Milestones-Language

Updated on April 28, 2009
B.L. asks from Union City, CA
30 answers

My son is about to turn 3 years old and has reached all of his milestones except the ones in the Language area. He only speaks with 1-2 words in a sentences and is not where he should be for his age. I am concern that he will need a speech evaulation and then speech therapy. Does anyone have any suggestion on what I can do to help him with his speech? I would greatly appreciate any advice you can give me.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much ladies for all of your wonderful insights, advices and suggestions. It's just amazing that I received so many replies and I appreciate every single one of them. Sorry if I haven't replied back to you but I would like to thank everyone for their great wisdom. I'll keep everyone updated. Thanks again ladies.

B.

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H.M.

answers from San Diego on

Have you tried reading to him every night? My son is 10 now but I would read to him every night. When we were on shopping trips I would talk to him like he knew exactly what I was saying and I would have him help name colors and shapes while shopping.

Just remember every child developes at a different pace. He will pick it up soon. Talk to his doctor to see if there is anything else you could be doing.

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R.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear B.,

Congratulations on being a Fantastic mom! YOur concern is very important. There is a children's book I would like you to read to your child 10 times if possible. The name of the book is Leo the Late Bloomer. When u read the book, you will realize that some kids just need a little more time. Before you seek any evaluations, I have a question for you. How often is your son surrounded by other kids his age? Also how often do you speak to him during the day? Do you encourage the use of sentences instead of phrases or words. WHen asking for things, children can get their parents to give them what they want by using just one word. Does he listen to children's music either by dvd or by cd? Has he been exposed to audio books? How often do you read to him? Now another thing to keep in mind is how was your and your son's dad development? Your concerns are jenuine and yes you should seek professional advice. Just keep in mind that children are unique and will develop accordingly.

Spreading the Love!

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M.C.

answers from Honolulu on

get the speech therapy!!! and do it fast, many states have FREE services for children with developmental delays that are diagnosed before they turn three. Get over the stigma and get your son the help that he needs. My daughter had speech therapy and after 2 months she showed so much progress that she was "caught up"

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear B., I would hold on speech until you are certain that he does have a language delay, that would be best diagnosed by your pediatrician, however in the meantime I would make an appointment with your audiologist to determine that his hearing is okay and to look for abnormalities within the ear canal,and/or ear,nose and throat to rule any physical factor. I always strongly recommend parents to read, read, read to the children, even to the very young, because of the lanquage development benefits. I have been a Preschool Teacher for 15 years and I have seen children who develop speech aquisition faster/slower than other children,though I would definitely advise you to see your doctor, and if you are still not at ease, I would see a specialist. best regards,
S. H

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E.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi B., i know how frustrating it can be. My daughter is 3 years old and although she is not where your son is she is still a little behind. So we're in speech therapy. she's had 2 sessions so far and her therapist gave me some ideas to do wit hher at home.
1. continue to extend his conversation
2. use words he has trouble with frequently in your speech
3. talk about similarities and differences between things
4. encourage your child to tell short stories using books and pictures
5. read longer stories to your child, then talk about objects and actions on the page.
6. pay attention to your child when he is talking (remember that repeating words and sounds is normal during this period of growth)
7. give your child plenty of time to respond to you, wait patiently (I'm terrible at this)
8. use a small toy to teach prepositions (for example "put the bear UNDER your chin, ON TOP OF your head, BESIDE your foot")
9. make up a simple story and have your child finish it
10. exaggerate, emphasize and repeat words you want your child to learn or pay attention to
11. ask your child to tell you about his activities
12. try not to expect absolute perfection in the way your child pronounces words.

Just get him evaluated asap, it will be a big releif! Hope this helps!

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N.H.

answers from Honolulu on

I have a lot of questions as I have been through the speech therapy thing with my son starting after 18 months. After so long, I stopped taking him and relying on the fact that he will catch up and that he's normal. So, having said that, here are some things I remember. How many words does he have in his vocab? If he has a lot, help him start stringing together by saying only 2 or 3 at a time - if he knows ball and roll, sit and roll a ball with him and say, "Jordan rolls ball." Expand on the stuff he knows. With my son, the key to unlocking his speaking is reading. He's always been fascinated with letters and numbers and has learned them all and even knows the phonetics. So his daycare teacher and I started to teach him to read and his talking started picking up tremendously! Try to find what your son seems really interested in and USE that as a tool. If he likes cars and trucks, start talking to him about the parts of the truck or color. Keep it simple. Once he makes the connections, he will probably pick up from there.

