Stories of speech delays, with responses


This is a compliation of posts to the twins list in 1998 concerning speech delays in young twins. In most cases, permission has been obtained from the original poster to use his or her post. Great effort has been made to respect the poster's wishes concerning how much personal information was given. If any of these requests have been overlooked, contact me (Jennifer Ganger) right away.

In some cases, persmission was not explicitly obtained, but the post was used anyway because it was felt that the information could be extremely valuable to someone worried about speech delays in their twins. All identifying information has been removed from these posts.

If you recognize your post in this FAQ and you do not want it to be included, or if you want some changes to be made (like having names omitted or added), contact Jennifer Ganger at .

[full header not available]

I have boy-girl twins who will be two in November. My daughter has no problem with speech whatsoever- and is now, at 22 months, speaking full sentences. My son, on the other hand, has about 5 understandable words (to us)- don't know if they would be understandable to anyone else. I'm not sure if this is a "girls are faster" type of thing- but I am concerned and would like to access some help for him if help is available.

Thanks in advance for any information that anyone could provide me.

[name omitted]


[original post not available]

[name omitted],

I read your post on the twins list concerning your twins speech delay. I think you are taking the right course of action. I have a 3 1/2 y/o speech delayed twin. His brother is not having any problems. He was about 2 when I became concerned but since many times twins can be speech delayed, I didn't really pursue it until he was about 2 1/2. He was basically communicating with only non-verbal communication (pointing and pulling).

You are going through the right process. They always do a hearing eval to make sure there are no problems that would be preventing their speech from that point. Then only a Speech Therapist can really assess if they are speech delayed. If they determine that, then you will get treatment. (my son was 10 months behind in his speech when we had his speech eval.) Texas has a program called Early Childhood Intervention which is free and someone came to our house to work with him once a week and give us ideas of what to do. When he turned 3, he switched to the school system as the schools are responsible from age 3 on. He is presently in an early childhood class at the local elementary school that works on "oral communication skills" and the Speech Therapist sees him twice a week.

We are awaiting an appointment for another hearing eval. It is very difficult for them to get a good reading with little ones, from what I understand. Our first screening was inconclusive, the second one showed that he had normal hearing in one ear which is enough for speech but there were some concerns about his left ear (couldn't tell if he was just tired from the test or if he wasn't hearing well). That was 6 months ago and he is showing signs of hearing loss in his left ear (like he put one of those obnoxious bike horns to his ear and blew it - it didn't seem to bother him either) so we requested another hearing eval.

I just want to encourage you to pursue this if you have any doubts or reservations. A lot of people said "oh, twins are always late talking" of course, I had one that was and one that wasn't. From what I have read it is pretty common for some twins to develop their own "twin talk" so they don't communicate a lot with other people. The point is that they are talking with each other. My twins never experienced this. I think there may be a FAQ section to the list on this topic or maybe under the twins magazine (I noticed in my last issue they are selling copies of topic related articles for a certain fee and I think I saw one on speech issues.)

Good luck and keep us posted.

[name omitted]


Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998

[name omitted] wrote about her twins being eval at school for speech and asked if anyone had ideas to respond [original post not available]. I already posted in response to [name omitted]. Since yours are already in school, I would ask for a conference time with the speech therapist to ask what she is doing specifically. It is important for there to be follow through at home with the things the therapist is working on at school. (I learned this from my involvement in the ECI program - they really stressed parental involvement.) The school program my son is in hasn't done this as well. I was present for the eval with the speech therapist at the school as he was only 3, and

he probably wouldn't have done it without mom present. I had to go to my school and talk to the early childhood teacher and ask if she would send home some specific information about what they were doing in class. When I would ask [name omitted] at the end of the school day if he read a story or played blocks etc he would always respond "no". One day I stayed after taking him to school and observed the first 15 minutes or so of class. Then I knew a few specific things to ask him "did you read little red riding hood?" "yes!" and then a stream of words about the wolf, forest, house, grandma, etc. I was surprised that in a speech program they weren't already doing this to help the parents. To their credit, they did just start the program this year so it is new to them too. Also, my sister-in-law who is a speech therapist in another city said that many of the kids just don't have involved parents who would carry through with anything. I guess they get discouraged and it is rare when there is a parent who will be really interested in doing something too.

