How Do You Know If Your Child Needs Speech Therapy?

Updated on September 09, 2007
A.K. asks from Anchorage, AK
13 answers

I was just wondering if anyone out there has experience with speech therapy. My 2 yr 3 month old son has a VERY small use of words. I understand about 8, others probably don't understand any. He makes it very clear what he wants thru body language and "uh uh's." My pediatrician is leaving it up to me if we choose to go to speech therapy. He feels that there is nothing physically wrong with him from his observations and my sons obvious understanding and engagement of what's going on around him. I don't have anything against therapy, I just don't know if he needs it or not. His older brother was also a very late talker, but blossomed at 2 yrs 6 weeks when little brother was born. I'm doing everything that I can think of (i.e making sure not to talk for him, asking him direct questions, and asking him to repeat things after me), but he's only gaining about a word every month. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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A.S.

answers from Seattle on

I would get him assessed. The SLP will be able to tell you whether or not he needs therapy. I was placed in the same situation with my pediatrician 5 years ago. They gave me the referral to "set my mind at ease". 5 Years later I now have had 2 children in speech therapy and early intervention is the key!!! Get the referral and go from there!!! Good luck!!!

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K.F.

answers from Seattle on

A.,

I'm not sure what school district you are residing in but my suggestion is to contact the public schools. My recommendation is based upon my 11 years of experience as a school teacher and as a mother of a son who will be 4 next week. He has been recieving speech therapy for about 10 months through the school district and has made tremendous progress! Most school districts will screen your child based on your concerns. We did recently move here so I'm not sure how the process works here, but calling your school district is at least worth a try. Good luck.

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J.C.

answers from Spokane on

I would call your local school distract and ask about screening Also you could try the Spokane Guild School they could let you know where to go for screening if your school does not provide screening.

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A.H.

answers from Seattle on

I think that the law requires that your school district has to provide free evaluation and testing for early childhood development concerns (even for kids that are not in school). I would also reccomend that you talk to your pediatrician for other local resources for consultation as well. Consultation couldn't hurt-it doesn't commit you to anything, but it gets you some information and a baseline to start with. Good luck.

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K.A.

answers from Seattle on

A.,
I have a son who started speech when he was about 2 1/2. It was pretty clear to us that he was having issues with forming the words and being understood. All the things you mentioned in your post were things he was going through. He understood most language spoken to him but was not able to communicate his thoughts without the body language, pointing and such.

He may or may not need speech help...but it does not hurt to have him evaluated by Early Childhood Intervention. It is a program that the government pays for. At your childs age...they come to you (or at least they did when we started with them).

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A.F.

answers from Seattle on

I had the same question and my pediatrican supported the plan to have my son evaluated. We did the eval right when he turned two, and at that time he had a few words (less than 10 - and very very basic ones), but we knew he could understand a TON. The eval revealed that he did qualify for speech therapy. He's been in that for 3 months now, and it's a world of difference! Probably knows 100 words at this point and is now putting up to 4 words together. I'm thrilled! If you're in Bellevue, check out www.kindering.org - they can do an eval and do therapy there as well. If you'r in another area, they can refer you to a different place. I really say go for it - it's so much better that he can express himself!!

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R.G.

answers from Seattle on

My son is 4 now, but when he was 2, we were in the same shoes that you are in now. I'm really REALLY glad I chose to put him in therapy. He's a late bloomer, but he really needed the extra push to get him to talk. He's been in therapy for two years. He also goes to school where they give him a half hour of therapy three times a week. He's catching up now, and is just about "normal" with all the other kids his age, but I am eternally grateful that I decided to put him in therapy and not wait for him to catch up on his own. If I had, he would be very behind. HOWEVER, that being said, that was MY child and I don't know about how you feel about things like that. Some kids just absorb everything and don't speak until they are ready (like at age of 3 and sometimes 4) but other kids just need that extra push that therapy gives them. It's a hard choice, but as another mom whose been there, you can always do it and back out later if you feel he doesn't need it, than regret not starting it now.

Good luck!
Beka

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B.H.

answers from Seattle on

I woudnt worry to much, I would just label everythign and make him try and use words when he wants something, talk to him, read to him and get him arounds kids his age. It helped with my son. GOod luck to you and your son.

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K.G.

answers from Seattle on

Hi A.,

Although I wouldn't worry too much, as it doesn't do any good anyway, if you are concerned, I would contact your closest Birth to 3 agency (Early Childhood Intervention) for an evaluation. Your pediatrician should have a contact for you. My experience with my birth to 3 organization has been wonderful and an evaluation should be easy and informative. Usually evaluations are about an hour, done by a speech therapist, and often in your own home.

Just do it and then you won't have to worry/wonder if you could be doing more for him (with therapy). Early intervention/therapy really is the key if there are issues. Feel free to email me if you would like.

K.

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C.E.

answers from Seattle on

A.,

All three of my kids were late talkers. 3 1/2 before they really spoke clear sentences. I wouldn't worry. Especially if your first did the same. All my kids made up for lost time between 3 - 3 1/2 to 4. Now I can't get them to stop....I would atleast wait a year and listen to your Pediatrician. Take care.

C.

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M.T.

answers from Seattle on

The Providence Everett Children's speech clinic is really good. My son was seen there and improved a lot. He has an articulation problem rather than fewer words- but he is almost 7 now and so much better. I'd encourage you to get an evaluation. It takes a couple of months to get in but that's okay- they will see where he is and make recommendations.

Good luck.
M.

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M.R.

answers from Seattle on

Hi A.,

As a former preschool special ed teacher, I would suggest that you start with simple sign language to encourage your son. Teach him a few each day that will help him to learn the word sign attachment. You can find the signs on the internet or at your local library where they will have some books on how to teach your toddler sign language. Make sure you always say the word when you use the sign and help him to make the sign by forming his hand.

In the meantime, you can take him for a speech evaluation. The public school system offers this at no cost to you. They will be able to do a complete evaluation and let you know if he does need the therapy or not. Sometimes, as you said, he could be a late talker just like his brother. Boys don't talk as early as girls. We usually had more boys our program because of language delays. The speech therapist will also be able to tell you about other suggestions to getting him to respond.

I hope this helps. Best to you!

M.

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A.W.

answers from Seattle on

By age 2 a child should have hundreds of words, put together simple sentences and be understood by adults 90% of the time. I would definetly have your doctor refer you to a speech therapist specializing in children, at the very least they will say he is fine, or give you more suggestions for home. Hope this helps.

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