preemie, baby, speech delay

@mescue (64)
United States
July 4, 2008 11:52am CST
So here's my question. Does anyone have a child with learning disabilities due to being a premature baby? The reason I ask is that I have a two year old who is not talking as much as she should be (according to her pediatrician). She says basic words; mama, dada, nana, bye, hi, no, and a few more. She does not say any sentences. Doctor says she should be saying three word sentences; I want down, I want milk, give me that, etc. This is her history; born at 32 weeks gestation (8 weeks early), stopped breathing right after birth but was resuscitated. No major medical problems. She weighed 3 lbs 14 oz at birth, so she was a little small. Stayed in NICU for one month. Of course she was behind on rolling over, crawling and walking. She had to go to physical therapy to help with the walking but now she is running! So she has to go for a hearing test and then start speech therapy. Are there any preemie moms out there who can give me some advice or maybe just words of encouragement? A little more info; she doesn't say E, meaning no daddy, mommy, cheese, etc. We have a cat named Butterball and we call her BeeBee, my daughter calls her BuBu. Also instead of saying Barney, she says BarBar. Other than her speech she seems to be fine. No health issues, occasional cold. She is still small, according to other parents of children her age. She weighs 24 lbs, 32 inches tall. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
8 responses
• United States
5 Jul 08
Her being a preemie may have nothing to do with it. I have a little boy who is 3 years 8 months old, and very speech delayed (along with a host of other issues). He was still non verbal at 2 years. He never babbled, or made any other sounds as a baby except to scream (not cry). At 18 months I decided to take him to an ENT (he'd had a lot of ear infections) and we put tubes in. The tubes didn't give him that jump start like is usually expected. Having her hearing checked is a really good idea. Some kids who have cronic fluid in their ears may not seem like they have a hearing problem. As an adult who recently had tubes put in, I can tell you that the slightest bit of fluid causes a HUGE hearing issue. My hearing test before tubes didn't show a real problem, no where near showed the problems I was having. Some kids also have slightly weak oral motor skills, so it's really hard for them to make the proper sounds without a "professional" working with them. My point is not to delay anything. Have her hearing checked as soon as possible, and start speech therapy. She could end up talking fine in a year or so, but you don't want to find out if she would have talked "normal" on her on. Kids who are speech delayed tend to have problems reading just because it took so long to develop speech and understand sounds. My little man is still in speech and will probably continue for some time. His issues are from hearing loss (minor), weak oral motor muscles, and plain laziness (it's easier to substitute certain sounds, or just leave some off).
@mescue (64)
• United States
5 Jul 08
I actually called to schedule the first speech therapy visit and was told she has to have a hearing test first. We went this morning to the pediatrician office for the hearing test and the little machine that they put in her ear said to refer out. So now we have to go see either an ENT or an Audiologist. Her doctor gave us numbers to both and said we could decide which to take her to. Which would you recommend?
• United States
8 Jul 08
I would do both. See an ENT to look for fluid and discuss concerns, then head over to the audiologist for the "official" hearing test. If the ENT sees something and brings up tubes, it's nice to have before and after surgery hearing tests. If there's a difference in hearing after tubes, it'll be seen with testing, and you'll know some speech issues *could have* been caused by hearing loss (even if it's very little). The ENT we go to has an audiologist down the hall. So every visit is "hi, how are you? take this paper to audiology and bring back the results." I like this a lot since my son and I have very questionable issues with our ears and hearing. According to tests, I can hear fine, but I get so much fluid that things sound "weird" often.
@vanila (491)
• Israel
5 Jul 08
So she will talk a little bit later than other babies on her age. Did you know that albert einstein started to talk just when he was 3-4 years old ? I have a nefew who is also was born quite small and befor time and his mother also was afraid he is not taking as other and now you cant shut him up :) just kidding, but he is speaking well and more than that. so do not be afraid.
@vanila (491)
• Israel
5 Jul 08
*sorry - I mean nephew of course
@mescue (64)
• United States
5 Jul 08
Thanks. I was just as nervous when she had to go to physical therapy for her walking delay and now she's running all over the place!Hmmmmm...Albert Einstein? Well she is a bright child (my opinion of course!)
