Should I get my son evaluated? Some family members feel he's behind with his development.

Danielle - posted on 12/26/2010 ( 61 moms have responded )

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Hello Mommies,

I am just wondering what is a good age to get my little boy evaluated. He was born in September 2008, so he is a little over two years old (27 months).

He doesn't speak a lot. He can say some words like "Bye", "Momma", "Gahgee (Daddy)", "up", "no", "uh no", "hello", "hi", "baby", "truck", "tree", "banana", "kitty","puppy", "baba", "go", "Thank you", "apple","blue", "purple", "yellow", "green", "bubble", and maybe a few more similar to those words.

The problem is that he doesn't say them very frequent, and he has not learned a new word or phrase in a while. He also has not started to string words together and still insists on pointing and grunting.

He also doesn't seem to listen at all. I realize that it is a toddler thing where he is trying to control his surroundings but he doesn't listen in a way where he isn't responding when his name is called, and he doesn't seem to understand simple instruction like getting his shoes, or sitting down when I need to put them on.

He has a very short fuse as well. It is hard to direct him when I am trying to get him to sit, or to assist/ teach him how to put his toys together properly. He will get upset because he wants his shoes on, but can not connect that he will get his shoes on sooner if he listened and were sitting like I have told him repeatedly to do.

When he doesn't achieve the end result he expects in the first few attempts he will reach his boiling point and fall into a full blown tantrum.

Again, I fully understand that the tantrums are a regular toddler reaction as a result of an under developed brain; I am just worried that his lack of patience, coupled with his stalling vocabulary could be exaggerated from another problem.

I watch another little boy who is a month older than my son and he is speaking up to two -three word phrases which has led some of my family and friends to suggest that my son has fallen behind the usual learning curve for his age group.

I am starting to get concerned myself. He seems to have stalled with his development and in a way regressed since now he is very infrequently using the words he does know.

Does anyone have any advice?

I am starting to get really concerned about this and dont know if I should wait it out or if it is serious enough to take him in and get him checked by a developmental professional.

Should I be concerned? Is it normal for some regression in these stages of a toddlers life?

I've tried to sit him down teach him but he has no patience for what I am saying and throws a fit. I am at loss for what to do to help him.

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Michelle - posted on 12/27/2010

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I think all the rest of these ladies are pretty spot on. An evaluation never hurts, but I want you to also know that you are not the only mom who has a kid who may not be where they are "supposed" to be. For instance, I have a friend whose son is close in age and he talks the same way. Also, my own daughter Bethany did not start really talking until she was three, but my daughter Abigail has been speaking fluently and in practically complete sentences since the age of two (if not even a little sooner). Each child is SOOOO different, but if you are concerned, I think any evaluation could only help.

Saphilie - posted on 12/26/2010

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Hi,
I think that the fact that you're worried, justifies an evaluation. Just because sometimes, when we're worried about something, we put more pressure and stress on them, without noticing it, and then it just makes things worse. His behavior doesn't seem abnormal for a toddler, but you're right, the fact that he can't communicate what he wants to say might make things harder. I've seen toddlers his age not talking, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, making full sentences. A speech therapist had told me that the things to look for are: Is he trying to communicate in a way or another? Can he focus his attention with you on something else (like a book)? Does he seem to understand you? There were more, but I forgot...:) Anyway, I think it's always good to talk to a doctor about your concerns. Because if he needs a little help, the earlier the better!
Good luck!

Mari Lee - posted on 12/30/2010

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It doesn't hurt anyone or anything to get him checked out. And don't wait. My son stopped talking cried a lot threw tantrums and was all together a real big pain. He now talks some doesn't throw tantrums and is all the way around and happier baby. He was the 4th of 5 and this all started when his brother was born so family thought he was jealous. so glad we got him to an ent. After the tubes were put in his hearing went from sometimes to all the time. Now he's 2 and will ignore me but I know he's hearing me not not hearing me. The ent needs to do a pressure test and a hearing test and a full evaluation to get answers and please don't wait its not going to hurt anything and may help and solve this for you.

