Speech Therapy for Toddlers

Updated on June 19, 2008
H.P. asks from Paragould, AR
39 answers

Hi Everyone,
I took my 18 month old for his check up yesterday and they want him to see a therapist for speech.He has had problems with his ears his whole life and finally had tubes put in back in Oct. they said that had a factor in him being behind.She said he should know at least 50 words by now and 200 by 2 years and well he knows 1 "ma".He said "da" a few times before he had tubes but does not even say that anymore.Another factor she saw was that my other 3 children are so much older( 10,14,17) all he has to do is whine or saw uuhh and they give him what he wants...Has anyone been through this and if so did it work?

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J.S.

answers from Fayetteville on

My son also had multiple ear infections and was slow to talk. We went to a speech therapist until school and then they had speech therapy while in school. He is now in his 20's and if I did it again, I still would take him to the therapist as it was one of the best things that happened to him ( in school he never got made fun of, because he could talk very well by then). I know it is difficult to do but it is worth it in the long run.

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P.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Yes, it works beautifully! Please try to go sooner rather than later. If you are in the OKC area, I would HIGHLY recommend the speech therapists at Mercy Outpatient Therapy; especially Greta.

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K.E.

answers from New Orleans on

I wouldn't worry about it until he is older. He is only 18 months old. Boys do tend to be slower then girls. My best friend went through this with her son to. I think it was right after she took him for the evaluation he started taking a lot more, so she doesn't even take him in for speech anymore. Kids are all different, they learn at their own pace, they crawl when they are ready, they walk when they are ready, they get teeth at different times, they talk at different times. My mom didn't talk until she was 3, she's just a pretty quiet person now doesn't like to talk a whole lot now. Oh and he is probably use to getting what he wants from his siblings and not needing to talk. I wish you luck

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A.K.

answers from Tulsa on

Jeff had therpy when he was a little older then your son because of having infaction all the time in them. He did well with it. I would also make your son try to ask for what he wants by not giving him what it is until he looks at you and trys to say it, this way he will work on what he is being working on his therpy. God bless!

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T.K.

answers from Shreveport on

Is the only thing the child not talking or is there other things? My son went went through speech and is better because of it. But he wasn't saying anything, not even mama. Now today he is almost 15 and we can't keep him quite which is noise to my ears.(This is a good thing)
Some of the things they tell you to do will seem mean but it will work. But you need to make sure he can hear and hears all sounds, before beginning speech.

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P.T.

answers from Amarillo on

My son started speech therapy when he was 18 months old because he was behind from having heart surgery at 6 months old. If you live oklahoma you should check with Sooner Start they are awesome and free until your little one becomes 3 years old then his therapy if still needed would be the responsibilty of the school district you are in. Sooner Start is a great organization and they will test him and decide i he needs therapy just have your pediatrician refer you to them. Let me know if you have any questions.

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T.W.

answers from Oklahoma City on

My son who will be two at the end of the month has already had 3 sets of tubes, since birth he has fail all but one hearing test and has always had fluid in his ears. We are a part of Sooner Start an Oklahoma program for babies up to age three that help with whatever you may need. They suggested we too have Joey work with a speech therapist at about 18 mos. and start teaching him sign language to be able to communicate with us or he may start to become very frustrated. I had already started teaching him a few signs so we would know if he was thirsty or hungry and that has really helped. Joey had a stroke at birth so he has some developmental delays but I think the speech therapy has really helped and our doctors think he will be caught up with his peers by the time he is 3-4 years old. Right now his vocabulary is limited to mama, uhh ohh (his favorite word), bye bye, owww for ouch and bub bub for bubbles as he loves bubbles. I have been self teaching signs to myself and he understands a lot of signs and nods his head yes or no to a lot of our questions, it has been frustrating to see his peers all start talking and he doesnt so much but the speech therapy w/sign language has really helped in our communication with Joey. I would highly recommend the speech therapy and read to your son as much as possible. Joey will mimic a lot of the words as we read to him not always very clear but enough that I know he is trying to say cow or blue or whatever the word is. Best of luck and may God Bless you and your family.

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R.S.

answers from Tulsa on

My youngest (5yo) had the same problem with ear infections during the important speech growth period. She had 2 sets of tubes and is still severaly delayed in speech for her age. She is now in speech at OSU and is improving greatly!

