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Seeing speech therapist tomorrow with 3.5yo DS, what can a "normal" 3.5yo boy say?

(25 Posts)
crokky Mon 31-Aug-09 18:40:18

DS's appointment with the speech therapist is tomorrow. I think that his speech is behind the average 3.5yo boy, but I am not sure by how much.

Nursery asked me to get him referred a few months ago, but since he has been going and mixing with loads of other children, some a little older, I feel his speech has improved hugely and one of the staff told me that she doesn't think he has problems necessitating speech therapy anymore. I'm not sure so would like opinions...

This is vaguely what he can say/do

-can construct a sentence, up to 9 words long.
-sometimes the words might not be quite in the correct order, but most people would understand the sentence and be able to conduct a conversation with him
-he struggles with some sounds, eg instead of Christmas, he would say "Tristmas", although when I would reply C...C...Christmas, he would say it correctly
-sometimes there is a missing word(s) "I want to go farm"
-He can communicate with a 3/4yo quite nicely - saying bye to a child at nursery eg "Bye bye Alex, I'm going home now"
-Sometimes he mixes things up a bit - when speaking about his younger sister, the word "he" is used, rather than "she"
-if he is asked a question, he can give a meaningful answer so his understanding is reasonable
-his actual vocabulary is quite reasonable as well

Can anyone give me a feel for how behind/abnormal his speech is compared to their DS at 3.5? I do have another child, DD, who is 17 months and at that age, DS had about 10 single words, whereas DD now has hundreds of words and can string 3 words together easily. The difference in their speech abilities at the same age is massive and it is very hard for me to know how much is due to DD being a girl and also having the benefit of an older sibling and how much is due to DS's speech being behind.

colditz Mon 31-Aug-09 18:43:16

Sounds like ds2,who is 3.4 and perfectly normal as far as I am aware. not at all behind. My friend's daughter is the same ageand has the same sort of speech./

SycamoretreeIsVile Mon 31-Aug-09 18:44:43

This is hard as I don't think there is any normal. If your DS is noticeably improving now he's around more children this is a positive sign.

However, I would say that most children at 3.5 are conversing in quite complex in, it mimics adult conversation, but it's the vocab that is more limited, and the tenses are often wrong.

I know a SALT on these boards so I'll see if I can track her down and link her to this thread. smile

Stinkyfeet Mon 31-Aug-09 18:50:18

Ds2 (3.6) is pretty much the same as your description of your ds's speech. I'm no expert, but it sounds perfectly normal to me.

nellie12 Mon 31-Aug-09 18:50:48

Its no harm to have the assessment. Some kids need the stimulation of other kids to start making the effort. Mine are like this. Ds1 similar (possibly worse than yours) saw salt for 18 months. It helped but a lot of his speech came along when he went to school and he had to make the effort. He's now 5 and fine although I was very worried 2 yrs ago.

phlossie Mon 31-Aug-09 19:46:40

Your situation echos mine, crokky. DS, now 3.5, was a slow starter with language, and we're now waiting to see a speech therapist (on my mum's advice, she's a SENCO and had spoken to speech therapists at work about him.

Like yours, my DS is constructing complicated sentences, but his pronounciation isn't great. I think at this stage they ought to be able to communicate clearly with strangers. My DS can't pronounce what's called fricative consonants - that is s, f, v etc - and apparantly he should be.

It sounds like your DS has only just started nursery - is this right? Sometimes, children who stay at home are a bit slower with speech because you understand their meaning without them needing words! Like yours, my DS started getting better when he started nursery.

I also have a wordy little girl! Now 23 mo, my dd can correctly use I, my, you, me etc and her pronounciation is better than her brother's. I think she is quite forward with speech and he's a bit behind the average, so it's a bit of both.

All that said - 1, I met a 3.5yo the other day who isn't even putting 2 words together, so putting it perspective your ds doesn't sound bad at all (nor mine), and 2, getting it sorted now is really good and important before they start school.

Good luck and let me know how it goes. I'm still waiting for our appointment.

tribpot Mon 31-Aug-09 19:51:47

My ds has just turned 4 and has a variety of eloquent and hilarious phrases at his command ("this is so not what I signed up for" - WTF). But still has letters that he can't do - lellow for yellow, for example. He also sometimes mixes gender up, who wouldn't, it's a hard concept to get.

To me it doesn't sound very worrying at all, how long has he been going to nursery?

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 31-Aug-09 19:52:42

Crokky, (I'm Syc's pal and a slt, although not working anymore) sounds as though your ds is doing fine now from your description of what his communication is like.

How long, on average, are his sentences? Nine words is fab. Was that a one off? Or does he always tend to use long sentences with a variety of nouns, verbs and for a variety of needs e.g. comment, question, request..?

The speech sound difficulties also sound normal for his age and should continue to mature.

If you have an appointment though, definately go and have him assessed. The slt will be abe to assess his attention and listeninmg as well as his communication and speech skills. If there are any areas that need monitoring, at least he will be in 'the system'.

Hope it goes well and you are reassured that all is wellsmile

nappyaddict Mon 31-Aug-09 19:56:11

My DS is 3.2 and can't pronounce V, F, TH or C. Is that normal or not?

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 31-Aug-09 20:02:39

Nappy, lots of those sounds are later in developping.

