54 answers

Does My Child Need Early Intervention Evaluation?

I have a 13 month old boy who can point to several objects we name like light, door, window, mama, dada, grandparents and body parts including head, ear, nose, mouth, belly. Clearly the cognitive skills are there but he is not yet spoken his first word. He mumbles "buuu buuu buuu" for blueberries, "baaa" for banana, "dah" for down and "tha" for that. He bables mama and dada but it is still indiscriminate.

At his 12 month checkup, his pediatrician said he should say mama and dada deliberately by 13 months or I should call her. I spoke to her yesterday and she seemed satisfied that he can point, communicate his needs, understand simple directions ("go get a book and sit on mommy's lap") and most importantly he consistently uses the same babble for certain things. HOWEVER, my mother is constantly on my case. To be fair, she is an educator and has a speech degree but it's hard for me to accept her alarmist negative comments that my son is delayed b/c she said he would be delayed the moment I announced I was hiring a nanny and returning to work. So, I'm trying to get some perspective. Am I being defensive and should I listen to my mom who is trying to help...or is she overreacting b/c she is, by nature, an alarmist and therefore no need to set up EI speech evaluations until my MD suggests I do. I feel like he is on par with kids his age and agree that his expressive language needs a bit of work...or time, which one? No harm in getting an evaluation but is this necessary?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hey KF- I wouldn't worry about it now, he's not really behind and the other thing is you have to have a 33% delay to qualify for services, so at this point they may give suggestions. Hope this helps.

Hi K F,

I son is 16 months now, and is just starting to pick up a few words here and there. (not clearly by no means) Everyone developes at there own pace. I would give it a few more months. Good Luck! :)

There are already a lot of responses here. But I wouldn't worry at this point. My son pointed to everything at 13 months and said "dadada". I questioned the pediatrician at his 12 month and again at his 15month because he hadn't progressed at all from doing that. The doctor said he wouldn't be worried until he was 2 and then look at his speech then. Low and behold just this month, he is now 17 months, he has started saying many words. Just remember that every child is different and will learn at their own pace. I would wait until he is at least 2 and then see where he is at that point. Good luck!

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relax, ignore your mom, enjoy your baby. Babies do things at different ages, but by the time they are 3 or 4 they have evened out. Early talkers are no more verbal at 4 than late talkers, as a rule. Personally I think 13 months is way too early to worry about speech, and if you make an issue out of it you might cause a problem.
PS I was a foster mom for years, so saw all kinds of babies. if you want to read my book search Amazon for 97 Pictures of Kids on My Wall.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is 26 months and I stay home with him. (Not a judgment - just saying it doesn't matter as far as speech if you are home or not.)

At 13 months he was about where your son is. At his 18 month check-up he had 12 words which was the bare minimum he should have for his age, and "mama" was not one of them (it broke my heart). At 22-1/2 months he still wasn't saying mama, but he had about 75 words. But he couldn't put 2 words together, except "all done". By his 24 month check-up he had over 100 words and was putting 2 words together consistently, saying "mama" all the time. Now, at 26 months, he is putting 5 words together and saying anything you say back to you.

At 18 months and 22-1/2 months I was convinced he would need speech therapy. And then he just started talking away.

So, yes I think it is too early to start worrying because I just went through it and came out the other side just fine. He just said "Mama all done puter. Go!" because he wants me to play with him so I have to cut this off.

Other hand - EI eval might not hurt, they would probably say he's fine and get Mom off your back. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

There are already a lot of responses here. But I wouldn't worry at this point. My son pointed to everything at 13 months and said "dadada". I questioned the pediatrician at his 12 month and again at his 15month because he hadn't progressed at all from doing that. The doctor said he wouldn't be worried until he was 2 and then look at his speech then. Low and behold just this month, he is now 17 months, he has started saying many words. Just remember that every child is different and will learn at their own pace. I would wait until he is at least 2 and then see where he is at that point. Good luck!

I am sure your mom is trying but you need to go by what you think. I don't know if it's too early or not. My oldest so was talking really good at 1 year old by the time was 2 1/2 yrs old, his speech was going down and they thought perhaps because of walking so early at 10 1/2 months old. So, Try to stick do some fun songs with him, itsy bitsy spider ie. I am hearing impaired and at least he is able to say something. I was still not talking by age 3 and finally got speech therapy at 3 1/2 years old. I still wasn't saying anything just pointing to things I wanted to eat or drink and so forth. Trying to get something across with body movements. At the same time, he may be slower with speech which does not mean he is speech delayed amd meed evaluation. If it makes you feel better, get him evaluated and see if he needs speech therapy and they'll come to your house anyways or you can continue to work with him on that. Let us know and I'll pray for you for Wisdom from Jesus and that you'll receive His Wisdom when you ask for it.

Hi KF,

I am a speech pathologist and work with children from birth-3 years. From what you have described, it sounds like your son is recognizing many household words, pointing, and communicating with you. If "buu buu buu" is consistently used only to stand for blueberries then that is a word for him. If he consistenly says the same thing for blueberries, banana, down and that, then he has at least 4 words, which would be typical for a child his age.

I understand the difficulty with having a mom who is voicing her opinion. I am sure she only means well but you should trust your feelings since you know your child the best. About the second half of a child's second year (around 18-20 months) they have a "vocabulary explosion" where they suddenly are saying new words faster than before until they have over 50 words at 2 years of age and are putting two words together.

If a child still only has a few words at that point, I would suggest they be evaluated.

If you are concerned you can always call your birth-3 provider in the state. Your pediatrician can give you that number. I know in our state the evaluation is free so there is nothing lost in getting that information for peace of mind.

On my website, www.playonwords.com, I have lots of suggestions for getting toddlers to talk and fun play ideas, toys and books to stimulate language. You might be interested in my article on determining a toddler's first words:http://www.playonwords.com/blog/2008/01/09/learning-langu...

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.

Best regards,

S. Artemenko

I say go for the eval...if he needs help he gets it, if not all is well...a win/win in my book. Another thought(I've had 2 go through speech)change the way you and his other caregivers speak to him...you are giving him a way out by pointing...ask questions that can't be answered by a nod of the head or a finger point...for example..."do you want milk or juice?"(not do you want juice) ask before you open the fridge so he can't point...start with manners"say please, thank you, your welcome...." it won't sound correct, nor does it need too...it's the sound your after not the pronouncation...it takes time to retrain ourselves and it's hard to wait for the words because odds are you as mommy already know what he wants...but wait for the sounds and slow down and be patient, it will come.

If his hearing is ok, I would wait a little before getting an evaluation. It sounds like he's a bright, alert child who is just taking his time learning to speak. And that's completely ok, as long as he eventually figures it out!

You may be surprised. He could very well be one of those kids who starts speaking at a more advanced level- just a bit later than the ones who babble "mama" and "ba-ba" by a year old.

I have 13 month old fraternal twins, which is a fascinating study in child development. One has a vocabulary of several clear words- she says, up down, hungry, milk, socks, etc. But she doesn't stand on her own or walk at all. The other runs - and she runs fast, but all she does is point at objects and say "tat." She does not say dada or mama, but she can communicate her needs and follow directions, just like you siad your son does. I think that all kids develop differently and in their own time. Unless there is something glaring, I would give him time to get his words out.

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