What To Do When You Suspect Your Child Is Speech Delayed

This is a repost blog.

Original posts by Heidi on the Advice Smackdown on AlphaMom. Only the original writer’s text is reproduced here; to read Amy Storch’s advice, click through to original links.

Jun 2009: What To Do When You Suspect Your Child Is Speech Delayed


I have read your blogs for months, and I find them to be spectacularly hilarious and full of good advice. I wuv yoo! Anywhoodles, here’s my question…I have a daughter who is 13 months old. While other babies can at least say Mama and Dada, she can’t. She babbles away constantly, and has seemed to master the word YAH!”. (Which, I’ll admit comes in handy if I want my SO to agree with me. I just ask if she thinks it’s a good idea, and she says Yah.” From the mouths of babes….) Problem is…That’s the only word she knows, (except for mimicking Mommy’s use of the F” word…) and she can’t associate words with people or actions. I’ve tried asking, Up? You want up? UP?!” when she’s holding her arms out, but she doesn’t seem to get it. She can’t associate the two. While most toddlers can at least say Mama & Dada and associate their parents with the words, she can’t. My SO and I talk to her constantly, even if it’s explaining that I’m chopping vegetables for dinner. Point it, we talk to her all the time. I read somewhere to say the words she says back to her, and say things like, Oh really? That’s so interesting, what else?” And we do that, but she’s just not getting it.

I read in your blog that Noah was/is speech delayed…So, is there something we can do to help her? Is there a way to tell if your child is definitely speech delayed? She’s on track with every other area of development, like motor skills…BTW, we’re kinda broke right now, so please tell me that’s there’s something we can do besides some expensive test.
Thank you, O Wise One of the Internets, One that I worship.
Freaked The F Out

7 Oct 2009: Dealing with Developmental-Delay Deniers


I wrote to you some months ago suspecting my daughter has a speech delay. Well, I had her tested and, yeah. She’s 17 months old as of today and she has the speech abilities of a 4 month old, based on the initial assessment. They’re going to do a more in depth evaluation, and the coordinator cautioned, Now, that number might go up to, say, 6 months. But don’t expect it to magically creep up to 12 months or anything.” But she’s laid out some wonderful programs that are available to help her, and I’m going to tackle the problem head on and whip its ass.

I’m devastated. I cried for twenty minutes after the coordinator left our house. This is my baby girl, my heart, my soul, my everything. The problem I’m having is my boyfriend. He went on to tell me that See? She’s not delayed! That number will go up and you’ll see she’s just fine. Why, my son [previous marriage] didn’t talk at all until he was two!” My first instinct is to scream at the top of my lungs SHE IS NOT FINE, DAMMIT! The next person who tells me again that she’s fine gets my foot across their mouth! The assessor said she’s not fine, and quit comparing her to your kids! If your son couldn’t talk until he was two, why didn’t you do something?!” But, I know he’s just trying to make me feel better and in his own way telling me it’ll be alright, so I just clamp my maw shut. He just doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with her, and it’s driving me crazy. He has said IF she’s delayed (if?! Hello! She IS delayed, gahhh!) then he’s on board with speech therapy, but that he still doesn’t think there’s a thing wrong with her. His family also shares his views, and because they’re both nurses, brush me off, all superior-like.

How do I convince the three of them that once and for freaking all SHE. IS. NOT. FINE? I really, really want to smack the next person who tells me that but alas, it’s not polite and might even be illegal. I feel like it’s an insult to me, my child, and the wonderful people helping us when they tell me that.
Thanks, and BTW — I just want to say you’ve big a BIIIIG help and a BIIIIG inspiration to me.

Thank you!


25 Dec 2010: Update

Well hello there, gorgeous!

Several months ago, you and your commenters helped me with two MAJOR hurdles in my life: finding out that my daughter WAS speech delayed, and dealing with the people who didn’t want to believe it.

Thanks to YOUR column and YOUR readers, I was able to more or less convince the nay-sayers that my daughter needed help. (My in-laws still think she just magically caught up. Whatevs.) I also bucked up, quit whining about it, and got her enrolled in some pretty intensive speech therapy. Twice a week, every week for six months. Her therapists are nothing short of AWESOME, and when her therapy concluded I bought them both flowers and coffee. I would’ve bought them the moon if I could, I was so grateful and happy.

Amy, she not only CAUGHT UP, she’s ADVANCED. Chloe is just over 2 ½ right now, and she’ll occasionally speak in full sentences. She’s learning to count. She’s just…Wow. She’s amazing me everyday. The best part is now she can tell me, I love you, Mimi.” As any Mother can grasp, hearing her say those words when just a short time ago she couldn’t even call me Mimi…Well, I tear up and it melts my heart.

If it hadn’t been for me stumbling upon your blogs, this would have never been set in motion.

Thank you and thank your readers for all of the stupendous advice and support. I am forever in your debt.

Thank you again and MERRY CHRISTMAS!



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December 25, 2023