Is It Me or Does It Seem like They Push Speech Therapy Too Early?

Updated on November 20, 2012
N.G. asks from Topeka, KS
35 answers

My son is 2 and a half and isn't using 100 words like the charts say he should. He probably uses 50, but I don't know because I stopped counting after 40, so it may be more. He doesn't talk as much or clearly as other kids his age, but he definitely tries. I just feel like every mom site has comments saying my son is speech delayed and there are 50 other comments saying "Oh my son was the same way." Most people say to get early intervention and go to speech therapy because it's free in most states. I just feel that if so many kids have "speech delay" maybe it's just a normal variation in development and they need more time. It seems like every kid has to have a freaking diagnosis of something. Trust me I understand some kids may have a problem where they need therapy and there's no shame in that. Some kids are great at math and some at reading. My dad taught special education for 30 years, so I know that kids have learning disabilities. I just feel like they want every kid to fit into a narrow framework and if they don't, then they're autistic, ADHD, dyslexic, Aspergers, speech delayed, on and on. I don't know, I haven't met very many adults who can't talk. Maybe they should give kids a few more years to figure it out before putting them in therapy.

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answers from Dallas on

Some of it may be normal variation, but considering how frustrating it is not to be able to communicate, I'd rather take advantage of the help than make a kid wait a few years to see if it works out. It's not just talking, it's comprehension, etc.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

my son had an articulation problem. I had him evaluated at 3 and they told me to wait till he was 3 1/2 to see if the problem would correct itself. so back we went in 6 months... and he was evaluated and found to need speech therapy.. but with only 8 sessions he made remarkable improvement and was released from speech therapy.

so I am a fan of early intervention cause the kids make remarkable progress in such a short time.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

You can wait as long as you want. But, if a child doesn't grow out of will be left with a bigger kid with a bigger problem. I am all for early intervention!!

7 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

The bigger question I have for you, is how can speech therapy hurt a child?
Speech delay really has absolutely nothing with ADD, ADHD, autism, etc. Those things can't be cured with therapy. Speech problems, can. I really am not intending to be harsh, but this sounds like your issue, not really an over diagnosis issue.

So what if your kid can benefit from speech therapy? What's the hangup? It DOES seem like you see shame in your child possible needing therapy. Perhaps, you don't have an issue with other children going to therapy. Seems like you do, with your kiddo.

The problem with "giving kids a few more years" is that then they will be in school. Probably behind. I know I would never want to set my child up for future difficulty, I'd rather nip it in the bud.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Well, I hope that you will at least give people who have 20/20 hindsight more credence than you give just the regular joe blow (or J.) regarding this subject. (Including healthcare professionals and educators who have studied and trained with this and know what they are talking about.) My son had 7 years of speech therapy starting when he was 2, and if we had waited until he was 3, his speech would be even worse than it is now at 17. You don't know what is in your child's future. I certainly didn't know what was in my child's future, that's for sure. We thought it was just a delay and unintelligible sounds. (He had no consonants.) I paid attention to the people telling me that we shouldn't wait until he was 3. Thank God. It wasn't until he was 4 years old that we found out he has a submucous cleft palate. You might think "Not my child!" Yeah, well, so did I...

You might not meet a lot of adults who "can't talk", but what you don't seem to understand is that if they can't straighten out their speech issues before they begin school, they have to pull them out during school to work on it, and it takes longer. THAT takes away from the time to learn the stuff they are actually supposed to be learning in school. (And yes, we had private AND school speech - BOTH.) And many children who have expressive problems also have receptive problems. THAT causes a child to have trouble understanding what they are doing in school. First grade whizzes by. If your child can't keep up with the reading and writing and learning in first grade, it could be 4th grade before they catch up, IF they catch up. It could be that all those people you don't know who went through this might be the kids who didn't end up getting through college. They may be the people washing dishes in the restaurants and working construction. There's nothing wrong with that. Every job is necessary. But I'd rather give my child all the chances in the world to do well enough in school so that he can have a better job as an adult.

Until YOU go through the gauntlet that we parents with speech impaired and delayed children go through in getting them help, you really don't know what you're talking about. If you want to make your child wait to help him, that's up to you. But what you should do is look towards the time he is ten years old and comes to you trying not to cry, and says to you "Why is Johnny so mean? He's making fun of the way I talk!" That's when you'll remember what the doctors said back when he was 2 1/2 and wish you had not had this attitude.


