2 Year Old Language Development

Updated on February 10, 2010
S.W. asks from Carrollton, TX
29 answers

My son turned 2 in December and is barely talking. He babbles, but nothing is clear. He can't say "N" for no and some other very beginner sounds. Some of my older sons friends moms have told me that their child didn't talk until he was 3 and he fine. Well, that 's not true because I can hear the speech impediments and it's becoming a very real and very expensive problem now that these boys are in kindergarten and first grade. My pediatrician doesn't think it's a problem yet, but I disagree with her. Do you have any suggestions on where to start. I assume I need an evaluation of some sort, but not sure of the first step.

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So What Happened?

I want to thank everyone for their advice. I took my son to the ENT for a hearing test on Monday and it turns out he has fluid on his ears. He's only had 2 ear infections and none recently. I didn't realize you could keep fluid in your ears and it not become infected, but that's what happened to us. We're getting tubes on Friday and hopefully his next hearing test will be normal.

ECI came out today and accepted us for therapy. He is about 6 months behind. We're hoping once the fluid is gone, he will be able to hear normailly and we can get him caught up within a few months.

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L.D.

answers from Dallas on

This is a great article in the New York Times about speech delay:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/health/09klass.html?em

I was myself a kid with some speech delay and I still remember having problem with pronounciation at the age of 4. I grew up well and now can speak fluently three languages.

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T.S.

answers from Dallas on

My son is 25 months and has a similar problem. At his 2 year visit, the ped said that he would not worry about it until 30 months. He also mentioned that giving him toys that he can blow into may help. After reading some of the responses you've gotten, I am getting more nervous about it for my son... I thought it was normal to not really be talking well at this age for a boy.

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

I would get him around other kids that are talking well. If he has not been around too much talking, he has not picked it up. I noticed with my oldest son, when he was in the infant room at daycare he didn't talk much, he moved up to the toddler class and his talking took off.

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C.A.

answers from Provo on

Ah, yes, the "my son didn't talk until he was 3 or 4 and now I can't get him to stop!" excuse. We heard that so many times. My son is the same age as yours (turned 2 in December as well) and he only says a few words. We mentioned our concerns to his doctor back in October and said we wanted to take action. The doctor then gave us the phone number for the local early intervention group (you could probably just call the doctor's office and ask for it, but they make you bring your son in. Ours did). They came to our home and did a full evaluation (checked his hearing, observed his fine and gross motor skills, etc). Turns out he was in the bottom 3% as far as expressive development is concerned. Now they come twice a month for in-home visits, working with him and us and teaching us how to help him best. We're still in the very beginning stages of it, but I think it's helping. One thing they encourage is signing, so at least he can communicate with us. It's very slow progress, but it's progress. Oh, and it's government subsidized, so the fee for the program is based on your income. We only have to pay $10 a month.

I would get a second opinion. If the pediatrician doesn't think it's a problem, then go elsewhere. Yes, all kids develop differently, but from what you say, he is definitely behind the average, and you have that parental intuition telling you something is wrong. I had that for over six months before I finally said something, and now we're finally getting our son help. Now I'm left wondering how much further ahead he would be if I'd looked into getting him help when I first started noticing the delay. Don't know if that helps, but feel free to message me if you have any questions! You're not alone--we're going through exactly the same thing. Good luck, hon!

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A.T.

answers from Dallas on

YES! Get him evaluated. I am a deaf education teacher and have worked with language delays. Children who start talking late generally have difficulty with reading. He needs help NOW! First, has he had ear infections repeatedly for a long period of time? If so, look into getting him tubes. Second, get his hearing tested, He may have a mild/moderate heraing loss which is causing a language dealy, but the loss isn't severe enough for you to really notice it without an evaluation by a professional.Third, your local school district has early intervention departments that can help you. They will have to evaluate him, but he might qualify for services from the school- even now. They make home visits and will work with you and your child. Check their website or call the elementary school he is supposed to attend. They should be able to direct you to the right department. Sometimes, they require you come to the school for speech therapy, so it might not be a home visit.

My sister's son had many problems with speech and didn't start talking until much later. He threw many tantrums because he could cognitively think of what he wanted, but couldn't verbalize it. His was because of a series of ear infections. She finally got him tubes and he is talking now. She believes everything is fine, but I know what you are talking about. He has a big speech impediment and I still have some trouble understanding him. So, I understand and have seen what you are talking about. Hope the above information helps.

