No Words Yet- EI Question

Updated on November 28, 2011
L.A. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
14 answers

Ladies -

Our DS is 13.5 months old, and hasn't said any words as yet. The ped wasn't concerned at the 12 month visit. He might just start talking tomorrow, but in case he doesn't can you ladies (& gentlemen) help with some info re: Early Intervention Programs?

1. when would we apply?
2. how are they structured?
3. who pays for this?
4. how long does the intervention last?
5. do we need the ped's support before trying this sort of thing?
6. would we get training too, or is it only for the baby?
7. is there any possible downside?
8. does it become part of his record?

More about us and our son. I work full time, hubs is grad school. DS is cared for by my parents and our excellent manny. DS is being brought up in a bilingual home. He can recognize a number of words including telephone, rabbit, monkey, milk, diaper, door, mommy & daddy. He waves "byebye", and puts his hand to his mouth when he's thirsty. He let's us know he's hungry by going to his highchair. His hearing is fine, he babbles, and he is doing fine in terms of gross motor and fine motor skills.

TIA for all your help
Fanged Bunny

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answers from Santa Fe on

From what I know it is common knowledge that children who grow up in a bilingual home speak later than those who grow up in a home with only one language. They seem to have a delay for a while and suddenly they catch up and can speak 2 languages VERY well. This is my experience with ALL my friends who have bilingual households. So...I would not be worried at all yet. For example, when my son's little friend (who was learning both Chinese and English at home) was preschool age he seemed very far behind all the other kids with his English. But then by Kindergarten he was equal to he could speak Chinese! Cool!

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answers from Seattle on

At that age my DD had only a single word:"baby". No Mama, Dada...nothing else. She didn't start talking until at least 18 months and wasn't comprehensible until at least 2 - but since then she has never stopped...
We went to all well child visits and her pediatrician was never worried, so we were not either.

I think you should relax a little and just enjoy your baby. People are so uptight about their kids development these days, they see a delay/condition around every corner if their kid isn't the first to master a skill. I think it takes away from the joy of parenting and shortchanges those kids who get scrutinized for every little thing they do.

I mean it's good to be observant and engaged as a parent, but it is not a race or competition you know!?

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answers from Seattle on

I think that you hit on something, maybe without even knowing it. Youe son is being brought up in a bi-lingual home. Right there is probably the reason he isn't talking yet.
We are also a bilingual home (Spanish and English) and my kids also took a bit of time to start talking. When I asked the pediatrician about it he was not worried at all. Just said that some kids take a bit longer to start talking, especially if from a two language household. As long as your son understands you, which it sounds like he does, and as long as he is babbling, I don't think you need to think about EI at all!

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answers from Jacksonville on

It's different for each state. Our ped referred us after my sons 18 month appt. (A ped referral is not necessary in FL, I'm not sure about other states). We went to their office for an initial screening. My son scored low in a couple of areas so we went back for a more complete screening with several specialists. EI is a goverment program, paid for by the government. They will bill your insurance if you have insurance. EI lasts until the child is 3, then they will be evaluated by the school board to see if services are still needed. We had a speech therapist come to the home. She works with our son and shows us the techniques used so we can work with him too. I am not aware of a downside.
For my son, at 18 months he still just cried when he wanted something, he didn't point or try to communicate at all. The therapist had us start with sign language to help him to understand that words have meaning and he can ask for what he ants. It sounds like your son is already doing some of this. You may want to try sign language with him and wait until his next ped appointment to go to EI. My son loved the Signing Times dvd's. We would watch them together so we would both learn the signs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

Having been going through this with my son the past few months, I'll tell you, it's NOT easy to get into that program!

1- Your pediatrician has to give you a referral (usually as an actual prescription), and you have to have your child's hearing screened by an ENT first, and your child needs to have a full developmental evaluation. My son did all this by 18 months (unless your child is Autistic, you're almost certain to have your application denied before 18 months since so much can change).

2- They send a single intake therapist out once all of step one is completed. This can take months (up to 3). The intake therapist evaluates the child in your home (the kids comfort zone), and 'scores' them. From there, the intake person has to clear the case with 2 superiors to see whether or not your child is eligible.

3- My son's insurance pays for it, thank goodness, because sessions out of pocket cost an average of $140 per HOUR.

4- Early Intervention only helps children up to age 3.