The big thing a speech therapist will tell you is to be with them in the moment. Watch your son and talk to him about what he's doing at that moment so he can connect the words with the reality. Don't push, just repeat a time or two and praise him for any efforts to repeat back to you. It will come!

The other thing... did/does your son have ear infection problems? If so, you should get him evaluated. Several ear infections can effect hearing. Our son has had many and has had tubes. Thank God his hearing tests are coming back fine.

At speech therapy they gave me so many handouts. If your son is capable, try putting stuff on his lips he has to lick off with his tongue. Have him watch you and himself in a mirror when talking. Have him blow bubbles. Those things help the muscles that are needed for talking and forming words and sounds.

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T.

answers from Las Vegas on

B.,

If you are in Las Vegas, you can call Child Find ###-###-####. They are part of the school district and will evaluate him for free. If they decide he's delayed and qualified for services, the will provide free services. Just in general, Nevada Early Intervention provides services from birth to age 3 and then Child Find does ages 3 and up. My son used Early Intervention for a year and now he's been with the school district since September (he's 3.5). I'm really happy with the school district program. My son is mildly autistic (which they determined because my pediatrician was absolutely clueless) with serious language delays. At almost 3 he had the language ability of a 20 month old. He's in an autism classroom 6 hours a day, 5 days a week and he get the extended school year so he goes 220 days a year (normal is 180). As part of all of that he gets 90 minutes a week of speech therapy, 500 minutes a week of behavioral/social skills therapy, 500 minutes a week of cognitive/readiness, and then 100 minutes a week each of self help, fine motor skills and gross motor skills. It is all free and they will bus him to and from school also. I can't stress enough how helpful it is to access the free services. We are also paying for private speech therapy (we started that because we didn't have a very good experience with Early Intervention and he's doing well in it so we didn't want to cancel it when he started preschool) and it is $120 an hour and our insurance won't cover any of it. Free is good.

Oh, and Child Find will also test your son's hearing to make sure that is normal. I really can't tell you how impressed I am with their services. Their special needs preschool is light years ahead of their regular K-12 education in terms of quality.

If you want to do some stuff at home, a few things that we have done that helped are 1. Signing Time DVDs. www.signingtime.com They show the sign, repeat the word verbal a number of times and then show kids doing the signs and saying the word verbally. I have volumes 1-9 but I think volumes 1-3 are sufficient for most of the basic stuff like eat, water, play, milk, etc.... A lot of people think if you teach your kid some basic sign language that it will delay their speech because they don't "have" to talk. That is really untrue. It gives your kid a way to communicate with you while they are working on verbal speech and with my son, it gave him a visual representation of words and communication that helped him tremendously. It truly won't hurt your son's verbal language development to use sign language. 2. script language for him. If he whines for a cookie (or points or what he does) script it for him "Oh, you want a cookie? Can you say 'I want a cookie. That's right, I want a cookie. Here is your cookie." It seems kind of ridiculous but after a while it really helps. You basically just start "feeding" your kid what he should be saying in specific situations. And then in general, you keep up a constant flow of words and you endlessly name things and what you are doing, etc... It is hard at first but you get used to it. I could probably think of a few more activities if you are interested. At this point, I think we've tried virtually everything. If you are interested, email me directly [email protected]____.com

Oh, and I know you will probably get all sorts of answers that say boys just start talking later than girls and all of that. In some cases that is true and if you do nothing it may be fine. But I didn't want to look back a year or two down the road and wish that I would have done something. In my opinion, you should always err on the side of caution and have your son evaluated. The school district program doesn't just deal with autistic kids like my son. They deal with all sorts of developmental delays and they've got a full staff of speech therapist. My son's preschool is a block from my house and they've got programs all over the valley so it isn't like you'll be sending him across town. When you've got a kid with significant language delays, the further behind they are, the harder it is to catch up. I wanted my son to be as normal speech wise (this was before we knew he was autistic but I still want it!) as possible before he starts grade school because kids are really mean to kids who are different. There is so much that can be done for kids with developmental delays that are caught and dealt with early that it is amazing. We fully expect and so do my son's teachers - that my son will be able to start kindergarten in a regular classroom with typical kids and that there is a strong possibility with continued therapy that he will not be identifyable as autistic by anyone who doesn't know he's autistic. He would have had no chance of that if we wouldn't have started getting him services early. I know it isn't easy to put yourself out there and take a chance that they will tell you your kid isn't "normal" but I really think (based on my experience) that it is worth the risk to make sure your son does well long term.