Janet - posted on 12/29/2010

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My one daughter would point when she want something. My dr. told me not to give it to her untill she tells you what it is she wants they may just be lazy. Whan she wanted a cup I would tell her do you want a cup and when she said it i gave it to her , but if she still pointed I told her I dont know what you want you have to tell my so I can get it for you,

Melinda - posted on 12/29/2010

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My Middle boy was still not talking at 2...a few words bye and mom which sounded like Bum..Car but nothing really...my dr. thought he had a tied tounge so we had that evaluated which it came to that it wasnt tied...after that I decided to take him for a speech evaluation He has Verbal Dispraxia (his brain doesnt communicate witht he muscles in his lips right which causes him to not beable to make normal lip and mouth movements to say the words he want to they come out liek babble) Needless to say I was praised and praised that i had him evaluated. The theripists say that most children with this disorder or many like it arent taken for an evaluation soon enough in their lives and find themselfs in Therapy when they are much older and for much longer cause its harder for them to learn as they get older. We Have been in speech Therapy for a Year Now and He is verbalizing much more! He was Scheduled to go for a year but the first 6 months Turned out really Hard for him so we were just extended for another year of therapy but in 6 months he will be re evaluated and possibly be let out!

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Shawn - posted on 01/09/2011

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Have you had his hearing checked? Does he give you eye contact when you talk to him? My son is 3 yrs old and the school just said that they think he has Autism Specturm Disorder and he had a lot of the same things. FIRST: Get his hearing checked, because I know that "Autism" is a very scare to think about.

Carisa - posted on 01/07/2011

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It sounds like you think he may have a problem with his hearing. I would call and talk to his doctor about your concerns. The doctor will best be able to tell you if he needs to be evaluated and by whom.

Jennifer - posted on 01/07/2011

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Lacey, while I agree that every child has their own rate of growth and learning, I would not wait until age five to get an evaluation. If there is an issue that can be addressed now, it would be detrimental to your child's well-being to wait until the KG year. I am a teacher and have a student with a speech delay that wasn't diagnosed until after age two. She still struggles with her expressive speech and is significantly behind her peers. This often makes her frustrated, resulting in large tantrums that have disrupted my class and caused us to have to have a conference with her parents and the director of the school. It doesn't hurt to get an eval done, and if the doc says there is nothing, then great! If there is an issue though, it is better to get started early. Especially, as in Danielle's case, since her child is having tantrums and is clearly trying to express frustation about something.

Lacey - posted on 01/06/2011

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My son is a "slow talker". He is 3 now and a little behind. My doctor told me not to worry as long as he is trying, receptive, and can learn instruction. I was told if I still have a concern when he is 5 then we could get him evaluated. Personally I feel there is too much pressure on the little ones. They do all learn at their own pace. Go with your own instincts. But don't let anyone "categorize" your child unnecessarily. Each child really has their own temperament and way to learn. Sometimes it takes patience, time and creative ideas on how to teach them. I've found a lot of teaching resources online. Good luck!

Joana - posted on 01/06/2011

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When my son went for his hearing eval - we went into a darkened room where he sat on my lap - there was a technician sitting behind a glass window that programed differnt toys or stuffed animals to make noises at different times and they watched to see if he responded by looking in the directions of the noises. Truthfully, I didnt find it particularly helpful because my son got bored quickly and didn't want to cooperate any longer so we stopped. We met with the actual doctor who literally told me "well - he can hear!" when I told him he was being evaluated by the school district for developmental delays and starting services for sensory integration issues he went on to tell me "what your child needs is a little benign neglact & it'll all work out in the end". Needless to say, we have not gone back to him and my sons developmental pediartician and therapists were absolutely appauled at his attitude! As I mentioned in my previous post, I highly encourage you to check out this website: http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.c... Your child's hearing may be too good and he's having a hard time filtering out background noises from noises/voices he should following! Not every child with sensory issues is autistic but I also want to say it's a complete myth and far outdated info that autistic children do not engage or want to engage or be affectionate with others! I hope you get the answers and help you are looking for! GOOD LUCK!

Carly - posted on 01/06/2011

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I agree it can't hurt to have things checked out, especially with his hearing. In the meantime, have you tried baby sign language? It could help get over those communication hurdles a bit. "Sign with your baby" is a great, easy book and it's never too late to start with a few simple signs, then you can see for yourself his ability to communicate, whether it's verbal or not.

