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Speech delay in soon-to-be 3-year-old
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Speech delay in soon-to-be 3-year-old

My daughter will be 3 in April. She speaks only about 12-15 "words" clearly (ie., mama, dada, wa-wa "water," ba-ba "bottle," Rella and "inderella" for Cinderella, na-na for "banana," etc.)
She is also attempting to put three and four word phrases together, but is having difficulties with word enunciation. (ie, what sounds like "air ma e?" for "Where Matt (my 5-year-old son) is?")
It seems as if a lot of the new words she is trying to say are missing the first or last sounds.
Also, she can say a sound in one word but not another (D in dada, but won't or can't say dog or Duke  for our dog)
There are no other developmental issues we have found with her ... she plays well with other kids, is a very happy child, can understand and complete multi-task requests (such as go into the other room, get a certain toy and bring it in here and give it to Matt.) She has been evaluated for speech therapy/other therapy and found to have some sort of delay. She has been receiving speech therapy for about 5 months, but it doesn't seem to be helping like we expected. It seems that no one understands that the issue here is her expressive speech, not receptive speech, cognitive learning, comprehension, etc. Her motor skills (fine and gross) are wonderful and have even been evaluated to be a little ahead of her age group.
At first, we chalked it all up to the fact that she didn't have to talk. Her 5-year-old brother never stops and has always been able to tell us what she wanted before she tried to say it herself. Also, after a certain point, we were able to decipher what she was trying to say to us. She gets her point across no matter what, using gestures and other non-verbal communication.
Now, though, we're wondering how much could be pure stubborness (or knowing she doesn't have to talk) and how much there could be a real problem.
I've also done a lot of Internet research trying to find something that the therapists have missed. All of the information has gotten so twisted and deep, I'm trying to dig my way back out to reality.
We're taking this very seriously and hope to figure out exactly what it will take to help her catch up to her peers.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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22 Comments Post a Comment
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13167_tn?1327197724
I think for now you can discard the thought that she's purposely being stubborn about speaking.

Has her hearing been thoroughly checked?  I know you say she has great receptive language,  but often kids with minor hearing loss will appear to have normal receptive language but their speech is unclear.

Since she is doing so well in all other areas,  you have a lot of reason to expect she'll catch up.
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Avatar_n_tn
That's the other thing. Her hearing is great. She's been informally checked and everyone, including doctors and therapist have ruled out hearing problems.
I've been reading a lot about Developmental Apraxia/Dyspraxia of Speech and I'm not sure if I'm trying to find something specific to explain her problem or what, but a lot of things that are described in the reading fit my daughter's issues.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, though. I'm hoping that since she's OK if every other facet of her development that she'll be OK in her speech, too.
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13167_tn?1327197724
Hmmm.  I understand what you are saying about apraxia.  

This may be kind of a red herring,  but my neice's speech development was a HUGE concern to my family.  At 3 1/2,  she didn't say any words that sounded like what they were supposed to.  "Da" was nightgown,  etc.  She had a language all her own,  and if you didn't know the code,  you couldn't possibly guess what she was saying.

She's fine now,  at 22 years old.  I don't know what caused her speech to be so cryptic.

But it seems to me,  that on balance if the child is on target with everything else,  is pleasant enough to be around,  tries to communicate clearly through other means,  and in general seems like a typical child of that age,  somehow they learn to overcome this language problem.

