If you have a very delayed talker--- what do you say to people? — The Bump
Special Needs

If you have a very delayed talker--- what do you say to people?

My son has speech apraxia (very delayed speech) as well as sensory issues.  They haven't labeled him with autism yet--but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they do.  I think they are waiting until after he turns 4 to see if maturation changes anything.  He is in special education classes with the school district already (since graduating from EI) and so he's used to being with kids like himself, but then he's also with a normal daycare class as well --which can of course be a huge issue when behavioral issues arise.

Anyways--- I was more curious about what you say when you are out and about in the world with your child who has very delayed speech--to the point where they speak very few words or aren't very understandable.  So many parents give me this "look" and then I get the question of "how old is he?"  --- and up to this point I've always said 3...but soon he'll be turning 4.  I know what they are thinking and trying to imply without them actually asking.....

So I'm just curious what you say to people.



Re: If you have a very delayed talker--- what do you say to people?

  • I hated that stage! And I can't believe the ba**s people have to actually stare you down like..."wha...you think I'm beating him every time he's trying to speak, so I MADE him delayed??"

    Ugh. I don't have any advice...because I have to admit I wasn't very good during those times. Factor in my major depression throughout the whole thing, I wasn't my best self to always try to be the bigger person in these awkward situations, or to "educate" people in a nice way...I just wanted everyone to f**k off.

    The only cheerful thing I will say is that it is just a stage, kids do develop continuously, no matter at what rate, so your child has a great chance that a year from now, his speech will be better, and the year after that - even better, and so on. For me, 2-4 y/o was the hardest period of time. He was so difficult to communicate with, his stims were the worst and the whole dx was still very raw for our family.

    I have a 2nd grader now and things are sooo much easier. You'll get there, mama. In the meantime, worrying about what people say or think about your child or you as a parent is really not important...just try to go with when you encounter a difficult, "judgy" situation. And immediately after that - reward yourself with something nice because each time you survived yet another moronic encounter.

  • People (strangers) are constantly asking SS8 questions lately and wait politely for an answer.  Generally, the questions are related to my pregnancy (Are you excited for a baby brother or sister?) or school (What grade are you in?)  If they're asking him a question that we are working on with his therapists (yes/no, name, choice making, etc.), I'll prompt a response.  If it's not, then I'll either say "He doesn't communicate in the same way you or I do" or "He has autism and is not likely to respond, even though he is able to understand what you are saying."  

    I'm not sure if this is the 'right" way to handle it, but it works for us.  I still get the occasional apology from people.  I just tell them no apology is needed - we treat him as any other child.  I also still have some people judge me.  They seem to think I was a teenage mom that caused his autism through the choices I made... This is interesting since I'm (1) not his biological mother, (2) IF I had given birth to him, I would have been 22 - not a teenager, (3) I was actually a really good kid, and (4) I was not aware that autism was caused by crazy teenage antics... These people, I'd like to slap.  


    "To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue...gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness."
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  • Mine isn't quite as old so it's probably not as pressing... But usually I look them in the eye and say his age with confidence and a simple, "No" with a smile if asked if he talks.  I answered their questions and didn't give them any additional information that they didn't ask.  It's up to them if they want to take their questions further or want more answers.  When people talk to him, I answer for him.  For us though, it's pretty quickly realized that he won't answer himself.
    Adrian 7.6.07 - ADHD, Disruptive Behavior Disorder, Learning Disability-NOS
    Cam 6.6.10 - Autism, Global Developmental Delay, Mixed Receptive/Expressive Communication Disorder
  • My daughter is 2.5 and has a speech delay and minor sensory issues.  When people talk to her I do wait and see if she woill say anything she does know hi.  Most times she stares at people so I will say she has a speech dealy and may not talk to you.  Some people do the really she should be tralking.  All I can think is no kidding really.  MOst days I am okay with this it is the hardest at family gatherings with the extended family as we are seeing people we see maybe once a year and having to explain over and over she is not ignoring you she is whispering, signing, or can not answer you.
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  • Our daughter is 3 and her speech is minimal.  She looks young, which helps but we still have a lot of people lately going up to her and asking her name and other things, which she cannot answer.  We usually just say 'She doesn't talk much yet.' and smile.  Not much else we can do! 
  • I usually say he has a speech delay or oh his shy with strangers.  I haven't experienced stares or odd questions but he does look younger than 3. 
    Baby #1 MC November 2007
    Baby #2 MC June 2008
    Baby #3 Born April 2009
    Baby #4 due date February 2015

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  • image bubba2b:

    Really I only think that it matters with kids. Usually I tell them she doesn't have a lot of words.

    I think my issue comes when we're out to eat and a waitress is there asking him questions and he's actually trying to talk--- and they can't understand him and they almost 'make fun' of him --like 'what are you trying to say???"  -- I just want to biitch slap them sometimes.  And I'm really a nice person!!!!  So that's a lot coming from me.  LOL. 


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