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Speech “Delays” and Way-Too-Early Intervention

Mar14

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Dear Amy,

I am reading and memorizing your blogs, and I am very grateful for the information! You don’t imply that other children ARE for sure delayed, just because you have experienced this with your son. So thank you!

My boy is 11.5 months old. He doesn’t have words yet, and he started to babble late. At 9.5-10 months old, he said Gaga and Bababa for a week or two, and stopped with 4 weeks down time. He picked up again with Dadadada, Tata and Didididi at 11 months. He still can’t point, can’t clap his hands (although he is clapping mine), and he only occasionally waves to greet people. He doesn’t really imitate gestures, and he sometimes imitates sounds, like Dada, or Yay. If I say a word like Bingo, he would try to say it back, but he comes up with Bghghg, a raspberry, and scream, or Dadada.

I can’t trust my own judgement, because I usually assume there is a problem and then doctors very often tell me I am wrong. I evaluated my son at a private and well-respected speech therapy practice at 11 months of age, and he scored at 8 months for expressive language, and 16 months for understanding. The speech therapist seemed very confident he is not on the autism spectrum because he is very social. I was told that at this age, they are not overly worried about the delay yet, and we should wait-and-see.

My family thinks I am crazy, and I have no support for my worries and evaluations. Even my mother thinks my son is absolutely fine, and she is the prime caregiver of my son. But I am really upset, because he is supposed to do complicated babbling by now, combining various consonants, and he is nowhere near to even mama or dada with meaning.

So here are my questions: at what age do I start worrying about speech-delay? Can we say anything about late babbling, or babbling patterns and connect with speech issues? If the problem is only isolated speech delay, do most children pick up later, or do they need to go to special schools? In other words, what are the possible outcomes?

I would be very grateful for your response.

Gurl, please picture me very gently stroking your hair right now, and perhaps handing you a slightly-oversized glass of wine, because you need to CHILL. OUT. And I mean that in the most understanding and loving way possible.

I actually kept jumping back up to the beginning of your letter just to make sure I hadn’t misread your son’s age. He is not even a year old.  I’m honestly more worried about you than him, because you have worked yourself into quite a fearful state here. For both of your sakes, please step away from the milestone charts and developmental books and all of these “but he’s supposed to be” generalizations. Please stop trying to label him as anything right now and making yourself sick over ridiculously premature worst-case scenarios. (Special schools? What? No. Nononono.)

My son was first POSSIBLY, MAYBE, LET’S STILL WAIT AND SEE identified as slightly speech delayed around 18 months. The doctor was still not really concerned — language in young toddlers often comes in waves and “explosions,” and kids can seriously go from almost non-verbal to talking in sentences within a span of a couple days.

At 20 months, when things hadn’t really improved, we were referred to Early Intervention for an evaluation. By this point, we saw toe-walking and other sensory problems, so while I probably made the biggest deal over his speech, I’m guessing that actually wasn’t our doctor’s primary concern but simply the gentlest way to nudge us into getting him seen by someone. We started speech therapy just after his second birthday in September, and by June (or so — God, it’s all getting fuzzy), he was adequately “caught up,” speech wise.

All along the way, every therapist and evaluator was shocked (in a good way) that our pediatrician referred us as early as he did (again, at 20 months). Most doctors wait until after the second birthday, and lots of kids aren’t identified until preschool. And while earlier is better, I gotta admit that by kindergarten, the kids who had speech therapy were mostly indistinguishable from the kids who hadn’t. And no, not every speech-delayed kid has Other Issues.

