April 02, 2010,
S.C. asks from Los Angeles, CA on February 08, 2010
Almost 2.5 Year Old Not Speaking in Sentences
i'm very concerned for my niece who is 2 years and 4 months.
She hardly says a word. But she's a very happy, go-lucky little girl. And seems to understand a lot. As far as if she's in trouble and did something bad, and we ask her to apologize. She knows..you can tell by the look on her face/facial expressino. However, when we try to ask her anything, she just gives a big grin and then runs away. But never really answers back. I've never heard her verbalize a full sentence..like "mommy, hungry..eat please". Not even something small like that. I thought for a 2 year old, that should be the case.
i'll ask her what color is this, and she doesn't say anything. just grins and smiles. :)
my son just turned 21 months and he is able to verbalize to me the names of the colors..like "wed", "geen", "boo", "waawo"(yellow), "puppo" (purple)
i hate to compare. please don't take it the wrong way, but they are 6 months apart and my SIL, is getting worried. My niece doesn't seem like she has any developmental problems, just a happy little girl who plays and smiles a lot.
what are your thoughts? i know that there are very bright 2 year olds out there. but i'm just curious about the 'average' 2 year old, and their speaking developments. where should my niece be?
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So What Happened?™
also, i want to say that she does say words like "mommy' or hi and bye. but never hear a 3 word sentence. and 2 words, are sometimes.
(i'm not yelling :)) JUST WRITING IN CAPITAL SO EVERYONE WOULD CATCH MY 'UPDATE'. THANK YOU FOR ALL THE WONDERFUL ADVICE AND COMMENTS. YOU'RE ALL BUSY, I'M SURE. AND IT WAS VERY THOUGHTFUL OF YOU TO DO THIS. I THINK MOST OF YOU CAUGHT THE PART THAT MENTIONED, 'MY SIL IS STARTING TO WORRY'. I DIDN'T KNOW THAT PEOPLE CAN MAKE SO MANY ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ME & MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY SIL FROM WHAT I POSTED. I GUESS I JUST ASSUMED THAT PEOPLE TAKE MY WORDS FOR FACE VALUE AND NOTHING MORE.
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WAS ACTUALLY MY SIL COMING TO ME ABOUT FOR SOME TIME NOW. AND AT FIRST IT WAS JUST TO SEE WHERE HER DAUGHTER IS AT...BUT NOW IT'S WEIGHING ON HER. YES, SHE DID TALK TO PEDIATRICIAN, WHO SAID NOT TO WORRY AND THAT THEY GO AT THEIR OWN PACE. PLEASE, LET ME CLARIFY THAT I'M VERY VERY BLESSED TO HAVE A VERY CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH MY SIL. HER CHILDREN ARE LIKE MY OWN AND VICE VERSA. IF YOU KNOW MY SIL, SHE IS ACTUALLY A VERY SWEET, GENTLE SPIRIT AND USUALLY GOES WITH WHATEVER A PROFESSIONAL TELLS HER, SHE HAS A HARD TIME GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN, TELLING SOMEONE THAT SHE DISAGREES (ESPECIALLY A PROFESSIONAL), UNLESS IT'S DIRE LIKE A PHYSICAL HARM. BUT SHE WAS CONCERNED ENOUGH TO TALK TO ME ABOUT IT AND ASKED ABOUT MY SONS PROGRESS...EVEN THOUGH SHE IS WELL AWARE THAT THEY ARE 6 MONTHS APART. I THINK SHE JUST WANTED TO AT LEAST SEE IF HER CONCERNS WITH HER DAUGHTER IS VALID. I'M SURE ALL MOM WOULD PROBABLY DO THAT.
SHE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO HANDLE A FORUM LIKE THIS BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY.
D.B. answers from Charlotte on February 08, 2010
I just answered another post about a child's speech, and that child was younger than your niece. You and your sister-in-law are right to be worried. If your niece weren't so cute about it,if she were throwing tantrums because she can't express herself, etc, perhaps the doctor would have given your S-I-L good advice before now.
Tell your S-I-L to insist on two things - a hearing test and a speech evaluation. Tell her not to accept no for an answer - find a different ped if the one she works with won't help. The eval will give her the answers to her questions about what is expected and "average" for a child that age. The quicker she has this done, the quicker her daughter can start getting help so that she'll be ready for kindergarten. It is devastating to be a happy little child who smiles all the time, and then get hit with the "mack truck" of school where kids make fun of her because her words are unclear. My son had 7 years of speech therapy due to a hidden submucous cleft palate that wasn't diagnosed until he was 4 1/2 years old. If we had waited for a diagnosis, he would not be where he is today (honor roll in 8th grade.) I insisted on an eval at 2 years old and started speech therapy right away. It may be the best mothering "job" I ever did, where my children are concerned. In the grand scheme of things, getting my son the early intervention he needed certainly dwarfs every other job I have ever had in my life.