8 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

A good friend of mine had her son get early intervention because he was starting to get frustrated since he was having more complex ideas and such and couldn't express himself OR he would try and she couldn't understand him. He was speaking in sentences, but you couldn't understand him. It worked well for him and he enjoyed it since it was fun for him to go to "school" like his big sister.

My nephew was NOT talking at 2 (maybe 5 words) and then his language exploded around 2 1/2 and he is very clear as well.

I think it can't hurt to have some help.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

While it's tempting to lean on the idea that "they just need more time," at the ages when kids are developing speech, it is very difficult to tell whether the child "just needs time" or is already delayed and waiting will create a much worse problem later on. I think the emphasis is to get at the very least a good, professional evaluation very early, and then to see from there whether therapy is needed.

You mention you "haven't met very many adults who can't talk" but if you really listen, you may know adults who can put together sentences just fine and have a fine vocabulary but who have impediments in their sounds. I know that I hear kids in my child's class, including some kids I've known for years now (my child is 11) and I really , really wish their parents had gotten them speech therapy when they were small -- or would hear their pronunciation issues and get it for them now. I'm not talking about mispronouncing words they just don't know, I'm talking about lisps and nasal tones and other things that could be helped with therapy (and which make it hard for me to understand these kids at times, even though their vocabulary and sentence-building are fine and on track).

Why the resistance to even getting your child evaluated? What would you lose? Do you have other experiences that make you so skeptical of therapeutic interventions that are coloring your thoughts on having your child at least evaluated? If your issue is "well, he'll be locked into therapy for ages," please be aware that some speech therapy is brief -- my daughter had it, at about age four, for about four months. It wasn't due ot lack of words (speech delay) but to an issue with making particular sounds. It only took a few months to get it corrected, so therapy does not always mean long-term work. And my child thought it was a ton of fun -- her, alone, with a very attentive adult, playing games -- and hated for it to end!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

I have had a son in speech therapy at 2 for language and he was never diagnosed with anything but a speech delay. My daughter was also in it...and graduated when moved to preschool.....without a diagnosis too!

Early intervention is NOt there to label, group, or diagnose anyone! They are there to help! If there is a real issue..,then they are thereto help too....but you make it seem so awful.

Communication is a very valuable tool for kids...and a speech or language delay can delay all kinds of learning. Getting this remedied at an early age can only help the child.....many studies to prove this.

Good for you not to be worried....but please do not judge something you have no experience with.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

When my son was 2 1/2 he had more than 50 words and was still diagnosed with an expressive speech delay (by a doctor) , so consider that. He got speech therapy since right after he turned 2 by early intervention and now at 4 1/2 he speaks beautifully and plentifully. Would he speak this well if I let nature take it's course? Who knows? That's the thing, it's better to be overly cautious than dismissive because you can't go back in time and say, "Oh, I wish I had gotten him help when he was younger". In terms of autism and speech delays, the sooner you help a child the better. I think you need to educate yourself a little more about the other things you mentioned since those are usually not diagnosed until 5 years old or later. Why are you so afraid to get your son's speech assessed? Sounds like you are looking for justification.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Coming from a family of teachers, then you should be aware that speech delays such as your son seems to have can be indicative of other problems. It's very rarely "just" a speech delay. That's why there's such a push to have speech delays evaluated for early intervention... Something Else could be caught along with it. There could be sensory issues or motor processing issues or learning delays or a combination of all of those things.

My middle daughter had highly developed speech early on and then she regressed terribly... had I known I would have had her evaluated MUCH sooner than I did and maybe we'd have gotten her early intervention through Birth To Three for her Autism instead of having to wait for a second year of preschool which would have been her kindergarten year.

