April 01, 2008,
J.B. asks from Anaheim, CA on March 30, 2008
Does My Son Need an "Intervention"?
My son is almost 21 months, and my mother in law, who works with older special needs kids, told me she thinks he is speech delayed. I have wondered this myself, but have been conflicted because he DOES talk. He has actually a fairly extensive vocabulary, however, a lot of it is still indistinct. Is this ok? I.E. he says several phrases like "I got a car", "It's a car", "Where's the car", "I did it", but they're still fairly gibbery and sometimes hard to make out. He also says things like "Keeeee" for "kitty" and "Da" for "dog". His comprehension is amazing . . . there is really very little he doesn't understand when we say it. He follows directions well and is a very bright, interactive, and energetic little boy.
Do you think there's a problem? Anyone have experience here? He was also slow to walk (14.5 months) and roll over (6 months) but none of his doctors were the least concerned, as he is and always has been a very big boy - he is right about 3ft tall and 30 lbs - and he had more weight and height to manuever. He isn't around other children frequently, though he does have a few buddies. None of them talk extensive either and I am wondering if this is part of it.
I would love some input or experiences . . .
So What Happened?™
Thank you so much for all of your input . . . I think I am going to follow my original instinct on this matter and bring it up at his 2 year check up if it still is a concern. He is picking up more and more vocab, and my husband and I have been trying to help him with his words.
J.S. answers from Los Angeles on March 30, 2008
Sounds to me that he is on track. If the Dr. isn't concerned, I wouldn't worry. My son was slow to talk as well, but he's making up for it now. It's nice to hear that you are staying home with him. Keep up the verbal cues with him. Talk about everything you do throughout the day. Ex. "Let's go get the laundry out. Help me find the blue shirts. Here are Daddy's socks." Just keep the verbal stimulation going and he'll catch up.
K.P. answers from Los Angeles on March 31, 2008
I'm a speech pathologist and it sounds to me like your son is doing great! He's not even 2. You said he has an extensive vocabulary? 50-100 words? He's already putting 2-4 word phrases together. At 2 he is expected to start put short phrases together. Consonant sounds aren't expected for mastery till 3 yrs. (m, b, p, w, h). Then others are expected at 4, 5, 6, 7, etc. There are a lot of great websites that give you this info. and you can use them to periodically check how he is doing with his speech/language.
But put your mind at ease; he sounds like he's right on track.
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M.E. answers from Los Angeles on March 31, 2008
J.~I owned a nursery school most of my life (just retired last June), and often we had little boys who spoke as you are describing. When they got into preschool and were with other children, it was amazing what a difference it made! Mothers would come in all worried that we wouldn't be able to understand their child, but in a short time, we would be able to, and the child would have lots of opportunities to express him/herself verbally, which helped the language process mature. I hate to say it, but often boys talk later than girls, and that is okay. I wouldn't worry at his age. If, by the time he is three and a half, his speech is still not intelligible, then you might want to have an IEP for speech. Sounds to me like you just have a case of a young child who isn't around other children much, who will be stimulated to talk when he is ready and exposed to more language later on. Meanwhile, be sure to talk to him a lot when you are with him, in the car, reading stories, and in any everyday situations possible. I talked to my children constantly (I have 10 of them), and I talked to them about things you would never think they would understand at an early age, but they responded, and have all become excellent readers and all possess amazing vocabularies. One of them (a boy) did not talk until later, but he now has a BA in literature and is a civil engineer besides! Don't worry, and don't cave in to everyone else's concern. Follow your instincts. He will be fine. If you look for a preschool, find one that is "whole language". Hints will be: lots of children's books, labels all over the room like "chair", "table,"window", etc, teachers who get down to eye level with the children and talk to them (NOT with baby talk), color everywhere, and a feeling of FUN when you enter the room. My school had many centers: Kitchen/role play, blocks, creation station (art), science, sensory table, reading, large motor, and more. Good luck. Marti
S.D. answers from Los Angeles on March 31, 2008
No harm can be done by doing some early intervention. My son, who sounds fairly similar to your son, was diagnosed with mild to moderate autism. He was verbal by age 2; he was reciting the alphabet, named colors, shapes and other random objects. But by age 3 to 3 and a half he wasn't really progressing past a certain point. For example he wasn't using pronouns correctly ("you want some milk" is how he would ask for his milk). And there are a host of other much more subtle signs that I was not aware were indications of Autism. When I voiced my concern to his pediatrician he merely wrote down the number for the Regional Center and made no more indication that anything could be out of the ordinary; not all pediatricians are well versed in the signs and symptoms.
