35 answers

Three Year Old Doesn't Talk

I have a three year old son who hardly talks at all. What he does say is really hard to understand and If he is trying to talk to someone other that myself or his dad they have no idea what he is saying. I have tried everything I can think of I look at picture books with him and repeatedly saying the words but he can't sit still long enough to get through more then 2 or 3 pages. I have tried correcting him when he says the words wrong but that angers him and he just ends up yelling the word his way back at me. I even tried just simply using those words more when talking to him but he just repeats the word to me his way like what I am saying is wrong. I don't have any other ideas about how to teach him to talk so that everyone or at least someone can understand what he is saying. I am thinking about speech theapy but my boyfriend thinks its a horrible idea and he says we should just wait it out. Please help us!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank You all for the help. I contacted the local school. They are going to be contacting me today and reviewing my son. I will keep you all updated on the pregress. Thanks Again!

Featured Answers

Have you had him tested for stuff like Autism, ADD or something? IF not, you might want to look into it. But you definately should have him tested to see IF he has anything (ADD, Autism, etc.)

My son is the same way. He is 4 1/2 now and still very hard to understand. We took his to a speech pathologist and he was diagnosed with speech aprixia. She said it is where he can hear the words correctly in his mind, but can not communicate them. Zach also couldn't move his tounge from side to side until about 6 months ago. He is still hard to understand, but he is getting better. The best thing that I can say is have patience. I know it is hard though because I get frustrated at times as well. My son gets frustrated at times and all I can do is keep working with him and have him slow down when he is talking. Hope this helps a bit. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

My son at 3years old didn't talk. He tried but we couldn't understand him. AEA help so much. He now is a perfect 7 yearold, and still is makeing up for all the time he missed talking.

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I have a daughter, (now six), who was the exact same way. My boyfriend used to look at me after my daughter would say something and say, "what did she say?". My doctor told me in most cases that they will eventually out grow it and she for the most part has. Her last big herdal was pronouncing icecream right. She called it "hides-cream", it drove me nuts and this was something she just overcame last year. I think when it is your first born child, they have no older siblings to look up to and to strive towards. So they learn at their own pace basically is how I see it but anyway, I personally, wouldn't be too concerned. Those are my thoughts anyway.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,
Personally speaking, from a mom who found out too late that my daughter had a learning disability, I STRONGLY suggest that you visit a speech therapist or someone specializing in toddler care. There may be more wrong with your child than just a speech problem. Get help NOW before its too late.
I wish you the best.

1 mom found this helpful

Get him to the clinic. We had the same problem with my grandson and didn't find out anything till he needed a physical for Headstartl. Mason had tumor behind his eardrum. Once removed, within 2 weeks words were coming from his mouth. He now had to wear a hearing aid, but he hears us well and we understand everyword he says. Talks consantly which is heaven to our ears.

What does your peditrician say about his speech?? If the ped. is worried he/she would recommend some therapy. Usually if a child isn't talking by two years of age some intervention is needed.

I would definately talk to your ped. about the sistuation and voice your concerns and see what the doctor says.

stick to your mommy instinct. it could be many things,it could be his hearing. it could be developement, even autism.. it could be he needs speach therapy. what does your pediatrician say? your dr should have noticed this at his last appts..in my opinion.
i know from taking my kids. we always have to go over those questions of the things they are doing.. and not doing.
my daughter was 3 mo premature and has many evaluations from the state agencies and the school district agencies.
where do you live? millard has a really good school one.
i know a lady who does Council bluffs as well.
seriously,, this can be checked out now,,before school..so he can get a head start on, IF there is a problem.
with out the knowledge to know what a child should be doing,, i'm sure your boyfriend thinks he's suggesting the right thing. and means well.
if you need any names or numbers for the agencies i have delt with,, let me know
email me.. ____@____.com

Contact the public school in your area. They will test your child for you. Public schools are all about early intervention these days. In most cases, this should be at no cost to you.

Hey C.,

Have you ever checked his hearing? What it sounds like to me is that he may have a hearing impairment. My cousin's son had the same speech issues as well as problems with him responding to her when she spoke or called for him. She had him tested and found that he had a partial hearing loss in both ears and was in need of hearing aids. He could not pick up the full pronunciation of the words we were speaking so therefore could not repeat them to us and speak properly. Once he started using the aids and started working with a speech therapist we saw a huge improvement. It might be something you would want to check out.

Good Luck!!

My daughter bought a book where the mother had the same problem with her child. In the book a fireman came to their rescue.

I will try to find out the name of the book and author.

