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Recognizing Speech Delays in Your Child

Kids are a hilarious, exceptional, a miracle. I give my 8-month old a leaf and she’s happy for about two hours to just wave it around in front of her face. She is growing every minute, every second, and watching her change and develop is so unbelievably exciting. All of the firsts! First projectile vomit! First real smile! First time accompanying mom and dad to a tax prep appointment! Those are things all parents keep track of, right?  It happens so fast, and just remembering, let alone tracking, all the developmental milestones can be incredibly hard given the craziness of our everyday lives.

My name is Chelsa Rostagni and I am a Speech-Language Pathologist and the owner of Silver State Speech Therapy. I’ve worked with clients of all different ages over my career but have really comeIMG_3942 to enjoy my time with the littlest of little guys and gals perhaps most of all. The joys! The feelings! The wide-eyed look when bubbles come out to play! The way that my client who has difficulty with the sound ‘b’ enthusiastically yells at me “die!” instead of “bye!” when I leave. It’s all amazing. I could write an entire blog post solely consisting of the amazing quotes from children that I’ve accumulated over the years. I love it!

I frequently get asked by parents about developmental milestones, such as ‘when should my child start putting two words together?’ or ‘when should grandma and grandpa be able to understand my child’? Some basic knowledge of what you’re looking for and when you’re looking for it can be so helpful when deciding whether or not you would like to have your child evaluated.

The most important piece of wisdom that I can impart to you is this- don’t wait and see. Sure, some children with delays do catch up without intervention. However, many don’t. There is absolutely not one negative thing in the world that can come from having your child evaluated by a professional. On one hand, a speech-pathologist can evaluate your child and determine that they are, in fact, completely on track which will give you complete peace of mind. Gold star!! A thousand gold stars!!

On the other hand, perhaps they will find that there are some areas of communication that they could target to help your child get up to speed. Gold star!! A million gold stars! It’s a win-win because either way, now you have peace of mind that little Johnny is a chatterbox rockstar or you have peace of mind that you’ve gotten your child the intervention that they need early and effectively. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, “it takes four times as long to intervene in fourth grade as it does in late kindergarten because of brain development and because the increase in content for students to learn as they grow older”. Isn’t that amazing?!

Have I mentioned that speech and language therapy is fun? It is! It should be! The power of play is incredible – that’s how children learn best! Mr. Potato Heads, Playdough, Puppets, and Paint, oh my! It is my firm opinion that a good Speech-Language-Pathologist will enter your child’s world and imagination and effectively target their goals in a way that feels as though it’s ‘playing’, although in reality they are constantly monitoring and planning their every response, question, and cue to elicit the correct sound, response, or reaction from your child.

Our delightful little friends should be saying their first word around the age of one and have around 50 words by the age of 18 months. At that point they should begin to put two words together and be understood by unfamiliar listeners approximately 50% of the time by age 2, building towards 100% intelligibility by age four.

There is, of course, a range of timelines for normal development, as there is with any new skill such as walking, writing, shredding out a sick solo on an electric guitar, etc., but if you are concerned baby1that your child is falling behind in any area of communication-have them evaluated! Pediatricians are normally more than happy to provide a referral for speech and language therapy services, but if they are recommending the ‘wait and see’ approach you can think to yourself ‘wait a second….I remember this blog post about the importance of not waiting and seeing’ and respectfully advocate for your child.

The American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has information regarding milestones for speech and language development, as do other reputable sites such as the CDC. Or, call a Speech-Language-Pathologist and ask them. Call and ask me! I’d love to discuss your child. Our Speech-Language-Pathologists will come to you and provide therapy at your home or child’s daycare/preschool if that’s what you prefer. Talk about a win-win.




Chelsa is a Speech-Language Pathologist and the owner of Silver State Speech Therapy, which provides in-home therapy services to clients of all ages. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and served as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Nevada Speech-Language-Hearing Association for two years. She feels strongly about the benefits of community outreach and education regarding speech and language disorders and believes passionately that everybody deserves to have a voice. When she is not treating clients, Chelsa enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and daughter Indigo, visiting her home state of Alaska, traveling, and spending as much time as possible outdoors enjoying activities such as camping, biking, and hiking.




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