Talk to me! When you should take your baby to speech therapy


You know I'm a big fan of trusting your instincts...so with that in mind...
I felt like Landon wasn't talking as much as he should be. I decided to have him evaluated by Regional Center. They offer free services for kids under three, no matter your income.

At his preliminary evaluation he was found to have a speech delay. He understands commands but seems to not have as many words as we want him to.

I thought I'd give you a little breakdown I found by
Patricia McAleer-Hamaguchi, a pediatric speech-language pathologist.

Toddlers often have trouble with pronunciation and difficulties putting sentences together. A child between the ages of 18 months and 3 years will generally mispronounce many words. It's perfectly normal to have to play a guessing game to figure out what your child is saying, and at times you may have absolutely no clue what she's getting at. That's okay!

Many toddlers substitute an "f" or "d" sound for "th" ("I'm taking a baf") or a "w" sound for an "l" or "r" ("The wion wawed" = "The lion roared"). Consonant blends, where two consonants are right next to each other, are typically difficult ("Soppit!" for "Stop it"), and toddlers often mix up multi-syllabic words or simply reduce them to shorter words ("Gimme dat amal" = "Give me that animal"). All of these mispronunciations are common even up until age 6. What you want to watch for is that your toddler's speech is improving over time — by age 3, most of what your child says should be pretty understandable.

If the problem is not pronunciation but rather that your child isn't talking or is talking very little, you should act a little more quickly. You should have her evaluated at 20 to 24 months if she's doing any one of the following:

* Doesn't react normally or consistently to sounds. (She may be overly sensitive to sounds such as vacuums or hair dryers yet seem indifferent at other times when people call her name.)

* Mispronounces vowels, saying "coo" instead of "cow."

* Talks using mostly vowels, omitting whole consonants, saying "a" for "cat."

* Uses one catch-all sound or syllable to name most things ("duh" or "duh-duh" is a popular one).

* Uses a word once and then doesn't use it again frequently.

* Doesn't point to common objects in books. (When you say "Show me the kitty cat!" instead flips the page or simply repeats "cat!" but doesn't actually point to it.)

* Doesn't seem frustrated when you don't know what she wants. (She may simply try to get the object herself or just give up very easily.)

* Doesn't seem to be progressing much from month to month.

* Answers a question by repeating part of your question. (If you say, "Do you want milk?" responds by saying "Milk!" instead of a head nod or "yes" response — this is called echolalia, and may be an early sign of autism.)

* Doesn't learn "bye-bye" or react to games like peek-a-boo.

* Still says single words only, and not sentences.


In Landon's case he uses the word "BOB" for most things. And although he says other words I was seeing a slowing of progress month to month. I am so glad I called because Regional Center will pay for all therapies for any child with a problem until they are three years old. They are even going to start paying for his physical therapy for his arm!

27 comments:

Brie said...

That is also the case here in NJ (free services through 3) - way to be a proactive mom!!! Landon is lucky to have you :)

Etiquettely Correct said...

That is so awesome that they offer free services. My sister's son was speech delayed and the therapy really helped. Love your Memorial Day photos - you all are such a beautiful family!

nathansmom said...

I have a 3 1/2 year old son, who it sounds like was at the same level your child is at. I had him evaluated by birth-3 (CT's state program) when he was 2 years old. He would only use about 10 words, not consistently, and I was very concerned. Everyone kept dismissing it as he's a boy, he'll catch up, but my gut told me something else. He was eligible for speech therapy, which was great. The speech therapist came to our house once a week for an hour and showed ME things to do and try with him. It worked somewhat well, we saw slight improvements, then when he was approaching his third birthday, the services were going to end, and the public schools in our town pick up from that point. He was eligible for the reverse mainstream preschool in our town. About 2 months before he was to begin preschool, it was like someone flipped a switch. I don't know how else to explain it....he started putting 2, 3, then 4 words together, asking questions, articulating his needs, singing songs that I had sung to him since he was growing in me, it was incredible. He still goes to the preschool, because he is still slightly delayed, but over the past 8 months, his language has just exploded. I hope the same happens for your child, only sooner! I know how frustrating it can be. I drove myself nuts wondering if he was mildly autistic, or had other sensory issues, but he is on the right course now, and is having full conversations with me now! GOOD LUCK AND STAY POSITIVE! Always go with your gut feeling also, I know I doubted myself at times, but I'm glad I went with what I was truly feeling, it has benefited my son immensely!

Melissa said...

That's great about the free services! Good for you for following your gut and getting Landon evaluated! Early intervention is SO important!

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

Way to tune into your "mom instinct"...it rarely fails us, huh?

Mrs. K said...

I did the same thing- my daughter could not pronounce certain things- 8 months after therapy she was a-ok.

Always Organizing said...

I think it is so great that you addressed this so quickly and followed your instinct. I don't have children yet and I am always amazed at all the things you have to think about and do when you are a parent. It really is the hardest, most important job you will ever have...

