Speech Delays

Updated on December 26, 2007
K.R. asks from Palm Bay, FL
25 answers

My son is 2 1/2 and he has a speech delay he has about 4 words and a handful of gestures. he is in an early intervention school, he recieves speech through early step,and he also got tubes put in his ear in nov.but my question is is there any thing besides him having a speech therapist that i can do to help him more? games, tv show,etc......he has been in speech since he was 15 months old and I really don't see a diffrence.I know TV is not good but he only watches a few pre school programs and he actually baby babbles to the TV.

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M.H.

answers from Tampa on

Hi:
Just an FYI: USF offers speech therapy for very cheap. It's a nice program. My son went there to supplement the therapy he recieved at school.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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D.

answers from Tampa on

Dear K.,

My daughter was delayed also. Then took off suddenly. But, you might want to research info on cod liver oil and its benefits to childrens brains and a good healthy diet. I would not worry unless he continues in this same fashion for another year. Also, boys usually start speaking later than girls.

My daughter had tons of hand signals and could get her point across very well for being non-verbal. To me that shows some smarts.

D.

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R.D.

answers from Orlando on

A lot of research suggests that play therapy is very beneficial to children with speech delays. If you aren't already in a play group- join one. If you are, the next step may be to look into play therapy. There are speech therapists located at just about every elementary school and a great number of them are registered play therapists as well. Good luck!

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S.C.

answers from Fort Myers on

Hi K.. I'm sure it's concerning if you've had your son in speech therapy for quite some time and not seen improvement. I would check into the frequency that therapy is being offered (maybe it needs to be more frequent). Having tubes placed due to frequent ear infections explains that he may have had frequent inconstent hearing loss due to the infections (this is common; kids who have blocked ears do not hear well). So, you should begin to see some improvement with the tubes now. Is he imitating sounds? Shown any improvement in vocabulary since the placement in November? My recommendation to you (and I am a speech-language pathologist myself) is to continue with as much early intervention as possible; check into the frequency, and ask the therapist what materials they are using to facilitate language development. Follow-through throughout the week at home while he's not being seen by a therapist is crucial, and if you could use some of the same materials as the therapist to target specific vocabulary, then that's essential. Sign language is a great way to introduce new vocabulary and reinforce communication skills (it does NOT hinder them from developing verbal language; actually studies show that sign language paired always with verbal skills actually helps aid children in developing expressive language). For example, if he wants juice, then show him the sign for juice, say the word for it also, and have him sign it back to you before he gets the requested item. This is helpful because you can do hand-over-hand assistance if he doesn't do the sign (i.e., help his hands do it); you can't make his mouth do the talking, but you can assist him in learning the power of communication with his hands. Sorry about the rambling response, but I do have a lot to say on the subject . . .if you wish to know more, feel free to contact me at [email protected]____.com luck with your little one!

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B.D.

answers from Tampa on

My daughter also has speech delay. I set her up with Early Steps. Its a Federal Mandated Program. They help no matter what your income level. They will come in and test your son and see what all he needs, and help you find the appropriate programs that will help him.
http://www.doh.state.fl.us/AlternateSites/CMS-Kids/EarlyS...

My daughter is 26 months and just started to say Mama.

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J.H.

answers from Orlando on

My son had a similiar problem. I took him to UCP and he was accepted into the early intervention progam. It was great because they gave him his therapies while there and he learned how to communicate with me and how to socilaize. One thing i did with my son is that at that time I had him watch educational programs on tv. I read to him and showed him books. He learned how to read on his own, at age 4. He is now 10 and loves to read. He reads at a 10th grade level. (He read Harry Potter in 2 days).....Contact UCP and see how the prgram orks, Also ask for referrals and advice on what steps you need to take. Good Luck!

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A.A.

answers from Tampa on

Have you had the chance to speak with someone (Early childhood specialist or Special Ed. director) at your school board? You can share your concern and they may do an evaluation on your son. If he qualifies, he would get FREE services and the educator would be happy to give you suggestions as well as the SLP. There are services for children as early as birth. The school district would be a good start. Services are provided from birth to 21 years of age, if you child is in need of such services.

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M.H.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Hi K.,

I haven't had an experience with my child but my sister did with her son. He didn't utter a word until he was 3. His older brother interpreted his "grunts" and they communicated quite well. If there is any type of interpretation it should stop. Speech therapy is always needed. Ask the speech therapist to teach you exactly what you need to do.

