The Struggle to Speak


Everyone says boys speak later than girls. So, at first, I accepted that as why our son struggled to speak.

But then, I started to hear kids younger than my 18 month old son speak in spontaneous sentences. The seemingly gifted children verbalized appropriate numbers and colors. Friends casually talked about everything their little ones said, as I felt pangs of fleeting jealousy.

I continued to read to him even when he clearly tuned me out and desperately verbalized everything we did. I mimicked every sound he made. I modeled baby sign language, letting my son turn the pages on the book, hoping he would absorb them that way. He didn’t.

At his check up, our pediatrician recommended Early Intervention’s (EI) state services, who partnered us with a team of excellent therapists at 606 Speech in Chicago. They diagnosed our son with an isolated speech delay.

The older he got, the more frustrated he became. He screamed and yelled. I cried.

When he was really at a loss, he planked. His whole body got stiff as he declared war against leaving the park. That action became his only defense against authority figures – parents, Grandma, Grandpa, aunts and uncles. Everyone wants a voice – to be heard and understood and our sweet little man struggled to find his.

Progress seemed slow at best, despite the twice-a-week therapy sessions. I hated practicing those damn speech exercises more than my little one; I didn’t want to force my baby boy to blow a whistle if he wasn’t ready. I wanted more fun time with him and felt like it was never going to get better. Was this all my fault since I spent 40 plus hours a week outside of the home? Was it my DNA? Was it the result of sleep training?

But, slowly, my son began to mimic almost everything he heard. He started to regularly use sentences and imitate reading at about two-and-a-half. Friends and family were right; his vocabulary quickly multiplied.

Eventually, his vocabulary and speech exploded. He now verbalizes exactly what he wants. Today, I sometimes eavesdrop and giggle at his animated conversation with friends.

These days, it’s hard to imagine that he ever had a speech delay. It is pure joy to watch our son’s confidence grow. I can hardly slow him down from his exercises as he blows chocolate milk all over our floor. For me, the whole experience was a lesson in overcoming obstacles. I know life will knock him down, but I hope he’ll always maintain the confidence to try again… and always find his voice.

About the writer

Julia is a grateful hurricane Mom who tries to slow down as she writes the blog Lipstick, Lollipops & Life. Just like you, things happen. She shares them on Facebook and Twitter and tries to laugh and make it through the day.


Rachel 6 months ago

Thank you so much for this article. It really spoke to me!

Rach 1 year ago

Be very careful about thinking that a bit of intervention will make speech delay go away. Language disorder is not just a delay and is a chronic condition that requires many years of therapy into adulthood in many cases, otherwise known as SLI when there are no other problems (not socially impaired or motor control issues). It is a big deal and needs to be caught young but please do not fall into the trap of saying ‘it’ll be alright’. It took me years to stop the professionals fobbing me off and get a proper diagnosis for my Daughter at 6 yo, she had the language of a 3yo and still struggles enormouslu now despite round the clock help. It is an invisible disability and there is such a lack of awareness because people think ‘oh they’ll grow out of it’ not if its a brain wired up differently scrambling language they won’t. Get diagnosis not excuses for why boys talk later than girls or read a book everyday etc etc. early intervention is key.

Randéll 1 year ago

brought tears of joy to my eyes. Thank you for this. My son will get there eventually <3

Desiree Shangraw 2 years ago

glad everything turned out well in the long hoping it does for me and my little man..dealing with a VERY similar situation right now..working with people like that for him and everything..he’s almost 3 and we’ve tried everything..always done sensory games and all the sign language..VERY hands on mommy lol ..he was saying mama at about 6/7 months old but aftr u hear something its like he just never does it again..hes said mama dada lala all b4 but only a few times and then it just seems to disappear..everyone keeps telling me he eventually will in his own time but im not sure..they’ve technically evaluated him and told me he has a delay also..i just dont get it though..besides the talking he’s a friggin genius!he runs pretty much any sort of electronic device(dvd player,tv,computer,touch-screen phone)gets outside to play EVERY day..loves to drive any toy vehicle and is totally amazing at it..he even pretends to drive the real car and knows where everything is and what its for! he even helps me cook and loves many 2yr olds do u knw that can crack eggs?!i just dont get it but hopefully in time

Twin Scheetz 2 years ago

Currently going through this with my 2-year-old boy/girl twins. We’re in EI, and my little girl is in speech therapy every other week. I am seeing improvement in both of them…no real words, yet, but the babbling is taking off, and I’m hearing new consonants every week. There are also times when I swear they are repeating things I say, like “in” when I say something like, “toy goes in box.” It’s a long road, but I think we’ll get there, one way or another…

Dawn Leonard Hawkins 2 years ago

Been through this. Very rough!