Joana - posted on 01/06/2011

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Ok - as a Mom of a child with Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD-NOS) with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, I initially listened to all the good faith people in my life that told me that standard advise of "all kids learn differently and at different rates" and not too worry to much but in my gut I knew too many things were atypical. Even my pediatrician was not impressed with his delays since he was not hand flapping or doing other typical autistic type behaviors. After researching Sensory Integration Dysfunction - I inisted my son be evaluated and were directed to our local school district. A team of people came to our house when my son was 20 months and he started services immediately under the umbrella of developmental delays. At 2 he was re-evaluated and fell under the Autism Spectrum category and started addtl services. What a lot of people dont realize is that children's brains are far more "moldable" the younger they are and EARLY intervention is the key - the earlier the better - so if your gut is telling you that you & your child need help then go forth and have him evaluated by the school district - I am so eternally grateful I did - as they have provided me with the direction and support I need to help tackle everything from education to getting simple tasks done (like putting on shoes!) I also HIGHLY encourage you to explore the Sensory Processing Disorder website http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.c... - you childs hearing may be just fine - actually too good - but he's hearing all the other surrounding noises going on in the world and having a hard time sorting those noises from the noises he should be focusing on. I, of course, do not love my child any less regardless of what "label" is placed on him - but as I said, we have received so much solid advise that has worked for us that my son is SO much happier and engaging and able to deal with transitions so much better that it has only had positive impacts on our family life! I'm not in a position to diagnose your child and am not trying to, but I do hope you trust your gut and have trained specialists evaluate him soon - I promise you will not be sorry you did!

Danielle - posted on 01/06/2011

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i would get him elvaluated. my son was born september 2008 also but he was a preemie however at over two he is not talking well either. he has worked with early interventions since he was 8 months old. with early intervetions his speech is starting to pick up fast

Sandy - posted on 01/06/2011

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I believe there are programs in every state in the US that you can have your child evaluated for free. In IN it is First Steps. My son was evaluated at 11 months and put into speech and physical therapy. He is out now, and it did a great job. Before they released him they told us that we could have them come out and evaluated any time we wanted. You do not have to have a doctor referral for the program. The local school system takes over at age 3. Working for the school system, I can tell you that it does not always mean group therapy like someone earlier said. That is based on a case conference decision, and if he would still need speech at age 3, you could certainly get that through the school system, that is what special education is for.

Heidi - posted on 01/06/2011

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If I were you, I would ask your doctor if he is developing on a normal basis. I know my sons pediatrician has a sheet she gives us every yearly doctor appointment that says what he should be doing at this age. If you are concerned make an appointment with your doctor and see if they can get him evaluation.

Danielle - posted on 01/05/2011

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Thank you all so much for your encouraging responses.
I am really eager to get his ears checked. We have an appointment on the 17th of this month, and I have looked into speech development outreach through our health systems, as well have started to take him to more mommy groups in hopes that being around more 'verbally advanced' toddlers will help spark a little motivation in him.
Does anyone know what happens in an ear evaluation at the age of three? Apparently they can start examining children as young as 6 months. I just don't know what to prepare for. My son is a strong little bugger, and I am a little worried about having to restrain him if needed.

Jennifer - posted on 01/05/2011

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I would get him evaluated right away. He could have a speech delay. If he has trouble processing what you are saying or is unable to express himself he will throw tantrums out of frustration. The sooner you find out his issue the better. You don't want to wait until he starts preschool or kindergarten. I am a teacher and have found that those who are diagnosed earlier do better in school. If it is a speech delay, they can recommend speech therapy and give you tools to help him communicate better. There is also the possiblility of hearing loss.
I word to the wise. If your doctor says nothing is wrong, go for a second opinion. No one knows your child as well as you do. Follow your mommy instinct. I had a student with sensory processing disorder whose pediatrician said nothing was wrong. The parents pushed for a second opinion and the diagnosis was confirmed. Be your child's advocate. You may have to jump through hoops to get answers. I hope not, but be prepared. Good luck and God Bless you as you look for answers.

Renee - posted on 01/05/2011

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I have a daughter who has a developmental delay. I would suggest getting him evaluated the sooner the better. He should definitely be speaking more by this point. Without the ability to communicate sometimes the understanding of language isn't there either, so more tantrums. Go through your local early intervention center through the county.

