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Speech Delay: I’m Tired of Hearing Just Wait

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My daughter is the light of my life, along with her little brother, they are everything I wanted. As my daughter was at the doctor for her 18 months well-check the point was brought up that she really should be talking more. At the time she really did not have more than 2 or 3 words. “mama” when she really was upset, “dada” rarely, and “ball” because what else but her favorite toy.

I decided to give it a few months and see if her speech progressed at all.

By 21 months I decided we should take the plunge, we asked for referral for speech therapy and she received an evaluation. Her expressive language was in the 2ndpercentile. She was far behind kids her age. She has always had pretty good receptive language but at times it can be hard to know what she understands when she can not talk to us.

Right away, I started hearing things from others like “just be glad now, when she starts talking you won’t be able to shut her up.”

I brushed these comments off and took her to speech therapy weekly.

As a year went by and she did have some new words, she still was not putting words together, she had no sentences, and she was starting to get very frustrated with the fact that we could not understand her.

Occupational therapy was recommended in addition. Why? Go through the evaluation and the explain that she is sensory seeking.

She seems to need extra sensory input.

My daughter has always been what I called a very “gross motor skill child” she loves jumping, swinging, climbing, hanging upside down, and it is a constant tennis ball as she goes back and forth between these activities. I never realized it could be a sensory need she was trying to fulfill.

I still hear “be glad in the quiet moments… soon enough she’ll be talking up a storm!” But, my child is now over 3 years old and not talking. She babbles, she says some words when she wants, usually naming things, but she does not say “please” she does not say “mama”, she does not say “I love you” and she DOES NOT tell me verbally what she wants.

So NO, I’m not reveling in this moment of a silent child that cannot be understood sometimes.

I am not reveling in the moments of her high-pitched squeal when she is angry or upset. I am praying for her to speak, to be able to express herself, to be able to tell me what she wants so I can give my daughter everything she needs.

My child, though she is not diagnosed with anything other than a speech delay, is not typical.

She is amazing, she is brilliant, she has the best memory, she is so very stubborn, but she is not like your child.

I understand children can do that. They can start speaking later then. One moment they’re not talking then the next they’re just spurting off sentences. I understand children grow and hit milestones at their own speed. Believe me I understand. However, I am TIRED of hearing I should not worry, I am TIRED of being told to enjoy my silent child now.

When she does speak, if she does have those moments when she is a chatterbox. Those moments you say “I will wish I could shut her up” you know what I think now? I dream for my chatterbox. I will revel in every word she says, every thought she decides to share with me and every upset she can verbally express to me. Because you know what is not easy? Not being able to understand your child and fix things when they are sad.

I love her and no matter what, even if she never says “I love you” or “please,” I will love my child with all my heart.

But I do yearn for the day where she can have a conversation with me. I dream of sitting down with my daughter and hearing some funny story she has to tell me, I wish so badly to hear “I love you.”

I will NOT be enjoying her silence now, because her silence means her frustration, her anger, her sadness, it means she is not understood, and I just want to fix that for her.

I dream of having a little chatterbox!


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  1. My son had speech delays and the waiting and wanting were the hardest parts. And that frustration was the hardest for me to overcome when i y best friends son was 12 hours younger than him but it seemed like years ahead developmentally.

  2. Oh man Sarah!!
    My oldest daughter never followed the curves – she was talking before her brother who is 2 years older than her. She was walking at 9 months. She is super smart but could never spell – she was labeled dumb. It was so hard some times because she was always just “different”. EVERYONE had advice –!!!!

    My advice would be to shut the noise out, YOU know your child and you know what she needs!! If you think she needs extra help, then do that. If you think she doesn’t, don’t get it.

    Just remember YOU are her perfect mother and YOU are what she needs.

  3. Oh, I am going through the same thing with my second. As worried as I may get, there are moments when he just erupts with words. Then, nothing….

  4. I completely feel you! My daughter is 18 months and doesn’t say a word we constantly get the ‘you’re lucky, when she starts talking she won’t shut up..” UGH! My daughter is a preemie, so we’ve already been referred to speech therapy along with a whole host of other issues, so just waiting for openings to start OT/PT and speech. It’s frustrating talking about these things with people who just don’t understand!

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