21 answers

3 Year Old Not Having Conversations

I took my daugther to her 3 year check up and the doctor said we should see a speech therapist because she is not really holding conversations. At the same time the doctor did not seem overly concerned. My daughter usually repeats what we are saying rather than keeping the conversation going. Sometimes she responds but not a lot. I have noticed some other children her age being able to hold a conversation. Does anyone else have experience with this? Is this normal?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I think that the child is not ready to talk yet. People in general are so worried about this type of thing but to be honest, I think it's typical. The child will talk when ready and since the child repeats what she hears then we know it's not that she can't communticate it's just that she's not ready and when she is you will never hear the end of a conversation with her. I wouldn't get upset or anything just let time take it's time.

Hi J., I have three girls and each one of them started talking differently. My oldest was textbook, my middle one was talking by the time she was 9 months (her nick name was motor mouth) and my youngest was Miss Silent. She barely said more than Mama, Dada until she was over the age of three. Her hearing was tested(perfact), her speech was tested twice before she started school(boarderline) and yet again once school started(at level). She could follow multi-step directions, and could make her needs/wants known without saying a word. it was amazing how eliquent she was in her silence. When she did start talking it was like going from 0 to 120 mph! Complete sentences with difficult words I didn't even know she knew...and her nick name quickly became marathon mouth! Sometimes I think she was just waiting til she could say everything she wanted perfactly, sometimes I think she didn't need to talk with two older sisters, and sometimes I just wonder! Best wishes.

More Answers

Hi J.,

Take your child to a speech therapist. The therapist will be able to explain what you need to know about what is causing your concerns.

Good luck. All the best. D.

1 mom found this helpful

i had that problem when i was a baby. mom said at 3 i wasnt talking hardly at all if any. i went to a speech therapist, as did my older brother at the same time. the dr thought i was just immitating my older brother. mom didnt really see it that way... though i was slow at starting conversations, dont worry... i'm 22 and no one can shut me up. everyone says i talk a lot and fast when i'm comfortable around the people (is that good or bad? lol)

it happens, take her to a speech therapist for an evaluation and maybe some sessions... but dont worry :)

Hi J.,

I'm the mom of twin boys. When they were 3 years old, they were not talking in full sentences or holding any real conversations. I was starting to get a little concerned until someone said to me that, when his twin brothers were 3, they weren't talking, and now one guy is a doctor, the other became a lawyer. My own sons, who are now 17 years old, are very bright and getting straight A's in school. (well, not all the time, but mostly) Don't panic yet, make sure she can understand what is being said to her. If she stops talking or makes a backward regression in her speech, then I would have that looked at. Good luck!

Hi,
I believe that it never hurts to have your child checked by an independant source. My 4yo has been in speech since the beginning of September. I didn't really notice a problem, but between her teacher at preschool and her doctor they said to have her evaluated. I was so used to her speech patterns, and in fact loved some of her words ( "I'm await Mommy" (awake) ), that I didn't realize there was a delay.

Get the evaluation and have peace of mind whatever the outcome.

call your school and get her tested asap. takes few months to get evaluated.

check your insurance see if speech is covered. most don't but if you get iep then you get medical access for her and that pays for private speech.

My son started out this way as well, he is now talking just fine. On the other hand though, if your insurance will cover it, I would go just to have all worries put to rest.

I have 4 daughters...it is hard to give advice though because i know every family is different. They all were having conversations at 3, sometimes to the point that mommy would want to say...shhh :-)

I have heard that repeating and not conversating is a sign that your daughter may need extra help. Is there any way you can work with her. (like making her ask for a glass of milk before you give it to her) I am not talking in a mean way...lord knows one mom on here will jump on me and tell you that i meant scold!!

You are absolutely on the right track in looking for help. Does she go to preschool? Have they noticed a difference between her and other children?

dont feel too discouraged.my 4yr old will rammer away at home with relatives and in preschool she doesnt interact with peers or teachers.
She is being evaled by IU13,But the teacher believes its selective mutism(which we dont think) or verey shy(we think this) her dad was like this as a child.
Have her evaluated by a specialist and go from there.Catch a problem now can really help for when shes older:-)

I don't want to scare you but please have her tested for autism. My nephew did the exact same thing only my brother and his wife ignored it until the school forced the issue at age 5. Early intervention is key. Remember, autism is uncommon in girls. Good luck!!!!!!!!

I think that the child is not ready to talk yet. People in general are so worried about this type of thing but to be honest, I think it's typical. The child will talk when ready and since the child repeats what she hears then we know it's not that she can't communticate it's just that she's not ready and when she is you will never hear the end of a conversation with her. I wouldn't get upset or anything just let time take it's time.

Hi J., I have three girls and each one of them started talking differently. My oldest was textbook, my middle one was talking by the time she was 9 months (her nick name was motor mouth) and my youngest was Miss Silent. She barely said more than Mama, Dada until she was over the age of three. Her hearing was tested(perfact), her speech was tested twice before she started school(boarderline) and yet again once school started(at level). She could follow multi-step directions, and could make her needs/wants known without saying a word. it was amazing how eliquent she was in her silence. When she did start talking it was like going from 0 to 120 mph! Complete sentences with difficult words I didn't even know she knew...and her nick name quickly became marathon mouth! Sometimes I think she was just waiting til she could say everything she wanted perfactly, sometimes I think she didn't need to talk with two older sisters, and sometimes I just wonder! Best wishes.

