santana494 , Parent asks:

My son's speech has stopped since his heart surgery.  What do I do?

im a young mother but i have 2 boys my oldest is 2 1/2 and the youngest 18 months. my oldest started to talk a bit when he was 16 months after he went in for his heart surgery he stopped talking all he says is mama to everyone and everything. i sit at home with him everyday trying to get him to talk and he wont all he does is crys and throws a tantrum. i don't know what to do all the docters say is wait it out  but i know something is wrong with him. what do i do?
In Topics: Speech or language impairment, Medical problems
> 60 days ago



Sep 5, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds like this is a very difficult and frustrating time for both you and your oldest son. It does sound like your son's speech is a little delayed at the moment, but it is not uncommon for children experiencing significant medical issues to have some delays initially. As you can imagine, the stress of medical appointments and separation in the hospital from primary caregivers can negatively impact a child's growth and development. Most experts believe that a child's development will  catch-up once the medical complications and appointments have subsided, so that the child can get back to the hard work of growing, rather than just surviving.

As you can imagine, it is very frustrating to be unable to communicate, so I believe that your child's speech may be partially related to the tantrums and crying that you are experiencing. It sounds like you are working very hard to help promote his speech development. There are a number of strategies that you can employ to help facilitate his speech:

First, when with your son, talk through everything you do even when no other adults are around. As you make breakfast, talk through the process, "First, I am going to get a bowl, then I will grab some fruit..." Hearing language all the time is very beneficial. Second, help him to label his feelings and invite him to use his words when he experiences sadness and anger, "You seem very angry. I can tell because your face is getting red, and you are beating your fists on the ground."

Finally, continue to monitor his speech. If he does not make progress over the next six months, work with your doctor to secure a referral to early intervention services. You are entitled to an evaluation and services from a trained speech and language therapist through the state.

For more on typical language milestones:

Good luck and keep us posted!

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychologist Reference Team

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