5- Yes, see number 1. You can get a second opinion with another doctor in the group if necessary.

6- Once therapy begins, they give you guidance as to how YOU can help. For example, per their instruction, I have to take my almost 2 year old to a preK class once a week once he's completely a month of speech and OT therapy (he's also getting services through the food clinic; his picky eating is relative to his speech delay).

7- Not that I can see as of yet!! :)

8- Yes, until age 3, then the records are turned over to you for safekeeping in case the issue continues into grade school; from there, you turn the records to your child's school.

My son is almost 2 and has the vocabulary of a 12 month old (when he was initially tested, he only had the vocab of a 10 month old). Because he's SO 'advanced' in his motor skills for his age, it kind of raises the bar, making his a severe speech delay. Sounds like your kiddo is right on track!! And as I mentioned, a LOT can change in a short period of time with little one's. Pediatricians don't tend to fuss over it until 15 months, then really get involved by 18 months.

You can help your son by reading to him daily, making sure older siblings aren't speaking for him, and trying to teach him sign language. The full developmental evaluation is huge; they dig really deep (like what your pregnancy was like!)... and they want to rule out Autism first (which is standard at 18 month check ups now).

PM me if you'd like more info, like I said, I've been living this for MONTHS :)

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answers from Philadelphia on

any kid I knew that was raised in a bilingual home took a while to talk, but once they did they knew 2 languages=) I'm sure theres no reason to worry

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answers from New York on

I would not worry about him at all. He is only 13 months old. If by two
he is not saying words, then get him evaluated. Let him be a baby. I am
sure he just learned to walk. Babies cannot learn to walk and talk at the
same time. Give him time.

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answers from San Antonio on

In Texas we had to have a referral from our pediatrician to get EI...this is the type that they receive before the public schools intervene.

The nice people called me about a week after the pediatrician called them with the referral...they came to my house and did an evaluation...then came up with a plan. It was giving me the tools to work with my daughter and then they checked our progress.

She was 21 months and not walking yet...she was walking with in three months of intervention.

I always have wondered if I should have followed up with an she is now 4 and still has some movement issues as far as not quite being on par with her peers in jumping and balance. However she has been in dance and martial arts...hopefully those activities will help in that regard.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Have you had his hearing checked?

I subbed in my kid's former preschool, mostly 2/3 yo class, and there were a few nonverbal kids in there. Out of all of them through the years, only one 2 1/2 yo was considered extremely nonverbal and was in speech therapy. I think she was just a shy quiet timid little girl and wanted to observe more than talk and express herself, but her parents were overachievers, so she didn't have a chance to be herself :( Not saying being an overachiever is bad and that you are like that. I think her vocabulary went from 500 words to 1800 words in a year!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Our grandson didn't say more than a few words at 20 months so we had him evaluated by a state program. They said he was speech delayed but they felt he was not delayed so much he needed intervention. The next week or so he started talking in complete paragraphs.

I would call the local school district office and ask them for the number of the person who is over their program that helps 3+ yr. old kids with delays. Then talk to this person and ask them for recommendations of people to contact about possible testing.

I would also call my insurance provider to get a list of doctors who do developmental screening, perhaps a developmental specialist.

I would call the county health department and find out if the do screening for delays in infants and toddlers.

There may also be a Speech Pathology department at a local University campus nearby that could do screenings for you as part of a class assignment or by a student doing an internship type job, you know what I mean, I don't know the right words, they work on projects for their degree through some agency, hands on assignments.

Also calling an ENT or ORL doctor at a local college of medicine would be good too. I know the Children's Hospital in OKC has an entire clinic for developmental evaluations and they start at birth up to adulthood.

Hope some of these idea's work out for you and lead to someone that can find out IF there is anything wrong. Hopefully he is just not interested yet and he will turn around one day soon and say some cute thing that will melt your heart.



answers from Portland on

Because, apparently each state is different, I suggest that the best way to get this information is to call the Early Intervention office. You can get the number from the school district office.

For example. In OR, it was simple to get started. No doctor referral needed. My grandson's parents were not charged and neither was their insurance. Everything was handled in the one office. School board is not involved. I really doubt that the school board is ever involved. The people making decisions are trained in the field. Decisions are made with the parents. Every so often, their is a meeting that includes professionals and parents and it at this meeting that the final recommendations are received and decisions made.

