Is it time for speech therapy?

What is this blog post about? – Language and speech milestones and why I decided to seek help.

Speech therapy does not make us or our child less intelligent or capable. It does not make us bad parents.

Like many parents out there I constantly wonder if I am doing the right thing with my child. I wonder if I am providing the right environment for them to grow. I take her to get her yearly checkups and make sure I feed her the right food. I however struggled to refrain from comparing my child to other kids, especially kids that were around the same age and were doing things that maybe my child was not doing. My daughter was a late walker, she started walking at about 14.5 months of age and people would always ask “she is not walking yet?” It did not sound so much as a question as it did a judgment, but I was not worried. She learned to use the spoon and fork and feed herself at a very early age. She was a little over one when she began to feed herself and even try to put on her own shoes. She was close to a year and half when she began to pick her clothes and dress herself. So yes in some areas she was “advanced.” She began to say words like; mama, papa, and sign that she wanted to eat and that she wanted more and that she was all done at about 10.5 months. I was so happy with her progress. I began to notice however that close to 2 years she was not using many words and was not acquiring any new words. This did worry me because I read all too much about what was “normal.”

Some stats on speech and language

Note* Speech may refer to simply being able to form sounds, while language refers to the comprehension and production of words.

  • The developmental stages can be tricky to follow, because they range so much in just a few months.
  • Between the ages of about 4-6 months most children are able to make simple sounds like “ma” “pa”, but maybe won’t show actual language until close to the age of one (average of 2 words)
  • Children will acquire about 20-100 words between 12-18 months. I know this is a huge range of words, but you can find the average somewhere in between.
  • By the age of 2, children should know an average of 200 words and may begin to use three word phrases. They will also be more likely to be able to repeat more complex words and phrases.

Her speech:

My daughter has always been expressive; she has been social, she has been curious. She was so eager to learn how to do things for herself so I was not concerned at first when I did not hear her speak much. I however began to notice that she would become frustrated when she needed something, and she would resort to scream and physically guide me in order to get me to where she wanted me to go. This became so frustrating for the both of us and her dad because I knew she knew how to say some words. I began to ask people around me and they told me not to worry because she was still little. I however was not happy with being passive.

How I knew we needed help

  • She had maybe about 10 words by the age of 2 but she did not use them very much, or in combination
  • She resorted to screaming instead of asking for what she wanted.
  • She did not make an effort to repeat sounds or words that I told her.
  • She was not acquiring any new words.
  • When compared to the average child her age, she was very delayed in speech acquisition and language.

Why I chose speech therapy

  • My background is in psychology and in Spanish language, so I was aware that my child did not meet the developmental norm in speech or language.
  • Early intervention and education is key in order to assure that children perform well in other future tasks such as; reading, writing, and overall academic performance.
  • Many times children learn differently from people who are not their parent’s or caregivers.
    • *Have you ever tried to get your child to do something, only to have them refuse, but then you see them do it when someone else asks!!!!
  • My daughter is almost 2.5 and her lack of language has manifested in physical actions such as; pushing, grabbing me by the arm to take her to what she wants, only gesturing, and some tantrums when she grows frustrated.
  • Speech therapists will provide parents and caregivers with tools to help our child learn to talk.
  • Speech therapy may also help children become better at socializing and emotional expression.

How evaluation works

  • You must first contact an agency in your area that is responsible for early childhood intervention. They may also help you rule out other diagnoses such as autism.
  • If your child is over the age of 3 you may need to contact your school district
  • Be completely honest and candid about your child’s development- They need to be able to assess what level your child is currently in.
  • A service provider will come to your home to help assess whether your child meets the requirements for service- there may be a second provider that may assess other areas of development.
  • You will be set up with a vendor that will set up meetings or lessons with both your child and you or a caregiver.

Final thoughts and our Start

My child has met the requirements for early intervention and will begin her speech therapy. It took me some time to let go of my doubts and just seek help. There is nothing wrong with admitting that your child or you need assistance. She will love to have someone come play and teach her. I will enjoy learning how to better help her development!! If you have any concerns or questions about any of your child’s milestones do not be afraid to seek help despite what others around you may say.

As always thank you for reading this week’s post. I would love to keep you guys updated about this journey we are about to embark on and hope that some of you will share your story.

Here is another resource if you would like to read more!

Rowe, M.L. (2012). A longitudinal Investigation of the Role of Quantity and Quality of Child-Directed Speech in Vocabulary Development, Child Development, 83(5), 1762-1774. Doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01805.x

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0 Responses to Is it time for speech therapy?

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  2. Although our son didn’t need speech therapy, I have a close friends whose daughter got early intervention.
    In less than a year, she became chatty & expressive. It’s amazing how well it works.

  3. I hope all goes well for your daughter and you! I’m sure you will both be happier with her being able to communicate more clearly 🙂