Isn't it better to at least have the evaluation to find out for sure than do nothing and wish you had done something sooner?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Early intervention is almost always beneficial, why WOULDN'T you take advantage of it, if in fact, your daughter is delayed? Wouldn't you want to know, sooner rather than later, if there was a problem with her speech or hearing or whatever?
This isn't about labeling it's about nipping a small problem in the bud before it becomes a bigger one.
Here in California they don't start testing for speech delay until the child is three. I had had one of my kids tested because I was concerned, but it turned out that she was fine, just a little slower to develop, and no further testing or therapy was needed.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I am a former speech therapist and interestingly enough, I remember studying various studies on speech therapy and the results. Using more than a couple of dozen studies they looked at the effects of speech therapy on preschool aged children who were diagnosed in needing therapy and received it and those who were diagnosed as needing it but for whatever reason didn't receive it. They found some studies showed a slight overall advantage in the group that received therapy. Only a slight, advantage, though, and several studies found no advantage. (As in the kids without therapy progressed just as well as the kids with it.) Also, interestingly enough, any tiny advantages disappeared by the time they were older and there were no differences in speech/language abilities between the two groups. They didn't study any disadvantages although, of course, they sited it would be hypothesized that the main disadvantages were, of course cost (there is no such thing as free therapy unless you do it yourself - somebody is paying a lot for it), and that if not handled well, the child could be possible be affected in self esteem and in emotional turmoil. (As in if they aren't ready and are pushed it could have negative effects long term.) But these were never actually studied - only hypothesized. Me personally, I agree most kids would be fine without it. But if you want your child in daycare/preschool and if you have a great, loving, PLAY BASED therapist then it couldn't hurt to try and get an advantage - although as we saw from the studies, most parents who think speech therapy worked miracles would find their children would have progressed pretty much the same without it. The other advantage to being tested would be to rule out any hearing issues - assuming your doctor hasn't already tested for those - or other major developmental concerns. (Although with a little research you should be able to tell if there are other major developmental issues.) Basically I think moms have instinct and you'll probably be able to tell if there's something really wrong or if you can just give your little guy the gift of time to develop on his own timetable. Good luck! :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I get what you are saying. I had speech therapy as a child because except for my name (both first and last name stared with L) I couldn't properly pronounce Ls. My son knew what sound letters made but had trouble saying the sound properly. My nephews are going though the same thing (one's teacher thought he was having trouble reading but it was just pronouncing). If you start speech early, you elimate them being wrongly diagnosed w/ a ready disability later and they can detect a reading or other learning disability if they can properly prounounce things.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

*Edit: My son, who is now 6... STILL remembers his speech therapy and what was taught to him. He LOVED it, and the help he got from it. It was "valuable" to him. To him. And he got great joy from it. And it helped him, markedly. He got his speech therapy before he was 3.

My son, had speech therapy, utilizing the early intervention organization in my State.
He was speech delayed... and he also got a full developmental assessment, which was also very invaluable. All free. And all very worthwhile. And no stigma or wasted resources and it was not a waste of time for the people involved. And, my son LOVED it. He knew, it was to help him gain skills for speech. He LOVED it. And learned tons, and I learned tons from it too.

Now, I also know... other kids or kids of friends, who may have benefited from speech therapy. Why do I say this? Because, although the parent knew their child was not speaking well nor on par for their age... they simply assumed that their child would skyrocket in speech and enunciation... as their child got older. But however... (I know these kids), and even at their age now... their child, is not good at enunciation, nor at speaking, nor at articulating their words or enunciation, per their age. And they are still, hard to understand when they talk, or they sound "younger" than they are when they talk.

So, there is no one sized shoe fits all... in realm of speech therapy or development.

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answers from Portland on

First, has your child been evaluated by a speech therapist or has the pediatrician just recommended therapy? I would get a professional evaluation before even considering whether or not to have therapy. Their are so many different reasons for a delay in speech. A specialist can help you decide if he needs therapy now or if it's reasonable to wait.

My grandson started speech therapy at 2.5 and we wish we'd gotten him started earlier. He was already frustrated and acting out because he was not being able to talk. He has apraxia of speech, something that isn't diagnosed at the beginning of therapy. By the time he was 3 he was acting out so badly, not just from lack of speech, by also other developmental delays discovered during speech therapy, that he was put in a therapeutic preschool.

You want to know what is causing the speech delay and begin treatment as early as possible. The treatment could take a very long time or not but you want to have the time available if it's going to take a long time.