Kayla 2 years ago

our daughters speech was delayed as well… we believe it was due to being confused over the english/spanish she didnt really start being understandable until about 3 and a half (i could almost always understand what she said those few words she could speak i could understand what she was asking for or saying) she got put into a school for the disabled at 3 and has almost 3 years of the greatest pre-school ever, with a teacher who understood how to help her (this class room she was in was mostly autistic children and children witch speech delays) she had 2 days a week with a speech therapist and with in a few months you could see the difference. today she is 5 and about to start kindergarten in the fall with all the other kids she will still have her therapy for who knows how long but only to help with her spanish accents. i couldnt be more proud of how far she has come.

patti 2 years ago

We live in the UK and intervention is a bit later here. If your child is 2 and not speaking yet, this is not a big deal. I believe in early intervention. my son was not speaking at 2, I wanted to act then but because some kids have normal delay and others are from some kind of underlying causes. You’ll never know until they are a bit older. Lableing kids is very dangerous. I read all kinds of things online and autism was always something that came up. It wasnt until we were in a group speach session with other kids that I fully realised how normal my son was. His problem was speach related only. He is now 4 and not exactly where he should be speach wise, but talking up a storm. By the time kindergarden rolls around in september he’ll be ready. Some of the kids in his speach sessions now who are 4 and 5 are still really struggling. You’d never know that this kind of thing happens unless you are seeing it first hand. It’s hard not to worry. I think up until the age of two you really should just relax. After two if you still feel like things aren’t moving along then go for the help. My daughter is 15 months now and not speaking alot either. I’m more relaxed now. I’ll wait it out and see how she is on her second birthday.

Suze 2 years ago

I have a “through the roof” gifted son, who was very late to speak. (His prematurity probably didn’t help). We did baby sign language until he was well into his two’s. Not many could understand him at 3 or 4. Perseverance, love & patience, lots of patience. Now he’s a strapping 13 year old whom I wish some days would just be quiet! lol

Lachelle Carroll Culbreath 2 years ago

Speech delays are very common and treated with speech therapy. ALL states have EI (early intervention) systems and parents can make the referral themselves. If your pediatrician does not refer your child or listen to your concerns, get the number and call in the referral yourself! EI systems provide speech and other therapies and special instruction (teachers). Each state covers differently, but in some states (Tennessee and others) there is no charge to families for services. Even if your child isn’t eligible, at least you know they’re doing OK!

Jen Frasier Capuano 2 years ago

My daughter is currently going through this, she’s 22 months and only has about 10-15 words. :( It’s so hard to watch her get so upset and not be able to express herself. She’s in speech therapy and early intervention. Crossing my fingers it gets better soon.

v 2 years ago

My 19 m.o. little gal is having a lot of difficulty and I’m a Ft sahm. My guilt is overwhelming and efforts are at max given all the other bs going on. She qualifies for ei which is once per month, though I feel its not enough. She is now hitting her own head when frustrated. I’m pretty proactive but not sure how to divert this physical expression. She also seems to get hot over nothing at all, not seemingly nothing. I mean legit nothing…. ideas?

Nicole Zajac-Kadelak 2 years ago

My son was diagnosed with Apraxia at 18 months. His speech therapist was wonderful! He’s now 6 and at age level. Something we never thought would happen! Not only did I listen to his team but I did a lot of research on my own. We also had him start taking omega 3’s. I’m not sure if he was just at the point where everything started clicking or the omega but I am a believer! I wish all the other parents who are helping their child find their voice best of luck and prayers!

Danielle R Newell 2 years ago

my son is going to be 4 next month he just started speaking words. no sentences :(

Dawn Williams Doorley 2 years ago

I can so so SO relate to this post…..

