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15m old DS, no words, frustrated, need suggestions?

(30 Posts)
WonderBundlesMommy Sat 29-Aug-09 20:49:54

So this month we had our assessment with SALT, who says DS (15.5 months) has an expressive language delay and we are being put into a "program," though the wait list is six months to get started.

DS has just started to point in the last two weeks (YAY!), but has no real words at all and thus far hasn't signed back.

He has always been such a happy little bundle, but lately he is getting so frustrated because I don't understand what he is trying to tell me. Sometimes he will just cry once he gives up, it is so sad because I know he wants something but outside of the basics (diaper, drink, food, nap, Iggle Piggle) it's pretty tough to decipher what he wants (ie. last week it was an overwhelming desire to get out of the stroller and pick a particularly bright tomato off of the plant that brought him to barely consolable tears) as the only things he says consistently are "dada" and "mama" and "bo" and they mean everything in existence.

I dread the thought of how frustrated he will be in six months when we just begin therapy. How can I help him learn to use expressive language? I talk to him incessantly, read constantly, label everything (holding it up by my mouth so he can see it), I listen to him intently anytime he makes a noise - but as he doesn't imitate me at all, I don't really know what else can help him to talk? He is so frustrated and clearly wants me to understand....any suggestions would be so greatly appreciated...so would any reassurance that he is not as "delayed" as everyone is telling me he is?

hambo Sat 29-Aug-09 20:52:39

My son took ages to talk, he is only getting good now at 2 and 3/4.....he was over two and still acting out his words (which he was really good at)

The speech therapist said he was totally normal!

I would try not to worry - your son is very young still.

It's hard not to worry though!

logi Sat 29-Aug-09 20:58:40

My grandaughter is 16 months and doesnt say any words she just babbles ,i think this is quite normal for this age,

spongebrainmaternitypants Sat 29-Aug-09 21:02:33

My DS is nearly 15 mths, doesn't say any words and neither do most of his friends - I'm shock that the speech therapist has diagnosed an expressive language delay so young.

Who referred you?

I don't have any concerns about my son at all - at least I didn't til I read your post blush.

This is surely still very young to talk?

mondaymonday Sat 29-Aug-09 21:05:04

I don't understand that at all - I wouldn't really expect a 15 month old to have many words beyond the usual mama/dada!

Can't believe you are being made to feel so bad about this when it sounds so normal. Very angry for you

random Sat 29-Aug-09 21:05:19

I wouldn't be remotely worried about a 15 month old who doesn't talk ..My Ds never really spoke till he was 2

Wolfcub Sat 29-Aug-09 21:19:00

ds didn't start talking until about 3 weeks before his 2nd birthday, now I can't shut him up, he has excellent language and can string long and interesting sentences together, he is not yet three. I thought it was very common for children not to talk until close to 2.

WonderBundlesMommy Sat 29-Aug-09 22:03:56

Sponge - We were referred to the SALT for assessment by the Health Service here when he did not point, respond to his name consistently, or say any words by 13 months. They say he should have had 3-5 words by 12 months, 5-10 words by 15 months, both of which we have now passed.

So he started to point several days before the assessment (15 months), which apparently is quite key. But they think he should be talking, and almost everyone everywhere we go is borderline rude to me that he is not speaking.

I think part of it is that he is very tall (has always been above 95th centile in height) and maybe they think he is older than he is? Or maybe I'm just making excuses for people being so blunt to me?

He is definitely frustrated though, and that is new for us.

Thank you so much for the words of encouragement....this seems to be the only place such things happen!

nicki116 Sat 29-Aug-09 22:07:24

How odd, my DS didn't point until 15months, never said anything but babble until 17 months, now at 18months he says loads of words.

I think your HV was way too quick to jump on this, maybe if he was 2 and not saying anything at all.. but to refer at 13months is shocking to me.

I think you need to go and get a second professional opionion

spongebrainmaternitypants Sun 30-Aug-09 09:23:23

WBM, I'm so sorry you are being made to feel so bad about this sad. Do you live in the UK? I only ask cos, as I say, I have a son nearly the same age as yours and I have had absolutely no negative comments about his lack of words at all, from health professionals, friends or anyone else.

The only toddler I know who is talking is a girl in our NCT group, but it is widely recognised that girls talk earlier than boys and it never occurred to me to be worried.

My DS does get a little frustrated with me now cos he obviously wants me to understand what he's saying (he babbles constantly!), but we are just doing everything you're doing, i.e. lots of chat, repetition, picking things up and naming, and he really doesn't get imitating my language at all. It will happen though - just a question of time.

