I was wonder what other parents from their own point of view. consider speech delay? As I said how delayed is delayed? my son will be 21 months old next week and still hasnt got a single word not even mama etc. Obviously I am trying to get help but its not easy. In my humble opinion(just as a mother!) this is a pretty severe delay. What do you all think?
Ask his pediatrician. Does he understand language? Like, if you tell him to go pick up the ball, will he follow your directions? Does he respond to his name? There can be many reasons for language delay. My pediatrician was concerned at 24 months for my daughter, and the reason she wasn't concerned earlier was because there was a family history of late talkers (my husband, my brother and one of my two sisters and other relatives). But at 24 months, with my daughter not having any receptive language and no talking, we were referred to therapy services. Ruling out hearing loss is also important. Does he have any other developmental delays or just speech delay? Ask your pediatrician lots of questions. And start noting any concerns you have.
At a year old my daughter was talking sentences. She I think was quite forward. At 24 months my son was only saying a couple of words. He sometimes repeated back to me what I said. He frequently got very angry and frustrated. Even now at 7 years old his expressive language is classed as age appropriate, although I question his 'understanding' of his expressive language as some of it is delayed echolalia. His understanding of receptive language is assessed as age 3 and is classed as severe. At around 2 years our next door neighbours, who are both teachers, raised their concern with me because (quite rightly), he would be going to nursery soon and was not talking enough or understanding what was being said to him. So from that point of view you need support in place for nursery. And the importance of pushing for things now is that it is much harder, once they are in a mainstream school, to get them placed in a school that has experience/expertise in speech language problems or other associated conditions. My experience has been all the places at these special schools have been filled in infant school and now I want to move my son to a special school for his junior years, I am finding that those children from infant school and moving into the places available in junior school. So I am finding it very difficult to graft him into the system.
So, to a certain extent, the severity of his condition is going to be partly down to how much you protest about it. My GP told me not to worry and that if my son had any problems they would pick them up at school, which they did. But that means he wasn't helped or supported during his nursery years and for the first 3 years of his primary school. That is along time for a child with communication difficulties to have to 'cope' in a teaching environment which is mainly verbal. If you look at it from that point of view I think you will see the need to get provision and support asap.
Another thing I wanted to add, is if you can't get services provided in your country for speech, start teaching your child sign language. There are lots of videos and books out there. Even if you can get services, if you start teaching him sign language now, it'll get him started. I think the idea is to aim for a word per week, or at least until they get the idea. Some kids take longer than others. My daughter learned quickly, but she was 25 months when she started learning. I really think her being over 2 years old helped. And she wanted to talk, so she had interest in learning it. Her receptive language (understanding what you say) didn't start to kick in until she was about 28 months old. She really didn't start talking until 30 months old. She's 32 months old now (will be 3 in October). Although she has a vocabulary of 100 to 150 words at this point (all picked up in the last 2 months), she has trouble accessing what she wants to say. However, with sign language, she immediately can sign the sign for what she wants. Sign language has really helped her to communicate and her frustration eased. Not being able to speak is hard when you're two and you want control of everything. Sign language really does bridge communication gaps quite effectively. Another tool that therapists like to use are using pictures. My daughter does not use a picture exchange system (I think it's called PEC) because she did so well at sign language, but we do use pictures occasionally when I need to convey time order. Like, she had problems with bath time, so I took photos when she was in the bath, and now when she takes a bath, to indicate it's time to dry off, I show her that photo. I laminated the pictures and have velcro so I can stick them on a little white board that is like 8 by 10 inches you can carry it around. We are also using photos to explain stuff like goign to grandma's house or going to the store. If I need to do a few things on a trip, I put them in order. At 2, probably that is too young to understand first then sequences, but at 2 1/2, pictures really help out as a visual aid, if there is a language delay. Now, the picture system we use is not the PEC system that therapists use. We limit the photos so she focuses on sign language and now spoken language now that that part of her brain is starting to kick in.
My sister had a language delay growing up. 25 years ago, they didn't have early intervention under age 3, but at age 3 1/2, she started going to a speech therapist and then continued to get a therapist at elementary school, though she was in a regular classroom for most of the day, just 1 hour a day with the speech therapist who also aided her in reading and writing. She spoke late, and when she did speak everything was pronounced wrong or she'd say the wrong word. My mom said it was some sort of language processing disorder and certain parts of her brain were just late in developing. Getting therapy gets the brain to start working a little sooner and better. my sister got speech and language therapy and after school she was in a reading program (she didn't learn to read until 2nd grade) and by 5th grade, she was reading and speaking at grade level. By high school she was in tops honor classes for English and became an excellent writer. She graduated top 10% of her class in high school, went to college, and graduated number 10 out of her whole college class, with highest honors. There are different reasons for speech delay. My brotherinlaw had some sort of problem with hearing vowels and his brain processing them. He still has that problem to this day and has problems with spelling, but he overcame it with therapy. Some people have apraxia. Other relatives on both my husband's and my side of the families have had that. That can cause a delay in speech. But no matter the reason, with early intervention and therapy, things can improve greatly. My brother was also a late talker. He didn't say his first word until age 3, but when he started talking, he started talking in complete sentences. His first words ever uttered out of his mouth at age 3 were "the green car goes uphill." A green car indeed was going up a hill. He started speaking in complete sentences that were also grammatically correct. He also was reading books at age 3. He never had to go through therapy because the problem resolved itself, and back then, there was no early intervention offered. My dad was sort of a late talker. he spoke only to other children until age 8 or 9. Never spoke to an adult before that age, and then he just decided to speak to adults. His parents had to take him to a psychiatrist, and from what my dad said was quite rare 60 years ago. The psychiatrist never did figure out what was wrong or why, but my dad said there was some sort of counseling that he had to go through but he couldn't remember any of it. Evidently it helped because he started talking to adults.
Oh, another thing that helps my daughter is music. She picks up a lot of language through songs. We also do a lot of songs for routine things. Like we have a clean up song for picking up toys. We have a bathtime song. We have a bedtime song. And we play songs like London Bridge is falling down, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle, and all those other preschool songs. Songs are always fun ways to help along language development.
I also agree that signing and pictures is helpful. It doesn't delay the speech, it helps them understand and reinforce speech. I asked for my son to be taught signs or to use some other visual communication aid about 3 years ago and the Ed Psych at the time said that as he was verbal it would be a backward step to introduce non-verbal communication systems. Now, some three years later they are now talking about teaching him signing and maybe even PECS. So much for the professionals! My opinion is that anything that aids/supports communication is good as it will also reduce your childs frustration at trying to communicate and being unable to do so.
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