In the twilight zone... 3 year old daughter with SOME speech issues

Steven - posted on 06/17/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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A concerned daddy here infiltrating the circle of Moms! I have a beautiful 3 year old daughter who is the center of my world. That being said, I am aware of my tendency to over-react and be overly concerned whereas her health is concerned. She understands most of what we say to her as perfectly as I would expect any 3 year old to understand. She WAS in early intervention since she was 18 months old, and was declared within the range of normal right before her 3rd birthday, and would not to require further treatment (I can't help but feel that, after observing the testing methods, my daughter might have been "pushed" into the category of normal due to lack of funding, which the E.I. ladies talked about frequently... they did kinda "lead" the answers). Anyhow, she does speak mostly full sentences, buy it's usually about 40%-50% "gibberish" in-between words or phrases... like she's searching for words. She will sometimes still call me Mommy, and then correct herself quickly. She really seems to have a problem articulating most of what she says, for example squirrel sounds like girl, etc. Both my wife and I both have obvious difficulty understanding probably 25-45% of what she says, and other people cannot understand 80% of what she says. Usually at the playground, she connects best with kids a full year younger than she is, tho she wants to hang around older kids. She's NOT in daycare or pre-school, and she is our only child, so there is not a lot of social interaction coming from other children... anyway, whats my question? Geesh, I guess I'm frustrated that she was deemed "normal" by the state, but when I see her interact with other kids or adults, I clearly see a problem. When I speak to other kids her age, they always sound more "normal" to me. So my question might be; is it just me?

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Julie - posted on 06/17/2013

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Hi Dad, I think you should be frustrated by the state. No doubt they let her go earlier than necessary. I find the system only helps those who are up to two years behind and/or immigrants whose second language is English.
And yes it is normal to feel that way as a parent. We as parents are given these "milestones" for development to insure they are progressing appropriately.
However, @ the age of three up until around eight, there are huge fluxes seen in with language skills in kids, eventually they should all sound the same.
Not until about 2nd, more like 3rd grade will public schools even want to hear about "your concerns". After that, your child needs to be significantly behind in reading and writing to warrant state assistant. (or you need to be an immigrant)
However, we tax paying Americans always have the lovely option to pay out of of pocket for speech/cognitive therapies.
On the other hand, I recommend you try simply "singing songs" with your daughter first. As the two of you sing and enjoy songs together, she will be articulating and remembering words without even realizing it. You can make up songs too!!
I'd make up silly bath-time songs for my boys to help with the transition for bed time, which of course was another song :)
Anyway, Here are a few to get ya started:
"This is the way we brush our teeth" comb our hair, wash our hands.."
"It's bath-time, yeah-yeah, it's bath-time! (clap-clap-clap) repeat"
"Head and shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes....(repeat once)
Eyes, ears, mouth and nose!" touch the parts while singing for exercise with coordination and anatomy lesson :)
Have Fun

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Steven - posted on 06/20/2013

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Thanks Julie! Your words are encouraging. I do sing to her a lot already (even a couple made up songs), multiple times a day , but I haven't sang with her with the intent of articulating words, so maybe I'll focus on that! We read at least a few books every night, take her to playgrounds, etc, everyday and I'm VERY picky as to what TV she can watch. I just find it frustrating knowing that during her final evaluation with E.I. we were told that a child her age should have no more than 5% of her sentences intermingled with "gibberish" when she clearly speaks with around 40% "gibberish". During the evaluation, they literally answered the question for us! On the other hand, honestly, the E.I. ladies were SO much better at understanding my daughter than either Me or my wife.... and not for lack of trying! Their visits were encouraging and helpful, but now that we've "graduated" from E.I., I'm feeling a bit lost. Thanks again Julie!

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