Because I’m guessing my oldest’s story is the one that probably brings out a bunch of “YES, BUT…” worries for you, because yeah. He had a speech delay, and then went on to have Other Issues (SPD, PDD-NOS, ADHD, ASD, ACRONYM SOUP). Therefore: HOLY CRAP MY KID ISN’T BABBLING ENOUGH DOOM DOOM DOOM. Dude, I couldn’t tell you the exact babbling patterns of my “typical” kids, either, or what they were or were not doing at 11.5 months. My second son had words on the “early” side — maybe 12/13 months? (But horrible articulation, by the way, his vocabulary was too much for his mouth. I acted as his interpreter at lot.) My third was a very late talker, but caught up on his own by 28 months, after we enrolled him in a toddler program and around kids his age. Gestures and mimicking and sound acquisition were all over the damn map. There was no One Way It Happened; there was no Supposed To Be, By Now.

Because there’s “earlier is better” and then there’s…11 months. That’s  just….too early. I would personally be REALLY REALLY suspicious of anyone who tried to “officially” peg your son as delayed this young, or told you he needed expensive therapies and interventions. He’s a baby. He’s got his own pace. There’s a really, really wide range of “normal” and I implore you to please, stop worrying about this.

You’ve taken him multiple places. You’ve had him evaluated. (8 months expressive at 11 months is not really a “delay.” That is well within an expected range because it’s not an exact statistical science when you’re evaluating a BABY. You could probably evaluate him a dozen times and get a slightly different month result each time, depending on the therapist and your kid’s mood.) You admit you’re alone in your worries and suspicions AND that you have a history of diagnosing non-existent problems, only to be told by doctors that you’re wrong.

And yet you still can’t let this go. You are still clearly convinced he’s delayed despite no external support for your theory, you’re worrying about outcomes and special schools, and are basically asking me to tell you the “right” age at which you’re allowed to officially freak out over this thing you’ve diagnosed that — honestly — stems from some pretty odd expectations of what he “should” be doing. I mean…you’re worried that he’s not repeating “bingo” accurately enough? (What baby says “bingo”? What’s really so unusual about “Bghghg”? Raspberries are great! They work the oral motor skills he’ll need for later language! They are also very funny! Maybe he’s making up a game, or maybe he’s just annoyed at you constantly in his face trying to get him to say “bingo.” Blow a raspberry back at him and see if he repeats it. Look! He’s communicating! Raspberries count, I swear.)

And by the way, none of my boys said “mama” or “dada” with any purpose or frequency before their first birthday. NONE of them. Mama was probably one of the last words, and dadadadada was a stand-in for all kinds of things that were not actually Dada. They made sounds, and it was cute, and now I have three kids who never, ever shut the hell up.

Some kids babble early but talk late. Some kids babble late and then skip right to sentences. Some kids babble and talk late, and on and on the scenarios go. Boys often talk later than girls, and birth order can factor in as well. (A firstborn who isn’t around other peers his age a lot might talk later, especially if he’s the sole focus of his caregivers’ attention and doesn’t need to communicate needs to get them met. On the other hand, a child with older, verbal siblings might let them do all the talking…or might talk earlier in order to assert themselves and stand out from the pack.)

And yeah, some kids are speech delayed and need some speech therapy to catch up. IT’S STILL NOT A BIG DEAL. It can feel like it, of course, but…it’s not. There is nothing in your letter that — to me, who admittedly doesn’t know your son, but I assume you’re documenting your concerns accurately and not holding anything back — remotely suggests that you have any reason to worry about a speech delay right now. And even if there was something beyond him babbling kind of late and still simplistically (like a premature birth or illness or marked motor skill delays), I would still tell you to chill out for now, he’s so young and has so much time, just give the kid some time to develop at his own unique pace. There’s nothing he’s “supposed” to be doing right now other than growing up.  Enjoy him. And those funny little raspberries.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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30 Responses to “Speech “Delays” and Way-Too-Early Intervention”

  1. Megan L Mar 14 at 6:48 pm Reply Reply

    I feel like my 20 month old is kind of ridiculously verbal now, bur at 11 months all she said was “Hi!” We got lots dadada and bababa, but they didn’t connect to anything. Around 15 months she started picking up a few more words and now she’s a little chatterbox and mimic, but she’s almost a year older than this baby! She also had a cousin who was saying Mommy and Dog and Daddy at 12 months (they’re two weeks apart) which of course freaked me out because was my baby behind?? and now they are both insanely talkative but totally different ( mine knows 20 animals and their sounds, the cousin says thank you and okay and likes to spew random letters during the ABCs.) Babies are all so, so different especially at this. 