I agree- get him tested, either by a pediatrician or through the school system with early intervention. My son was tested and qualified for EI when he was two years old. The speech therapy was great- we learned sign language and my son didn't talk until he was 3.5-- not a word. My son also was tested through the school and tested borderline for autism. We ended up taking him to Monroe Meyer where he was diagnosed PDD-NOS. He also was just diagnosed Sensory Integration Dysfunction in Jan. this year. If he qualifies through the school, the support is awesome. Since your son is already three he will be in the preschool program and you won't get home services, but it still is worth it. I know exactly what you are going through. M.

Like many of the other moms have already said get him tested. I have done speech with my three year old both at Witwer and Grant Wood. While Witwer was good, I found Grant Wood is the best fit for us. Let me tell you why, one they can test him in all areas ADD, autism, and speech delays. They then refer you to the best possible treatment. I really like Grant Wood of a couple of reasons 1)cost it is free compared to Witwer at $118 a session when going the minimum once a week that means your out of pocket is almost $440-we got our insurance to pay for awhile but it took almost 4 months of fighting them and I still had to pay $25.00 a session or $100 a month. 2) I love the fact that our speech thru Grant Wood is located at the elementary he will attend and it is a group session, meaning there are other children in the group, my son feels less threatened he just thinks it is another play group. The downside is this Grant Wood runs according to the school year, if you want him looked at before next fall call them soon!! Even if you cannot get in a group this year you can get resources to use with him at home. The Grant Wood Library is GREAT!!

My son at 3years old didn't talk. He tried but we couldn't understand him. AEA help so much. He now is a perfect 7 yearold, and still is makeing up for all the time he missed talking.

I would highly advise you to call the public school closest to you and ask for a speech therapist. My dear friend had a 2 yr old barely talking, and the therapist came to the house, no charge, after several visits, she is talking and we can understand her. She feels happier because she can communicate and the frustration is less for all those around her. Take the time to call, you'll be glad you did.

I have a cousin who has 2 boys (6 yrs. and 4 yrs. old). Both of their boys have issues talking. If I remember right I think they have mild autism, but don't know for sure. Both of them have been working with speech therapist, and it's made a world of difference! Alex, the oldest boy, goes to school and talks quite well now. There are still certain things I don't completely understand, but the difference is night and day! Ben, the younger boy, is also getting much better. My cousin would talk to me about not being able to communicate with her sons and feeling completely frustrated and helpless because she wasn't sure what they needed and the boys would become upset, ect. I'm sure it's difficult, and you may even be struggling with a stigma regarding seeking help. Just know there is help out there, and the freedom of being able to communicate with her boys has been incredibly worth it for my cousin's family. Have you talked to your pediatrician about resources? It's true some kids take longer to talk than others, and I also don't see anything wrong with doing some testing to rule out other possibilities. If in fact you child needs some other help, I believe it's probably better to seek it sooner rather than later. I hope this helps and good luck!

First, you need to relax. Not everyone speaks at the same time as everyone else. My first child spoke his first word at ten months. My second wouldn't speak more than one word until he was almost four. He's speaks fine now.

When a child is three, they tend to be more independent and they don't like to be corrected. Does anyone? LOL. Just remember to say your words more clearly and speak normally to him. Don't correct every word, it will only make him mad as you found out. It seemed like with my youngest that the doctor was really worried about a speech delay and then after the appointments with a speech therapist he started talking all on his own. I wouldn't worry until after kindergarten. I know there are those who disagree but the speech therapist said lots of kids lisp or say L for th and T for ch. I'd try not to worry, not yet. Good luck!!!

Hello I also have a child that doesn't talk he is 2 1/2 and will be 3 in July and he has been going through speech therapy for about 8 or 9 months now. I would strongly suggest getting him in some kindof speech therapy for him. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the idea. Since he is three he would not be eligible for the birth to three that my son goes through for a couple more months but after that he starts with the school system. I would contact your local school or ask your doctor. It would be great for your child.

I am no expert but I would have your son tested for 2 things. Autism or being deaf to some degree. I may be very off on this and I truly hope that I am but I thought I would offer what I was thinking when I read your story. Good luck to you and yours! :)

You need to get him evaluated by a professional.
If you call your local Health and Human Services they can get you in touch with facilities/programs that do this. He may have a hearing impairment as well. Just get it checked out. The longer you wait, the more agony its going to cause you.

As far as your boyfriend is concerned, you just need to do what you think is right for your son, even if he objects.