Dawn 2 years ago

My son was about to turn 1 when I knew something wasn’t right…he was our second child and I thought they would do everything faster than the firstborn. All of my friends and family told me i was being an “overachiever” and pushing my son too hard…if I heard the comment “maybe he doesn’t have anything to say” or “maybe his brother does all the talking for him” I was going to start punching people in the face…that wasn’t the problem I wanted to scream at them!! Long story short…we have graduated from 2 years of early intervention and are almost 2 years Into Outpatient speech therapy…..which makes me want to scream to strangers I told you so!

Alison Hansen 2 years ago

I could have written this… Just 2 weeks ago we going out he was no longer eligible for services when he goes to K in the fall. He’s worked so hard for the last 2.5 years and I’m so thankful for all the help we’ve gotten. Such a proud mommy moment!!

Aja 2 years ago

This morning I received the results of a speech assessment for my two year old son. He will start therapy next week.This article could not have come at a better time.

D 2 years ago

I wish I would have read this article sooner. I was beginning to be concerned with my little boy too and compared his progress to other children. One day he just exploded in words, small phrases and is beginning to put sentences together.

I always think that the author’s of these articles are so brave to put their lives, fears, and hopes out there for everyone to read. Thank you so much for your courage and I am so happy your little boy is flourishing!

Cara Laffey 2 years ago

Also, seven years ago there wasn’t much out.there about Apraxia. Now there is and I love it!

Cara Laffey 2 years ago

My son is 9 and was diagnosed with Apraxia as well a severe phonological disability at.four yrs old. Anyone that talks to him now would never know. He’s currently working on the r sound and it’s truly amazing how far he’s come. Spelling isn’t easy for him, but he loves Don’t let anyone tell you your child won’t read or ever speak normally. With hours and I mean HOURS of speech therapy and a good.advocate, your child will overcome this disability. Celebrate small accomplishments and hang in there. It gets better!!

Nancy Oliver 2 years ago

Living this right now. Thank you :)

Michelle Montalto DuFour 2 years ago

I have twin boys two years three months old. Been in early intervention for a year. One is starting to speak. The other I’ve only ever heard him say me or bye. It’s so hard. Praying he starts to speak soon.

Ingrid Koch 2 years ago

Apraxia parents, I’m curious about your journey. My son is three and no one has mentioned Apraxia. I’m pretty confident he has it. He’s been in speech therapy for a year but it doesn’t feel like it’s been very useful. I feel like his interaction with his five year old brother has provided him with the best therapy thus far. I’m a bit puzzled why no one has mentioned apraxia.

    Heather Adams 2 years ago

    My son has apraxia, he was diagnosed at 3 and he is 4 now and still only has a handful of words that he uses sporadically. Finding someone that knows about apraxia is extremely difficult. Most people have never heard of it. I would suggest you see a developmental pediatrician and a SLP that has experience with Apraxia. A LOT of SLPS do not have experience with it. I know you said your son is the best therapy but apraxia is about muscles not communicating with the brain. No amount of social interaction can overcome that. It is more about mouth exercises and working on how to move your mouth. I could go on and on but instead I would recommend joining the Apraxia support group here on Facebook and read some of the stories. Good luck! It’s a long, long journey.

    Ingrid Koch 2 years ago

    Thank you both so much. I am at a loss right now. He has speech therapy tomorrow so I will most definitely mention it. His speech is just like you describe, Veronica. Almost his own language with very few consanant sounds…almost entirely vowels. He’s very self conscious about it and refuses to repeat any words or sounds if prompted. He never babbled. First said mama when he was almost 2.5. This is an eye opener. thank you so much.

Jo Mastin 2 years ago

My boy has apraxia, too. At first, I attributed his delay to the boy thing and having a verbose sister. I wish I had gotten help earlier, because the speech therapy not only helps him, but helps me understand what I can do to help him find his voice. Thank you for sharing….

