Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Worrying Over Words

I mentioned before that Ned and Penny are "behind" on language skills. A few readers asked me how I know if they are behind. It was actually something I had been thinking about and when we went to the kids' 15 month check up a couple of weeks ago the pediatrician agreed that most kids have a few words by this age. She and I agreed we wouldn't worry (yeah, right) until their 18 month appointment. For the record, the kids have said "nanny" but they stopped. They have no other words but Penny can sign "all done" and does so at the most hilarious moments (like when she's throwing a tantrum and doesn't want to being doing so).

Their friend Georgie has a few syllables but she literally tries to talk to you all the time - you can feel the "conversation" and I know that is lacking in my kids.

We talk to Ned and Penny ALL THE TIME. We ask them questions, sing songs, read stories. But for some reason neither kid does much more than grunt and say a few nonsensical syllables (and not consistent enough to consider it language). They don't even point with one finger - they use their whole hands. Penny seems to understand better - she can follow simple instructions. Ned never seems to be able to focus in on doing whatever you asked him to do (bring me that book, where is your sippy cup, etc.).

I can have Ned evaluated for Early Intervention but frankly I don't think it does much. I don't mind paying for Penny to see someone for her gross motor (especially since Ned gets to go to the weekly play group too) but I can't imagine that at this age EI can do too much to get them to talk. At double the cost it isn't worth it for something I don't think will truly benefit him.

Their EI playgroup will be with older kids starting in January and I'm enrolling them in a mixed age (0-5) music group too.

With Penny's gross motor she just needs to get bigger to develop those skills (as evidenced by crawling, using a sippy cup, etc. that she basically figured out on her own). Maybe the pediatrician is right and language will explode in the next month. But for now there is hand pointing and grunting and we just hope for the best.

I've been hiding from playdates as a result and basically avoiding all "mommy milestone" conversations around the office - avoiding as much "comparison" as I can.

Any other ideas? My dad joked that we should have them watch TV. But except for the occasional Mommy-is-completely-wiped-on-Sunday-evening TV isn't part of our routine.

17 comments:

LauraC said...

I don't think you can really do more than you've been doing. My boys have very different skills when it comes to talking. Nate was an early talker and even now, really understands the nuances of speech that you wouldn't expect at his age. But he is an audio learner, he sings songs, he "reads" books by having heard them and repeating them.

Alex has always been behind or just hitting milestones a few days before the milestone date. And guess what? We are headed tomorrow to a speech evaluation since he still doesn't enunciate the way others his age do. But again, he is just always focused on physical stuff and problem solving. Loves puzzles, taking stuff apart, etc.

One thing our ped did have us do was keep a calendar and write down every sound he made each day that indicated a word. Over a couple of months we could see he would use 1 word for a week then drop it. So in total he would have 15 words but he hadn't used them in so long that we forgot (and we were sleep deprived bc they were ALWAYS SICK).

tovarena said...

At 27 months, our kids are not really talking yet. Malka MAYBE has the 25 word lower threshold they want to see at 2 years (though she also has a couple of phrases with those words). And Moshe has maybe 10.

And at 15 months? They for sure had little to nothing resembling real speech.

We have made the decision at this point to have them both evaluated - partially because the day care also tells us that they don't even speak at all when they're there. Our general take, is if there seems to be a concern (and the ped was getting a bit concerned - especially when I told him Moshe had lost words) then we don't lose anything to get the evaluation (other than a half a day off of work).

Chris said...

There's always something to stress about with these little kiddies of ours, huh? I don't have any good advice, but I will tell you that I was talking to someone several months ago who was told to send her son (18mo) to day care to help improve his language skills. Obviously day care isn't an option for you with your schedule and two babies, but maybe some additional play group type things with older, chatty children (music, gymtime, etc.)? I don't know. It sounds like you are doing everything right to me!

Anonymous said...

Ned was consistantly calling me nan when we were there. He also said kitty a couple of times and meow. Can't wait for the post about the never ending questions they are asking you. That day will come.

Helen said...

Penny's receptive language is pretty darn good (in my professional opinion) She definitely "knows" what I am asking her. And I loved how "generous" she is- like when she was shoving cookies into my mouth on Saturday:)

Anonymous said...

I don't think that you can do anything more than you are already doing. Maybe continuing to encourage the sign language. We have a bunch of sign language books that both kids loved looking at and they ended up imatating the signs.

We ended up teaching Christopher sign language right around ten months and he really liked signing and made up his own signs-which was hard for other people to understand him because the signs were not ASL signs, they were quite original actually. He perferred signing to talking and he had NO interest in talking and didn't even say his name until he was over two years old.

