A little boy without a voice.

Posted on: February 16, 2012

As with all parents when A began to babble I couldn’t wait until he would say his 1st word. Me & his Dad had always commented on how clever & alert A was & we both thought he would be a really quick talker.

Then the moment came, he was around 10 months old & whilst babbling away he said ‘Dada’ needless to say we where overjoyed – but I remember thinking ‘Why Dada? What about me? Mummy?’ 🙂

We know now it meant nothing, he was just babbling. A, was a very content baby, a really good sleeper & hardly ever cried – he began pulling himself up with the furniture at around 9 & a half months old, he then crawled the day after his first birthday & started walking at 14 & a half months – we then waited for him to begin talking.

We go on holiday usually twice a year, one at the beginning of the year, one at the end & each time me & his Dad would say, next holiday he’ll be talking, so we’ll enjoy it more, he can say what he wants to do, where he’d like to go – then the next holiday we’d say the same, and then the next…..

– and we are still waiting.

I used to put it down to the fact ‘boys are lazy’ & the more I thought about it the more I began to think it may have been down to me that he wasn’t talking, I always knew what he wanted, you learn to recognise what each sound/moan means, dirty nappy/hungry etc. I would always give him his meals at set times so he’d never go hungry – never have to ask for food.

As time went on, I was more & more concerned that A still wasn’t talking, it was at the time of his 2 year development check that others began voicing their concerns at his lack of speech. I think that’s when I finally accepted, it wasn’t just his speech that was missing. He didn’t make eye contact, he didn’t point at anything, he didn’t play with any toys, he wasn’t interested in playing with other children. Would never answer to his name, with it once being suggested he may have hearing problems…everything began to add up.

A, not speaking puts a great strain on us. His lack of understanding means its even more difficult. He gets frustrated easily and will moan an awful lot, and I can’t just fix it for him by asking him what’s wrong? Its a lot of guess work, you become a detective in a way.

Its even harder when A is poorly, he can’t tell me where it hurts or if he’d like anything to eat or drink, he can’t pre-warn me if he’s feeling sick.

A lot of A’s lack of speech & understanding attributes to difficulties we have such as at mealtimes or if we want to go out, he can’t tell us if he’s not quite hungry, or what he wants or more so doesn’t want to eat.

& then there’s the ‘small’ things, he can’t tell us what he wants for his birthday or christmas, he hasn’t a clue when they are coming so we miss out on the build up of the excitement, although, whose saying it would be a build of excitement? The whole time may be too overwhelming…

A struggles expressing different emotions, he hardly ever cries and as I said before he rarely did when he was a baby. When excited he will jump up and down, makes noises or bite his fist.

We now give A choices of two things where possible to try and see what he wants, he likes that as he likes to be in control.
We use objects of reference when its mealtimes or we want to get him to lie down for his nappy changed, for example show him a nappy or his wipes.

We are also in the process of introducing a visual timetable, I’ve made lots of symbols to give A an idea of what’s going to be happening in the day, they are a symbol of something that A can relate to with a word underneath. On request, A will sometimes copy a word so I’m hoping this will also help his speech to develop.

The only spontaneous speech A has is the word ‘Marmo’ for Mario.

We have lots of hope for A developing speech, we know it will take time but we also know he has the ability to talk.
Hopefully once he gets speech therapy & begins school there’ll be no shutting him up – well here’s hoping 🙂

If any of you have similar stories, please share them below 🙂

L x


12 Responses to "A little boy without a voice."

He is on the right track L. Even one word that he can associate with something (Good old Marmo) is a wonderful start. I know it can get tedious saying the same words over and over hoping he “gets it” but as you said before, he is also starting with spontaneous speech. I am still on cloud 9 for you when he said he loved you! I hope one day to hear that from K. But with all the hugs and kisses he gives me there is no doubt he loves me. 🙂

