Tuesday, September 23, 2008


At Adriana's 18-month well baby visit, her pediatrician (whom I absolutely adore) expressed some concern about Adriana's lack of spoken language. It wasn't a huge concern now, but there is sometimes a long wait to get in for an evaluation, so the doctor suggested I begin the process soon and gave me the phone number for our county's Early Start program. 

We had our assessment at Early Start yesterday and I think it went well. By playing with Adriana and interviewing me for an hour, an early intervention teacher and a speech pathologist assessed Adriana's development in five different areas: physical, including both fine motor and gross motor skills, as well as her vision and hearing; adaptive/self help, which covered eating, sleeping, and dressing; cognitive; social/emotional; and communication. Adriana scored well above the baseline measures in all areas except for communication. There they found that her receptive language is quite good, but determined that she had a 50 percent delay in her expressive language. Basically, her level of speech is that of a child half her age. 

I am actually a little bit excited about this. We all want our kids to be perfect, so in some ways I feel like I should regret that they found a delay, but I knew the delay was there, and I think I would have been more bothered if they said everything was fine and weren't going to do anything. I am relieved that everything else looked good to them. There was a bit of nagging fear that she'd be on the autism spectrum, I guess. I mean, my gut instinct told me that she wasn't, but I wouldn't be me if I didn't find something excessive to worry about. 

Soon we'll meet with a social worker to set up a service plan, but it will probably involve weekly individual speech therapy at first and eventually probably continued therapy in a group setting. We'll also learn a lot about what we can do to help her out at home during the therapy. For now they said we were doing the things they would initially recommend: sign language, music, and animal noises. She does seem to be making some progress on her own, as well. Sunday night she was mimicking us (trying to say her name and "eggplant"), which she rarely does, and making new sounds (p and l). I know--I've known--that she'll get there at some point, but it's a relief to know that my instincts were right and that there is going to be a little bit of help to get her there.


Ken and Belly said...

And she WILL get there. And you're well-equipped to help her. Good for you for being proactive. :) Those early therapies do great things.

Jay said...

Your Grandma Ruth once told me that she herself didn't talk until she was almost 4 years old, but then it was in full sentences. I asked her why she didn't say anything till then. "I didn't have anything to say," she shrugged, in typical Grandma Ruth fashion.
Personally, I doubt there's anything "wrong" in all this, but now you have your peace of mind. I don't think even the "professionals" in this area are all that used to a kid who's been brought up so consistently with sign language, and as I'm mentioned before, children raised in a bi-lingual environment often show delays in language acquisition (production).

That's my story, and I'm stickin' with it! But good for you for getting it checked out!

She's getting so big!!!!

clara said...

My oldest was fully 3 before he said anything! At the same time he was doing tons of fine motor things and eventually, he spoke. I think kids aren't going to do everything right at once and there is a lot of pressure on the language these days. I think these "delays" can be perfectly normal.

Some kids walk at 9 mo, some walk at 19 mo (i've had both) and language is the same.

Just going by how much you read to her, how much you do with her, I think she's just taking it all in. :)

Jennifer said...

I'm not even sure how they know these things -- Alex has taken a long time to talk but now he's going crazy with words (and it happened so suddenly!). But "eggplant"? Wow!

(I also can't believe how quickly I've forgotten the specific differences between 18 months and 24 months.)