Expressive speech delay in a two-year-old
In March of 2018 I was contacted by the mother of a 2.5-year-old boy whom I will call Hugo, in regards to a diagnosis of expressive speech delay.
"He has fewer than 20 words and they are not clear. Different words may sound the same. He gets frustrated that others don’t understand him. He understands everything. He has had speech therapy weekly for the past year but there have only been small gains in his speech."
His mother reported that the speech issue started when he was around 9 months old. He had already started to say pop-pop, but then stopped and no new words came.
Bowel problems with constipation
Hugo also suffers from chronic constipation. From birth he didn’t have bowel movements every day and could not easily release gas. Once he started solids he got really constipated, stools were large and round and painful and sometimes he bled from his anus after a movement.
The GI doctor gave Miralax until age one, which helped, then mom stopped giving it. He tends to hold his stool in, afraid it will hurt.
Now Mom is giving him chocolate ex-lax, she almost has to give him diarrhea for it to work.
The family had already consulted with two different homeopaths who gave Nux-vomica and Alumina for the constipation without result.
They have also seen a craniosacral therapist for the constipation and the speech delay.
Hugo also has sleep issues. He is hard to settle down for sleep but he still takes long naps, sometimes for three hours.
"His sleep was never that solid, he used to wake every two hours to nurse as a baby and did not sleep through until he was 1.5 years old. He still wakes during the night sometimes."
"We hired a sleep consultant for help, it was somewhat helpful. When he wakes in the morning he is not a in a good mood and will scream for us to get him. Sometimes he is also in a bad mood when waking from a nap."
He sleeps on his belly, sometimes on his elbows and knees, sometimes on his side.
Food and personality
Hugo has a good appetite and eats everything. He craves sugar and breads and loves cheese, which he wants sprinkled on everything. He also loves fruit, especially dates.
In terms of his personality he is very loud and emotional, very intense. Also very sweet and caring and silly. Can get very frustrated if his parents don’t understand him.
He does not want to be left alone at night.
Language delays and developmental disorders
Delays in language are the most common types of developmental disorder. Currently, one out of 5 children will learn to talk or use words later than other children their age. Developmental disorders, including speech disorders and delays, have sharply increased over the past twenty years.
According to Mott’s Children’s Hospital, “developmental speech and language disorders are a common reason for speech/language problems in kids. These learning disorders are caused by the brain working differently. Your child may have trouble producing speech sounds, using spoken language to communicate, or understanding what other people say. Speech and language problems are often the earliest sign of a learning disability .”
Autism and speech disorders
Most children with autism have speech delays, articulation disorders or even no speech at all. In my personal clinical experience I have seen speech delays and disorders linked to medication use of the mother during pregnancy as well as adverse reactions to medications, vaccines, other medical interventions such as ultrasounds as well as environmental toxin exposure in the child.
This is an area greatly overlooked by conventional medicine. Speech and language therapy can be very helpful and I highly recommend them, however, it can work much better if the biological and energetic aspects of these disorders are addressed as well.
Careful case history
The key to addressing concerns such as speech and language disorders with homeopathy is a careful case history.
Medical history during pregnancy
Hugo's mom was taking Zoloft throughout the pregnancy and the entire nursing relationship for anxiety and panic attacks. She had been on it for ten years. She also took some Tylenol for headaches.
She also had a flu shot and a DTaP shot while pregnant with him and weekly ultrasounds because her OB was monitoring her cervix.
Hugo's father, tragically, was diagnosed with a type of cancer towards the end of the pregnancy and was treated with chemotherapy and radiation. This was of course extremely stressful for the whole family. He was really sick on the chemo and mom was very scared.
Labour came ten days early and took two days. No drugs were used but he was stuck. It took three hours of pushing to him to be born and he had a really big cone head for a while.
Medical interventions for Hugo
Birth: Vitamin K shot
1 month: Tongue tie revision, Tylenol for pain
2 months: Hep-B vaccine. "We were bullied into giving the Hep-B shot. He started crying and cried non-stop until he was 3-4 months old. We took him to the GI doctor, he was given antacids, no change."
3 months: DTap, Hib and Prevnar vaccinations
5 months: DTap, HiB and Prevnar
7 months: Hib and Prevnar
9 months: Rocephin IV antibiotics, got purple spots on leg from a blood test, hospital gave IV Ab just in case for meningitis
10 months: DTaP
13 months: DTaP and Hib
Hugo also had Tylenol on a couple of other occasions for fevers.
