Friday, August 15, 2008

Moms of Late-Talkers, Come on Down!

It is not my desire to turn this into a blog totally about Curt and his language delay. I have so many other topics about which I want to grouse and moan.

That being said, I've had several comments, here and there, from moms of late-talkers. For those of you who've commented, those who found me from a late-talking search, or for whatever reason -- I'd like to hear from you.

1. When did you become concerned?
2. Have you had a diagnosis? What was it?
3. What techniques are you using to help your child? speech therapy?
4. Are there any books you would recommend that have been especially helpful? (I've heard alot recently about this book, "Play to Learn" and how it is great to promote speech.)
5. How are you and your child doing now?

I'm interested in hearing your stories, ideas.

P.S. (You knew there would be one, right? Bizzy, I love the P.S./crack analogy, btw.) Dr. B praised Curt today. His compliance, his social skills, and his language. We've been seeing him for about a year now. I'm going to email him soon and request we see him every other week. Curt has progressed so much. Wish me luck.)

P.P.S. (Somebody stop me!) If you have a blog, please let me know and I will add you to my LT blog list.


Ange (formerly Writer Mom) said...

1. Probably 3 1/2. Up until then, we were so blown away by his exceptional abilities, nobody could convince us the late talking was a problem.

2. Low functioning Autism & Severe Expressive Language Disorder, with a low I.Q. score, just in case we had any doubts. Charming suggestions included: locating collar, drugs (if he grew violent), and genetic testing if we ever wanted to have another child.

Then a year later at Vanderbilt, he was taken complete off the spectrum, tested in above to superior ranges for I.Q., and was given a diagnosis of Mixed Receptive/Expressive Language Disorder

3. Techniques. I'd have to think. Computers taught him to read, and provided so much positive reinforcement for him.
We spent a lot of time together. Not just me, but his dad, too. When he came upon something difficult, or I anticipated it would be, I'd put together a skit for him so that we could act out what was about to happen. This toned down the anxiety of going into a situation without having the words to get through it.

When I was really getting tired, I tried fish oil for awhile. Took it with him. Noticed no difference, but my skin felt nice. I read to him every night. Got stories with photographs in them, and asked him lots of questions. Photographs seemed to help him take note of the real world, versus make believe, and one time, he completely shocked me when he started asking all sorts of W questions. The fact that it was a real situation triggered his need to learn more about it.
*I know there are more things we did, but I'm filling up your comments here.

Jack has had some sort of speech therapy since Kindergarten. When the therapist thought he was Autistic, he did not respond. At all. They got a new speech therapist and she was excellent with him. She was also the first educator to be curious about the late talking diagnosis.
He's going into second grade on Monday. I haven't notice a huge difference in his speech while in therapy. It's been a gradual improvement since birth, with very bizarre phases of regression when I've said to Tom, "I don't get it! Last week, he was talking about dreams, and this week he's only doing the scripting most of the time." I don't think we've had that conversation in almost a year, though I did worry this summer that too much Wii playing was going to rot his brain.
He was so charming at school last night, I think he's gonna be fine.
He loves the therapists, so that's always good. AND, they taught him to say very polite things like, "Excuse me," which has done wonders for winning people. Doesn't matter what else comes out of his mouth. When he's polite, he's already won the room.

4. No books coming to mind. Most of them upset me. Of course the Sowell books always comforted me.
Jack did pretty well with Team Up With Teamo. It's a speech computer program. Kinda pricey, but it built up his vocabulary. I could give you a long list of computer programs he loved. He was reading by three, so you'll never get me to blame computers for late talking.

5. Two years ago, we were avoided or pitied. Just last night at Jack's school, four adults told me that Jack was the nicest kid they'd ever met. Another said, "All the kids LOVE Jack." Immediately after she said it, a little girl went up to him and held his hand.
People note that he's different, but in a positive 'breath of fresh air' sort of way. I walk down the school hallways and I am so proud to be his mom. That's the truth.
He is still not the best conversationalist in the world, but he's allowed to be himself now, in an environment that completely caters to his needs, which aren't many. He'll have some speech this year, but I expect that by the end of this year, we will be done with any type of therapy and he will go forward in life, to do with it as he pleases.

Jeanna said...

God, Ange, I love you. You have been an inspiration to me from the beginning of this journey.

You are SO determined and it helps me to stay on course. I am a non-confrontational person by nature, but I HAVE TO be the Mama Tiger for my boy. It is my job.

