Does anyone else's 2 year old seem behind with their speech?

Diana - posted on 03/18/2011 ( 215 moms have responded )

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My son says a good bit of words but wont put 3 or more words together. He only says the basics: ball, mommy, daddy, milk, etc. but he cant pronounce them very well. other than mommy and ball. Does anyone have suggestions on what it can be?

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Katherine - posted on 03/18/2011

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Not to worry. It's normal for 2-year-olds to struggle with their new language skills. To help your child turn his thoughts into sentences, let him know how those sentences should sound. Let's say your child desperately wants you to put on his sock. He may say, "Mommy! You sock, my sock, help..." Immediately, and with no explanation, model the phrase he's trying to say: "Mommy, help me, please."

By saying your name first, it signals to your 2-year-old that he should be saying this to you (otherwise, he may think you're asking him for help). Don't actually instruct him to repeat your words; it breaks the flow and turns a helpful phrase into a command, which doesn't go over well with 2-year-olds, as you probably know. Since he's already expressed a desire to put the sentence together, he'll most likely imitate you on his own. If not, repeat the sentence one more time, then let it go. Perhaps the next time he'll remember the words or be more comfortable trying to imitate you.

Once that happens, start adding the next part of the phrase: "Mommy, help me with my sock, please." Don't be surprised if he says, "Mommy, help me of a sock," and don't press him to say it perfectly. A reasonably good attempt is sufficient; leave it at that. However, when you respond to his request, emphasize the missing part: "Okay, I'll help you with your sock." Prepositions such as "with" are still very new to 2-year-olds, so it's often helpful to use some kind of gesture (two fists together is the official sign for "with") to help him know where to put the word in a sentence. It doesn't matter what the sign is, as long as it's consistent. So when you model the longer sentence, make sure you gesture "with" as you get to that part.

It's also a good sign if he gets frustrated when you don't understand him. It means he recognizes whether he's getting his meaning across and is eager to communicate with you.
http://www.babycenter.com/404_should-i-w...

Louise - posted on 03/19/2011

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If you are worrid that your sons words are not sounding clear then just for peace of mind ask for a hearing test because some children with delayed speech have a very common complaint called glue ear. Have his hearing checked and then you know for definite that there is no medical reason for his unclear speech.

Try also to encourage him to speak with silly songs. Children learn through play and repetition. Boys respond better to action songs like Ring a Ring of Roses and Row row the boat. If you can make him giggle he is more likely to pick up the words to encourage you to play with him more.

Renae - posted on 03/19/2011

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The normal range for kids to put 2 or more words together is huge, 12 to 36 months infact. At 2 they usually have 50 to 120 individual words. My baby is delayed, he has 8 words, however its an isolated delay and hearing and comprehension are fine.

Kids learning multiple languages usually learn the same number of words as normal but across the different languages. It is also normal for them to be delayed in stringing words together and forming sentences. When they do start forming sentences they mix all the languages up together for about the first year, until they can mentally compartmentalise each language and they have a wide enough vocabulary to know all the words in one language.

Cheryl - posted on 03/30/2011

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Well, until you have him officially tested, there is no way to know for sure. But if you instincts tell you that he might be on the spectrum, the quicker you get him tested (by your state) the quicker the outcome will be. My son, when he was 2, was only saying about 5 words and the doctors didn't seem to be concerned, but I was, he was stimming and doing the things that the typical kids were not. I had him tested shortly after his 2 yr. check up and was not too happy with his pediatrician. Anyway, get testing early, it will only benefit you and your child. Sometimes boys are a little developmentally slower in speech/language, but my son, now 10, certainly says what is on his mind! I hope you find this information helpful. Feel free to e-mail me if you would like information about what to do next, my e-mail is cherylde123@yahoo.com

Tamogene - posted on 03/29/2011

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my sson had a problem with speech.. first was dx with ADHD, then he hgad a submucus cleft pallate surgery thru kiaser now he works with the speech therapist at the schoo and we have found out my son can talk but he is talking too fast from the adha. best of luck to u

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Lynda - posted on 03/30/2011

