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Suspected Apraxia? Toddler 29 months


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#1 Mamma Gibbons

Posted 08 April 2019 - 09:52 AM

Hi all,

Suspecting possible speech apraxia with 29 month old son. Uses minimal words to communicate, mostly 'DA' or vowel based sound effects for everything. Can say Mum, Hi, Bye, This, That, No, Yeah. Uh-oh. Often gains new words but loses them. Receptive language very strong, motor skills excellent. Eats fine. Was 4 weeks early, very quiet baby, little coo'ing or babbling. Does babble now, ie to his toys when in cot alone or in conversation with you.

General aptitude and cognition in learning very strong, yet with language he just blanks and says 'DA'.

Hearing about to be tested and referring to SP at the RCH, however living rural means little localised help and long waits.

Im keen to hear from anyone with language delays and what signs they found most significant.. Also what approach to take on a day to day level with my DS, reading and word repetition not working and only frustrating him. APP suggestions? Any one with language delays that presented similarly that self corrected with time?

Thanks for your help!!

#2 BusbyWilkes

Posted 08 April 2019 - 12:09 PM

It is great that you are getting specific help for him re hearing and speech path assessment.

Young children that I have known with apraxia/dyspraxia of speech (especially those without delayed gross and gone motor skills) have used key word signing really well. Some use it longer term, while for others it as a bridge to speaking. It gives them a way to communicate and stops the frustration and possible behavioural issues that can come from not being able to make yourself understood by others.

Hanen "it takes two" program is not for apraxia, but is a great program that you may be able to find info online about, even if you are rural.


#3 Lallalla

Posted 08 April 2019 - 12:48 PM

By vowel based sounds do you mean he’s saying words without the consinents and you understand what he means but no one else??

My oldest did that, it was caused by glue ear, solved with grommets. She started saying the T in water within 24 hours of getting them when she must have been 2 and 4 months. Her language had caught up, but her grommets came out and her hearing has gone down again, getting new grommets in a few weeks, hoping this is the last set as she’s been less sick and it took a little while to deteriorate, she’s nearly 5).

#4 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 08 April 2019 - 02:12 PM

i wouldt worry just yet.  My second son barely spoke at 2. hearing was fine, and he was tested at 2.5 by speech therapist and was in the normal range. He is 3 now and talks, when he wants to, not a lot, but has the words, he just isn't chatty.  I might get him assessed again, but going to kinder has helped him heaps so i think he is just slow to talk, and perhaps hasn't benefited from child care or other social outlets either..

By all means get the tests done, but dont stress, speech seems to have a very wide range of normal.

#5 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 08 April 2019 - 02:43 PM

We have natural late talkers in our family. Speech for these kids didn’t really take off until about 2.5yrs. Out of 5 children 2 my own 3 my nephews, my second child when he started to talk more that was when we realised he actually had fluid filled ears and hearing loss. Grommets only slightly helped and it was not until he was 4yrs that we finally got a normal hearing test.

Please go and get tests done, especially hearing, but as I said to my sister when she was worried over my nephews, the kids have not read the manuals on when they are “meant” to do things. I should also add that all 3 boys are of extraordinary intelligence, Mensa IQ types.

Edited by Veritas Vinum Arte, 08 April 2019 - 02:44 PM.


#6 PrincessPeach

Posted 09 April 2019 - 08:01 PM

The lack of babbling, a quiet baby & loosing words are the exact words I use to describe my DS.

My little man started speech therapy for suspected speech apraxia at 2 yrs & 4 months. Confirmed at 3. He had a lot less sounds than your little man (We had mainly only d sounding words). But weekly therapy & loads of homework he started school this year & whilst we are still in therapy, he can actually be understood by his teacher & classmates. Not going to lie, it's been a very, very hard slog. I'm lucky in that my little man is mostly compliant & willing to work with me, I don't think I would have seen the same progress if it was my other child (very stubborn).

It's a long road, but if you get a speech therapist who clicks with your kid then it's amazing.

We started with Makaton key word signs for some basic things. He will still revert back to those signs even now at 5 when he is really sick. They helped massively to reduce the tantrums. Picture cards are another popular option.

Also if he goes to daycare, make sure the daycare staff are on board with what you do at home - so if you use prompts for speech sounds, they need to use them as well. Consistency is king.