The Chic Chauffeur said...

Way to go! My daughter who is a 5th grader now received speech services from age 2-4 1/2. When she was 3 they tried to graduate her out, instead of moving her into the free preschool program. I took a recording of her speech to a meeting, and said, 'if anyone here can tell me what she is saying, then we will happily accept our diploma. If not, then we need to continue on in the program.' We noticed huge improvements around age 3 1/2. So hang in there. She even had an older sibling to mimic. You are your child's strongest advocate, don't hesitate to listen to your heart!! By the way, now she talks non-stop, and we can unfortunately understand every sassy little word :)

Feener said...

good for you. it is important that folks know there is help out there.

Michael, Shelby, Charlotte and Maeve said...

I am glad you listened to yourself and made the call. You are doing a great service for him. Therapy speech and physical therapy will only help him in the long run, doing it as early as possible will make all the difference.

Beth G. said...

That is soooo great you took Landon to be evaluated-you are so right to have trusted your instincts! And what super news that they will pay for his therapy for his speech AND arm! An excellent Mom you are indeed!

Belle-ah said...

You are such a good MOM! I am glad they are being proactive and I know he will thrive with the extra attention. (((hugs)))

Somewhere Between Pinot and Pacifiers said...

Mommy's instinct is better than any doctor. I am glad you are able to do this for cute little Landon! I have a friend whose daughter had similar problems. Luckily, her sister was a speech pathologist and could help them right away!

Maddie said...

Mothers know best...Landon is such a lucky little boy!!!

Kiki said...

It is never a bad thing to be your childs advocate and want what is best for him/her, I think you did exactly the right thing. You know Landon best and getting him any help he may need just makes good sense!!! I'll point my sister here tomorrow, she had some dealings with speech therapy and will be able to encorage you!!!
XOXO to you Mrs., you are not only Fabulous but Smart too!!!

Kate said...

Glad you trusted your instincts! I LOVE the Regional Center-it does such amazing work! When I interned at UCLA NPI, almost all the kids in my program had been referred to us by the Regional Center in LA.

Lindsey said...

You are a great mom, I am sure Landon will progress fabulously.

kenady said...

You truly are a great mother! You are so honed in on Landon's development and needs so nothing slips by you! And it is so awesome that Regional Center is going to pay for the therapy for his arm too! WOO HOO!

Preppy Mama said...

Thank you for posting this because I was always concerned about CJs speech. More or less I feel like I am translating for him and I get so frustrated because he starts pre-school in the fall. Thanks for this info I really appreciate it!!!
You are such an amazing mommy. Always trust the gut feeling!

Ladybug's Picnic said...

Here in Massachusetts it is Early Intervention - and my older daughter gets her speech therapy through EI. She has a whopper of a speech delay but with speech therapy (EI and private, we pay for extra sessions) she has made tons of progress.

We had her evaluated at 16 months. She's now 26 months and doing great.

MB said...

My son, who is now 10 years old, has a pretty major speech delay. We had him in Early Intervention from age 1-3 years. Then we did private speech at our home. Now he gets speech therapy at his school. I think you are doing the right thing to have your son evaluated. The sooner the better so he can get the help he needs. It might not be years and years like my son, but whatever Landon's needs are, the therapists (and the parents who have the gut feelings!) are the experts!

SnappyCasualGifts said...

That is wonderful that the place offers free services. I feel you always have to trust your gut instinct. Glad to hear you were able to get some answers.

Boo and Hooties Mom said...

That's great the services are free.

When my son was 18 months he only said 5 words and had never even said Dada (payback from my daughter who always said Dada and never Mama!) anyway my Dr. had said he wanted at least 10 more words by his next visit. Sure enough he got them but he was definately delayed in talking. It's amazing now..he just turned 6 and seems to be more articulate than his 8 year old sister!
Landon will probably end up being a public speaker when he's a man!!
Good luck with everything!!

Tickled Pink & Green said...

I don't know anything about this so I can't help you, but I just wanted to say you look like Reese Witherspoon in that picture!! Seriously!

Tickled Pink & Green said...

On second thought, BabyGirl only started sentences a month or so ago and now just ALL OF A SUDDEN she just started saying them all the time. She just turned 2 in mid May so don't worry (yet)... It's almost like it magically happened practically overnight!

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

I am a firm believer in trust your instincts! My son had a severe speech probelm, apraxia, I knew something was wrong with him at 18 months, but the dr made me wait until he was 2 years old to get a diagnosis. He never said one word - ever! We went through intense therapy for 18 months, speech, OT and feeding therapy. Today, at 6 yeaars old, he just finished Kindergarten, inthe gifted program!! Stay positive!!

Tres Poshe Preppy said...

So glad to hear about all the help out there. Landon is such a cutie, he looks like a total sweetheart.