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My son had the same problem. I asked my Dr and she said boys develop slower than girls. However, my son met all his other milestones in the approiate time frame, so I waited till he was 3. His speech improved a little but not much especially his sentences-I could understand the beginning of his sentence but by the end of sentence it was gibberish. So one of my friends suggested the special education department of our local school district. They tested him and placed him in a class he goes to once a week for 30 minutes. This is all free and will stay in his school file which is helpful when he starts school and can be transferred anywhere in the U.S. should we ever move. He is 5 now and has been doing this for a little over a year. It has made such a differance. I hope this helps because I was really worried. He also had tubes put in his ears last summer and I think that helped as well. The Dr told me when they have water on their ears they hear things muddled or like being underwater. Also the school will test his hearing if you should go through them.

Brittany - posted on 03/30/2011

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try setting up play dates with other kids. They are fun for the children, relaxing for the parents, and FREE. :) The children also teach eachother how to do things and how to talk more.

Jenn - posted on 03/30/2011

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borrowed from father of a friend.... "We spend the 1st 2 years teaching little ones to walk and talk; the rest of their life we are telling them to sit down and be quiet!!!" LOL!!!!

Jessica - posted on 03/30/2011

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You may want to ask your child's doctor about it, just to make sure there's no medical issue. My youngest daughter used one word at a time until the age of 2, then quite suddenly started using complete correct sentences.
Make sure you talk to him often and enunciate clearly. Even if you don't think he understands, he is absorbing speech patterns and picking up words.
Good luck!!

Laurie - posted on 03/30/2011

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Don't worry, he's only two. Just keep speaking clearly to him and reading while you point to the pictures.

Etleva - posted on 03/30/2011

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Nothing to worry, my son started speaking 2 and a half, It was really difficult for him because he faces 2 languages at once since 1 year old , but when he started to speak i really enjoyed him he was saying long sentences and his pronunciation was perfect.

Julie - posted on 03/30/2011

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My son is 2 as well, and he is the same. He has favorite words he says frequently and clearly, but doesn't have any interest in repeating words after me and his alphabet only makes sense because I am singing to him. I don't know if there is a real problem just yet but I am concerned also. I've been thinking that we don't sing and read enough, and when I find his box of books, we just moved, I hope to kick it up a notch.

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2011

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Don't worry, my boy was like that at age 2, but around 2 1/2 he really started talking and by 3 he had passed all the girls who had begun talking way before him. Give him some time.

Johanna - posted on 03/30/2011

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The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (the professional organization of speech-language pathologists, i.e., speech therapists) has a wonderful website. www.asha.org Very well-organized, parent friendly, etc. It is a great resource re. age-level expectations for both speech (pronunciation of speech sounds) and language (vocabulary, putting words together, etc). There is also a link on the site entitled something like "find a professional." If you need a speech therapist or are considering switching to a different speech therapist, it's a great place to search. Best wishes!

SARAH - posted on 03/30/2011

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Don't fret. Children take their own time to develop. He wasn't talking that much at all. My son was kicked out of his preschool. He was 3 when he was placed in Birth to 3 classes. Ironed out and up to par, he got where we needed to be. Then we moved, and he stayed home with me. He started Kindergarten in 2005 and he is a brainiac now. Kids take their time and do what they want. LOL



Like the aforementioned, check up with the doctor. He can advise you further. Hope this helps.

Theresa - posted on 03/30/2011

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It could be that he is two and that is reasonable for a two year old. Remember that the recommended "norm" has a range. Most kids do not pronounce words well until they get to be 3 and older. Unless he has had ear infection problems, other than having his dr. check for possible hearing loss, there isn't a whole lot you should do at this age. If you do not see much progress in the next year, then you should call your school district and ask for a speech and language evaluation. He may seem a little behind to you today, but in six months could be talking so much that you wish he would just be quiet! Give him some time.

Catherine - posted on 03/30/2011

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Hi Diane, my son had that problem and still has. He's 3yrs old now and has weekly appointments with a speech theorist and every 6 months he goes to a place called Sunshine House for tests. Go along to you GP or health visitor and get some advice or a referral.

Good luck!

