Two Year-old W/ Speech Delay

Updated on April 04, 2008
A.V. asks from Owings Mills, MD
9 answers

hi! i'm an elementary reading teacher and am having a hard time dealing with the fact that my new two-year old son is not talking. he uses some words when pointing at objects at home or in books. he also understands everything that you say to him or direct him to do and can identify hundreds of words and pictures. he can even verbally say most of the alphabet out of order. however, he does not ask for juice or use other words/phrases to communicate his needs. he only says mommy when he's fussing or whining. he was tested at 20 months and was found to have a mild language-expressive delay, but everything else was normal. he's being tested again in two weeks and hopefully will be able to get some speech help at daycare. i'm torn because some people tell me he'll talk when he's ready and not to worry, but when i'm around other 2 year olds they all seem so much more advanced verbally than my son. do any of you have personal experience with toddlers talking later than others and catching up in a timely fashion?

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L.N.

answers from Washington DC on

i agree with having his hearing checked. we had the same experience though my child at 18 months was recommended speech therapy as she had expressive and receptive language delays. after 9 months she scored above the average for her age. i was also faced with 'she'll talk when she's ready to talk,' although i didn't let that stop me from having this ball started. i am glad i did. she still eats a few sounds now at the age of 3 and still has nowhere the language skills her sister has but she talks and understands me to my satisfaction. that said, speech therapy and having her hearing checked was the best thing i did for her.
so don't be afraid. contact the pediatrician have him/her recommend a good/best audiologist and take it from there.
good luck

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H.A.

answers from Norfolk on

I went through this with my first born. She is now 8. I took her and got her tested and they sent her to a elementary school that had speech teachers to help her. She was 3 at the time this all started, so I don't think it would be any differnt for your child. Once she hit 1st grade she didn't need it any more. She is now talking and can be understood. Hope this helps.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

My daughter is now 19 months old and has 4 things to say, "Mom-mom, MA, MMMM, and Grrr" She is in the early intervention program and has therapist for this as well as physical therapy. I know how frustrating it can be!
We would go to the park and a dozen 14 month olds would go running by! I would watch them tell their mommies exactly what they need (in a baby way of course). I found myself to feel a little jealous sometimes. It is important to test until you are comfortable. Something inside of you knows when enough is enough. You also know he needs something more now.
There are so many resources now for children up to age 3 that are no cost. My little one will be going to a special needs program in the fall.
Good luck and hang in there!

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K.D.

answers from Washington DC on

get him tested with the infants and toddlers program for the state of Maryland. my son has speech problems due to allergies that infected his ears. this was found out through them.
good luck,
K.

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J.D.

answers from Norfolk on

My oldest son (now 27) did not talk until he as 2.5 years. He had limited vocabulary; his older sister would"interpret" for him and he would just nod or shake his head. Then one day he just started talking full sentences.. to this day we still do not know "when he practiced". lol

My youngest daughter (now 15) did not talk until she was 3. We had her ears checked at 2 and she was having difficulty hearing. She could understand everything, but could not figure out how to make the sounds. Evidently it sounded as if she was listening under water. The choice was to put tubes in her ears or not. We did not. What most do not know is their skulls change significantly between 2 and 3. Shortly after 3 she talked just fine! Same thing... no baby words... talked perfectly as if she always had.

To this day both of them are quiet types of people. Even their laughs are more of chuckles. They were just meant to be more quiet and gentler people.

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K.R.

answers from Washington DC on

When my son just turned 2 he was like your son. I agree with the other poster that said to get his hearing checked if you haven't already. My son will be 3 next month and has very mild expressive speech delays, which we found out was due to fluid in his ear that would just not go away and caused almost total hearing loss in one ear and mild hearing loss in the other. When he got ear tubes put in, the doctor said he actually had glue ear. After getting the ear tubes we noticed an improvement in his speech almost right away and he started singing songs, something he never did before. It will still take him time to catch up to where he should be, but he is doing much better. If it turns out your son has no problems with hearing, it may be that he will catch up at age 3. I have read that some kids, especially boys, sometimes don't bloom with their speech until 3.

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H.M.

answers from Norfolk on

Please forgive me if this is NOT the case but have you had his hearing checked? My son has had speech issues since he began talking and we just found out he has almost total hearing loss in his right ear. He is now 7. How I could miss that really depressed me. SO my suggestion is to first have his hearing checked. I'm not sure how they do it for a two year old...my son had his checked first at almost a year and they had to put him to sleep for a bit. Then they said he had an ear infection that just wouldnt clear up. So I dont trust that method, because had I had any indication then maybe I could have done something(he had failed his test at birth)
anyway I hope this helps. If his hearing is fine then try to relax a little...my brother did not talk very much until he was almost six. My daughter had speech problems until she was in school and she is also fine. but please let us know what happens in two weeks!!

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M.F.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter went through something similar. At two she wasn't taking at an age appropriate level. Granted, she understood everyting you said and could follow instructions, but her vocabulary was limited and she wasn't putting the words together or saying much. At her 2 yr check-up her doctor (GOD, I LOVE THIS WOMAN :-)) referred us to speech therapy, just to be evaluated. At her inital test she scored very low. I think we went to therapy for about 4 months total (2 a week for 1 hr). During that time, they taught both her and I simple sign language, which helped. Each session we were giving "homework", which consisted of working on certain sounds. Anyway at a later test she tested very high. What they determined, was that "she just didn't want to or felt like talking". We had the opportunity to have her tested again at 4 and she's right on point. Now at 5, she won't SHUT UP!!! :-), so be careful what you wish for :-))))))

Bottomline, get him tested and evaluated. If its nothing, --- nothing lost. If he needs help, you would have caught it early and can get him the help he needs, long before it really becomes a problem.

Please let us know what happens.

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T.D.

answers from Dover on

My son also was evaluated and found to have a mild language delay. I can understand why you are concerned - I know exactly how it feels to pick up your son at daycare and have him be surrounded by kids his own age or younger than can carry on full conversations and speak in perfect sentences, and your son is still pointing at what he wants. I took the advice of the therapists who evaluated him and he started improving almost immediately. I wasn't doing anything special, just modeling the behavior by translating his grunts and points into complete sentences, I think he just decided he was ready. This turned out to by typical of everything for him - delay, catch up, delay, catch up. I won't tell you not to worry, because I know you will anyway, but you are on top of it and are a teacher yourself - he couldn't be in better hands.

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