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Monday, May 30, 2011

Speech Delays...or Not

"Whadda doodin', Dulce?"

"I'm go-din' home. Whadda you doodin'?

"You's go-din' home? I go-din home, too!"

"Hello, feet. Nie to mee choo."

I'm not concerned with my babies' speech.  Maybe I should be. It seems everyone else with kids younger than mine who speak more is getting their children tested for delays and worrying over every pronounciation and stutter. 

Dulce will sometimes spend a minute or so saying "I-I-I-I-I" before her brain figures out exactly where she was going with that thought, and she spits the rest out.  Both of them will insert a "d" into any word with two syllables to help split the word up. "Doodin', go-din." They don't usually pronounce "l", or "t". "Fahh down," "sip" instead of slip, "sop" instead of "stop." They will sometimes add sounds to words. "Cwamwha" (camera), or "small" for mall.

They're speaking in complete sentences for the most part. They understand pronouns, subjects, objects, conjunctions and prepositions. The words don't always make it unscathed past their toddler tongues, but I'm just not worried about it.

I'm not saying I'm right. I'm just too busy being proud to be worried. I mean, yes, many people can't understand the babies. I, myself, have to use context clues a lot of the time. They're certainly not clear. And they are almost three. They probably should be further along. They didn't even say much of anything until they turned two. Most kids (at least the ones you hear about on the internet) have a vocabulary of 50 words or something at 18-20 months. Wow. Good for them, eh?

So, I spend a lot of my internet time commenting to parents who think their kids might have a speech delay. I tell them that my kids didn't speak at all until two, and now they speak all the time.  I'm careful not to tell them that they shouldn't be concerned. I don't know if they should or not. But I think sometimes it helps parents to hear about other kids who are just as slow or slower than theirs. Still, maybe I'm wrong. Because it's not like my kids are dictating flawlessly pronounced dissertations or anything.  Conversations go more like this:

"Pwaygwound. Please. Park. Pwaygwound, mama. Sides, sings. My pwaygwound."

"We'll go to the playground after breakfast. Yes, on the slides and swings, too."

"No! No bwekfast. No hungy. No danks."

"Yes. Breakfast now."

"No. No! No bwekfast, mama. No, no, no, no, NO NO NO NONONONONONO."

Well, at least they pronouce no, correctly.

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  1. My eldest was talking early (and walking for that matter), when we had our second, she was a lot slower in her developement in comparison. At her two year check up the doctor was concerned with her talking. And scheduled a 6 month follow up. Yes I'm concerned, but she's 4 how and talking all the time, not always understandable still but she is talking. I'm hoping preschool will even her out, if not Kindergarten will see that she gets the right speech "training" going (or I hope anyway).

  2. I think a lot of those moms get paranoid and then start getting attention so they run with it. A true delay needs to be looked at because it could be a sign of a bigger problem. A little lisp at this age or a mispronunciation is normal and everyone freaking out over them takes away services from those that actually need them. There are only so many therapists to go around and those evaluations cut into therapy time for kids that actually qualify. If a person fears a delay, by all means, get it checked but please use common sense.

  3. My toddler has a speech delay, and I do care. It's not because I want extra attention or because i am paranoid. I care because she showed a delay and qualified for EI services. That doesn't mean I'm not proud of every new word and sound she is able to make, either. Of course I am. The arguments that some children don't speak at all until three or four and then speak "just fine" aren't important to me, because treating an oral motor issue earlier than that is, in my opinion, appropriate.

  4. @alwaysamommy, the evaluations in most states are performed by a different staff than than the therapy. One can only qualify for those services if evaluated by the intake specialists, so evaluations do not cut into therapy time. If a child does not qualify for services, no services are rendered.

  5. I hope it did not come off as if I feel like people who do get tested or who are worried have feelings or worries that aren't valid. They most certainly are, and their kids will probably be better for it. I, personally, happen to not be worried about it. That is all I was trying to express. I also don't know if I'm looking at it correctly, either.

    I think parents know their own children, and they will have a good feeling as to whether or not their kids need some early help. I would never say someone shouldn't or that someone is worried for nothing. Even when I comment on posts where parents are worried, I would never say don't be worried. I only tell them my experience in the hopes that it gives them some comfort as they wait to see the specialist (which can take a while.)

  6. I think their speech is just fine. There's such a broad range. My son didn't have more than two words before he was 14 months old, so I had his speech assessed. As soon as I made the appointment, he immediately learned twenty new words. It was like magic. ;)

    It does seem like your daughters are in the normal range, so there wouldn't be a need to get tested. My son is 29 months, and he has all kinds of funky things. He says the word "bench" more like a dirty word for a female dog.

  7. My twins are 20 months and have never uttered a recongizable word - not mama, not dadda not even no. So yes, I do worry and they were qualified for EI (and tested at an 8 month level).

    I don't care if they lisp or mispronounce but I do care that they learn to communicate.

  8. @alwaysamommy: I am also not paranoid and not in this for the attention or glory. My son having special needs is not something I ever wanted or hoped for. It is very difficult, and in fact is marginalizing and demoralizing rather than a positive for me.

    At 20 months he reliably says "yeah" and has mispronounced a few other words (truck, cup, broom). He was tested and at one point was 77% behind his age level, testing at a 0-3 month range at 12 months. He has oral motor issues related to his hypotonia and most likely has some issues with apraxia, though he's a bit too young to know for sure.

    Darlena's kids sound like they are doing just fine; classic example of kids who will pick it up better and better as they go. They have the skills and use language correctly, they just need practice. No big deal, and I probably would not worry either. My son does not have the foundational skills nor the actual physical ability to "spontaneously" start speaking, and requires intervention (which, btw, has all been paid for by my insurance other than copays which come out of my pocket).

    Sometimes I do get frustrated by the comments that say "don't worry, at [x] age my kid just started an explosion of words"...but I know the poster doesn't usually mean it to be mean, they are just providing anecdata like Darlena does. But yeah, my kid isn't going to be doing that without intervention, and I am very very glad we pursued an evaluation.

  9. @cathrynapple
    For us the people who were doing the EI were the ones doing his evaluation.
    They always make that that the person who is going to be his primary "teacher" is part of the evaluation.
    They also add services as they go on and it isn't just needs of the child that allow people to qualify for EI. We qualified because my husband is autistic, our son is below the 5th percentile for weight and neither of us have any family within 2 hours.
    They've added speech and music therapy after a few months of home visits and groups.

    I'm not particularly concerned with his lack of speech because he's got the problem solving skills of a child twice his age (according to his doctor and EI) but they do want to help him with his communication. He also has Asperger's so they want to make sure he gets help and doesn't end up with other delays.



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