BTW, in response to your "I can understand them fine", I know your kids are older but I learned that for a 3-year-old the "normal" standard is that a non-involved adult (i.e., someone other than mom or dad or daycare person who spends a lot of time with them) should be able to understand 75% of their speech. My son is not even close to probably 25%. I want to stress that all the speech therapy we have been through has been helpful, but things won't change overnight. When we started this process he had no verbal communication at all (only non-verbal pointing etc).


Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 17:10:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: chuck <>
Subject: Twins talking
Barbara [original post below]
I totally agree with your statements about getting twins with language problems to services early (these are services that most people don't know about). Brian and Jeremy have been receiving early intervention services for about 4 months (they are now 2 1/2 ) and we have seen tremendous improvement. Would we have seen it anyway? I really don't think so.


Brian and Jeremy's (who are now talking like crazy - oh to look back at the good old quiet days) dad 3/12/1996


I was entitled to special services for the twins until they were three. By the time I found out for sure about this and by the time it took for all the testing and to get special services to start coming to my home, they came once a week from May until the twins turned 3 this past Saturday. You are normally entitled to special services from birth until kids are three years of age.

I had the one twin retested about a month ago for his hearing and they had to sedate him to do the test because he wouldn't stay still. But they said he hears fine.

The twins now just started school on Monday of this week they are in a special education class with others with autism. I am hoping that they will be able to provide the services they need . If not we will look further for more services then what the school system is giving them. They are going fulltime. The neurologist wants them in a program where they will be receiving a lot of speech lessons. But the school system is only offering them 1 hour of speech each a week and the dr. doesn't feel this is enough.

The one twin doesn't say a word. The other says a few words.

So for anyone out there that has doubts about their twins not talking and they’re older, have them checked out. It’s only for their own good. I wish I knew sooner so they could have gotten more help from special services than they received.

And I sure hope that my twins do start to talk soon.

[name omitted]


Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 08:40:25 -0700
To: "'twins list'" <>
Subject: When to worry about speech delays

I'm starting to worry about one of my 18-month old twin boys. [name omitted] doesn't say any words, not even Mama or Dada. I know he can hear us because he responds to us ("where are your shoes, etc."). [name omitted—other twin] will repeat almost anything we say, but [name omitted—first twin] will not. [name omitted—first twin] babbles a lot, but nothing he says makes any sense, and he usually only babbles when [name omitted—second twin] is not in the room.

I wasn't too concerned at first because [name omitted—first twin] seemed to be more focused on his motor skills (he started walking at 10.5 months and [name omitted—second twin] is still in the cruising stage, taking only a few unassisted steps). But now it's starting to worry me. Does anyone have any information about this?

[name omitted]

mom to b/b twins, 4/5/97


Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 09:47:36 -0700

Subject: When to worry about speech delays -Reply
Neither one of our 17-month-old fraternal twin boys say any words at all, not even mama or dada. Not even uh-oh! They do respond to simple commands and wave bye-bye. I'll be interested in seeing everyone's responses to your post. Our boys aren't scheduled for their next developmental follow-up until January.




Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 21:59:06 -0400
Subject: Re: When to worry about speech delays -Reply

Just wanted to note that receptive language is not always a sign that hearing is perfect. Sometimes children who seem to understand what is said to them can have hearing deficits that interfere more with expressive language than receptive language. This is not necessarily what is going on with the kids in question, but it certainly wouldn't be outrageous to test their hearing. Good luck!


Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 07:54:03 -0400
From: "Melissa"
Subject: RE: When to worry about speech delays

My son [name omitted ] is similar to yours [name omitted ]. Essentially all he says is Da. He points and gestures, so he can communicate his wants/needs to us, but he doesn't try very hard to say any words. We called the Early Intervention program in our state, and got referrals for both twins for speech therapy. My understanding is it's all free. We're scheduled for the initial evaluation next month. The social worker I talked to for the pre-screening said our kids automatically qualified because they are twins, and that they definitely would benefit from therapy.


Mom to b/g twins 3/12/97


Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 12:46:00 -0400
From: Christine
Subject: Re:Speech delays

My boys have speech delays, so I have some experience in this.

First, talk to your pediatrician. he/she will send you for a hearing test. That's the first step, if he passes the hearing then you go to a speech therapist. The ST evaluates him and sends a report back to the pediatrician, who in turn gives your name to the Early Intervention program. The EI program evaluate him and put him in the appropriate classes or if he just needs speech therapy and nothing else they will send someone to your home to help him a couple of days a week. Having said all that each state is different and has different guidelines but this will give you some idea.