If you have any questions I"ll be glad to tell you more

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D.B.

answers from New Orleans on

all i can tell you, H., is that my middle child had tubes put in his ears when he was very young. he too had so many problems with ear infections, high fevers due to the infections, etc. the tubes served no purpose whatsoever! in fact, they were flushed out naturally within a week after having them put in! they didn't effect my son's hearing either. The cause of the infections was MILK. MY child was allergic to cow's milk, baby formulas and anything made with dairy products. While breast feeding him he suffered with severe cramps, gas, constipation. Hence we put him on formula do no avail! Next was the tubes after countless antibiotics. Nothing helped to ease his pain and suffering. Eventually he grew out of it, Thank GOD for that miracle!

With older children it is normal for your baby to not speak. They do that because it is not required of them to speak for what they want. If no one would give him what he wants by simple pointing and whining, then he would eventually say the words required of him! Speech therapy can be costly, but if you can afford it It certainly can't hurt. It is possible the child has hearing difficulties from birth. The doctor should already know if this is the case which could be why he suggests therapy for speech.

Meanwhile, stop everyone from simply giving in to the whims and whinings of the baby! And by all means, SPEAK CLEARLY to him. Look him directly in his eyes, make him watch the movement of your mouth as you speak. Then encourage him to repeat the words. One word at a time to begin...

Good Luck and God Bless You & your fmly.

sincerely,

denise maria

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L.M.

answers from Birmingham on

H.,
I had the same issues with my youngest. She had tubes put in when she was 12 months. This was after repeated ear infections. Her brothers would give everything to her without making her ask for it. It's important that your other children help you out by making your son attempt to ask for what he is wanting, even a simple one word response (cup, juice, milk). Don't worry about how many words he can and can't speak, every child is different. My daughter was a late talker, she only knew "mama" until she was almost 2 and then she decided talking was good and hasn't stopped since. She did do the speech therapy, when she was almost 3 and it really helped, mostly with pronunciation, because she had already decided to talk by then.

If you are comfortable with your son like he is then don't worry so much. Something else I did was to hang pictures of objects around the house and when we were in that room we would look at the picture and say what they were (cow, dog, cat) I even had pictures of the family and we were say their names. They catch on quick.

Good Luck, be relaxed and enjoy your son.

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K.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

My son is 3 years-old now and talking great... but at 18 months I do not think he was saying but maybe 5 words and our pediatrition was not concerned at all. From what I have read, all kids are different and some just do not have the desire to talk until they are closer to 3.

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H.C.

answers from Alexandria on

hi
my little girl turned 3 in dec. and she started speech last summer.i didn't think she needed it but i can tell you that since she has been taken speech she is talking a lot better. she even got approved to go to head start when school starts back in the fall. i would say have them tested it's not going to hurt. i couldn't understand my little girl at all and now i understand more things she is saying. so i would say go for it you have nothing to loose from it..H.

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S.C.

answers from Little Rock on

Hmmm....we don't mess with ears at our house. I am the oldest of 6, and three all had tubes in their ears--multiple sets. My daughter also had trouble with ear infections and the tubes worked wonders!

I would say that the older sibs need not give in so much. Have them read to him and talk to him as much as possible, but he must learn to speak for himself. (Of course, my daughter talks up a storm and other parents of children in her daycare class were amazed at her vocabulary and how well she spoke for a two year old.)

As a word of caution, you also want to be sure that his hearing has not been damaged. There is a little girl in my daughter's preschool class (starting Pre-K in the fall) who had issues with ear infections, tubes, and fluid behind her ears. She starting wearing hearing aids this past year because they finally discovered that her hearing had been damaged as a result of all the fluid.

My philosphy is that you can never be too cautious when it comes to the ears.

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L.S.

answers from Baton Rouge on

I took my 2 1/2 yr old son to speech therapy when he was about 18 months. It was great. We only had to go to two sessions and now he doesn't stop talking. It doesn't hurt to go, especially if insurance will cover it. My youngest son who is 18 months will most likely be going to speech therapy as well as he barely even says mama and dada. He also had terrible ear infections that resulted in tubes. I'm looking forward to bringing my son to therapy.

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J.H.

answers from Tulsa on

Speech therapists have the special training to help your child catch up. He will probably enjoy it. He may catch up on his own. With so many older ones around, they could be reading him word books, and playing word games with him.

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D.B.

answers from Little Rock on

I am a retired Speech Pathologisit. I worked in the area of Early Intervention for about 20 years. I would strongly encourage you to have your son tested and listen to what the recommendations are. You can call ###-###-#### (the number for children ages 3-5) and get information about who to call for free screening and testing if necessary. I know that the sooner you start intervention, if necessary, the better it will be for your son. Progress can happen very quickly with a combined effort from a therapist and home. Please email me with more specific questions. I would love to know how this works out.
D. B.