I needed speech therapy in the first grade 64 years ago and I still remember feeling bad about having to leave the classroom for the therapy. It would've been better if I'd had therapy when I was younger, when learning to talk was a part of life. In first grade I saw myself as different.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I had one son who was an early talker and one son who was a late talker. It was very worth while for me to get speech therapy for the late talker, because his inability to communicate led to frustration, which led to behaviour issues (meltodwns) that I didn't experience with my early talker. Now, while I am sure that my late talker might have been able to communicate in his own time, I think the intervention (ear tubes and speech therapy at 2 1/2yrs) saved us a lot of unnecessary frustration and meltdowns. There is also the social aspect. I know another little boy who's mother didn't send him to speech and he had trouble making friends in pre-school because the other children couldn't understand him. He's seven now and still has trouble with speech and trouble socially.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My middle son had 2 words until he turned two; "yes" and "no." When he was 2.5 he had about 50 intelligble words. My husband's cousin is a speech and language pathologist, and I kept telling her that I feared that he had a delay. She reassured me that he wasn't delayed, at least not compared to the kids that are referred to her. Sure enough, within a few months he caught up. Now, at 3 yrs & 5 mos, I can't get him to stop talking.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I feel that instead of looking at the positives in children so many doctors, nurses, teachers ect are always looking for problems. They forget that children do not mature in a straight line but a zig-zag line a little forward, a little back, forward again and a little back. Some kids develop their motor skills early, walking, sitting up, climbing, some kids develop verbal skills talking early and then using sentences early.
I would rather praise what they do well then help them with what they need to work on, but at their own pace. Usually by kindergarten they all even out. If your child is still 'behind' by kindergarten they're many reason why. He could be younger than his peers for instance. I would rather watch them instead of labeling them or medicating them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I thank the powers that be that I started chucking those various "Is your child where they should be?" mailings when my son was little.

I LIKE that they go out, but I have a freakin' psych degree with an emphasis in neurodevelopment.

Point being, I was fairly clueless as to the "number" of words my son "should" be saying. I was having waaaaaaay too much fun watching him leapfrog around different cognitive, emotional, gross motor, fine motor, etc., phases.

At 2??? Maybe 6ish words. Up. Down. Baba, Mama, Dada. Maybe a couple of others. Thing is... he was babbling just fine (something I was looking for, the ability to make the sounds). He COMMUNICATED just fine (facial expression, gesture, movement), and was totally receptive/understanding.

And then he had a language explosion (also totally normal) and by 2.5-3 was speaking in full sentences. Like "The squirrels are mocking me!! They act like they want to play, so I chase them to play, but they run away! So I stop! And then they act like they want to play... but they run awaaaaaaay! Mocking me. Because I'm not fast like THEY are."

((I've either shared that story online too much, or other people also have squirrels mock them. I've seen teeshirts the past few years.))

I LIKE that they have the mailers, because a lot of parents don't know about milestones. So a lot of kids weren't "caught" until kindergarten, are now caught early and recieve help BEFORE their brains develop past helping.

Love. Mailers. on a sociocultural level.

Hate them for how overly simplified they are.

((I think parents are smarter than they're given credit for. Smart parents would be less "Freak Out!" if they were given the actual normal ranges on things, and most parents are smart. The idiots are just more noticeable. And they tend to throw the mailers out. ::Whistling:: Yes. I just said both of those things. Just because one throws the mailers out doesn't mean you're an idiot. Point is; If you're reading them, you're smarter than those mailers give you credit for.))

Milestones have a HUGE range (typically 6-18mo, although some with as little as a month and some with several years) for a very good reason. Brains develop in different patterns.

Anyhow... Number of words? Pshaw. Saved myself some new-mom-stress over not counting my son's words. Whew!!! Good thing.

And later, my mum was worried about his "stutter" (he wasn't stuttering, his mind was running ahead of his mouth, so he'd get stuck repeating a whole WORD, not a sound), but we have a speech pathologist (actual pathologist) in the family, and she was as nonplussed as I was. She gave my mum a packet outlining that particular speech quirk (and how not to make it worse / help it resolve faster), even though it's a totally normal developmental thing and will self resolve with no intervention, there IS a packet on it :D :D :D

Point being;

- How many parents have a neuropsych background?
- How many parents have a speech pathologist in the family?