Melissa Kay Hampton 2 years ago

My son spoke late, too. At 2 yrs, he used half words, and few at that. He blossomed by 3, and in pre-k, his teacher was stunned at vocabulary :) At 18 months, my daughter had a vocabulary like he had at 3. They’re all different. I cant wait to hear how Kid 3 talks :)

Jennifer Gaffney 2 years ago

In speech therapy now. See lots of progress. Has also helped with his frustration level immensely. I didn’t need him to talk as much as his sister (really really don’t) but when he was in tears and I had no idea what for and it he’d just gets more frustrated because I have no idea then we needed some help.

Cassandra Blackler 2 years ago

My middle son was dead silent on the speech front until almost 2. No babbling, nothing. He finally started sporadic words at 2, but exceptionally rarely, and then only to us or his older brother. I was convinced he was just a late talker bc his older brother never shut up. Pediatrician agreed. He’s now 4 1/2, and still can not form about 1/4 of the letter sounds, can not say blends, can not even pronounce his own name correctly. He throws epic tantrums bc he’s frustrated at not being understood. Beware the idea of “he’s just a late bloomer”, bc sometimes, he’s not. Better to get them checked out early, than be sitting with a 4 1/2 year old who still sounds two because you were to stubborn to admit maybe something was wrong.

Kimberly Nelson 2 years ago

I needed to read this today! Thank you!

Angela 2 years ago

I am a Speech Pathologist in Early Intervention and I just wanted to mention that any of the strategies that should be used for this age group should be FUN! If you and your son “hated practicing” then there was something wrong with the program. Most if not all strategies for this age group should be easy to work into your daily life and should not be a burden. That is why Early Intervention is trickier than one might think–you have to be creative to find ways to engage each child in a way that THEY find exciting and rewarding. I am glad that your son is now so verbal. Some kids really do just need the gift of time, which doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t receive therapy, it just means that a therapist should be able to look for signs that your son is one of those kids and reassure you by giving you all the tools you need to help maximize your child’s success while also not pushing them farther than they are able to at that moment in their development.

Danielle Kingston Fry 2 years ago

Been there, still doing it for both my kids. Here’s hoping to a happy ending!

Ann 2 years ago

Thank you. I really needed to read this today. I think this is the same path I am heading down. My 4th boy is almost 2.5 and he makes sounds, but no words. You made me feel like it will all work out.

Robin 2 years ago

This is our story too. We started EI at 15 months and it was a godsend. By age three, my son no longer had a speech delay. Some of it was growing older, yes, but without that help I am not quite sure where we’d be today. Glad your son is doing so well. Thanks for sharing!

Katy Busch 2 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing this. My son will be 2 next month and I can still easily count the number of words he can say. Some of those words fluctuate from day to day or week to week in how well he seems to say them. He points and grunts and pulls us to show us what he wants and will throw himself on the floor in frustration when we don’t understand. After 2 very verbal girls (one who was singing twinkle twinkle little star at 17months) I’ve wondered, but been hesitant to assume something is wrong knowing that every child develops at his/her own pace. It’s just so nice to hear someone else’s story, to know we’re not alone.

Stacey Lewis 2 years ago

I knew when my son was 9 months old that something was wrong with his speech. He didn’t babble or make any sounds as my friend’s kids did. I asked his pedi about at his 9 month appointment & was told it was too early to be worried. At 12 months the only thing he said was “da”. Again I mentioned it to his pedi. Again I was told to wait. At 15 months he still made no sounds other than “da”. No animal sounds, no “mama”, no babbling. I INSISTED something was wrong & I wanted him seen by a speech therapist. I was right. My son was diagnosed with Apraxia. He started speech right away. He’s 2.5 now, & he talks some but is still very speech delayed. Without my insistence that something was wrong, he probably still wouldn’t be talking.

Lesley Harrison 2 years ago

My eldest son speech was very clear at 18 months spoke in full sentences and made sense my youngest is 3and starts full time school in September he has been involved with speech therapy since 12 months at first it was down to him not been able to chew and couldn’t handle the texture of food if not blended with no lumps he then was having difficulty with speech so have been working with speech therapist for 2 and half years he talks now although has problems with sounds c been one of them we work 10 min a day on speech and pre school do the same still a long way to go but slowly getting there

Kristine 2 years ago

My son ended up going into speech therapy at 33 months….I know, I did not realize he had a problem until boys in the same music class could speak in complete sentences. After going to an audiologist and a neurologist (who said since his grandfather was a PhD and his uncle an engineer and were both late speakers there was nothing wrong with him), his vocabulary was that of a 14 month old. After a couple of years, he was speaking and able to communicate with his peers. It was like a switch was turned on for him. He stayed in speech until the end of 6th grade and now he is in honor classes in jr high, and getting ready for high school next school year!

