At 2 and a half years old my eldest son is definitely lagging in the talking department. He is getting there slowly. We have started taking him to a speech pathologist which is helping and we are starting to understand him a bit more, but I am amazed the things i've learnt about a child's speech development while going to these appointments.
1. Research shows that children with slow language development have found to be lacking in Zinc and Molybdenum Chloride. We have now started our son on both these supplements.
2. Our son has not lost his sucking reflex, so this means that when he swallows his tongue goes up instead of down, which in turn effects his speech.
3. My son has always stuffed entire bits of food into his mouth and not finished his mouthful before going for the next bit of food, and he drools a bit more than the average kid. It turns out he has an under-sensitized palette which means he actually cant feel that he hasn't finished his mouthful before going for his next bite. So it was suggested that we give our son really cold, spicy or hot food to awaken his palette, especially before doing his speech exercises.
4. Because our son had lots of ear problems when he was younger and eventually had to have grommets put in his ears, he is now more acutely aware of all the noises he can finally hear. This means, however, that he can easily be distracted if their are too many noises going on at once. So when doing the recommended speech exercises with him, there needs to be no outside noise.
5. When undertaking the speech exercises we are to let our son lead the play. We are to use three to four word sentences only and just basically narrate what is going on and what he is doing. We are not supposed to ask what he is doing.
6. The last thing I have learned is that it is quite hard for an adult to talk in three to four word sentences, without asking questions, when you put your mind to it! Go on I dare you to give it a try?
So although it is mighty frustrating when your child can't tell you what is wrong or what he wants, we are getting there and at least we get to have more ice-cream for the greater good of his speech!