You can see from the other posters that your DS is totally normal. I hope that you can put this appointment to the back of your mind and get on with enjoying time with your delightful little boy without worrying too much. He'll get there smile.

WonderBundlesMommy Sun 30-Aug-09 15:55:35

No we are in Canada. But in so many ways wishing we were in UK....

I wasn't at all concerned either until the original referral by the health service, which was I believe an early intervention screening for ASD. They were very concerned about the not pointing/no words/not consistently responding to name.

After I calmed downa bit, I had really thought that we'd go for the assessment and be told everything was fine, so was surprised by the expressive language delay label.

What has really knocked me back again though is that on top of the professionals concerns, yesterday for example, four complete strangers and three family members (separately) all said to me some version of "you mean he isn't talking yet???" "Oh I can't believe he doesn't say any real words?" "What are you doing about his not talking???"

Based on the responses I've received here, I think we are going to push for a second opinion. And I'm going to have to come up with some responses for these people...

newweddingname Sun 30-Aug-09 16:44:54

Just wanted to add my dd is 15 months next week, babbles incoherantly but no words yet, says mama, not to keen on saying dada, to my dps dissapointment! thats the grand total!

Sounds like a lot of pressure for you and ds. I know 5 other babies the same age as dd and none of them are talking yet either....

Lusi Sun 30-Aug-09 16:54:58

Really don't worry ...my DD2 hardly said anything until she was 2. The HV said not to worry unless it had not improved by 2 1/2 - which it did - now she is 2 and 3/4 and putting sentences together brilliantly.

For the frustration try and ask him what he wants - give him a choice. Eg for DD2 we had a cup that was always used for milk and one for juice. Before we gave her a drink we held out both cups(different types) and said 'milk or juice'? She got a drink of whatever cup she chose. You can do this for all kind of things and you can't really get it wrong because they are doing the choosing...if that makes sense. Also always try and guess what he is trying to indicate and say it for him and also be honest - tell him 'Sorry I don't understand what you want - can you show me again? or can you help me to understand? Don't get upset or frustrated yourself or it will make him worse..
remeber this will pass...if you are as (un)lucky as I am you will soon be desperately trying to shut him up...

Horton Sun 30-Aug-09 16:55:21

I think not recognising his own name is actually a slight cause for concern. I know lots of children who had no real words at this age and lots who didn't point until later who are all fine but I don't know any at all who didn't recognise their names. It's a pretty important word for them to be familiar with, I think. But the rest sounds absolutely normal. Sorry to be a voice of doom. I am pretty certain that you're right and nothing serious is wrong but it's no bad thing to be absolutely sure. Take the referral. It's quite likely that in six months he will be chattering away but if he isn't, you might as well be on the waiting list and able to get help early (which is much better than getting it later on from the child's point of view).

Has he had a recent hearing check?

Lusi Sun 30-Aug-09 17:06:26

I hope that doesn't sound too patronising...what I was trying to say is give him as much choice as you can when you can so he will have some control ....
I also should have said distraction is the best tool a parent (of all ages) has...I have been know to stand in the supermarket and say 'gosh Was that an elephant over there? No it can't be, is it?' in a loud voice...I do get the odd funny look but no-one has come to take me away (yet)...wanting to touch a tomato will be completely forgotten....

minervaitalica Sun 30-Aug-09 17:20:11

I am in mainland Europe, and I can confirm that not saying words at 15 mths would not by itself be a concern here either, unless there were other issues as well.

My DD really gets frustrated when she wants to do sth but cannot, but in the past (with crawling, sitting up etc) that just meant she was really really close to getting there - the new skill appeared within a couple of weeks or so.

But I do agree with Horton - take the referral anyway. At least if your baby needs help (and he probably won't from what you are saying) it will be there at the right time

nellynaemates Sun 30-Aug-09 18:39:25

That sounds very weird, my ds had very few words at that age (he didn't have any at 12 months btw - many don't).

The pointing and responding to his name thing might have flagged something up but the language sounds completely normal.

My ds is now 21 months and speaking in sentences, 6 months is a huge amount of time at this age.

