Thursday, May 04, 2006

Speech Concerns, or Is That English She's Speaking?

I try so hard not to do this. Not to get overly concerned about stuff that will likely just work itself out in due time. I try to stay relaxed and not get my panties in a bunch, but truth be told, I'm getting worried. Worried about Lauren's speech, or lack thereof. She's 2 1/2 years old (officially as of Monday), but her speaking is still very, very muddy. Unclear and with strange sound substitutions. So I'm calling out to all voices of reason and/or any professionals out there who might help shed some light on this for me.

Lauren tries to speak. A LOT. Constantly.
She's always jabbering on about something. The trouble is, it's very, very difficult to understand her. I can better than anyone because I'm with her 24/7, but a lot of my interpretations are contextual, not because I actually understood the words. She just seems to be behind the curve on the whole speech thing, and I'm wondering if I have reason to worry. A few friends have told me not to freak out until she's 3, but, y'know, I'm starting to freak anyway.

The biggest thing with Lauren seems to be that she doesn't say entire words. Just the first part. And she can't say "c" or "k" or "ck" sounds. The back of the throat sound. Except for "g", because she calls Nicholas "gleh". But she substitutes the sound of "t" for "ck". So if we ask her to say "Nick" it sounds like "nit". "Cake" is "tate". And she'll even sometimes substitute a "t" sound for "s", especially when she says "yes", which then comes out sounding like "yet". Yesterday I offered her a Hershey kiss and asked her to say "chocolate". It came out sounding like "tohtay". She also can't seem to make the "ff" sound and will instead substitute "b" sounds. So "Garfield" comes out like "gar-tay" or "gar-beel". That's the other thing she does; end words with a "tay", no matter what the real sound should be. Strange, yes?

She seems to have her pronouns in place and refers to herself correctly as "I" or "me", and says "you" appropriately as well. She can string together 4-5+ words and make full sentances. They may be choppy, but she's beyond one or two word bursts. (Mama, where my baby? oh! Dere she is!) She communicates emotions, "Mama, I'm sad" and when I ask why she can tell me "because (which sounds like beetause) Gleh shut da door" The content of her language is getting more sophisticated, but there are just certain things that make me wonder if she's slipping behind what's "normal". She hasn't seemed to have that big language explosion that most kids have by now. Nicholas seemed slow to get rolling on speech, too, but shortly after 2 the explosion came and he got clear with his speaking very, very quickly. Now he's very articulate and clear and there isn't any trace of "toddler/preschooler accent" in his speech. Lauren seems to be a different story.

(just now she's standing next to me begging & pleading "pee Mama pee! I want bot (milk)! pee! Mo bot pee! I ha bot pee Mama)

So what do you think? Is she doing ok, or do you think I have reason to be concerned. I'm not worried about anything else concerning her development - her reasoning, problem-solving and cognition are all impressive. It's just her speech that makes me wonder. When do you know she needs to be evaluated? When is professional assistance necessary?

My now 3 year old didn't do what you have described at age 2 1/2. Shortly there after, he started talking and everything is plain and it is al talk all the time...making me nuts! Try not to worry and give her some time. I got so frustrated when people kept telling me it was ok but as it turned out, it was!
My vote is she is very average, especially for a second child, and that you shouldn't freak out until you take her to the Kindergarten Roundup in 2 years and the teachers indicate there is an issue.

I agree with the other 2 mom's. I wouldn't be concerned (as a Mom, I know how hard that is!!). I know when Faith started preschool, her speech was evaluated and at the beginning she had a slight lisp but that has greatly improved with the help of her teachers and being around other kids her age.
BTW - be careful what you wish for. There is never a moment of silence at our house, Faith could ramble on for days and days. She never shuts up, sometimes I get tired of LISTENING!!!
Take care,
My son didn't start speaking many words that we could actually understand until just after his 3rd birthday, and he's a first born! Apparently, I was quite a bit like your daughter when I was young. My brother talked for me, so my mom said there was no need for me to. At any rate, I was also evaulated for speech services in kindergarten and again in first grade. I never qualified. My comprehension was excellent, and my speech improved on its own. I am happy to say that I turned out well. I became a teacher, and no one had a hard time understanding what I said. I also got an academic scholarship that paid for most of my tuition to college. All this from a kid no one could understand.
I have a slightly different perspective. My son was difficult to understand at 21/2 and everyone told me to wait and quit worrying. As he approached his third birthday, I finally had him evaluated for speech services. He qualified and was enrolled for two years in a wonderful preschool program. At first, it was hard to accept the idea that he needed "special" services. Over time, I came to regret that I didn't have him tested earlier as services were available. By the time he finished kindergarten, he was "decertified." He is now a straight "A" third grade student. Having Lauren tested through your school district isn't going to hurt, it may ease your worries, and if necessary, enable her to receive some speech services that will help her out. Good luck!
If it were me, I'd have my daughter evaluated for my own peace of mind and to make sure that she really doesn't need assistance. There is no harm in an evaluation and I don't think that you'd be overreacting by doing it. Chances are-- she doesn't need speech therapy, but why not let the professionals decide.
my two yr old has/had the same problems. his ped suggested we have him evaluated by a speech therapist, and we did. We had him do several speech therapist sessions, turns out he just needed a "boost". they have a chart to show by 24 months, and 30 months where their speech should be(saying the K sound, or the T sounds, etc). You could always have him evaluated, it couldnt hurt, you know, just to see what they say. I wouldnt worry too much, she's only two, and how many adults do you know that cant talk. My opinion is that eventually they all catch up at some point, even before preschool, I hope!
T didn't utter a word till he was over 3. we had his hearing tested and all kinds of test done. and now he won't be quiet. (9 years later) B babbled for the longest time. shes now 3.5 years and didn't really start talking till she turned three but we all know that gal does what she wants to do when she wants to do it. As for the baby shes 15 months and only says one word clearly .. PAPA much to my dismay.
I've commented a couple of times before, but not regularly. However, this is somewhat my area of expertise (I'm a pre-k teacher). Personally, from what you described I think it sounds like Lauren may have a need for a bit of speech therapy. The end-consanant deletion and also the substitution of consonants. Granted, I'm no speech therapist and am no way qualified to diagnose a speech delay, but I have referred several kids for testing with similar problems and they all qualified for therapy and then BLOSSOMED. Speech is something very fixable and I think it's important to do it sooner rather than later (like when she starts kindergarten and is trying to learn to read). For your own peace of mind why not have her evaluated. Most school districts do it for free and worst case you'll have wasted a few hours if they tell you there isn't a concern. And if there is a concern you're ahead of the game dealing with it.

Jill P
You do not need to be concerned at all. No matter what these other comments show. This is a child. I have 3 of them and my son who is to be 3 in May is the same way. My daughter now 8 was also the same and she's brilliant. Honestly, these other children do not need speech therapy at such a young age. It's a shameful waste of money and adds stress to the children and families involved.
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