Sandy Elvenholl 2 years ago

My youngest has been routinely delayed in every milestone. Speech being the hardest. I have moments of worrying, still. But he’s making progress. Thanks for sharing. Hearing others that have gone through it makes it easier.

Megan Janusek Cyr 2 years ago

Thank You for sharing this. I am a mom of 2 and my daughter hit all the milestones right on time but I knew something was wrong when my son wasn’t saying mama (or anything) at 18M. We voiced our concerns with our pediatrician and and began our journey to get approved for speech therapy though early interventions. So excited that we were officially approved for 2X a week this morning. I can’t wait to get this started. I know it won’t be easy but will do whatever I need to do.

Nelly Lantsman 2 years ago

I just tagged you so you would see that we’re not the only ones and it’s ok dude

newbuffalomom 2 years ago

2 of my 3 boys required speech intervention. One of them is on the Autistic spectrum and required more than just speech.
“Leo The Late Bloomer” was and is my favorite book.

On a side note, my youngest boy I swear was born talking, but he is very much an Aspie. Go figure.

All of my boys now have no problem expressing themselves verbally. My middle son mourned having to leave speech therapy because he no longer needed it. (6+ years!)

Boris Lantsman 2 years ago

Yes Nelly also if you read some of the comments, people are saying once child went to preschool or daycare it helped out tremendously…

Denicia 2 years ago

Thank you so much for this. It gives me hope. My son will be 2 next month & only says a handful of words. I’m very worried the doctor will send us for therapry. I know he will eventually start taking non stop. I just need to be patient.

Maeve Rhuad 2 years ago

I got a lot of flack from people. Especially from mom’s who only had girls. My son didn’t really talk much until he was 2 1/2. It really bothered my sister. She thought he was dumb. I knew he was not. He’s in kindergarten now and at the top of his class. He amazes me with his reading. So there! Lol

Karen Burbage 2 years ago

My son didn’t say much for the longest time. An over zealous pediatrician convinced my ex-husband that something was terribly wrong when our son was nearing his 2nd birthday. We went to a specialist that observed him for a few minutes, checked out his mouth and ears and sent us on our way assuring us of what I already knew – he was fine and would speak when he was ready. Sure enough within 6 months there was a huge difference and by 3 he was unstoppable. Now that he is closing in on 8 I have a hard time keeping up with his constant conversations and marvel at his vocabulary. I think Drs are too quick to diagnose “problems” where there aren’t any. All kids are different and if they need help that’s one thing, but just bc they’re not on track with what a piece of paper says doesn’t mean there’s actually a problem.

    Lachelle Carroll Culbreath 2 years ago

    Better safe than sorry and it’s much easier to remediate missing skills at age two than it is at age five, or eight.

Heather Brown Lehrach 2 years ago

My son was also diagnosed with Apraxia. Only said 3 words at almost 2. And them stopped saying mama. A year of twice a week Early Invention for speech and very supportive family and he was off and running with speech! We could understand him and he could communicate! I can’t say enough wonderful things about the magic of Early Intervention!!! Now he’s 4 and honestly doesn’t stop talking but it’s a beautiful thing!

Judy Weiss 2 years ago

Mom of a child with Apraxia here…… The first time he counted up to 20 I managed to catch it on video. Bawled my eyes out. :) :)

Shanna Richardson 2 years ago

You couldn’t understand a word my son said until he was 3 & 1/2.. other than mama, he just made gibberish noises. One day he woke up and started talking clearly and now at 5, you can’t shut him up. He just wasn’t ready to talk I suppose. Literally over night, he began speaking full sentences clearly. Boys will be boys :)

Stephanie Hall Bennett 2 years ago


Melissa W Flint 2 years ago

My son didn’t really say anything other than “mama” & “dada” until he was 3. I had friends & family tell me to take him to a doctor. I knew in my heart he was just a late bloomer. Going to preschool did wonders for his speech. He’s now 4 and NEVER shuts up from sunup to sundown :)

Judy 2 years ago

As I read your story I saw my own story with my son. He, too, didn’t speak until well after he turned 2 years old and I also suffered from the jealously of other moms and their much younger kids speaking so much. We also did EI in NYC and within 4 months my son’s vocabulary began to grow and by 6 months it was off the charts. He is so articulate that a lot of those same friends whose kids were already talking are jealous of me because of how how well my son speaks today and the fact that he has been reading since he was almost 4. Thanks for sharing your story and I hope you know you’re not alone!

