Speech Development, Should You Worry If Your Toddler Isn’t Talking Yet?
It is easy to get worried if you feel that your toddler isn’t keeping up with the developmental milestone chart. It is more important to look at your toddler as an individual and remember that no one is exactly alike.
My first-born was a late talker. She didn’t really start to talk until she was two years old. I chalked it up to being the only baby in the family and us talking for her. I was a first-time mom and the doctor didn’t seem to have any concerns. It wasn’t until she was in senior kindergarten that we realized how delayed she really was. We could understand her but others couldn’t. She was diagnosed with speech and language disorders.
Intervention happened fairly quickly. She had tubes put in her ears to help her hear and she was sent to a special school geared towards speech development for grade 1. The delay in catching this did cause issues throughout grade school. Not hearing properly from an early age she didn’t learn proper letter sound recognition which caused her to be unable to say words correctly.
While we saw a great improvement after that full year in a speech and language class she struggled once back in regular school. We had some great teachers over the years that really did try to help her but it seemed we would then get a not-so-great teacher the following year and she would fall behind again.
It wasn’t until we moved to Richmond Hill that we really found out the full scope of how behind she really was. In grade 6 she was learning at a grade 3/4 level. That was a complete shock to us as we assumed she was being taught at her grade level on her IEP in her previous school, this was not the case.
Thankfully we jumped on this and immediately put her in tutoring. She also entered a special program at school where she was in a smaller class for many subjects with more 1-on-1 help for grade 7 and 8. Between the tutoring and the in-school help we were able to get her up to grade level and were confident about her entering high school. She has worked really hard so far this year and I am happy to report she passed all her first semester classes with flying colours. Some of them her marks were even above the class median!
If you are having concerns because your toddler isn’t talking yet, here are some things to help you assess if there may be a problem.
Look at the guidelines and intervene sooner rather than later
Everyone isn’t alike and everyone develops at their own pace, but there are some speech development guidelines that you can reference. If your baby doesn’t babble and isn’t speaking simple words by 1-year-old, there may be reason to be concerned. If your 16 or 18 months old has yet to speak his first-word, then early intervention is best.
Talk to your pediatrician
Talk to your pediatrician and insist they hear you out. Make a list of concerns you have and keep in mind what your toddler’s behavior is like. Be persistent with your pediatrician to look further into your concerns or give you the referral that you need.
Look into a program which can help with early intervention
See if there is a program that can help with early intervention in your area. There are programs out there, like the Preschool Speech and Language Program. There is no cost for this program and you don’t need to get a referral from your doctor. It’s amazing how children develop cognitively after meeting with a specialist and having special one-on-one learning time.
See a speech pathologist
A speech pathologist can assess your child and test for any problems that may be occurring. It is better to intervene early, then to wait until your child is struggling with their speech in school.
You know your child better than anyone else. If you feel that something is wrong, be your child’s advocate to get the care necessary. It is better to rule the problems out, then to ignore it. As your toddler gets older, this issue can be hard to address, so it’s better to address it now.
Have you ever struggled with speech development? I would love to hear your tips!