What a wonderful beginning to your story. Who knows where it might end. Jack has the whole world before him.

P.S. I asked for comments, but, here I am, y yapping away. Couldn't help it.

Susan said...

Well, I have 2 but I will start with the oldest.

1. Around 2.5 (he is 5.5 now)
We were also blown away by his abilities - knew all the states on a map, could play a video game better than his daddy among other things.

2. I had him evaluated by EI and he had a language delay and a wonderful woman came to my house to work with him for 6 months. He worked well with her but I knew nothing about therapies back then but it seemed to be child led looking back now. No autism, no pdd, just language. (Believe me, I asked alot of questions.) My pediatrian also thought it was just a language delay.

2. At 3 he was diagnosed with a severe expressive/receptive language disorder by the school district. At 5, he was diagnosed with delays in expressive/receptive language by Vanderbuilt. (The reason for going to Nashville was for my youngest, and I will post about that in a separate comment.)

3. At the time, we just used simplified sentences. Honestly, I really never did anything out of the ordinary. I never tried to MAKE him talk. We learned to be patient.

4. I read a little bit of Late Talking Children (believe it or not, the school told me about that one.) I just bought Play to Talk but haven't started reading it yet.

5. He was in a wonderful communication class for 2 years that was taught by a wonderful SLP that used child led therapies and was so loving. Last year he went to a regular preschool and did great. He will start kindergarten on the 25th and the school believes that he will test out of speech services on his next evaluation when he turns 6. He was indeed just a late talker.

I think you may be more interested in the next comment about my 3.5 year old. I hope to do that tonight.

I will be starting a blog soon but it will be private (as soon as I can figure out how to do it. LOL) I would love for you to tag along.

Susan said...

Part 2 -

1. Again, around 2.5 even though my youngest had more words than the other one did, I went ahead and had EI come out. I requested the same person that worked with the oldest. He barely qualified but since his brother was in the program, we started speech services.

2. At 3 he transitioned to the school district and we (EI and me) weren't even sure if he would qualify and then BAM - PDD-NOS after seeing him for 20 minutes. EI argued with them during this but of course, the school district wouldn't budge. They actually tested for with autism without my permission and that is where the mommy bear in me came out. At our school meeting he was eligible for speech but they wanted me to sign that he had autism before services could begin. I would not sign and immediately contacted the special education director and had a meeting with him. The next day another meeting was scheduled and he started receiving the speech services I requested and the autism box was left alone.

He was seen for 4 hours at Vanderbuilt with a mild expressive language disorder at the age of 3 years 5 months. He is now 3 years 10 months and the progress he has made in just the last few months has been great.

3. Pretty much same as his brother but I did alot of research on speech and speech techniques. The one that worked for him was all child led (Hanen techniques). I simplified sentences, etc.

4. Books, same as above

5. He is doing wonderful. Talking in 8-9 word sentences, asking appropriate questions. Has been 100% potty trained for 8 months.

The reason I questioned the diagnosis was because we had an older child that had a speech delay and I KNEW that the youngest DID NOT HAVE PDD. My MIL is a special education teacher strictly for kids on the spectrum and she wanted to go to our school and give them a piece of her mind. I overheard one of the ladies at the evaluation saying that they get more funds if they check the autism box. I spent tons of time online and found Life in a Pumpkin Shell and it lead me to the LT yahoo group. I learned alot.

We will be having another meeting with the school to change his IEP since he mastered his goals in only 3 months. I am lucky to have such a wonderful SLP that knows about late talking children.

My blog will take some time, so bear with me.

Jeanna said...

Why do I feel I must comment on every comment? Yet, I do.

Susan, wow. Your children sound incredible. I have a longer road to hoe, if you will. Curt did not really speak at all until age 3, except mama, truck, and car.

He just turned 4 and he is now saying 2-3 word phrases quite often. He is quite the whiz on the computer and I believe he reads some of the words.

However, we've got a long road before us. I do know he's intelligent. That I don't question.

It sounds like everything is going your way. Please let me know when your blog is up and running.

Susan said...

My oldest didn't really speak at age 3 either. The big language burst came at around 4 to 4.5.

From age 3.5 to age 4.5 was the hardest with him.

Again, he is still lacking a bit in the conversational language but I believe he will hold his own in kindergarten, plus, he is so darn cute with big brown eyes. LOL

I certainly will let you know when my blog is ready.

msmec said...