Those milestone charts are overly rigid to get EVALS done. Most kids will be just fine / totally within the REAL milestone range. But for the kids who actually have issues... those overly rigid things get them in and get them seen while they're young enough to get help.

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answers from Sacramento on

There's a wide age range for skills like this, so when they consider a child "delayed" it just means that they aren't hitting the milestones at about the same time that MOST kids do. And you're right, some kids just need more time.

In CA they test and refer for delays, if they are suspected, before age 3 because there's a funded early intervention program available that's free UNTIL age 3. So for my son, who was premature, we went for evaluations every 6 months, and then at age 3 they evaluated him to see if he needed further services or if he graduated from the program. Most kids "catch up" by age 3, unless they do have a delay.

They recommended speech therapy for our son, which I declined because he had multiple ear infections and I wanted to see if he would start talking more when his ears cleared up in the summer. And he did. If he wouldn't have, I would have welcomed speech therapy.

Kids WANT to be able to talk and communicate. So if they aren't able to be understood, especially by 2 1/2 or older it's very frustrating. I don't see how therapy could hurt your son, but you seem opposed to it. You know him the best though... if you don't think he needs it then wait and see if he just needs more time. Believe me, there will probably be lots more time in your son's life when you will have to be a strong advocate for what you think is best for him. The expectation for boys' behavior particularly, often gets distorted... thus the huge number of boys who are pegged as ADD/AHDH at young ages. That's a whole other can of worms.

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answers from Portland on

As a preschool teacher, I am often very hesitant to suggest any therapeutic services unless I see something which is hindering a child's ability to function or communicate. And then, I will say something.

Some children aren't big talkers. They have other ways to effectively express themselves, and it's not a question of the mouth and tongue not forming words correctly, or the brain not being able to make the connection of *thinking* the word to *saying* the word. If you were asking me this during the course of a conversation, from what you told me, I'd say just keep an eye on it; listen for new words being consistently added to his vocabulary; listen to make sure he's speaking as clearly as he can (2.5 isn't a great age for verbal clarity for all kids, but there should also be gradual improvement) and then, if he's three and it's still a concern, do talk to your pediatrician about an evaluation with a speech therapist.

And some enunciation problems stem from tonsil/adenoid problems, too. So that's one other thing to look into if this is a problem later.

I will say that catching things early does help. My son is five and when he was about 4.5, his teachers thought he had a nonverbal communication issue because he tends not to look at people straight on. It took about 9 months to figure out that he has eye function issues. Having a 504 plan to walk into kindergarten with and having information for his teachers helped immensely. Having not known this, his educational experience might be much harder than it is because I know *how* to help him along.

People have a compulsion to classify, I agree. And with more diagnoses out there, the more simplified the language has become, more pertaining to a 'group' (and stereotypical) than the individual. I once commented to a friend of my son: "If we hadn't found out about all of this, it's likely that he'd just be 'the quirky kid' and we wouldn't be trying to FIX him. Because that's what we're doing right? In essence, it's about making him more typical so he fits in." I'm glad we found out that there was this eye issue, but yes, there's a much larger emphasis on correcting our children--perhaps before there are bigger problems--than there used to be.

Interesting question!

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answers from Bloomington on

I'm not sure. I agree that some kids that are only speech delayed , probably just need more time. I think if a child's receptive language is age appropriate , then a parent has much less to worry about & that the kid will catch up. If the parent chooses to wait it out, they've probably not hindered the final outcome of their child's development. I have a child that had just speech delay & we started therapy early ( before 18 mos). I honestly don't think his outcome would've been any different had he had therapy or not. It caused us all a lot of frustration because he just wasn't ready to communicate.
I do firmly believe speech delay can lead to academic deficits later & parents should watch out for those & get the child help early. My son had a difficult time learning to read. I think the speech delay & reading issues are linked somehow. He got help early with reading & was reading past grade level by 3rd grade.

ETA: I agree with Bug,that therapy can't hurt the child. Even though therapy for us ,was frustrating, I would still do it. As a parent, I want to know I've done what's needed to help my child. I wouldn't want to be wondering if my 3.5 year old child would be talking more if I had started therapy at 18 mos.

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answers from Austin on

If the speech therapy isn't going to HURT anything, why not utilize it? If it is going to help, why wouldn't you want every possible benefit for your son?