  2. Whitney Mar 14 at 6:48 pm Reply Reply

    Don’t stress yet. Einstein supposedly didn’t really talk until he was 3 or something. I think he turned out okay :)

  3. Autumn Mar 14 at 7:04 pm Reply Reply

    My brother didn’t babble or talk much until right before his second birthday.  He hasn’t stopped talking since.  Kid’s master things in different areas at different times, so if he’s working on moving around, he doesn’t have much energy left for vocalizing.  

  4. Mila Mar 14 at 7:22 pm Reply Reply

    I have 3yo twins. By the time they they were 18 mo they didn’t have one word. I wasn’t worried but the Dr pushed and we got them started in early intervention when they were 2. After 9 months of speech therapy, they don’t stop talking now. We also started preschool a couple of months ago. So… Boys will be boys, language is not their strongest skill. My daughter had full sentences by 2yo… Chill, relax and wait. Good luck!

  5. Wendy Mar 14 at 7:50 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with Amy on this.  Its a dangerous and slippery slope to hold unrealistic expectations to your children based on statistics and comparisons.  As a parent, its hard not to worry and it can be easy to see things that may not even be there.  Even if there was a problem, worrying about it this much is taking away your ability to enjoy the time with your baby.  Please, don’t miss out on these precious moments with him by hyper focusing on something that may or may not present a problem.  Go beyond being worried and over protective and just enjoy it all.  Take it one day at a time, and when you start to feel the worry coming back in your mind immediately dismiss it, because your son is perfect just the way he is.  

  6. Jeannie Mar 14 at 8:18 pm Reply Reply

    My son is 8. He was tested last year as highly gifted, with verbal scores four grades ahead of where he is chronologically. And he didn’t say his first word until he was THIRTEEN MONTHS. Like … no words. Lots of babble. Nothing at all recognizable.

    So like everyone else here? My advice is PLEASE don’t stress about this. My kid started late by many measures, then had a MAJOR burst of language around 16-17 months and never looked back. If no one else is worried — doctors, caregivers — you should probably take a deep breath and try to trust them. Chances are your little guy is doing just fine.

  7. Robin Mar 15 at 12:35 am Reply Reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever completely disagreed so much with Amy as I do on this one.  I HATE being told to calm down.  If you’re worried, call your county’s early intervention people.  They’ll take at least a month to do some paperwork and come out and see you.  The worst thing they can tell you is to calm down/your kid doesn’t qualify.  But maybe they agree with you and they’ll start services or have some advice.  And btw, a 3 month delay at 11 months is a 27% delay which should almost definitely qualify you for services.  Yes, those tests are subjective but your results are what they are.

    I live in the same county as Amy and I called for my daughter at 18 months.  Not only was that not too early for them, but my mom, who sees my kid everyday, was nagging me to call for 3-6 months prior.  They pegged my daughter at 9 months expressive and started her with services immediately.  They would have started services earlier had I called earlier and I regret not doing it.

    Call now.  Calm yourself down, don’t let other people just tell you to do it.

    • mla Mar 18 at 12:45 pm Reply Reply

      But she’s already received an opinion from an expert.

      I also hate when people tell me to calm down, but the anxiety is oozing off of this person’s question. She herself says that she can’t trust her judgment because she assumes there’s a problem. I really can relate to the person asking the question because with anxiety, normal judgment and “gut” doesn’t really work. At various times, I could have written the same type of question about my sons, when I was just so worried about what could go wrong that I didn’t have any perspective. Anxiety meds have really helped me be able to sort out when my fear was doing the talking and when I really had a gut instinct that needed to be followed.