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Avatar_n_tn
Have you looked into whether or not she has a tongue tie.. my son did when he was 3, it impaired his speech.  He had a "tongue tie release" done and he was speaking better after that.  My dentist caught it - at his first dentist appointment.
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Avatar_n_tn
I hear what your saying. i am in the same situation. My son will be 3 in April and he is in Speech and just got into the speech program with our public schools. I have him sighned up to go to a camp in March. i think it is hard when your child only has a speech delay. THere is not much out there. But I really believe that you just have to stay your kids advocate and keep pushing as much help as you can.
My peditrican has really helped in hope. He asks what we are doing and says as long as we have him caught up by kindergarten.
Hang in there. Your not alone.
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423279_tn?1203566453
my 3 year old was talking the same way. They understand everything but can't get out what they want to say. They leave out beginnings , middels & endings to thier words. With that said.. he had a speech eval by our geneticists which thought it to be apraxia. after being sent to the hospitals rehap services for a formal eval it is indeed Verbal Apraxia. There is a speech test just for Apraxia. If your theripists doesn't have that test I would suggest that maybe you find one that has this test. The rehab is done a little different for apraxia than for that of other speech disorders as the Apraxia is more speech & brian comunicating with the body. Like your daughter my son tested on a 51/2 year old level for receptive speech & everything else but a 2 year old on expressive speech. He also has always drooled alot.. even during infancy 7 has a hard time getting all of his food to his mouth during meals which are both signs of Apraxia ( it uses the same message from the brain to opperate the mouth for these functions.) Have you been to Apraxiakids.org. I found alot of helpful info there!! Good Luck!!
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Avatar_n_tn
www.apraxia-kids.org
this is the web site. I was intrested as well by your posting my 3 sons. I have been trying to get something concrete for my son. I have never heard about apraxia before and I have been emersed in the world of special needs. I couldn't find it throught your web site and so googled it I beleive it is the site you were talking about.
Momotwo.
Check it out I hope you find help. It is answering questions for me.... I have joked around about starting something up for kids who fall through the cracks. It is so hard and you feel like no one understands. It is nice to find information.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi... My son is going to be 3 in April... and now after reading up on the web...I'm concerned that he may have verbal apraxia... I try not to go too crazy on the web.. because sometimes they give you TOO much information and make you crazy... Anyways.. here is what I've done in the past..

My son was not speaking at 15 mos.. we waited till 19 mos. and had him evaluated through Early Intervention (great program)... he was denied... then at 2 yrs. old he was eligble...  only saying mama and dada and more... He has been receiving speech since May of last year.. and he will now be 3 in April.. (he was just evaluated and accepted through the preschool program at our district for speech twice a week)... He has definitely progressed with his speech but has a long way to go.. The teacher has tried prompt therapy but he doesn't take too well of her touching his face... He was diagnosed with a oral motor planning disorder... I don't know if that is the same as verbal apraxia.

One of his big problems.. is that he's very smart receptively (not really a problem.. but I guess in his situation it is).. 79%tile.. and very low expressively 4%ile... He has a high IQ as well.. but since he is so smart.. he is so aware of his limitations taht he shuts down and doesn't want to try sometimes.. He will continue speech with his teacher now whom I love.. through August but then will go through the district..

My concern is will he be caught up by the time he goes to kindergarten.. or will thisbe a life long problem.. I feel so bad for him.. he's so aware of his limitations that it's heartwrenching... I'm thankful that there doesn't seem to be anything else wrong. but it's very hard for him and myself and his family... I have a 5 1/2 month old who I'm sure will be talking up a storm before him..

Has anyone else had a similar problem?

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Avatar_n_tn
my son is three and has a speech delay as well.  It can be very frustrating for both the parent and child when trying to communicate, I can so relate. I seriously doubt it is stubborness at all.  More likely frustration turning into the "why bother".  You have to be extremely patient and persistantly encourage. My son is in speech therapy and language classes.   I also took him to baby sign language class which was a fantastic help.  You may think that is a cruch and only enables the "lets not try to talk" thing, as I did at first.  But the first words my son was able to say correctly were the signs he learned. It is a great bridge for children with speech delays.  And it helps with the frustration.  Pre school, being around other children also helps encourage "wanting to try to talk".  My son is at the point when he is trying to say something I can't understand he looks me in the eye and repeats the word several times until I understand while making sure I am watching his lips. sometimes it is a process of elimation of the words I know he knows, but sometimes he gets his point across.  There are great tricks you can learn in speech therapy for difficulity with certain letters such as m, b, p, l,s and other usual difficult letters for children with speech delay. Every county offers this free. Call your board of education for the infants and toddlers program for such delays.  Some things you can do at home is use a hand held mirror to show your child how to correctly shape the lips and place the tounge with certain letters.  They sometimes think they are shaping the lips the right way but dont realize they are not unless they actually see it.  Use the favorite toys or movies to help. My son loves the thomas trains.  He knows all of the names.  And I use each name to work on certain letters and sounds and he never tires of trying.  Example "where is emily choo choo train" he finds emily,  brings it back and says "emily choo cho train".  The more practice the better.  flash cards are great too.  so is having speech time at home giving a treat such as a lollypop after each session as a reward for 20 minutes of practicing sounds.  You also probably need to give extra time with reaction.  And may also need to shorten directions or requests to one step or two steps. Example "brush teeth" then after "wash hands" as opposed to "brush teeth and wash hands". It varies child to child when a speech delay is overcome.  some it takes years. BUT... Speech delays are overcome and that is the light at the end of the tunnel you need to keep in mind.  They need lots of understanding and patience.  Practice, Practice, practice, and think about baby sign languae to help, speech therapy and things you can do at home to help encourage an interest in wanting to try.  Good luck.  
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Avatar_f_tn
My daughter just turned 3 yesterday. She has a speech delay and can only say a few words. She has been seeing a speech therapist for 6 months now with little improvement. I'd just like to know will she get better? Are there other parents out there who have had a daughter/son with a speech delay and after intervention they have got better? and if so wat what age?
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Avatar_m_tn
My (almost) three year old son has also delayed speech and I think the play group are trying to say he has warning signs of Autism. They have reported things at play group that we have never recognised at home. They have said he backs away from other children, hides under tables, repetitive plays and stares into space. We have four other children and have never witnessed this behavior as far as we were concerned he was normal for his age with a delay in speech.

