Should I be concerned?

Should I be concerned that my 2-year-old, Kymee, doesn’t say many words and is hard to understand?

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/toddler-speech-development/AN01940

Not when she’s this cute


But …
Sometimes it’s so hard to know if Kymee’s speech is “normal” 2 almost 3 year old, or if there really is a problem. I listen to her every day – so I probably understand her more than others do. So, I decided to research it. 

Answer

from Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.
If you’re unable to understand any of your 2-year-old’s words, talk to your child’s doctor about scheduling an evaluation. Done Speech delay can be an early sign of other developmental issues.So true
Although every child grows and develops at his or her own pace, toddler speech development tends to follow a fairly predictable path. For example, the average 2-year-old:
  • Speaks at least 50 words Yes, but not necessarily understandable words
  • Links two words together, such as “my cup” or “no juice”, Yes
  • Speaks clearly enough for parents to understand some of the words Yes – well maybe me more than Nelson, then again Nelson doesn’t always understand what our 15 year old is saying
      The average 3-year-old:
  • Speaks 250 to 500 or more words Not there yet – but somewhere between 50 and 250
  • Speaks in three- and four-word sentences Just starting this
  • Correctly uses pronouns (I, me, you, mine) Uses all of these, but not correctly
  • States first name Sometimes, sometimes when we ask “What is your name?” She answers “Two” and holds up two fingers
  • Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand much of the time NO In fact, I can’t understand her most of the time if she’s sitting in the car seat and it isn’t in context
So, I think speech therapy and age has brought Kymee more into “normal” range, but I don’t think she is quite there yet. There are still letters she doesn’t say, and strangers who don’t understand her – but she’s not supposed to speak to strangers anyway. 

So my question is  should I be concerned? 
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Bubbles for Babbling

“Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles
Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles
Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles
Bubbles, bubbles, POP!”
Turns out blowing bubbles is good for developing speech.

“Bubbles” is one of the few words Kymee says which a stranger can understand. Of course “Baba” 

and “Bubbles” end up sounding the same, so one must taking into context whether she is hugging her “Baba” Stephan, or wanting to chase pop-able spheres around. Her therapist is also using bubbles to try and get her to say, “Pop” and “More.” (She does say “more” – Amanda just hasn’t heard it yet)
If you listen real closely in this video you can catch the word “bubbles” or more like “bubu.”
But the real therapy isn’t in the words associated with bubbles themselves, but the ability to blow them. 120 toddlers were studied by Lancaster University, it was found that the ability to perform complex mouth movements, like blowing bubbles, sucking through a straw and kissing, were strongly linked with the ability to develop language.
Kymee’s language challenges stem from a lack of control over her mouth muscles, due to her cleft lip and palate. Blowing bubbles exercises for the lips, breathe control, and mouth positions.
When blowing bubbles, the therapist is looking for a round shape of the lips. 
As you can see from this photo, Kymee can not yet  round her lips completely. 

 “Pucker up” and blow is the lip position for the sounds /w/, oo, and /o/.
Blowing bubbles also positions and strengthens the tongue for sounds that are made in the back of the mouth like /k/, /g/, and ng.  Funny, these were the first sounds that Kymee made after her palate repair surgery, but she has stopped making them for some reason.


So, I’ll get Kymee to blow some bubbles and work out those lip muscles. I’m hopeful that a byproduct of this therapy is that she’ll learn to give round, closed mouthed kisses instead of slobbering all over my face. 

Say "Moooo"

Amanda, “What does the cow say?”

 “The cow says moooo”
“Say ‘moooo'”

 “What does the lion say”
Kymee, “Grrrrrrrr”
Amanda, “Grr, good”

                                              

I watched on a TV monitor from a cubby-hole in the video observation room as Kymee and her new speech therapist played alone in a therapy room. I realized I was paying $25/hr for a graduate student to sit on the floor and name objects, a task I perform daily for free.

I have no idea why, but watching Kymee interact with the therapist, was spell-binding. Best TV I’ve seen for a while. Don’t ask me why it was entertaining to watch when she shook her head and said “no” when asked to exchange her plastic lion for a red fire truck, but it was. Even Andres couldn’t keep his eyes off the monitor and read his book, and laughed out loud as Kymee loaded her baskets with the four-legged creatures instead of willingly being redirected by Amanda. She enjoyed loading and unloading these small critters into the baskets, and when forced to play with the “red fire truck” and “yellow school bus” (as Amanda labeled them) she insisted on lining the vehicles up perfectly on the table. Slightly OCD, or maybe just a melancholy.

I prided myself on the fact that she never once threw a fit, or screamed in frustration, and only hit Amanda twice. I almost feel sorry for Amanda, after one hour of Kymee time, she believes her to be a “quiet” little girl whose one true love in life is manufactured barnyard animals. But, as far as first impressions go, Kymee made a good one. Hope the graduate student isn’t too disillusioned when the real Kymee shows up.