    • meg Mar 23 at 5:54 pm Reply Reply

      Speech pathologist here. 27% delay would NOT qualify them for services if it’s the only area where there are delays. He would need 33% in one area or 25% in 2 or more areas (motor skills, etc.)

      He also scored five months AHEAD of age expectations in receptive language. This (from what she wrote) does not sound like a language delay, but like an average kid for his age. She should really calm down for now, and get another evaluation if he still hasn’t made gains in about 6 months or so, or if he gains words but then loses them. 

  8. Abby Mar 15 at 10:37 am Reply Reply

    I agree with Robin. My mom is a speech and language pathologist and works exclusively with very young children. She would tell you there is intervention that can be done now that is far less
    Drastic than what will be done further down the road. My sons physical therapist would tell you that pediatricians notoriously ignore the earliest signs of problems as a wait and see method. They only see your child once every few months and for a very small amount of time. You are your child’s biggest advocate. If you think something is just not right, trust your gut.

  9. Ellie Mar 15 at 11:52 am Reply Reply

    I have a 6-month-old that started out with some feeding and weight gain issues, and I immediately went on the offensive, pushing my newborn through several rounds of lactation consultants, physical therapy, pediatric dentistry consults, craniosacral therapy, and speech therapy in the first few months of his life. He’s totally fine now…just a little quirky about feeding, but we make it work.

    There was a period of time where I was taking the kiddo a different therapy or doctor’s appointment almost every day. The whole time I was convinced that his feeding stuff was a harbinger of horrible stuff yet to come. But you know what the most helpful intervention was? When someone gently suggested that the level of anxiety I was experiencing wasn’t typical or healthy. I ended up finding a really awesome psychiatric nurse practitioner and former L&D nurse who specialized in postpartum issues who got me on some breastfeeding-friendly meds and helped me work through some of my paralyzing anxiety.

    Having a quirky kid is hard, but for a subset of type-A, naturally problem-solving and results oriented moms, it can be an emotionally devastating combination. Please don’t rule out the possibility that some of what is happening is being magnified through the lens of your own anxiety. You are obviously an awesome and caring mom, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, too.

  10. Caroline Mar 16 at 4:40 am Reply Reply

    Hi!
    I agree with Amy that there probably is nothing the matter with your son re speech development, but I must admit that I am quite concerned about you and how you are feeling. First time motherhood is a scary business, what with one thing and another, and since you have said you are quite prone to worrying generally and anxieties over unnecessary things, it might well be worth your while to see whether some cognitive behavioural therapy might be helpful. No. I am not saying you are crazy to be concerned for your kid (who isn’t??), just that if needless anxieties are freaking you out on what seems like a fairly regular basis, there are drug-free ways to limit that and change your patterns of thought. CBT is very effective and might help you face all the challenges you will definitely face as a parent. Because yes, sometimes stuff DOES go wrong in all kinds of ways, but mostly it’s totally fixable!
    I’m not dismissing your concerns over your son, sometimes mothers have instincts, just that you freely say you often worry overly generally. I’m really not trying to patronise, really. I am a terribly anxious person. I can actually invent things to worry over (I can, it’s like an art form), so I do know what you’re feeling, and when it’s about the thing most precious in your life, being told to ”not worry” is crazy talk! Hold off on further evaluations for 3-6 months, but do go and find out about some talking therapy and CBT for your own wellbeing.
    xx

  11. Beth Mar 16 at 9:16 pm Reply Reply

    Please enjoy your baby! Before you know it, you won’t remember his first laugh, his first steps, his first tooth. It will all be lost  and all you will remember is this fog of worry. I lost a lot of firsts with this (my last) son because his colic had me all wrapped up in knots. 
    I understand that you are worried, my son still clenches his fists (yeah, I don’t understand why this bothers me so much!). It’s hard not to overanalyze, but really, if something IS wrong you’ll find out and have plenty of time to work on it. Consuming yourself in this won’t be healthy for you or your son.

