Name: BigE and his Wife
Problem: My daughter is 27 months and has not started to talk yet. She does say parts of 2 or 3 words. She is very independent and doesn't ask for things, she gets it herself. When should we be concerned?
Solution posted by Amy from Knoxville, TN: I am a social worker for an early intervention agency serving developmentally delayed children ages birth-3. The most common referral we receive are parents who are concerned because their 2 year old child is not saying words yet. There may be a local agency that can assist you in the completion of a Developmental Evaluation to see where your child currently is functioning at. the Department of Education in your community can assist you with access to local birth-three services. It is also a good thing to communicate your concerns to your child's pediatrician. Please ask that he/she make a referral for a speech/language evaluation. Make sure that the therapist he/she refers you to is a PEDIATRIC speech therapist.
On a positive note, if you are concerned that your child is not talking yet, but understands what you are saying - That is much better than for the child not to understand simple questions and or instructions. Many times children who understand well, but do not talk yet, function quite well in a preschool type setting for which they are able to interact with other children their own age. As a professional, I would love to give teachers and therapists total credit for a child's progress with language. However, many times it is the child's interaction opportunities with other children that make a big difference. But please keep in mind, it is best to combine a little of everything- therapy, interaction, and most of all- you as a parent. Good Luck!
Another solution posted by "Been There" from Burlington, MA: Dear Mr. and Mrs. BigE-- I have been here...Pediatricians don't always relate to developmental issues...At least I had difficulty getting my pediatrician to recognize the need for early intervention...find out what help is available if any through the state and get on it...If your instinct says do something, then do it...and you can't keep wondering or second guessing yourself or, if there is a speech development problem, don't waste your time and energy wondering why. My son did not talk until after he was three years old, but he does now and is doing great...don't worry. However, he did need help and we found that through the state program and a special preschool for speech development. If you decide to go the speech pathologist route make sure that person is trained with children, ask a lot of questions about how they work, specifically what they do and if they don't get down on the floor with your child and play, find another...make sure they don't sit behind a desk (a situation we ran in to)...Mostly don't worry or beat yourself up over it!
Another solution posted by Sharon from Alberta, CAN: Have your child's pediatrician refer you to a speech language pathologist. If your child was a preemie the chances of a problem are more than twice as likely. Early intervention is important. Check to see if she can hear properly. There are some children who simply are delayed but it makes sense to know what you are dealing with rather than worrying.
Another solution posted by Pam K from Federal Way, WA: I am a preschool teacher and mother of 2. I believe that you should have your child seen by your doctor. I agree that you need to rule out a hearing problem. I have a couple of suggestions for you: 1. When your child points to something or gets something for herself, name that object. Get picture books and name the pictures, read to her a lot. 2. Put her in a preschool or play group. It is amazing what peer modeling can do for your child's speech development. 3. Sing along or read along tapes. Our kids love them. Get her a tape recorder that she can use herself. They love to play with this and listen. 4. Talk with your child. Good luck.
Solution posted by "Delila": I think your daughter should be evaluated by your pediatrician to rule out any hearing or other physical problems.
If the doctor doesn't believe that she has any physical problems, than I suggest you do a lot of talking with your daughter. Always use the correct words for objects. Call a bottle a bottle, not a ba-ba, etc. And read, read, read!!! Nothing helps language skills like talking and reading.
As for your daughter being self sufficient and doing things herself instead of asking, that is GREAT! She has obviously learned how to compensate for her lack of words. However, you need to make sure she is ALWAYS properly supervised around the house and everywhere else. Also, make sure your house is a safe place for her to be able to be self sufficient. Put things on low shelves so she doesn't have to climb. Put small, spill-proof pitchers with juice on a low shelf in the refrigerator and teach her how to pour for herself. In the true Montessori tradition, very young kids can learn to pour juice with a minimal amount of mess. Think about all the ways you can make things accessible for her to do. I suggest you read some Montessori books, they have lots of suggestions for this sort of thing.
Remember, her independence now will serve her well through-out her life, and yes, she WILL learn to talk eventually!!!