Is your toddler slow to talk?

(15 Posts)
Munchkinsugarpie Sun 05-Aug-01 00:04:15

Hi all, I've just joined this site (about 3 hours ago) and I think it's absolutely great. The potty training chats were really reassuring.

Anyway! I have a 2.4 yr old little boy who seems a lot slower than the other kids around (even those much younger) at talking. The Health Visitor scared me 6 months ago and said our boy should have a vocabulary of about 18 -24 words. (He was saying about 5 at the time.) So she recommended we took him to a speech therapist. We waited for a few months for an appointment by which time his vocabulary had expanded to about 12 words. The therapist thought there was nothing wrong with him and I left there feeling ridiculously guilty that I had ever 'doubted' his ability to speak.

But now - almost 3 months later he still hasn't said much more and I'm feeling concerned again! I'd be so grateful to hear anybody's experiences...

Kmg Sun 05-Aug-01 10:36:42

Hi! If you are not happy, and have been 'discharged' by the speech therapist, then get your HV to refer you again. The waiting lists are always really long, and it's worth being in the system. If you see a S/T again, and they still think he's OK, ask if you can stay in the system and have another review in 6-12 months.

Try not to worry, many boys don't talk a lot aged 2-3, and it is more important that they are understanding language well.

Just to let you know our situation - my son (just 4)talks continuously - drives us all completely batty. But his articulation is very poor, and there are some basic sounds (c and g), and many more complex ones that he still isn't making at all. BUT the good news is speech therapy is great. He's made loads of progress in just three months, but it took us a long time and a lot of fighting to get to the point where they agreed to 'treat'.

Janh Sun 05-Aug-01 11:00:55

munchkin, if he only has 12 words - but says them clearly - then speech therapy wouldn't help him at the moment anyway.

don't feel guilty, it is a big worry if your child appears to be behind all the others.

my younger son had an equally small vocabulary - mostly family names and car, bus, train etc - up to the age of 2.9 or thereabouts, when it suddenly took off. he did go to speech therapy for a bit, referred initially because the HV thought he might have a hearing problem (he didn't) and continuing because he didn't make some sounds properly. he is 8 now and talks quite normally (and much too much!)

so i would say continue to monitor his speech but without his noticing - if you see what i mean - and as kmg says, if he understands everything you say to him then he will be ok in the end.

Eulalia Mon 06-Aug-01 08:32:44

My son only has about 20 words and he's just turned 2. Some kids are a lot slower. How many words does he understand? Does he babble a lot? Does he sometimes imitate words? Does he try to sing? Pretend to read books? Does he point to things? If he is vocalising a lot then he should be OK. Some kids seem to learn language differently. For instance my boy doesn't say drink if he wants one he says "more" - he has confused me saying "do you want more?" with the actual object itself.

I am sure you will know yourself if there is a problem. I've heard of some kids hardly talking till they are nearer 3.

Good luck.

Kim Mon 06-Aug-01 13:22:23

My son only had 8 or so single words at the age of 2.3 years. Two weeks later he was using whole sentences. I'm convinced the main reason was his own personality; even then he didn't want to try things unless he could do it properly, and "properly" by my example to him was complete sentences. Also, I don't think he understood that speech was USEFUL for making me understand what he wanted, as I always knew anyway.

I'd say that if you think he's deaf, autistic, not very bright, or has difficulty actually making certain sounds, that you should pursue treatment for those problems. If he doesn't fit any of these problem areas, just keep talking intelligently to him - perhaps use some shorter phrases that will be easier for him to pick up - and be clear in your own mind as to whether he is understanding you.

Daddy1 Mon 06-Aug-01 14:31:40

Our child is 2 years 10 months and has not fathomed the power of speech yet.
He says 'D' for dog and make sthe noise of a train / lorry 'woo, woo'. Other than this and countless comments of 'puz' for everything from looking out of the window to the telly he says nothing. He also 'meows' for a cat.

That aside he is a very happy child, dances to music on the telly, reacts to bad people on telly by running up to the screen and bashing it!, has a good appetite and knows colour matching and shapes in holes etc - without uttering a word.

We are shortly to start pre school special lessons. One paediatrician suggests he has mild autism.

Any feedback greatfully received on personal experiences

Munchkinsugarpie Mon 06-Aug-01 21:07:59

I can't believe you guys responded so quickly. Thanks SO much. I guess from your replies that my son seems ok. I think.....

I am convinced that he understands everything. Even things that we don't directly say to him, he runs and brings, or shows total comprehension of. Nothing gets past him. He is very vocal most of the time, in sing song squeaks (a bit dolphin like), and lots of baby gabble. Lots of mummy-yeah, daddy-yeah and pointing to himself if he wants something. He points a lot of the time. If that doesn't work, he grabs your hand and takes you to whatever it is he wants you to see.

Other than that though, the words are few and far between. 'Woo-woo' is a dog, 'Yowie' is our cat, to get a drink he makes a glug glug noise and points to himself. 'Daddy-werr' is the latest (daddy work)and that was over a month ago.

He enjoys books and points loads but he gets bored quickly and I have noticed that when I'm trying to teach him a word, or point something out that requires some degree of concentration, he laughs and runs away. He does try to copy occasionally, but it often comes out so wrong! eg., 'Photo' has become a determined 'Hafoo'. I suppose I'm just concerned that I'm hearing the same phrases over and over again, and no new ones seem to be appearing.

Daddy1, your situation is scary..... maybe we have the same problem...? What IS mild autism anyway? How can they tell?

Since posting this chat, friends have told me that Winston Churchill didn't speak a word till he was 4. Great! Bet that didn't stop his mum from worrying though eh?....