You've got to figure the worst case scenario is that a little speech therapy will help kick start him talking and the best case scenario is that it will get him talking at an age appropriate level in no time at all.

FWIW, we had tons of people tell us that we just needed to put our son in daycare so he'd have to compete with the other kids and "need" to talk. Basically, we had tons of people say that my son didn't talk because my husband and I were spoiling him and not "making" him talk. Well, we put him in daycare and he was there for a year and it didn't help at all. He didn't actually really start talking until we took him out of daycare. He needed one on one help, not to be lost in a sea of 30 kids. Maybe it helps some kids but I think if your child has a genuine language/development delay, it isn't going to do much. From my perspective, it isn't a bad thing to try but I would still get an evaluation anyway. The older he gets the further behind he'll be and the harder it will be to catch up.

T.

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A.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter is 2 and also has a speech delay. My mom's a speech therapist so we caught it early, but alot of times kids don't get assessed til 3 or later. As soon as a child turns 3 they become eligible for the school districts early learning program. Call your local district office and tell them you need a speech consult. They may offer him speech therapy, a special day class, or tell you its nothing. Trust me, it's always better to know than just wait for it to go away. Get him the help he needs and he'll be talking a blue streak before you know it. Good luck

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E.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Not sure where you are located.
But contact your local Regional Center. They provide free evaluations and will provide therapy services to your son free of cost if you son is truly language delayed. Or they will be able to help you find the right resources to help your child.
The Regional Center for Riverside County is located in San Bernardino, the name of it is the Inland Regional Center.

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Y.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

Yes i am going through the same thing as you my son will turn 3 may 7th. Well we nothiced that he was only saying 2 word's and for being 2 1/2 he should be saying 200 word's and sentences well we had him evaulated and they said that he is at a 12-24 month old level so now he will be starting a special ed pre school with speech. But the other thing is see if you can do this all befor he turn's 3 because under 3 year's the state can help you and over the age of 3 you have to go to the school district well i have all kind's of number's that i can help you out with if you wish?? let me no and i'll help you out as much as i can since it seem's like our boy's are going through the same thing. i can send you my number if you want to talk :)

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M.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Well I am not a professional, but my son did not start talking till about 3-1/2. Everything was "Et Dat". He finally started talking when I put him in Preschool at 3 for 3 days a week, four hours a day. He was talking away by about 3 months in. In school he had to use words to get what he wanted. At home, well he didn't have to talk because I knew, as his mom, what he needed or wanted without talking. Also girls are much more advanced in learning at this age. I run a daycare and all my little girls are always talking sentences by age 2. The boys in general usually only have a few words by age 2 like up, help, no, please. Out of the 5 boys that have gone through by daycare, only one was talking by 2-1/2. So hope this helps.

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A.C.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi B.,
My son was diagnosed with auditory dyslexia at 5. At 3, I had the same concerns and the pediatrician blew it off as being typical for the 2nd child (his brother is 12 mo. older) and normal for boys. When he was 4 we went to another pediatrician and he referred me to a learning psychologist for testing. Thank God we did. That started very critical tutoring and then started speech and language therapy in kindergarden. My lesson was to follow my gut instincts. My son wasn't able to say more than 2 syllable words at 3 yrs...and then he was 4. Turns out he had a lot of scare tissue in his ears from ear infections. My advice is follow your instincts and ask your doctor to check him. The earlier the intervention the better. Your school district will have information available for you to find services he may need. Best of luck.

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J.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

First thing that comes to mind is to have his hearing re-tested. They test newborns now, but those tests are not fool proof.

I baby sit two kids, and their mom wasn't found to be deaf until she was almost 3, for the same reason you indicated. She would respond to her name, because she has partial hearing in one ear, so they assumed she was fine. It was just before she turned 3 that her mom was worried because she wouldn't talk. They took her to the Dr., who in turn sent her for evaluated.

Chances are that this is NOT the problem, but it may be worth ruleing out.

Another thing to keep in mind is whether his sister is talking for him. My mom said that my brother and sister both used to talk for me instead of me saying things myself. I would grunt, cry and point, and they'd say "mommy, Janell wants (blank)." My mom finally had to tell them (and me) that if I wanted it, I had to use MY words and that they where NOT to help me get it.

