I honestly feel my DS will never talk

(79 Posts)
insideleg Thu 28-Feb-13 18:50:58

I would love some advice from anyone who may have experience with speech delay.

My DS is nearly 2 1/2 and has never said a clear word. He was born 2 months early with severe IUGR and was in NICU for 2 months - this had quite an impact on his physical development but he has now caught up with walking/running/ motor skills etc. Not sure how relevant that is but wanted to include it.

He babbles with mainly 'gah' and 'bah' sounds but simply seems unable to experiment with any other sounds.

We are currently waiting for a drop in session with a local SALT and have also tried the following:

Singing LOTS, rhymes songs etc.
Imaginative play - we lead, he leads etc.
Simplified language - one or two words repeated during play
Sign language - we use about 10 signs regularly with him.
Reading a range of books - some with words and a narrative, some pictures without words which we use to make up a story
We talk lots to him, but then consciously leave spaces after talking to allow a response - aim for 10 seconds.
We avoid saying 'say ...'.

The sounds he makes have been the same for well over a year, and he really doesn't seem to be making any improvement. I am really worried. He understands pretty much everything we say, and can recognise so many objects during reading etc.

During his 2 year check up recently (which was a few months late due to an admin error) the health visitor just said 'he'l talk when he is ready'. It wasn't very helpful.

Sorry this is very long but I was wondering if anyone had any experiences like this? I quite honestly cannot imagine a time when I will be able to have a 2 way conversation with him. Any info or advice would be much appreciated

Leather Thu 28-Feb-13 18:58:02

My ds was exactly the same, 2.5 with no words at all. I was beside myself convinced he'd never ever be able to talk.
Everyone tells you "he'll talk when he's ready" "once he starts he won't stop" and you cannot even begin to believe it could happen. Luckily in our case, they were right. Fast forward to age three...barely stopped talking long enough to draw breath.
However, you are doing the right thing in seeking a bit of help and reassurance, we had some input from a speech therapist run group and it was fab.
I hope he's chatting away for you before too long, it's such a worry.

elfycat Thu 28-Feb-13 19:08:15

DD1 was 4 weeks early but then at 10 days had a very severe jaundice episode that they treated as meningitis with vile antibiotics. She dropped to the second centile and then stayed there for months. I felt she was 6 months before she started doing normal baby things.

We took her to sing and sign etc from 7 months, she really didn't pick it up like the others. By 2.5 she would say some word, single words (and had picked up signing a bit). At 3 she would start some sentences. At 3.5 nursery wanted to put her on a speech action plan but then lost all their SENCOs and suddenly it wasn't such a problem after all I'd say she started talking at 3.5.

I took her to the GP and she had some compacted wax, which we're treating. Her speech is still fairly unclear at 4 and she's being referred to speech and language as some sounds are unclear (DD2 at 2.4 is nearly as clear/articulate). But she's bright, is picking up letters and numbers at a rate, and I feel sure she'll catch up with a bit of help.

MariahHairy Thu 28-Feb-13 19:08:44

OP - is just his talking delayed or also understanding?

MariahHairy Thu 28-Feb-13 19:10:20

also, have you had his hearing checked recently? if not get a referral for audiology to rule out any hearing issues.

Give him timesmile You are doing all the right things and he was an early baby.. and some children just take longer to talk than others, and often it has NO bearing on later abilities either.

Of my four children one talked very early..and is Mr average now. My DD2 didn't say a word til she was nearly 3..and is now at University. My DS2 had a speech delay (had speech therapy etc) and had only a couple of word approximations until he was 4.. and seriously I could gag him now! I honestly thought he would not be able to speak, but I was wrong! Hang in there!

Ginebra Thu 28-Feb-13 19:25:27

My son was 3 years and six months before he started talking. up til then he'd had one word 'no'.

i'd done the hannon course and I'd done sign language, PECs. He had gdds across the board. I do remember feeling on his 3rd birthday, will I be waiting for him to talk on his fourth birthday??