In our case it was both the boys who had speech delays and some other delays I didn't realize. So they were able to EI classes, it was great for the boys, they loved it and loved their teachers. They thrived in the program. They started at 2 years old, but I started the whole process at 18 months so it take a long time to get settled in. AT 2 3/4 they had a "speech explosion" coincidentally right after Christmas and a few months after we went to Disney World. They surprised all of us, so this led us to believe that they EI program helped.

Even now, the boys at 3 yrs old are in Integrated preschool which means half the class is regular preschool and the other half is special education kids. They love it. As a matter of fact if they don't qualify next year for special education then I will still find a preschool for them to go to they love it so much, not to mention it would be strange for them to skip a year of school and then go back for kindergarten.

Take care



Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 15:46:58 -0400 (EDT)
From: Cathy
Subject: When to worry about speech delays - Reply

My 4.5 yo ID twin boys are currently in speech therapy. In the package of information I got from the speech pathologist when they started therapy, there is a sheet that outlines the minimum expectations for children's speech at various ages. For 18 months it says that they should be able to follow simple commands (e.g., come here, get bear), recognize the names of most common objects and use at least 10 words. The sheet says that a child who is not doing all of these things by 18 months is "at risk" for speech delays and should be assessed. FWIW, my boys used far more than 10 words at 18 months and still required speech therapy because of articulation problems.

Just in case anyone is interested in the expectations for older children, the information I have says that by 24 mos they should be using at least 50 words and should be starting to form 2-word sentences. By 3 years, they should have a vocabulary of at least 300 words, be using 3-word sentences and should be intelligible most of the time to non-family members (this last one is what landed my kids in therapy). By 4 years, they should have a vocabulary of at least 800 words, should be using sentences of 4 words and longer and should be very intelligible.

Hope this helps.

Cathy - Mom to b/b twins (4/23/94)


[header omitted]
I had the impression that you could not accurately assess whether or not a child has speech delays until 2. That many children, especially twins, can all of a sudden start speaking sentences. Has anyone either had this experience or heard this too?

My twins are 19mos. old. My daughter can put three words together and basically says everything, but my son has probably 3 words. (shoe, hi, [d]og ) He doesn't really even say mommy or daddy. I had his hearing checked which is fine. So I was just going to wait until he was two. My ped. also was unconcerned since he does respond to most not all commands, and that I should wait until 2. Now I am sensing that I should get on the ball

[name omitted]


[header omitted; response to above message]

Your twins sound a lot like mine at that age. My son was the talker, however, and my daughter was the silent one. My daughter had phrases she would say, but there were only about 3: "Whatyoudoing?" (said more like one word), "Dopdat", and of course everyone’s favorite "Iwanntit". Once she was in a regular school environment, where it wasn't just her and her brother, she began to say more and more though not clearly. At 5 both she and her brother need speech therapy but it's more for the way they pronounce things..


[header omitted]

> I had the impression that you could not acurately assess whether or not a child has
> speech delays until 2. That many children, especially twins, can all of a sudden
> start speaking sentences. Has anyone either had this experience or heard this too?
Not sure how "medically" true this is, but it sure happened with my boys. At 23 months we were visiting my parents and the boys had very few words (Daddy, uh-oh, uh-uh). On their birthday we were back and they were putting words together (not long sentences, but phrases).

That said, we did have them in speech therapy starting just after their second birthday (mainly because at 18 months we had them on a waiting list). It may or may not have been completely necessary, but they certainly weren't hurt by it and it probably helped by reinforcing their speech that they were picking up "naturally".

[name omitted]


Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 16:42:51 -0400 (EDT)

From: Cathy
Subject: re: speech delays

Hi [name omitted],

To answer your question, speech delays definitely *can* be assessed before the age of two, and the earlier they are discovered, the better. Many pediatricians dismiss the concerns of parents, but if you are concerned, you should have your children assessed by a speech therapist. It's entirely possible that a child who says nothing or only a couple of words at 18 months will have a 50-word vocabulary at two. However, fewer than 10 words at 18 months is definitely a "warning sign" that child may be speech delayed. A speech therapist will also be able to assess the child's "receptive" language skills (i.e., what they understand) and their general cognitive abilities.