Catherine

Susan - posted on 03/30/2011

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my son was the same he was very slow at everything, but it was after he done a 2nd hearing test dat they found he cud have a slight hearing problem, but as time went on he got better, but he still is behind everyone else in his class now, so hes had to see a psycologist ,so awaiting results back, but i would say to you to get his hearing checked again, and just as they said to me,just pick up different words with him all the time and learn them to him,kids are learning all the time, its just boys are normally that bit slower than girls anyway, ive 5 kids and out of my 2 boys id say,i wudnt worry about it just yet.get some books, and let him play with dem and say the words over and over with him, and he will soon pick them up, good luck,x

Patricia - posted on 03/30/2011

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Trying not to sound like a commercial: Please try "Baby Can Read". Now you can buy it at Walmart. My grandson didn't say hardly anything, we even had his hearing checked to be sure there was nothing wrong. We bought the program and started him on it at 18 months. Now he reads at about a 3 grade level, knows all his colors, can count to 120 and even spells his name, I really am a fond believer in the whole thing. Now I am starting my grand daughter on it and she is one. Hope this helps. Patti

Rachel - posted on 03/30/2011

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both my twin girls had alot of problems with there speech, everyone would say its just somthing twis do, even though i new somthing else was up, by 3.5 there behavoir was out of control and we were sent to a peaditrion, first thing any good docter will do, if you feel there is somthing wrong is send them for a hearing test, my girls both failed, and had ear grommetts put in, two years of speach and behavoir therapy and an extra year of kinder to catch up. because we let it go too long.

Tricia - posted on 03/30/2011

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2 yr old should be having 2 word conversations, he sounds on track, remember boys speech is a little behind girls of a similiar age, if concerned get a speech assessment. Also development in all areas is sporadic, he may be concentrating on gross motor development at the moment.

Dawne - posted on 03/30/2011

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Does he suffer from frequent ear infections and is congested? My son had trouble with his speech when he was two. He also had a lot of allergies and was always congested in the sinus area. I took him to an Ear Nose Throat specialist and he had and enlarged adenoid. Once his adenoids were removed, he wasn't stuffy anymore, the ear infections went away and his speech cleared up. The constant stuffiness made it difficult for him to hear the words and he felt like he was under water. Removing his adenoids allowed his sinuses to drain so he can hear words more clearly. He is now a healthy 14 year old honor student.

My suggestion would be to look into an ENT first to see if thee is a problem physically .

Amie - posted on 03/30/2011

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My son started speech therapy at 2 1/2 because he was only using nouns. For example he would point up and say "plane, sky". He didn't use joining words to say, "look a plane in the sky. At 2 a child should clearly speak 50 words this should increase to 3000 by the time they turn 3. Speach therapy and early intervention were great for my son. He found it was lots of fun and now that he is 5 he is at the same level as all his friends that he has just started school with. Don't wait too long before doing something, speech therapy waiting list can be quite long.

Lilian - posted on 03/30/2011

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relax my dear babies develope differently i have a friend whose daughter has the same problem just give him time and keep conversing with him it will all happend in due course of nature
cheers

Paula - posted on 03/30/2011

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You will probably find when he starts nursery and mixes with other children that he will develop faster;

Mariska - posted on 03/30/2011

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My son, the youngest of three kids (two older sisters) were the same. It seems that boys does take longer with girls when it comes to talking. My son is now just over 3 years old and he babbles non-stop. I don't think you should be worried. They all do things at their own pace.

Sade - posted on 03/30/2011

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Every 2yr olds are different. My first daughter did not have a clear speech until 3 1/2. The one after her could actually compose a lolong sentence at one. He will get it in his own time.

Leona - posted on 03/30/2011

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I would't worry yet. My son is now 2 and four months, and it's really only in the last month or so that he's started putting words together. The most important thing is that your DS is saying a few words. So you know his hearing etc is fine. He'll get there - little boys often take longer than girls too! My neighbours wee boy is 2 and six months and he hardly says a thing. She's not worried. She has three older kids and she knows they're all different. Wait till you see - this time next year you'll be wishing he'd be quiet for five minutes!

