This is a question that we are asked regularly. Parents often reach out to us by phone, through email, or on Facebook wondering if their child is developing typically or if they are delayed.
At Kid Connections, we strive to help families in Anne Arundel County and Prince George's County answer this question.
We know there is a lot of conflicting information about when to refer your child for a speech or language evaluation. Your child’s preschool teacher may have concerns, while your pediatrician does not. Your in-laws may make passing comments about your child’s communication skills, while your spouse may argue that he or she can understand your child “just fine.”
We understand this can feel frustrating, confusing, and isolating. We are here to help!
Here are some red flags to consider in infants, including red flags for hearing loss:
- Doesn't respond to sound
- Doesn’t attempt to smile, play, or communicate with others
- Doesn’t make speech-like sounds before the first year (“buh,” “puh,” “duh,” or “mmm” are the most common first sounds.
These are red flags to consider in toddlers (ages 2-3):
- Says only a few words at 12–18 months
- Doesn't put words together to make sentences by 2 years
- Says fewer than 50 words by 2 years
- Has trouble playing with other children
- Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people
- Children age two should be about 50% understandable
- Children age three should be about 75% understandable
Here are some red flags for preschoolers (ages 4-5):
- Ignores other children or doesn’t respond to people outside the family
- Doesn't use "me" and "you" correctly
- Shows no interest in interactive games or make-believe
- Doesn't follow 3-part commands
- Speaks unclearly
- Doesn't talk about daily activities or experiences
- Doesn't use plurals or past tense properly
There are a variety of factors to consider when diagnosing a speech or language delay, so if it doubt, get an evaluation or screening. In fact, many facilities, including early intervention agencies, public schools, and even private practices offer free screenings or phone consultations. Don't let conflicting information stop you from taking action.
No one can determine if your child has a speech or language delay except a qualified professional, like a speech-language pathologist.
Have concerns for your child? Give us a call at 410-274-0041 to speak with a speech-language pathologist today!
Shanna Klump is a speech-language pathologist and CEO of Kid Connections Therapy, a speech/language therapy clinic in Severna Park, Maryland.