This is really not something to "put off until tomorrow." A woman in my twins club had concerns about her triplets that were repeatedly dismissed by her doctor. Well, it turns out that all three children have PDD (pervasive developmental delay - a form of autism). They were two yo when they were diagnosed with this.. Of course, most speech delays do not turn out to be anything nearly this serious, but they are still worth investigating. Also, depending on where you live, there may be infant development programs that are only open to children under 2. This is the case in my area.

Hope this helps.

Cathy - Mom to b/b twins


Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 15:29:57 -0700

From: "Mary "
Subject: Re: speech delays

Regarding speech delays, my two are almost 23 months and I have asked my pediatrician about a potential speech delay repeatedly, especially my daughter, since they were 18 months old. She has continually poo-poo'd it and told me that we will reevaluate them at 24 months. GGUUHRRREEATTT!!! --- we are of course set up for their 2 year exams already and she (my daughter) understands EVERYTHING but her brother talks FOR her so often she rarely gets a word in edgewise. I have related this to the pediatrician and I have always trusted her in every way, but now I am worried I should have taken them to a speech therapist long ago?? well, just wanted to vent I guess............will find out at their 24 month app if I screwed up BIG time or that "they are just fine" --- argh!

Mary (very FRUSTRATED HMO dependent!)


Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 17:09:03 -0700

Subject: Talked to therapist re speech delays

I talked to the speech therapist today who is part of the developmental follow-up team periodically checking our boys' progress. To recap, our sons are 17 months old, and say nothing. Not even mama or dada. They do understand very basic instructions like "bring mommy your shoes" or "bring mommy the ball." The boys were last evaluated by the team in May, when they were 12 months old. At that time, they each had a hearing test, so we know there are no problems there. Our boys are scheduled for their next developmental follow up in February. Based on what I relayed to the speech therapist, she agrees that they need to be reassessed now, rather than waiting until February.
She said the reason is because they are at "the outer limits" of the ranges they like to see, and because they do not seem to have progressed with their speech and language development since the last appointment in May. Due to scheduling conflicts, the earliest we can get in is November 3. I will let everyone know what transpires. In the interim, thanks to the original poster for bringing this whole question about speech delays up, and thanks to all who have shared their thoughts, wisdom, and experience on this issue.

Dawne - mommy to Chase and Chance (5/4/97)


[header omitted]

[name omitted] wrote: I had the impression that you could not accurately assess whether or not a child has speech delays until 2.

There are certain guidelines that speech therapists use to determine what is "normal" and as in everything some children develop faster than others. I was concerned at 2 y/o with my one speech delayed son but I didn't really do anything until he was 2 1/2 when I decided it had been long enough. He was mostly using nonverbal communication, by pulling and pointing and virtually no verbal communication. By the time he was assessed he was placed at 10 months behind for his age (in other words his speech was on the level of a 20 month old child, not a 30 month old child) I think you have to decide if you think this is a problem or not. If it bothers you and you give it more time and don't seem to see any improvement, I would go ahead and ask for the assessment. The speech therapy has helped my son but it will be a slow process toward normal speech, though we are understanding him better everyday.

[name omitted]


Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 00:40:59 EDT

Subject: Re: speech delays

My twins were speech delayed also. At three they were till primary only talking their own "twin language". They also tested at an age appropriate level for understanding commands and following instructions as well as passing a hearing test with flying colors. The speech therapist felt that my being a SAHM had played a part in the slow speech development due to the fact that not being in a day care around other children meant they were not forced to learn to talk to other people and therefore learn "our" language. On the other hand my being a SAHM meant I had a lot of time to spend working with them at home so I did not have to take them to therapy as many times per week which was a blessing financially. The main thing they had me do at home was TALK to them about EVERYTHING. Name everything you touch (pink ball, yellow truck), tell them everything you are doing (put on your blue sock, eat a cookie), and sing songs and read books pointing to every object mentioned in the story. She said children love music and learn fast from songs like where is thumkin, etc. Hope this helps someone - sorry it’s so long.



[header omitted]

Carolyn wrote: " The speech therapist felt that my being a SAHM had played a part in the slow speech delvelopement due to the fact that not being in a day care around other children meant they were not forced to learn to talk to other people and therefore learn "our" language."

I never had a speech therapist tell me that though I'm a part-time SAHM (I work 3 mornings a week.) They did emphasize that they have found that young children learn better from being around their peers, thus they can hear what normal 2 y/o speech is like. Since mine were in daycare the 3 mornings, they felt that he was getting enough exposure to other kids. But I should say that if he had not been in the daycare they would have recommended putting him in the headstart program here to be around other kids his age. That may be an option for you. Also, you could organize a play group or see about getting the kids into a mother's day out program at a church which is usually 1 or 2 mornings a week, so they would get this exposure.