That being said, I suggest that your son is normal. It's not unusual at all for a baby to not be saying words at 12 mos. My grandson's pediatrician wasn't concerned until his 18 mos well baby appointment and even then said some children are still not speaking by then.

My daughter waited until he was 2 before calling Early Intervention. There is a different program that takes affect after age 3. The parents and child get more in home treatment prior to age 3. And so I'm suggesting that 18 mos to 24 mos would be a good time to make a decision. It never hurts to get an evaluation and earlier would be better if the child is having difficulty.



answers from New York on

My daughter didn't talk until she was nearly 2 - but she was a very, very early walker. Her preschool teachers were mildly concerned but since all other milestones were normal we took a wait & see approach. In NY the school districts won't evaluate for early intervention until age 3 unless there's a medical diagnosis such as Cerebral palsey, cleft palate, etc. We had our DD evaluated at 3 and bascially they said that although her speech was slightly delayed it wasn't significant enough to require early intervention services.

She's a teen now and speaks beautifully - although she had a little bit of a tough time being udnerstood in primary grades.

The EI evaluations and programs are paid for as part of the school programs - the delay has to be significant (30% delay or delay in majority of speech related targets - e.g. 3 out of 5...) for them to put him in a program and pay for it.

Kids often develop more in one area, and are delayed in another - and eventually catch up to be somewhere in the middle of the bell-curve. If your son was an early walker, or had proficient small motor skills he may not develope his speech skills until a little later.

My DD and niece are 3 months apart and my DD walked at 7.5 months but didn't talke until past age 2 - but my niece was talking full sentences waaaaay before my DD, but didn't even try to take a step until she was 18 months old. both girls are now perffectly normal developmentally. ;o)



answers from Albuquerque on

Early Intervention varies by state - here's the link for New York:

and here's a Parents Guide:

To answer your specific questions, you should apply NOW. It takes a while to get into the system so the earlier you apply, the better. Structure depends on what services your child needs. The state will pay in NY if your child qualifies. They will do a free evaluation when you self-refer to determine if your son is eligible (he has to have a documented delay). The pediatrician is not involved, nor do you need his support. In some cases you will get training too... usually you're there during the sessions so you can see what the therapist does with your son, and the therapist will give you suggestions on how to help him. I personally can't think of any downsides because your son would get help if needed. Yes, it can become part of a child's "record" but it depends on what record you mean. He will be in the EI system in New York and in their database. It doesn't necessarily go in his health record unless you bring it up with your pediatrician.

One of my daughters was in EI due to a feeding issue. I was truly impressed with the system and the therapists. In my opinion, you have nothing to lose by calling or emailing them today to see if you can have your son evaluated.

Edited to add: I do not mean to imply that I think your son has a problem. But I do believe in mommy instinct, so if you're worried, it's worth asking for an evaluation!



answers from Charlotte on

It's okay, Mom. He's still too little to worry about it. As long as you are talking to him, reading to him, naming things, playing with him, etc, you don't have anything to worry about.

Did he just start walking? Lots of times, when children learn one milestone, they don't work on another one. They may spend a few months dealing with the brain/body development of crawling/cruising/walking, and then later turn to the talking part.

Between one and two years is when most children start to talk. If he is not saying many words by the time he is 20 months old, THEN start to worry. His behavior will change too, because he will get very frustrated by not being able to tell you what he wants you to know. That's when he will need help, in the form of tools to help him cope. When he reaches 24 months, the expectations of what he should be able to say are much higher than before 24 months.

So, between 18 months and 24 months, assess how he is doing. If you feel he is behind, work out a speech evaluation to be done as soon as he turns 2. Getting speech therapy can help SO much, I promise you. If there are no structural problems, the therapy can work quickly. The therapist will also teach YOU how to help at home. You will have a home program that needs to be done EVERY day.

I applaud you for thinking about this so early. There are many moms who hide their heads in the sand, make lots of excuses, and then so much time goes by that it takes LONGER for the therapy to work. OR, they accept that their child needs help, but they don't listen to other moms who have gone through this and come out the other end. My son's speech therapists taught me a great deal (as did his OT), but you know who I learned almost as much from? Other people who LIVED it. I listened to their tips and advice, incorporated it into my routines with my child, and what a difference it made. Instead of always being worried or afraid, it helped me see that I was not alone.

Good luck!

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