  12. Ali Mar 16 at 10:19 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with Amy—relaxation for the next few months is definitely in order! My little guy didn’t say his first word until around 14 months, and at his 15 month appointment I shared my concerns with our pediatrician. She encouraged me to relax until his 18 month visit as these milestones are different for every child. She compared speech to walking–most kids walk around a year, but some earlier and some later—neither is indicative of a problem necessarily. My son had an absolutely language explosion between 16-17 months and picked up at least one word a day during that time period. Now at 19 months he is completely “caught up” to the speech milestones. It has been a big lesson to me in terms of trusting the guidance of others such as our pediatrician rather than letting my first time parent anxieties take over. good luck!!

  13. Becky Mar 17 at 11:59 am Reply Reply

    Our pediatrician recommended early intervention for our son at 12 months.  He had no words and it was as though he knew it and would become furious when he couldn’t communicate what he wanted (or more likely, didn’t want!)  She said if in a month he still wasn’t talking and still throwing meltdown tantrums, to make the call.  So we did.  We had one hour weekly in home visits for about 4 months, and by his 18 month check he was all but completely caught up to the “should be” list.  Now at 5 1/2 years he will. not. shut. up.  Love him, but he’s a total chatterbox.

  14. Samantha Mar 17 at 12:40 pm Reply Reply

    Keep in mind that lots of boys focus on gross motor skills and then talk later. Like a certain little dude over here who said only ball at fifteen months and now converses beautifully. Incidentally, he also never had one of the common language “explosions.” Just a slow, steady accumulation.

  15. Kristy Mar 17 at 1:28 pm Reply Reply

    I had similar concerns about my son around the 12-month mark. He babbled, but didn’t say mama or dada or bye-bye, didn’t wave, didn’t clap or play patty-cake, hadn’t taken any steps yet… I was very nervous, and I was constantly checking the developmental checklists (which only made me crazier). It turned out that my son just needed a little time. (I LOL’d so hard when he finally clapped LITERALLY THE DAY AFTER HIS FIRST BIRTHDAY) Like many others have noted, his language absolutely exploded at 16 months and now at 20 months he has more words than I can count, he says phrases, he can run, throw, kick, and all manner of other toddler normalcy.

    I’m not trying to minimize your concern. But, since you have already had him evaluated by experts who told you to wait and see, the task now is to do just that as calmly as you can. Sometimes the more we want our kids to do something, the more they just won’t do it, you know? That being said, it might make you feel better to follow up with the SP practice that evaluated your son and ask them for a “deadline” – if you haven’t seen more expressive language develop by a certain point, you should bring him back for a re-check. That might allay your anxiety over the issue a bit.

  16. Michelle Mar 17 at 3:50 pm Reply Reply

    Is this supposed to be tagged under Advice Smackdown?

  17. Karen Mar 17 at 6:18 pm Reply Reply

    I think it’s really important to keep something in mind. You can ask the same question, over and over to various people, and eventually you can find someone who gives you the answer that you want to hear. Does that make them right, and everyone else wrong? 

  18. Kirsten Mar 18 at 12:14 am Reply Reply

    I feel for you so much. While I agree with everyone regarding the advice to relax a bit (or a lot), I know that can be hard to do. My boy does have a pretty serious speech delay that started out pretty similarly to what you describe, and everyone was telling me it was in my head and to relax and he’s so young and peppering me with stories about late talkers – except the professionals. They did take me seriously from the beginning. Even so, we weren’t actually referred to evaluate until 20 months.

    Here’s the difference, though. You’ve had him evaluated and the professionals are telling you to take a step back. It’s really, truly okay to give yourself permission to do that. I would ask whoever did the evaluation at what point re-evaluating would be appropriate so that you have something to hold on to when your anxiety starts gearing up.