Also there are numerous neuro-toxins in most homes that mess with the brain and cloud things for little ones. I preach this a lot but Chlorine Bleach was invented by our military as a nuero-toxin. Windex and Pledge can scramble a child's thoughts. Be careful not to assume that because something is sold in a store that it is safe.

The XYY that you mentioned in a previous request may have something to do with this delay, but it is a delay not an infirmity. My nephew is now the Vice President of Domestic Sales for an Italian Shoe Company. Speech is an absolute necessity for him and he has mastered it!

God bless and email me if you want more information.

M.

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E.A.

answers from Melbourne on

Albert Einstein did not talk until he was four years old...

I have also heard girls develop faster than boys in many areas: potty training, speech, puberty, etc....

If he is five or six and still has the same vocabulary, then I would worry.

Instead of 'speech' therapy, have you investigated sign language for toddlers/babies? NOT because he is hard of hearing or deaf, but studies show that the children of deaf parents talk sooner: babies CAN communicate before they can speak, usually through noises or hand gestures of their own. If you both learn basic signs, you can both communicate with each other!

Most of communication is through body language anyway.

Follow your instincts and relax-that is my 2 cents!

p.s. I will be teaching a Baby Signs class in Port St John next Spring sometime... if you are interested, write me an email ;o) and GOOD LUCK ;o)

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S.J.

answers from Sarasota on

reading to him is supposed to be great for language development.

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L.J.

answers from Tampa on

I would definitely recommend the dvd "Baby Babble." It is a "speech enhancing" dvd for babies and toddlers and was designed by two pediatric speech pathologist. My daughter (who is now 21 months) has been watching it since she was about 9 months old and, even though she does not have a speech delay, she loves watching it. My sister watches it with my nephew who had a mild speech delay and he is now talking up a storm. I would highly recommend the dvd. You can check it out online at www.talkingchild.com or other places like amazon. Good luck!!

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S.R.

answers from Tampa on

My youngest son, who will be 2 in January...has been in speech therapy since Novemeber. We started the process this middle of August. First I would see if your insurance covers speech therapy, most don't, but if yours does it will be much quicker. my insurance only covers it after a $750 deductible and then $50 copays each time...back to the story...his 18 month appointment came...and he had 1 word-DADA...so we went threw child find and they refered us to early steps...someone came to out house a week after the referal and asked lots of questions that could have been done over the phone (but not big deal really...we just had 15000 other things going on at the time) then 45 days later he had his actual eval it took about an hour and he almost didnt get into the program. He was verbally at a 12 month stage, and receptivaly at a 23 month level...he was about 19-20 months at the time. The speech therapist had to pull some string to get him in because his overall score was too high. About 30 days later he finally started speech....he loves his therapist she comes once a week. They are from therapy station...and because of Part C thru Early Steps we pay nothing. I see a big improvement with him expressively. He says daddy very well, tries to say please, has just started babbling more mama baba making more noises and he does some simple baby signs for want, more, eat, drink and a few more...it is working well for him. We also continue the weeks work once the therapist leaves....if there is a word of the week we cont it. Basically I recommend trying speech.

Does your son have any other problems, allergies? ear infections? anything sinus problems or history of can cause a delay....my son had to have his adnoids removed in August for chronic sinus infections

With early steps it helps to have a referal from your pedi.

one on one is very improtant for your sons verbal skills. our therapist says that TV is not the greatest thing for a child with a speech delay because they can't see what they person is doing with all of their mouth...like what you do with your tongue when you talk... Repitition is very important...

sorry for the typos the little one is trying to help....makess it hard :)

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M.S.

answers from Orlando on

speech therapy is the best route. you can sometimes qualify to have them come to your home so you dont have to take him somewhere twice a week, which i've done for 2 yrs now. my son is now old enough to be in the school system. he goes to school everyday, half days, he's there for 3 hours and they pull him out of class twice a week for therapy. they cant go thru the school system until they are 3 but early steps is an option. here is a phone # to the early steps in orlando. i'm not sure where you reside but i'm sure they could give you the correct #.###-###-####. if you have medicaid they will pay for the therapy too if your son doesn't qualify for early steps. but i would recomend doing the therapy. you wont be able to get him where he needs to be just with you working with him at home.

