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Delayed Speech

(7 Posts)
Jayp1ckle Wed 01-Jul-09 01:30:39

My DS is 20 months old and barely speaks. He appears to have complete understanding of what I'm saying to him but is making no real attempts to emulate this.

Just wanted to enquire whether anyone has experience of this or not.

Thanks in advance.

mamakoukla Wed 01-Jul-09 02:05:52

Jayp1ckle, there are many things that can cause a speech delay. I'll tell you a bit about our DD but remember this is just one aspect of what can happen.

At 12 months she had approx 8 words and they just started to disappear; she had 3 at 18 months. Her understanding was perfect and she could follow instructions containing three things to do but, as with your DS, no effort whatsoever to emulate sounds. We were concerned and got her put on the waiting list for a local speech programme; at the same time we saw our GP and asked about getting her seen by a ENT/audiologist. During her well baby check-ups, there was often the observation of her ears look a bit red inside but she displayed no sign of infection.

It turns out she has been suffering from a series of asymptomatic ear infections. This affected hearing and when a LO is learning not just words but the whole sound and rhythm of language, this is confusing. After four courses of antibiotics (any sign of a respiratory infection and we're off to the GP to get her ears checked), and five months later we have over forty words. I cried when I heard her repeat a word (Moo!) and I smiled when she first called me mummy. It was a beautiful moment.

Have you taken DS to the GP? I would strongly encourage you to follow up on this, at least to make sure that there is nothing to worry about. The advice I received is that DD seeing a speech pathologist and ENT was not going to harm her; at the most it could have been unnecessary. The other piece of advice was that the sooner the root cause was identified, the sooner you can begin to figure out how to work things and help your DS explore the world of words.

Good luck and I hope that the words come along soon.

cyberseraphim Wed 01-Jul-09 06:49:46

If the understanding is there, there should not be a problem - but assessing the understanding of a 20 month old can be hard. How does it compare with his peers ? If you don't have other concerns, all you can do is wait and see - don't put pressure on him to speak.

ICANDOTHAT Wed 01-Jul-09 16:36:17

I would pop him down to your health visitor to be assessed, that way if there are any concerns they can refer him to audiologist or speech therapist for further assessment. He should be getting a 2 year check soon anyway, if they still do them in your area. You sound concerned and I think unless you want to wait and see, this is an option. Good luck smile

fettle Wed 01-Jul-09 21:18:45


Just wanted to say that my DS is 21 months and doesn't really have any words either. He can understand very complex instructions even if not directly said to him. He's had his hearing checked and it was fine. However, he's had constant colds most of his life so I'm wondering if like mamakoukla's DD he's never got 100% hearing and this is affecting his speaking. He seems happy enough and doesn't often get frustrated by not being able to speak - he's coming up with more and more of his own made up sign language to help him communicate.

Some days I'm more concerned than others, so as Icandoit says if you are concerned there is no harm just chatting with your HV. I'm waiting for mine to contact me about another follow-up appointment, but they haven't yet and I'm really not in too much of a hurry to push it as I've heard so many stories of children, particularly boys who seem to wait until after 2 before talking!


aristocat Wed 01-Jul-09 21:35:26

dont want to worry you ladies but my DS was 4 before he spoke properly.
there was complete understanding but no speech shock

he was checked everywhere -ears/eyes/mouth and there was nothing wrong, he simply didnt want to do it.
the main problem i had was toilet training as it was very frustrating without speech !!

HV are ok and do forward you to speech therapy [if needed?] so do tell them your concerns.

there are lots of things you can try to encourage talking but they didnt work for me sad

however DS is now 7yo and one of the cleverest in his year despite such a slow start, so no need to worry.

scarymamma Wed 01-Jul-09 21:50:17

My DS was also a slow speaker. Between 2 & 3 only DD could understand him and had to translate. He only had about 6 different sounds. He also had permanent colds and ear infections but despite numerous trips to GP's about his ears and his delayed speech they wouldn't so anything about it until he was after 2. I was also sent home when he had nasty ear infections with instructions to give him Calpol and that he'd feel better when the abscess on his ear drum burst!!!. Luckily one of the Nursery assistants at his pre-school was a speech and language expert and she did a basic assessmnent of his language abilities, and at about 3.5 he finally got some proper speech therapy and had a proper audiometry test. At the test I was told that both his ear drums were scared indicating chronic ear infections (I knew that) and that his delayed speech was because of his ear problems. After a year of speech therapy and several years of frustration for him as he couldn't communicate effectively he was talking so beautifully he was narrator for the nativity. So I think it's something that you need to keep an eye on and keep pestering the GP if you are in anyway concerned. As a postscript, DS is now 9, has gone slightly deaf due to continuing ear problems FINALLY got referred to ENT Consultant after I had enormous strop. He is due to have grommets put in and adenoids out this month - consultant said it should have been done YEARS ago angry

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