We have 3.5 year old twin girls – very fraternal. Delaney is our Late Talker, and Piper is our jabber box. At 18 months we noticed that Delaney wasn’t attempting too much speech. She was noisy but not talkative. Her twin was attempting sounds and words, and her first words beyond Mama and Dada were “sit down.” Although we know that each child is a snowflake, we had somewhat of a “control” in Piper in comparison to Delaney.

Although Delaney wasn’t attempting to talk, her problem solving skills were heads and shoulders above her sister and other children her age. I remember around 14-15 months she noticed that her sister would take the popcorn popper toy (the very annoying push toy from all of our childhoods) and push the toy and it would pop pop pop. One day she was looking at Piper and her popping toy and then took her own popping toy, grabbed the base and used it as a stick to get what she wanted off of the kitchen table. She had waited to use it until she could stand and be somewhat stable to get what she wanted.

She once got a ball stuck behind the TV stand where the DVD player was and couldn’t reach her arm back further enough without her face smooshing into the TV, she then squatted down, stuck one leg in and kicked out the little ball – she was 18 months.

From 12 months on she would work the shape sorter like rubiks cube – instead of moving her hand to fit the shape, she would move the sorter as it was faster to her. There are tons of examples like these.

We took her into her Pediatrician at 18 months to discuss her not talking and also not always responding to her name. He referred us on to a Neuro. The Neuro wanted to take a “wait and see” approach and told us about our state’s Early Intervention Program. The Neuro felt that there wasn’t anything that was glaring enough to put her down for an MRI. We were to see her in 6 months.

We talked to a friend of ours in another state and she recommended that we get going on the Early Intervention Program as it can take awhile to get through the system. Delaney had her initial intake at 20 months and they recommended, ST, OT and DSI services for her and also for us to get into a Developmental Pediatrician. We had to wait 4 months for an appointment with the Developmental Pediatrician.

When we went back in to follow up with the Neuro, she mentioned The Einstein Syndrome to us. I got the book and immediately could relate to the material. The family background was spot on. My husband almost scored a perfect math score on his SAT, his Dad was a cop but always brilliant with numbers. I work for our family construction business but my focus is mostly in business analysis, estimating and accounting. My Dad started his career as a Math teacher. I have uncles in Engineering, Banking and one a National Merit Finalist who ended up being a Computer Engineer in the 80’s when it was a new career field.

My husband’s mom played the sax, and my grandfather learned music by ear. Delaney always has responded to Music. We would sing song directions to gain her focus very early on. Her memory is astonishing. She observes everyone’s every move and is always two steps ahead. She looks for the seam in attention and then is on her way to get what she wants or needs. Since she doesn’t talk, she is like a ninja. You will be in the same room as her and all of the sudden she is standing on the table she flipped over and dancing on it.

I contacted Dr. Camarata and got on the message board and have been lurking and learning since.

At this point we had an awesome kid, who we were sure that was smarter than her sister who could count to 10 in Spanish, speak over 300 words but couldn’t speak herself. We just “knew.” She started preschool within in our school district and has blossomed.

It has been a long journey so far and we are not that far into it, but the days have gone by quick. We are fairly certain that she will begin to speak soon and we can look back on this time with giggles and a sense of accomplishment. We look at it as front loading the effort in order for the later reward.

Words for her have “fallen” out here and there but always in context. One last funny story…my husband was home with the girls and a Spanish kids show was on in the background while they were painting. The woman on the segment was saying anaranjado – Spanish for orange, the color. She repeated it and as Delaney was painting she says “anaranjado!” My husband looks at her in disbelief and then Piper starts clapping and says, “good job Lay Lay!” This is the word she chooses to put out there!

I can sum it up with Delaney is an Enigma, and we love her for it J

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

I am still very much in the middle of this journey. I have four young children, and both my boys are late talkers. My oldest son, Brennan, is now 6-1/2.

We didn’t think he was that different from other boys until he was almost 3. The leader of our church congregation pulled us into his office and gently informed us that other parents were concerned for the safety of their children in nursery class with Brennan. We were devastated. I knew the reason Brennan acted out aggressively with his peers (pushing, hitting, scratching, biting) was because he could not verbally communicate with them. I figured it would come in time But we did not how to help him NOW. We were later told some people believed he was autistic.

 We were referred to the ChildFind area of our local school district, and they determined Brennan was “developmentally delayed” in speech and comprehension. We received a similar diagnosis from a private speech therapist. He was placed in a normal preschool with speech supports and had an amazing teacher. Under her care, he blossomed. Still, it took time.