My son is the same way. He is 4 1/2 now and still very hard to understand. We took his to a speech pathologist and he was diagnosed with speech aprixia. She said it is where he can hear the words correctly in his mind, but can not communicate them. Zach also couldn't move his tounge from side to side until about 6 months ago. He is still hard to understand, but he is getting better. The best thing that I can say is have patience. I know it is hard though because I get frustrated at times as well. My son gets frustrated at times and all I can do is keep working with him and have him slow down when he is talking. Hope this helps a bit. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

Hi C.,
Have you talked to your dr? Is your dr. concerned?
Kids all develop at different rates,he may just be less verbal than others at his age and still needs practice pronouncing the words. I would have his hearing tested, if you haven't already(just to be sure that's not the problem). Then just play games with him that build language. Make it fun, not work. Let him choose the stories you read, have puppet shows, sing songs, play memory(when you turn over the cards say what the pictures are to reinforce vocabulary, etc. I hope this helps, but make sure you address your concerns with your doctor as well. Good luck and God bless

May I suggest calling an audiologist to check his hearing and auditory processing. Perhaps he can't hear correctly or he is having trouble processing what he hears. Our daughter was hearing us speak as if we had our hand over our mouth when we spoke. Be sure that when you go to an Audiologist that you are getting a good one! A local ENT can recommend one to you. Also, I think at his age Head start will test him. Sounds like you may have a bit of a project on your hands to find out why he is having trouble and then how to help him. I know that there is software for Auditory-processing problems. If you can't find someone in your area, call ENT and Audiology in Raleigh NC and ask Randi for a referral. She is SO nice that I am sure she will help you if she can. Good luck.

My son was this way. do whatever you can now or he'll end up being behind when it's time to start school. I don't know if you're in the des moines area, but we called the AEA and they will come out do an evaluation and do a hearing test on him. You have to go to the AEA offices b/t dsm and ankeny to sit in the sound proof booth, but that will tell you if it's a hearing impairment. If not, kids tend to fall into two catergories, extrovert & introvert. the first their fairly early at doing things, willing to just jump in and try. If their more introverted then they may take longer to try/accomplish something. Their more willing to sit and absorb a lot of info before actually putting it into action.

This was our son. After about 6 months of every week meetings they felt he was progressing great and backed off to 2x/month. there is a also a playgroup/language class they have (Toddler Talk), he might be too old for it now. There are speech groups (more like structured meetups) where they work on a specific topic that take place at Clive Elementary (for wdm schools). Each kids learns differently and it may be you just haven't really hit on what clicks with him best. You may have unconsciously done it a few times, but because you didn't know that's how he learns best, you couldn't implement for repeatition to see a positive outcome.

Our son was almost 2 when we started. He's 4 now. Attends preschool 2 days a week. is doing great. He can write his own name, etc. We got a list from the schools on the skills they should have b4 kindergarten and while there's a few doesn't have down perfectly, he can still do them. and can actually do all but 1 or 2 on the list.

Don't let it sound scary. We knew initially that Sam could hear, because he'd hear fire trucks coming (inside the house) that were blocks away, or if we talked softly and said something that he wanted, he was right there. And that was a good sign. It could have been just sounds within a certain frequency he was having trouble with, but after all was said and done, it was mostly his personality with how he learns. For instance, in preschool they are doing nursery rhymes this week and the teachers pulled us aside saying they were really impressed with how many he could recite/sing. Sam loves music and rhythm. His teachers said that many of the kids in his class (14) maybe knew 1 or 2 well, but didn't even know some of the less common ones like Sam did.

Bottom line. Collect as much info as you can. Don't feel nervous about it. One step at a time. But don't just wait it out. He'll be farther behind by then. If you need more info, feel free to email me. ____@____.com

You know if you live in Nebraska, his behavior sounds just like my son. Call the public school system. He needs assistance. Someone will come to your house. Actually three people came to our house. They did all sorts of test on my son and determined he did indeed have a speech problem that needed attention. He was then entered into the school system and started to go to school immediatly. He was just at 4. My daughter is 2 and just got evaluated she is going to start now and she is not yet 3. They are great. My son has made leaps and bounds. He has only been in there since september mind you.

Ignoring his problem will not make it go away regardless of what your BF thinks. If you don't get him help he will start having behavior problems cause he can't express himself. And he will have a heck of a time when he finally does go to school. Speech problems run in my family so I have seen kids who do get help, and the kids that don't get help. Guess which children are better behaved. Imagine how frustrating it is to know what you want to say and either not be able to or have no one understand you. You can see why it leads to behavior problems. My sister is a principle of an elementary school here in Omaha. She was the one that told us to get our son looked at and that alot of his problems rooted in that. She explained that the kids that don't get help those kids are far more likely to get expelled from elementary school. So get your son evaluated. What does it hurt. It is free and they will know immediately if he does indeed need assistance or not.

WOW!! You really have your hands full. And I think that you are doing all the right things!! Your son is old enought to start Preschool and I think that will be good for him. In NE we have a program that is special needs and role models. This I think wwould be great for your son. Now I am not saying that he is special needs but in this program they have Speech teachers come to the room and work with the children. I am also concerned that if you don't get help now for him that he will always be behind in school. I would start to call around for the preschools and ask questions about their programs and if they will beable to get your son the help that he needs. I know that if you start to call around or ask your dr if there is a program that will be good for him that maybe they will point you in the right direction. If you have any questions or if I can do anything to help you find the right program just let me know!!

