Are you concerned your toddler has a speech delay, but you aren’t sure what to do next? I went through the same thing, and I want to help you learn from our experiences and to improve your toddler’s speech…
I’ve written this article for you to share my experiences with my daughter’s speech delay. I’ll show you what I’ve learned from it, and hopefully what you can learn from me to help your child’s speech.
Having gone down this road ourselves and experiencing the stresses that comes with it, I want to help you move through the difficult times quickly and get to best parts: hearing your child talk to you!
I’ll also throw in as much other info as I can to help you learn from us. If this sounds good, keeping reading as I have more details on those shortly.
I’ll start off with what we went through so you can understand our experiences and how we got to the speech delay.
Our daughter Rebecca was born in the fall of 2012 in Toronto, Canada. She was our first child and we were anxious and excited for her arrival. We really weren’t sure what to expect. What would life be like with a tiny baby in our hands, our home, and our hearts.
The day she was born was an interesting one. We had a planned c-section scheduled for mid-morning (so we were at the hospital by 8am). But due to factors outside of the hospital’s control, we were bumped many times. It was a long and painful day.
First, there was the woman with the triplets that decided to arrive early (the triplets decided, not the new mom!). Then, we found out that one of the ORs had some sort of power failure that put it out of service. Asa result, the delivery ward’s OR had to take overflow.
Finally, there were complications with some other patients. I recall hearing the term “code omega” over the PA a few times in the early evening. I found out that meant a life threatening blood loss was occurring. Shortly after, I heard a man on the phone in the hall outside our room. He was saying how his wife’s internal bleeding after delivery went unnoticed and she nearly died. He was explaining how it was the best day (their first child was born) and worst day (nearly losing his wife) of his life. I can understand why we weren’t a priority at that point.
With all of these things happening, we ended up having a delivery just after midnight, over 16 hours after we arrived. While this is nowhere near a record-breaker for delivery time, it was certainly unexpected since it was supposed to be a “planned” c-section at a set time.
The following months were exhausting and fantastic at the same time. There were many late nights trying to get Becca to sleep and no shortage of stinky diapers to change. But as all parents know, those are easily forgotten when compared to the heartwarming moments when your infant smiles back on you, when she laughs at something you do, and all the other “little” moments as they get older.
The moment I was looking forward to the most was when Becca and I could have a conversation. There’s nothing more I wanted at the time than when we could have a chat about how her day went and to learn more about who she was becoming.
I built up the idea in my mind and was excited for the first words. And then finally around a year old, she starting to use her first word. “Da”.
“This is it! The breakthrough is coming” we thought. She was starting to say “da”. Soon I expected “ma”, and maybe a “milk” or “more”. And an “up” when she wanted to have us pick her up.
We eagerly waited for those more words to come. We naively thought they’d be popping into her vocabulary every few days. But they weren’t. We realized that was being overly optimistic. So we relaxed and waited for them to come on their own time.
She went from 1 year old to 13 months to 14 months and the only progress we saw was a “ma”. She used it when she wanted a more of something, but not consistently.
By now we were wondering if this was normal. Was there supposed to be such a lag between the first few words to the next few? We were getting worried.
Her 18-month appointment was still a few months away, so we opted to do some research on the subject before panicking too much. Plus, we often heard the old saying “don’t worry, kids learn at different speeds”.
I did some research online and found several sites that had development milestones for children under 5 years old. While the sites did not match exactly, they were always close. And they were all reputable sites (including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Health Canada, and the Center for Disease and Control, to name a few).
If you’re like me and this is your first experience with speech delay, then you be wondering whether your child even has a speech delay.
It’s a fair to have. As new parents, we weren’t up to speed on what the rate of progress should be.
We were very aware of all the early day milestones to watch out for (and very paranoid about whether Becca met them!), such as having enough pee diapers and poop diapers, how often she feed, and the amount of sleep she got. We were so paranoid we even tracked this information (at least the pees and poos).
And in the first few months, we acted immediately whenever she was even slightly sick, rushing to the doctor. But like all new parents, you start to learn when you…