I understand the importance of being around other kids but in my case it still doesn't make sense to me as my speech delayed son has had his twin brother since birth to listen to "normal" speech (my other son is speech advanced if anything - *very* verbal from a young age). So what can you say "caused" my son's delay? I think it has more to do with the child than with their environment (BTW my boys have been in daycare since about 6 mos, 3 mornings a week, so you can't say he didn't get enough "exposure" to other kids too.)

Hope this helps, [name omitted]


Date: Wed, 04 Nov 1998 07:30:39 -0600
From: Karen
Subject: Speech delays

I know this issue has been covered before, but I need some advice. I just had our 16-month-old twins assessed through the Parents as Teachers Program (a Missouri early intervention program). They both were delayed in speech development, and our educator adjusted for their prematurity. The girls babble and say mamama, dadadada somewhat indiscriminately. Anne says "yeah, yeah." But that's about it.

Our educator didn't seem too concerned because they seem to understand key concepts. (If you ask them where their shoes are, they look down at them.) She said understanding language is more important at this stage than speaking it.

I was a little concerned by the results. I talk and sing to the girls all the time. I can and should read more to them, but I don't know what else to do. Is this a sign I should throw in the stay-at-home mom towel and put them in daycare where they will be exposed to more children (and presumably more language?)

Karen, SAHM to twin girls, 7/3/97


Karen adds on 3/10/99:

Incidentally, to my great relief, my daughters have recently expanded their
vocabularies quite a bit. So they are no longer considered "behind" in this
area (if they ever really were).


Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 22:47:12 -0600

From: Teresa
Subject: Speech delays

<< Is this a sign I should throw in the stay-at-home
mom towel and put them in daycare where they will be exposed to more
children (and presumably more language?) >>


Don't be so harsh on yourself! The educator was right. Receptive language (understanding) precedes expressive language (speech or gesture). It's natural. Even after adjusting for prematurity, it still took a while for my kids to develop speech skills (as well as many other development skills). They are receiving some speech therapy from EI services, but I don't think it's really helping much at this point. For them I think it's maturational. It's just going to take time for their brains to mature and then they'll be fine.

Things to keep in mind...

Are you seeing progress? Even if it's not as fast as you'd like, (or as fast as books say it should be), if you're seeing progress, that's good.

How are their other skills doing? Kids tend to focus on one type of growth at a time. If they're working on new motor skills, then it may be a while before the speech and language skills really kick in.

Have they been feeling well? Illness takes a lot of their energy. They then have less to devote to learning new skills.

When learning language, they have more to sort out than single kids. They have to sort through all the stimulation they get from adults as well as the stimulation they get from each other to figure out what they are supposed to be doing (compound this with the fact that understanding the stimulation has to occur before they can reproduce it).

A college professor in speech/language pathology that I highly respect told our mothers of multiples club that he would be concerned about a child who, at age 18 months, didn't have 1 single expressive word. Other than that, give them time to develop on their own.

Are they babbling with inflection? That's good. I found that my kids did turn taking with their jargon (pretend talk). That's another step toward speech.

Basically, keep your focus on the smaller steps of speech development.



Date: Fri, 06 Nov 1998 13:29:39 -0700

Subject: Results of speech therapy screening

Our boys had their developmental follow-up appointment this week at 18 months of age (16 months adjusted age). The bottom line is that the therapists are recommending early intervention for Chase in the area of speech and language development. Because there have been so many concerns posted recently for children in this age group, I'll try to share as much info as I can about the details.