It is best to "fix" possible problems (like a tongue thrust done improperly on certain sounds) early, before they really become a bad habit. That is one major benefit of speech therapy at a young age.... it also helps to train the parent on how to help the child self-correct.

Is the speech therapy because of NOT speaking, or because of sounds that are being spoken incorrectly? (I know, in your case, it is because of not using many words... I'm speaking in general of why the speech therapy is being suggested.)

When my grandson was in ECI (first for general delays, then a bit later he did qualify for speech, also) they never really worked WITH him... they would come out and observe how he was speaking, ask him some questions, and watch our general interaction with him in speaking. She would then give us things to work on.... for example, to get him to speak in longer phrases, and how to manage that. Then, all of a sudden, yes, his speech did just expand, over a period of just a few weeks.

Sometimes it does take a bit of time, other times a bit of intervention is needed.

I will comment, that at one of his evaluations, one of their maturity points was asking if he was potty trained... and the case worker right there said she felt that was asked too early... most kids don't seem to be training very early now.... and not to worry if he was considered "delayed" because he wasn't potty trained at 2 1/2! She felt that it wasn't an issue, but they had to ask the question.

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answers from Williamsport on

I absolutely think they consider boys to be "delayed" WAY TOO early. I come from a massive extended family where MOST boys barely spoke before three (they're not blood related to me). My best friend's son barely spoke before three, but was up to speed and advanced by five, so when my son barely spoke at 2 1/2 I was NOT worried about it. Lots of people recommended evaluation, I politely ignored them. I could tell he didn't have any comprehension problems, and I knew he would grow into speaking. Sure enough, now at 5 he's up to speed with everyone...he started talking the most between three and four, he is REALLY good with using words and may be a writer one day :) I get comments on how "advanced" his language skills are. But for real, at 2 1/2, he barely said ma ma or dada. My oldest (girl) spoke very early. All kids are different. I had several friends freaking out when at two their boys couldn't talk and then felt that the early intervention they got really helped....I think the boys just got older and got better at talking personally...there is certainly no harm in it though (although I wonder at the money it costs when so many kids probably don't need it). I guess if it helps some kids who need it it's a good thing. But SOOOO many boys don't speak well until three I think they should bump the milestone up one year.

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answers from Parkersburg on

I just wanted to chime in, specifically as a response to christylee's answer. I am a speech therapist and just because a child at 6 says his R's as W's DOES NOT mean their parents haven't bothered to get them speech therapy. I know MANY children who have been in weekly speech therapy since they were toddlers and who are 8, 9, 10, 11 years old and even older and still have pronunciation errors. (In fact the kids that are magically cured by the age of 5 are the ones who most likely never really needed therapy to begin with, to tell you the truth. They would have outgrown it naturally, anyways.) Please do not judge so harshly. It only shows ignorance. As for your son, Nicole, I am a firm believer in mother's instinct. Moms know if something is off or wrong. If you feel in your heart he's fine, I'm betting he is. 50 words at 2 is not usually a big cause for concern, especially if he seems to have a normal receptive vocabulary - meaning he understands you. As a speech therapist, I'd say most kids I see in therapy would have outgrown their lack of speaking or mispronunciations all on their own. But parents today are very nervous about their children falling behind or not being prepared for Kindergarten, which as we all know has become way too academic and competitive. So we do therapy, even when it most likely would not have been necessary. But of course the little one improves and the parents are ecstatic about the miracle that ONLY could have been because of speech therapy. Ahem....sorry to burst your bubble, but they would have learned to talk anyways, LOL. :) But I love working with the little ones and I use a completely play based therapy and I figure the most important thing I do isn't so much with speech, but teaching parents how to play and interact better with their little ones. :)

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answers from Chicago on

It actually pisses me off. I think for most cases it is unnecessary. On this board everyone says, "go get tested, it's free!" It isn't free. Tax dollars are being spent.

We really need to reevaluate what we see as normal development. Since most boys don't talk till closer to 3, this is a good indicator that there isn't a real problem.

