Starting to Worry About My Son's Speech, but Should I Be?

Updated on February 24, 2014
M.S. asks from Merritt Island, FL
20 answers

He turns 4 next month and hasn't been in preschool yet. He will be doing Pre k this fall. I have been taking him to the park and have noticed kids younger than him are talking a lot more. He goes through phases where he only repeats what we say. I have had conversations with him though and he seems to be saying more and more each month. I keep hearing and reading about speech therapy lately. We never had that when I was growing up and everyone turned out just fine. I find it crazy people put their 2 year olds in speech therapy. I hate that its making me worry! Any insight?

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answers from Colorado Springs on

If you have any concern, I would get him tested. School today is much different than when we were kids. We started learning to read in 1st grade, now they start reading in kindergarten. They expect more from the kids at a younger age. Speech issues effect reading. Depending on the issue and severity it can cause huge delays in their reading and they fall behind. If they test him and tell you he has no delays then that is great. At least you know and have that peace of mind.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My district screens for stuff like this at 3. You can get him screened, and they can tell you if there is an issue or not.

Every kid is different. Just becuase those younger are talking more, does not mean that he is behind. They could be advanded.

Also, keep in mind we all learn differently and at a difefferent pace.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Toledo on

Well, I knew several kids growing up who received speech services. I believe it was for articulation -there were some sounds they couldn't make or were really struggling with.

My son has been in speech since he was 2 1/2. He was trying to talk but still just babbling. He was so frustrated. He had things he wanted to say, but we couldn't understand him! He really tried to talk to us but kind of gave up after awhile. Speech for him has been a godsend! It took several months, but little by little he made improvements.

My almost kindergartener is doing great! He still goes to speech, but he is really thriving. It has given him so much confidence!

Your local school district can do an eval. It's a free service, so what do you have to lose? From what you've described, it doesn't sound like he's having trouble with articulation, just may not be as talkative as other kids. But, again, an eval never hurts.

But please don't judge me for putting my son in speech when he was 2. It was one of the best things I've ever done for him.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

Maybe don't judge those people that put their kids in therapy at 2. Mine did it for a few weeks at 18 months, he's now 2 and talks as well as his almost 5 year old cousin. Talk to your pediatrician. The earlier they start therapy, the easier it is for them to be successful at it. Our pediatrician suggested speech when my son didn't have the 10 words at 18 months that he wanted him to have. He told me that he'd rather start early, then wait until 2 when it's really needed. I'm glad, it was quick, easy, and I'm not worried a bit now. They also will do a hearing test, to make sure that they are hearing things clearly as that can affect speech before suggesting therapy. Call your doctor and tell them your concerns. A 4 year old should be talking up a storm, and not just repeating phrases that are said to him.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Out here we have EI which is early intervention program. My daughter was evaluated at 24 months. Thank goodness!!!! First she had a dysfluency. By getting her treatment early it prevented any social impact and within a year it disappeared (for now anyway). They also identified to me that she was pocketing food. See, to me this is normal, because I did it as a kid. Wrong! She had underdeveloped jaw muscles. I had this, and it was never addressed. Now I suffer from TMJ, which then triggers migraines, even sleeping disturbances because i cant put pressure on my jaw. I cannot chew gum, meat, etc because of undiagnosed jaw problems. It is miserable. Hopefully I have spared her this.

My older son was evaluated at 3 and failed his hearing test twice. He needed some medical intervention and is fine now. Had this not been caught he would have had a speech delay and who knows what else.

My niece was having speech problems and because of the screening they found impacted wax in both ears. She has speech problems, but with the early intervention she is doing much better then if it had not been caught early.

Most school districts have offer a free evaluation for speech, OT, PT, vision and hearing. Ours offer this 3x yearly and per request also.

There is nothing wrong with getting more information or having him evaluated. Also, should a problem occur later, having him evaluated now would provide a great baseline for his development later on.

There is so much more known about these things when we were kids and that is why it is getting addressed younger and younger. It was very wise, and not crazy, for me to have a two year old in speech therapy.

Best of luck to you!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New London on

I have one child that needed intervention when she was little. Luckily, I know the ropes and told the dr what she needed when it came to sensory processing, etc...

Do not hesitate to have him evaluated by the school district !

Academics are much more challenging today. Yrs ago, kids slipped by.

We know so much more today. I, myself, should have been evaluated in preschool. I suffered w/ a neurological inefficiency. I was labeled "shy".
I was not really shy !!! I was trying to cope. By the time I was in third grade, I was on my way to becoming obese.

Once you do get him evaluated, it will take a load of bricks off your shoulders.

If he is fine...then, you will have nothing to worry about.

With one of my kids...It was a long and expensive road of interventions as "it" all affected the learning...This is why intervention is IMPORTANT !

And if the foundation of learning is spotty---then, intervention would have been the way to go.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If you have doubts, get him assessed. Seriously, there's no "rush" to get a kid services. They get them because they need them. Better to know if there's an issue and deal with it than wait and let it get bigger. And if there's nothing going on, you'll KNOW.

As to the "everyone turned out just fine", how do you know this? Seriously, there are tons of blogs out there by adults who had speach, reading, language, autism, learning disabilities, etc., issues as children that went unrecognized, and though many of them are doing ok, a lot aren't. And the ones that are went through unnecessary difficulties because their challenges weren't recognized.

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answers from Miami on

Please take your son to the pediatrician and ask for a referral to a speech/language pathologist to get an evaluation.

You are remembering your childhood and your intimate circle of acquaintences. You have absolutely no understanding about special needs if you think that everyone just turns out "fine" with no help. Just because you didn't happen to know people with them in your sheltered upbringing, doesn't mean that people don't need help. How ironic it would be if your child is one of the ones you never met when you were growing up.