Janh Mon 06-Aug-01 21:42:11

i thought autism meant partly that a child would withdraw from other people - neither of your two sound like that!

i know a boy of 11 or 12 whose mother thinks he has aspergers, which is a form of autism. his single biggest problem is any change in routine at all - it throws him into a blind panic. i guess it takes many forms. munchkin or daddy1, maybe one of you should start another new thread asking specifically about this? it might be reassuring!

Anoushka Mon 06-Aug-01 22:28:55

hi mucnchkinsugarpie my son has autism and it is very difficult to dignose he is six now and has no speech at all not a single word but he is very able to understand what you are saying my son was dignosed at three and a half it was his lack of speech and his repetive actions like wanting repeat a task over and over and his withdrawn never played with other children and could not understand sharing well he is in a special school now and is doing well. well to sum up i would not worry it's very difficult at that age my advice is go to your health visitor he should be having his two year cheak soon and she will spot any concerns you might have but dont worry just because he is not having a lot of words i would not panic

Janeyfran Mon 06-Aug-01 22:29:55

This discussion has really hit home with me. Our son is 2 years 9 months old. He says around 8 words that anyone would understand and has another dozen or so approximations or own words. Apart from that the rest of his speech consists of 'da da da da da da da da'. While we've never been exactly worried about his slow speech development, we are becoming increasingly concerned and have just referred him to be seen by a speech therapist, for reassurance as much as anything else.

In all other aspects his development is perfectly normal. He can understand everything, he is a happy boy who plays normally, potty trained himself easily, has a great sense of humour etc. He loves books and hearing stories. He knows his colours and shapes and seems to understand number and counting, as well as you can tell without any verbal feedback.

What really fascinates me though is that he has developed a sort of sign language for certain things. He even communicated to me once in signs that he wanted a sandwich cut into triangles! We haven't taught him these signs at all, he has invented them himself. It encourages me that language itself is developing, and that once he 'gets' speech it will flow quite quickly.

The HV doesn't think there's anything to be concerned about as he vocalises lots (in fact he talks a great deal for someone who doesn't say any words!). As well as his few words he makes many sounds, of trains, cars, animals etc.

It's nice to hear from others in the same situation. It's easy to feel you're the only one with a particular problem.

Tigermoth Wed 08-Aug-01 13:12:54

My son is just coming up to two. Still a little young to determine if he has a speech problem. He's very sociable and vocal in a non-word way. He says about 20 words, not that clearly, but his vocabulary is steadily growing, so at the moment I'm not too concerned.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting is to share a recent observation: He reverts to baby-like sceams when he wants my attention. For instance,he will scream and point at a packet of biscuits in the hope he'll be given one. However if I say to him 'what do you mean, tell me what you want' he immediately reverts to much calmer, converstional babble. Perhaps because he's the youngest, he seems to equate 'baby' sounds with getting his own way. When I first tried to 'talk him out of it' I was sure he wouldn't understand my plea to talk, not scream. Just goes to show how ability to understand and ability to speak can vary so much.

Squiffysister Wed 08-Aug-01 21:06:25

Hi! Our son was 2.5 years before he could speak any words, even when he did start to speak in sentences his language was very confusing. Each time I went to my HV she tried to reassure me that his speech would improve, but it didn’t. After seeking help from a number of health professionals who could not give a diagnosis I went to an independent speech and language therapist who identified his problem as having semantic pragmatic difficulties, (a mild form of autism). He is now 5 years and after a considerable amount of time I feel he is now getting the right support at home and in the classroom. I would be grateful to talk to any other parents of children with semantic pragmatic disorder.

Sharli Mon 13-Aug-01 20:02:21

Hi - this discussion really struck a chord with me. I always knew there was something not right with my daughter's speech - at 2 she had lots of words but couldn't string them together - she also talked in a very strange Pingu type language as if she wanted to talk but didn't know how. I kept being fobbed off by HV's and GP's - she's OK, she'll catch up,etc. When she went to Nursery at 2.5 it was immediately picked up and they called a Speech therapist in to observe her who said she really needed Speech therapy.
Janeyfran, I was interested in your comments as they sounded similar to my experiences. My daughter was obsessed with colours and letters and shapes and could count to 100 and say the alphabet but couldn't string two words together. The speech therapist said that this fixation had distracted her, she had got stuck down a that track and we had to get her off it. All that stuff would be brilliant if she was just about to go to school, but at 2 you need to learn the basics! Her advice was to steer her away from anything like that.

Two bits of advice I would give - firstly, follow your instincts, you know your child best and don't be fobbed off by your HV.GP/paed whatever - the speech therapists are the ones that know best.

Secondly, get into the NHS system as if your child is coming up to school and needs help, the schools won'take any notice of a private speech therapist. You can still get your child assessed even though they may not be having speech therapy on the NHS. Who was it that said waiting lists were long?? An understatement - Amy is till not having speech therapy on the NHS and it's now 18 months since her first assessment. We have had no choice but to go private.
Anyway - my little one is going into school in September - she's now 4 - and if we hadn't picked this problem up early she definitely would have struggled.

Bo Tue 14-Aug-01 11:23:16

mine is also a bit slow to talk, and one thing I find a bit strange is that he calls me & hubbie 'mama'. i'd heard general terms were common, but I thought this was at a younger age, and I don't know anyone else with this. He's over 2 now & always has called us both 'mama'. We always refer to daddy as Daddy. I might say - daddy's going to work now & he'll reply 'bye bye mama'. Is this a problem? Is he likely to grow out of it soon. (We've also found that he refers to grandparents as mama too)

Ems Tue 14-Aug-01 12:06:41

Bo, our little boy (20m) is exactly the same. My poor hubbie is desparate to be called anything but Mummeeee!

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