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M.W.

answers from Dallas on

The thing is, kids' speech develops in such different patterns that it's hard to say whether there's something to be concerned about when you just consider your son's age and current speech ability. I think he is probably fine! Boys' speech is slower to develop than girls'. And even my little girl, who will be four in a few months, has certain sounds she doesn't pronounce well even though she is a chatterbox. My mom is a speech language pathologist (SLP) and she doesn't see any problem with my daughter's speech. However, if you would like to make sure, getting an evaluation by a qualified SLP would be a good step. There are SLPs that work in the schools (including preschool programs) and there are those that work privately, and those that do both. Here's a useful website: http://www.asha.org/findpro/ Hope you find what you're looking for!

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J.G.

answers from Dallas on

My now ten year old had problem speaking BEFORE he had tubes put in his ears. My in-laws even thought he could have been deaf, although they didn't share these fears until after. Have you looked into the fact that he can't hear you, so the babbling is his mimic of the sound he does hear? The doctors probably look at a lot of kids, so they average the symptoms, plus they don't see your kid 24/7 like you do. Keep asking your doctor to take a second look or ask for an opinion from another doctor in the practice.

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N.C.

answers from Dallas on

I went through a very similar situation. We had my son's hearing tested and it showed significant hearing loss in both ears. He wore hearing aids for almost a year (they told us his loss was permanant and that he would have to wear them the rest of his life). Recently they said that his hearing range has returned to normal. He turned 4 in December and we are finally starting to hear normal speech from him! Your son may be too young for free speech therapy through the school district you are in, however, I would check with them for recomendations. If there are hearing problems, you want to start speech therapy a.s.a.p.
All that said, I have always heard that boys do start talking later than girls! It may be nothing as your doctor said but I would start with a thorough hearing test (not the kind they give in the ped. office). It is a good place to start.

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L.S.

answers from Tyler on

Hey -
Push your pediatrician to give you a referrel to a speech evaluation. I only say push the pediatrician because depending upon what insurance you have, in order for insurance to cover it, you may need to have the referral.

I did not read what the other notes said, but you can also use ECI as a resource for getting help with your son. However, my son was speech delayed and ECI did NOT consider it enough for intervention. I pushed my pediatrician to give me the referral and then my son started speech therapy (I did have to pay my specialist co-pay for each session, but it was worth it to me). (Also, I just read another response. My son had blocked hearing as well - due to ear infections. So, he did get ear tubes when he was 10 months old. But, he was still delayed at 2 years. They thought that he was delayed at that point due to the lack of input in the first year when he could not hear. He was completely NON verbal until 8 months of age (no cooing or anything)).

Just FYI, my daughter just turned 2 in December and she is seriously talking in full sentences (she is obviously not speech delayed like my son was). I have no idea if she is ahead of "normal" kids or not, but I know she is WELL ahead of where my son was at this point and so I am pleased with that. But, I thought I would just tell you about her as another point of reference since she is about the same age as your son.

Personally, I advocate early intervention. As you say, you can see that your friend's child is still struggling. My son had speech therapy for 4-6 months (I really can't remember exactly how long, but it wasn't that long) and he started talking. He did NOT have any speech problems - just delayed. And, they pushed him so that he did start talking and then he was fine.

Good luck!!
L.

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J.S.

answers from Dallas on

I also recommend checking into the ECI (early childhood intervention) program in your area. It is a government program and they charge based upon your income level. We have been using them since our twin boys were 18 mos. They just turned 2 and still aren't really talking, but I think we are getting there. With ECI, they will come to your house to evaluate and if speech therapy is needed, then also for therapy. With our boys, 1 says 1 word and 1 says about 3 words...which is pretty delayed, but when we started, there were not any words at all. We've had ours evaluated through ECI, Our Children's House at Baylor (private therapy), and are taking them to get their hearing tested by an audiologist at an ENT. We just want to be sure there isn't another problem that may be causing the delay in speech. If you feel like there is a problem, then definitely get him evaluated...it can't hurt!

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S.G.

answers from Dallas on

I am a speech-language pathologist and the owner of Progressive Speech Therapy in Dallas. I specialize in the more severe speech issues such as Childhood Apraxia of Speech, severe articulation and phonological disorders, and hearing impairments. I have some children your son's age on my caseload. Doctors said "wait and see", but parents were not willing to put their child at that risk.

Many children do not talk much by 2 years of age and have no problems later, but there are some important milestones I would look for them to have reached by this time. If certain variations of babbling or vowels are missing, a speech evaluation is warranted.

A thorough hearing test is always a good idea, and ECI will do an evaluation on a sliding scale. I know this is a very difficult place to be for a parent, so I would be happy to talk to you (for free) about your son and give you some ideas for eliciting speech before you pay for an expensive evaluation or stress about this anymore. Please feel free to contact me at ###-###-#### or [email protected]____.com.