Our middle daughter has prader-willi syndrome and at 5 doesn’t talk. She has some words but they aren’t clear enuf for everyone to hear. She does have full understanding so it does help as she knows what she does and doesn’t want but it is very frustrating having such restricted language skills. We had speech and language therapy and it didn’t help, at all!! In her earlier years we taught her sign language which has helped her more than anything her specialists have advised. Just keep at it, there’s no miracle cure or help that will suddenly make it go away. It’s hard but it doesn’t mean he can’t be happy. U could try cards with pictures of things like sleep, toys, books, tv etc so he can make his own choices, that really helped Emma

I know how hard it can be, and how much you are waiting for those first words, you can see the frustration in your child because they can’t communicate. My little girl is the same, we started using PECS with her and although it’s early days, she’s making progress. She brings me a symbol for what she wants, like a symbol for juice, or biscuit. It’s cut down her frustration and has cut down her “pulling” at me constantly. Keep going with the visual symbols, and even “marmo” is such a great start, and hopefully will build to the next word and the next 🙂 xx

Had the same things, and as our eldest got a bit older his behavior became more challenging as he simply could not communicate his needs with us.
Interestingly our youngest (13 months)is getting vocal, but only says Dadda, and not Mamma…!

God Bless , We just found out my 2 year old girl has A.S …Everything u described with A my girl is going threw like the DADA is the only thing she says and she moans a lot. She does know a lot though which makes me feel better. like when she is eating and she is full she shakes her head side to side. when she is tired she gets her pillow .
But we are hoping that her speech therapy which starts this week will help…We are hoping that she will get better and start talking soon.

I can relate! My dau was a late talker, and then, when she did begin to speak, we got a lot of echolalia — so she was saying a lot, but it wasn’t really her voice. Now, she’s 8 and her speech is so good — I wouldn’t have believed it when she was 2, 3, 4….and she tells us stuff that she remembers from those years too…so I want to offer you hope — someday, when he has his words, he will tell you that he loves you, and you’ll be so glad — at such a deep level. He is blessed to have you as his family. Glad u wrote this. It’s like a love letter to your child.

It is really hard to develop relationships when they are largely one sided. A friend of mine has a teenager who is on the severe end of the spectrum and he has accomplished much that was thought not possible even recently developing limited speech. Guess its partly about knowing the person and part perseverance

My sister is 11 and I have never had a conversation with her. I haven’t given up though. I might have to wait until she is 80 for her to use her words but I don’t mind waiting. I believe most of her meltdowns and frustrations stem from not having an effective way to communicate with us or with the lack of attention paid to what she’s trying to say in her own way. It’s hard and I know it’s a lot harder for her…one day. Just have to stay positive.

As a mum of a little boy recently diagnosed (though he is verbal), and an SLT working with kids with ASD, I love nothing more than helping parents get their child’s first few words up and running! Communication is so important for everything, the Government cuts to our services are detrimental to many families. Everyone deserves the support they need, not just what can be afforded. Keep hounding your local service and your MP!

Read the non verbal blog- hard to love someone but not fully understand their world. I feel like I’m outside their bubble!

Hi there, You know I have two autistic sons. My eldest son has moderate learning difficulties as well as moderate autism. He does talk quite well and we say that he has the verbal, lol. However, our other son who has severe autism and severe learning difficulties cannot talk very well at all and he is hopefully going to qualify for a IPAD, which will be a god send as he communicates through his computer. Now if he gets the Ipad, hopefully he will be able to communicate with us that way. It will be wonderful.

Your post is so informative! It’s comforting to know that I am not alone in this situation. My son just turned 3 and he is unable to talk in sentences. He can say a handful of words and rarely says or labels what he is currently holding. He does a lot of grunting and pulling to communicate with us.
Today is his first speech therapy session at a local SpEd center. Even if he has not been officially diagnosed with ASD yet, we have decided to start early intervention before our appointment with the developmental pediatrician in May. His difficulty in verbal communication is too glaring for us not to think that he needs help.

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