A friend of mind told me that she was having a hard time understanding my 4 year old. I looked it up. Did you know that over half of all 4 year old have a difficult time pronouncing up to 3/4 of the sounds? My mother was all in a panic too. I was surrounded by people that wanted me to go get my daughter tested. Ridiculous, if you ask me. Now, about 6 months later, this same friend asked me if I have been working with my daughter because her speech is so much clearer! Of course I haven't. It's a messed up view of the world, if you ask me. We need to just let them grow, and love them.

Everyone is in a panic because they are afraid their kid is going to get behind. What is this behind? Development isn't linear, and it isn't really normative. Different kids do different things as different times. My 4 year old reads as well as most 1 or 2nd graders, yet, she can't write. A friend of her's writes with flowery letters, but she can't really read. Is one behind the other? No, they are just putting their energy into different things. This isn't really a race, and if it is, it is a race to nowhere.

You are right to be hesitant to let anyone evaluate your child. There is something seriously wrong with all this evaluating of little people. They need time to grow, yet we want them perfect, RIGHT NOW.

As to the question as to how speech therapy can hurt a child, it's called undermining his/her belief in him/herself and making him/her think something is wrong! It can hurt. In fact, all this diagnosing does hurt. It can destroy self-esteem. The long term consequences of this are significant. My mother had me tested when I was little, and I got lots of "Extra" help, special tutors, etc. All it did was give me a complex and undermine my self-esteem. It was a horrible experience and I would never let my child get evaluated unless I suspected a truly serious problem. Otherwise, they need to be loved and valued for who they are, without the involvement of doctors.

My mother would tell you that I ended up succeeding (I have my Ph,D.) because of all of the help I got. I would tell you I ended up getting a Ph.D. because I was fighting against all the voices that said I was "special needs." The world around me treated me like I was stupid and needed extra help. To this day when I hear "special needs" I hear "stupid" in my head, because that is how I was treated.

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answers from Columbus on

You are so right! Speech therapy was nonexistent just a few decades ago and somehow - with a few RARE exceptions- everyone learned to talk just fine. The only exceptions were people with serious issues besides just speech. I once spoke to a speech therapist who confided in me that probably 99% of kids in speech therapy would learn to talk just fine eventually. Basically the ONLY reason to push speech therapy so early and on every child who is even slightly behind is because so many kids are in school so early these days and their teachers need to be able to understand them. If kids were at home with mommy the first few years like these used to be, speech therapy wouldn't be so popular. I once knew a mother whose 8 MONTH OLD was recommended for speech therapy. Luckily his mother wised up and saw after a few weeks of the therapist coming to the house and babbling to him, she realized it was ridiculous and nothing she couldn't do herself. (With a little research I think almost ANY mother who has time to spend with her kids can do speech therapy at home, assuming her child doesn't have other issues going on.) She dropped the therapist and just went about normal stimulating him, playing with him, and talking to him. Today he is 6 years old and has been tested gifted in vocabulary development. My daughter was diagnosed needing speech therapy - and no other issues except this. She was only talking in 2 word phrases at the age of 3. So I did a little research and worked with her at home rather than put her in "therapy". (Basically completely through play.) It really didn't take a whole lot of time and just helped me expand a little on what I was already doing with her. I just trusted that since this was her only issue and she has a high intelligence level, it just probably meant she was a bit slow to develop in this area but that she would eventually catch up. Today at 5 she talks perfectly and in fact is never quiet, LOL. :) So I do think kids are way over diagnosed and there are so many variations on development and the best thing I think we could do for kids is to relax and let them bloom and develop on their own timetables instead of rushing in to diagnose them every time they take their time to develop a new skill.

Kindergarten is another pet peeve of mine. I don't know how many mothers I have seen posting right here that they are concerned that their child is not doing well in Kindergarten because they aren't reading yet or something else just as silly. Do you remember when Kindergarten used to be about playing blocks and getting along with others. I feel so sorry for all these kids being pushed, pushed, pushed. Especially since it has been PROVEN in other countries that when they aren't pushed so early they do MUCH better than the kids in our country. grrrr....

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answers from Boston on

I totally agree with you - my two youngest were slow to talk. I'm glad that their pediatrician and daycare teachers were very conservative and laid back about it. They all said that they showed signs of understanding speech and could communicate non-verbally and would talk when they were ready. By age 3+ they were both very chatty, but it was like a light bulb went on one day. By their second birthdays, both had just over 10 words, maybe 50 by age 2.5 - 3 (like you, I stopped counting) and then they were off and running seemingly overnight.

