Does My Child Have Speech Delays?

Posted November 16th, 2012 by Aimee in Parenting

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.


Aimee blogs about life with her crazy boys at Smiling Mama and she posts about family-friendly activities in Prince George’s County, MD, at Family Friendly Prince George’s.



3 Responses to “Does My Child Have Speech Delays?”

  1. Thrift Store Mama

    . . . and kudos to you and your husband for following up your inkling with a professional assessment ! So many people seem to stick their heads in the sand and I just don’t get it – there’s never any harm in getting an assessment. Glad there has been some great progress !

  2. Elaine

    I’m so glad you found answers. And I’m also really struck by how getting assessed in one area allowed you to find additional resources in other areas. All of these developmental things are so connected. It always amazes me. And yay Gallaudet! Another reason living in the DC area is so great.

  3. Dawn

    When our oldest was a toddler some 10 or so years ago, I just knew that his language development wasn’t what it should be. All of my oh-so-supportive in-laws kept hinting that I was just an overprotective/worried first time mom, completely ignoring my child development background. When he was two and a half, we took him for a speech assessment, and lo and behold, while his receptive language was high for his age, he was in the ONE PERCENTILE for articulation. Yeah, talk about being eligible for free services through ChildFind! After two years of speech therapy, he had met all of his developmental goals, and though he still needs reminders sometimes to slow down and articulate when he speaks now, people would have no idea that he had such a significant delay earlier in childhood. And by seeking assessment in that area, we had another piece of the puzzle already solved a few years later when we had him assessed for ADHD– speech delays and ADHD go hand in hand, we learned. As a parent, and especially as an early childhood educator, I’m a HUGE advocate for early intervention. Screenings and assessments can never hurt a child, and they may help get him or her the services needed to support development!

    Thanks for sharing your story, Aimee!