My child is a late talker.
I’m watching my 3 year old son haul Christmas decorations out of the corner of the garage. Although the sun is blazing in the sky and we’re experiencing one of the warmest days on record this year, my little man is singing Jingle Bells as he sets his Santa and ribbons up on the grass. As I sit with him, he chats a mile a minute:
“Gogo wants to make Christmas Mommy.” “Are you having a good day Mommy?” “Gogo wants to ride his bike.” “Ouch, there’s a bee!”
For me, this is pure music to my ears. I haven’t quite gotten over the thrill of listening to him talk. When I wrote ‘2 years old and not talking. New Study says not to worry‘ several years ago, I worried that he never would. After all, I had friends, neighbors, and relatives telling me I should have him checked for Autism (I did, they said he was a late talker), spent hours researching things like Einstein Syndrome (I love history anyway), and had his hearing checked by his doctor and a specialist (Now I wonder why I worried, because he can hear a train coming before I even register it myself). We’ve gone and will continue to go for periodic checkups with speech therapists, because my older kids had speech issues when they started school and the resources are available to us.
It was slow progress. I’ve read that some kids just suddenly start talking at two or three, that there is an explosion of speech in a non-talking two year old and they were having full conversations. It didn’t happen like that for us. There was one day when I was chatting with him, asking him questions, and he was responding with something that sounded like “Of Course.” So I kept asking, and he kept replying that way. To this day, if you ask him a question, he’ll answer “Course” as the affirmative. It’s cute. I’m sure he’ll outgrow that too, just like my now 7 year old used to call his elbows ‘kneeballs.’
Other interesting ways he’s phrased language include talking about himself in the 3rd person. He calls himself Gogo, which is not his name but I’m OK with this. It suits him, because he’s one of those kids that will jump, run, climb, and ride over anything. He even ditched his training wheels last week, and he’s not even 4 yet. He’ll also have an entire conversation with anyone about Pirates of the Caribbean and Captain Jack Sparrow, although he hasn’t seen the movies. He just loves Captain Jack, and will talk about gold doubloons, scurvy pirates, and the Jolly Roger all day.
So for us, the study I based “Two years old and not talking?” on seems to have rung true. He has almost caught up with other kids his age, although there are certain things we still need to work on, and I’m sure by the time he starts school he’ll be exactly the same speech wise.
If you’ve had a late talker who’s bloomed over the past few years, what’s your favorite part of watching them grow up?
Update October 2014 – My son is now 5 years old and he started kindergarten full time this past September. To say that he talks in full sentences would be an understatement. The child who practically wouldn’t utter a word until he was 3 years old now tells me he needs to have a ‘conversation’ with me about his favorite game and that he ‘doesn’t like where this is going’ when he’s in trouble for something.
According to his new teacher, his vocabulary is above average.
Hugs to all the worried moms who might be reading this.
Thanks for this post, my son is 2 yrs and 3 months old and babbles in his own language. Recently he has started to say Hi, and sometimes he says mom or dadda. This leaves us frustrated because my mother constantly makes me worry about him. She thinks we don’t do enough to encourage him to speak. But we speak all day, explain everything we do and so forth. Your post gave me some peace of mind. Our son is happy and cheerful boy. He has always been far beyond his peers when it comes to motor skills, playing with balls, climbing everything, and learns fast when it comes to physical movement. Still I have to feel that we’ve done something wrong because he does not speak yet. We speak 3 languages in our family and we live far away from our family who only visits once a year. So they only watch our son on facetime. I will follow your advice to get him checked although he seems fine to me.
We have about the same problem. My daughter is 26 months and although she says a lot of words, she only says two or three sentences. She hears two languages and I think that makes it harder for her to start speaking.
This is wonderful article and great encouragement!!! I cannot thank you enough
thank you for this! I was looking for articles about son not yet talking at 2 and you just gave me a peace of mind.
Thank you for the article. My daughter is 22 months old and she does not say any words. She makes random sounds whenever she wants, but does not make those sounds when we ask her to — basically we can’t ask her to do something that she does not want to do (she is quite stubborn).
On the flip side, she is a very active and perceptive kid. She climbs and jumps on everything! One day she climbed a high ladder and was about to jump off it, when I grabbed her. Her stamina for physical activities is amazing. We adopted her when she was around 8 months old, and she was walking by 13 months. She can outrun me and my husband. She once saw me lift keys with my toes (because my hands weren’t free) and decided she wanted to do the same. She practiced and practiced until she was able to pick keys with her toes. Also, she understands everything we say. We have to actually watch what we say around her and switch languages or spell words so she doesn’t understand certain things (such as ‘hide the phone or she will throw it’). She expresses herself very well through hand gestures, pointing and making faces.
My gut feel is that she just doesn’t want to talk right now. That’s not her priority. She is too buy exploring the world around her, and thinks playing is more fun than using her energy towards speech. I want to wait until she is at least two and a half years old before I think about speech. Also, we might start preschool for her when she turns two. That might help he talk as she watches other kids. At the end of the day, if she seems happy, active, and sure of herself, I am good with it.
Thank you so much for posting your experience with your child. To read all the above comments from other parents who experience the same situation as I am with my precious 2 year old makes me feel I am not alone. For once I don’t feel like a failure as a parent as most people have been making me feel about how my daughter doesn’t speak much. But I can see that she is starting to learn and understand which no one else will truly see it the way a mother can.
Thank you for posting this. I’ve been googling all over the Internet trying to find a way to get my son talking. I feel defeated. I have heard time and time again from family members about autism or some kids just being “slower” than others. I love my son to death. He’s the pride of my life, and he has done so many things early. Walked by 9 months, climbed by 12… He is very far advanced physically, but lacking in communication. He just had his second birthday, and instead of enjoying it I had the “helpful” advice of friends and relatives telling me about all the possible problems he is, and what I’m doing wrong, that when the guests left I put my son down for a nap and just cried. I know it sounds petty, but I try so hard and it really hurts my feelings when people base my sons intelligence on one skill, rather than looking how advanced he is on other things.
I’m so sorry that happened to you, and on his birthday too. 🙁 Your child not talking is not a direct reflection on you as a parent. That drives me crazy when others judge a mom about something like this.
When people started bugging me about my son at that age I made the decision to take him to my doctor and a speech therapist to have him assessed. That way when someone got on me, I’d snowball them with all of the info I had. It put my mind at ease too, because I wasn’t just worrying, I had help in figuring out whether something was wrong.
My son is going to be 7 now and he talks normally (no speech issues at all), does great in school, and has zero behavioral problems. He has a bigger vocabulary now than most of the other kids in his class, so if anyone tells you that all late talkers have issues, it’s not true.
Hang in there! Hugs to you, and happy birthday to your little guy!