#7 MrsG2

Posted 10 April 2019 - 08:47 AM

View PostMamma Gibbons, on 08 April 2019 - 09:52 AM, said:

Hi all,

Suspecting possible speech apraxia with 29 month old son. Uses minimal words to communicate, mostly 'DA' or vowel based sound effects for everything. Can say Mum, Hi, Bye, This, That, No, Yeah. Uh-oh. Often gains new words but loses them. Receptive language very strong, motor skills excellent. Eats fine. Was 4 weeks early, very quiet baby, little coo'ing or babbling. Does babble now, ie to his toys when in cot alone or in conversation with you.

General aptitude and cognition in learning very strong, yet with language he just blanks and says 'DA'.

Hearing about to be tested and referring to SP at the RCH, however living rural means little localised help and long waits.

Im keen to hear from anyone with language delays and what signs they found most significant.. Also what approach to take on a day to day level with my DS, reading and word repetition not working and only frustrating him. APP suggestions? Any one with language delays that presented similarly that self corrected with time?

Thanks for your help!!

This almost exactly describes my ds (almost 24months). He has 25-30 words (and has lost a couple of words) but also reverts back to ”Gaa” for almost everything. I’ve started speech therapy and right now they’re teaching him signs for basic words, but not sure it’s helping too much (stubborn kid). I’m happy that his babble has started to include most vowel and consonant sounds that he needs at this age , but he really does stick to Gaa. I’m quite worried about how he’s going to go- he’s super stubborn

#8 Mamma Gibbons

Posted 10 April 2019 - 11:37 AM

View PostLallalla, on 08 April 2019 - 12:48 PM, said:

By vowel based sounds do you mean he’s saying words without the consinents and you understand what he means but no one else??

My oldest did that, it was caused by glue ear, solved with grommets. She started saying the T in water within 24 hours of getting them when she must have been 2 and 4 months. Her language had caught up, but her grommets came out and her hearing has gone down again, getting new grommets in a few weeks, hoping this is the last set as she’s been less sick and it took a little while to deteriorate, she’s nearly 5).

Thanks for your feedback, My DS is saying words with consonants and vowels. Mum. Da. Oooooh. Ball. But its minimal and he often only uses 'mum' and 'Da'. Im wondering did your DD show other signs of hearing impairment? my boy is seemingly very sharp at hearing, hears us roll over in the bedroom next door in the morning and calls out.. Were you surprised by the diagnosis? For us I am ruling hearing out, but suspect the issue lies elsewhere, Were there would be other clear signs for you of the hearing loss?

Edited by Mamma Gibbons, 10 April 2019 - 11:40 AM.


#9 Mamma Gibbons

Posted 10 April 2019 - 11:43 AM

View PostPrincessPeach, on 09 April 2019 - 08:01 PM, said:

The lack of babbling, a quiet baby & loosing words are the exact words I use to describe my DS.

My little man started speech therapy for suspected speech apraxia at 2 yrs & 4 months. Confirmed at 3. He had a lot less sounds than your little man (We had mainly only d sounding words). But weekly therapy & loads of homework he started school this year & whilst we are still in therapy, he can actually be understood by his teacher & classmates. Not going to lie, it's been a very, very hard slog. I'm lucky in that my little man is mostly compliant & willing to work with me, I don't think I would have seen the same progress if it was my other child (very stubborn).

It's a long road, but if you get a speech therapist who clicks with your kid then it's amazing.

We started with Makaton key word signs for some basic things. He will still revert back to those signs even now at 5 when he is really sick. They helped massively to reduce the tantrums. Picture cards are another popular option.

Also if he goes to daycare, make sure the daycare staff are on board with what you do at home - so if you use prompts for speech sounds, they need to use them as well. Consistency is king.

Thanks for this. Can I ask what other signs you saw that lead to that diagnosis? we have our referral to the RCH, so hopefully soon can get the assessment. Sorry to hear its been such a slog, GOOD ON YOU for powering through. thanks for this tips!