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G.S.

answers from Montgomery on

one of my twins were born deaf.. they found out at 9 months... maybe earlier.. she started speech therapy at 2 yrs old... it really helped... you would never now today that she had a problem... keep your head high and get the older ones to stop make them make the child.... ask... that is a lot of it there giving into the grunts instead of speech.... bless you heart.. i know its scary.. but it will be ok

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J.A.

answers from Baton Rouge on

My bro's nickname when he was little was 'mr. uh'. He'd point, mom would get whatever he wanted. He went to speech therapy at school. *he's fine now* Now he's married to a speech therapist! Her name is Beth Tycer. She's new. I'm not sure of her patient load yet, but it wouldn't hurt to contact her.

[email protected]____.com

I'm estranged from my brother, but i'm sure if you email Beth, she could give you some advice.

Good luck!

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C.T.

answers from Fayetteville on

You have nothing to lose by taking him to be evaluated. Ask a lot of questions and ask what you can do at home. A GOOD speech pathologist will tell you for sure if he needs it or not. He may just be behind because of the issues with his ears. I taught pre-school for 3 years and saw speech therapy help a lot of kids, but I never saw a child under 2 go to speech therapy. If you take him to be evaluated by a speech pathologist, you want someone you both feel comfortable with and you can take or leave their advice depending on what your instincts tell you.

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R.P.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Please call your early intervention program...they can evaluate him and help you check out his hearing as well. The Oklahoma County program is at ###-###-####. If you are in another county, we can tell you the number to call. The program is free and voluntary. I work for the program and we have a lot of little guys that are not talking. Don't wait. The older he gets the more frustrated he will get at not being able to communicate his needs. Good luck.

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M.L.

answers from Tulsa on

Speech therapy does not sound like what your child needs. It seems that he is not talking at all rather than pronouncing things incorrectly. My advice is to get all the kids to stop waiting on him hand and foot. I have seen this so many times. IN fact one of my friends' has a 3 year old that hardly speaks. This fall her oldest son started kindergarten and was gone all day. He was ver close to the 3 year old. Suddenly the 3 year old started speaking! Before that he wold grunt or just look at the other boy and he would come running with whatever the three year old wanted.

I would try that first and then see what happens. Work with him at homne one on one for a few minutes twice a day. Make him work (by trying to speak) for what he wants!

M

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N.W.

answers from Fayetteville on

Hey H.,

As a speech therapist I have to agree with your doctor. It sounds like your son may have had some difficulty hearing things like he should have (ear problems) and that has caused his speech to be slightly delayed. It is a pretty common thing, and with the help he needs he should be able to progress just fine. You need to encourage your older children to have your 18 month try to verbalize what he wants. It will be very frustrating, but will pay off in the end. He will very much enjoy going to speech and you should see huge gains! If you have insurance/medicaid it should pay for all or most of the sessions. You can also call the local COOP (not sure where you live). The one in the fayetteville area is actually located in Farmington, AR. Just call and talk to some therapy providers and meet a couple of speech therapists. Good luck with all of this!

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S.J.

answers from Tulsa on

Please do not ignore this, at least have it checked out by a trained speech therapist. I would also have his hearing checked by an audiologist (not by his pediatrician). The earlier speech is started the less time it will take to catch him up.

I have a 16 year old daughter who is deaf. We did not know that there was something wrong with her hearing because deafness is not always like turning a radio up or down. Sometimes they can hear certain frequencies better than others and so she could hear you when you clapped your hands, but could not hear your speech. This was very misleading when we would talk about maybe something being wrong with her hearing. I asked my husband and he didn't think there was a problem (he thought she was just ignoring us sometimes), I asked her Sunday School teachers, they didn't think there was a problem either. I asked my friends and initially they said that they didn't think there was a problem either, however, they watched her for about a month and then agreed that I should have her checked. All of this occurred when she was about 18 months (same age as your son), she only had 1 word and like your son she had lost a few words along the way.

When I had her tested, they told me that day that she would have to wear hearing aides, however, they also immediately set us up with a speech therapist. My daughter has excellent speech and others reads lips in order to communicate with other people. She is severe to profoundly deaf and without the speech therapy, she would not speak at all. I have ran into so many other deaf students that are not as well prepared or self-sufficient as she is because their hearing problems were not detected early.

Even if your son does not have a hearing problem, the speech therapist will be able to help you figure out why his speech is behind (and I pray that it is just because his older siblings are "talking for him"). The speech therapist will also be able to go ahead and help him with his communication skills to catch him up, they are well trained and know what they are doing. Just educate yourself about this problem and move forward, but please do not ignore it. It would be better to follow up with the right professionals and find out that nothing was wrong than to ignore it and then find out that there was something you could have done about it now.