    Meanwhile, if your child did have a speech delay at this point, bear in mind there would not be a diagnosis. This is just too young. Ultimately, what it would amount to meaning for you in practical terms right now is probably advising you to give lots of play and interaction – which you are already doing!

    Sending you so much sympathy and best wishes. Your boy sounds adorable.

  19. Kate Mar 18 at 1:15 pm Reply Reply

    At 11.5 months my boy wasn’t saying squat. Maybe syllables here and there but certainly no words. He also didn’t clap or seem to understand much of anything. I admit to being mildly concerned BUT…we didn’t have him tested or anything. He’s now just barely two and majorly advanced, verbally…probably speaking and understanding on a 3-4 year old level (if we’re going by the charts, which I also don’t really take too much stock in). The point is…his progress at 11 months was obviously in no way indicative of his ability. He was just absorbing things so he could turn around 6 months later and blow us out of the water – OVERNIGHT – with all the words that he knew.

  20. Sarah Mar 18 at 1:54 pm Reply Reply

    At her 12 month my Daughter had 0 words. By 13 months she had 7. But that doesn’t mean anything for YOUR story. I understand that lots of people say “trust your mommy gut” but your mommy gut really has never had experience with a 1 year old before.

    If you had noted multiple small issues, if anyone other than you was concerned (like his primary caregiver) than I would say keep pushing. But this is one thing, and he’s still VERY MUCH on the spectrum of normal.

    I think you need to take a deep breath and talk to someone about your anxieties, rather than about your child.

  21. Lilly Mar 19 at 11:50 am Reply Reply

    I sympathize. I worried when my son didn’t crawl until 11 months, and then didn’t walk until 16 months, and his teeth didn’t come in until after he was 1 year old. It felt like a never ending race that we (we!) were always failing. Now, he’s three and fully caught up verbally and physically, but I regret all the time I spent worrying, and kind of giving him the message (unconsciously) that he was not enough, that he was not doing enough. Just my two cents.

  22. Stephanie Mar 19 at 5:21 pm Reply Reply

    Okay – so I can sympathize with you. My daughter – who just turned two last week – had no words at a year. None. She had also started doing things that were alarming to us – she didn’t respond when we called her, she had no signs, and she started to regress. By regress, I mean, she stopped waving and clapping, things she had done at 9 and 10 months. She also was not pointing at all. When I mentioned these things to her pediatrician, he jumped into high gear – scheduling a hearing test, a visit with a developmental pediatrician and getting Early Intervention to do an assessment. The hearing problem was quickly ruled out. The EI assessment happened at 15 months, where she was considered delayed 5 months for communication. The developmental pediatrician didn’t think anything neurological was at fault. Anyway, the speech therapist for EI considered her delayed enough to qualify for services, but recommended waiting before starting speech therapy until 18 months because toddlers simply do not have the attention span to make ST useful any earlier. So we waited. And then at 17 months, she started talking. It was like a switch was turned on. Now, at 2, she knows and speaks hundreds of words, speaks in full sentences.
    Anyway, all this to say, please just wait a few more months. Reassess at 18 months. It’s amazing how much they change. Really. And if he needs ST, he’ll get much more out of it then.

  23. Sara Mar 19 at 7:35 pm Reply Reply

    I’d encourage the original writer to consider the possibility that she is worrying over nothing, but also to consider the possibility that the reason for her anxiety is that something is wrong and she is able to sense it.
    There is a good video about early detection of autism (12 months) here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVgPlURSad8
    with the most relevant material starting at about the 4 minute mark.
    You’ve already gotten an evaluation and so it is probably best to wait a few months, but if you still feel that your baby is delayed I would move heaven and earth to get another one and get any services that may help your child.

    I’ve seen this in a family member, where a baby’s mother questioned whether there was a delay and the doctors all told her the baby was fine.  The doctors were wrong and intervention ended up being delayed by years.  Sometimes a mother knows best, and I would encourage you to keep on top of this, as I know you will.