My intention is not to frighten you. Your son may just be like so many other little boys who just happen to be late bloomers. But if in your heart of hearts you think there might even be slightest hint of concern then contact the Orange County Regional Center. The evaluation is free and because he is under 3 years they are obligated to respond to your request within, I believe 30 days, perhaps even sooner.
As I said, no harm can come from having the testing, and it will put your mind at ease!
Best of luck!
K.S. answers from Los Angeles on March 31, 2008
R u Kidding me? You seriously want an intervention for your 21 month old? Listen every child grows at their own pace....don't rush him talking...my daughter didn't really talk until about 23 months. She starting putting syllables together, and once she learned how to "manipulate" her tongue when using different words and sounds she is a constant chatter box. I would wait and see until about 3y/o if he's stuttering, or having problems with easy words like kitty, or puppy..it seems to me that your mom in law is putting ideas in your head that you needn't worry about with your son still being very young and learning his language. My mother in law tried telling me that my daughter was "slow"! My MOM WHO IS A SPEECH PATHOLOGIST AND MY DAD WHO IS A FAMILY PSYCHOLOGIST AND FORENSIC PSYCH, BOTH TOLD ME TO RELAX. EVERY CHILD DEVELOPES AT THEIR OWN PACE. IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS, TALK TO YOU PEDIATRICIAN...BUT TELL YOUR MOM IN LAW TO BACK OFF AND THAT YOUR DAUGHTER IS DOING JUST FINE IN HER COGNITIVE LANGUAGE. So my advice to you is to stop worrying, and ask your pediatrician what is normal. Good Luck!
P.A. answers from Los Angeles on March 31, 2008
I am not an expert on this subject, but with experience as a preschool teacher for many years, I would like to put your mind at ease, at least for the time being. The most important step toward speach for a toddler is their receptive language; their knowledge of words and what they mean. Even if a toddler just grunts and points at objects, and you know they have a vocabulary (when playing little games such as where are your toes? does he point to his toes?) he will most likely be talking before long. You wont know if he has a speech impedament for some time yet. Treatment and evaluation would be very immature for him at this time. Read to him as much as you can, talk to him a lot, and check back to see how much progress he has made 6 months from now.
J.B. answers from Los Angeles on March 31, 2008
I have extensive experience with this. When my oldest son was 21 months old, he has maybe two words but mostly grunting and pointing to tell me what he wanted. He was advanced in every other developmental area but speach. Your boy sounds like his is doing just fine, it is a great sign he is putting two words together, that usually doesn't start happening until at least two so that is a big deal :). But it sure isn't going to hurt to have him evaluated. Since you live in Orange County you just have to contact the RCOC program and they will come to your home and evaluation your little guy. Then withing 45 days he will either be placed in some therapy or they will tell you he is not delayed and your at peace. You may already know this since your mother in-law is in this field. It won't hurt and he will have fun at the therapy sessions! All of it is free to you until he is 3 years old! You can't beat that!
D.G. answers from Los Angeles on March 31, 2008
I have 3 children, 18, 11 and one almost 3. My 3 year old talks up a blue streak, however we only understand about 1/2 of it still. Trust me, as a preschool teacher for 13+ years, your son sounds normal. He will talk when he is ready and the pronunciation comes later. (If you are still concerned, have his ears looked at, a lot of children who have chronic ear infections or allergies have difficulties hearing, therefore pronounce things differently)
S.R. answers from Los Angeles on March 30, 2008
I would agree with the other responses. And I would also contact Regional Center- they will do a basic interview over the phone with you to see if he needs an assessment...at least it would put your mind (and your mother-in-law's) at ease. I think that "age appropriate" language at 24 months is that 2 word phrases should be emerging, and that they are intelligible to others at 50%. Somebody may want to correct me on the intelligible part but I think that is close.
Good luck with everything and enjoy your little man!