Good luck and I pray that his speech catches up really fast, no child likes the feeling of not being able to communicate with their loved ones.

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A.H.

answers from Biloxi on

Hi H..

Stop catering to his every whim. Make him ask for it, say the word and have him repeat it. If he doesn't talk, he doesn't get! Be firm and consistant. (Be sure to have him checked by a doctor first, to rule out any mental issues. I hope that is not the case!)

It sounds to me like he is just lazy. My youngest was the same way. Her older siblings kept "baby-ing" her, giving in to her every whim, until I stepped in and told them to let her ask for what she wanted. When they stopped, she started talking. Good luck!

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K.S.

answers from Birmingham on

My son was "referred" for speech therapy at 28 months old. The woman who tested him felt that his language development was delayed, but I disagreed. At 18 months my son said very little "real" words. He could say mama and wa-wa, but not much else was comprehensible. Much like your son, he lives in a home where every one is much older (grandparents and mom) so he was accustomed to whining or using one syllable or a word to tell us what he wanted. When he started school this past year, they helped to break him of this habit by MAKING him say the words. At two and a half he was ONLY saying two word sentences, but now at 3 years old, he can make sentences as well as I can (he talks ALOT!) My advice is to follow your motherly instinct. If you feel he needs speech therapy, then by all means take him, but there is so much that you can do at home to help him. When he points to an object, tell him the name of it and make him try to say. Make sure the rest of your family does the same. Read books to him and get flash cards with pictures and tell him the names of the objects. This helped my son so much. MAke sure you do some research on speech therapy. My professor (an Autism specialist) told me that speech therapy was not very helpful for children under 3. But it does depend on what particular problem your child has. Testing would probably be a good idea, but just go with you heart after that. Good Luck!

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M.M.

answers from Biloxi on

Speech therapy did wonders for my son. When he was born, my daughters were 8 and 9. All he had to do was point and grunt and the girls would give him whatever he wanted, without encouraging him to say the words. We finally got him into speech therapy at 4 years old (it was a battle with my ex-husband because he didn't want him to be considered special ed when he got into school). The therapy did wonders for him. He had fun with it and learned to speak for himself. He also had a lateral lisp, and with the therapy, worked through it as well. He is 9 now, and speaks wonderfully.

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A.K.

answers from Little Rock on

Really? 50 to 200 words by 2 years old? Is that words he should know ... respond to when you say them, like ball and he shows you a ball? Or that he should be saying?
My son also had ears infections starting at about 3 months old and we had tubes put in. At my son's 18 month appointment he was barely saying 1 word and his pedi said he wanted 6 words by 24 months. I was so stressed. But right before his appointment he started talking and has not stopped (he'll be 5 in October and talks like a grown man). My second son followed the same timeline. However, he did not have ear infections. And again, right before his 24 month checkup he start speaking in complete sentences.
I agree with the idea that if insurance pays for an assessment I would visit a speech therapist. But I really wouldn't worry so much until he got a little older.
Good Luck.
A. K

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B.P.

answers from Charleston on

I have 2 boys that are in speech therapy. My oldest is 5 & has been getting speech for 2 years & my other son is 3 1/2 and has been receiving speech for 1 1/2 years. My youngest didn't say more than one or 2 words by the time he was 18 months (he also had alot of ear infections, 2 sets of tubes). Speech therapy, if given by a good SLP (speech language pathologist) does wonders for children who don't have the vocabulary, are hard to understand, can't pronounce words and letters the right way, etc. Don't ever be embarrassed (just in case) or think it's a bad thing to get your child into speech therapy. The sooner the better, b/c once they're in school, kids can be pretty cruel, intentional or not. Early intervention is key. Good luck & hope you end up with a great therapist! My kids have come a LONG way since we found our 2nd therapist! It's amazing!

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R.G.

answers from Tulsa on

H. P,
I worked as a speech para for about 9 years, so speech does help. Depending on where you live, you might check with a local headstart program and ask them if there is a local co-op that offers speech terapy. I know here in Independence Ks, Tri-County Special Education offers speech therapy. Good Luck!
R. G

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J.T.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Get a 2nd opinion, see what they have to say. Boys tend to be slower anyway, but given the ongoing trouble w/ his ears, his hearing may have been affected and it may be a benefit for him to have some help catching up now that the tubes are keeping his ears clear. Maybe you can even get some recommendations on things you (& older siblings) can do at home w/o getting professional therapy.

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L.H.

answers from Shreveport on

Has your son had his hearing checked? My son needed to go to speech therapy because he in partially deaf in one ear.It has worked wonders. He can speak clearly, and no one questions what he is trying to say anymore- at least until he lost his 2 front teeth.

