2 year old pronunciation and mumbling

[deleted account] ( 5 moms have responded )

I'm a little concerned about my 2 and a half year old's speech development. He can say single words with a moderate level of pronunciation and does make an effort to repeat, but most of what he says is impossible to understand. He often repeats the same phrase, that sounds a bit like mumbling. we have seen a speech therapist who told us not to worry about pronunciation. He is learning new single words, but I feel he is quite a bit behind other kids his age. Hetries to talk, points to things, clearly wants to learn and socialize, but I still can't help thinking that something is off. He also calls all animals cats and thinks they all meow. We have a hearing test scheduled as well althoug he seems to hear fine. I just wanted to know if anyone has an idea of why he might be repeating the same phrase that is impossible to understand and/or if this is normal. Like I said, he is making a little progress, and he's not silent, but his pronunciation is clearly far worse than others his age. Any help/ advice appreciated!

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Pamela - posted on 08/21/2013

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If you are worried about your child's speech and language skills, you should get an evaluation done by early intervention in your state. Your son will receive a comprehensive evaluation with a psychologist or developmental pediatrician, speech therapist, occupational therapist, etc. to help determine what is causing his delay. There are a wide range of issues that can be causing him to have difficulty producing speech. He may suffer from childhood apraxia of speech, a phonological processing disorder, hypotonia (weak muscle tone) , etc. It also may be determined he is developing at a typical rate. At his age, he should be at least 50% intelligible to strangers, with higher intelligibility for family members. With respect to repeating a phrase, sometimes it's typical and sometimes it's considered atypical - the evaluators will need to see the context of his repetitive phrase to determine it's communicative value. I wouldn't worry about all animals being called cats. This is typical and normal at this age. It's called generalization and will go away and your child will label animals correctly. He has learned the category of "animal," but not the discrete members that belong in that category yet. As you may have guessed, I am a speech-language pathologist and fellow mom! I specialize in early intervention working extensively with toddlers. If your son turns out to need speech therapy, the earlier the better! GL and let me know if you have any further questions.

[deleted account]

Thank you for youradvice/ response. We are getting his hearing checked in a couple of weeks (one of those appointments we had to wait for). I'mnwondering if he might have fluid in his ears. Do you mind my asking what type of hearing problem the little boy you mentioned has? Do you know why the first specialist was unable to detect a hearing problem?

Thanks again

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Savior - posted on 08/21/2013

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Intresting topic. My son is 22mnths and still mumbles. He points @things that he wants, he would sometime give you his bowl if he is hungry and cries @the same time. He gets irritated when you don't understand what he is saying. Sometimes I worry, but because I know and have seen that childrens development differ, that puts me @ ease. He tries too hard, but he'll slowly get there; he was born prematured. In the right time they do things they suppose to, just that they differ. If you feel you he needs doctors attention, get all the help you can get.

Sarah - posted on 08/20/2013

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I don't mind at all, but I don't know much about the whys. They ended up switching sitters to a day care center where there was a speech therapist that would work with kids at the center when he was 3 yrs old. So though I kept in touch with his parents I did not now the details. I am not sure why the specialist said what he did. That did not make sense to me at all. I am not sure if there was something that at that age it was hard to detect or screen for or if it was just a doc not taking his time, or how the testing was done that could make for a false result. When this little boy would talk he would never say the ending of any of his words no matter how short the word. If you would break the word up and say it piece by piece he could say it that way, but it was when you put it together the ending would get cut off. When you look at how we say words the endings of our words are always softer and quieter. Thus being harder to hear. Another thing that I learned is that some kids that have hearing problems and/or speech problems have a hard time chewing with their mouths closed. This was true with this little boy. Though at 2 yrs old they are just learning that if that is being taught at that time. The parents to this little boy too had to wait for many of their appointments with doctors. That gets frustrating! You see a problem and want to fix it, but it takes forever to get into doctors. Even the speech therapist was slow to get moving and if they had not switched to the center he would have only gotten group therapy due to his age when he was really needing individual therapy.

Sarah - posted on 08/20/2013

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He might be a totally normal 2 yr old, but if you have a gut feeling something might be wrong keep pushing. My daughter is 2 yrs old and does much of what your son is doing. She does not have clear pronunciation of all her words, sometimes she will say the same phrase over and over trying to make us understand. So he might be doing just fine and the rest will come in time. But I also believe that sometimes a parent knows more then what others are saying. I once baby sat a boy that at 2 yrs old we noticed that he was having speech issues. They first had his hearing checked by a specialist. That specialist said his hearing was fine and that some boys just talk later. This did not make sense to his parents or I.....they had his speech evaluated by a speech therapist and they said yes there was a delay. After 3 yrs of them trying to get help and address the issue he is now 5 yrs old and just got hearing aids! I would have his hearing check just to make sure that is good as that can affect how we pronounce words and if what he hears is mumbling then he is going to repeat that back.

Again what you described sounds much like what my 2 yr old is doing, but sometimes as parents we notice things that others do not. Sometimes those things disappear in time and sometimes those things indicate a deeper issue. If you feel there might be a deeper issue keep pushing for answers. As I learned with that other little boy no one cares more about your child then you do. No one is going to push for answers if you don't.

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