Hamish’s Speech Delay Journey

I’ve always been worried about Hamishs speech, people told me to not worry and he will eventually get it, fast forward to when he turned two and a half, we were in the middle of a covid lockdown and I called my local NHS speech therapy. I was told that they wouldn’t be able to do much during this time, so on his third birthday I contacted them again and asked to take this further as he was in his last year before starting school and I wanted to get him checked over.

Again I was told there was a backlog due to lockdowns but they would get his hearing test done first and then take it from there. Hamish was 3 1/2 when he went for his hearing test and the sonographer said he had perfect hearing. It was noted that his attention span wasn’t substantial enough for his age, however.

Following this I had to chase the speech therapy to ask what the next step was, they did a telephone conversation with me for approximately half an hour asking me questions and getting my opinions on his speech.

Meanwhile in the March I had found a private speech therapist who ran group classes and was wanting to trial a group of preschoolers (three years plus). We went to 7 sessions and I did see some improvements, be it small, it was progress. However there was little interest in the group sessions and I couldn’t afford the one-to-ones, so I had to stop.

At the end of June 2022, a week before he turned four he was invited to 2 sessions with the NHS. These two sessions fell a week apart from each other and the therapist sat and played games with him. I sat in the background not speaking, trying to not interact so that the therapist could get a full overview of Hamish and his speech.

And that was it, it was explained to me to carry on working with what she was doing in the sessions (I will repeat she played games with him). I wasn’t given any advice or things to look out for. I was told to go away for a couple of months to wait and see how Hamish settled into school and then his school will refer him if it is needed.

However since speaking to the school my understanding is that if they do refer him, it still falls to me to take him to speech therapy sessions, the speech therapist does not go into schools in our area anymore.

So now I’m left feeling burnt out with this, wherever I go the first question regarding Hamish is always ‘has he been referred’ and yes he has been referred, however I think they are useless and not worth his time. It’s been a long road to nowhere and I don’t feel like Hamish was helped or showed any signs of speaking from going to these two sessions.

On a side note, Hamish has started speaking more, especially during the six weeks holiday, but I’m putting this down to a growth spurt. I’m able to understand him more, even though strangers and people out of his inner circle still cannot fully understand him.

I fear for Hamish’s speech and his development for when he goes to school I already know he’s behind, he could really have done with waiting another year although because he’s a July baby this decision would never have been offered to him.

Unfortunately in this instance Hamish and I have not had a great experience and it doesn’t make me want to go again in the future. I will continue to work with Hamish on developing his speech at home using speech cards, activity books, games, toys and other resources I have available to me and heres hoping Hamish doesn’t lag too far behind once he does start school.

I also wanted to say, to all those parents going through a similar situation at this moment in time, please know I hear you and sympathise with your journey.

Much love Rebecca


  1. Rebecca, please take heart. I am a retired early childhood teacher in the States. I assumed you’d have better services with the NHS there. It’s often the same or worse, here. Take note of which sounds H doesn’t make or is weak on. Did they take note of whether he has a long or short tongue? There are ways to make kind of a musical game out of practicing the weaker sounds. You might find that H is more interested in talking if he’s telling you the story of a picture he drew or painted, and you write his words as if you’re writing a book. Attention span can be drawn out, extended. The brain is a plastic, growing organ, especially at his age. Pay attention to whether his brothers talk for him and interpret his speech and try to emphasize listening to him, making sure he understands others will take the time to listen to him. In big families, siblings sometimes “help’ and the one with the delay is discouraged from speaking for himself. Use his interests/favorite toys and activities to draw out the attention span. Please do not worry too much! He’s still quite young. There might be some speech therapy videos on youtube to help parents.
    Good luck. You are a wonderful mother.


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