You sit on the park bench and wave as your child plays in the sand box. Your child smiles back…. Just then a little girl, who looks to be about the same age as your child, comes to the woman sitting next to you and says, “Mommy, I want juice.” You smile politely but secretly, inside it feels as tho someone has kicked you in the gut. You are lucky if your child says juice. You look at your perfect beautiful child and wonder if they are just slow to talk or there is something wrong ….
“Every child speaks at a different age.” “They are just spoiled.” “Their uncle didn’t speak until he was five and now he is a dentist.” “He’ll talk when he starts school and gets around other kids.” “You worry too much. There is nothing wrong!” Everyone around you has an opinion. But you know, in your gut, something is wrong.
I am not going to sugar coat this. You are trusting me to guide you, and I owe you honesty. While there is some truth to the fact that kids develop differently, there are certain milestones that all kids should hit.
If you think your child has a language delay, the first step is to determine if they are missing any milestones.
The best resource I have found for determining milestones is the First Years Language Chart.
If you have determined your child is in fact, missing milestones, You have the right to have your child evaluated for a language delay. As a parent, you do not have to wait for a doctor or teacher to validate your concerns. The opinions of friends and family do not matter. The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives you a legal right to have your child evaluated.
If it turns out that they do have a language delay, help is available. Your child may qualify for early intervention or preschool services. If your child is under three years old, you should contact your county’s department of health and request an evaluation for early intervention. If your child is over three years old, you would contact your local school district.
If you are still on the fence about whether you should make that call, please know, there is no risk. These evaluations are completely free. It does not matter what your income is or whether or not you have health insurance. You will not be charged anything. If you are wrong, you will have given up a few hours and an evaluator you will never see again, will think you are nuts. So, what? It is YOUR child’s future we are talking about.
The good news is that if you are right, your child will get the help they need. Many times, early intervention services are enough to catch a child up with his peers by the time he starts kindergarten. According to a study conducted but the NJEIS, 82.29% of parents reported that early intervention helped their children learn and grow.
In fact, a study conducted by Dr. Lovaas, the founder of applied behavior analysis
(ABA), shows that 40 % children who are diagnosed with Autism who receive intensive ABA services will fully catch up with their peers by the time they start school at five. Many even have their diagnosis removed. That’s why it is so important to act now. A language delay does not have to be a life-long disability but it does mean your child may need help, and the early you start, the better their outcome will be.
Want to Start Helping Your Child Today?
Jessica has made it easy for YOU to learn more about ABA, the treatment that is clinically proven to help 40 % of children recover from Autism?
She has created an easy to understand guide for parents to start ABA while they are enduring the long wait for to services to start. This valuable tool will make sure your child doesn’t miss one day of this life altering treatment.