Chase tested at between 11 and 12 months of age, and Chance tested at between 12 and 15 months (he displayed varying degrees of development throughout the testing process). Chase has no words at all, except "Dad" which he uses indiscriminately. Chance had just one word ("Baby"), which he learned only three days before the test. Chance, who clearly understands the pressure of such testing (LOL!) managed to also say "more" during the test when he ran out of Cheerios, a word he has never said before. The reason the therapists scored the boys so differently despite the similarity in the number of words they have was that Chance's expressive language is so much further ahead than Chase's. He gestures a lot, and responds to conversation appropriately, albeit with sounds instead of words. He often seems to be telling a big story or else seems to be trying to convey information or a request. Chase, on the other hand, does not gesture much (he can wave bye-bye). He also does not respond to conversation in a conversational way. His expressive language score was quite low. Both of the boys scored at around 15 months for their fine and gross motor skills. In the area of cognitive development, Chase scored around 15 months and Chance scored around 12 months. Because Chase's cognitive development scores were good, the therapists felt he would benefit from early intervention at this time. They noted that had his cognitive development scores been lower, they might have found therapy to be premature at this time. From what I understood of the testing, Chase was able to do things like problem solve much better than Chance. For example, the therapists put a little bunny under a clear plastic box that had one opening on the side. Chase initially tried to lift the box off to get to the bunny, but when he found he could not do that, he figured out he could put his hand in the side of the box and still get to the bunny. Chance just kept trying to life the box and never figured out there was an opening on the side. Also, Chase was able to put together a three-piece puzzle, but Chance didn't seem to understand the pieces and the board were connected. The therapists have referred us a program that specializes in early intervention for children from birth to age 5. The therapist we will be working with specializes in children through age 2. Our developmental therapists expressed that it was extremely important for Chase to work with someone who does nothing but infants and toddlers—they said that working with someone who simply includes children in their normal speech and therapy services would not be wise. We will be getting details on the program next week. I will try to share as much as I can with the group as we venture into this process.

Dawne - mommy to Chase (mum's the word) and Chance (who performs well under pressure!)


Date: Sat, 7 Nov 1998 11:40:08 -0600

Subject: Re: Results of speech therapy screening

My 17mo b/g twins also had their developmental screening yesterday. On the language speech development [name omitted] scored at 14 to 15mo & their adjusted age is 151/2 mo but the therapist stated she just barely made it to that level but she is very outgoing & was showing off really well. [name omitted--other twin] on the other hand scored @ the 9-12mo level. Since we live so far from any services they suggested we try the three time rule & have them reevaluated at 23-24mo. The three time rule is when they want anything or you are showing them anything you say it three different ways in three different sentences. Such as you want the cup. Here is the red cup. [name omitted] has the red cup. They both showed some strong areas in gross & fine motor skills but they also wanted us to provide 18" balls for them to play with & paper & crayons to help them develop eye-hand, eye-foot, coordination. They also suggested a 4" balance beam to encourage the backward walking, & walking sideways. They felt cognitive development was above average for age & this was contributing to their fits of frustration when trying to communicate. There is no infant-toddler speech therapist in our area. The closest is 50 miles one way so we are going to encourage speech ourselves & have them re-evaluated.

Please share any other ideas they give you!


[name omitted]


Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 08:51:48 -0500

From: "Melissa"
To: <>
Subject: Speech Evaluation (long)

We took [name omitted] and [name omitted] for their speech & developmental evaluation on Monday. It was a fascinating experience - it was interesting to see how they evaluate young children who really aren't talking yet. [name omitted] did great on the speech part - she said over 30 words while we were there. She didn't do as well on the cognitive tests, mostly because she refused to cooperate. She's very shy and wouldn't let me put her down, and when the teachers handed her a toy, she would cry and push it away. There were things I know she knows how to do, but she boldly refused to do them during the evaluation. They did ask me if she can do the stuff and said they could tell she knew how to do it and was willfully refusing (LOL). [name omitted—other twin] OTOH, did great on all the cognitive tests and scored above average for attention span, cooperation, and fine motor skills. He's very outgoing and doesn't have a problem with strangers. But he says less than 10 words - he only said one or 2 during the eval. Funny how they are so different.

Anyway, we'll get the written results in 2-3 weeks, but they told us that they are not recommending any therapy for [name omitted-first twin], but they are recommending speech therapy for [name omitted-second twin]. They usually do a home visit once a week, plus a classroom setting once a week at the school. They told us [name omitted—first twin] could come to the class too, since it would help her social skills to be with other kids and adults.

Now, for my questions:

Anyone else have one twin who needed therapy and another who didn't? How did you handle this, or was it no big deal? Since [name omitted—first twin] can go to the classes too, I'm not worried about the separation factor, but I just wonder how this all works.