You need to forget these preconceived notions and get your son some help. By the time you get the evaluation, he will already be 4 years old and they will tell you point blank where he is behind - both in expressive language AND receptive. You need an evaluation for BOTH.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Myers on

How is his hearing ?? My grandson was having problems with his words. His mom had his hearing checked & it was like listening under water. Therefore, he was repeating what he was hearing. For peace of mind, have his hearing checked, they can tell alot about what is going on.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Instead of worrying, have him screened. Call your local early intervention office. They will send someone to do the screening for free, and then you have real answers instead of guessing.

If he is behind, the earlier you get him into therapy, the easier it is for him to catch up. If you wait until he is in school, its is harder to catch up AND he has to be pulled from the classroom to do it, which can be harder for some kids.

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answers from Wausau on

Early intervention can make a world of difference when there is a problem. Have your son evaluated for hearing and speech issues, and then you'll know if anything needs to be done.

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answers from Honolulu on

I don't know what age you are, but there was speech therapy when I was growing up and there are also lots of people that didn't turn out fine. Have you never met an adult who is not independent and still relays on their parents ect. I know planty of people who aren't just fine for a variety of reasons.
If you are worried, and I would be too, I would go to your school district or early intervention program in the state and have an evaluation. It will be free, take very little time and will give you the information you need. Early intervention has been proven over and over again to be so much more effective then waiting until a kid starts school. Once a kid starts school with limited language they end up being really behind.
I personally find it wonderful when people put their kids in at a young age. That way, their issues are dealt with early on and they cant start school prepared. Think about how you would feel if you could not communicate as well as your friends. Does your son play well and chat well with kids his own age? Does he seem happy playing with them, including imaginative play and talking about things that have happened to him, retelling events ect? If not, I would be concerned.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Be sure you are READING to him every day. There have been studies regarding vocabulary related to what is read to them.

I would have him tested and maybe enroll him in pre school or Montessori, now rather than waiting. He will be behind even pre-K kids. You should be working with him and having social interaction with other children as well.

My 4 year old grandson has been in Montessori since he was 18 months old, 3 full days a week. He is READING out loud the BOB Books, 2 per day. He knows and writes all the alphabet, counts to 100, sings songs, talks using complete sentences. Loves Bible stories for children.
He knows all the planets, numerous countries in the World and can place them on the Globe, knows what Flags belong to what countries.
The learning now is much further advanced than even when his parents went to school.

He speaks verbatim what he hears on TV, pretends to "host" Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune, and Family Feud. From some of his favorite "super hero" shows, he speaks verbatim what they are going to say as well as the sound effects. He is very well rounded in physical activity, games, child play, independently uses IPAD, etc.

He will be going to Kindergarten next fall at age of 5.

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answers from Rochester on

Check with your school district to see if they have a pre-school screening. Our district requires all 3 year olds to have a free screening. During the screening they look for vision, hearing, speech, academic, fine motor, and gross motor delays. They will also help with lining up any other screenings. They will provide free speech therapy and/or early childhood special ed classes as well. Because it is through the public school district it is all free (unless they see a need for additional vision or hearing screenings). My son has a friend who sees a speech therapist every day. She makes it lots of fun for him and he loves that he gets to go to "the big kids' school" every day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

It's better to get these things taken care of early, as opposed to wAiting until they are older... Then you have to get them to un-learn the incorrect things, and play catch up to a much higher degree. My DD has been in speech therapy since she was 18 months, and is now finally caught up to her peers (she will be 4 in a couple months.) I'm glad she has been, because there has been a HUGE improvement in her speech, which leads to better behavior as she is able to communicate her needs. My younger brother never received speech therapy, and was bullied and ultimately held back in first grade because no one could understand the things he was trying to say, and it really affected his ability to read. He was in speech therapy after that, but because it was started so late, he was in it all the way through junior high... And he STILL has issues with certain sounds. So it's definitely better to address young.

I would ask the pedi. about it at his 4 year well-child visit. If he thinks your son is behind, I would re come d getting him evaluated through the school district. (He's too old now for early intervention.) If he tests low, he can go to a pre-k class that includes speech therapy. I would recommend it, as speech is very important.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Honestly, it wouldn't hurt to get him tested, just in case. And as others have said, the reason there's more therapy for younger kids now is because the younger kids are, the more they benefit.

I DO think some people go overboard with worrying, so I'm with you there, but a one-time evaluation wouldn't hurt at this stage.

And the good thing is, if you do get a recommendation for some kind of speech therapy, your son is still really young, so he'll get all the benefits.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

We had our 21 month old grandson evaluated for speech delays. He was slightly behind. He hardly spoke words at all. They said to give it a few more months and if he still wasn't speaking enough to call them back. The next week he started talking in complete sentences.

If he had been having issues you bet we would have addressed it. Those pre-school years are where they learn their habits for many areas that they'll have ingrained for the rest of their lives.

Here's a link to parent center for pre-school age kids.

Join and add kiddo's information. You'll find the emails fun and informative. Look back at the stages of development. Language is there and it's very thorough.



answers from Seattle on

As long as you are just worried about the amount of talking that he does not about his vocabulary, enunciation (you would not expect this to be perfect at age 4) or understanding - then I would not worry.
Some kids are just more talkative than others and it may pick up considerably once he has more exposure to peers - again some kids have a lot more to say to each other than to their parents.
You can get him evaluated through your school district if you are really that worried.



answers from Kansas City on

Jill K said it perfectly!



answers from Austin on

You can contact your school district for an evaluation, or go through "Child Find". There is a Child Find program in probably every state.. just google "Child Find Florida" ..

That link is for the North East Florida region.

They will do a free evaluation on your child, and depending on the results, they may help with getting him in a program.

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