Karen - posted on 01/05/2011

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My son is the same as yours, and the school he goes to says he is actually clever but his concentration is lacking as he is very busy little boy. he will learn to concentrate and catch up to the others.

User - posted on 01/04/2011

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Hiya,
I'm not too good with tantrums myself, although they could be frustration related if he can't get his message accross verbally. At the age of two MOST children BEGIN to put to words together, but this isn't written in stone.
He already has a range of concepts (colour, names, verbs) just not it seems in great quantity.
I would mention to your health visitor or GP and see if you can get a referal to and Speech and Language Therapist who will generally on your initial appointment asses him (quite informally at this age) to gain a clearer picture of what words he has and understands etc.
Then they will tell you if he needs any intervention or if he's actually within the normal developmental boundaries.
Many children like this suddenly have a burst of speech development, my son was one of them! Now I can't shut him up! lol
In the mean time the best way you can help his vocabulary is to comment on what he is doing here and now. What his attention is on.
E.g. if he's playing with a bus "bus, (sing wheels on the bus), brum brum, beep beep etc."
If he uses a word he knows eg "bubble" (bubbles are so motivating with this sort of thing!!!) "yes, big bubble, small bubble, bye bye bubble, etc." and expand what he has said by just one extra word. Don't force hium to repeat any of this. This idea is he hears it over and over and stores it and hopfully one day turns round and says it himself!
Hope you get things sorted and put your mind at rest :)

xxx

Leanne - posted on 01/04/2011

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Hi there have you thought about getting his ears checked out,because if there was a problem with his hearing it can affect his talking and because his not responding to his name when you call him makes me wonder that it could be the problem.. go see your local doctor and ask for a referral to see if he can be booked in for a hearing test good luck

Joann - posted on 01/04/2011

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evaluation asap.. the sooner an intervention is done the less behnd he will be.. speech therapy is simpe and painless.. and super helpul

Susan - posted on 01/04/2011

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When my Daughter was 18 months old, she was getting alot of ear infections. This alone was cause for concern, but than her speech was behind. So the dr had her hearing checked out. Turns out she couldn't hear much of anything, they put tubes in and her speech skyrocketed.
Your son could be throwing tantrums because he can't hear well, at that age speech depends on hearing. before you get him checked out developmentally I would get his hearing checked out.

Yesmine - posted on 01/04/2011

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My son will point to things and have a fit and I just tell him to talk to me. Tell me what you want. He does get frustrated and has tantrums but I kno my son can talk and it annoys me when he'd rather cry and fuss instead of talk. I'd say just give him time and talk to him while your doingthings. Like "are you hungry? Do you want cereal?" while you prepare it say "mommies getting te bowl, pouring the cereal, getting the milk." this might help him learn to say what he wants when he knows exactly what it is. Everyday my son surprises me and sas things I didn't kno he knew and he's just a mnt older than yours. I just say give him time. But if you think you should evaluate him it wot hurt

Ashley - posted on 01/03/2011

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This sounds exactly like my little girl! I totally understand how frustrating this is! She is 3 and she is being test for Autism in March. She to this day doesn't follow directions at all. When I talk to her it's like I'm talking to a wall she doesn't even acknowledge the fact that I'm calling her name. This has me so worried, and we had the county come to our house and have her speech tested. The first time they came they said she was fine, the second time I had them come they decided that she need speech only twice a week. Then when we went to BOCES (a school where she met with another speech therapist, pyschologist, and a nurse) they decided that she needed speech 3 times a week, and told me she was at risk for depression. I left the school bittersweet, for one she is getting more speech (which they provided right at my house, and she still receives) and two she doesn't even know what depressed is, how can they say that? they told me i rated her at "depressed" because she throws tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants, and shows that she is frustrated! ughh...of course she does, she is 2 (at the time) can't say what she wants, and ugh. it just angers me, but, we are having her tested for Autism. She will not make eye contact when we are trying to punish her, and she is on Phenobarbital (which is a drug to help prevent seizures, she has a seizure disorder) also makes her moody, agitated, and hyper. I am looking forward to March to have her tested. i am looking forward to them helping me help her. they can tell me good techniques and tips and tricks that can help with the tantrums, and not following directions. i also understand that it's very frustrating not knowing if they understand what you are saying. sometimes i think that natalie just doesn't understand me, but then i think she can and she is just playing me for the fool. i honestly wish you goodluck with this, i know it's hard. but i think that if you suspect anything get him tested, i figure it's not going to hurt to get anything ruled out. goodluck! some tips that i have used with nat is just always talking...for example when im making her lunch i'm just constantly talking ( i feel like an idiot, but i've noticed it helps) "i'm making you lunch, lunch is fun, lunch is good, lunch is healthy, lunch, lunch, lunch" lol..also some sign language has helped her. eat, drink, please, more..just some simple signs for every day things. also instead of sitting him down to "teach" sit down and "play" most kids learn things through playing. so like if you playing with a plane you can always say "plane" then have it fly through the air then have him try...or what nat's therapist does is take turns and mary does it, then nat does. or she will say "natalie says plane". idk if that helps any, but honestly goodluck!!!!! : ) : ) and don't get discouraged, it gets better...slowly...but better!! : )

