Delayed Lang4

When I called I CAN, it felt like I was being listened to

Our I Can Enquiry Line is here for anyone who needs help with their child or a child in their care who has speech and language communication needs (SLCN). We spoke to one anonymous parent who praised the advice our Speech and Language Advisors give through the helpline and the impact their tips have had on her son.  

Tell me a bit about your son’s speech and language communication need. When did you first realise something might have been wrong?

I noticed that compared to his peers, he was severely behind. When children his age have milestones between 12-18 months such as “your child should be saying however many words”, he wasn’t meeting them. In contrast, he wasn’t saying any words at all.

We kept hoping it would sort itself out but it didn’t. I called the I CAN enquiry line when he was about 2 years old to address the issue.

How is his progress going and have you seen any improvements in his speech and language since you identified what his need was?

We’ve seen a massive improvement in his speech and language. The main thing was that he was communicating really well but he just didn’t seem to be able to say anything.

We took a ‘let’s wait and see approach’ but when he was two years old and still wasn’t talking to us at all, we knew there was a real issue.

I called I CAN twice on separate occasions and both times they were really helpful.

There were a few tips they gave me that really helped such as giving him closed questions with only one or two options that he could answer more easily and leaving off the last word of a sentence so he could fill in the gap. That improved the amount of words he could say. However, it was still slow progress.

There were times when he would say single words and sentences but in a muddled way. We were worried that teachers or other children wouldn’t be able to understand him and would knock his confidence.

An additional tip I CAN gave me was to give him a lot more time to answer a question or an instruction.

Sometimes if he didn’t answer a question quickly, we would jump in for him and we weren’t letting him find the words himself.

I called again a few months later and it was a month after this conversation when he took a good turn. I think a lot of it was down to the person I spoke to from I CAN on the phone.

They gave me reassurance and confidence that my son could do it and that all the things we were doing were working. It stopped me and my son panicking. We just needed to show him patience.

What tools or techniques did you use to help your son make that progress?

I CAN was the main source of help for us! I went to a few other groups for support but none of them made that much difference. They focused on his comprehension but we knew that wasn’t the main issue.

Now, he’s repeating words from stories we read to him months ago!

When you first identified your son’s SLCN, what support did you receive?

A lot of advice we received from some support groups were quite woolly, generic and not specific to my son. That’s why I found I CAN so helpful.

When I called I CAN, it felt like I was being listened to. They understood my issue, I wasn’t interrupted and they provided tips and tools to help us.

What one piece of advice would you give to parents or carers if they’re unsure about what to do if their child is struggling with their speech and language?

Other than call I CAN?! As a parent, the best advice I could impart would be not to give up on them. I know that’s easy to say but parents need to realise progress does happen slowly.

I felt like I was putting in so much effort to helping my son but everyone else’s children seemed to be picking up their language naturally.

A few months down the line, I realised my efforts were worth putting in. Keep using those tools because they do make an impact.

If your child or a child in your care needs support, our speech and language therapists have the required knowledge to help you, contact our enquiry line today on 020 7843 2544 or email

Please note: the