Not speaking at 4 years old

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  deidrew 1 year, 7 months ago.

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    Parent24 Team

    My son is turning four years old this December and he can’t speak. But he goes to school.

    The only main words he knows are mummy and daddy.

    He can hear every communication passed on to him but will never reply. Words that come out of his mouth, it’s like he is speaking Khoi language and you will never hear a thing.

    Whenever he plays with other kids he ends up fighting with them due to communication problems. He is able to sing along most of the song he likes on TV but you’ll never hear a word.

    Do you think this is normal?




    My son was fitted with hearing aids 18 months but at age 3 he still wasn’t talking. We started speech therapy and its a long slow process. Nobody wanted to diagnose autism due to his communication and hearing problem. We finally got a autism diagnosis earlier this year and he will be 10 in December. My advise check hearing first if thats ok get him to a educational Psycologist, know a great one in Pretoria



    Hi, has anybody mentioned the condition Apraxia to you?  From what I am reading, you could have been describing my son.  My son also has a significant speech delay and I am told that he is not Autistic.  He has however been diagnosed with Apraxia.  Myself and two other moms of Apraxic children are soon going to start to create awareneness about Apraxia in South Africa.  Very often children who are Apraxic are at first misdiagnosed as being Autistic.  Please speak to a speech therapist and an occupational therapist about your son?  I would love to hear from you again.



    I would consider this a very serious matter.

    I would immediately find some professional help to test for both hearing problems or if your son is on the Autistic spectrum. I have a son who is autistic. Thankfully we caught it at 4 years old and he had loads of therapy to help him. He is now 22 and will be graduating from UCT this year.

    If your son is autistic (or has hearing problems), the sooner you take steps to manage his situation, the better. You should run, not walk, to find someone who can diagnose this problem.

    Here’s wishing you and your son all the best.



    My son had Apraxia, I did research at the time and what you are describing could very well be Apraxia. I do suggest that you see a speech therapist in order for them to assess him. Apraxia in simplified terms means that the child cannot form the word and say what is in his mind. It is an extremely frustrating thing for the child as they cannot express themselves even though they may have the vocabulary they cannot vocalise it. My son could say whale and mamma, that was it. He would default to whale or make gurgling sounds. But have heard that the sounds sometimes sound like a foreign language, most quoted being Chinese.


    Due to the frustration of the situation it can lead to anti social behaviour from the child. Also note that the speech therapy can be claimed from the savings portions of most medical aids.

    I would also advise to have a hearing test done prior to the speech therapy assessment, the speech therapist would probably advise the same.

    Wishing you and your family all the best.



    don’t stress too much… one of the greatest humans beings that ever lived also never spoke a word until he was 3… Albert Einstein.



    Hi Wayne, Don’t know how, but I would like to chat to you regarding your son.  We have found that not many people know about Apraxia in South Africa and like I said, we would like to start creating awareness about the condition.  We are not sure what the statistics are in SA, nor what the processes should be once a child is diagnosed with Apraxia, i.e. who to see, where to get support, etc.

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