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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

is it normal for a 3 year old blind not to speak at all?

Our blind 3 year old makes sounds but speaks no words at all. He was born blind, but seems to understand what we say ( has Leber's congenital Amaurosis). Is this a normal speech delay for blind children or is it time to have it checked..How? His speech teacher doesn't say to do we keep waiting...

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Re:is it normal for a 3 year old blind not to speak at all?


Re:is it normal for a 3 year old blind not to speak at all?

My son is 12 y.o. now and when he was very young, he was non-verbal. His speech and language therapist was teaching him to sign. Eventually he started to talk (around 3 y.o.) and went to speaking in paragraphs right off the bat.

I don't know if your child would follow the same path, but I wish you the best.

Re:is it normal for a 3 year old blind not to speak at all?

I have a three year old son who also has the diagnosis of Lebers congenital amaurosis. He has only just begun to speak and mainly as a result of the lack of communication was diagnosed autistic on top of the LCA diagnosis. Does your child have other mannerisms which concern you, for e.g. does he enjoy spinning the wheels on his truck for ages, or flickign a light switch off and on or any other repetitive habits? If he/she communicates in some way, i.e. points to what they want or takes you by the hand to take you to the object they are after then it's likely it's not autism but still worthwhile to get things ruled out regardless as there are other problems with verbal language that could be the case, such as Apraxia or Dyspraxia. (and then of course it could be absolutely nothing and your child develops a little later thats all) I don't know how to contact you individually, but my email address is or you can contact me via my website

Re:is it normal for a 3 year old blind not to speak at all?

My son is now 26, he was born with Lebers and is totally blind. He is now a fully functioning member of society, has a guide dog and is employed in the mainstream world. He did not reach many of his milestones as his sighted siblings had done and I so often think what a comfort it would have been to me when he was two or three years old to have been able to look into the future and realise that it does happen, just a little slower. Enjoy and love your children and don't let worry spoil any of their childhood, you will, as I have done, look back and wonder what on earth you were worrying about.

Re:is it normal for a 3 year old blind not to speak at all?

Thank you all so much for replying. I too am new to msge boards and dont know how to reply to each individually. I just wanted to add that our 3 year old knows only the word "mama" which he repeats day and night and makes some sounds. He never crowled, hates steps, walks independently very short walks (this statred at age 2 1/2 & only if he knows I am close by... it feels like he'll never speak anything else..but he will! I pray! He loves to play the keyboard and he can hear well & understands much, especially when we tell him to stop poking his eyes.. The Univ of Fla McNight Brain Istitute is doing great research towards restoring sight with Rhode Island chickens, so lets all keep hope alive. Thanks again for ur replies.

Re:is it normal for a 3 year old blind not to speak at all?

Hi there,

My son Fred is 13 months old now and was born with Lebers Congenital Amaurosis, AKA early onset retinitis pigmentosa. At 13 months he has 5-6 words he uses repeatedly, otherwise no new words, but evidently understands what we are saying to him.

Our VI teacher tells me that it is not uncommon for VI children to speak very little as they do not have the visual stimulus for speach, ie seeing something and hearing us tell them what it is. I understand that what language Fred develops may become repetitive until he can touch, hear, experience more words in his own world.

Presumably if he understands verbal commands, he can hear OK and work out what is happening and the speech will come eventually.

When I first hear about LCA, there were fears about our sons ability to hear aswell as see, but this no-longer scares me as I can tell he can hear....just doesn't say too much.

Re:is it normal for a 3 year old blind not to speak at all?

I have a 2 year old daughter with the same problem, and I am just as concerned as the two of you. She was also blind from birth with ROP. I feel that when she gets to the age of 3 and is still not talking that I will being driving myself crazy from worrying so much because of the fact that I worry so much already. She is crawling and can stand and move independently with a push toy, but she is also not walking yet. I am just anxiously waiting for these big milestones to happen and it's extremely difficult for me as a mother to not know when they will happen. The ECI program has helped us tremendously, but as I've mentioned, I've just gotten to the point of frustration because I simply don't know what to do to help her reach those goals. If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate them. Help!

Re:is it normal for a 3 year old blind not to speak at all?

I am new to this board. I have a son who will be 3 at the end of July and has been blind since birth due to retinopathy of prematurity. He was born almost 4 months early and has significant developmental delays in all areas. He also has no words but "Dada" and "Daddy", but makes many, many vocalizations. It is concerning, but I also think that blind children have so many other things that they are working on so a delay is not abnormal. He also seems to understand everything that we say.

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