A lot of his early speech was in the form of echolalia.  Someone would greet him with “Hi, Brennan!” and he would respond, “Hi Brennan!” He would quote extensively from his favorite movies. Back-and-forth conversation didn’t come into play until he was 5.

For years his IEP listed goals like “Speak in 4-6 word sentences” and “Understand and complete two-step directions.” But his intellect was never questioned.  And he always loved building and creating with whatever he could find—that was his outlet in those early, difficult days. In retrospect, he just needed the time to develop at his own pace.

Fast forward to present day: we have chosen to homeschool Brennan. He just finished kindergarten. He has really enjoyed learning to read—his prized possession is the light that attaches to his bunk bed—and I sometimes hear him sounding out words well past bedtime. He has taken well to math, and will recite math facts (simple addition or counting to 100) to himself just whenever.  He loves to draw and create anything he can think of with paper, masking tape, and scissors. Recently, he has decided to learn the names of all the planets in the solar system and he would love to build a rocket. The sky is literally the limit for this kid!

My other son, Sander, will be 3 in September. He is also a late talker—but nothing like Brennan. Sander has no receptive problems, as he easily understands and completes multi-step directions (when he wants to). He just doesn’t talk—at all. He makes all sorts of sounds, and has taken well to some simple sign language.

I’m back in this all-too-familiar place of wondering what exactly is going on in his head. But we already see the makings of an incredible sense of humor within this very independent and driven little boy! We have chosen to let him develop at his own pace, and to hold off on formal evaluation and therapy at this point. He will speak when he is ready. Wish us luck on the journey! We sure are excited to see how it goes.

by Anna Dinsmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Enhanced by Zemanta

Braeden had autism.  He also had PDD-NOS, hyperactivity, sensory “issues”, “severe cognitive deficits”, and Asperger’s Syndrome.  He couldn’t talk because we didn’t read to him enough, and perhaps unsurprisingly, he had behavioral problems triggered by poor parenting.  With all these diagnoses came prescriptions, usually involving extensive testing.   At one point, a passerby offered an all-encompassing solution:  “you oughta drown that kid, lady.”  Oddly, that incredible rudeness was preferable to the pitying tsk-tsking that many offered both in front of us and behind our backs.

Yet none of these diagnoses explained why Braeden began talking normally, stopped at age one, didn’t begin babbling again until age 2 ½, and wasn’t understandable to outsiders until age 5 ½.  How could a retarded preschooler understand negative numbers?  How could a child who lovingly put first aid cream on his dog’s calluses lack the empathy and social connection of an autistic child?  How could it be that he wasn’t talking because I didn’t read to him enough, when our home resembled a lending library?

 

A friend found the book Late-Talking Children, which in turn led us to Dr. Camarata, from whom we learned that Braeden had a mixed expressive-receptive language disorder.  That diagnosis changed our lives changed forever, because we could finally forge a path forward, despite lingering worries that every behavior might be a symptom of something dire.    

 

During those dark years before Braeden began to speak fluently, our anchor was the group of other parents of late talkers with whom Dr. Camarata had connected us.  I dared to believe, based on their stories, that maybe Braeden would improve.  Suggestions from Dr. and Mrs. Camarata on how to help our son also gave us hope, because their techniques actually worked.

 

Our boy is now 14.  He is potty trained (something that when he was four I was SURE would never happen).  He still adores mathematics, though his memory is not as frighteningly accurate as it once was.  He remains kind-hearted when it comes to animals and wounded people.  He is a competitive athlete and has solid friendships. 

 

To my dismay, Braeden still shows signs of his language problems—his vocabulary has odd errors and gaps, and he dislikes writing enough that I’ve given up hope that one day he’ll compose the Great American Novel.  He is, however, within the bounds of whatever it is that normal might be.  Most important, Braeden—who paved the way for his younger late-talking brother—is growing into a young man whom I like very much and am proud to have as my son.  On every level, he is just fine.

 

Tamera S.

Enhanced by Zemanta

I first began this journey over ten years ago when I found and read the book Late Talking Children, by Dr. Thomas Sowell (and I will forever be grateful to Dr. Sowell).  Austin was I think nearly three years old.  At that point, he had a couple of words, but was mostly silent.  He was extremely behind language-wise.  In addition to that, he was – well, he wasn’t anything like his peers – to put it mildly!