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B.G.

answers from Ocala on

As a mother of a daughter with autism the school board is a great place to start. they offer speach therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. they even elected to stop speach and do language therapy and i've seen a great difference with that she is now starting to speak a lot :) supply the words but give him smaller versions to say and just keep him trying for the right word. if he doesn't get it dont withhold what he wants that just makes him withdraw and get frustrated. water= wawa, juice=ju, so on teach him simple signs altho my daughter didn't want to learn signs she was visually queued so she uses a picture book for what she wants. until he starts talking you supply the word he will eventually get it until then i would check with whomever you deem best and get him evaluated and start so therapy. you will be suprised at the wonder it can bring.

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A.C.

answers from Tampa on

The advice about Early Stpes is a good one. I am an Early Interventionist with them and have seen some great results in my program. Plus they can help you find other resources. Have you considered trying any developmental music programs? Music can be very beneficial in learning speech, because of the repetitive language patterns found in the music. The social interaction of the class should help him as well.
Best wishes!
A.

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G.R.

answers from Orlando on

I think the biggest thing you can do to help, is to remember that your child is perfectly on time for his own development trajectory. I think it's easy to get wound up about not making this benchmark or that common milestone. My son was 2 before he even thought about developing his language capacity, largely I believe, because he and I were so well connected that there was truly little need for him to speak. When he began to use words, I didn't coddle him. In other words, he had to ask for exactly what he wanted before I would get it for him. He got frustrated, but his desire to develop his vocabulary got stronger and then his vocabulary improved dramatically. Use every exchange as an opportunity to help him think about and improve his language skills. You'll be surprised at just how quickly he gets it!

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A.M.

answers from Jacksonville on

Here’s my experience:
When my son was 20 months old, he said no words. Took him to his doctor for a referral. They referred me to a private speech therapist and we got a hearing test. Oddly enough, many speech delay/problems are due to failure to hear certain octaves or pitches in the sound scale. His hearing tested normal and we’ve been going to speech therapy twice a week for 1.5 years now. The therapist has identified that he has something other than a normal speech delay (which you cannot identify until they are around 3 years old). She gives us “homework” assignments after each session and advise on how to get him to progress with his speech. She recommended I contact Early Steps well in advance of his 3rd birthday.

Early Steps is a state program that will evaluate your child and (if they qualify) place him/her into treatment at no cost to you (they will cover all costs not covered by your health insurance). They also will do all paperwork required to have your child transferred to the school system at age 3 yrs old.

So, my son was evaluated this summer, found to qualify for speech therapy and since my health insurance was already covering that, they really didn’t do much for us in that regard, but did get us into the school district. He was evaluated by the school district and they got him started with a speech therapist at our local elementary school when he turned 3 years old.

He now goes to speech therapy 5 days a week (30 minute sessions). Three days at the local elementary school and 2 days at a private rehab center. He is making great progress, finally.

My recommendation is to contact Early Steps and his doctor and see what can be done. Most likely he is just a normal speech delay and will start chatting your ear off soon. In the unlikely event that it is not, you don’t want to look back on this day and have regrets that you should have done something more. It won’t hurt to look into it.

What can you do to help him at home? Start reading some books on the topic of speech delay. There are several out there that are helpful. There is a DVD called Baby Babble that is created by two speech/language pathologists and is similar to what they will do during a session. Limit the television and do more interacting with him. Many other people have already submitted to you to not give him what he wants when he points at it. And that is right on. In fact, place objects just out of his reach, give him snack packages that you know he needs help opening, etc. And lots of praise when he attempts to mimic any sound that even remotely sounds like the right words. Sign language/gestures are fine as long as the verbal word is attempted too.

Let me know if I can offer you any further information. Good Luck.

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B.W.

answers from Tampa on

My son has a speech delay. When he was 2 he was only saying three words but through Early Steps and then the EELP program through the school system when he turned 3. He has made a great improvement. His teacher is thinking that next year when he starts kindergarden he will not have any problems.
Early Steps is great if you have no ins or bad ins the goverment covers the cost. I know lots of people say don't worry but take it from me Get Help for them now! The sooner the better. When talking to him make him try to talk. Even if it comes out wrong praise him for trying and keep practicing. Over time the words will come out better. At this stage sign language is not a good idea. My Early Steps therapists said that she only wanted him to learn 1 or 2 signs just so he could communicate without getting frustrated, but learning other signs would prevent him from trying to learn his words. When kids have a speech delay they need to learn the words and use them. Don't give in untill he trys to attempt the words. Also have a lot of patience with them.