Kristie Brisby 2 years ago

My youngest daughter was just shy of 2 when dr suggested intervention. But when she turned 2 almost overnight her vocabulary exploded. I am very thankful there are programs for children that need them, but for my child all she needed was some extra time. Everyone knows their own child. You know if theres a problem, just dont fall prey to what kids “should” be doing at a certin age.

Heather Holter 2 years ago

My twins said very little before 3 yrs old and I was concerned but my Dr was not and nothing was done. It is thought that twins sometimes have these issues because they hear each other talk more than adults so I decided to wait it out. At preschool screening they had to be retested for speech with a more extensive test because they failled the initial test. They both passed with the minimum of points. I was relieved but knew they were right on the fence so I waited and watched carefully and soon enough they started talking better. Now at almost 6 yrs old they never stop talking! LOL

Michelle Lardin 2 years ago

My son, now almost 17, didn’t start talking until he was almost 4. All I heard for years was Daaa! He would point to things and say it, I was eventually able to decipher what he wanted by his annunciation. The Pediatrician said it was a sign of intelligence, he’s observing before speaking, and some kids will not speak unless they are confident in their abilites. Well, as soon as he was ready he busted out with full sentences, fortunately, no speech therapy required. Turns out, he does not do/say anything to this day unless he’s confident in himself :)

Cassie 2 years ago

My son is 2.5 and only just started forming sentences. Up until a couple months ago he only had a few words and never repeated me. He didn’t even call me Mama until a few months ago. Now he doesn’t stop saying it! He has an eating disorder as well that started at birth. Will only eat 4 or 5 foods. Applesauce, eggs with cheese, spaghetti-os, chicken nuggets and sometimes toast. I give him toddler formula in his milk and hide sweet potato, squash or carrot baby food in his applesauce or he would starve. He doesn’t recognize hunger pain and seems to hate chewing. He was a preemie and had a feeding tube at birth. He always had trouble keeping things down too. I wondered if this was connected to his lack of speech. He is still difficult to understand. But it was when I started giving him the toddler formula last month that he really showed improvement with his speech. Thank god for that stuff <3

Kim Grant 2 years ago

After having a daughter who spoke early and did basically everything by the book I took notice when our son had a speech delay. He has recently been accepted into our state’s birth to three program for speech therapy and after being evaluated they noticed he didn’t really breathe through his nose, so we got him checked out by an ENT and my little 27 month old baby boy has to have his adenoids and tonsils removed in less than 3 weeks. He also doesn’t sleep very well, still gets up throughout the night and just sits in his room talking to himself for hours, makes a ‘cckkk’ sound, snores, drools and is just a loud breather. All things I never even thought to contribute to his adenoids and tonsils. We are hoping after surgery things greatly improve :)
Moral of the story, if you think something is wrong, if your gut is telling you it is more than just a delay, push for more answers and have him/her evaluated because they may see something you don’t :)

Tonya Allen Potter 2 years ago

My son spent 3 years in speech now is in 2nd grade but reading/math at 5th grade :) dr told me nothing was wrong. Had to get him evaluated on my own. Momma always knows best. We also found a new dr. :-)

Jenni Hamilton 2 years ago

EI services has been the best thing for my son. He’s 4. He’s been in early childhood education class for a year and it has helped tremendously.

Becca Gobeille 2 years ago

We’re right there with you. Mine had lots of words, but no verbs and no sentences. Been in speech therapy for a few months and now we’re catching up!

Mandy May 2 years ago

My 14 month old daughter said a few milestone words and then clammed up. She mostly grunts or screams. She knows a couple of signs. I know she hears fine, she enjoys music and dances. Our pediatrician says to give it another month or so and then we will talk speech therapy if she isn’t making syllables. I’m hopeful.