We had him evaluated by EI when he was eighteen months old and he ended going to the groups and had a tutor come once a week to encourage his expressive language. Looking back, I'm not sure whether it helped a great deal. But, it was good to have someone keeping an eye on his language skills and he ended up just exploding a little after two and now he does not stop talking-ever. Never would have thought that a year ago.

Donna said...

I am not sure what to think about all this craziness for EI. My DS2 (who is only a few months older than your twins) was/is in the same boat. He wasn't really speaking at 15 months at all. Now at 19 months he is talking, though we're not always sure what the heck he is saying. Right around the 18 month mark and just before we went to the doctor for his check up he start to say a ton of words. DS1 was a late talker too. He barely said anything until about the same time frame, though his speech was clearer at this point. My doctor has been great about it. She thinks we over analyze our kids milestones while at the same time she keeps on eye out for the development but within a reasonable range. I would say, hold tight mama - the words are coming.

jerseygirl77 said...

I think watchful waiting is a good course of action. Just when you think they are never going to talk, they'll have a verbal explosion and get 10 new words in a week. You're doing all the things you can be doing!

almostima said...

and don't hide... you are an awesome mom and you should just assume that everyone else is just looking for affirmation of that, too.

Just Kristen said...

ACK! I hate the milestones conversations...I am usually quite happy to be oblivious. The other day at the park a mom turned to her 14 month old and asked him what he wanted for lunch..he said: "Cottage cheese" as clear as day and OMG I almost crapped my pants! It got me all worried about language development from out of the blue! Anyway, it sounds like you are doing everything right and it is just a wait and see thing...

Nancy said...

I think at that age, you're right - EI might not do much. Later on though...if you're still not hearing much from them, it might make all the difference in the world.

All 3 of mine started around or after 18 months and I have to say, it's made a really big difference with them. Would they have developed that much without EI? Perhaps. Perhaps not. All I know is that I can now understand most of what Logan is trying to tell me - where I couldn't at all before.

And for a comparison (even though I hate to do it), when Burke and Maggie were kicked out of EI at 3 and tested by the public school, Burke qualified and Maggie didn't because she was JUST over the "needs work" line. A year later and Burke ended up being SO.MUCH.EASIER to understand. We now have a private speech person seeing Maggie (her EI one, actually). I've seen a HUGE difference in just the 2 months Maggie's been seeing her.

To piggyback onto your Dad's comment. We had a DVD called Baby Babble that seemed to unlock Burke's words. Just sayin' :)

Melissa said...

My best friend's little girl did not say anything besides "dadadadada" (which she used for everything) until 18 months. At 18 months, she became a talker. It's hard not to worry, but Ned and Penny may just need a little more time.

reanbean said...

It's so hard not to worry, even when you really don't want to. My son wasn't talking at 15 months either, but his twin sister was. We were doing all the same things- talking to them, reading tons of books, and using sign language. He loved listening to books, but wasn't talking or signing (we later found out signing was difficult because he has some OT issues).

Everyone told us stories of kids who didn't talk until they were x years old and were fine, but we have a family history of speech and language delay, so I couldn't help but worry that we were going down that road. So I called EI and he qualified for speech and language support.

Now, to be fair, he did start talking a bit more right before his services began (we had to wait a month for his educator to become available), but since he's been working with her, his language as come a long way. More importantly, I feel that I know how to help further his use of language by incorporating the things she does on a daily basis. He's up for a re-eval on Monday, and I'm not even sure he'll qualify anymore (at 15 months he had maybe 1 word, now at 21 months he's speaking in mostly phrases and some sentences).

Lots of people wait and see and their kids learn to talk perfectly well. But for me, being the worrier that I am, I felt better at least trying to get support through EI, knowing I could take him out if I didn't feel it was beneficial.

Heather said...

Not sure about EI for speech, but I know they've been a big help with us getting the boys to develop their physical selves. I don't like to worry obsessively about milestones, but I do trust my Mommy instincts when I think they are behind and need some help.

Rebecca said...

Danny had EI for expressive language from 12-32 months, Abigail from 18-24 months. All other areas, including receptive language, were fine. They are examples of really different EI speech kids. A was just a bit slow, but chattered quite clearly when she finally "got" it. She is much more typical. D was quite delayed from the start and even with all the help, is a bit behind still. I found that EI was helpful in teaching me things I could do with them every day that would encourage language---things I really wouldn't have thought of doing. You could ask Penny's person to bring you some information or I'd be happy to chat more about it with you.

august's mom said...

They will get there soon---don't worry! And try not to let all that "milestone" talk bother you---every kid develops at their own rate.

Leigh said...

Absolutely no idea what you can do to help. It sounds like you're doing everything you can... just make sure the nanny keeps talking to them too.

And yes, I'm with you on avoiding the milestones talk ...

Now Heather's comment made me nervous as her boys are a month older than mine and I don't know what she's talking about developing physically. Off I go to talk to her :)