Shannon - posted on 03/30/2011

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What a timely post!!! I struggled with this fear for months until just recently.
I notice there are 2 children in your profile picture. Are you referring to the younger of the 2 children? If so, that is also a big factor. My daughter was speaking in 3-4 word sentences by 18 months - she was and still is very articulate (now age 5). Our son, who just turned 2 this month, is the complete opposite. He has about 75 individual words, but only in the last couple of weeks has he been putting 2-3 together. For example, he just came into the room to tell me, "no more bars" (he was out of his cereal bars). You imagine how proud of him I was!!! :)

First borns will usually speak much better than the later siblings-especially if they are girls!!! This is very hard for us as parents because we want our children to accell at the same rate. I'm especially having a hard time comparing my 2 kids, and I have to constantly remind myself that because of their birth order, they will accell at different rates, but will eventually catch up. As adults, we know that women naturally communicate better than men -- this starts early!!! ;)

Crystal - posted on 03/30/2011

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my daughter does the same thing! Her older sister when she was 2 had a big vocabulary and would put 5 or more words in one sentence...and also spoke very well. But my youngest doesn't do sentences at all and has a very small vocabulary! So youre not alone. ;)

Ziyanda - posted on 03/29/2011

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My son is also 2yrs old and just say "key words", but I'm not worried I speak to him and he understands me and I also send him to get stuff in the kitchen. bedroom., bathroom and he brings the stuff to me. He will get there in time, I am just not pressurizing him. When its his time he we talk full sentences...

Tammi - posted on 03/29/2011

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Diana,
Such wise advice. Two is a wide range of age when you are talking little people and language development. 4 word sentences by 33 months, but keep in mind boys and girls speak differently...he is a boy. Like men, their minds are busy observing and figuring things women never grasp (backing up trailers etc.), but they speak much less than their counterparts.

You can speak in simple terms for him to imitate. "Can Mommy do it?" "Where's the ball?" "Let's read a story." "I like apples." Ask questions like...Where did Daddy go? (work) But affirm his answer and expand it...(Daddy's working, that's right!)

There are sneaky ways to coerce some talking...(say "Drink Please")...or get yourself a snack but wait for him to ask for one too. (eh...eh...) would you like one too? (shaking head) say "Cracker please"... etc., but most of all let him be persuaded through a language rich environment between the interaction (sometimes concocted for the purpose) between those in the household. And remember....he's a boy, not a girl. :) ~Blessings
Tammi

Tereza - posted on 03/29/2011

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dear diana, it is absolutely normal! especially with boys...dont worry he will get it in his own time...

Tamogene - posted on 03/29/2011

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you should try reading to him every night, make it a fun knight before be and you must be consistant set a schedule and read books, this will increase his reading spelling a nd writing.

Marianne - posted on 03/29/2011

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By 2 they should only be putting 2 words together anyway so dont worry!! My boy took a long time to talk well, but by 3 her never shut up, lol, but my girls have always been good talkers, by youngest is 2 in 11 days and can say a lot and put 3 words together when she want but they all catch up in the end!! xx

Fiona - posted on 03/29/2011

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Don't worry too much I spent too much time doing that with my daughter. I was told kids develop faster in areas and slower in others. They kept telling me once she gets around more children shell catch up. She finally did once she started kindergarten. It has nothing to do with you. All kids are different.

Kathleen - posted on 03/29/2011

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My son had delayed speech because of a pinched nerve in his neck. a visit to the chiropracter cured it instantly. other causes for delay are impaired hearing. definitely get that checked. I also notice that sometimes speech isn't strongly required of some kids because they either have older siblings or parent who anticipate their needs and give them what they want before the toddler has a chance to ask for what they want. Model complete sentences for him 2 words at a time, "mommy may I please have..." and reward his effort with verbal praise, "Good job" followed by the desired item. Don't worry about perfect pronunciation until age 3. Reading books on a daily basis also help. I have worked with children with special needs for many years and this is what the professionals recommend. If he has not caught up with his peers by age 3 then take him to your local school district and they will evaluate him for a preschool speech program. Best of luck

