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Expressive Language Delay

I was wondering if any moms have delt with expressive language delay in any of their children? My 17 month old son doesnt speak at all. We are having him evaluated next week by early intervention, which was recommended by his Doctor. He seems to understands everything. If you say "point to the doggie" he will, or go to the window, or anything like that. He can even pick out the triangle or circle. He seems to almost speak his own language. I am a little apprehensive about the whole thing. Anyone have any advice for me, or share the same experience?

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Hi J.:
I have a daughter with special needs who is now 12. One of the best things, besides speech therapy, that we did for her beginning in early intervention was to "sign" with her while saying the word. American Sign Language is easy to learn, especially when you're learning it one word at a time. I have a friend who had a child who didn't speak at all either. As soon as they started using ASL along with the word, it all came together for him too and he became quite the little chatterbox. It will also help him to talk to you until he can speak the words. I wish you the best!

My son (now 2 yrs. 9 months) had an expressive language delay, but his receptive language was right on track. We had him evaluated by early intervention, and he qualified for speech therapy. It has done wonders for him. He started it when he was 2 yrs. 4 months, and in just 5 short months has made tremendous progress and talks all the time! I can not say enough wonderful things about early intervention and all the wonderful work they are doing with my son.

My daughter Eden is 27 months and we have been working with early intervention for the past 3 months because of language/speech delays. Early Intervention has been great - they are really good, supportive, and Eden has made significant progress over the past few months. The process can be a little overwhelming (no one likes to admit there is any kind of delay with their child, right!), but it is well worth the time and effort to address the issues now so that progress can be made sooner than later. Early Intervention will steer you in the right direction, regardless of the severity of his issues - just keep an open mind to the process and be glad you are recognizing and dealing with the issues so early in his development. Good luck!!


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My son also has Expressive speech issues BUT he has a syndrome and alot of time these thing go along with his Diagnosis...........
I have met lots of Moms like yourself kinda on the fence about EI and speech therapy....My biggest advice is to DO IT... You will be amazed at what they will be able to do for your son.....he will be chatting your ear off in no time with a little help.....

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My now 6 yr old son has verbal apraxia so I went through the whole Early Intervention process etc. I started being concerned at 18 months when he lost some words after being ill. His doctor would not refer him until he was 2. People, including his doctor kept telling me, "Oh he'll speak when he's ready to!" boy I wish that I had done something earlier. So you are ahead of the game! Give yourself a hug and tell yourself that you are doing the right thing for your son!

I taught my son sign language using ASL and baby sign and he made many up himself. If you don't already have them buy or borrow (our library has them) the Signing Time Videos. I believe it's also on TV? The woman uses music and children to teach other children sign language. Sign is how we made it through! Just think of how frustrating it is to want to say something and not be able to! Sign gives them that ability. If he doesn't take to sign there are Picture Exchange Systems you can make or buy. Basically it is a notebook of pictures that he can point to when he wants something or to do something.

Some advice I wish someone had said to me back then - READ the book The Late Talker by Dr. Marilyn Agin and Lisa Geng. Ask inter library loan to get it for you or buy it. It will be a BIG help to you as you go through this process.

Lastly when you go to EI, they will be looking at the decrepancy between what he understands and what he can express. They may also do OT evals to look for sensory processing, low tone etc. It's important to have the evaluations but ALWAYS listen to your heart regarding your child. If the evaluation or the therapist has a wrong picture, ask for a new eval or a new therapist. There are therapists out there that are very good and there are therapists that are clueless. If you have bad feelings about the therapist stop the session and ask for a new one. You ARE your child's best advocate! Absolutely no one knows your child like you do!

Check out: http://www.cherab.org/information/indexinformation.html There is also a forum there to speak to other parents/care givers with children who are late talkers or not speaking.

I wish you and your son the very best. If you need to talk don't hesitate to contact me - ____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

I'm glad you've already taken the first step and called EI. If you have any doubt in your child's development, EI is a great way to go. My son was 22 months before I called, and we had him evaluated, when everyone else was telling me "Boys always take longer to talk and express themselves, he'll be fine!".... Meanwhile, his frustration was taking hold and we were having lots of difficult days b/c of his lack of expression. He was eval'd to have a 8 month delay - so EI provided services to us. We had home visits once/week, and participated in specialized playgroups with other speech-delayed children and community children. When my son turned 2.5, we were eligible for a 2 hour drop off playgroup, meant for transitioning to pre-school. My son loves going to "School" once a week.

SO - yes, we've been there. And best of luck to you and your family! I know EI will help you, too.

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I would not be apprehensive about seeking an eval. from early intervention. They are just that. My friend's son was not speaking at 2, but as with your child, his receptive language was awesome. He was evaluated by Early Intervention. They had a speech therapist come to the house, and he went to a toddler group one day a week. He LOVES it. He did start speaking shortly thereafter. He doesn't qualify for an integrated preschool now within our town as his speech has improved so.

Children that cannot get their point across become very frustrated. The use of sign language can help with that frustration. It sounds like your child has made up his own, and you do not mention him acting out with frustration. So, sign language may not be an issue.

My child was in early intervention as she was born with Down Syndrome. Early intervention is a wonderful, loving, caring experience. Early Intervention is involved only until they are 3 yrs old, and then children requiring more services are serviced through the public school system.

I hope this has helped ease your apprehension.


Hi, I am wondering if it might be a form of autism. IF so it is good that early intervention is looking at him. If it is there are lots of resources out for Autism. The School systems have some very good programs.

My daughter was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 15 months. That was 6 1/2 years ago. She is now in a regular 2nd grade with a one on one performing at grade level. You need to remember no matter what it is you are going to have to be strong and know that you did NOTHING WRONG. Some things just happen.

If I can be of any help please let me know. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

My son is in early intervention currently with speech and gross motor delays. While I understand that speech and walking come to kids at different times, they have helped a lot! It gets really frustrating not understanding what he wants sometimes, and EI has helped figure out some creative ways for him to communicate his wants/needs while he isn't talking. Plus they are really nice there!

Good luck!

Been there. My son didn't speak till he was over 2 years. We had him evaluated and he was fine, they said there was nothing "wrong" he just didn't feel like talking. All children are different don't get too freaked out. He walked early and , much like your son, he could follow commands (up to 3 at a time) could point to every letter of the alphabet but not a word. He is 8 now and has the best vocabulary in his class. It's always a good idea to look into it, but like I said don't get too worried just yet. Good luck and I'd love to hear how it goes.

My son is now 8 years old. Around the age of your 17 month old, it was recommended to me that I have my child evaluated for potential speech/autism, etc. Not by one but by THREE prominent pediatritians. By the time he was two years old, the doctors sent the 'state' to my home to test this child. He was like your child. Understood everything. My boy, without the english language, aced the test. They say, at a speed faster than any 3 or 4 year old. And in 6 months after that, came up to me at the sink one morn and said: I speak now Mommy. And he has NEVER stopped! FULL language! The 2 testers from the state asked me why they ordered tests! Tests shouldn't be considered until at least after 2 1/2. I didn't know. I was a mother who didn't know. And now, I am a mother with a wonderful and brilliant communicator. Who never stops chatting, by the way! Your babe is young. I knew in my GUT he was fine. I went with the mainstream thinking out of fear. My gut always knew, this kid's fine.

Ask your mother's intuition. And still follow through with the tests. OH ... we never allowed the speech therapy either and he's a beautiful speaker. His speech has always been 'watched.' But my mother's gut told me more.

Hope it helps.

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