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Suburban Mom is Concerned About Son's Possible Speech Delay

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This is re post of an article originally posted on April 23, 2012

Dear Debbie,

My son's daycare has recently told me that they think he has a speech delay. They said a two year old should be saying 2 to 4 word sentences and should be able to label body parts. Is this really important? He can point to things when he wants them. I usually understand what he needs by him using gestures. Now that I think about it, he does get frustrated easily when we can't understand him. He will bang his head and even will bite his hands. What do I do now? Who can help me figure out if he is delayed?

Carole, Wheeling, IL

Dear Carole,

First of all, take a deep breath. I know it is very difficult to hear that your son may be behind in an area of development. Each child learns at a different pace and we need to understand that there is a wide range of what is considered "typical" when it comes to a child's development. Your pediatrician would be a good person to talk with about your son's overall development. He or she will most likely have the most information about your son's history when it comes to his progress in achieving developmental milestones. (Your pediatrician can also provide you with information about what the developmental milestones are for each age).

If your son is not reaching his developmental milestones you can have your son evaluated. There is a federally and state funded program called Early Intervention (of which I am an Independent Provider for) that will provide assessments in areas of concern you may have with your son's development. (Click here for a link to an overview of the Early Intervention program). The program will evaluate your son and determine where he tests with other children his age. If he is found to have a developmental delay (specific % of delay varies by state to qualify for the program) he will receive in home therapy services. The goal of the program is to catch him up developmentally as close to his peers as possible.

What is important to remember is that every child learns and processes information differently. Addressing your son's possible developmental delays will most certainly give him the best opportunity to learn and grow. Sometimes the "wait and see" approach will only cause you to lose valuable time in addressing the issue. It is best to be proactive and learn how to advocate for your son now. After all, you will have a lifetime a being your son's advocate. There's no time like the present to get started.

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