I would talk to the Ped. when you go for your 3 yr. if you still have concerns. Chances are it's nothing to worry about. I believe that if you go with your gut, 99% of the time you're right.

Let us know what happens! -Janell-

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V.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello B.
Try asking your school district and see if they have a early prevention program. I live In pomona and we have an early Headstart and early preschool where kids can be tested early for any concerns parents have and get the help kids may need.
Another thing I like to use for my kids is Baby Einstein Videos they have alot of language and stimulation, Little Einstein is another favorite of my kids, and Leap Pad toys and Videos Work wonders.
Good luck
V. N

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S.W.

answers from Sacramento on

All of my daughters were different, my 1st didnt walk until 15 months! I was terrified. Now she is in advanced math and scores A's on every report card. My second refused to go to preschool and was kicked out of 2 for tantrums. Now she scores the lead in all her drama club performances and excells in the arts. My third could sing every single song on the James Blunt CD by age 2 but to this day is socially challenged. It has been my experience that all kids develop at their own rate. But in the end they ALL end up at a pretty equal finish line. Maybe check w/ your MD to be sure. But my bet is that your child is gifted and talented in ways that have yet to be seen! Nurture and love him. That's all we really can do right? Best wishes to you and your family.

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R.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi B.,

I work with children in the preschool/daycare setting ages 24-36 months. Many children come through my class, all of them at varying levels of speaking capabilities. Every child develops differently, and what I have found is typically girls speak more and earlier than boys, famalies speaking dual languages have children that may speak more later than others, and there should be more concern if language comprehension is there rather than the actually speaking of the words. Speech therapy might be an option if there is an issue with his physical ability to make the necessary muscle movements to actually speak the words. Your local school district will intervene at the age of 3 in order to begin preventitive measures early on prior to his enrollment into the public school system. Check with the school district this fall and get him evaluated for their programs now. These services are free. Good luck

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C.N.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

Dear B.,

The very best advice I can give you is to have his hearing tested, and then when you find that it is good, leave him alone, and don't pressure him to talk. But do talk to and with him a lot.

Lots of children do not talk until they are older than 3. My own gr grandson is just speaking a little and he will be three soon too. They are just enjoying watching and participating as they feel comfortable. In other words, they are listening to their own unique tendecies and comfort and that, my dear is a good thing. He is developing his own personality, and not bending to outside pressures, which is just what you want him to do an older person, especially a teen.

I know how it is to wait to hear that special voice. It seems like it is never coming, but finally it will and you will be thrilled. Don't let other people scare you. Just test his hearing and enjoy his babyhood. C. N.

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H.T.

answers from Fresno on

Hi, I understand where your coming from, really. My oldest is a boy and I was told over and over that he would need speech therapy. They were wrong. I just put him in preschool and in a month he was talking, because he needed to, to get what he wanted. Also the other kids were talking and he wanted to keep up with them. Kids do learn from kids, so maybe if you have a preschool near by or anything that he can social interact with kids his age, he will pick that up. Don't worry boys are slower learners then girls. I have two boys and a girl and the girl learned faster then the boys. I hope this helped.

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S.H.

answers from Sacramento on

My doctor referred me to go to the elementary school my 3 year old will attend in 2 years for speech therapy evaluation. It's free and it's not charge to you. I'm going to give them a call next week for my son that turned 3 on the 9th of April. He has the same symptoms of your child.

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G.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

My advice is to get him evaluated immediately. Speech and language therapy is incredibly successful in providing some assistance for your child to meet some language milestones. If your in California, go to your local regional center because they can provide you early intervention for speech and do the assessment for free (regardless of income). Good Luck.

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J.C.

answers from San Diego on

Hi B.,

I have a son almost 3 too, and he is not speaking yet. He has about 20 words in his vocabulary...but that's it.
I just started taking him to a speech therapists, and it's helping. next step is to take him to ENT doctor and see if he's tongue tied. He has challenges saying "L"'s and r's.
Any chance you live near Carlsbad, CA? We can get the boys together and have a "speech play date". ;)
J.