Also, are there any working moms out there who have successfully juggled this kind of therapy? DH and I both work full time. The home visit can be done at the sitters (we have a family daycare provider), and we can schedule the sessions during my lunch hour so I can be there (the sitter is only 10 minutes from my office). I'm concerned about the classes, though - any tips on how to squeeze this in? They did tell us we could skip the class part and Adam would still benefit from the home visits. I have flextime at work and can be gone at weird times, but I'm not sure how disruptive this will be for me and the kids - i.e. is it worth it? Obviously I'm thinking yes but would like to hear some of your experiences.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Mom to b/g twins 3/12/97


Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 19:49:27 -0500<
From: Christine
Subject: Speech Therapy


You should find out if the school or development center has transportation. When my boys were 2 they went to a early childhood development center and they had private transportation that was free of charge. As used to drive the boys to the center and had the van take them home. Now that the boys are in public preschool they take the school bus which is tax funded.



More queries and responses a few months later...

-----------------QUERY ON LANGUAGE DELAY------------------
>Date: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 19:46:30 EST
>Subject: speech delays in twins
>Hello everyone! I am new to the list. My boys, E.
>and A., are 2 years old. My question is about speech delays. E.
>is talking a lot, but he has trouble with articulation. A., OTOH,
>has about a ten word vocab. We are working with a SLP and she is
>wonderful. I am interested in talking to others with twins with speech
>delays or who just have advice. We have had his ears tubed due to
>infections and we have had two hearing tests. Both tests came back
>inconclusive. He does seem to hear well. He follows directions and all.
>He just doesn't want to use his voice.
> Please help!
>Reta mom to E. and A. (10/97)


Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999
From: Carol
Subject: RE: speech delays in twins

My boys also had very limited vocabularies before their second birthday. We had them assessed at 18 months (suggested by a friend who is a SLP and has a daughter the same age), and they were scheduled to start group therapy just after their second birthday.

Right around their birthday, it was like the floodgates opened! The words came fast and furious. We did keep them in the therapy, on the assumption that it wasn't hurting them and was probably helping -- although I'm not sure they wouldn't have progressed just fine without it.

My boys are now 4, in Junior Kindergarten, and only rarely are not talking!

Carol, mom to twin boys (01 Sep 95)


Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 11:23:45 -0600
From: Becky
Subject: re:speech delays in twins

Welcome to the list.I don't have any advice for you, but I sure am interested in the responses you get.

I also would like to know from you and others how you know if you have a speech delay problem. My b/g twins just turned 19 months. So far, my daughter says about 10 words very clearly and has about five others that we know what she means, but the word isn't pronounced right (like saying "fffffff" for when she means wolf). My son says almost nothing -- babbles a lot, but no words, and he doesn't point to things and babble like his sister does. Is it too soon to worry? They were full-term babies and they hear and understand very well, so I've been assuming the words will come, but I don't want to find out later that I should have been seeking help now.

mom to N. & R. (5/8/98)


Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 12:30:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: speech delays in twins

My ID boys will be 4 in February and have really started getting vocal in the past year, although it still can be quite difficult to translate, ranging from a clear as a bell: "No, N., you can't pee on the wall!" to almost complete gibberish when really excited. They, too, had nearly constant ear infections and even now occassion- ally get one, but never had to do the tubes. But it is obvious that they hear very well. I think it does relate to being so close they can communicate most needs to each other and very independent so they don't "need" to ask me for alot (even though I really wish they would when it comes to getting something out of the fridge or cabinet!).

At daycare, they are now being "separated" into different classrooms for about an hour or so in the afternoons in the hopes that it will "force" them to be more communicative since they talk much less at school than at home. Haven't been doing this long enough to know if it really helps, but will let you know. If any- one else out there has any good advice, I would appreciate it, also.

(mommy to ... and M. and N. 3.5)

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 15:31:26 EST
Subject: Re: speech delays in twins

I have had two children with speech delays though not twins. I think this topic really applies to all children. My first one we started in speech therapy when he was about 3-1/2. He is now in the fourth grade, has a huge vocabulary, was tested for giftedness and rarely stops talking. He graduated from speech in kindergarten. My second one had chronic ear infections and was basically deaf from about age 1 to 2. he is now in first grade and is still in speech to correct some laziness in articulation. I think the main reason he is still in it though is because we had major interstate moves twice during his speech therapy career with big interruptions and big differences in quality of therapy. If he slows down everyone can pretty much understand all that he says.

I guess my point is I wouldn't sweat it too much at the ages of 19 months and such. It is also well known that speech comes later for boys than for girls so dont compare intelligibility in your boy/girl twins. The fact that they have language, meaning that they understand and have consistant sounds or "words" for things is more telling than if they use words that sound like the language you use at home (for instance, my oldest at age 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 called flowers "ahvwa" everytime he saw a flower - shows he has language, it just wasnt my language).