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E.B.

answers from Baton Rouge on

The state of Louisiana has a program designed for children under 3 for speech and developement programs, called Early Steps. My son has been in the program since January, and his vocabulary has increased amazingly. He maybe had 30 words in January and now his vocabulary is over 200. And as a plus, the Early Steps program has the therapists come to your home and work with your child.
Take the help if it is offered to you, even if you don't think that your son needs it. I know that my husband and I were in denial about my son needing speech therapy, because we knew what he was saying, just no one else could understand him.

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M.S.

answers from Jackson on

My son was in speech therapy and because he was born prematurely, but, he was doing the same thing your son was doing. He would whimper and we would give into him. In therapy we were taught not to do that. Start off with when you know what he wants to say it to him a few times and have him repeat it. When you have done that a couple of times, then when he wants it, make him tell you what he wants instead of whining and pointing at it. The repution is what helps him grown his vocabularty, but if you just automatically give into him, it won't do you or him any good.

M.G.

answers from Oklahoma City on

my daughter is 17 months old. she wasnt talking much or plain either. when she was 1 she had a double ear infection and sent me to a ENT we put tubes in march 28, now she says mommy,daddy,no,cat,dog,meow,puppy,bye,and unfortunly SHIT,and its very plain, my fault when i drop something or run into something i do say the word. but she is hearing now and the ENT said she would catch up not to worry about it, i would wait, my daughter is doing well. i have a friend whos daughter is going to speech theropy but she has hearing loss so she needs it real bad.

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T.P.

answers from Tuscaloosa on

First, up to 7% of kids don't say even one word until age 2...no one knows why and it's not a problem. More often it's the boys, so your child may be one of these kids. I wouldn't worry about it too much as long as your child is making appropriate facial and emotional responses and seems to understand what you are saying. Second, I applaud your pediatrician for being concerned. I too often see doctors say kids will "grow out of it" when they DO have serious problems. A good speech therapy evaluation couldn't hurt. They can often give you some good ideas of things to try at home to encourage him to talk rather than whine. Then you can teach the rest of the family so they can all "help". Good luck!

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B.A.

answers from Monroe on

Hey, I am a mother of 4, a 6 yr old, 19 mo. old and 2 1/2 mo. old twins. My two older children both had bad ear infections until we had tubes in and adnoids out. My oldest has had two sets of tubes and no speech problems but my 19 mo. old has. She had 12 ear infections by the age of 6 mo. when we had tubes put in. She could say maybe 2 words by her 1st birthday. Luckily we have contacts in the world of therapy. A friend who is a speech therapist started working with my daughter at 14 mo. old. Her evaluation indicated that she was on an 8 mo. old level with her expressive skills. With in 6 months of therapy, meeting 1 hour a week, my daughter won't stop talking now. Pediatricians won't recommend speech therapy until it is almost too late. Your son is at a critical age to where I think if he started therapy now it could make a huge difference. The longer you wait the harder it is for the child to accept the therapy. I have heard that you take away 1 month of hearing for every ear infection your child has. If you think about what it sounds like to hear someone talking underwater, that's what our kids are hearing. They can't learn to talk that way. I believe that ARCO offers free speech therapy. You can call and talk to them about what services are availible. There are free services out there and all it takes is a phone call. I can get you the phone number if you are interested. Good luck!
B.

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K.S.

answers from New Orleans on

H., I know other Moms will disagree, but please do not ignore this. Contact your state's Parent Training and Information Center and ask for information on your state's Early Intervention Program. Each state has one. This is an INCREDIBLE service. If your child does have any kind of hearing loss permanent or temporary, you definitely want them to screen her and discuss care options. Most places the speech therapy is free or has a very minimal cost. But it's critical that you do this for your child. Helping a child to be able to express their needs now and in the future is one of the most critical things you can do.

Additionally, and I don't mean to frighten you, but you should ask for an Autism screening as well considering your statement that he used to say a few things and no longer does.

The worst things parents can do is become complacent or go into denial that anything could be amiss. If you find that the hearing loss is temporary and speech therapy corrects the speech delays great. If it's more than that, you know early and the earlier you start the appropriate interventions the better off your child will be.

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A.M.

answers from Tulsa on

I would deffently have him checked. The state of oklahoma has a free speech program for children up to 3 years of age. They will even come to your home twice-three times a week if needed. My son at 18 months had speech therapy for almost a year. It helped him out so much! All you need to do is contact dhs. they can be a lot of help. Hope you find your answers. A.

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