This toddler suffers from an expressive speech delay, severe, chronic constipation and some sleep concerns. The GI issues may have started with the Hep-B shot he received at two months old. At 9 months he had IV antibiotics as well as two rounds of vaccines at 7 and 10 months which may have contributed to the speech delay.
There may have been predisposing factors as his mother was on Zoloft during the pregnancy and had a flu and a DTaP vaccine as well, plus suffered extreme emotional stress in regards to the father’s cancer diagnosis during that time.
She also had many ultrasounds during the pregnancy, labour was prolonged and the baby was born with an extensive cone head. He also had a vitamin K shot at birth as well as Tylenol on several occasions.
This kind of medical history is unfortunately all too common; many different kinds of interventions, which can all cause potentially adverse effects. The sheer number of interventions makes it difficult to identify causative or contributing factors for developmental and other health problems for most physicians or parents.
Hugo was already taking a number of good supplements. We adjusted their dose as follows:
Vitamin D, 4000 IU per day, vitamin C, 500 mg twice a day, cod liver oil 1 tsp twice a day, probiotics powder for kids 3-4 tsp at night.
I also educated the parents about castor oil packs 2-3 times a week and Epsom salt baths to help with the constipation.
Then added Saccharum officinalis 6X, 2 pellets once a day (given for GI issues) and Chelidonium 6X 2 pellets twice a day (liver support.)
Additionally we decided to try a few drops of essential oil of Frankinsense on the back of his neck under the skull once a day as a number of my other clients reported this to help with speech issues.
After one week we added:
DTaP 30CH, 2 pellets twice a week for two weeks, followed by DTaP 200CH, 2 pellets twice a week. This is a homeopathic remedy made from the DTaP vaccine, a likely culprit as he had so many doses of it.
Follow-up two months later
May 10, 2018:
"After the DTaP 30CH he developed a runny nose and a bit of a cough. He also vomited three times at school and had tantrums, which he does have occasionally. We can’t be sure if it was related to the remedy or a viral infection."
Parents were advised to wait for a week to repeat the remedy.
May 15, 2018: Had 4 doses of DTaP 30CH now: “Hugo has definitely had more words coming out, about 15% more. Sometimes he’ll just say things he never said before. He’s also putting more words together. He is holding his poop in more and has needed more laxative than usual. We give it every other day. After the first dose of the DTaP 30CH he pooped a lot, it was like sticky like clay and brownish red. He also had a very long nap after the first dose.”
“More recently his poops have been foamy and a light brown colour a couple of times.”
“We noticed that his cheeks are more red and his ears sometimes get red since starting the treatment. He has had more nasal discharge since the remedy. Yesterday, one hour after taking the remedy he had a lot of nasal discharge. His eating has improved, he’s open to more variety now. He’s also sleeping well now, he has not woken in the middle of the night. He is doing better at preschool, listening better.”
Assessment - positive changes
Even though it's been only two week, the DTaP 30CH may be helping and appears to be stimulating some detox reactions with a sticky, clay and brown-red stool as well as foamy, light brown stools, more nasal discharge and red cheeks.
Improvements included more words, better eating with more variety and better sleep. He is also listening better at his preschool. All very interesting changes with just one vaccine detox remedy so far.
We decided to continue for another week with the 30CH and then to switch to the 200CH of DTaP.
Three months into care - a huge difference with his speech
June 6, 2018
Finished with two weeks of DTaP 200CH twice a week.
“Some days after taking the remedy he’s had bad tantrums with rage and screaming. Two days ago he again had sticky, clay-like stools. He has skin eruptions on his face like pimples.
"We see a huge difference in his speech, at least 25% better. He’s had a big gain, everyone has noticed. He is still hard to understand sometimes. His speech therapist is happy, he is meeting all of her goals! She even thinks she can discharge him!
"Now he is stringing 3-4 words together and is listening more, too. He still has trouble with poop-holding and we give chocolate ex-lax every night. He is eating much better, definitely much less picky than before. Still craves sweets.”
Assessment: He is showing good progress, much better speech. He has some possible detox reactions, including more tantrums on days of taking the remedy. The parents are happy about the progress.
Plan: Continue with DTaP 200CH for another two weeks. Increase the Saccharum 6X to 2 pellets twice a day.
Plateau in speech, time to increase potency
June 23, 2018
Second round of DTaP 200CH.
“His speech has kind of plateaued. Still holding poop. No real aggravations the past two weeks. His sleep has been good but he’s wanted to have the door open so he can see the nightlight for the past two weeks. He woke around 4-5 am last night and wanted Dad to play with him. Overall he seems more present and is sharing more with his brother now. Transitions are also easier for him now.”
Assessment: DTaP 200CH is becoming less effective, no more progress with language, also no aggravations.