Jennifer - posted on 03/29/2011

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My daughter did the same thing at 2yrs old...but she eventually started talking sentences about 2 1/2 closer to 3. I think it all takes time and some are just faster than others. My daughter is 3 now and she talks non stop now haha

Monica - posted on 03/29/2011

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Our son will be 3 at the end of May....and, still no real distinguishing words. Like yours, he's 'mamamama, dadadada, mooove, top (stop)', and a few other words that only we understand! Lol! But, we have recently found that he is on the Autism spectrum and his not speaking is a big reason why. Of course, I am certainly not saying the same of your baby, but it has been our experience. He has since flourished in his therapies in only 1 year and will most likely transition out of therapy into mainstream. He's still only saying those few things, but he wasn't even saying that before then. It's really been a journey...but, surprisingly enjoyable:-)
Thanks for listening.......

Toni - posted on 03/29/2011

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You don't need to worry about it. Sometimes boys take a little longer to talk than girls and some children start later than others. My daughter could speak quite well by the time she was 18 months, but my son just started at that age. It differs from child to child too. My nephew didn't start speaking coherent words till he was 3 and even then it was difficult to understand. I know another little boy who didn't speak till he was almost 4. Now both these boys speak quite well and are doing fine. If he is able to understand you, then I would say that's normal.

Nancy - posted on 03/29/2011

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I think its ok....my son started making sense when he turned 3 yrs. He now talks non-stop although sometimes I cant understand what he says....

Sheilah - posted on 03/29/2011

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My third son did not say one word until he was 2 1/2 yrs old. Don't worry so long as he can understand what you are telling him. It will come.

Felicia - posted on 03/29/2011

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I was worried about my son 2 so even thou my pediatrician thought he was fine I insisted he beevaluated by first steps a program we have in our state for children under 3. They recommended and provied speech. Occupational. And developmental therapy he's 3 now and tested @ the level of a 5year old for his speech. I would insist on getting him test3ed it won't hurt anything moms know their kids best! If there is a problem they will let you know and if not at least you are doing your best for your child! Menearfamily.blogspot.com

Felicia - posted on 03/29/2011

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I was worried about my son 2 so even thou my pediatrician thought he was fine I insisted he beevaluated by first steps a program we have in our state for children under 3. They recommended and provied speech. Occupational. And developmental therapy he's 3 now and tested @ the level of a 5year old for his speech. I would insist on getting him test3ed it won't hurt anything moms know their kids best! If there is a problem they will let you know and if not at least you are doing your best for your child! Menearfamily.blogspot.com

Felicia - posted on 03/29/2011

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I was worried about my son 2 so even thou my pediatrician thought he was fine I insisted he beevaluated by first steps a program we have in our state for children under 3. They recommended and provied speech. Occupational. And developmental therapy he's 3 now and tested @ the level of a 5year old for his speech. I would insist on getting him test3ed it won't hurt anything moms know their kids best! If there is a problem they will let you know and if not at least you are doing your best for your child! Menearfamily.blogspot.com

Trish - posted on 03/29/2011

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Sounds pretty much the same as my 2year old grandson. He will be 3 in December. I think they all develop differently and sometimes we worry about whether they are even teething right. I remember a friend of mine being really upset because the Plunket nurse told her her son was backward because he couldnt clap. I asked if she had ever taught him to clap and she said "no." He was up to speed next time she visited the plunket nurse. If you are really worried teach him some simple phrases as part of his every day things. "Thank you" is a two word phrase. "Throw the ball" is three. So you say "do you want mommy to throw the ball?'' When you throw it say "throw the ball". Sometimes when we are busy we forget to talk to our kids and thats how they learn. My youngest daughter developed a whole language of her own that only she and her older sister understood. I realized when she was 4 years old that if we didnt do some work with her no one was going to understand her when she got to school. So we concentrated on making her say things the right way and we didnt buy into her "cute" ways of saying things. Shes just fine now and your wee boy will be too. Good luck

Susan - posted on 03/29/2011

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My daughter just turned 2 in January and she is the same way. She is now starting to say more words but seems a little behind. I have talked to several people and they all tell me that its normal.