What sounds does he use instead?

How are his attention and listening skills? (does he rush from one toy to another or sit and play with one thing at a time? Can he take turns, etc?) This is always a good area to work on with children who have a speech sound delay.

crokky Mon 31-Aug-09 20:11:58

Thanks very much everyone. I do feel better now.

He did stay at home with me until he was 3, now he goes to a school nursery. He has done one term and also attended some holiday activity stuff. I did wonder if he would have progressed more quickly with his speech if he had been in nursery earlier, but then my DD hasn't been anywhere yet - she has huge amounts of speech and I have no idea where she learns it all grin. He was a velcro baby so I was reluctant to send him earlier than 3.

The 9 word sentences are less usual than shorter sentences for him. He is nattering away a lot and the vast majority of it can be understood, even though it is not particularly well put together. His sentences can contain a variety of needs as well - it sort of depends on his mood etc.

With the letter sounds - he can do all the 1 letter sounds, it is just sometimes a problem when they are combined - eg p for pen is OK, but p for present is not, it's "tresent".

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 31-Aug-09 20:30:05

Crokky, you are very good at describing your dcs communication.

Write a few examples down to take with you, in case he is not very talkative tomorrow.

Include his longer sentences, sentences where he misses out words and where he might get he/she confused.

That will give the slt a good idea of what is happening and his strengths and weaknesses, if you like.

nappyaddict Mon 31-Aug-09 20:30:09

He uses G for V, T for C and SH for F and TH.

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 31-Aug-09 20:35:03

Nappy, how is his attention/concentration?

Can he copy the sounds k, v, f, th on their own yet?

nappyaddict Mon 31-Aug-09 20:44:53

It varies. Sometimes very good and will concentrate well for half an hour, other times he can't at all.

I've tried "say V" etc but he doesn't copy back and looks at me with a blank expression like I'm speaking French grin

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 31-Aug-09 21:25:18


Try to encourage him to listen to you and concentrate gradually for longer periods (obviously he should have 'down time' too).

Play some listening games e.g. sound lotto, idnetifying sounds hen out and about.

If he says a word 'wrong', don't correct him but just repeat it to him correctly e.g. ''the tow says moo'' ''that's right, the cow says moo''.

I'd give him a bit longer yet before seeking slt help.

Let us know how he gets on over the next few months.

nappyaddict Mon 31-Aug-09 22:01:48

Forgot to say aswell the longest sentence he has ever said is only 5 words long, but usually they are 2, 3 or 4 words long.

crokky Tue 01-Sep-09 12:43:58

YAY!!! The speech therpist was pleased with DS and says he doesn't need any speech therapy.

nappyaddict - the therapist told me today that apparently there are some pronounciations that children do incorrectly that are considered "age appropriate". It is quite normal for some 3yos to have some errors.

eg she was not concerned that when my DS was shown a picture of a crab that he said "trab"

Having said that, I am not sure if there are some that are OK and some that are not OK or whether it depends on how many letters are not pronounced correctly.

DesperateHousewifeToo Tue 01-Sep-09 13:54:22

Glad it went well Crokky.

I thought that was what you would be told but not easy to give a definite prognosis over the internet!

That is exactly right wrt speech sound development. There is an order of development that most children follow and that normally includes some substitutions/additions/deletions of sounds in words.

Most children follow a similar pattern, some have their own pattern (this would be called disordered), and most develop a 'normal' adult sound system without any input/help required.

Sallyallyally Tue 01-Sep-09 14:05:01

Glad it went so ds is 2yrs 7 months and seems to be way behind with his speech. He has trouble pronouncing consonants so a helicopter is oc oc er, biscuit is ic ic and will substitute a 'd' sound..plane is dane, train is dane!! It is coming slowly..he undrestands everything and gives it a try, but most of the time he sounds like a furby!!!!!! Taking him to have his hearing checked out next week although seems fine..anyone have any words of reassurance? (My DD spoke fluently and brilliantly by 18months!)

nappyaddict Tue 01-Sep-09 14:44:38

DS misses out S so will say poon for spoon and nake for snake etc.

DesperateHousewifeToo Tue 01-Sep-09 15:52:09

Helicopter is quite a complex word. He's doing well attempting itsmile.

Your ds obviously has a transport 'thing' grin

He's still very young, sally. Plenty of time yet for him to get the sounds right. Try not to do the comparing thing, though tis hardsmile

Work on his vocabulary- nouns and verbs so he can build up his sentence length. I'm sure his speech sounds will improve.

Nappy - that is a classic, completely normal developmental stage that your ds is going through. Nothing to worry about at this age.

nappyaddict Tue 01-Sep-09 15:57:11

He's just asked me for "Popo Pops" lol. I guess in some ways it does sound quite sweet grin

DesperateHousewifeToo Tue 01-Sep-09 16:02:54

You should keep a note of all the things he says. You can embarrass him when he is older grin

dneice used to call dh's walking stick his 'dick'. Used to go around telling everyone that he had a 'big dick'. Was so funny grin

clop Tue 01-Sep-09 16:40:40

Crokky, your 3.5 sounds like my just 5yo: my just 5yo is borderline for needing speech therapy (he qualifies, but his problem gets described as mild).

I'd be delighted with a 3.5yo who spoke as well as OP's!

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