the last week it seems she has started to get a new one a day. She was developmentally checked a while ago as was also not walking (started 2 weeks ago) and they were not worried.
I know quite a few children her age. Lots of them have hardly any words and some have absolutely loads. I'm not worried and nor is the HV or consultant paediatrician that saw her.
She understands pretty much everything and we can understand her.

Peabody Thu 11-Jun-09 22:28:09

I had a speech therapist come to see my 25 month old son yesterday. The initial assessment appointment cost £110.

She said there were two things we were doing wrong:

Asking direct questions; asking him to say words, to copy us. This is totally forbidden.

Speaking to him in too long sentences. We have to (mostly) speak to him using just one word (ie a noun or perhaps a verb).

Books she recommends:
Baby Talk
It Takes Two to Talk

All this is for speech delay rather than speech disorder.

fettle Thu 11-Jun-09 22:38:40

All very interesting posts. Thank you. Not really really worried about him just yet...

However I have wondered whether we talk to him like a grown up as we do to his big sister. Have just started trying short statements with him. So interesting that is what speech therapists suggest.

maxybrown Sun 14-Jun-09 07:59:00

Well, this has really helped me that's for sure! jamesnadthegiantbanana - that is my DS too, you described that very well I have to say! Although, he can say clear as day, beep beep, no, miaow, rah (as in lion/scary) oh, and various animal noises.

We too talk to him like he is 10 I have now realised, but he follows instructions so well. It is also too easy to say "can you say it" if I do this he just shakes his head no and laughs. Ages ago we heard him say Daddy clear as day early one morning when he thought we were both asleep, never said it since though. I also heard him say hello grandma when he was about 14 months (he is now almost 21 months) it wasn't as clear as we would say it, but i was on the phone to my mum and she heard him easily too. All very strange!!! I hate "baby" words (sorry anyone else) like we have never said "ta" always thank you, which he now says at very appropiate times, but it is from the back of his throat and the intonation is correct. He also counts walking down the stairs without prompting, but again this is always from the back of the throat.

It'd be good to hear anymore from anyone!

Talbot - can you give us any advice please if you are about?

allthegearnoidea Sun 14-Jun-09 23:00:23

Hi there,
don't want to go in to specifics too much as I don't know your child, but I am an SLT. Sounds like he has some really great communication skills already and as you are concerned re: language/ words he is/isn't using then contact your local SLT service, I hear lots of SLT horror stories on here, which is a shame as certainly where I work there aren't huge waiting lists or crap therapists. Find out from you HV if there is a local SLT drop-in service or if you can see if therapists are attached to sure start/ children's centres in your area, they often attend groups, that way you won't be waiting around. Hope that's og some use, best wishes.

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