Plan: DTaP 1M twice a week. I also informed the parents to try Aconite 30CH 2 pellets a day for three days as I thought maybe he had been too traumatized to move his bowels due to the pain experienced in the past.
Four months into care
July 10, 2018
Has had 4 doses of DTaP 1M.
“After the 4th dose he had a fever of 99.7 F and complained that his ear hurt. In fact we forgot to tell you that he got a fever every time after a dose of the remedy. His speech is improving again! His sleep has not been great over the past week, he is waking us up around 4:30 am. Now he wants us to rub his back, this is new. He tells us that his back hurts, this has been since the 1M. We have been able to reduce the ex-lax from 4 to 3 tablets."
Assessment: He is improving on the DTaP 1M again but I think twice a week is too often. He has fevers after a dose and is complaining about back pain, maybe it is related to his kidneys.
Plan: Reduce DTaP 1M to once a week and give Berberis 6X 2 pellets once a day to support his kidneys. Increase vitamin C to 500 mg three times a day.
July 16, email:
Mom had given DTaP 1M at 9 am. At nap time (1:30 pm) he had a very difficult time falling asleep, was sweating and complaining that he was really hot. After dinner and bath he projectile vomited everything he ate at dinner. He has vomited before when he took the remedy.
Plan: Delay next dose of DTaP for a week.
Five months into care
July 27 email:
Hugo is on his second week of DTaP 1M. He was hot and sweaty again at night after the remedy. But his language is improving: "Since we started he has been saying so much more! He's still a bit difficult to understand but he's trying."
He is still constipated and holding his stool.
Assessment: This remedy is aggravating him a bit but he is very much progressing in his speech.
Plan: Wait to repeat DTaP 1M until his speech plateaus again.
Seven months into care
"We've noticed that his speech progress has plateaued. There is also good news - we have potty-trained him and he has stopped holding his stool! This is a huge gain for us as he has been holding it for over two years.
Plan: Repeat DTaP 1M.
Two days later Hugo vomited again. This seems to be a pattern of detox with him. I advised to give Epsom salt baths, up to three times a day and to increase his vitamin C to 2000 mg a day.
Last dose of DTaP 1M given two weeks ago. He had another big tantrum the next day. During the second night he had diarrhea, two huge diapers full of light-brown poop. Came down with hand, foot and mouth disease four days later, so maybe that was related, we can't be sure.
"But we noticed a huge difference with his speech! A lot more words, more sentences and conversations, everyone has commented. Now he is also not holding his stool anymore at all, this has been a problem since he was one.
Plan: Wait to repeat the homeopathic DTaP until his speech plateaus again.
8 months into care
October 29, 2018
"He was doing well, then his speech plateaued again about a week ago. We gave another dose of DTaP 1M but this time there were no noticeable responses. With prior doses there was always an improvement in his speech within 24-48 hours. We also noticed that he is a bit more constipated again and needs some help to poop."
"We are also concerned that he is somehow malnourished or not growing as well as he should. He is shorter than a lot of the others children his age. He was on laxatives for 6-7 months and always had loose bowels then."
Assessment: This potency may have run it's course. No detox responses, no improvement in speech and the stools are not as good. This is all completely expected with this type of homeopathic program. His mother is expressing concerns about his growth and the previous long use of laxatives. I recommended to do a hair and diet analysis to assess his mineral status and in the meantime some tissue salts.
Plan: Homeopathic DTaP 10M one dose, All 12 Tissue Salts, 1 tablet twice a day.
9 months into care
Nov 6 - update:
Homeopathic DTaP given October 29, no aggravation but a slight improvement in speech.
Plan: Repeat DTaP 10M
"The next day had a couple of big tantrums, woke up in the middle of the night and vomited once, then for the next hour or two dry-heaved every 5-10 minutes.
The following morning he woke up very happy and very verbal."
Assessment: We are clearly seeing a pattern here with tantrums and vomiting followed by nearly immediate and noticable improvement.
Plan: Repeat if he plateaus again.
Nov 14 update:
"We are not seeing any more gains after the dose last week."
My thoughts are that he may need it more often or perhaps his body is done with this remedy and we can move on to another one. I advised to repeat the remedy again.
Hair analysis report - very low calcium and magnesium
To be continued.
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Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH is a homeopath with a special interest in children with developmental and behavioural concerns. Cases are all from her practice. Names have been changed, they were published with permission and are intended for education in homeopathy only. They are not intended as medical advise or solicitation. Homeopathy treats the person, not the condition.
Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH
Classical and Modern Homeopathy
Sooke, BC, Canada
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