Amy Evers 2 years ago

My son didn’t start talking until age 3 and that was after a couple months of speech therapy (service ended at age 3). He talks ALL the time now lol

erin 2 years ago

I totally relate to this. At my son’s 18 month check up the pediatrician recommended a speech therapist. I thought that’s crazy! He’s mimicking words but cannot clearly pronounce them besides Mama, Dada, Papa etc… But for say “juice” sounds more like “juu” or “hot” is just “haa”. Should I really be concerned and actually visit a therapist now? I thought if it was still an issue by 2 I’d consider it…

Katie Penshorn Healy 2 years ago

My son is what you would call developmentally delayed. Got him help when I was referred to services garter his two year check up and he was barely speaking any words.Maybe a handful.Had a speech therapist come for about a year,and now he is in a special education classroom,and he is thriving!Im so grateful that these programs exist.Ut truly broke my heart to see my son get so upset when he couldn’t verbalize what he needed.

Christine Stephenson 2 years ago

My son is 2 next month and says.mama dada Asda nana.but.that is all at the minute xxx

gertie 2 years ago

We are going through a speech delay with my son too. He turned 2 in March and at that time was only saying three words which he had been saying since before he was one. It is very frustrating for us and for him. Our pediatrician also referred us for therapy and he sees his speech therapist only once every other week. I could increase it if I wanted but I don’t want to put too much pressure on him. We are very thankful for the services as they have helped. He now says 17 words spontaneously but still isn’t eager to try many words. We are closing the gap slowly but surely and hope he will start talking more soon. He is a very good non-verbal communicator using a lot of gestures etc. and that helps sometimes.

Gramma of a child with Apraxia 2 years ago

Sometimes a speech delay is more than that. My grandson has Childhood Apraxia of Speech, which is actually a motor function disorder. The child knows what they want to say, but the tongue, mouth, lips can not form the words properly. Your pediatrician should be able to refer you to a good speech pathologist that would be able to diagnose if CAS is the issue. This is not autism or related in any way. Intelligence and cognitive abilities are not affected. My grandson is almost 3 now, and after a year of regular speech therapy, he now has about 25 words in his vocabulary, and is trying many more. We celebrate every word he says.

    Jenn 2 years ago

    My son was never officially diagnosed but his preschool speech therapist said based on the issue she was seeing her unofficial diagnosis was Speech Apraxia. She said he was to young for it to be official at the time. He had help for 2yrs in preschool then tested out of needing help about 2/3 of the way into his Kinder year. His speech is not perfect but it is in the normal range and getting better all the time.

Jessica Williams-Cox 2 years ago

Our son was diagnosed with verbal apraxia at the age of 2..We sought help from a great speech therapist. After 3 years of therapy the kid is all talk!! It was a struggle but we made it!

Kara 2 years ago

It’s so good to hear that your son is talking. We are struggling with this now. Gabe is 20 months old, but has the speech of an 11 month old. He says 5 words and then there is his made-up word “gunk”. I am so tired of hearing that word.

Katie Penshorn Healy 2 years ago

I totally can relate to what you have gone through with your son.

Amanda Taylor 2 years ago

In my second year of EI with my twins. It has been amazing!! Can’t believe that I know have to ask them repeatedly to be quite!

Bryanna Ward Lemanski 2 years ago

After having two chattering girls, I was blessed with a boy who had a speech delay. He didn’t babble as a baby. The pediatrician kept telling me he was fine. Finally at 18 months I demanded further evaluation. His hearing was great, and nothing physically was keeping him from speaking. He just didn’t have anything to say. After a year of speech therapy he finally uttered “Mama” for the first time and he hasn’t quieted down since.