Melanie in Oregon (who was estactic for the third child to not need speech) 3 boys and 2 more coming 3/00


Date: Tue, 14 Dec 1999 11:59:43 -0500
From: Diane
Subject: re:speech delays in twins


When my girls were 12 months I had an "early childhood assessment" done by my county. In some areas/states, the school does it and in others each county has an MR/DD (Mental retardation/Developmental Delay) agency. Check with either the school district, your PED, or the county department of human services for how assessments are done in your area. My county has "child checks" every few months at an area church. I took the girls when they were a year, and they tested just fine on everything but language. We failed "2 words other than mom and dad". The social workers have offered to retest, which I will probably take them up on soon although I think they are "normal" now. (18 months and about 50 words.) In my county, the assessment is free and can be done in the home. It really put my mind at ease, and the social workers gave me activities and ideas on how to improve the girls' language skills and other developmental activities.

Incidentally, Asha says things "perfectly" for the most part, but that's *her* personality. Meena jabbers all the time and, although she has more words, is more difficult to understand. She has only in the past few months begun to say her name in a way *I* can pronounce. BTW, I'm not suggesting your children need testing, but testing might put your fears to rest.

"mommy" to A. and M. 5-14-98


Date: Tue, 14 Dec 1999 12:09:37 -0500
From: "Melissa
Subject: RE: speech delays in twins

Hi Becky,

My twins were tested for speech and general development at 20 months. The therapists told us a child that age should have 5-10 words (some children have many more than that). The words don't need to be real clear - if the parents and other caregivers who are with the child a lot can understand, they count as words. They should also begin to identify objects by pointing or gesturing. Part of the evaluation consisted of showing the kids books with pictures, or holding up various familiar objects (doll, ball, etc.) to see if the child recognized and named the object.

My daughter had about 50 words at 20 months, but my son only had one or two. He qualified for speech therapy, and had in-home therapy for about 8 months (he progressed very quickly and has now tested out of it). We contacted our Early Intervention program, which in my state is run by the local school district. Everything is free, paid by tax dollars. It was well worth it and I learned a lot from the teachers.

Mom to A. and A. 3/12/97


Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999
Subject: stuttering

Hi everyone,

Just in the past two weeks K. has started to stutter, quite badly aswell. It doesn't seem to be with certain letter sounds, its with everything. Lucy has taken to telling her "to be quiet and think about what she is saying, then say it slowly"!!! how cute!! - it works aswell.

Lets hope its just another "phase",dh and myself are trying not to say the words for her and are ignoring the stuttering. Do you think this is the right thing to do?

mum to S. 5, L. and K. 3


Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 15:51:47 EST
Subject: Re: stuttering


Last year L. began stuttering (when he was about 26 mths), usually when he became very excited, or was hyper. It was always at the beginning of a sentence, and even he was aware of it. After about 2 mths, we could see he was becomming fustrated because of it, and went to the pediatrician. He said it was completely normal for this age of development, they are putting thoughts together faster than they can speak them. It is more common in boys apparently and is usually gone by 3 yrs. Athough some children still continue until kindergarten.

He told us that it is very important to let him finish on his own, and not to draw attention to it, or tell him to slow down. As this fustrates children more. L's twin never really had a problem with stuttering to the extent that L. did. They turned 3 in October, and I haven't noticed any stuttering in the last few weeks. I know it can be fustrating, but try to be patient :)

Good Luck, Brandie.. Mommy to L. & L.


Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 14:56:23 -0800 (PST)
From: Lesley M.
Subject: Re: stuttering

We have the same situation with "excitement stuttering" from A. Not many people can understand his speech half the time to begin with because he has such a breathy, high pitched, Pebbles Flintstone voice. When he is excited about something, he stutters badly. One time I counted and he said the same word 52 times before he could continue his sentence. We've never interrupted him, expressed impatience or told him to slow down or anything like that. We just smile at him and listen patiently, which is difficult at times. ;) I wish I could say the same for R., who winds up finishing A.'s sentences or just talking over him because he's tired of waiting, despite us trying to instill the no interrupting rule.

We have noticed a big improvement over the past few months. Maybe not coincidentally, the boys turned 3 in September.

Lesley M.


Related page: How to get help

Compiled by Dr. Jennifer Ganger ( ), affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Twin Study and the MIT Twins Study.