There may be something wrong with your ds, but I don't see much evidence for it atm in my unprofessional opinion!!

vbusymum1 Sun 30-Aug-09 19:33:01

Wow - all 4 of my DCs would have failed those criteria and DC4 is now 17mths and doesn't say a word. Lots of babbling, pointing and shouting to be understood but I'm not worried in the slightest.
I didn't realise the Canadian baby was so different to the UK version. I'm sure its hard but try not to worry and hopefully speech will develop in its own time

mawbroon Sun 30-Aug-09 19:39:36

I'm not sure from your sentence where you say "and thus far hasnt' signed back" if you are doing baby signing?

If you're not, is it something you would consider trying?

piscesmoon Sun 30-Aug-09 19:43:21

15 months is very young to start worrying. My cousin's DS didn't say anything until he was 5 yrs and then started in full sentences-he hasn't stopped talking since! My DS2 certainly didn't say anything at 15 months-he did some speech therapy aged 5 yrs but is completely normal now! They all take their own time.

TotalChaos Sun 30-Aug-09 19:48:18

well - I guess the SALT must have had reasons to be concerned, I won't say that there is 100% no problem - but he is very young, and in the UK the pointing milestone isn't expected till 18 months, so it is very positive that he's pointing. If he's not making headway with the signing yet, keep on trying, but maybe get a board with some photos on that he can point to to try and communicate - you can also show him photos to explain things like if you are going to see a certain person or place.

as for responding - in a similar position I would tell nosy strangers a white lie "He's shy" and family the truth "he's waiting for more speech therapy".

in the meantime, you might find these books/sites useful:-
www.hanen.org
You Make the Difference and/or It Takes two to Talk by Ayola Manolson
The Parents Guide to Speech and Language Problems by Debbie Feit
www.teachmetotalk.com (has lots of useful ideas and free video clips)

clop Sun 30-Aug-09 20:05:16

My experience (4DC) is like vbusymum's. 18m old DS currently says 1 word ("Blat!" for "Yuck!"). And two hand signs.

I spent a lot of time today reading discussions on an American forum website today, where people talked about getting tots referred for "Early Intervention" as soon as they failed the productive speech guidelines mentioned by OP. An attitude that intervention-is-always-good seems to be the cultural norm.

There was ONE German immigrant mother saying that it might be excessive and stressful to seek intervention so early. She was shot down for daring to suggest such a thing. This is on a site where they happily accept stuff like homebirths, Steiner education, no vaccines and Primordial diets (all raw food, including raw meat) -- but it's irresponsible to not seek help for an 18 month old who doesn't say much hmm.

Reading all that made me totally paranoid for a little while, nice to hear some more balanced different perspectives here!!

clop Sun 30-Aug-09 20:15:58

How do you test whether an 18m old knows his name, anyway? As opposed to Henry, Thomas, any other name said in the same tone of voice that I usually say DS's name to him?

WonderBundlesMommy Sun 30-Aug-09 20:47:44

First of all thank you all so much for the info, ideas, and words of encouragement...being told about this site was such a blessing for me!

To answer the inquiries/suggestions -

- Yes I do sign with him since 9 months. He has not yet signed back, but does seem interested in a few of them.
- He had a hearing screening at birth which he passed. He is now scheduled for an audiology appointment for a more in-depth test, but it also is at least four months away. I do not have concerns about his hearing though, it is just a step they want us to take.
- LOL, don't think the Canadian Baby version is different than the UK Baby version. Would love to come over and see someday, it is our dream to visit there!
- Our system is quite dissimilar to the US as far as I can tell - per Clop's posting re: the Amercian site, I have checked out many American sites too and found the same type of dynamic. DH and I have found that our particular parenting style and choices seem to be much more compatible with resources we've found or been referred to in UK.
- I have just started the "choices" type approach with him, think it's a great idea, will see how it goes...
- Will definitely check out the sites & books provided, thank you!

Again, I cannot thank you ladies enough....

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Sun 30-Aug-09 21:00:33

DS has/had speech delay and as it turned out was down to his hearing but here in the UK and after speaking to a friend that was a SALT in another area this appears to reasonably the norm. They wouldn't even refer him at 2 years old without a bit of a fight as not speaking at 2 was still within the realms of normal.
It does seem a bot over enthusiastic to refer so early. Even dd who was an exceptional speaker very young only really said mama, dada, gaba or whatever at that age.
Honestly don't worry, I know it is easier said than done expecially when you have HCP's telling you there is something to worry about.
Despite DS hearing problems that are getting treatment and now has full hearing in one ear he can now speak at 3 years old.
It will probably come in time whether there is intervention or not.
Oh and to add when ds did start speaking he went from single words to full sentences almos immediately.

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