I often hear from parents of young children that someone has advised them to wait to see if their child begins talking on their own rather than schedule a screening or evaluation. Here are some phrases I frequently hear in my practice:
- “My child’s pediatrician said to wait.”
- “My friend’s brother didn’t speak until he was five.”
- “Einstein didn’t talk until he was four!”
Some children are late talkers and eventually catch up to their peers without any help, but others do not. Please see my blog post about late talkers for more information: What Is a Late Talker?
If you have concerns about your child’s speech, language, or feeding development, and someone is advising you to wait to have them evaluated by a professional, ask them why. If you are not happy with their answer you can always pursue a screening or an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist yourself.
Every state in the US has an early intervention program – anyone, including concerned parents, can call their local early intervention agency to schedule an evaluation. If you are in Colorado and have concerns about your child age 3 and under you should contact the Community Centered Board (CCB) in your area. Below is a list of CCBs in the Denver Metro area. You can click on the link to be taken to that CCB’s early intervention page. Speech & Health has contracts with most of these agencies:
If you have concerns about your child age 3-5 you should contact the Child Find office in the area where you and your child live. Click on the link for a Child Find directory to locate an office in your area:
If your child is older than 5, or is age birth to 5 and did not qualify for services through the early intervention or child find process, you can always contact an independent speech-language pathologist in your area. Speech & Health is located in Lakewood, Colorado (the Denver Metro area) and provides free screenings. We also accept some insurance plans.
If you decide to take the wait and see approach, that is okay too, but you don’t have to. It is your decision as a parent and you know what’s best for you child.