1. When concerned?
Son started preschool at 2, and I knew he was slow talking. Then his teacher (not an expert) called to express concern. (I was a bit embarrassed.) With our daughter, I recognized it sooner.

2. Diagnosis?
Our state has free special-ed services through the school system for any age child. After a hearing test at Duke (because he was so young and because we're close by) he started speech therapy once or twice a week. Diagnosis was, as I recall, expressive delay.
Ditto for daughter, four years younger.

3. What techniques?
The speech therapy. I don't remember the method but it was all play-based.
At home, we tried to enunciate and articulate and narrate as much as possible without getting ridiculous. We always severely limited TV-viewing anyway.
Trying to force him to verbalize "cup" instead of grunting got us nowhere.

4. Are there any books?
Some Howard Gardner books on multiple intelligences. The first Sowell (even if I don't like his politics). Quite frankly, not many. Those I liked I gave away.

5. Post-script?
Kids are (almost) 11 and 7, and to paraphrase that old song, "They talk too much/And then they never shut up." Both excellent students and happy children.
We are more than willing to give their speech therapist ALL the credit in the world for their progress, but quite frankly we believe they would have gotten up to speed anyway. (That's probably not the thing to share with this group, but I'm being candid.)
Son had speech therapy from ages 2 to 4. Daughter, 2 to maybe 4.5.
Both potty trained rather late.

As Jeanna knows, we were always comforted by the fact that my husband was a very late talker back in the day before speech therapy (which was an amusing family story until it manifests itself in the next generation). My sister's child was very late, and a doctor dared raise the specter of autism. (Nephew was indeed a bit quirkier than my two, and occasionally aggressive and not as socially engaged. He was left off party lists, avoided, etc.)
Both husband and nephew (now 12) turned out to be outstanding students and terrific people.

Hope this helps someone!

Susan said...

"We are more than willing to give their speech therapist ALL the credit in the world for their progress, but quite frankly we believe they would have gotten up to speed anyway. (That's probably not the thing to share with this group, but I'm being candid.)"

Candid or honest? LOL I totally agree with you 100%. While I loved their SLP, I also believe time is all they needed.

Ange (formerly Writer Mom) said...


*Had to shut my blog down for a bit.
Unrelated to this topic.
I'll look for you on Facebook. :)

Missy said...

Ange - disregard my email about your blog, then. :(

jeanna - i'll post on here later. Heading out for dinner now! Great idea for a topic! :)

Missy said...

1. We were actually not concerned. We are pretty laid back about stuff. MIL started freaking out around 18 months old. Ya, you heard it. 18 months. AN.NOY.ING. At two, we saw EI to appease the family (why was it their problem?!) and he was just "diagnosed" with delayed speech. We pulled him out of ST and the EI preschool after about 3 months and have done no therapy since (minus the trip to the Camaratas in January of this year).
2. We now have a mixed expressive/receptive language disorder diagnosis. Not that it changes much!
3. ST was a waste of time and a frustration for him. We do recasting at home and try to keep our language equal with his (short sentences right now) and the rest is pretty much happening on its own.
4. Obviously the Sowell books. I mean every LT cult member must read them to be initiated. ;P Also, another great one is called "Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul" by John Eldredge. It was a great wake up call to Troy and me about the heart of a boy (man) and how we should encourage Ethan in all that entails. Completely non-LT related, but a must read for parents of boys (yes, it's a Christian book, but it's fabulous even if you're not religious).
5. Amazing. He just turned four a few weeks ago. He is just making leaps and bounds. Finally using a few short phrases, lots of nouns, and some names. A month or so ago he finally started attempting to play with other kids! He has been really consistent with that desire over the last few weeks. He's actually seeking out other kids even if he's not quite certain how to play with them yet (but at this rate, he'll learn soon!). Also, he's been a whiz on the computer since he was about 2.5, but now he's really taking off. He can sit down at any computer and get the web browser launched and i-tunes going. lol. He got ahold of my ipod touch the other day and started watching some Diego podcasts. ;)

Jann said...

1. We had our son first evaluated at 23 months because he was only saying a couple of words.

2. He was listed with a severe speech delay, but normally socially-emotionally. He showed some cognitive impairment, but the evaluators thought it was due to his language. Another evaluation at 3 listed the same speech and language issues.

It wasn't until we moved to a new state when he was 3 that people started mentioning autism to us. Since everybody who worked with him in our previous state had told us he certainly wan't autistic, we were shocked.

