When Silence Isn’t Golden

My son is two and a half years old and he doesn’t talk. He doesn’t say mummy, he doesn’t say daddy. He never has. At the moment the only thing he does say is “oh no”.

As a baby he babbled away, giggled and cooed when I expected him to; there was no sign that he would be late talking or that anything was wrong.


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With each day that goes by without him saying anything I get that little bit more worried and that little bit more sad. I’m desperate to have little chats with him; to hear about what he did at nursery; to listen to the nonsense that 2 years olds come out with. I feel like we’re missing out on so much. And I feel guilty. Did I do something wrong? Did I not chat to him enough? Did I chat too much so that he couldn’t get a word in?

Last night I dreamt that he was singing along to ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ whilst doing the actions and I was so so happy in that dream.

Until about 4 months ago I didn’t worry at all. He was so good at other things I just thought he was a late talker and he’d soon be chatting away. But when his 27 month check up came around with the health visitor he was extremely behind when it came to speech and language. That included understanding. He didn’t understand simple instructions. He understands more now (get your shoes, get your cup, etc.) but he’s still very behind. And my fear is that he won’t catch up; that he won’t ever talk normally.

I’m a natural born worrier and when I’m faced with something I don’t know much about I read and I research. Inevitably that means a lot of Internet research, which isn’t always a good thing. So far I’ve convinced myself that my boy has several different disorders (speech apraxia, autism, even brain damage) and occasionally convinced myself that actually he is fine and any day now I’ll hear that word I’m so desperate to hear; mama.

We have a speech therapist involved and my son goes to a really good Montisorri nursery 3 afternoons a week and they’re really trying to help him along too. We follow all the advice given; my sister bought him lots of different flash cards; my brother tries to encourage speech through play with his favourite toys; but so far nothing. And it’s really hard to keep up the enthusiasm when you’re faced with a wall of silence.

My family and some close friends know how much the issue is affecting me as a mum. And I end up explaining it to other people too, for example when a friendly old lady in a shop tries to talk to him. “Sorry, he’s not being rude, it’s just that he doesn’t talk yet, he’s got a speech therapist, I’m sure it won’t be long now, he says ‘oh no’…”. I end up with verbal diarrhoea to compensate for my boy’s lack of speech.

People tell me not to worry because worrying won’t change anything. Well, yes, I know that, but to get my brain to chill out about this I’d probably have to be sedated. When it comes to our kids how can we not worry?

And the biggest worry is that he won’t ever talk properly and he won’t lead a happy life. Everything will be harder for him, he won’t be “normal”. It probably sounds dramatic but I’m being honest and laying out my fears. And I know this might seem like something trivial to be fretting over to another parent whose child has a severe disability for example, and I get that, but for us right now for me this is my biggest worry.

For now I just have to keep encouraging him and keep hoping speech will come. On the one hand I’m told that the earlier the intervention the better the outcome but on the other hand no diagnosis can usually be made before a child is 3. It’s really frustrating not knowing what the problem is but the thought of him being diagnosed and labelled almost has me in tears too.

Sorry for the melancholy post, I just felt the need to share. And maybe someone might read who has some helpful advice. Although if I hear “well Einstein didn’t talk until he was four” one more time I reserve the right to climb the nearest tree and lob apples at people’s heads indiscriminately.

  

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7 thoughts on “When Silence Isn’t Golden

  1. This is such a difficult thing to deal with. I have no ready answers, and wouldnt attempt to say what I personally think may or maynot be the problem (or even of there is one) as I am not in any way an expert. I do however work with young adults who have learning difficulties and some ot them are non verbal. It isnt easy for them, but it is not Impossible either. IF he ends up being non verbal, you will still find ways of communicating. He will still be able to find happiness and live a forfilled life.
    What im trying to say in a very long winded way is that even the worst scenario can be ok. Xxx

    P.s I would happily join you in throwing apples if I was closer and not afraid of heights, those sorts of comments help no one xx

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  2. I wish I have some answers for you but I don’t. I think you and your family are doing what’s most important – supporting your child and that’s crucial. The one thing I have learnt about being a mum is trusting yourself and your instinct. #abitofeverything

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    1. Thanks for your kind words. I agree that a mother’s instinct is a powerful thing but my instincts have deserted me on this one. Some days I despair and believe there’s a major problem and other days I believe everything will be fine and he’ll talk soon enough. Time will tell I guess xx

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  3. Well, I didn’t even know about the Einstein thing, so no chance of me bringing that pointless nugget out of the hat… You are right to say that just because some peoples problems are perceived as ‘worse,’ this is YOUR biggest worry, therefore it is just as important as anything else. I’m sorry that it is causing you so much anxiety, but you have put loads of wheels in motion to start getting the best outcomes for him. My youngest has only just started saying the odd word (he’s 20 months) but had a long period of constant ear perforations, and the GP thinks his hearing was probably awful for a while. I do worry that he’ll never catch up with his brother, and he gets really angry when he can’t communicate. Like the others, I have no solid advice, but hopefully the healthcare professionals will give you something to work with soon, and hopefully sharing your thoughts via your blog will help.
    He is an absolutely gorgeous boy by the way!!
    Xx

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    1. Thanks so much for understanding. My youngest was born with a congenital heart defect and had open heart surgery when he was 2 days old, so I really do understand that there are worse things we could be going through (because we’ve been through them). But as you said, this is my biggest worry now. It’s so frustrating because I don’t know how much he genuinely doesn’t understand and how much he’s just being a toad. Yesterday he could point out every picture in his book when I asked him where things were and today nothing!
      Your youngest is still very young so there’s plenty of time for him to catch up now his hearing is on form but don’t worry because if he isn’t talking as expected by 27 months your health visitor will be on it if she’s anything like mine! Xx

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  4. Wow. We’ve been chatting recently so you know my story but geez I could have written this word for word 18 months ago. It’s like you are me! You have all my thoughts and my feelings and I do the googling too lol. I’ve actually been told off for it by my sons professionals and they now give me ‘useful’links to read. I wish I had some words of wisdom but I don’t. But I can tell you this. It’s absolutely not anything you did. And it’s not anything you didn’t do either. It just is what it is. Hugs

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