He preferred to be alone, and he would literally spend hours of his time lining up things like cars, crayons, even shoes!  He would make elaborate geographical designs in the living room using common household objects.  He would not look at people – if someone came up to him to give him a friendly hello when we were out and about, he would stare up at the ceiling.  He never answered questions – did not even try.  He was an odd little fellow.

We knew he was super smart, he was taking things apart and putting them  back together at an early age;  he was building advanced level K’NEX creations when he was 3 and 4.  And, as a parent – you just “know.”  He wasn’t like other kids – didn’t name off his colors or numbers – but we knew, there was a crazy smart brain going on in there – and we were right.

When he first began really “speaking” – it was all echolalia.  “How was school today, Austin?” — his response:  “school today.”  He did that with every question or comment. This lasted a good year! There was no “back and forth conversation” – and ohhhh how envious I was of parents who had that with their kids….

He was almost five years old before he began to haltingly try to participate in “back and forth” conversation.  His efforts were incredibly awkward, and it was a lesson in patience for everyone – most of all for him.

After a disastrous first semester in kindergarten (a separate story – suffice it to say he was not prepared verbally for that world), we pulled him to homeschool him, which I did for 4 years.  He bloomed, he blossomed, he grew – it was amazing to watch my little boy grow into a very talkative and insatiably curious young man!

He went back to public school in 5th grade – and he scored in the top percentile in everything on all the standardized tests they threw at him – the school staff were very amazed, but we weren’t.

He is now 13 years old and will start 8th grade in the fall.  He makes nearly straight A’s, plays in the band, and is very confident and secure in himself.  He still prefers to be alone, and he did have one best friend who moved away recently — but he is content and doesn’t seem to “need” the company of peers.  That much never did change.  He won an award this year for being one of a handful of students in his grade to demonstrate “exceptional leadership qualities”.  He was so proud – and you should have seen his dad and me – we were beside ourselves!

Austin, like many other LT’s – has an exceptionally dry sense of humor, a maturity about life way beyond his peers, and an insightful view into the world that I rarely even witness in adults….

He talks a lot – but sometimes still takes awhile to answer or understand a question.  He needs a bit of lag time to “process” verbal information; he is also quite literal.  He is well mannered, enormously thoughtful and kindhearted, and a total joy to be around.

Ten years ago I worried I would never have a “real” conversation with my son; now sometimes I have to take a deep breath in patience, because he loves to talk about anything and everything under the sun!

by Anne M.

My son, now 14, argues with me and points out my mistakes.  Twelve years ago, I never knew if that would happen.  The only word he said at age two was “no.” He understood everything and grunted.  I thought he was bright and ignored those who thought he was delayed.

He was sensitive to sound, loved to watch things spin, could escape from any carseat, loved Thomas the Train, and lined up toys.  However, he related to all of us well, and I knew he was not autistic.

Some “friends” and family told me I was in denial.  I was told I was ignoring his delays and refusing to believe he was autistic.

When he was 2, I met parents of similar children on an email list, and we started a list for our late talkers. When he was 3, I took him to see Dr. Stephen and Mary Camerata at Vanderbilt. 

We learned that besides late talking, he had limited vowel space, phonological delays, and his articulation was less than .5% for his age.  However, his score on the CARS autism test was off the chart that he was most definitely NOT autistic.

We were told he might need 4-6 years of speech therapy.  He needed a language preschool, which our area lacked, or else therapy 5x/week.

Because of other speech issues in my family tree, I became his bulldog, fighting for therapy.  Our school system gave him therapy 2x/week, and our insurance approved therapy 2x/week.  We enrolled him in Kindermusik with a music therapist 1x/week. 

For the next 2 years, our lives revolved around his therapy and using our home environment to help him learn to articulate and speak English.  My son worked hard, every day of those 2 years.  His therapy sessions gradually decreased and were completed 2 years after his original diagnosis.

My son is about to begin high school.  We originally opted to homeschool so we could tailor his education to his style and interests. 

  • He competes in demonstration contests
  • In speech contests, he has a Steven Wright style delivery that makes audiences laugh.
  • He will begin his 4th year of studying Spanish as a second language.
  • A talented musician, he has played violin and piano but now prefers electric guitar.
  • He has spent the last 4 years competing in robotics contests.

The stories of the children in this late talking subgroup are all different.  This is my son’s.

by Mary Biever, Evansville, Indiana