You can find lots of threads on Mamasource about speech development - perhaps you could copy them off and let your S-I-L read them. All my best to you both - you're a great auntie and S-I-L to try to help her!!
4 moms found this helpful
C.S. answers from Los Angeles on February 09, 2010
At risk of being jumped on by the "wait-and-see" moms out there, I'm going to dive in on this: Please, gently suggest to your SIL that she have her daughter evaluated by a developmental pediatrician or, as some have already mentioned, a 'regional center' or the school district or whatever free developmental assessment team your community provides (all states are different, but an internet search or call to the local school district should help you out).
My son had more language at 2.5 than your niece does, but it still wasn't on pace with his peers. My gut was telling me something was wrong, but everyone -- including the pediatrician -- told me not to worry, that he would catch up. It was finally a total stranger coming up to me at a park and saying, "don't worry, people with autism can grow up to lead normal lives" that shocked me into having him evaluated. (Trust me, your SIL does not want to learn it that way.)
After many assessments, it became clear that my son did have autism. We immediately began to get him help, and he has progressed very well. I am so proud of his accomplishments, and he is, too. However, I really wish I had followed my instincts and had him seen earlier, because early intervention means a lot to kids with autism. The sooner kids can start any needed therapies, the more they'll learn the skills they need to overcome their autism symptoms.
Just to be clear: I AM NOT DIAGNOSING YOUR NIECE. Neither are you. You're just concerned, which you should be. In a perfect world, just waiting for a child to develop at their own pace would be the answer for everyone. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control now lists the incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders at 1 in 110 children born. Hopefully, your niece is just fine and will soon be speaking in full sentences. But there's every reason for your SIL to have her assessed just in case. With early intervention, autism is very treatable, as are speech delays, processing disorders, hearing problems. She may just need a little help. But it's help she deserves! You are a very brave auntie to want to help -- It's hard to talk to another mom about their child. I really commend you for reaching out. Of course, all you can do is bring it up. It's up to your SIL to decide how to proceed. If you or your SIL would like to contact me directly, please feel free. (Sorry for the long post.)
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M.H. answers from Los Angeles on February 09, 2010
Jeez - first of all KARIANN h. relax!! u sound bitter and obviously have been judged by your parenting skills or you would not be so quik to judge!!
Anyhow A.C. - when we were growing up we did not have resources like we have now and we just left it up to all children are different and develop differently. However, since we do have resources now, I would recommend having your niece checked out. What does her pediatrician think? Maybe he can refer your SIL to a specialist of the Ears, Nose and Throat and also a Developmental Specialist. Goodluck, sounds like you are a great SIL - I HAVE ONE TOO ;)
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T. answers from Las Vegas on February 09, 2010
I work for Early Intervention. We provide services for kids who are developmentally delayed. I'm stilling here looking at a developmental profile. At 2y4mo (24-30 months), most kids are able to follow at least 4 verbal directions, use 3 word sentences, name 5-7 objects or pictures, and ask simple questions. At 30 months (2 months from now), you'd expect for a child to understand 2 preposition, respond to at least one comprehension question, be able to explain the use of 3 objects and know a few simple songs or rhymes. I don't know where you are at but I'd recommend her mom talk to her pediatrician or her local school district to get the phone number for her local early intervention office and have her daughter evaluated. Where I'm at, services are free. I've heard some states charge based on what families can afford but I think most don't (I haven't seen any who do but I've heard they exist). Here we have speech therapists (among others) on staff. Basically, if it were my child, I'd have her hearing checked (EI can typically do it or you can take her to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor - most have an audiologist they work with), I'd want to have her evaluated by a speech pathologist (part of the EI process), and I'd want to have her screened for autism (part of the EI process, here we screen all kids over 18 months old). Speech delays are incredibly common in kids this age. They can exist by themselves or they can be a symptom of a bigger problem.
I'm also a mom. My 6 year old was non-verbal at 3 years old. He has autism and is doing extremely well - once we identified the problem we started services and he's doing very, very well. 90% of people 90% of the time would never guess he has an autism diagnosis. My 3 year old is a "typical" child. At 2 years, 4 months old, he could easily string together 4-5 word sentences and most kids can at that age.
If you've got a kid who is almost 2.5 and not talking well (at 2.5 you can't get most kids to shut up), if it were me, I'd want to know why and I"d want to address it. The further kids get behind the harder it is for them to catch up. And all therapy at this age is play based and fun. If they would have eventually caught up on their own, great. The therapy won't hurt them.