I've been reading on the internet about Autism, ASD etc and all of this is breaking my heart.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am just as depressed as you... I am now in a state of not knowing what to do next as I am so so frustrated!

tricialader,
THANK YOU!
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Avatar_n_tn
I was looking for something else, but I stumbled upon this topic. I just wanted to let all the parents of these kids know:

I spoke when i was 3, right after my birthday. According to my parents they knew that nothing was wrong with me (took me to every doctor, they could find) but it was scary nonetheless.
I am in graduate school now. No developmental or social problems, whatsoever. Just wasn't feeling like talking I guess. I am not saying that it is the case with every child, but if the doctors say everything is ok, just get the kids playing buddies. Hope they will all grow up healthy and happy.
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1505217_tn?1289614581
i'm in the same boat with my 3 year old son, his speech delay really has me worried, he's in head start and also sees a speech therapist. i have 3 daughters older than him and they were speaking quite fluently and comprehending on what was being said at 3. luckily he has an october birthday, so will be another 3 years until he starts kindergarden, so hopefully by then he will be caught up. I think a lot of his temper tantrums are d/t the inability to get his point across d/t speech delays. i have been using flash cards with pictures and he says some of the words, but not real clear, his hearing was checked and was fine. i just feel lost sometimes because i want him to be the best that he can be.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the same thing happening with my soon to be three year old son.  I don't know if this will help anyone but he used to get ear infections a lot and it just happened to be during the time when he was starting to talk.  Because of his ear infections a lot of his sound were muffled almost like he was under water, he would leave off a lot of the beginning or ends of words.  He was very hard to understand and very frustrated.  He had tubes finally put in his ears at his 2nd birthday and his speech is getting much better, he still has trouble but we can understand most of what he is trying to say.  There is also the possibility that because of his ear infections and how deep it was that there could be nerve damage as well.  
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Avatar_f_tn
  Hello i am a young mother of 3. My middle daugter Arianna who will be 3yrs old in a couple weeks has some speech delays that i was in denial about for awhile now (what mother wants to believe there is something wrong with there child?) 95% of the time i understand what she is sayin probably because i am with her all day everyday but other people cannot understand her and that breaks my heart because i know it bothers her to. She can tell long story to me and i can understand every word and she wants me to repeat it back to her so  she can  make sure i understood.She also walks on her tippy toes 80% of the day everyday im  not sure if that has anything to do with her communication. I am waiting for a speech evaluation for her but it feels like forever. Can anyone please give some advice?
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm the grandmother of beautiful, smart, and loving almost 3 year old that also has delayed speech.  Your story reminds me so much of what we are going through with Jayden.  He's had some speech therapy.  He had ear infections, so tubes were put in his ears about age 2.  No more ear infections, but not much in the way of talking either.  We also thought he was just being stubborn, since he's stubborn about other things.  And, we thought maybe he didn't talk because he didn't feel the need to talk.  His mom has been with him almost constantly since birth and she knew his schedule by heart.  She met every need so that he wouldn't have to cry or talk to get what he needed.  We thought it might be that he still ***** a pacifier and doesn't want to take it out of his mouth long enough to talk.   We are wondering if it has something to do with watching a lot of TV - he started watching TV when he was just a couple of months old.  Not everything on TV - only ONE thing and that was the cartoon NODDY.  He watches lots of other shows now, but all childrens shows and for hours at a time.  Today the speech therapist started wondering if he's slightly autistic, so she wants to bring in a psychologist and some other specialists to evaluate him.  Then she's talking about a special school to help him so he'll be ready for kindergarten at age 5.  I'm just grandma, but I think he's still pretty young.  I don't like their attitude that he "has" to go to their program.  And, I'm really old fashioned because I think age 5 is to young for even kindergarten.

