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can a 20 month old regress with language and be ok?

(15 Posts)
mumtoaandj Thu 02-Jun-11 20:56:49

i have just written below about my nearly 5 year old but i am worrying about my 20 month old. he is a late talker but does communicate however some words he seems to lose- he could say banana but now that has become mana, can say mum, dad and his brothers name and ball..baba (balloon)-he does understand everything-is this all "normal" behviour.
my nearly 5 year ol we think is on the autistic spectrum but never had a delay with talking or regression with it.
thank you

janpa Thu 02-Jun-11 22:32:46

Hi, DD's speech seemed to follow a similar pattern. I would advise having DS's hearing checked as a first step, even if it was perfect at newborn hearing check he might have developed glue ear since. Step 2 would be to find out if your Local Authority do drop-in speech therapy assessment sessions - many do where you turn up with your child, they chat to you & child and say if you need to come back in a year, no prob or if you need an assessment. If your LA don't do that, go to your HV & request an appointment. S&LTs prefer to catch children before they are 3 in order to help them & avoid behaviour probs as a result of speech & communication difficulties. DD was assessed a few months short of being 3, had just over a year of speech therapy, is now 4 1/2 & you wouldn't know what she's been through (she has Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia, I'm not suggesting your DS has the same).
Good luck.

Chundle Fri 03-Jun-11 15:29:23

My dd2 is 22 months she lost a couple of words at 14 months (daddy and her sisters name) she has never said them since. But she does say other words - around 12 words now although these are mainly things she likes ie haahoo (from in the night garden), nono (noddy), ball, g (book) etc. She is currently being assesed

mumtoaandj Sat 04-Jun-11 20:02:00

thank you- there is a drop in and i think its the first thursday of the month so i will be off to investigate. he does get lots of ear infections.

Al1son Sun 05-Jun-11 12:26:44

Children can regress because of illness or trauma but usually catch up again in a few weeks IME. They can also stop saying certain things for a while when they become aware that their pronunciation isn't what it should be and they restart saying it when they are able to say it better.


Agnesdipesto Sun 05-Jun-11 12:42:46

a significant loss of language is a red flag for autism and 20 months is about the typical time of regression. That does not mean losing the odd work = asd but that observation and checking it out is needed. MCHAT for toddlers is worth looking at to see if any other signs.

dolfrog Sun 05-Jun-11 15:52:18


I put this collection of research papers for a group of Speech and Langauge professionals I know, Autism and Regression
I hope this helps

mumtoaandj Sun 05-Jun-11 20:02:04

oh god- i do hope it is not a sign of asd as my nearly 5 year old is under the team to see if this is his problem- he however had great speach and no regression!

mumtoaandj Sun 05-Jun-11 20:11:05

thank you for the above information- although it was quite scary! is it possible to read the entire reports or just the abstracts?

dolfrog Sun 05-Jun-11 20:52:57

for most research papers (not all) the abstracts are free. The full reports can be free but many tend to need to be paid for, which can be expensive, some students and uni types are able to use prepaid access accounts, and some can get access via various devious methods lol.
There was a move in the USA for research journal to only charge for the fist few years access, and free access after a certain number of years after original publication, but this is still optional lol.

Agnesdipesto Sun 05-Jun-11 21:10:21

about 30% of children with ASD regress.
I know its scary my DS had a massive regression at 2.3 and lost lots of speech. However if it is ASD then intervention this early would give excellent chance of a good outcome. However don't expect there to be many teams who could diagnose at 20 months. Look at the MCHAT and score it, look at the social interaction eg eye contact, bringing you things to show you etc
Speech is just one part of it - you need the social deficit and rigidity etc as well
Tell the team your other son is seeing if you have concerns.
There is a higher chance if sibling has ASD but only my youngest of three has ASD
Sometimes typical toddlers do concentrate on one skill at a time so can put one on hold whilst they concentrate on another. Mine started to take steps - then got lots of words and didn't bother walking again for weeks, then came back to it later.

mumtoaandj Tue 07-Jun-11 20:40:35

thank you. i will inform the camhs team when we discuss my elder child and i am going to the speech drop in in 2 weeks time.
my elder child never regresses with his speech i (dont think)- he did regress with feeding-and night waking and has recently started to soil himself. he actually walked at 11 months, talked fluently by 2 and was potty trained by 2.

saladsandwich Tue 07-Jun-11 21:39:51

hey, just wanted to say my ds from 18months to 2 years had said a grand total of 8 words but lost all but 2 of them at 2 years, he started speech therapy properly at 2 years 4 months and 8 weeks later he is up to around 80 words. he is waiting for a full assement by the peadiatrician but even though he has regressed he has shot right up he has leveled off at this though and doesn't seem to want to say anything else X

working9while5 Tue 07-Jun-11 23:00:34

It sort of depends what's happening.

Children very typically go forwards and backwards with words during the one-to-two word stage of language and they also can move from having a number of labels to overgeneralising e.g. saying car for anything with wheels when previously they might have said car and lorry.

Right before they move from the one to two word stage, they can have a "decoupling" of language where they can start to use more gestures or reduce the frequency of word use. This can happen between 18 months and 24 months.

They can also say words quite clearly but as they learn phonological rules overgeneralise this so that a child who said "car" early on may later use the technically more immature word "tar" because they are now analysing the word phonologically which is a more complex skill and erroneously applying a general rule. This happens with things like irregular verbs too.. a younger child will say "gone" whereas an older child will say "goed", but the older child is actually at a more advanced stage of development. Was he saying "banana" clearly, or was it nana and now is mana? The m is phonologically similar to the /b/ at the beginning so it is possibly an error as he tries to work things out?

If lots of words disappear, that is a different story.. but really the key to your question is communication. If someone is saying, say, 50 words and suddenly they are saying none, that is obviously a concern.. but change and the odd loss of a word or two are less obviously worrying. As always, assessment is the key here..

mumtoaandj Wed 08-Jun-11 12:43:35

thank you working9while5 the above is excellent!!
i think you are correct, he does seem to be changing sounds rather than losing words. he is really trying to speak and getting a bit jumbled.
earlier today he wanted a lid and started just llllllll with his mouth- i think he is just experimenting with the sounds he can hear and can make.
he also said gangi (grandad), then it mutated to another word-but i did hear it correctly first time.he seems to "decouple" when he wants something and instead of refining the word he increases the volume and loses the words pronounciation instead.
i will still get him checked out!

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