3.5 Years Old and Not Talking

Updated on January 30, 2013
A.H. asks from Clearfield, UT
14 answers

My daughter is 3.5 years old and does not talk well yet, she can say a few words " water, bread, baby, mommy, away etc sometimes she says " where are you? where is baby? no hurt me, for dont hurt me, 'top' for stop, "milk please", " mommy rude" for mommy you are rude" ..but most of the time she babbles and points. she is very angry and bossy, and always wants to get her will. i feel she gets angry because I dont understand what she says..she hits and cries a lot, but she can be very loving and sweet too. she understands me most of time, and sometimes helps with playing with her sibblings, brings dipers and wipes when i ask her for. she recently learn her name and age, but she articulates so badly that only me and family understand her. she has been seen by a pathologist who confirm a significant delay, no hearing impearment either. i show pictures of things to her, she likes it for only a minute or so, then she refuses to repeat the names of the things i show or the verbs i try to teach..i try to teach colors but doesnt seem to get it either. she recently learn to pray, and says something like heavenly father, thank you .... she babbles....then i hear a "mommy, daddy..baby, amen"..but of course, only me gets what she is saying..can somebody give me tips of how to teach her to speak..I am very sorry for her.

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So What Happened?

Thanks ladies for your response, I will follow the suggestion and call the school district for her.

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answers from Grand Rapids on

I know you said that she has no hearing impairment,but who diagnosed this? Her regular doctor or an Ear,nose and throat doctor? I ask this because my son wasn't talking like he should have and we took him to an ENT doctor. The doctor took one look and said he had fluid behind both of his ear drums. My son did NOT have a hearing impairment either. He had tubes put in and walked around for a week straight screaming because he was so happy he could himself and he hasn't shut up since!! He will be 17 this year. The other responses are right about the schools about getting her evaluated. I did that with my son also.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Every thing you said in your post points to this child needing to have an evalutaion to determine if she has some developmental or mental delays. I think that the earlier you determine if she does the earlier she could start the local school system and get some assistance. The local schools in Oklahoma can start a child as early as 3 years old if they have a delay in any life skill area. They get physical therapist, speech pathologists, educational psychologists, and more through the school system at no charge to you.

My friend has a son who has some hearing loss. This child was evaluated for not talking right before he turned 3. Since he was diagnosed the mom was able to get him started in the pre-school program as soon as he turned 3. He is talking much better now since he's had several years of speech and some other therapies that really helped him.

Since he worked on speaking better he is more able to communicate and let people know what he needs even if they can't understand him.

So I think that finding a local medical university that has a developmental pediatric unit or if there is a really really good ENT/ORL doc nearby that I'd have his hearing and throat checked out. Then making an appointment with a child psychologist who does developmental testing for evaluating delays would be a great step towards making sure just what the issue is or isn't.

Pediatricians are okay for checking this stuff but they are not experts in these area's. They do know a lot but are not experts. So that is why I would worry about even talking to them about this next step. Obviously they haven't found anything wrong or you'd have said the docs found this or that.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

has she seen any kind of speech therapist? could she have some kind of speech impediment.. i know my neighbors son had a severe speech issue and she was the only one who could understand what he meant when he was saying things until he was around 4 or 5.. going to a therapist really helped him a ton.. even today at almost 19 there are still words here and there that he says a little funny .. that being said .. are you really pushing her to talk?? i believe ive said this as an answer to a previous post recently about kids and delayed talking, but, my cousin who is one of 6 didnt talk at all until he was around 2.. he would grunt/make noises and point at things.. they thought he had hearing issues.. he saw a specialist and it turns out that he wasnt talking because he didnt have to.. he was getting what he wanted by pointing and making noises (having so many siblings also affected this, as it was more of a reason he didnt "need" to talk - he would just get what he wanted by pointing or they would say it for him) once they started actually making him say what he wanted or he wouldnt get it.. he started talking up a storm and they couldnt get him to stop!
so my suggestion is that if she wants something try to make her say it.. if she wants a cup dont let her babble and point and give it to her, make her tell you what is it.. also as far as teaching her, make it fun, make some kind of game out of it.. tell her if she says the word she will get some kind of treat, a sticker maybe.. maybe make her a chart and if she accumulates so many stickers at the end of a week she can get a small toy or something along those lines.. i still think she needs to see a speech therapist though.. it sounds like its probably not somthing you can fix all on your own

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

She may need professional speech therapy at this point.

Most school districts have and early child find program to assess and monitor students with delays.

I would suggest calling your local school and see if she can be evaluated, and maybe she can get into the preschool where they will also work with her. They will also teach you what you can do to encourage her speech.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Wait, a speech pathologist said she had significant delays and then what happened? Is she getting speech therapy and you are looking for extra tips? They never suggested you call the school district? Please call the school district tomorrow and get an evaluation.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

From what I understand, you have had a consultation and evaluation with a speech pathologist. However, you haven't said that you followed through with her recommendations. Why not? You are very sorry for her, but sorry for her will not fix her problem. She needs help learning to talk!