#10 Mamma Gibbons

Posted 10 April 2019 - 11:48 AM

View PostMrsG2, on 10 April 2019 - 08:47 AM, said:

This almost exactly describes my ds (almost 24months). He has 25-30 words (and has lost a couple of words) but also reverts back to ”Gaa” for almost everything. I’ve started speech therapy and right now they’re teaching him signs for basic words, but not sure it’s helping too much (stubborn kid). I’m happy that his babble has started to include most vowel and consonant sounds that he needs at this age , but he really does stick to Gaa. I’m quite worried about how he’s going to go- he’s super stubborn

Hi there, sounds like a similar boat. Tough going isnt it? Im not having luck in any 'testing' style with my DS. I havnt done signs yet but will give that a go this week, I find that he is adopting words randomly when not feeling tested. Sometimes I suspect that they just dont feel they need to talk, there is no strong desire to. Either that or yes its a delay, possible apraxia.. (lets hope it just sorts out on its own hey)

#11 Mamma Gibbons

Posted 10 April 2019 - 11:50 AM

View PostBusbyWilkes, on 08 April 2019 - 12:09 PM, said:

It is great that you are getting specific help for him re hearing and speech path assessment.

Young children that I have known with apraxia/dyspraxia of speech (especially those without delayed gross and gone motor skills) have used key word signing really well. Some use it longer term, while for others it as a bridge to speaking. It gives them a way to communicate and stops the frustration and possible behavioural issues that can come from not being able to make yourself understood by others.

Hanen "it takes two" program is not for apraxia, but is a great program that you may be able to find info online about, even if you are rural.

Thank you for this, Im going to look into signing further, unforts the HANEN thing is not running near me, but ill keep it mind for when we re-locate

#12 Mamma Gibbons

Posted 10 April 2019 - 11:53 AM

View PostVeritas Vinum Arte, on 08 April 2019 - 02:43 PM, said:

We have natural late talkers in our family. Speech for these kids didn’t really take off until about 2.5yrs. Out of 5 children 2 my own 3 my nephews, my second child when he started to talk more that was when we realised he actually had fluid filled ears and hearing loss. Grommets only slightly helped and it was not until he was 4yrs that we finally got a normal hearing test.

Please go and get tests done, especially hearing, but as I said to my sister when she was worried over my nephews, the kids have not read the manuals on when they are “meant” to do things. I should also add that all 3 boys are of extraordinary intelligence, Mensa IQ types.

Thank you for this, The hearing is the first step, its been booked. Can you tell me if there were any other clear signs that it was hearing? re infections, obviously not hearing when spoken too etc, for us, i see no other signs.. Wondering if it can present with just the language delay and no other indicators.. :)

#13 MrsG2

Posted 10 April 2019 - 01:28 PM

View PostMamma Gibbons, on 10 April 2019 - 11:48 AM, said:



Hi there, sounds like a similar boat. Tough going isnt it? Im not having luck in any 'testing' style with my DS. I havnt done signs yet but will give that a go this week, I find that he is adopting words randomly when not feeling tested. Sometimes I suspect that they just dont feel they need to talk, there is no strong desire to. Either that or yes its a delay, possible apraxia.. (lets hope it just sorts out on its own hey)

Yes it’s also my hope that he picks up enough language on his own and then I can maybe help with the formulation of words/sentences as opposed to trying to force words out of him. And I agree - they probably feel no need or desire to talk given that his needs are all met without needing to talk. (You can read through my post history to see just how stubborn my ds is- he will literally choose to “not want” something rather than use his words and ask for what he wants )

All the best with the testing !

#14 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 10 April 2019 - 02:29 PM

View PostMamma Gibbons, on 10 April 2019 - 11:53 AM, said:



Thank you for this, The hearing is the first step, its been booked. Can you tell me if there were any other clear signs that it was hearing? re infections, obviously not hearing when spoken too etc, for us, i see no other signs.. Wondering if it can present with just the language delay and no other indicators.. :)

Oh no other indicators for bad hearing. Basically he would respond to sound but not fully hear what was actually said (then lipread) just aware that there was sound. Did not have many ear infections. Even audiologists testing him were shocked at how bad his hearing was because he presented as if he could hear. Basically he had learnt to read lips and anticipate things to cover up his hearing loss.

The ironic thing was I had done 2/4 yrs at Uni doing Speech Pathology and had later talkers and hearing loss in one which I only realised when he finally started to talk more and I realised he sounded like he was talking underwater therefore he must be hearing via fluid filled ears and have hearing loss.