Hi J.,
Kids are ALL different and develop differently. I found that my son, extremely verbal and articulate, lagged behind other kids for awhile at coordination and physical ability. Seems like one or the other comes first--verbal mastery or physical mastery. This could be the case for your daughter. That said, if your ped is interested in having it looked into further--definitely do it! The earlier the better as far as getting some speech therapy, etc. There are a lot of services out there for her and it will help her in the long run. Good luck to you and your little one!

Hi J.,
My daughter wasnt talking great in her late 2's and alot of people said alot of negative things about it. She repeated certain things but that was it. We found out that she had ear infections and her ears were always full of fluid. She got tubes and was still slow with the speech. Since she hit the 3 yr mark, early intervention wasnt an option for us. My daughter goes to Marys place pediatric rehab and loves her speech therapist. Our insurance covered it but because it is a specialist, we have a 40$ copay and she is only covered for 60 visits in a year. There is an unbelievable change. She started goind in 10/08. Sometimes the children wont hold a conversation until they are ready. Good luck with this
K.

I would contact a speach therapist but I would also look into early intervention.

J.,
I am a pediatric speech therapist so I can tell you that, yes, by age three, children should be engaged in a conversation, answer questions, be able to request their wants and needs and be understood about 75% of the time. That is very general. If the doctor is referring her for an evaluation, by all means, do it. She is still very young and IF she needs therapy, now is the time to get started. Good luck.

i used to teach preschool, so i have experience with this age group, id day she should be holding conversations and if your doctor mentioned it, act on it. In Pennsylvania we have whats called an Intermediate Unit, not sure if thats what they call it in every cstate, but if you dont know who to call, try calling the school district and asking. Its usualy free and hopefully they will just tell you shes age appropriate and not to worry, if they do see a problem they will do waht she needs and help her, early intervention is very important and if you wait till elementary school and she is far behind that other kids she will just struggle more. I have a sister in law whos almost 3 year old doesnt really talk at all, and she refuses to get help, its sooo frustrating, hopefully all works out for you!!!

Hi J.,

I see have gotten a lot of responses, and I did not take the time to read them al, but I imagine my story is similar to many below. My son was about tow and a half when i became concerned that he had a speech delay because I noticed other kids at the playground seemed to be saying so much more. It took quite a while for the evaluation to take place, but he ended up be diagnosed as having a pretty severe delay in both reception and expression. Additinally, they said he had a cognitive delay , which totally shocked me. The speech therapist and a special ed teacher came to my home for about 2 months (all free of charge) and then he turned 3 and was serviced by the school district, which for me meant he could start pre-school and get bussed to and from for free. Well, his speech improved quickly, and by the time he finished kindergarten he tested out of everything! I suspect there wasn't really a cognitive delay, he just wasn't communicating what he knew. He is at the top of his class now. The whole experience turned out to be great. Good luck to you!

N.

My 3 year old has the same issue. I will ask him what he did at school for the day and the only thing he will tell me is he had lunch. I will then ask him what he ate for lunch and every day he tells me bread. It's very hard to get him to have any type of conversation and he does the "repeating" thing as well. We just relocated here from Dallas and in Dallas he had a speech therapist and an occupational therapist and they said some kids just need the extra work. I am going to get him some therapy here as well. Also he has some odd ball behaviors and his new pediatrician is saying he possibly has Aspergers syndrome a form of Autism that is correctable ? I don't know but I know I'm going through what you are going through too.

I know some children who exhibit the same type of behavior...especially the repeating. If she can respond and follow commands it should be fine, but it can take months to get into the system for therapy. It can never hurt to begin early. I belive it should be fully covered until either 3 or 4.
Good Luck.
ER

I am going through the same thing right now. My son was tested by the state (BabyNet). Well....if you want to call it testing. They therapist asked me about 2 questions and then had him say one word and said he was fine. Then a few months later when he turned three, his pediatrician said he has a speech delay. Yesterday I took him to the school to be tested by the speech therapist there and now they are saying that she wants him to have further testing. I am so nervous but I guess at least someone is finally listening to me. My son also babbles sometimes (especially when he is around strangers). Does anyone else have this problem?

Hi J.~

My son turned 3 in January, and although he was somewhat of a late-talker, now he is very verbal and does hold conversations well. But there is certainly a range for normal development of speech and language skills, and certainly not all children develop the same way or at the same pace, thus the range.

That said, however, if your pediatrician is suggesting that her lack of 'conversation' skills may be an issue, I would follow your peds advice and get her evaluated by a speech therapist. There is something called echolalia, which is a speech pattern in which the child essentially echoes what they hear others saying, or hears from tv, etc. Echolalia 'can' be associated with other disorders, so you may just want to err on the side of being overly cautious and have her evaluated... in the event that there is actually something more going on with your daughter, then early intervention gives your daughter the best opportunity for success. If you would like to chat more about this, you can send me a message directly here... I check regularly...

Keep in mind, though, that it may turn out to be nothing. I have a cousin who was nearly 4 before she started talking. They did the whole battery of tests, hearing, speech, developmental, etc., and found nothing. She is now a sophomore in college, a cheerleader, bright, social, and perfectly normal.

Best wishes to you...

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.