I told him earlier we hadn't done a great job of the homework this week and he told me he'd be "more konshee enshuss next week". he's 6

Adversecamber Thu 28-Feb-13 19:26:04

DH hardly spoke at all, when he was almost 4 he had his adenoids and tonsils out. It was affecting his hearing, he suddenly talked. His Mum has talked about what a relief it was. He is very intelligent and was just like your little one, understood everything but barely spoke and the ounces were not right

hazeyjane Thu 28-Feb-13 19:40:07

Ds is 2.8, he has no speech, he makes one sound, 'uh' and has never babbled or made any hard consonant sounds. He has a genetic condition and one of the features of children with the condition is that a lot of children are non-verbal. He has had SALT since he was 10 months, and we have been learning Makaton signs since then, which he has just started doing back to us. He has fairly good understanding, and has just really started to seem motivated to communicate with us (through signing). For a boy who doesn't talk, he has a lot to say!

It is odd because in my head I can't imagine him talking, and this used to make me extremely sad, but seeing this desire to communicate start to blossom, I feel as overjoyed as if he had just said his first word. His SALT is working on a programme of augmentative and allternative communication (things like signing, pecs and low and high tech methods of communication), which I hope will help him communicate further, even if he never verbalises.

I think if your ds has good understanding, and communicates with you in other ways, then that is really positive, and hopefully the speech will come soon.

CognitiveOverload Thu 28-Feb-13 19:41:18

Take a look at the hanen books.

insideleg Thu 28-Feb-13 20:09:03

Thank you very much for all the responses - his hearing seems pretty amazing, he can hear the tiniest thing from another room and will go rushing out to see.
I will have a look at Hanen books and see how we can do more - thanks for the tip.
Deep down I know it will happen one day, it is just frustrating to see him get frustrated when we cannot understand what he is 'talking' about.

Did anyone find nursery a help? He is due to start mornings very soon and I'm a bit worried that he will be alienated if other children can't understand him.

JandT Thu 28-Feb-13 20:17:56

I have no experience personally, but my brother didn't speak til very late (referred to speech therapy, etc) and seemed slow in other ways. My Mum still thinks it's because he didn't need to speak as if he pointed at something my sister would get it-he's now a nurse with two degrees and annoyingly clever (still quiet but speaks when he wants to, aged 33).

Anyhow, the advice my Mum still tells us about keeping her sane was from the GP: He will catch up and when he's an adult no-one will know he spoke/developed later than everyone else.

Hope that helps and good luck.

CognitiveOverload Thu 28-Feb-13 20:18:14

Children that age communicate mainly non verbally with each other, so give it a go. Signing and requesting should be your main focus and keep talking to him all the time about everything.

My niece and an ex boyfriend both didn't talk until they were 4. Both spoke in whole sentences straight away. It was as if they were listening and thinking before they felt like talking. Both went on to successful careers

zzzzz Thu 28-Feb-13 20:23:19

Self refer to SALT for assessment not drop in. Self refer for hearing test. Go to GP and ask tto be referred to a developmental peadiatrician (who will need the assessments from the other two to do his job).

HV sounds ill informed.

All these referrals take months to come to the point and you can always cancel if things resolve. My son has a severe language diorder and I would be concerned.

insideleg Thu 28-Feb-13 20:34:06

Thank you everyone for your encouraging responses. Part of it I guess is other people too - he is now quite big for his age and 'looks' like he should be able to talk if that makes sense? It is also having an impact on things like potty training - he is not signing back and so it seems we have to wait.

Yes, zzzzz I am concerned and am waiting for SALT session. I suppose the HV was trying to put me at ease as she could see I am worried.