If you need any other info email me at [email protected]____.com

K.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

Child Find is the place to call for some Early Intervention...i dont know what UCP is....

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K.W.

answers from Orlando on

Language acquisition is a weird things with kids since there is such a wide range of age where they start really talking. I actually didn't start really talking until I was 3. My mother says it was because my older brother always spoke for me so there was no need. My son is also considered a late speaker, only a few words at 2. So I can relate to the frustration. Especially when my husband spoke early so I got a lot of "Is he talking yet?" And implications that we were doing something wrong from that side of the family. Luckily since I was so late with speech, my mother didn't think anything was wrong at all. :)
My Dr. said to start writing down the words he does know and then keep track of the ones he adds, and that he should learn about 10 in 3 months (this was when he knew about 7). Which I did, and I did see him add 10 more in three months and then finally after he hit the 50 word mark he started exploding and repeating everything we said, like I kept hearing about!
Anyways, how is your son's comprehension? Can he point to things that you ask him to? Can he follow instructions? If so, you probably just have a late talker and not much to worry about--it will just be a matter of time.
I would though invest some time with teaching him baby signs (along with speaking of course) so there is less frustration on his (and your) part. At 2 1/2 he is probably really wanting to express himself and not being able to yet can be very frustrating.
Giving both of you a way to communicate while he acquires his speech will help in many ways. (and no, it doesn't delay speech longer, in fact babies that were taught some sort of sign language tend to do better with language later on).
Reading to your child is of course very important and of course talking to him and having him actually see you say the words is very important.
I did a lot of "where's the _____" games with him with books and items, and then once he could do an affirmative "ya" and a negative "no" we would play multiple choice games--is this an apple? no. orange? no. banana? ya! It helps with vocabulary comprehension even if he couldn't say the word.
Watching too much TV, I just read, can actually delay speech--especially if it's not educationally and age-appropriate. So I would actually avoid videos. Having him around other children that are talking will also encourage him to talk more (or want to). I know my son seemed to really talk more after he started pre-school two days a week, but that could have also just been his age...
I hope that helps--just remember that Einstein didn't speak until he was 4. :)

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A.F.

answers from Tampa on

when he asks for something, if he does not use the proper word for the item, pick up the requested item, say the proper name slowly. get him to repeat the word to you before you give it to him. get him to watch your mouth as you say the word - i found this is the easiest way to help him say the words properly.

i taught my son dozens of words this way. he should begin to imitate you and actually begin to use the proper names without prompting very soon. as the one mom said - if any one interprets for him, it has to stop. otherwise he has no incentive to speak proplery.

i have not found any games or tv shows that teach speech - but if you find one let me know.

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L.M.

answers from Honolulu on

you didn't say where you were going so I was going to suggest looking at the public school system and seeing what they provide. I know one girl in my elementary school that was diagnosed as deaf and got all sorts of support and free stuff from the schools before she went to kindergarten.

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L.J.

answers from Orlando on

My three and half year old son (Jake) does not talk. He grunts and points. He has about ten syllables, but no words.
Try teaching him sign language. Baby Einstein has at least two sign language videos.
My Jake has been diagnosed with Apraxia- a disorder that affects the way his brain and muscles in and around his mouth work. He understands everything that is said to him.
My first son (Luke) did not talk until he was 4. He is doing great now.
Good luck. I will keep you and your little one in our prayers.
L.

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B.S.

answers from Lakeland on

My son has a speech problem and we tried working with him ourselves and got no where. Now he is in kindergarten and had a very rough start. He is doing better now, but I did end up starting him in the school board speech program last year before he went into kindergarten. It was one day a week for 30 minutes at the school we are zoned for. It helped. Now my daughter is 2 and she seems to be falling in the same tracks as my daughter and the school board offers the speech theropy for her age as well so I am looking into getting her into that now so maybe she won't fall so far behind on it. Oh and it is free. It is called infants and toddlers early intrevention program and the number is 1-800-654-4440

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T.P.

answers from Tampa on

I would read to him a lot. I started reading with my son before he was one. Of course he didn't understand much but it developed a habit and now he loves books and words. He surprizes me everyday with his vocabulary. He didn't have a speech problem but I would imagine there is no greater influence than your imput, something to back up the therapy.
Good luck:)

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