Monday, May 31, 2010

More Speech

So, 3/4 of my children now have been diagnosed with speech issues. Yup. I certainly do believe it runs in the family. Some of my husband's extended family has had speech issues as well, so we are definitely a high risk group. My two youngest boys have the simplest speech issues; a simple delay. Intensive therapy for 18 months has allowed my 3 year old to catch up and even surpass some of his peers. I am so incredibly thankful to our speech therapist Tiffany. She has been a great friend and advocate for our family.

When Alexander turned 12 mo old I started watching the signs. If you have one child in a family with speech issues then you are likely to have other children. Also, you are more likely to qualify for services through the Regional Center. At 17 months old on the dot I called Lanterman Regional Center and Alexander was qualified with no spontaneous words. Although he would mimic sounds (something that William did not) he didn't not use any of his words or sounds on his own. Now at 20 months old he will use 2 to 3 words sentences with us. I am so pleased with how well he is talking.

Even my oldest daughter is now in speech. Although her issue was 'created' its no less concerning. My darling daughter's speech story starts when she was 2 years old She LOVED her pacifier and would not give it up. When we finally decided to take it cold turkey the dentist told us she would need an implant to help grow her jaw. She wore it for one year; from 4 to 5 years old. It was a metal implant on the roof of her mouth. She started saying her /s/ sounds (and quite a few others) by putting her tongue between her teeth instead of behind her teeth. The hope was that after a few years without the implant she would correct it herself. While a lisp is cute on a 5 year old, its not so cute on a 7 year old. The decision was made with the school district that once a week she visits the speech therapist to practice and remember that her tongue goes behind her teeth.

This isn't a 'woe is me' post. I fully recognize things could be so much worse. These simple speech issues are easily fixed when discovered early and worked on consistently. I know parents who ignored the problem and their children are still having issues several years later. Some of them convinced themselves that their child would grow out of it. If not diagnosed and fixed early speech will affect social skills and education. I feel badly for those children/parents, not for us.

If you have any concerns about your child's speech check this simple checklist. By 18 months old your child should be able to spontaneously say 8-10 words, by 24 months old your child should be putting together 2 word phrases and speak 50 words. If your child is not doing this between the ages 18 mo and 36 mo old contact your local Regional Center for a free evaluation. If your child is older than 3 years old you will need to contact your local school district. You can also contact a reputable speech therapist to do a simple screening. I highly recommend Tiffany Ringle or Pat Riner-Constantino of Riner-Constantino and Assoc 818-957-2766 at 3245 N Verdugo Rd Ste 301 Glendale, CA .

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