Keep in mind that every toddler is different. Each child develops at his or her own pace, but some toddlers may not reach developmental milestones as expected. So, what should you do as a parent if you suspect your toddler may have a speech or language delay?
Contact your toddler's pediatrician
Talk to your pediatrician about your concerns regarding your toddler's speech and language development. Ask what he or she thinks and determine if speech therapy may be necessary.
Research speech therapists in your area
A speech-language pathologist provides speech therapy for their clients and patients, and this includes both adults and children. The overall goal for those who are getting speech therapy is to develop and/or regain speech and communication skills to the best possible level. The length of therapy mostly depends on the severity of the communication disorder and the motivation of the child. You can find a licensed speech therapist in your area by visiting www.asha.org or by doing an internet search on your favorite search engine.
Ask about early intervention services
Your toddler may be eligible for speech therapy services provided by your state’s early intervention program. These programs are federal programs under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that provide services to children age birth to three and their families. Children are also entitled to a free developmental evaluation by the program. To find out more information about Part C of IDEA and your state’s program check out the following website http://nichcy.org/babies/services. You do not need a referral from your pediatrician to participate in early intervention services.
I am very partial to early intervention services. I contracted with Georgia's early intervention program, Babies Can't Wait, the past eight years through my business. I am now contracting with Mississippi's program, First Steps. All speech-language pathologists are licensed and certified and go through the same licensing process as speech-language pathologists who work in hospitals and private practices.
Early intervention provides services in a toddler's natural environment and teaches parents and caregivers how to implement communication strategies to use at home between therapy sessions. I highly recommend that you take advantage of your state's early intervention program. Toddler speech and language evaluations are free, and they will work with you on the cost of therapy. A toddler will not be denied services based on a family’s inability to pay.
If you have any questions about early intervention please don't hesitate to ask me. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
To learn how you can help your toddler talk and communicate faster, be sure to check out my book on Amazon Kindle, Talking With Todders - 52 Tips to Boost Speech and Language Skills.