MrsMushroom Thu 28-Feb-13 20:42:17

My friends DS was like yours...and yes, nursery did help him....I remember him coming out of himself more and really enjoying the activities. He'd not been around other DC much and that seemed to really help. He's 8 now and you'd never know he was delayed at all...he's very confident and talkative indeed.

insideleg Thu 28-Feb-13 20:46:07

Thank you MrsMushroom that is exactly what I am hoping for. He is very shy and has been away from other children a lot due to his prematurity - any hint of a cold and he is back in hospital. It is only now that he is strong enough to be around other children and hopefully be able to cope with the bugs too.

bumbez Thu 28-Feb-13 20:48:44

Dd2 was late to talk. I remember being very worried too. I spoke to a speach therapist ( one used to visit our sure start toddler group once a month) who reassured me not to worry as long as she could understand, and to check this by asking her to do something unusual. I tested her by asking her to put some rubbish under the table rather than in the bin, which she could do.

I also went cold turkey with the dummy which I think may have contributed to the delay.

By 3 1/2 she was talking in sentences.

MariahHairy Thu 28-Feb-13 20:51:15

Salt was trying to put you at ease as she saw you are worried??? shock how on earth is that supposed to help esp if there is an underlying problem? really, HVs might know a thing or two about weaning but know fuck all about child developnent- speaking from bitter experience....

good advise from zzzzz. Self refer to Salt and go to GP for referral to dev paedrician & hearing test (even though you think he can hear well). referral will take forever so you better get the ball rolling.

MrsMushroom Thu 28-Feb-13 20:51:21

My DD is friends with a set of twins...they are all 4 going on 5 and the boys were premature. They are small and don't speak too clearly but they are having SALT and coming on well. There's nothing wrong with their social skills and a speech delay won't stop 4 year olds making friends.

insideleg Thu 28-Feb-13 20:57:42

Thank you. Yes MariahHairy I have been very busy making so many phone calls recently - DS missed his 2 year review because we moved to a new area when he was 18 months and he slipped through the net I was told. I have taken him to a drop in session with a SALT who gave me some advice (see list at the top) and am now waiting for him to go to another session - all of this is because I searched until I found the right names and spoke to them directly. I am a teacher (on maternity as I have recently had another baby) and so am aware how some delays can cause problems later on.
I guess the HV was just making conversation because she knew I was being proactive with regards to SALT and knew she didn't have to do anything.

I will definitely call the GP tomorrow and arrange a hearing test.

zzzzz Thu 28-Feb-13 21:01:20

People endlessly tell you not to worry and about children they know who didn't speak till very late (not aimed at you MrsM just a universal experience of Mums I know). It is natural to want to reassure a worried Mum.

There are lots of Mums on the sn board with language delayed and disordered children, and lots and lots of techniques to help with communication. It's really hard to be the little boy struggling to ask for a drink, or explain what hurts, or what scares them. Potty training can be particularly challenging. Even if the problem resolves itself there's lots you can do to make both your lives easier in the meantime.

thesecretmusicteacher Thu 28-Feb-13 21:06:35

Two kids for whom it all worked out ok here. Worse delays than your lad from the sound of it.

My children's delays would have been slightly shorter had I self-referred and intensified my efforts from 2.0 rather than 2.8 or so.

So in your situation, based on my experience, I would self-refer.
Self-referring at 2.6 probably means you won't get much meaningful help for months anyway. They will want you to have a hearing test before they take you seriously - get that done now to get it off their list - you telling them that his hearing is fine won't take it off their list.

Good luck - the Hanen techniques are deceptively simple but quite profound - all of us can improve those techniques, so I would try for training courses where you get videoed if possible.

insideleg Thu 28-Feb-13 21:06:44

Thank you zzzzz. It reminds me of when DS was in intensive care and so many people said 'he'll be home soon - he just needs to grow'. It was so upsetting trying to explain that premature babies aren't just 'small'!
So many people do say not to worry - the saddest thing right now is my DD who is 4 months old has now made more 'different' noises than my DS!
I will go and have a look at the SN board again - I looked quite recently but couldn't see anything relevant, will try again.

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