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S.S. answers from San Francisco on February 08, 2010
My son will be turning 3 at the end of this month, and his speech development is very similar to your niece's. Up until recently, he had refused to repeat words I say, and would only do so when he felt like it. I decided to take him to the school district to see if he needs speech therapy. Still going through the process, meeting with a Speech Therapist soon. His hearing test was perfectly normal.
During that initial meeting the Services Coordinator gave me a lot of information based on his observation of my son's behavior (he had a bit of a tantrum during the meeting!). Basically, he told me I do a lot for him w/o him asking for it first. I just automatically fulfill his needs, he doesn't even have to say a peep. Totally didn't realize I was doing this.
Since that visit about 3 weeks ago, my son has started to talk more, thanks to some changes I've made, and perhaps also because he's reached the point in his development where he's ready and able to say more words. Now, **I don't give him anything unless he asks for it**. He may cry and put up a fight, but I don't give in until he asks nicely using words. Not pointing, not whining, but words. When he wants me to hold/carry him he has to say "Hold me, please, Mama". If he wants juice he has to ask, "Apple juice, please Mama." or if he needs help with something, "Help, please Mama." If he wants something, "I want ______." If he doesn't want something he says, "No thank you." If he doesn't like his brother bothering him I'm teaching him to say, "I don't like that." instead of crying and screaming. It's helped out a ton, and his words are starting to come out, some sentences he's starting to say on his own. Sometimes he still needs help and for me to "give him the words" to repeat, but he's saying them now because he knows he won't get what he wants if he doesn't.
My older son was also a late talker, but after age 3 progressed quickly on his own and is now 5 1/2 and is very clear and articulate. It is important to remember that every child is different.
I would recommend that your SIL start looking into getting her evaluated for speech therapy (try her school district, usually by age 3 they provide free services, but she can go in before 3 to be evaluated. Now is the perfect time to go), and in the meantime, encourage her to ask for things using her words. Your SIL can give her the words to repeat. She can start with 2 word sentences, then 3, and then 4. Don't give in until she asks! Of course, reading books is always helpful, too! I totally know how your SIL feels, I think about and worry about my son's speech everyday, but little by little, he's making progress, your niece will too :)
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D.C. answers from Los Angeles on February 09, 2010
My daughter is the same, she's a slow talker. I was really concerned, because it's more common for a boy to be speech delayed than a girl. I expressed my concerns to my pediatrician at my daughter's 18 month check-up, and she wasn't too concerned about it at that point. I was concerned, so I contacted our local Regional Center. They did a free evaluation of my daughter, and determined that she was expressive speech delayed. Her comprehension was fine; it was only a delay with her expressive speech. They had us take a free group speech therapy class through the Regional Center. If you're curious about the methods they taught us, get the book "It Takes Two to Talk". As part of the course, my daughter met with a speech therapist at the beginning, middle and end of the course. She still hadn't made much progress, so the Regional Center approved her for individual speech therapy sessions (again, free). The speech therapist comes to our house once a week, and my daughter loves working with her so much that last week she pushed me out of her room and shut the door to start her session! My feeling is that even if there's nothing wrong, and my daughter is just at the later end of the range of normal, the therapy can only help and can't hurt.
My daughter is now the exact same age as your niece, and she still isn't talking much. She has a daily vocabulary of about 10 words, but she does make 2-3 word sentences with that limited vocabulary. But she is intelligent and she understands everything I say. Her pediatrician was concerned that she still wasn't talking much at her 2 year check-up (and that she threw a major fit during the exam), so I'm supposed to schedule a follow up visit with her this month.
I think the Regional Centers only handle the delayed speech kids until the age of 3, and then they turn them over to the local school district. If your sister-in-law wants to contact them for a free evaluation, here is the link to the list of centers in CA.
So let your SIL know she's not alone - there are other mothers of little girls out there who are not talking much at 2 years 4 months.
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L.F. answers from Los Angeles on February 09, 2010
There was an article in the NY Times today about this that you may find useful:
Good luck to you and your family...
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B.S. answers from Honolulu on February 09, 2010
My son is the same age and is on the slow end of normal so when I spoke with his pediatrician about it, the Ped. said that as long as he can put together simple sentences by the time he is 3, there is nothing big to worry about. Well just this past couple of months he's been doing that. Some children develop one skill and then another. Some really work on their muscular coordination one month and then their communication the next. Just keep encouraging your SIL to continue reading books to her and asking her questions and maybe one day your niece will answer with a complete sentence out of nowhere. I had a brother who refused to talk and then one day he dove right in with complete sentences. Good luck!
I think Kariann is just a little sensitive about this subject.... maybe she's had some difficulties with people judging her harshly.
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