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T.T.

answers from Dallas on

Everyone else gave great advice. Ped's mean well, but they aren't always right on these issues, FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS! At his age your first call should be your local ECI. They will evaluate him for free and give you a plan for catching your son up. They offer services on a sliding scale also. One bit of advice on ECI: if you don't feel that they are doing enough (my son only had it every other week) supplement with private speech therapy. Don't wait until he is older, the younger the better. When he is 3 he will probably qualify for your local school district program which will also help.

My younger son (5 years) had a profound problem with his articulation. When we had him evaluated they told us that children with these kind of problems have a difficult time learning to read without a speech program to help them. It is something to consider and our thought is that we have to give our kids every advantage we can. Also, it will get more frustating for your son as he gets older b/c other kids will have a hard time understanding him when he talks.

I know confusing, but you are a great mom for pushing the issue when he is so young, you will very glad that you did!

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J.H.

answers from Dallas on

ECI is great! They helped with with my 2 year old twin girls. They come out for an evaluation and then determine a program that works best for your child. The first few months are free and then costs is based on your income. Call them at ###-###-####. You will be glad you did!

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S.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

hi S. w.

i just posted a similar question about my niece. can i ask what you mean by "speech impediments"? what exactly do you hear...examples? i'm just trying to find answers for my niece. thank you!

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J.L.

answers from Dallas on

You should certainly contact ECI.They do free evaluations and therapy if needed. My 2 year old is in the program. They only help until 3 years of age, but then will help find you a speech therapist of other program after 3 if neccesary. Best of Luck!

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T.Z.

answers from Dallas on

my son could not say 20 words at 2, we waited on his MMR (still hasn't had it) and now at 2.5 he won't shut up! he says amazing things like "i am really frustrated right now". Literally, his language developed overnight. He was super coordinated and had crazy fine motor skills, but his language wasn't there. I wouldn't get too terribly concerned, but may look into ECI @ 3 as well.
Hang in there.

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L.L.

answers from Dallas on

You can definitely go through ECI for an evaluation, but keep in mind, he is still really early for a real diagnosis as far as speech or language disorders are concerned. You can also talk to your ped about a refereral to somewhere like Our Children's House. If he is experiencing no other delays or disorders, honestly, I wouldn't be too concerned at this point but if it is bothering you, by all means get him evaluated. It is freaking amazing how their language can come in all at once -- literally.

My son was delayed and we didn't get seek therapy for him until he was about 27 months. He was in therapy for a year (we went through OCH which is much more aggressive than ECI ever would have been). I also was in touch with the Callier Center -- another excellent resource -- but ended up not needing their services. The great thing about OCH or CC is that they teach the mom methods of how to nurture language at home. You are, after all, your child's primary teacher. One of the best things they taught us was to use sign language. I would encourage you to try this. It really made a difference in our house.

Regarding your friends, try not to worry too much. Articulation issues are not necessarily even tied to speech delays. These can be neurological, physiological, etc in origin. I wouldn't make the jump thinking that a speech delay equals anything other than just that -- a delay. Certainly, getting your child in for therapy earlier can help if you child does have articulation issues or a language disorder

Good luck.

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C.C.

answers from Dallas on

I went through the same thing. It seems most dr just don't want to take the time any more. I continued to push and ask around like you are and found out about ECI (early childhood intervintion) and they came to our house to evaluate my dd. She was a little over 2 at the time. They sent two different ladies out once a week, one for speech and one for devoplement. Also had her hearing checked, it can make a difference. My dd was a born two months early, so she struggles a little more than most.
Once she turned three ECI helped us enroll her in the local ISD system. The first year she did speech buddies twice a week for two hours(?). This year, at 4yrso, she is in preK w/a speech teacher meeting w/her twice a week. I can give you the number for the person we used at ECI, but she will not survice your are. She could give the the right number, or you could try web search.
I just recently took her to Our Childrens House of Baylor (they have many locations) and had another speech eval. The younger they are when learning the better, the less they have to un-learn. They have also suggested occupational eval. They take their time and are very trained.

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J.R.

answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 3 & I had noticed that she didn't prononce some letters well, for example b, v, k, c, etc. Our pedi said she didn't think it was an issue, but that if we were concerned about it, to have her evaluated at our school district. I am not sure what age they will start (2 might be too young), but you can always check! We are having her evaluated by the speech therapist in March.