Alyssa Breighner 2 years ago

I had him evaluated every year for three years and he was always right on the border of qualifying for services. Finally at 5 he qualified. But only because his school uses common core curriculum and they don’t teach letter names, just sounds. He couldn’t make half the sounds. He’s been getting services for 6 months and I’m noticing a big improvement. It’s sad that kids who need it can’t get services until it interferes with their schooling

    lori 2 years ago

    I had to respond to you. I can’t ignore the blatant misinformation you are peddling here. There is no such thing as ‘common core curriculum’. There are common core standards. There are tons of different curriculum programs a school may choose to use. Lots of curriculum is correlated to the common core standards as nearly all of our states have adopted the standards so that, get this, there is a standard set of skills all American students will acquire no matter where they live or go to school in this country. Common core standards DO require students learn letter names AND sounds. Students—key word there: STUDENTS—can qualify for public school supplied speech therapy ONCE they are students. He wasn’t a public school student until he was 5, upon entering Kindergarten. If you had such a serious concern, you could have gotten private speech therapy for him but in all honesty would probably have been turned away being told to relax and give your son a chance to develop at his own pace those 3 years from the ages of two to five.

      yoene 2 years ago

      Public school systems often service children starting at age three, if they qualify. My son received services, for speech, at the local elementary school, after his third birthday. He received services through 6th grade, but the ones he received before kindergarden saved him from being too far behind from the start. There are usually state services available for children under three, through the Program for Infants and Children. Each program has different threshholds for qualification. Alyssa’s experience is not incorrect or uncommon. Good for her for pursuing her child’s best interests.

        lori 2 years ago

        In your own words IF THEY QUALIFY. That means if they are found to have a speech and language disability/delay. I did not say anything remotely near what you are implying by stating good for her for pursuing her child’s best interests. I spoke against the dishonest LYING about the common core and the incorrect/dishonest anecdote about her child not receiving services.She herself said he didn’t qualify then proceeded to rail, again—dishonestly–against the big bad common core. Soo sick of it.

Kimberly ‘Kearnes’ Hicks 2 years ago

Been there, doing that :)

Wendzilla 2 years ago

Went though the same with my son. He had chronic allergies that caused fluid build up in his ears that kept him from hearing correctly. He had 4 sets of ear tubes before the age of 5! I recommend hearing tests for anyone going through speech delay. He is now a very talkative 12 year old.

Michelle McStay Doyle 2 years ago

My daughter is currently in EI for a speech delay. I couldn’t have read this at a better time so thank you!

Erica Starink 2 years ago

My son is 3,5 years old and can’t speak normally :-(

Alyssa Breighner 2 years ago

I’ve known my son has had speech issues since he was two.

Jennifer Erin Sowell 2 years ago

Been in speech with my child since 18 months. Also went through EI here in SC. At 5 she still has some issues forming certain sounds, but her speech is incredibly improved. It’s been a long road, but now she’s ready for K in August!

Social Butterfly Mom 2 years ago

Beautiful piece, Julia. I have a friend who takes her child for speech therapy. I’m so glad that our state offers such great services. It sounds like he’s truly thriving! :)

Barb Touw 2 years ago

Early intervention is the key! My oldest son was in the less than one percentile for his speech at age 3.5. With hard work by the time he entered kindergarten you would never know he had a delay. He is now 13 & talks non-stop.

Amberiella 2 years ago

It is generally true that boys develop speech later because the floods of testosterone that masculinize the brain cause the left brain hemisphere (where the primary speech center is located) to atrophy slightly, and is also why males tend to be less language oriented overall.

Also, sometimes children (usually males, but not always) can experience a very rapid growth of the math/spacial reasoning areas that is so dominant that the growth of the speech centers is neglected for a long time, resulting in very late speakers. Those often turn out to be geniuses.

Sunny 2 years ago

Our son is two and uses maybe five or six words. But he always finds his way. I’m not worried at all, even our pediatrician say it’s normal.
I think in almost every case the kids just have their own speed.
Just wonder why doctors react so differently to the same thing.

Laura 2 years ago

Going through this now with our 27 month old son. EI was quick to want to label him autistic, but he has NO other signs except speech delay. Your post gives me hope that the sign language, exercises, tears are all going to be worth it. We’ve seen huge improvements just in the few months he’s been in therapy. I’ve had the same feelings of self doubt as you and have shed a lot of years at my desk after a therapy session. Here’s hoping…..

annie 2 years ago

This is such a good reminder for those of us that worry and compare (which honestly is probably most parents). Slow down – kids develop at their own speeds. I need a reality check sometimes…thanks Julia!


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