Talk

Advanced search

Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Speech regression

(10 Posts)
islandmummy Tue 23-Jun-15 19:36:32

Hi everyone,

I am hoping for some reassurance about my daughter's speech or to know if other children have had similar issues to stop myself worrying about it and wondering if I ought to see my GP (which feels like a bit of an overreaction, but also concerned that if there is an issue I shouldn't leave it too long!)

My daughter turned 4 last month. She used to speak really well - very clearly and with a great vocabulary which I would guess was advanced for her age (my only comparisons are friends of hers and my 6yo son's). There were certain sounds she couldn't make, eg "th" and sometimes she said "l" instead of "y" etc, but nothing that I didn't think was quite normal for her age and I thought she'd grow out of.

Earlier this year she started dropping consonants in her speech such as "t" and "d" sounds in the middle of words. We corrected her, and thought it was just something she'd picked up from nursery friends (we live in South London so that is how a lot of people speak!). However, over the course of the past few months, she often speaks without many consonant sounds at all, and also in a kind of slow drawl. I can understand her, but others often can't. It's not like an American accent she might have picked up from tv programmes, but more as if she's just elongating the vowel sounds in her speech.

I know it isn't unusual for children at this age to not speak particularly clearly - there is certainly a big variation in how well her nursery friends speak - so if this was just where she had got to normally I probably wouldn't be concerned (and I expect that's why nursery haven't said anything), but what worries me is that her speech is worse now than it was, say, a year ago. I have been trying to find videos to confirm my suspicion, but unfortunately with an attention-seeking older sibling bombing photos and videos, it's hard to find an example of her saying much on her own!

Does anyone have any experience of anything like this? Your opinions on what would be a good course of action are much appreciated! Thank you.

Ktmummy1 Tue 23-Jun-15 20:13:44

Hi,

Do you think she may have a stammer? Stammers can present as elongations of sounds so perhaps this could explain the vowel problem?

Is your daughters speech slurred at all? If so, and this is a regression, I would take her to see the GP.

Can you still understand what your dd says?

Dropping t/d in the middle of words is a colloquial issue eg butter -->. Bu-er. This is normal in certain areas. Can you explain in more detail about the precise changes in speech sounds.

islandmummy Wed 24-Jun-15 18:39:54

Thank you kt...I am just heading out to a PTA meeting but will reply more tomorrow x

Ktmummy1 Wed 24-Jun-15 19:09:14

No problem, I'm a speech and language therapist so hope Ill be able to help once you've given more detail, feel free to pm me if you'd prefer ?

islandmummy Fri 26-Jun-15 18:29:50

Hi kt (and others watching?)

I don't think it's a stammer - well not as I understand a stammer iykwim? Sometimes she repeats the start of a sentence, but it doesn't seem as though she's struggling to get it out, just that she repeats it a few times. She doesn't slur. The things she's doing could be completely normal in a 4yo, but because I knew she didn't do these things before, it worries me. I'm trying to think of specific examples...

She says "I not want to..." instead of "I don't want to", and "I not got" etc - again, she used to say the correct words.
She repeats the beginning sound of a word sometimes.
She drops consonants other than the colloquial ones (which is an issue round here - we live in Croydon! - but my husband and I speak well and don't drop those sounds and neither did she previously. None of her nursery friends do either that I have noticed. For example, she'd say "wa" instead of "want" or "fre" instead of "friend" (well, "fwe" actually, because she still can't do the "r" - but that has always been the case and I'm not concerned about that as much). Likewise I/y, w/v and th/f etc. Her vowel sounds are often long, eg her brother's name begins with an "A" (think Adam) which should be a short, clipped sound, but she now draws it out!

I can understand what she says - most of the time - but other adults can't always.

It's really hard to explain. I just worried that this might be a sign of a developing speech issue that I should nip in the bud?

Thanks again for your help!

insanityscatching Fri 26-Jun-15 18:52:31

Has she had a hearing test? That would be my first port of call and then I'd ask a GP to refer her to a speech therapist and a paediatrician as any loss of previously learned skills should be investigated.

Ktmummy1 Fri 26-Jun-15 19:39:06

1. She says "I not want to..." instead of "I don't want to", and "I not got" etc - again, she used to say the correct words.
its possible she's imitating another child, I would suggest modelling the correct form to her each time she does this

2. She repeats the beginning sound of a word sometimes.*this sounds normal*

3. She drops consonants other than the colloquial ones (which is an issue round here - we live in Croydon! - but my husband and I speak well and don't drop those sounds and neither did she previously. None of her nursery friends do either that I have noticed. For example, she'd say "wa" instead of "want" or "fre" instead of "friend" (well, "fwe" actually, because she still can't do the "r" - but that has always been the case and I'm not concerned about that as much). a couple of thoughts on this one. The sounds you mention she misses are at the end of words and in consonant clusters/blends i.e. nt/nd. Clusters of sounds are developmentally more difficult to produce and is why spoon will normally be said as poon/boon by young children and sweets as weets etc. does your daughter miss other end sounds eg the t sound at end of cat?

4. Likewise I/y, w/v and th/f etc. these sounds are often mis articulated by children up to age of roughly 5/6. This would not be a concern.

5. Her vowel sounds are often long, eg her brother's name begins with an "A" (think Adam) which should be a short, clipped sound, but she now draws it out! this one is a little puzzling, can she copy you saying the vowel correctly? Can she hear it sounds wrong when you repeat how she says Adam? Is it Adam or Aaaadam?

islandmummy Sat 27-Jun-15 20:09:11

Thanks guys. Some of it may be her copying other children, as I have heard others speaking and they're not all very clear. My gut feeling is that she has started out by copying others but now it's become such a habit that she's forgotten how to speak properly! I hear what you're saying about the developmental things, and both my children used to speak as you describe. I suppose my concern is that she's regressed to that kind of speech again, and how to help her move forwards? I am thinking it might be an idea to speak to a GP, but I'm worried that as this type of speech is within the spectrum of what is developmentally normal that they'll focus on that and usher me on my way rather than listening to my concerns about how this compares to how she was before. In answer to your question, she can say things correctly if we ask her to (although she gets cross when we ask), so I don't think it's a hearing problem. She hasn't had a hearing test since the baby one (which was fine) but she does seem to hear things generally so not sure if that's it. It really is a puzzle!

Again - thank you!

Ktmummy1 Sun 28-Jun-15 06:10:09

Why not phone your health visitor in the first instance, go through your concerns about regression.

In terms of moving your daughter forward, just model the correct form when she says it incorrectly.

How are your daughters social skills eg eye contact, play skills, imagination etc?

I can understand you concerns that the GP might just say your dd is within the realms of normal (and it does sound that way). That's why I think you should speak to the health visitor first.

If you are very concerned though, ask your GP/health visitor to refer your daughter to speech therapy or a paediatrician if you feel this is more than just a speech and language issue.

insanityscatching Sun 28-Jun-15 08:57:55

I would say though that if your dc was copying other children (as my own dd did) then once she was away from the children she was copying her speech would return to the norm as surely she spends more time with you than she does with children who have unclear speech? I know dd maybe once or twice at home did the "I not got" but after reminding her of what she should say she didn't do it again.
Dd has autism so parroting speech is part and parcel of that and she had a great line in different accents but I wouldn't think it typical that a child would copy children's speech longterm particularly when they are among people who are modelling normal speech.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now