I’ve been anticipating my daughter’s 18 month check-up, not because of the shots and tears, but for the developmental check list. Last time we were at the doctor, I said she wasn’t talking like her brother was at that age. She has about 15 words now. I was assured that it was classic for the second child; her brother does all the talking for her. This is absolutely true, she can’t possibly get a word in edgewise in this house. But now she’s 18 months old and it’s time for her to be speaking more for herself.
Here’s one of those times my training comes in handy, then goes right out the window. I know the developmental milestones she should be meeting, red flags that signal a problem, and where to find more information if I need it. But when I have a concern about my kids’ development, I can’t help but fluctuate between denial and irrational hysteria. That’s why I rely on my pediatrician and these check-ups. Our decision was that I would check in again in 3 months to see how much progress she has made. She should be picking up a new word a week, so we’re going to track her words and keep reading and talking to her.
Its important to identify a Speech-language delay as early as possible because early intervention is key and because speech delay may be a sign of a developmental disorder that needs to be addressed. The trouble is that children develop differently especially in the early years, so many “slow talkers” will catch up. Unfortunately, it’s hard to determine with certainty if a child is just a slow talker or a child with a speech-language delay. So, talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language development.
Check out the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website for age guidelines.
Learn the signs of an autism spectrum disorder at Autism Speaks.