Shefali - posted on 03/29/2011

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Check with your doctor. My son didnt even speak 5 words at 2yrs and they assessed him to be delayed in speech. We then worked with a speech therapist for a year and now I think he is definitely over speech issues. Also, sometimes they just take their time to put 3 or more words together. So long as he's saying several words, I think its just a matter of time

Meaghan - posted on 03/29/2011

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My oldest daughter who is now 15 1/2 years old had a speech problem when she was young. She would speak but could not be understood by most adults who were strangers. By the age of 3 we had taken her to several different pediatricians. With each doctor we voiced our concern that her language skills were not on the same level as other children her age. They each gave us different reasons.... "she needs to be in daycare with other children her age"... "Each child is different, don't compare", etc. Finally at 3.5 years of age I took her to the local health department and had her hearing tested. The test demonstrated that my daughter had 50% hearing loss on her right ear. From there I made an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor. She required tubes in her ears. She then recieved a second set of tubes as the age of 5. When she entered into elementary school she worked with a speech therapist until 4th grade. I am happy to say she is a Sophmore in High School and has no residual effects.
My advice is go see an ENT and have your son's hearing tested.

Shelley - posted on 03/29/2011

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My son is nearing 3 and still does not put words together. We are having him evaluated for speech therapy, occupational therapy and his hearing. I had the same concern you did when he was 2, but everyone kept saying it was normal for a boy to be delayed. I wish I hadn't listened and done the evaluations sooner. His lack of communication is frustrating to both him and us...and he just screams now when he can't communicate what he wants. We are in such a tiring, exhausting and frustrating stage. Good luck!

Sylvia - posted on 03/29/2011

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My little guy (now 51!!!!) couldn't speak any more than that until he was 3 years old before we found out he had a hearing difficulty probably 80% of the time. After a tonsilectomy, adnoidectomy and another corrective surgery, within a week he was speaking whole sentences. A neighbor caught the fact that he wasn't responding when his back was turned. He had been reading lips and body language and getting by.

Susan - posted on 03/29/2011

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Sounds like he might have a hearing problem. Try taking him to an ear/nose/throat specialist. That's what we did when my son was 2. The doctor put tubes in his ears, which is about a 15 minute procedure. From then on he could hear just fine and within a short time he could hear how words actually sounded and the prounciation came out 100% better. Best to catch this when he is young to prevent and further delays in speech. Once he gets older the speech problem could become permanent, so best to have it looked at right away.

Joyce - posted on 03/29/2011

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I had the same issues with my son and after speaking with my doctor we decided to air on the side of caution and have him tested. He was found to be behind in his speech though advanced in other areas so he was put into speech therapy twice a week. I don't recommend waiting if you feel that your child is behind, having them tested is pain free and it won't hurt as you would then feel better about where your child is with his speech. My Son finds speech therapy fun and some states have services that actually come to your house, which is always nice. Good luck

Kim - posted on 03/29/2011

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Hi Diana! I saw your post regarding your concern for your son's speech. I am a speech pathologist that works with children. Kids all develop their communication skills differently. It is not uncommon for boys to be a little behind girls in their speech skills. If he is a young 2 year old, I wouldn't be super concerned, but would make sure that I am reading to him and encouraging 2 word productions (my ball, milk please etc). As far as not pronouncing them very well....by the age of 3 children should be consistently using the following sounds (p,b,m,h). Other sounds will come as he grows. We don't expect their productions to be perfect, but close (understandable)...they will get better with practice and growth. Good models will help him as well. If he is an older 2 year old and still only using single words, you may want to ask your pediatrician about having a speech evaluation just to rule out any problems. Also check with your local school district. Public schools are required to provide services to children from birth to 26....your tax dollars pay for this service...Hope this was a little helpful.

Cheryl - posted on 03/29/2011

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I personally wouldn't be too concerned. I have been doing in home daycare for 12 years and it has been my experience that boys are slower at talking. Usually comes about 21/2 to 3 yrs and then they don't stop. However if this does trouble you talk to your pediatrician and they will set your mind at ease and let you know where he should be at his age level.

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