Speech Pathologists Questions Speech and Language Problems in Children

My son is 3-years-old and isn't talking. What should I do?

My son is 3-years-old and he didn't say his first word yet at all. He's making small noises, but that's about it. Is there anything that we can do to help him? And also, could this mean that something is wrong with him?

12 Answers

Have your pediatrician refer to speech therapy. Early intervention is key. Find a local speech language pathologist.
You should have them evaluated by a speech-language pathologist. They would be able to determine what type of delay that your child has and what supports your child will need to build their language.
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I would recommend that your child be seen by a developmental pediatrician. In addition, contact your local school to establish school-based services. Lastly, have him evaluated by a private practice speech pathologist. It's concerning that your child's pediatrician hasn't recommended further assessment. By age 3, if your child isn't speaking at all, it's an indication that there may be something more serious occurring along with a significant developmental delay. Your child should have their first word between 8-12 months of age. By 3, he should be speaking in small sentences.
I strongly recommend that you make an appointment for an evaluation with a speech-language pathologist. Your local hospital is likely to have outpatient speech-language pathology services and if they do not, they can certainly refer you. most insurance plans cover speech therapy and most hospitals accept insurance. good luck!
If you are concerned about your child’s development, you may contact your local early intervention program directly to ask for an evaluation. (Families do not have to wait for a referral from professionals).

You can find your community’s early intervention office by asking your child’s pediatrician, child care provider, or teacher for a referral; calling your state department of health or education; reaching out to the Parent Training and Information Center in your state; contacting the pediatrics department of a local hospital; or visiting the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center’s state-by-state contacts page.
You should definitely get an evaluation by a speech pathologist who specializes in early childhood development. Your son should be speaking by now with simple words and even 2 word phrases. Has his hearing been tested? If not, this should also be done. Good luck and I hope you can get some positive results.
Your question really concerns me. Please contact your pediatrician as soon as possible express your concerns and request a prescription for a speech and language evaluation. Speech delay could be caused by multiple factors, therefore, we need to do a comprehensive assessment before providing any diagnosis and/or underlining conditions.
I recommend you have formal testing done by a speech language pathologist. Early intervention is key! There could be underlying issues or he could just be a late talker. You need an assessment to begin the process.
I would recommend going to your pediatrician and asking for a referral for speech therapy. He definitely needs some interventions. The school district also has pre-k programs for children with speech and language delays. He needs an evaluation.
I would recommend having your son receive a speech-language evaluation; that is a good place to start along with speaking with your pediatrician regarding any further testing they would recommend. There are certain factors that may be affecting your child's verbal language.

Typically, at 3-years-old a child should be producing short phrases or sentences. I would seek out an evaluation through your counties Intermediate Unit or a local speech language clinic. In the mean time, you can work toward improving his speech and language by reducing screen time (TV, tablet, phone, etc.), playing back-and-forth games with him, and talking to him about anything and everything that you or he is doing. Good luck!
Early intervention is very important. You can find a licensed Speech and Language Pathologist near you at: www.asha.org/profind/<http://www.asha.org/profind/>

Click "find an SLP", then follow prompts to enter your state and other information.

At home, read simple books with your child and ask Wh questions, such as: "Who is holding the ball?", "What color is the sun?", etc while pointing to what you are talking about. Give him a couple of seconds, then give a choice, for example: "Is the sun black or red?" or " Is the boy or dog holding the ball?".

When you go places, label things for him and ask him what things are called, ie bananas, apples, etc. Talk about their colors, sizes, etc "This is a big, yellow lemon". "Which lemon is bigger?".

Not all sounds are present in 3 year olds, but he should be putting words together and answering basic questions at this age. The Speech Pathologist can help you narrow things down and give you additional things you can do at home with him after assessing him personally.

Good luck and try not to worry. You've taken the first step already!