Special Needs

Speech frustrations

So I go between thinking W is pretty normal, and feeling like he is way behind.  It seems like he is way behind with speech right now.  Tell me what you think.  (He has NF1)  He is 18 months.


1.  Signing:  He has ~6 signs.  Eat, nurse, help, all done, more, and he waves bye.  He usually only signs when prompted though.  Example- he is freaking out and I guess that he is hungry, and ask him if he wants to eat when signing eat.  He will sign it back.  But he never signs it on his own to tell me he is hungry.

 2.  Words:  Hi, Dada (he uses Dada for everything though) Mama (rare) and "woof woof" for the dog (only I can tell that he says that, it is unintelligable).

 I really feel like he should be starting to say more but he isn't.  He has had hose words for like 3 months now.  I prompt him to say "more" when he signs "more" and he makes a "mmmm" sound sometimes.  He won't respond to prompting for any other words (For example I tried to get him to make the sound for "up" and no dice).


He works with a ECE teacher every other week for EI but honestly she is a very new teacher and I don't feel like she is nearly as good as the OT that he used to see. 


I feel like maybe I am overreacting and he is fine, but I do worry.  Someone knock some sense into me!

Re: Speech frustrations

  • Your son sounds similar to my oldest. We have about 30 signs total but in the beginning he only used them when promted. Now he uses them more frequently.  As for words he says ma (sometimes), da (less frequently) and ba (which is everything).   

     We previously had a speech instructor which I'm thinking is like your teacher.  She worked with my son for about 6 months and really developed his signing abilities (which was helpful).  But we were getting no where with speech.  So we switched from a speech instructor to a speech language pathologist through our EI.  She has been working with him for about a month now.  Since then he has made more efforts to talk including saying new sounds: la, ga, bo, ob, baby, babel (bagel), pa, etc... We actually keep a list of sounds (new and old) he says and last week alone was about 10-12 different sounds. 

    I'm not sure what the difference really is except the pathologist is concentrating more on vowels and forces him to make an effort to say something before giving him what he wants.  He sees this person one time per week.  Next week he will be starting speech therapy through a private company as well (through my insurance company) for additional support.

    I just wanted to share my story.  Perhaps you can ask for a consult with a speech language pathologist.  That's how our switch started and it was apparent from that meeting to me that she would have more progress with my son.


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  • Have you talked to your EI person about your concerns?  It couldn't hurt to get a speech/language evaluation-if the SLP doesn't see anything of concern, then great, but if he does have a delay then you'll be in more of a position to do something about it.  Trust your gut!
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  • My only advice is go with your gut when you're thinking about the therapy he already receives and asking for another eval, etc...  There is never harm in getting another opinion or trying something new.

    However, someone posted this link recently and I think it's great! There are more areas than speech, you'll see that at the top.


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  • Thanks for the link.  That actually confirms my fears- that he should be saying more. 


    I think I will give it 2 more month until he is 20 months, since there is supposedly a language explosion around right now.  If he hasn't "exploded" at that point, I will have to push for more services. 

  • I think that sounds like a PERFECT idea! A good friend of mine has twin girls and right around 18 months they were worrying her....I can't remember the exact circumstances...but once they hit that language explosion, she never had another fear.

    Just don't get too wrapped up in WAITING! If you're worrying more and more, there is no harm in talking to your service coordinator or whoever you need to.

    We actually had an OT that was underqualified for what we needed. DS loved her to death, and she never did anything necessarily WRONG, but we had to let her go b/c she wasnt what we needed. Try not to put too personal of a spin on that (if that's what you need to do), they are used to it & should want the best for you as well.

    Keep us up to date.  

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