Danielle - posted on 01/03/2011

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Thank you all for your responses.
Samantha: I work with my son. I am very calm when I speak to him, and I make eye contact. When he throws a tantrum I ignore it. Like many other mothers have said encouragingly is that all children develop at different rates. Just because your child know which shoes go on which foot does not mean that I have not put a sincere effort to teach and coach my son.
As well, for issues like A.D.D, or A.D.H.D it is recommended for children over the age of four;
for Autism (at least in Canada) from the provincial health outreach information I have gathered a child can be evaluated as early as 18 months old.

Alisha - posted on 01/03/2011

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I would get an evaluation as soon as possible. I am not trying to scare you, but my son had many speech problems and we did not get an accurate evaluation till he was over two and a half years old. I wish we would have had an evaluation when he was even younger. He is now almost three and a half and in speech therapy.

Samantha - posted on 01/02/2011

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It is reccomended to not have your childevaluated for things such as autism until 4 my son was born in sept 08 as well he can say words like probably and sentances like I probably put my cuppy in my room he also knows how to put his shoes on the correct feet I think maybe you need to work with him more and use positive reenforcement tell him if he sits down to get his showes on he can have a prize make him look at you when u talk speak clearly so he can see what you say. When he throws a fit ignore him its for attention.

Danielle - posted on 01/02/2011

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Thank you all so much for your responses.
I have called a hearing place to get him checked on the 17th, and hopefully be able to take it from there.
My father-in-law is a general practitioner, so while we were up visiting this weekend he kept an eye out for him. He doesn't think he has Autism because he still is a pretty friendly little fella, and loves to run around and play with people.
I am hoping to have this issue sorted soon!
Thank you all again for your encouraging responses.

Evelyn - posted on 01/01/2011

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Hi Danielle,

I think most of the mom's who have replied to you are saying the same thing that I'm about to say to you and that is, get him evaluated. It really can't hurt at this point and you are a concerned mom. A lot of what have described, I am also experiencing with my son, but he has been evaluated and is getting therapy for his issues, so I think it would be definitely worth looking into.

I don't know how it works where you are, but I brought it up to my pediatrician and they forwarded to the right place to get my son evaluated. In my opinion, your son might need some speech therapy. I hope this helps and wish you all the luck.

Stephanie - posted on 01/01/2011

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As a special education teacher and mother, this statement makes me see flags! I would rather error on the side of getting him tested and not needing services than of the side of waiting and not getting services. The sooner services are begun the better for him. My 3 year old is already on a watch list for articulation errors. If growth is not seen in his articulation in each month...then he will begin services. It is always better to get services early.

Jessica - posted on 12/30/2010

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My son is 2 born 10/13/2008, i did have him evaluated in nov of this yr because m son doesnt say much either... first i would bring it up to the doctor and see what he or she says because my doctor came out and said that he didnt see anything wrong with him but to make me happy he would have me see a speech therpaist and she had an hour long visit with him and told me that i shouldnt be concered unless within the next 8 months he still is the same way but its been a month and i now see that he is speaking more and he is understanding more...

