Speech Problem in 3 Year Old

Updated on July 13, 2007
A.D. asks from Stoutsville, OH
8 answers

It says my 3 yr old nephew should have a vocabulary of 900 words and be saying 3-4 word sentences. If his hearing is fine and he talks alot but most everything is spoken fast and uses tongue alot. Possible Speech Delay? Any advise?

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So What Happened?

OK! A head start lady came and "tested" him and spent about 45 minutes there. She told my nephews mother that he had possible "Responsive" speech delay. Well, when I research speech delays...it says there are EXPRESSIVE and RECPETIVE. NOT Reponsive. Anyway, he is to see a actual speech pathologist at the end of August and they said he would be there a couple hours. I watch my nephew 12-14 hours a day 5-6 days a week and I really have thought I'm having a nervous breakdown. I think there is more wrong. I research all "things" that are abnormal he does and everything comes back to Autism. Anymore advice would be great.

More Answers



answers from Cleveland on

Hi A.,
How are his feeding skills? Does he move food side to side as he chews? Have you noticed if he seems to stick his tongue out a lot? Next time you're with him, see if he can do certain oral motor activiies such as blowing bubbles, drinking through a straw, or blowing a whistle. I'm not a speech therapist, but I work closely with many. Are his receptive language skills appropriate? In other words, does he follow 1 and 2 step directions, point to things when you label them, do silly directions like clap and jump and smile? I'd check all that out, then contact a therapist.



answers from Cleveland on

I had a niece and a nephew who both had lisps and problems speaking clearly when they were that age and the cause was actually quite simple. Both were still using their pacifier a lot. They were walking around for most of the day with the pacifier in their mouth and learned to speak "around' it. When the pacifier was taken away from them, their speech greatly improved, although lisps are still slightly evident. Check to see if this is the problem first before spending a lot of time and money on a doctor. If it's not the case, they may need some speech therapy, but 3 yrs old is still pretty young. If he started speaking later than average, then this might be part of the problem. Not all kids develop at the same rate. There are also certain things that might effect his speech such as a large tongue, a small mouth or a high roof of the mouth. All of these can cause difficulty speaking clearly.

As far as the vocabulary, again not all children develop at the same rate. If he is still using his pacifier, then he might be limiting his words and sentences because he either has a hard time speaking with the pacifier in, or just doesn't like having to take it out of his mouth for long periods of time to speak. This is exactly what my nephew did. Just keep reading to them and encourage them to read. This is the best way to expand their vocabulary and if you encourage them to read aloud to you, you can help them pronounce their words by gently correcting them when need be. My nephew's grandmother would have him read books to her and she would help him with the words. Needless to say, his speech and vocabulary have greatly improved.

Good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

My oldest son was speech delayed also. I didn't know it, but he had terrible hearing. He always talked in a "foreign" language. He never had a lot of ear infections so I never knew what was going on until I took him to the ENT. I got tubes put in his ears and we go to speech every week to get him caught up. I would say, get a referral to an ENT, they can check him out, tongue too. It sounds like he needs speech therapy. My son has come a long way, and we are getting ready to finish up and go to kindergarten in the fall. Good luck.



answers from Cleveland on

well at that age it's not uncommon, but he can get tested for speech problems or delays it's never to early and if they start now he could still enter school on time with no trouble, my daughter is in speech and was last year as well through her preschool, and the phonics help has really helped her to read, she's 4 and will have another year of preschool this year and can read the stuff my kindergarteners brought home from school. lol. so i would encourage you to find a good preschool program and get him going. good luck.



answers from Toledo on

Hi A.,

How long ago did he turn three? While I don't have boys, my understanding from reading and speaking with other moms, is that many boys develop their verbal skills at a much slower pace than girls. I know my neighbors son was the poster child for this, we barely understood a word he said until close to his fourth birthday. She also was concerned and had him tested, but now at 4 1/2 years of age, you can easily carry on a full conversation with him. I would say if there is real concern, have him tested for peace of mind. I personally, would just continue to speak to him in normal, full sentences as an example to him and encourage him to "use his words".

Good luck! Let us know how he's doing.




answers from Cleveland on

I have a 3 year old who has a speech problem. The trouble is he can say plenty of words, but no one really understands him. He talks really fast. At his 3yr appt his doctor picked up on this, I immediately called the local school district to see about having him tested & put into there program. He will start at the end of August. I know this program is going to help him & they say he has plenty of time before he starts Kindergarten to get this corrected. Also it will not cost me a penny because this is considered a disability by the state, so I dont have to pay a tuition. He will go 4 days a week for 3 hrs.



answers from Dayton on

My daughter had speech problems. She could talk but people had a hard time understanding her. I had her tested through her preschool and then once she got into kindergarten I had her tested again. I fought with her school all through her that first year to have in speech therapy. I even went to Children's Hospital and had her tested again just to show the school. She finally went into therapy in first grade. She just finished second grade and should hopefully only have one more year of therapy. Do you have a Children's Hospital near you? They all have a speech and audiology dept.. Have him tested for speech. They can also work out therapy with him there if he needs it.



answers from Columbus on

When our son went for his 3 year check up, his Dr. recommended that we have him tested for developmental & speech delays. We went to our Children's Hospital. They found somewhat severe delays at that time. It was almost a year ago. We were put on a waiting list for therapy. We just started & we are amazed at how much has changed in just a year. We are working some with him. He tends to leave off the last letter of the words. But, the therapist did a slight retest & he completed the whole thing. Last year, we didn't even get thru 1/2. The delay is only slight now & from what she says even lightly normal. He has problems with the "th" sound. I would recommend that your nephew be evaluated with the Children's Hospital & go with their recommendations. We are also trying to get our son in the preschool thru our school dictrict. Good luck.

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