@ShealM (388)
• Canada
4 Jul 08
I have two preemies. One was a 29 weeker. He has ADHD\SID (sensory integration dysfunction, on the autism spectrum). My other preemie is still a little young to determine major delays in learning but isn't walking yet at 15 months old. He was a 33 weeker. My 37 weeker (by far, not a preemie) was born footling breech, prolapsed cord with oxygen deprivation. She is ASD\ND (autism spectrum disorder and partial neurological deafness - all verbal diagnosis). She barely talks and only now is starting to catch up (slowly albeit) verbally with her piers. She'll be 3 in October. It is not necessarily the state of prematurity that causes a delay and it may not necessarily be a delay. All children develop at their own pace and the guidelines are just that, guidelines. The guidelines are not 100% accurate. As for weight - my 15 month old is 20 lbs. He is NOT FTT (failure to thrive) and never has been. My 29 weeker at 1 yr old was between 16 and 20 lbs (again not an FTT baby either). All my children are genetically predisposed to being tiny and petite. Being small is not necessarily a factor of being premature, it is completely a genetic response rather than a prematurity response save for micros (24 weeks to 29 weeks) in most instances. From your descriptions of her height and weight I would say she is within her own percentiles and fits her frame perfectly fine. It does sound like she does have a language or speech delay but may be taking her own time to communicate more efficiently or maybe just doesn't want to yet. My 4 year old was 3.5 years old before he spoke more than a syllable and now he never stays quiet! Let her pace herself at her own rate. If it really bothers you ask your doctor for a behavioral specialist referral and go from there. She may need speech therapy but most likely does not. ***NOTE: I am not a doctor, just a mum with experience in this subject matter***
@mescue (64)
• United States
4 Jul 08
Thank you for you response. The doctor has already given me a referral for speech therapy. I called to schedule the appt and was told my daughter has to have a hearing test first (i guess her pediatrician didn't realize this!). But like you, I am also small (petite). However my husband is 6'3" (big boned :). I guess she is taking after me. I feel so much better getting advice from another preemie mom, thanks!
@ShealM (388)
• Canada
8 Jul 08
Hearing test is a good thing, it will eliminate or show that there may be a hearing problem which by statistics is the major leading cause besides actual real speech delays (cognitive rather than congenital or born with). I am more than happy to give my experiences, if it helps even just one person then I've done what I can to help those around me. You are welcome and very welcome to ask any other questions you may want to ask or that arise in the future. I'll answer them to the best of my abilities. If I can't answer them I can point you to someone who can!
@misty99 (736)
5 Jul 08
Being premature and not able to say 3 word sentences at her age does not mean something is wrong with her.There are babies born prematurely and came up to be an honor student.I think its normal for some babies to be late in crawling or walking or talking.Some would skip the crawling part.With regards to her speech I would suggest you to talk with her as much as possible.Things will change as she starts going to school.
@mescue (64)
• United States
5 Jul 08
Thanks. We talk to her all day long. I am a stay at home mom. We are just now getting involved in play groups so I'm also hoping that more interaction with children her own age will help.
• United States
5 Jul 08
I didn't speak at all unitl I was 4 and was totally full term. different kids so diffeent things. Possibly she's not learning disabled..but woudl rather WATCH others and soak that all up and talking is not an issue forher yet? Who knows a child best..the MD or the parent that lives every day with the child? (The parent, of course.) Relax and watch. Does she play normally? Is she other wise helthy? Maybe she prefers to listen. Maybe she's just shy? I wouldn't label any child unitl you know for sure. Frankly..I am not in favor of labeling any child anyway? Enjoy her and appreciate every day with her. All kids don't reach the same places at the same time, but do fine later! When my kids were growing, the MD's said they were not thriving and were too little, etc..I explained that it was genetic and I was also too small..at 12 I was only 68 pounds..but when I hit ppuberty I was one of the tallest girls in my class a while! LOL! Realx, mom. She'll be fine, as long as you don't believe everything they feed you! Wait it out. She may be perfectly fine!
@mescue (64)
• United States
5 Jul 08
She plays normally and is a very healthy child. She's been late to do pretty much everything so I guess I'll follow doctor recommendations and start her in speech therapy but also just give her more time. Thanks!
@sweetdesign (5151)
• United States
5 Jul 08
My daughter was a preemie also. Born 7 weeks early weighing only 2 pounds 14 ounces she was in the NNICU for 7 weeks. This was almost 18 years ago as her birthday is in 9 days. She was slightly delayed in things like rolling over and walking and such. But she caught up. She too had trouble with certain sounds never would pronounce the y sound as in yellow came out ellow. That too passed with time. give your girl time to catch up. Get the tests done just for peace of mind but enjoy the fact that your little girl will be little longer than others and enjoy her while she is little. They grow up too fast even the preemies.
@mescue (64)
• United States
5 Jul 08
I agree, the past two years have flown by. I tell new mommies now, my advice is 'don't blink'! I guess it just concerns me more because the doctor is referring her to a speech therapist. But I know she follows charts and all.
1 person likes this
@irishidid (8523)
• United States
5 Jul 08
While she is naturally behind because of being a preemie, I can't say that it is the cause of speech delay. There could be something else going on and it is best to have her tested by a developmental specialist.
@mescue (64)
• United States
5 Jul 08
She will be starting speech therapy soon. We'll see what happens. Thanks!
@JTerrasi (199)
• United States
4 Jul 08
I am Nana to this preemie and have been here since day one. She was a fighter then and she still is. She is our special Angel sent from the heavens. She is my heart and soul. Although she is behind and tiny she lets her wants be known. I know she has been put in our lives for a very special reason. We have been down a very long and hard road but I know the road will smooth out eventually. Time, Love and patience. It will all fall into place for her. Our Angel......