One short year ago, my husband and I were getting increasingly concerned about our son’s talking. Or actually, that he wasn’t talking. At 24 months, he only had a handful of words. He didn’t try to repeat words, didn’t babble to himself or do things like go “vroom vroom” when playing with cars. He pointed and said “eh eh” for things he wanted. We started to teach him simple signs, which he picked up very quickly and explained, “He doesn’t talk much,” when he ignored entreaties of “Hi there!” and “What’s your name, cutie?” from adults.
Of course, everyone had a story to tell about their late-talking brother/cousin/uncle (nearly always boys…hmmmm) who “Didn’t say a word until he was four and then we realized he’s actually a genius!” Likewise, lots of friends shared the rationale that “He’s a boy” or “His big brother does all the talking for him!”
But, still, we couldn’t shake our lingering concern.
Luckily, we have in our backyard an amazing resource for speech and hearing: Gallaudet University. We called and they first suggested a hearing evaluation, which Nathaniel passed with flying colors. Next we went in for a speech evaluation. From the moment we walked into their Speech and Hearing Center, I knew we were in good hands. After a thorough evaluation, it was determined that Nathaniel did indeed have delays. We started therapy just a few weeks later.
I can’t fully explain what a wonderful experience it was to work with Gallaudet. Our therapist (a graduate student), her supervisor and the entire staff was fantastic to work with. The facilities were incredible. They pushed and taught both Nathaniel and us, and we all grew by leaps and bounds. They also recommended that we see a developmental pediatrician, which uncovered additional therapy needs — needs we would not have recognized on our own.
Just one year later, Nathaniel is talking up a storm. He constantly amazes and delights us with his ever-expanding language skills and his desire to take in more language. I am so, so grateful that we listened to our own inner voices and decided to seek out answers to our questions if everything was okay with our son.