Heather - posted on 12/30/2010

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If you are worried enough to post you should take him if your state has a program for early childhood eval call them.

Mary - posted on 12/30/2010

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Hi Danielle, if you feel ur son needs to be evaluated then go ahead with it as soon as....my son was born july 2008 and although he seems very clever he only has 5 words baba, mama, nana, gaga and da...unlike u my family thought i was just worrying over him but as time progressed he started to regress back to eating baby food, crawling,waking up in the night etc. I brought him to see a peadiatrcan and they have started to do tests on him and at the moment we are looking at the possibility of autism now in saying that he might not have it but im not leaving anything to chance...he has a thing about lining cars up and has to have a particular spoon for his breakfast or he gets very upset...i have got him to see a speech therapist and he is starting nxt wk. if you feel he needs help then please go and get it dont let anybody tell u different maybe ur son has a need and u as his mam need to find out what that is to help him hope this has been of help to you and good luck

User - posted on 12/30/2010

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yes i would i had my son evaluated this year he also was behind he was 30 weeks gestation and was always running off had to put locks on doors he dosent really through fits but he writes on things still eats anything and everything hes always running ran first before he walked he fell knocked out front top teeth at 1 and a half years old he has a speech problem he will be four jan 6 and is just starting to make three to four word sentences

Mari Lee - posted on 12/30/2010

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My 2 year old son stopped babbling took him to a good ent and it turns out that he could hear but everything was muffled. His eustation tubes weren't draining properly. He got tubes put in and now is starting to talk. Don't wait, get your peds doc to recommend a good and I do stress good ent. We saw a quack first who said because he was blond and pale he was austic.

Nikki - posted on 12/30/2010

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My sister in law has the exact problem with her 2 and a half year old and they have just discovered that it i smore of a hearing issue rather than a developmental issue. I would recommend getting his hearing looked into as now he is going forward with his speech in leaps and bounds!!! Good luck!!!

Christine - posted on 12/29/2010

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My daughter bday is 08/31/08 she was the same way at her 2nd bday....in the past few months she has advanced so much. She will now carry on full conversations with you back and forth (sometimes she throws a little gibberish in there though). What we did with the grunting is we would just start to tell her no she had to tell us what she wanted and then just let her go through her frustrated screams about it then it was like she realized we were just going to go to where she pointed and grunted at and she started saying the words. As far as the hearing thing I thought she had a problem too until we realized she could hear whispers across the room, she just tuned us out when she wanted to and I have read this is common. I wanted to test our daughter too but we decided to wait a little bit and it just turned out she just needed time. At this age as long as they can put two word sentences like more milk together then they are on the right track. The worst thing to do is compare to other toddlers because they are all different. She plays with kids from babys to 4 year olds and right now she knows her colors and letters better than the 3 year olds but the other 2 year old is very advance and knows a lot more than our daughter, but she doesn't know any of her letters, so they are all different but all fine for their age.

Also try songs, i started singing them all the time to my daughter a few months ago (like bed time, breakfast, dinner, bath time, play time) she would just smile and dance to them, now she is always singing them on her own, granted she doesn't get all the words, but I think it helped her too since she loves music. Also, just remind your family that all kids develop differently.

Diane - posted on 12/29/2010

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Hi Danielle,

Please don't worry. Everyone's child develops at a different rate. He is making efforts to communicate with you (even if it si through frustrating grunts and pointing).

My suggestion would be to get him involved in as many activities with other children his age as possible. Be that nursery, toddler singing groups, play groups. The more people who talk to him and use varied words, the more singing and reading you do with him the quicker he will pick things up.

Definitely get his hearing checked. If it is a problem it is better resolved as quickly as possible. If not he could just not be interested in sitting down and learning things. There are plenty of toddlers like that!

Whatever you do with him make it fun. he won't realise he's learning things and will enjoy the attention from you. Hope it helps and hope he's fine

Danielle - posted on 12/29/2010

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Thank you all so much for responding.
It is very encouraging to read that it is not altogether uncommon.
My son has had one diagnosed ear infection when he was 11 months old, but since then we have taken him to the doctors and they have checked his ears on regular check-ups.
I am planning on getting his hearing checked first, and then once that is ruled out I will follow through with other developmental screenings.
I was going to wait until he was around 3, but since he has stopped using the words he does know, and his vocabulary has seemed to stagger; I will take him in now to be safe.
I guess I am just tired of family members and friends implying that he is slow, and looking at me for answers. I just want to feel like I am doing everything I can to improve his situation.
My son is my only child so I am not sure what is normal, or if I could be over reacting.