T.C.

answers from Austin on

I agree with everyone else that you should get an evaluation before age 3. We waited until my son was 3, when he was having tantrums at mothers day out. The teachers thought he might be frustrated that no one could understand him. I didn't realize, because our family could understand what he wanted. Like one time he asked to go to "hanka hanka" and my husband knew he meant San Francisco. My son was saying the right number of words, but had trouble with all the beginning sounds like s,f,z and just said h for all of them. Speech therapy once a week in pre-k fixed all the articulation problems.

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T.B.

answers from Dallas on

Has he had any issues with ear infections? If so, this could be a reason for his lack of speech. I would take him to ENT and have his hearing assed by an audiologist. Also, does he use a pacifier? My son didn't have a lot of words, but when we got rid of the pacifier, he improved. Does your son communicate with you non-verbally? Will he point to objects, lead you to things and gesture? If not, you could check out ECI or Early Childhood Intervention and they will give him an assessment. Call 211from any phone and you will get the information you need.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

Most States, has a "free" program for assessments and speech therapy.
Its usually under the Early Childhood Intervention or Prevention" type programs, for children 0-3 years old.
Try research it for your State, or do a Google Search.

Now, my son, since 19 months old had a Speech Therapist. He was late in talking. He benefited a LOT by this program and loved it. They do an overall developmental assessment and evaluation, and see where your child needs help or if there are developmental problems.
They come to your home and do everything. Free.
Its really great.

I did not have to go through the Pediatrician to get services. I just called them directly. Then I told my Pediatrician just to keep them updated. At my son's 18 month check-up, they suggested it, for the services.

And yes, early prevention is good. Sure, kids will talk when they talk. But at the same time, if you can get these services to ally your concerns, or to help your child, why not? Its free.
Then, you will know for sure, from a Professional, any information and if your son needs help.
Its not hard. My son, was just 'late' in talking. His assessment showed that he was even advanced in several developmental areas... but just needed help and encouragement in talking.... and it DID help a lot and my son really enjoyed it.

There are many technical aspects to talking.. .and at certain ages, certain "sounds" are mastered... because it has to do with the mouth / tongue/ throat coordination as well. And there are "front of t he mouth" sounds/words and "back of the throat" sounds and words, for example. AND, the articulation of words, is also something that is mastered at different ages. So the Speech Therapist will explain this.

try looking into your State's free early childhood intervention programs.

All the best,
Susan

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V.T.

answers from Dallas on

I am a physical therapist for ECI. You can self-refer to ECI so getting your pediatrician to make the referral won't be an issue (the doctor will have to sign orders if services are recommended, but ECI staff will take care of that for you). They can do some comprehensive assessments and give you specifics whether or not he is delayed, how delayed, and strategies to work on if needed. I don't have the referreal number with me, but I know you can go online and search for early childhood intervention, or ECI, in your area. Hope that helps.

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D.B.

answers from Dallas on

www.parentswithpurpose.com give you information on assessments that focus on brain function. Speech relies on many functions, particularly auditory processing, retrieval, respiration (you can speak as well as you exhale), and some social aspects. All of these areas have responsibilities in the lower levels of the brain, which are often ignored. I'd be glad to answer questions if you'd like---just message me.

B.B.

answers from Dallas on

My son's ped said to wait til he was 2.5. I did. He has picked up a lot on his vocabulary, but his pronunciation is behind (his dr even agreed). I contacted Early Childhood Intervention. He has an evaluation in a few weeks. They only help kids thru age 3. I wish I had called sooner. I would say at least call for an ealuation if you think there's a delay. The worst they can do is tell you he just fine:)

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B.B.

answers from Dallas on

Call your local Early Childhood Intervention program. If you are in Denton County call ###-###-#### or Collin County ###-###-####. Website is www.readystart.org

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H.D.

answers from Dallas on

ask your dr to refer you to an early childhood intervention program (ECI). They are for children 0-3 and they address possible developmental delays and it's free through the state. Usually at the local school district. good luck

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D.B.

answers from Charlotte on

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A.H.

answers from Dallas on

My son is 3 1/2 and in private speech therapy as well as free speech therapy (for articulation)through our local school district. When he was 18 months I began expressing my concerns and my pediarician (like yours) told me not to worry and to "wait and see." This continued until we changed pediatricians at age 3 and the new one referred us for a speech evaluation. I wish we would have looked into it earlier so we could have worked on it before some of those habits became harder to break.
I would call ECI. They will come and evaluate your child (in your home) for free and tell you what services (if any) he qualifies for. (The services are typically pay as you are able). Once the child turns 3, the local school district takes over and he would have to be re-evaluated to see if he qualifies for their programs.
Hope that helps.

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