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Worried about his speech

Hi there, this has been niggling in my mind for a while now and after today, feel I should get it off my chest and get some feedback from other parents!

My son has just turned 2, we are bringing him up bilingually and he understands more or less everything we say in both languages. He can clearly communicate what he wants to us and I don't have any concerns regarding his general understanding/interaction/physical development etc.

However, he doesn't actually say many proper words at all, he says 'hiya', 'bye', 'duck' and 'hot' and that's about it at the moment. He calls me and his Dad the same name, some random word like 'dadn' and almost everything else he refers to as 'dats'. He had his 2 year check today, the Health Visitor was here for all of 5 minutes and when I brought up the issue of speech, she just asked if he could say 10 words or more. At the time, I panicked and said yes so she moved on. But only afterwards did I actually add up how many proper words he says, he has his own version of words which I understand but they're not real words! So now I'm a bit worried that he's struggling and that I should have said something. Am I worrying for nothing?? My Mum reckons he's still young and it will come all of a sudden but I guess I just worry that it won't! A few people have commented on his lack of speech but I've always put it down to the fact he's learning 2 languages at once but the HV today dismissed this.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom to ease my mind or to help me encourage his speech??


  • Can't really offer much advice but my lo is 19 1/2 months and doesn't really speak either. Like your little lad she understands everything we say to her and makes a wide selection of noises but no proper words yet. (although this week she has started to try, we think!) Apparantly I was about two when I started talking but I didn't bother with baby talk and just started with proper sentences. My mum says that she thinks I was waiting untill I could do it properly and I think Millie is doing the same! I'm sure they will talk when they are ready, if they understand what is being said to them and can comunicate their needs I don't think there is a lot wrong.
    Kerry xx
  • Hi, my 2 1/2 year old boy has only just started to speak more than 10 or so proper words so I can empathise totally! He makes up his own words for lots of things - he says jer-jew for please and thank you for example!
    The hv did his 2 yr check last week (their lateness not mine!) and she said as long as he could string 2 words together ( at 2 and 1/2 yr old tho, not just 2yr) he was fine and she wasn't concerned.
    This week, he's saying a few more words, proper ones, and we're finally thinking he's getting it at last! Just a slow starter (and an older brother who natters for England!)
    You do worry as a mum, but give your lo time and he'll pick up words in his own time. We correct Alfie when he says the made up word and praise him loads when he says a word right. I think your mum's right and he will just get it all of a sudden...Alfie is!
    If he understands what you are saying in not one, but two languages, that's fab!
  • Hello,

    Just thought I might offer a little reassurance. My daughter didn't even say mama until 2 years and 5 months. She had onl spoken two words up until then and I was terrified she had a bad speach delay. However long before our appointment to see a speach therapist ever came up she began speaking in full sentences. It was like one day she woke up and had the confidence to say things. I have it written down in her baby book, but at approximately 2 years and 6 months in one day she said 80 words I had never heard her say, and she just gushed new vocabulary. I think she hedl back until she felt she could do it properly. She is a little shy, so perhaps she was embarrassed. We are also bilingual and she speaks both, and now has just started trying to read words at nearly four. So keep faith it will happen.
  • Wow - speech explosion abeasley! Alfie's motto is 'slow and steady' i think! It's so cute when he copies the alphabet, he says most letters right but pulls a really funny face trying to pronounce them correctly! x
  • My eldest boy is 3yrs 4months and I would say he is about 1 yr behind in his speech now. He has great conversations with you, but a lot of it you can not understand - it's almost as if he gets into full flow and his mouth goes faster than his brain!! There is a lot we do understand thou and we are trying to encourage him as much as we can - his main problem seems to lie in the pronunciation of words etc.
  • Hi there. I'm a speech and language therapist working with children and see lots of kids in my community clinic. Trust your instincts. If you are worried then it's worth getting things investigated, but it's also true to say that many kids catch up with their communication skills. Generally speaking, I would see children for assessment at around 2 - 2.5 years if they weren't joining two words together. Waiting lists can be very long, so I tend to feel that an early 'checking out' is better than waiting. The most likely scenario at this early stage would be advice about techniques to use to develop your child's language and also monitoring of his development. You do not need to go through a health visitor or G.P to access speech and language therapy. All departments have an 'open referral' process which means you can call directly to refer or even get some advice over the phone. Hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, please ask.

  • Hi everyone, thanks to you all for responding, it really helps to hear that others have had similar experience and has put my mind at rest for now!

    Thanks to Campbelly too though, I will contact my local speech and language dept. to see if I can get some tips over the phones and some techniques to use, like you say, if there is a problem it's best to get in there early! Any advice you can personally offer me too is gratefully received!!
  • Hi my son is nearly 20 months old and can say around 30 words, but i think that it varies between children. My friends son hardly spoke a word until he was 3 then all of a sudden she couldnt shut him up! I think children choose weather to start by saying 1 or 2 words or store it all up until they know exactly what they are saying then blurt it all out x
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