I really do appreciate everyones responses. It helps keep things in perspective. One step at a time!

Tricia - posted on 12/29/2010

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I just thought I would throw in my 2 cents as a speech pathologist. I agree that every child learns at their own pace and what you are describing is so very common, especially for boys. What you don't say is as important as what you do describe. For example, you do not say that your son was able to feed himself and now he can't or that he WAS able to perform some other fine or gross motor skill but now he can't. Or that he is not engaging in any play activities. That would cause me far greater concern than what you have described. Just know that even when a child doesn't seem to be listening, he is. Don't worry that you don't see the recognition in his eyes. Just remember how rapid children are learning and growing. It's a tremendous amount. It could be that his receptive language is really developing right now and in time he will just begin to string all kinds of words together seemingly overnight. I know it's tough not to compare our children to some other child who is doing this or already doing that but it's not really fair to the child b/c no two children develop exactly the same. So I say, if it would make you feel better to have him evaluated, go ahead but what I would do if I was in your position is to give him until around age three to see where he is at that point. To be honest, at his age, it's difficult to give any definitive diagnosis anyway.

One last thing, has he had any ear infections? Ear infections can cause temporary hearing loss which can affect his comprehension. If I did anything, it would be to have a hearing screening just to rule out any problems that way.

Best of luck!

Wiekie - posted on 12/29/2010

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Dannielle, I would start by having his hearing evaluated. It could be that he suffers some hearing loss, especially if he has had any ear infecrions. This can be reversed quite easily, and could explain why he has not learnt any new word recently. It can also explain his frustration, sometimes all they hear are destorted sounds. Visit your GP or OT. Good luck!

Ashley - posted on 12/29/2010

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My advice is this: the earlier you intervene IF there is a problem, the better. My son has always had a few problems in certain areas. I chalked it up to normal toddler stuff. Now he is in preschool and can't cope. We are having him tested after the new year. The earlier the testing, the better the intervention can work, so if you have ANY doubts at all, or if you have any concerns, just talk to your doctor about early childhood testing. There are free resources in every state that can help if you don't have the insurance or money. And as the Julianne said, it won't hurt to just get him evaluated.

Tristian - posted on 12/29/2010

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Kids learn at their own pace it YOU feel that he should be evaluated then do it. Just remember that all kids learn at their own pace, they will catch on soon enough my niece did not even say her first word until after she turned 1.

Melissa - posted on 12/29/2010

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I understand your situation: my little one will be two in February, and the only word he says is "wow." He grunts and points at everything. I know that he understands me because I can ask him where something is and he can find it. He also has a sense of humor: holding his feet up and making sniffing sounds....but no words. Our pediatrician said that he would not talk as soon as his big brother (who will be 4 in May), but I'm starting to get concerned too. Big brother is a motor mouth, described as "exceptional" by the pediatrician. I'm hoping that our 2-yr check up will yield some answers, if not a referral to someone. But, like someone else said, your concerns warrant an evaluation. Good luck!

Kristine - posted on 12/29/2010

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All kids develope differently...my lil brother didn't really sart talking till he was 3. but most kids his age should be starting to use sentences...I think you should talk to his Dr. & yes maybe getting him evaluated...With my almost 3 year old I make it a game & fun I repeat myself alot if he uses 1 word to ask or tell me somthing I make it into a sentence & repeat it a few times & try to get him to repeat it word for word slowly..

Renae - posted on 12/29/2010

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Hi Danielle, I dont know of a psychologist who will diagnose Autism at 18 months, but I am in Australia, perhaps there are different standards in different parts of the world. I agree that if there is a problem the earlier it is detected the better. :)

Shelley - posted on 12/28/2010

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If u have any doubt get in asap where I am there is wait list after wait list so better to get the referrals in to a development pediatrician. Write everything down it will be easier & u will cover everything you need to at your appt.

