girls vs. boys - verbal differences?

emmhipNovember 3, 2005

We have some good friends with a son who is 5 months younger than our DD. He is a great kid for the most part, but his speech seems severly underdeveloped. At first I was comparing him to our daughter who talked very early and at 3 years 3 months is amazing verbally. Then I chalked up his verbal skills to him being a boy. But now that he is approaching 3, he just seems so far behind. An example would be when he asks for juice. This is how he would ask, "Want juice please." Which isn't too bad, but the way it sounds is more like this "Wan ju pees." He also speaks about himself in the third person instead of using I, and doesn't ever use complete sentences. Plus, I can rarely understand what he is saying, his mom usually translates. My DD asks for juice "May I please have some juice?" Is this just a boy/girl difference? Our friend's son does seems to have slightly better motor skills, is this a difference too? Or does this kid need speech therapy?

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I think his speech is probably normal. Girls do tend to talk better than boys. My 3 yo is 3 yrs 7 mo. He says things like "Me want drink." I'll try to correct him, but it's starts to sound like that comedy of "Who's on first." One day we had a conversation to the effect of

DS: "Me want that."
ME: "No. Say 'I want that.'"
DS: "NO! Me want that! Not you!"

He's working on correct speech, but he hasn't figured it out yet. We also get a lot of the "I *ARE* going." instead of "I *AM* going."

Kids that are read to a lot or have to be understood tend to speak better I think. I'm a sahm so my kids don't have to be understood by anyone, but me. I know what my 2 to dd means when she says "won knack" and so I don't always correct her. If she had to spend time alone with Grandpa or dad, she might actually say "I want a snack."

My oldest ds was in daycare until he was 2 1/2 years old. Most of his caregivers spoke regular English when DH and I were around. I walked in a few times when a conversation was being spoken in Ebonics. I didn't think a lot about it until ds was 3 1/2-4 yo and couldn't clearly say 'plane', 'train', or 'crane'. It was all pronounced "prane". I've heard that children who are spoken to in baby talk have the same problems.

I had my oldest child's speech tested. No problems were found. He just hadn't developed all of his skills yet. DS is in kindergarten this year. His speech is clear and understandable. His teacher said he is 'articulate' and more advanced than most of the kids his age.

I think your friend's child is probably just fine. If the mom is worried, she can always have him evaluated.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 7:20PM
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I would think his speech should be evaluated...boys are slower....but by almost 3 1/2 he should be talking without using baby talk and baby senses and pronouns.'s not your sit back and watch.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 10:27AM
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He sounds in a normal range to me. He's officially still only two so I think "Wan ju pees" (a three word sentence) is fine. Is your friend asking for your opinion, or are you just worried for her? It does not seem like a notable problem yet. Boys do tend to be behind girls with speech so I wouldn't compare them or worry about it.

I think boys often tend to be ahead in motor, but not really sure about that. Mention your concerns to your pediatrician about your daughter's motor skills. He/she should let you know if they're in a normal range or not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Speech Development

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 1:22PM
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My little boy is 3 years 6 months, he talks perfect too much!!! He started talking very young at 1 year and 1/2 he knew my sisters name grandma melanie grandpa reed. He talks on the phone all the time to my family who lives in Reno, someone called yesterday and he answerd the phone, i was sewing and he said pefectly Mom is sewing she is real busy can i have her call you back? He is very funny! I was a director at a preschool and he was 1 1/2 when he started comming to work with me, I think that has a big part to do with it, Plus I always made him use his words, If he wanted juice, he had to ask, I think some parents baby their children and do everything for them so why should they talk???

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 12:41AM
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One of the near-genius-level boys I know didn't say much until he was past age three. He was too busy absorbing everything. And, he had a twin sister who was a born social director. My son had about 50 words at 18 months and was the designated "interpreter" for his group. He came up with original ways of expressing things sometimes. If I cautioned that the soup was hot and needed to cool off, he would say, no, it needed to warm off.

There are some interesting books out that discuss the differences between the brains of boys and girls. From brain scans done as early as Day One, the different brain systems are in place. Boys' brains have more white space; girls, more grey matter.

Boys in general are more physical and spacially oriented. In the crib, they tend to watch mobiles more. Girls spend more time watching the caregiver.

Boys need more room and brighter light. They learn best by touching and manipulating things. They are less verbal.

Boys especially do not benefit by being exposed to flat learning -- via TV or video games. Their brains do not develop well without exploring the physical properties of things, and they need to *move*.

The books I've read suggest that boys are generally a year to 18 months behind girls in the typical classroom learning. They prefer separate gender education, too, or at least separate classes in prime subjects.

They advocate for "ambulatory" learning: having a boy walk while reading aloud or solving a problem. Boys "space out" without some physical activity to keep them engaged.

It is just fascinating to see how brains are just structurally different, and how we can adjust education to work better for every young learner.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 5:49PM
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I have a son (2yrs) and a daughter (4 1/2yrs). My daughter at age 1 had more words, but was very quiet. My son at age 1 had less comprehensive words, but was very verbal and carried on conversations in his own language. Now that my son is 2, he is putting more words together. My daoughter at age 2 was still quiet and was getting harder to understand. We had her looked at by Child Find, a service for children with developmental problems in the pre-school age group. They suggested that we have a ear,nose and throut specialists look at our daughter's ears. So long story short, she had to have tubes put in her ears. Then the speech specialist suggested that because her ears were 'clogged-up' all the time that she was hearing everything muffled and so could have been why she pronounced everything off. You could understand, but it was not clear. Just like your friends son.
So sounds like your friend's son is right where he should be developmentally, but maybe there is something wrong with his hearing, not with if he can hear, but how clear.
Also, be very careful about comparing your child to others. It can either ruin your image of your child or ruin friendships.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 9:14PM
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