Take the written evaluation and get her some speech therapy. The school district can help. But if they put you on a 6 month waiting list, you need to get private help. Check with the United Way and see if they have someone who can help. You cannot afford to wait.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

A speech therapist specializes in special ways to get kids to speak. I (someone who rarely suggests speech for really young kids) thinks she should see a speech therapist. She seems like she really wants to but just can't do it right, so that makes me think you need to get her some help.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Great Falls on

Your public school has to service children over the age of three. Yay! Free speech therapy! My son has been seeing the speech therapist at our local school for 30 minutes, twice a week, for the past 2.5 years. He loves going! His therapist is amazing! She has taught him shapes, colors, letters, numbers...all kinds of information in addition to how to talk. He thinks he's going to play; he doesn't know how much he's learning! This has been an incredible experience for our family and it helped prepare my son for preschool.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Definitely call the school district and arrange for her to be evaluated. In the mean time, try to relax. Keep talking to her, keep asking her questions and encouraging her to use her words. If she's in a good mood, try to require her to tell you what she wants - drink, milk, cracker, etc.

I would back off on teaching her verbs and colors. Talking about them is great, reading books, noticing things as you watch people at the park or are grocery shopping. If you playing with her you could say, "Do you want your baby to wear the pink dress or the blue dress?" or "Teddy Bear is jumping, jumping. I bet he's tired. Oh, look, he's sleeping now." Ok, you get he idea. Just try to make it a normal part of her day, rather than something she needs to learn. The more you can make things like this just a part of her day and not a pressure situation, the better.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

She needs speech therapy from a professional. I hope your school district can provide for free, if not your insurance will help pay. Get the video Baby Babble 1 and 2 to provide you with ideas for helping at home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Call the school district, the pediatrician, any Child development network type office you can find in your area. At 3.5yrs your son should be chatting all day and able to make full sentences.
Please please please have your daughter looked at ASAP. Just think ahead to how this will impact her at school; not to mention teasing by other kids. Kids can be cruel.
There's government funding available and one on one speech coaches.

I feel bad for her!! She must be so frustrated. Make the effort for both of you to try to learn sign language. Talk to your local library about ordering Baby sign DVDs, books etc for free.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I urge you to have her speech evaluated. Call the local school district office and ask for the office that does evaluations. Federal law requires that all school districts evaluate, diagnose, and provide necessary treatment for any child from birth on who is possibly in need of services so that they can be successful once they're in school.

In Oregon the office is call (county) Educational Service District. You can get their number from the school district main office. The service is free.

You can also get a private evaluation thru a speech therapist or a developmental pediatrician. Ask your regular pediatrician for how to do this.

You mentioned a pathologist. What was their recommendation? Was it a speech pathologist? They should know the procedure to get help thru the school district.

My grandson was delayed in learning speech and his mother had him evaluated thru the school district when he was 2 1/2. Turns out he has apraxia of speech and at 9 still has difficulty talking so that others can understand him. He also has some developmental delays and sensory processing disorder. The school district office evaluated for all of those and is continuing to provide treatment.

He is also being seen by a developmental pediatrician who helps to coordinate all of his services. I wish we had started with the developmental pediatrician because she is the one who diagnosed the latter two difficulties.

Your health insurance may be for a private evaluation. My daughter has combined both school and private resources for her son.

Do this right away. The longer you wait the more difficulty your daughter is going to have in learning speech. The therapists will show you how to help her learn but they have training and skills on a level that far exceeds what you can provide on your own.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

You may be able to get her free speech therapy; I know a family who had a child with speech delays. They were able to get him enrolled in a free preschool that incorporated speech therapy into their curriculum. They got a recommendation for it from their doctor and it was done through the local school district. Please ask your doctor if there is anything similar available where you live. Sometimes children will do better for a different adult than their mommy or daddy; it is easier to throw a tantrum with mommy, with a teacher they feel like they need to be more mature. Also, in a preschool setting there is the example of their peers, if everyone else is participating then they feel like they should participate as well.

My daughter had speech therapy in Kindergarten and first grade for a lisp, I wish that I had gotten her help sooner but I could always understand her perfectly and I just didn’t realize that she needed help until her Kindergarten teacher said something. My daughter LOVED speech therapy, the therapists make it really fun and the kids just think they are playing games! My daughter’s therapist even gave her a “graduation” party when she didn’t need speech therapy anymore. Now my daughter is in 2nd grade and doesn’t need speech therapy, but she misses it because it was so fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Myrtle Beach on

My boy was same way. I found the more I tried to get him to talk the more resisted. By 4.5 he wouldn't shut up. Back off, let her be her.....

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