  24. Jill Mar 20 at 3:26 pm Reply Reply

    I have 4 kids (2 older boys and 2 girls who are just now 11 months).  NONE of them have had words at 11 months.  The twins babble way more than the boys ever did, but honestly neither of the boys had real words until after they turned 2.  
    My husband was concerned about my second son not talking at 2, so I asked his pediatrician at his 2 year appointment.  The doctor was not worried that my son wasn’t talking yet and said that it was still early and not unusual for him not to have many words.  He also told me that usually when pediatricians flag children for early intervention it is because they notice other behaviors (being anti-social, toe walking, lack of eye contact, etc) and will sometimes send them to be evaluated for speech because that’s the easiest way to start EI. 
    I really hope that you will take the bulk of these comments at face value and instead of taking offense realize that we’ve all, as mothers, been there to some level.  We worry about our kids but are coming from experience and saying to relax about milestones a little bit.  For the few commenters who say go to a professional, YOU DID go.  And she determined your son is not delayed and there are no problems as of yet.  Take that as permission to calm down a bit, and if he still isn’t talking in a year or so then ask again at his 2 year check up.  

  25. Lindsay Mar 20 at 4:48 pm Reply Reply

    My daughter had no real words yet at 11 months. But soon after she did, and now she’s almost 3 and talks up a storm. I know other people have had experiences that led them down the road to needing intervention. Which just goes to Amy’s point: all kids are different, and that’s the reason experts often tell you to wait and see what’s really going on. Only time will tell. And that’s hard.

    That said, most of the responses (and sort of Amy’s) fall into two camps: get intervention for your kid, or get intervention for yourself. Why not do both? Have your baby evaluated again for your peace of mind and in case they missed something the first time, or another provider sees it differently.  And reach out for yourself, in case some larger anxiety issues are at play for you. You would be so, so normal if that were the case, and there is help available that really works, if you ask. It’s so hard to judge these things, so what’s to lose if you try both approaches, and see where it leads? It can only make things better.

  26. meg Mar 23 at 6:29 pm Reply Reply

    Hi, I’m a speech-language pathologist. First, I want to say that you did ABSOLUTELY THE RIGHT THING by getting your son evaluated. Seriously, good on you. 

    I always worry when these posts come out and a bunch of commenters pop up and say “my kid was completely fine!”, that someone will read it and decide to not get an evaluation. Yes, your kid will probably also be just fine, but an evaluation won’t hurt. 

    For you, you already got an evaluation and your son scored within normal limits. The professionals didn’t think that he needed speech therapy. Remember that the numbers you’re reading about are AVERAGES. A lot of typically developing kids don’t say first words until well after 12 months. (And Amy is right: your son’s score might vary by some months depending on how he’s feeling that day and whether he hits it off with the evaluator or not.)

    If it will help ease your mind, call up the clinic where you got your evaluation done. Ask for some guidelines to look for delays in the future. At what age with no words would they recommend that he get another evaluation? (Unless other signs pop up, like motor delays, or if he starts regressing–then you should do so sooner rather than waiting.)

    And any kids, even if they’re not delayed, can only benefit from lots of talking and book reading. If you want to do something, just do what you can: talk talk talk to him constantly, limit TV even in the background, and read him lots of books. And remember to take care of yourself so that you can keep being the amazing mama you are. :)

  27. Elisabeth Mar 23 at 11:40 pm Reply Reply

    *If* your son does end up needing speech therapy, well, as the cliché goes, there are decidedly worse things. The therapist said your son’s understanding and sociability are good, so yea for that! Intervention will still be early in a few months, and if it were my child (who is only 4 months, but does have family history) I would/will wait a bit before even trying for a second opinion.
    Speech therapy was kinda fun for me, for all that I started at 3 in head start and was still a regular at 10. (loosing the hearing in one ear at 4 1/2 didn’t help) And hey! I can finally pronounce my own name!

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