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answers from Columbia on

Until your child is formally evaluated, you don't know if he IS speech delayed or not. If you wait for evaluation and he DOES have something to be's your fault for delaying him further.

If he is in need of speech therapy, he should have it. Both of my boys spoke less words at age 2 than the norm, but both spoke very clearly and enunciated every word properly. They were not speech delayed, they were just introverted little me.

That said, it annoys me to hear a 6 year old say their R's as W's, because it shows that their parents have not bothered to get them into speech therapy. It isn't CUTE, makes them a target of ridicule. If your child needs speech therapy, get him evaluated and take advantage of that free program. If you feel your child MIGHT be speech delayed, or need speech therapy because he doesn't enunciate properly, get him evaluated now and get started.

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answers from Washington DC on

Most kids I know who entered early intervention speech therapy did not need it by early elementary school. My oldest nephew and niece have no speech problems at all as adults. Is it that we are more aware or that there are more problem children? I don't know, but I will say that I got my DD evaluated because I/we did not want to miss a problem that could be worked on before she entered public school (we did discuss our concerns with the pediatrician who referred us to the Child Find program). Why not do the eval if you or the daycare or pediatrician are concerned? If he's within norms, they'll tell you and you'll have only spent an afternoon getting your child tested. During the eval, I also found out that my DD has some areas where she's ahead and some motor skills where we could easily work with her (like holding a pencil). We have worked with her on it and now she's writing words. Early intervention is really important for kids with delays, which is probably why they try to catch them as young as possible. Sure, maybe he's just holding out on you. But I personally wanted to know if my DD was doing alright or not. We have a couple of points to watch and if she doesn't grasp the skills by March, we'll do therapy BEFORE she's in kindergarten because I don't want her to struggle or be pulled out of class when she doesn't have to.

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answers from Dallas on

Oh man, I could not agree with you more!!! I am so tired of parents trying to shove their kids into boxes, get diagnoses for every damn thing... it's ridiculous. My daughter was delayed in her speech, and I brought it up with the ped, and he said "give her time", and so I did. I'm so glad he said that... after her third birthday, she started talking up a storm, learning new words... she was just fine. At two, she was hardly saying anything at all. She's 5 now, and still doesn't talk much. She can talk, she can talk a lot, but she's just a quiet kid. So? I can't tell you how many people have suggested I get her "tested". Ridiculous! She's in Kinder now and is, according to her teacher, one of her most well-behaved and intelligent students.

My best friend is a psychology grad student studying school psychology. She's interning at a school district around here. Basically, when a child must be evaluated, she steps in and does the eval. She feels the same way I do about the subject. She thinks parents jump to way too many conclusions, and are absolutely adamant about getting diagnoses. It bothers her to no end. She acknowledges that a lot of kids do have problems, but she says that MOST do not, and it's their parents trying to force a diagnosis on them.

I could rant about this all day...

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answers from San Francisco on

I agree 100%! Nowadays if a kid acts out, he needs counseling/therapy. If they don't use 100 words by age 2, speech therapy. If they are picky eaters, they have a sensory issue. And on and on and on.

My GD didn't have 100 words at age 3! She never had speech therapy and she speaks just fine. Sometimes (most times?) it's just a matter of the child wanting or not wanting to talk. Sometimes (most times?) it's that the parents/caregivers anticipate what the child needs/wants and doesn't wait for the child to ask. Boys especially can be lazy about things like speech.

And any kid that doesn't sit at his/her desk with their hands folded in complete silence should be on adhd meds per their teacher's preference because it makes their job so much easier.

Too many labels; too many excuses for laziness and bad behavior. A good old fashioned spanking would/does cure so many of these ills!


answers from Tampa on

Funny thing when my son was 3 he stuttered and couldn't pronounce certain sounds and no speech therapist would work with him cause he was so young.


answers from New York on

Do I think kids who are behind in speech and language can really benefit from therapy?? YES, absolutely I've met many kindergartners who Should have had speech before they came to school.
Do I think your child sounds delayed? NO


answers from Houston on

My son would confuse J for D as in Doe for Joe. He outgrew it....

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