Monday, September 21, 2015:

Have Questions About Your Child's Speech- Here's What You Need to Know

Ok parents, school is officially in full swing and if you're like me, you probably spend some time wondering how your child is adjusting.  

I tend to wonder how my sons are managing in the classroom- Have they connected with a few buddies?  Are they comfortable with their teachers?  Are they moving at the appropriate developmental pace?  Is there something I should be looking out for?

Of course I wish I could touch base with their teachers on a daily basis (and while I am sure they would be polite and entertain incessant emails, I am also sure I'd be flagged as a helicopter mom!  Which is not entirely untrue).  

Instead, I rely on the expertise of some of my (brilliant) friends.  One of which, Ashley Pagelow, happens to have her Masters and a Certificate of Clinical Competence as a Speech-Language Pathologist (MA CCC-SLP).  

What does THAT mean??  Well, essentially Ashley knows her stuff and not only went to school for her Masters in SLP, but also did a clinical fellowship to receive certification from the American Speech Language and Hearing Association.  It also means that, as my friend, she is subjected to a barrage of questions regarding my children's development, specifically as it relates to their speech (for example, should I be concerned that my son pronounces "yellow" like "lellow").

She did me a huge favor and compiled a list of "red flags" so to speak, along with some expert insights.  This info is so jam-packed with relevant intel that I needed to share it here with you guys.

Do you know someone who might benefit from this info?  Feel free to share!  And if you have questions and want to connect with Ashley, reach out to her here:

Achieving Better Communication
202-557-6663

Don’t have questions but want to stay “in the know” on this topic, “like” and “follow” Ashley on Facebook!

Ok, now here’s the good stuff!
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"All children develop at their own pace."  "Give them time, he/she will catch up."  "You shouldn't compare your child to other children."  These are all phrases we hear as parents when we question our children's development. But, when you are worried that your child is not meeting their milestones on time, hearing this from other parents is not always helpful. 

How do we know when our child is developing at his/her own pace, and when our children are struggling?  Sometimes the answer isn't always so clear and there are many factors that determine if your child will "catch up" or if they need the help of a professional.  

Like many of us have heard, every child is different.  This statement although accurate, is not very telling on if we need to seek out help for our children.  While the only way to determine if your child is truly showing signs of a speech or language delay and/or disorder is through a thorough evaluation by a speech language pathologist; I have put together some "red flags" of behaviors children exhibit that are indicative of needing intervention.  

Under 18 months
·      No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months
·      No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by 9 months or thereafter
·      No babbling by 12 months
·      Does not respond to his/her name by 12 months
·      No sharing/reciprocal interactions like pointing, sharing, reaching or waving by 12 months
·      No pointing at objects of interest by 14 months (pointing at a car driving by)
·      Does not understand simple common words like mama or milk
·      Is not using any words by 16 months
·      Does not imitate gross motor movements like clapping or stomping feet

By 18 Months
·      Does not use at least 8-10 meaningful words
·      Does not follow simple commands like “come here” “stop” “don’t” “give me the __________” or “touch your nose”
·      Does not follow your pointing with his gaze
·      Is not playing “pretend” with items (talking on toy phone, feeding a doll)
·      Does not play in proximity to other children

By Age Two
·      No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
·      Does not follow simple two-step commands such as “Get the ball and put it on the table”
·      Speech is not at least 50% understandable
·      Cannot point to pictures of items in books when asked

By Three Years
·      Is not using three and four word sentences
·      Speech is not at least 75% or more understandable
·      Child is leaving the beginnings or ends off of most words
·      Cannot accurately answer yes/no questions
·      Cannot answer simple “wh” questions like “who is that” or “where is the truck”
·      Does not play with other children
·      Is experiencing stuttering behavior for more than 6 months

By Four to Five Years
·      Is not 90-100% understandable to strangers despite age appropriate articulation errors (may not be able to say r, sh, ch, l, or th yet)
·      Is not consistently using 4+ word, complex sentences
·      Is not asking a variety of questions to gain information (who, what, where, why and when)
·      Is having difficulty with grammar or pronoun use
·      Cannot tell a simple story on topic
·      Cannot follow simple two-step directions
·      Has difficulty answering simple who, what, where and why questions
·      Is not yet able to name a few letters, numbers, and rhyming words

Overall Warning Signs
·      ANY loss of speech or babbling or social skills at ANY age
·      Never gestures or imitates
·      Does not appear to understand speech, or appears to be unable to hear

·      Never develops words beyond repeating others over and over
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