When my oldest was just a little baby she had ear double ear infections everytime she caught a cold. Her speech and language skills seemed on point (I am a speech pathologist of course!) but I felt she wasn't progressing at the rate that she should be. I took her to an ENT to be evaluated, and it turned out she was experiencing mild hearing loss. She had surgery for tubes soon afterwards and quickly started to make the progress I was hoping to see. I was thrilled! But it really struck a chord in me. She was about 1.5 years when we took her to the ENT. It was a mild hearing loss but if I hadn't recognized that her progress wasn't continuing at the rate it should, and known that frequent ear infections are a indicator for speech and language delays, I may never have brought her to the ENT.
Being aware of speech and language milestones is so important for families with babies and young children. A consultation and evaluation with Hello Speech and Language Services LLC can give you the clarity and information you need.
Children have a window of development between 0 -3 years that is pivotal to the rest of their childhood years. What I mean by this is that all the development that happens before 3 years old affects their learning thereafter. From learning vocabulary, to concepts like size and time, to reading, to problem solving, to attention, children's early years can have a significant impact on future development.
Early intervention programs exist across the United States, and service children and families until the child is 3 years old. You need to qualify for the program by meeting a specific criteria. In New Jersey, where Hello Speech and Language Services LLC is located, in NJ Early Intervention Services, developmental delay means "at a minimum, a delay of either 33 percent in one developmental area or 25 percent in two or more developmental areas". NJ.gov . Other developmental areas can include physical therapy and occupational therapy needs. When you have to meet this type of criteria for early intervention services it means that many children whose parents have speech and language concerns are not receiving services though EI (early intervention), but that doesn't mean there is not a problem. Your child may qualify for speech and language services at Hello Speech and Language Services LLC. The % delay for for NJEIS is imposed by the state to offer services for the more delayed children.
I want to stress that it is so important to trust your parental instincts. While my daughter was near typical for her speech and language development, my mommy gut told me there was something going on, and it turned out I was right.
The National Institute for Deafness and other Communication disorders has an easy to use checklist to help you review your child's developmental progress, you can access it here. The CDC has recently released updated developmental milestones. Many Speech Language Pathologists, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists have serious concerns about the contents of the new milestones, because as it turns out, no experts in these fields were consulted prior to releasing these updated milestones. The expectations in some areas were lowered while in other areas they remained the same. A strong example of this is that new speech and language milestones for 2.5 year olds should use about 50 words, and by 3 years old they should be communicating conversations but only saying their first name. The CDC does however state, " 'Learn the Signs. Act Early.' materials are not a substitute for standardized, validated developmental screening tools.". CDC's developmental milestones are linked here.
My final word here is that you need to seek a professional opinion if you have concerns. With my daughter I had a feeling something was wrong and I brought her to the ENT. If you have a feeling something is wrong, that your child doesn't speak like their peers, if they don't follow directions, if they are always having behavior problems, schedule a consultation with Hello Speech and Language Services LLC, contact us using this form today! Additionally you can complete a new client form here to get started right away!