Based on the limited information in the post at a minimum you should have him evaluated by a professional. However, please read the article from the link I've included, it could better help you understand if it truly is something you want to look into.


Best of luck!

I think taking him to a speech theapy is not a bad idea really. At least you can get an idea of what you can do at least to help him out.

I am an occupational therapist and I highly recommend you get a speech therapy evaluation. The evaluation could just result in some recommendations to assist you or if your son truly needs speech therapy the earlier you get started the better. Also there is a program through the school system where you can get early childhood services without it being an expense to your family. Please feel free to email me if you have any further questions/concerns.

Hi, I am a 24 year old mother of 2 also, My oldest now almost 5 was in speech therapy for about 2 years, I would highly recommended going threw the infant toddler program if you live in idaho. They are really good they come to your house and invovle you in everything. My daughter is out of speech classes and talking more then I wanted to lol jk.I really believe in it and it does help but it does take time! wish you well

I am going through the same Problem I have a Boy that is a little over 2 1/2 years old he will be three in June, he has now been being seen by the CDC (Child Development Center) for a little over a year. He signs really good and is really smart but is not talking at all everything is eeehhh. It is very frustrating at times because I don't know what he wants. But anyways, I do advise you to get him screened that way if anything is going on, they can get him help. I wish you the best of luck with your son.

Hi C., My name is B. and I live in Bellevue. I have a great nephew who is four and doesn't talk and is not potty trained. They took him in to a specialist and he has been diagnosed with non verbal autism. Not to say that is what is wrong with your son Heaven forbid. But I would stay on top of it and maybe make an appointment with Boys Town where the specialize in this kind of stuff. He might have a hearing problem and they can show you what you can do or what he might need. Please don't let it go. Do what your heart tells you to and not what everyone else says. If you think there is something wrong then you as his Mother have the right to do what your heart says. I hope this has been helpful to you. God Bless and I will pray about this situation I know it must be very frustrating to you. B.

I would highly recomend going Lincoln Public School that is if you live in lincoln, go to the sped Ed department.My child wasnt speaking at 18 mos and I got her a teacher who visits us weekly now monthly now cause my girl is speaking quite well. But it was best thing I did for my daughter, the teacher helps me by suggesting things to look out for and helps made me a better parent. Do not wait it out whatever you do this can only help your child to do better, isnt that what you want after all? Not all of us are perfect. I know I had speech problems too myself as a child my mom did the same and I turned out so much better. So I would go to your local school district. R.

Please, if you feel like you should visit a speech therapist, by all means do it! Every child develops differently, but by three they should be relatively easy to understand. They won't necessarily speak like 5 year olds, but you should be able to understand them. Especially with another baby on the way, you need to reassurance and the help (if necessary) to get your son beyond this point. Don't wait! Good luck.

Hi C.! We have the same difficulty with my son, who just turned 3 almost two weeks ago, although his problem came as a result of mulitple ear infections (he has had tubes twice). My son has been involved in a program called Early Access through the Des Moines School district, and recently started pre-school through a similar program now that he is 3. Talk to your school district and see if it is something they offer. It has been a God Send for him and we are seeing such changes. He is now putting two words together. Good Luck!

I would take him into his doctor and have his ears checked. There is a strong chance he has fluid built up behind them and may need tubes put in. I had 2 nephews with this problem and once they got tubes in they were surprised by sounds they had missed like one of my nephews was wondering what that ticking noise was from the clock. He will probably need some speak therapy when he is done, but his language will just speed up. Good Luck!

Have you had him tested for stuff like Autism, ADD or something? IF not, you might want to look into it. But you definately should have him tested to see IF he has anything (ADD, Autism, etc.)

Hi C.,

It is not uncommon for boys (especailly) to have speech delays. Read to him continually and talk with him all the time. The more you talk with him and read to him the more he will hear correct language and have the opportunity to practice it. Turn off all distractions (t.v. and radio) Make reading apart of his daily routine. Before bedtime, before and after nap time.

Another tool I've used to help teach my children is a Magna Doodle. I would draw a shape, letter, number, picture and ask them to tell me what it is. Or I would say the word and tell them, "say 'circle'". All these things help with language development. Look for short (3-5 minutes) intervals of time to work on one thing. Gradually increase the time you work with him, this will increase his attention span so he will learn to sit for longer periods of time. I explain how this all works my web site: http://www.teachingwithjoy.com/how_do_i_teach_my_preschoo...

I hope that helps. I can see you have your hands full with three children and yourself to care for. It takes extra effort, I know, but it is well worth it. I have 6 year old boy/girl twins and a 5 year old daughter. I homeschool them now and things are a lot easier but I remember how hard it was to care for them when they were young. I am praying for extra grace for you.

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