Special Needs

17 month old with speech delays

I hope it's ok if I post this here. I've been lurking around the board for a while now, trying to pick up bits of information here and there. I find this much less intimidating than google for whatever reason. I never posted here because I haven't even had my kids evaluated, but I'm starting to think I can't put it off any longer and I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed. Here's some background. 

My boys are 13 months apart. My first (he's 2.5) has always been delayed in expressive language, but his receptive language is great. He has always been just outside of where he "should be" and showing enough improvement that I've been easily talked out of looking into it any further. My younger son is now 17 months old and is also delayed in speech (at this point he has 1 word). Everyone, including my husband and pedi, have said this is to be expected alongside his brother and not to worry about it. What everyone else seems ready to ignore is that he also has no discernable receptive language, he doesn't play with toys other than to bang them on things, he doesn't point, doesn't wave bye bye, and usually he seems completely unaware that there are other people in the room with him.  He's a total lover and snuggles and smiles and seems happy to see everyone for about a minute, and then he's back to his own little world. I guess my point in posting is that I know there are things with his development to be concerned about. I'm obviously not here looking for a diagnosis. I think I just want someone to tell me to make the call. My husband, his family, my family, my friends all tell me I'm crazy. He's just "busy" and some kids don't talk right away. And I'm not sure they understand how desperately I want that to be the case. But my intuition tells me it's more than that, and I'm scared that the longer I wait the harder it will be. Am I overreacting? Is there any reason not to move forward with having him evaluated? I've tried to call a couple of times and I always panic and hang up during the first ring. Thanks for reading this far. I think I'm just looking for someone to listen that won't tell me I'm being ridiculous. 

A 4/26/10 and B 6/13/11

Re: 17 month old with speech delays

  • Our kids don't have any similarities but as a mother, I have been EXACTLY where you are. Very recently as a matter of fact. Make the call. Start the process. Stop letting other people sway you because they are saying what your heart wants to believe. Best case: they were right. Worst case: you trusted your intuition and you child will get the help he needs. Win/win. The only way you lose is if you don't do anything and continue to wonder and struggle inside.

    I still beat myself up because I waited so long to get my son evaluated. Once I did, things moved quickly and he's finally getting the help he needs.

    Even if the evaluation and results do nothing but calm that mommy guilt and constant internal struggle, it will have been worth it, right?
  • I think we may be living the same life. lol. Your kids history sounds nearly identical to mine. My oldest had delays in expressive language and at nearly 3 is where he should be (minus the fact his articulation is horrendous). My youngest also had the language delay but the greater concern is the receptive language delay and she seems to constantly be in her own world, though she LOVES cuddling/smiling and socializing with people.

    I'll tell you no, you're not overreacting and yes, you should have him evaluated. We started therapy at the age your youngest is now (OT for sensory issues/speech therapy) and it really has made a difference. She spends less time in her own world and most times you can snap her out of it with a little effort. She's pointing to communicate, waving when people come/go, playing appropriately with toys more often. She is coming around to following 2-step directions on occasion but definitely has a ways to go with expressive/receptive language. She's mostly unmotivated but will attend to directions if she's really motivated to do what's asked.

    The earlier you intervene, the better. Make the call.

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  • Thank you, both. Really. It's so hard to move forward with these things without support from someone, I was starting to think maybe I really am just crazy. I called just now and I'm waiting to hear back from someone. Thanks. 
    A 4/26/10 and B 6/13/11
  • I don't think you are overreacting, I think you are reacting.  And that is a good thing.

    Both my boys were speech delayed (DS2 moreso than DS1).  I don't think that either of my boys had even 1 word at the age of 17 months.  Both attended speech therapy.  I spent a great deal of time and energy worrying about DS2's development as I was seeing red flags for ASD esp. between the ages of 1.5 to 2.5/3 years of age.

    After DS2 turned 3, virtually all of my concerns had resolved.  He tests now in a normal range for expressive speech. 

    I have found speech therapy to be a wonderful resource not only for my kids, but for me as well.  I've learned so much.

    You have nothing to lose by going with your gut and requesting some evaluations.  You cannot predict the future, only address the present.  Stay off Google, ask for a referral for your LO and best of luck.

    This board is great, keep asking questions!



    promised myself I'd retire when I turned gold, and yet here I am
  • I agree with the other posters - make the call.  Follow what your mommy intuition is telling you.

    I got ALL of the same comments when I was concerned starting at around 18 months.  He's fine, he's a boy, some kids just talk a bit later, my father didn't talk until he was 4 and look at him now blah blah blah.  Finally at age 2 I ignored everyone and made the call myself.  It wasn't nothing, and he's been getting treatment ever since. He's doing GREAT today, but he def needed help.


  • Thanks for your reply! I have wondered off and on if his hearing might have a little bit to do with it. I would guess, like with your son, it's only part of what's going on. A lot of the time if I ask him to do something, he ignores me until I show him, and then he's completely willing. He does get a lot of ear infections, where his brother has never had one. I'm actually following up with his pedi about his ears next week. We were waiting for the last infection to clear up so he could actually get a better look and see what's going on. 

    I'm definitely thinking about having my older son evaluated as well. My best friend handled the in-school therapies for a high school and elementary school for a few years, and she agrees it's worth looking into for both of them. It's nice to hear from people that I'm not nuts. She said getting them as caught up as they can be before Kindy can never hurt, and I agree. My husband is ok with all of this, but he would never be the one to make the call.  I'm going to talk to them again on Monday and see where we go from there. Thanks again! 

    A 4/26/10 and B 6/13/11
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