Low-Talker Child

Low-Talker was described as an easy baby who rarely cried or fussed. Despite being easy, he was not a social baby. He cooed and babbled but appeared disinterested in his parents’ attempts to make him smile and laugh. Funny faces and strange noises had no effect. He was slow to smile and didn’t always hold their gaze.

His mother reported Low-Talker had difficulty feeding. He wouldn’t latch to her breast and after a trial of many bottle nipples, she finally found one that worked for him. He never did hold his own bottle and he took a long time to feed. He transitioned poorly from being bottle fed to solids.

Low-Talker was late to achieve all milestones. He needed head support for longer than normal and had to be propped up with lots of cushions to sit up. He crawled late and preferred to roll instead of crawl. His parents described his muscle tone as floppy. Low-Talker was never interested in exploring under the coffee table or crawling over the couch cushions. He was content to stay in the same position for long periods, playing with the same toy over and over again.

By two years old, Low-Talker didn’t have the expected 200-word vocabulary. In fact, he had no words at all. Low-Talker is now five years old and still doesn’t appear interested in talking, although he has lots of words. He doesn’t look up when his parents call his name and he doesn’t respond to their instructions to “get your shoes” and “pick up your toys” and “come here.”  His parents say if they start to clean up toys, he will come over to help and is always willing to come along when they take his hand. He needs lots of support to get dressed, brush his teeth, and go to the bathroom. His parents say they do most of the work, but Low-Talker does try to help. Sleep comes easily to Low-Talker, and he often takes naps lasting the entire afternoon when he’s not at school. He’s not a picky eater, but he likes chicken nuggets and mac and cheese best. He will always try new foods but often spits them out. His parents say he has a hard time chewing.  Low-Talker drools a lot and his mouth is open most of the time. 

Low-talker’s eyes always appear to be staring, but he doesn’t always notice what’s happening around him.

At school, Low-Talker talks very little. He has recently been referred to speech therapy.  He participates poorly in the classroom and has a hard time making friends with his classmates. His teacher gives Low-Talker support but told his parents he may end up in an alternative classroom where he can get more help than what she can give him. The school psychologist thinks he may be learning disabled.