I am glad I found this website because it's comforting to know that Jayden is not alone.  I always heard that girls talk more and earlier than boys do, so I feel like we should just wait another year before anybody panics.  Jayden is smart in many ways and he's very observant.  He has learned some sign language and I think that is something we should work on with him more that we have so far.  I'm going to look up the Apraxia website because I haven't heard of that before.  Jayden is pretty Obsessive/Compulsive, but so is his mom, so I don't get too excited about that part.  Thanks to everyone who shared their stories and feelings on this topic.  I think we are all in the same boat and it's a horrible feeling when you think your child may be "different" or "behind" or "delayed."  As a grandmother, I can tell you that we might be overreacting at this point.  I'm going out tomorrow to buy one or two of Richard Scarry's Word & Picture books.  My kids learned how to talk by looking at the pictures in those books and I'm going to try the same method with Jayden.

Hang in there moms.  Spend more time with your little ones using flashcards, word & picture books, or just making a game out of saying words.  Work with them for 6 months and if after that time, you haven't made any progress and you think they're still not speaking clearly or more often, then get worried and find other therapists or schools, but don't make yourselves crazy and don't make your child feel like an experiment or a problem to be solved.  Time will help, I think and always remember, "This too shall pass."  Enjoy your child and hopefully they'll just start talking and never stop!
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Avatar_f_tn
My daughter just turned 2 and at her 2-yr doctors visit i mentioned that while she is very communicative all of her words come out garbled...almost like her own language that no one can understand.  She uses hand gestures and has some signs in her vocabulary that help her make herself understood to her father and me but she just doesn't seem to be able to form words like other two year olds.  Her Ped immediately recognized it as signs of expressive speech delay and recommended she work with a speech therapist.  There's a 4 week waiting list to get in to work with the speech therapist so we haven't started any therapy yet but the dr made me feel much better when she told me Einstein had expressive speech delay as a child also...seems that he turned out okay so I'm just going to do whatever it takes to get my girl up to speed with the other kids and enjoy watching her grow and learn.
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Avatar_f_tn
my daughter does this thing where she lays on her back and brings her arms and hands to her chest she puts her legs in the air and then kina stares off like shes focusing so hard and gets so hot and sweats please help me why this is her doc said its a comfort zone but i worry and she talks but we call it kailey talk it isnt clear at all and she just turned three
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Avatar_f_tn
my daughter does this thing where she lays on her back and brings her arms and hands to her chest she puts her legs in the air and then kina stares off like shes focusing so hard and gets so hot and sweats please help me why this is her doc said its a comfort zone but i worry and she talks but we call it kailey talk it isnt clear at all and she just turned three
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Avatar_m_tn
That is my daughter to a "T"- I understand her as does my husband as her siblings but people outside the family need us to interpret. She calls her brother Dada- cats are meow meows etc but she is fine in every other area- she just turned 3 on May 1st- I am still very worried about her as she is the youngest of 4 children and the others were far beyond where she is in the speech department by now... I am hoping she turns out okay but she has a cryptic little language all her own right now
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi there.  Good chance your daugher will just develop out of this.  Her cryptic speech works for her right now.  My suggestion though to be on the safe side is to enroll her in a preschool program.  At three, she could attend two to three mornings or afternoons a week.  I did this with my son and I got valuable insight from my sons' preschool teachers.  If they feel that she warrents an evaluation with a speech therapist, then follow through would be a wise choice.  She may also begin using language more appropriatly if in that environment.  win win.  You'll gain outside insight to your daughter and she'll be exposed to things that could help her develop.  good luck
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