Kristin - posted on 12/28/2010

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My first was like this. I don't talk alot, so that did impact his rate of development. I started taking him to lots of story times (library, book stores, etc.) and I got him involved in playgroups, and activites through a local rec center. I also made a bigger effort to read and converse with him. The conversing was the harder of the two. It really takes patience to ask lots of questions and then not accept a grunt or pointing as an answer. I used the phrase "use your words" ALOT.

I guess my point here is, try some or all of the above if you can. And, if this is bothering you that much, get him checked. You know your child best. Good luck.

Jessica - posted on 12/28/2010

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My son, Austin did the same thing as what you are describing. I had him evaluated at the same age as your child is now. It was helpful. He has been in speech therapy for just about a year and a half and I have seen a big improvements. Tantrums are not as often due to the fact that he is growing his vocab. He still has a long way to go but it helped know that all he had was a speech delay. I know that I helped me knowing what exactly was happening and gave me the tools to help him.

Danielle - posted on 12/28/2010

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Thanks everyone for responding.
He scares me so much that he has not started to pick up on a lot of these things.
The reason I was thinking Autism is because he has shown multiple signs, and from the research I have done children can get evaluated as early as 18 months, and was recommended the sooner the better.
I think that if he is evaluated for Autism, and they think he may have a mild form of it; at least then I can try a different approach and technique to hopefully help him advance.
It is very stressful that he isn't talking yet, and when he always gives me a blank stare whenever I am trying to teach him something.
It makes me really sad, and it is starting to affect my patience with him.

Samantha - posted on 12/28/2010

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If you're worried ( and it seems you have reason to be ) then make an apt with his doctor and ask the doctor what their opinion is. They might say he's slightly behind and not worry or send you to someone who can evaluate him and determine if something is acutally wrong. I'm not trying to scare you but my 12 year old had hearing and speech problems. They were due to ear infections and then we found out when he was 5 years old he had severe ADHD. There's so many possiblities of what it could be or it could be nothing and he's just refusing to talk. Put your mind at ease and call his doctor.

Renae - posted on 12/28/2010

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I just read your last post. He is too young for an Autism assessment. During the diagnostic process the parents are interviewed, and the parents usually say that they saw Autistic behaviour exhibited as young as 2 years old, however, Autism cannot be properly diagnosed until the child is around 5 as many of the indicative traits are not consistently displayed until the child is older so the diagnostic process is not suitable for a young toddler. If you are concerned about Autism in particular, I recommend talking with a child psychologist trained to diagnose and treat Autism (and it should, in my personal opinion, never be diagnosed by a family doctor, they are not trained to perform the diagnosis or develop behavioural programs to manage it). All the best. :)

Renae - posted on 12/28/2010

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Your sons vocabulary is not within normal range for his age (around 80 to 300 words from memory - dont quote me, but its something around that). Many of the things you said, the stunted vocabulary, not responding to his name, not following simple instructions and frustration (which I am inferring from the tantrums), lead me to suspect a hearing difficulty. A full audiology test is needed first, followed by an evaluation by a child psychologist to confirm that his speech is the only area that is delayed. Having said that, I dont want to concern you, if there is a hearing problem there is every chance that it can be fixed and at his age he will catch up very quickly. My baby also has delayed speech, and I did have him evaluated at 18 months even though I was pretty sure it was nothing to worry about - if there is a problem then the sooner you start working on it the less of a problem it will be. Talk to your family doctor or peed, or contact a speech and hearing association for children in your area.

Christy - posted on 12/27/2010

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I am so glad I caught this post. My son, now 3 1/2 sounds exactly like your son at that age.

Put it this way, it can't hurt at all to get him assistance to get him to catch up to others his age. I enrolled my son in speech and communication therapy at the age of 2 that lasted through the age of 3 (ECI- Early Childhood Intervention here in Texas, all states have a program like this AND they come to your house for the therapy). After this, he was re evaluated (at age 3 when they "age out") and is now enrolled in a Pre K program at the local school district. He has come a long way from where he was. It was, and IS a Godsend to us. And really, I think he will be just fine once he starts Kindergarten. He just needed a boost I couldn't give him here at home. Some kids develop slower than others and sadly in this day and age, they have to be "like the other kids" in class. Good luck to you and message me anytime!

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