Development is fascinating and amazing, and there is a certain amount of variability in the acquisition of milestones. No two children develop in the same exact way and on the same timeline. However, if you notice that some skills expected for a given age are not yet acquired, it is always worth it to meet with appropriate professionals. It is ALWAYS better to identify and address areas of need sooner than later.
We hear a very common story from our clients. Parents, intuitive as they are about their children, will often notice some differences in their child early on, within the first to second year of life. They ask their pediatricians whether the child is meeting milestones. Frequently, pediatricians suggest the parents "wait and see", or something of the sort. In reality, if there is a developmental delay or a diagnosis, it is ALWAYS best to identify areas of need sooner than later.
So if you or someone you know is unsure about their child's development, call us and schedule a free consultation. Also, call the Central Valley Regional Center (number included below) and request an evaluation. Below is a brief list of red-flags that may warrant a screening or assessment.
• * Regression of skills at any age (loss of babbling, language, or social interaction) • By 4-6 months, no cooing and does not react to you • By 6 months, no big smiles or other warm joyful expressions • By 9 months, no back and forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions • By 12 months: no babbling, no pointing, no gestures such as reaching or waving • By 12 months no response to own name being called, does not point to familiar objects or people on request, does not follow simple commands • By 1.5 years: no single words, uses less than 10 words consistently, does not use words to communicate wants such as "more" and "down", does not make animal sounds, not yet starting to combining words (ex: "more cookie") • By 2 years: no spontaneous 2-word phrases, speech is not understandable, does not follow simple directions (e.g., "roll the ball"), does not point to named body parts or pictures • By 36 months says only 1-2 word spontaneous phrases, cannot answer "what" and "who" questions, does not initiate conversation, only speaks when spoken to or repeats what others say word for word • By 4 years talks only about the "here and now", not events in the past or future, puts words together in the wrong, order and/or leaves out words such as in, on, of, the, a, etc., drops word-endings (ex: -ing, plural -s, etc.), cannot listen to 2-3 lines of a story and answer simple questions about it • By 5 years does not engage in reciprocal conversation or make comments relevant to the topic or situation cannot answer "how" and "why" questions
When private therapy is not an option...DON'T WORRY!
Ages 0-3: Central Valley Regional Center (CVRC) funds speech-language evaluations and therapy up to age 3 when private insurance is not an option. In addition, they connect families to other incredible resources. Contact CVRC at (559) 276-4480
Ages 3+: Contact your local school district, and request an evaluation. School districts provide free speech-language evaluations and therapy to all qualifying children.
When should I get a speech-language consultation ?
Many adults benefit from speech therapy for different reasons. Below are a few reasons you may consider speech therapy for yourself or for a loved one.
• At any point in time suffered any form of Traumatic Brain Injury (e.g., fall, car accident, Stroke, etc) and from that point experienced difficulty speaking or understanding speech, AND/OR cognitive deficits resulting in difficulty performing every-day tasks or performing at work.
• Difficulty understanding or using language
• Difficulty cognitively attending in the same way as they used to, difficulty performing every day tasks, focusing/remembering, performing duties at work
• Stuttering and feel as though their stuttering is impeding on their overall ability to communicate and express themselves
• Diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Chorea, Dementia, etc.
• Difficulty pronouncing certain sounds (e.g., s, r, etc) or have difficulty with clear speech production/articulation within connected speech.
• Accent Reduction: For clients who are aware of accent/dialectal differences and would like to learn and become fluent in the Standard American English dialect.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) cannot give an Autism diagnosis. However, since social communication and language are within SLPs' scope of practice, and these are the core affected areas in Autism, SLPs can serve as informants of observed characteristics that may warrant further testing for autism. If you notice any of the following characteristics and are concerned about your child's language development, you're welcome to take advantage of our free screenings.
• Delayed expressive and/or receptive language skills (see "Children" section above) or REGRESSION of skills at any age (loss of babbling, language, or social interaction)
• Does not consistently respond to his/her name, doesn't consistently respond when you talk to him/her
• Does not frequently initiate communication (e.g., come up to you, smile, point at something, make a sound or say "look!"); Does not share or show things to you (e.g., picks up a toy, looks at you, and says "ahh?" or "cat?").
• Your child has a hard time making and using eye contact
• Does not speak or only repeats what is said to him/her (i.e., echolalia)
• Does not consistently follow directions
• Has difficulty requesting desired items or activities using speech (e.g., instead of asking for "juice", takes you by the hand to the refrigerator and uses your hand to open the door).
• Oftentimes you understand what your child is communicating but others do not
• Inappropriate eye gaze (e.g., using peripheral vision more than usual to look at objects; looking through the corner of the eye)
• Little to no imitative skills (e.g., does not play peek a boo or imitate funny faces)
• Decreased variety in play (e.g., only enjoys playing with puzzles or trains, or cars, or spinning objects, lining object up, etc).
• Lack of pretend play (e.g., does not pretend to talk on the phone or put a baby to sleep)
• Repetitive movements with objects (e.g., continually opens and closes doors, watches the wheels move on a car more than the usual amount, lines up toys, sorts toys by color)
• Unusual sensory explanation (e.g., walks on tippy toes, holds/shakes objects at the side of face, holds ear close to toys producing sound, puts unusual items in mouth)
• Excessive interest in particular toys, letters, numbers
• Memorizing and scripting of familiar movies, books, etc