ETA most of the family were shocked when I said to them how bad his hearing tested as he did not show any obvious signs of not hearing other than speech delay (which his big brother had too anyway).

One thing I will say was he hated the vacuum cleaner being on. My brother who had bad ear infections as a child said he remembered such frequency causing extra pain. DS2 also hated loud singing like “happy birthday” which always caused a problem.

Edited by Veritas Vinum Arte, 10 April 2019 - 02:44 PM.


#15 BusbyWilkes

Posted 10 April 2019 - 03:57 PM

View PostMamma Gibbons, on 10 April 2019 - 11:48 AM, said:



Hi there, sounds like a similar boat. Tough going isnt it? Im not having luck in any 'testing' style with my DS. I havnt done signs yet but will give that a go this week, I find that he is adopting words randomly when not feeling tested. Sometimes I suspect that they just dont feel they need to talk, there is no strong desire to. Either that or yes its a delay, possible apraxia.. (lets hope it just sorts out on its own hey)

What you have mentioned here is typical of dyspraxia. The difficulty is usually in plannng and making the muscles in mouth/lips/tongue do what you want (the "message" not getting through, rather than the muscle not working). So the more thought and effort put into doing this, the more stuck some kids get.
When there is no pressure or thought, sometimes words can come out easier and more clearly.
You sound like an awesome mum! If you're keen to try keyword signs, pick a few things (3-5) to start with. Typical first signs might be - more, finished, eat, drink, sleep. You can google what the hand gestures are. Every time you say the word, use the sign at the same time. occasionally take his hand and show him how he can also "say" these words. Research very clearly says that key word signing assists with speech acquisition, rather than them not wanting to speak because they sign (some parents are worried about this).

#16 amaza

Posted 10 April 2019 - 07:43 PM

This sounds like my son. He has done a term of speech therapy but he is very very stubborn so there hasn't been too much progress.

I think hearing will have something to do with it and we are about to get him tested. We were told he was deaf for 8 weeks before he was given the all clear and told it was probably narrow tubes and to watch for ear infections. Last summer he started daycare and got sick for the first time. We ended the year with 8 bilateral ear infections.

My son will be 3 in May. For now we just continue with his speech therapy and hope he improves. He does have more naming words than when he started but struggles with verbs and joining words like it, in, out etc.

#17 PrincessPeach

Posted 10 April 2019 - 07:51 PM

View PostMamma Gibbons, on 10 April 2019 - 11:43 AM, said:



Thanks for this. Can I ask what other signs you saw that lead to that diagnosis? we have our referral to the RCH, so hopefully soon can get the assessment. Sorry to hear its been such a slog, GOOD ON YOU for powering through. thanks for this tips!

He was the only 2 year old I know who didn't say 'no'. plus he would do a lot of pointing & going da.

I ended up pushing my gp for a referral to a paediatrician who was very thorough & did say that even late talkers should have a minimum of 20 words by 2 & be putting 2 together.

He then gave us a list of speech therapists in our area - public system wasn't an option for us as due to the really long waitlist as we had no other diagnosed conditions. It was the speech therapist who diagnosed it, but just check before you book an appointment as not all speech therapists are trained in apraxia (there are lots of different areas to specialise in).

#18 MrsG2

Posted 11 April 2019 - 10:01 AM

Princess peach, do you find that the therapy helps him pronounce his words better (I.e - he gained the words on his own but the expression is improved through therapy), or did the therapy also help him learn new words?

#19 PrincessPeach

Posted 11 April 2019 - 04:10 PM

Our therapy has been targeted at pronouncing each sound individually. some sounds appeared on their own, but the majority we had to teach him how to say. We usually get a set of words each week to work on to give practice, or if he refuses to work with the words the speech therapist give us, I use the sound & use everyday play conversation to work with him.

I found once he learnt a sound good enough it generally stayed, although we have had a lot of backwards steps.


#20 MrsG2

Posted 11 April 2019 - 05:46 PM

Very interesting ! Ds also has struggled with some sounds.. sorry for all the questions .. it’s good to hear about others with the same experiences

#21 PrincessPeach

Posted 11 April 2019 - 07:06 PM

It was an epic learning curve when the speech therapist mentioned it.

Google was my best friend, a lot of the information you get comes from America, the diagnosis criteria is the same. Also google childhood apraxia of speech.




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