Is it Speech Delay? Don't Wait and See!

Is it Speech Delay? Don't Wait and See!

I had my son evaluated for speech delay at 18-months

Is it speech delay? One thing I am so grateful for is that we decided NOT to "wait and see" despite being "reassured" by some friends and family that it is "normal" that my son, at 18-months, barely knew any words... that we should just keep talking to him, and that 'it' will come.  To ease my worries, I've also heard quite a few people share with me their own experiences of having their own children only learning how to speak at 3 yrs old, despite having guidelines that say a child should be able to speak somewhere between 10-50 words at 18months.

CDC lowered developmental milestones for children

Due to the effects of the pandemic, the CDC has just quietly updated their guidelines – that is, lowered the bar on speech milestones and have some SLP worried that it will make parents complacent and early intervention will be hindered -- and I totally agree! I am an advocate of early intervention as I truly believe this is what helped us.

Before, the CDC guidelines said that at 24 months, or two years of age, a child should be able to say more than 50 words. This milestone has been pushed back to 30 months.

Note that the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, or ASHA, still says that speaking less than 50 words by the age of two is cause for concern


My son only had 1-2 words by 18 months

When my son was 12 months, I already noticed that he did not hit all his milestones, he barely had any words, he also hasn't learned how to wave bye-bye, point or clap properly yet but he could do a lot of other stuff like follow commands and he was great at practicing his problem solving skills with his toys. I know every child has their own pace and milestones are just guidelines so I gave ourselves more time, talking... reading... singing to him, anything that I thought would encourage him to imitate us and try to speak.. but by 18 months, it really wasn't happening and he still barely spoke any words! He would just make grunting and whining sounds as his way to communicate with us. I was seriously getting concerned and I knew I had to do something because everyday that he is "delayed" the more behind he is going to be, and the more time he will need to catch up.

It's a larger impact when you "wait and see"

For example, if you have an eighteen-month-old that only has like 5 words, which is a six-month delay in language, and let's say you wait and see till they are three-years-old. You would have taken a six-month delay and increased it to a two-year delay. Now, your kid has to catch up, instead of closing a SMALL gap, you've got to close an even bigger gap! 

There is a high correlation between communication problems and reading & writing

With early intervention, you can close the gap much quicker and easier than if you wait so long. A lot of kids who are late talkers do catch up on their own eventually, no intervention needed, but there will always be those who have a lifelong impacts from that language delay.

My point is, you may or may not have a child who will just develop their communication skills on their own, but there is no risk in getting early intervention, getting assessed and getting help right away because it will only help it will not hurt. 

MASSIVE improvement in just ONE month!

My son was assessed a few days before he turned 19 months, his receptive skills (understanding), was 5 months ahead, but his expressive skills (speaking) was 3 months behind. Because his Receptive score was so high, he did not qualify for speech therapy but our SLP pointed out that the big gap is concerning, so she gave us a some tips and strategies to follow at home. Just a little change to how we talk, sing and play every week there was massive improvement! After just one month he could recite colors and say at least 30 words already! We could not have imagined him making that kind of progress if we didn't consult with an SLP. 

Will share the tips and strategies we did with our son in another blog post! Stay tuned! :)

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