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M.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have always heard that boys talk a little bit later than girls. (I have 2 girls myself) I would try engaging him in conversations. Ask him questions about what he is doing. He may begin to open up and add more details to what you ask. Also ask follow up questions...you know how with kids they ask "why" everytime you ask a question? Follow their example. Just make sure he has the opportunity to talk. When he wants something, make him ask for it, not just point. Like "can I have milk? - not just "milk"
2nd, check his hearing. Does he respond or look when you talk to him? If he's having hearing issues, he may not hear all you say so he's only picked up a few words.
Get him checked out by a doctor to rule any speech development problems out.
He may be perfectly fine and not a big talker. one day though, he'll surprise you and talk your head off!

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S.H.

answers from Las Vegas on

B. hi!
I just wanted to comment that I too have a 6yr old and a 3 yr old, they are very close. Infact so close that my older daughter "helps" her sister quite a bit. My 3yr old was delayed on her speech, but as soon as Kindergarten started for her sister, she bacame much more independant and with that her speech blossomed. Is it possible that your daughter is speaking for you son? Most kids will take a "crutch" like this if it is given to them. I would try a little one on one time with him if you haven't already. Maybe your daughter could have a play date at a friends house or something similar. Good luck with everything, and there is also absolutly nothing wrong with early childhood programs, every child should probably go through a screening around this age just to keep on the right educational track!!

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J.J.

answers from Sacramento on

have your son checked out with a speech therepist at your school district and also check ear with ent

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J.L.

answers from San Diego on

Hi B.

My name is J., I have an 8 month old daughter Gia, and I am also a School Psychologist--I work specifically with kids who sometimes need a little extra help in meeting their developmental milestones. First of all, don't panic :) Speech and language delays are, in the grand scheme of things, one of the easiest things to spot, figure out, help with, and get past just fine. Often with a little bit of therapy, which is totally easy and no big deal, a delay can be "helped along". But it is important to say also, that sometimes a delay can be a serious thing, and that's why it is very important to see a specialist. Here's the good news--your local school distict has to help you immediately and for free. It may sound odd for a young child to work with the school district, but that's where you start. Just go to your daughter's elementary school, walk into the front office, and ask for the Speech Language Pathologist. Tell her that your little guy doesn't appear to be speaking the way other children his age are, and she will tell you what to do from there. You should get a free, thorough evaluation (totally no big deal and often fun for little guys!) and any services that your little boy might need should start immediately. "Services" usually means working with a therapist either at your home or at a local public school for 30 minutes once or twice a week, and is fun and "light-hearted" for the kids. And this should all be free.

If you have any questions at all about anything, or if any of this is scary or you're not sure what you want to do, or if you want to know what to expect, or if you run into someone who tells you something confusing or is just plain rude and not helpful (unfortunately there are a few jerks out there!) don't hesistate to contact me again. Just let me know what I can do to help you out!

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K.F.

answers from Stockton on

Hi B.,
I had my first two children evaluated through my local school district. The first son they had me wait til preschool. His speech completely improved itself. My second son I waited til he was in preschool and it didn't correct itself. He is 10 and still in speech for a mild s/z lisp. It is true the newborn hearing screenings aren't fool proof. My daughter passed hers partly b/c the nurse was negligent on how to use the machine properly. My daughter is deaf. It was somewhat progressive though. I'm sure your son is fine. I also live in CA. It is a state law that the school district can't deny any child services once they have turned three. Have a nice day!

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D.F.

answers from San Diego on

We came across this when our son was 2. We turned to the San Diego Regional Center (google them). My son was able to get evaluations, and various therapies. At 3 1/2 he is still far behind, but we are at least moving in the right direction. My suggestion is to call your pediatrician and contact the San Diego Regional Center.

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A.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

When I enrolled my son in to a very good day care, I noticed his speech shot through the roof. I figured that because he was constantly talking with children his age, and the Teacher teaching them their sounds, that he picked right up. A good day care could be helpful. Also talking to him at a slower pace and reading should help.

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J.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

I'm not speaking from personal experience but I have heard that you can go to the school district in your area and ask them to evaluate your child even before they start Kindergarten. If your child needs speech therapy he should be able to get help even before he starts school. Try calling your local school district to see what they can do to help.

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M.S.

answers from San Francisco on

B.,

Get him to his pediatrican and have him evaluated. There are great services and resources where you are. Without going into a bunch of detail, if you would like the name of a very close friend who lives over by you please email me directly and I will introduce you. She also has a son who has had similar "issues" and has a long list of resources; and I believe he his 3 as well.

Kind regards,
M.

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