I started reading blog and blog from parents whose children were autistic, and didn't recognize our son there. I read Sowell's book, and BINGO, that was our son to a T.

The public school preschool even went behind our back and did a CARS test without our knowledge and approval. But they didn't mention it to us, because his score was in the non-autistic range (and late, within half a poitn of the Camaratas score.)

We ended up at Vanderbilt because I wanted a definitive answer for myself and a plan to move forward. That was the best thing we've ever done for ourselves. Our lives improved IMMEDIATELY after getting the lowdown on how our son really wasn't understaning language.

3. On techniques, we just try to get him out in the world and expose him to as much as possible. He balks at the unfamiliar at times, so I have made sure from the beginning to let him try new things. In Oct., I took him to a carnival, and after a few rides, he wanted to go home. In May, I took him a carnival, and we rode rides for hours. The more he has new experiences, the more he speaks.

4. I like the book Like Sound through Water. This again was our son to a T. He has auditory processing difficulties.

5. Our son is 6 now. He's come a long way, with a long way to go as his language won't likely normalize until middle school. The only trouble we have is with the school system. They are determined to slap an autism label on him. It's almost like they are trying to wear us down.

The problem is, our son really needs to be around talking kids. We saw that clearly this summer. We had him in a few weeks of extended school year with largely autistic kids....and he said very little during those weeks.

Then we put him in a camp at a gifted schoool, and BAM came the language explosion.

MamaBear said...

Jann- my journey sounds like yours. My son was also tested for autism without my knowledge and permission but also scored in the nonautistic range but they STILL wanted the label him autistic.

We also saw the Camarata's.

Don't let the school system wear you down.


Jann said...


Thanks for the words of encouragement! It's hard sometimes.

And Ange...I loved your blog! Hope it returns.....

Holly said...

1. About 20 months -- my son seemed pretty disinterested in talking (he was only using a handful of words)
2. The initial diagnosis at 24 months (drumroll please): receptive and expressive language delay! From what I've read here, this seems to be quite the popular diagnosis... Oh, and the incredibly dismissive eval doctor made sure to suggest (not so subtly) the "possibility" of PDD-NOS.
3. We've done floortime, some speech therapy, and are now in ABA therapy (which has actually helped his speech more than the speech therapy has).
4. Can't think of any books that haven't already been mentioned.
5. We're doing okay -- he's just about to turn 3 and I'm still shocked at how ridiculous people's expectations are of him. Went in for a speech eval at the local university last week, and they actually separated me from him (right at the beginning) to formally test him -- sitting at a table with a data sheet and pictures for him to identify. Huh? How many soon-to-be 3-year olds are okay with going to a new environment and having a stranger immediately take them away from their mother? Seriously, sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode.

So glad that I ran across your blog -- it's just what I needed when I was starting to feel like I'm the only one dealing with this stuff!

Laura said...

I just found the LT yahoo group today, and boy am I glad. I have had similar experiences, more at the beginning stages of what many here have talked about. My son in 3 years, 8 months, and we didnt even know there was an issue until his 3rd year checkup when BAM, a nurse practitioner was quick to say, after a 3 minute exam and questionaire (this was in NJ) that he was either PDD or autistic because he had echolalia (the first time I heard the term) and since then, we have had SLP, preschool teachers, and many others say that echolalia and his lack of conversational skills "always" mean autism. After a visit with a developmental ped (as an aside, in the Philly area, the wait list for the top 3 hospitals with developmental programs is 18 months and more, and the cost for a non-insurance accepting one topped $5,000), we have, drumroll, a diagnosis of mixed expressive-receptive language delay.
No favorite books about LT yet, since I didnt know where he fit until recently. I did read a book, and the title escapes me, about learning differences between boys and girls though that was quite interesting, and I shared it with his preschool. This was after I had it out with the last preschool who insisted that I was just ignoring that my son had PDD.
Anyway, thanks for the blog and I am learning a lot!

Sungold said...

Hi Jeanna, I followed you here from the NLT list. I'm nominally one of the moderators there though I'm not really active these days. My son is now 5 and doing very well. I'm grateful for that.

I like what you're doing here.

My own blog mostly deals with political stuff, slanted toward feminism and parenting. I haven't written all that much on late talking, though I keep meaning to do more with it, since it's become political too. For that reason, you probably don't want to include it in your LT list, but if you want to pay a visit anyway, I'm at Kittywampus.