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What Does Exactly Early Interventions Assessments Mean for Our Child?

We got our 24 month old DS evaluated by EI due to speech delay. EI people told us that he qualifies for speech therapy. They assessed his speech delayed enough. His motor skills and problem solving/cognitive skills were rated at way above his age. They also suspected minor sensory sensitivity. Anyway, that's all what they told us. Given that speech delay is one of the signs of autism spectrum disorder, I thought EI would either rule it out or share their concern with us if they had any. None of them happened. Can I draw any conclusion out of their visit? Can I say that EI does not see enough 'red flags' because they would tell me if they did?? What should I think now?

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So What Happened?™

Our ds didn't talk except a few words until he was three and half and then all of a sudden he started to talk. Unfortunetaly EI didn't work well for us except upsetting us by suggesting ASD as the cause for speech delay based on their early assessment. Our son is a happy talkative boy now.

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My understanding is that ECI will not give you a diagnosis. They provide therapy for the delays and help to shore up those deficits. When we did ECI we did speech and occupational therapy. We were never given a diagnosis.


my oldest was creepy at solving problems and his cognaitive skills were through the roof before 1. HOWEVER he really never talked at all. he made animal sounds and would respond to questions, and sign, but never really very verbal. he is now JUST 3 and he doesn't shut up. SO...i wouldn't worry too much about it. I know that is hard when other people have 2 year olds talking in full sentences, but i'd just lay low for about a year...just my opinion. My 2nd is the total opposite. he is 18 months and talks in 5 word phrases...however the problem solving skills are not nearly what the other's was. brains develop differently and it is crazy to see the other side! Hang in there. If he hasn't picked up speech by 3 or 3.5, maybe have him re-assessed to give you some more peace of mind

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I sorta had the same thing happen with my daughter, at 14 months she was showing no signs of talking, but when the eraly on people did an assessment they said she was cognitively above everyone else?? I ended up taking her to an ENT doc for tubes where they did a hearing test and she couldn't hear due to excess fluid build up in her ears!! Once she got the tubes within a few weeks she started babbling away! Who would have thought. Just keep trying and use your local resources, your mommy instinct is best!!

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Children can be "on the spectrum" and not be Autistic. Also there are different levels of Autism from mild to severe. My son failed the M-CHAT at age 2 but after a solid year of speech therapy and ABA therapy he has made incredible progress, was it "Just a delay" or did the early intervention work? We won't ever know...do I regret a single day of the therapy or hard work? Not a second of it. My little one still is delayed some, he is definitely behind his peers socially and emotionally, he has many sensory issues, but being aware of them it is pretty "normal" for us now = ) I don't care what his "label" or "diagnosis" may be...to us he is just Alex, and we love him just as he is. If he outgrows some of his "little quirks" fine, if not...oh well. Differences are what makes the world an exciting place. In our extended Family I have a niece who is severely Autistic, a niece who has Asperger syndrome, I think technically what they say Alex has is something called PDD-NOS, and we speculate that our 9 year old may have some Aspie qualities, my eldest son is "gifted" our society is obsessed with labels when really all we need to do is see how we can be comfortable in our surroundings. I say if your child has some special needs address them but don't obsess about it. Our family says Normal is boring or over rated = ) I will say that finding the right therapy can make all the difference in the world.

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I went through something similar. I thing he's too young to make that assessment right now. They didn't diagnos my son til 4 1/2 cause they just weren't sure. And even now, they said he could go either way. So I would just get any help they will give you and work with him. Good luck. Actually, at 3 he went into the school system, but it was pretty much a continuation of EI. I hope all works out well for you and your family. God Bless.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with Sarah O. go with the mommy instincts! The "early interventions" in my area also evaluated my son at 2 yrs old. They tried to tell me that my son had a developmental delay, also under the autism spectrum and that was why he was not talking a lot. I didn't believe them, I knew I had babied him and he let me. So instead I stepped it up and now my child is 4yrs old, talks all the time and can read (self taught). If you feel something in your gut go with it, some times mom does know best.

The ECI people can't really diagnose something like that--you'd have to check with your doctor. They can only measure how the baby's development tracks within a "normal range." If there is a delay above a certain number of months, the child will qualify for therapy so he can become age appropriate. I would take the info from the ECI specialist and ask your pediatrician if he/she suspects a larger problem.

Hey -
In my opinion (only), EI is there to help children keep up. But, they are not the end all/be all. My son was reviewed by EI early and they said he was "in the normal spectrum" for speech and other issues I was concerned about. Well, in my opinion, the normal spectrum is really huge and even though my son was near the low end on a couple of items, he never qualified for services through EI. However, I pursued private speech therapy for him and through those therapy services, they diagnosed sensory integration disorder and he went on to have physical and occupational therapy.

If EI is saying that your son DOES need help, then definitely take advantage of what they offer. My son truly benefited from speech therapy and all of the other therapies that he received. Now that EI is saying that your son needs help, if you are not clear on what they are offering, call them up and get clarification. I don't know your personal situation, but if you don't feel that you are getting enough help through them, go through your own pediatrician and use your personal insurance to get more help (that is what I did).

The therapy, especially early therapy, is well worth it.

Also, speech delay may be one of the signs of autism, but many children are speech delayed for many more reasons than autism. Autistic children also have sensory issues. If you are concerned about autism, you really need to start pushing to get the appropriate assessments (I'm not sure what those are, but I recommend you start with your pediatrician).

Good luck!

No. EI is a state run program that is not a substitute for private diagnostic care and private medical treatment and therapy. EI falls under part B IDEA and is only obligated to make your child functional, not to be everything your child may need to be all that they can developmentally. That is your responsibility to seek a diagnosis if you suspect something is going on. EI is only treating the very most obvious developmental delays, and you should not rely on any state agency to diagnose or tell you everything you need to know about yourchilds development.

If you suspect autism, seek a private evaluation from a Developmental Pediatrician.

State services are helpful, but they are woefully inadequate for comprehensive treatment. Unless you are sire that his speech delay is just a minor thing (and that does not sound like the case) confirm his needs and diagnosis with private professionals and provide him private therApy in addition to the state intervention. If your goal is to maximize your son's potential, you need private services.


No, you can't rule it out. Our son has a processing disorder that caused his speech delay. He has been in speech therapy since he was 18 months. you won't get a formal diagnosis until you see a doctor that has a specialty.
We saw a neurologist finally, that is how we got diagnosed. They know more than just siezures and headaches. They also have other test the do that the schools and special programs don't do. good luck and remember you are your childs advocate!!

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