Now what do you do about it?
In over six years working as a speech language pathologist, I’ve seen many different parents and a wide variety of parenting styles. I have worked with the very proactive parents, the worried parents, and the laid-back parents. No matter what parenting style they used, one thing is for certain: all of these parents worried about their child.
Parents wonder if their child started talking early enough, started walking early enough, is getting along appropriately with other children, is able to color within the lines, is eating enough food, or why their child can’t sit in a chair. There are so many things that parents can worry about (including things other than their child’s development) – the list is endless! Sometimes parent’s fears are warranted, but sometimes they aren’t. How are you able to tell the difference?
What I tell parents is this: go with your gut.
If your gut is telling you something is wrong, then something might be wrong, even if other family members, teachers, or even doctors disagree. Sometimes your gut can steer you wrong, but you’ll never know unless you check it out. Peace of mind counts for a lot as a parent and with all the worries that you have, you could afford to put one to rest, right?
Sometimes extremely worried parents come in for speech testing and their child shows normal speech and language development. Other times parents only come in because their doctor or teacher suggested an evaluation, and their child ends up needing services for a delay. In a perfect world, parents, teachers, and doctors would all be on the same page (and extended family members, too, because some of them have strong opinions!), but we don’t live in a perfect world, so the best you can do is this:
Listen to your gut.
Listen to the professionals.
When in doubt, have it checked out.
That last point is so important, because the longer you wait to address developmental delays, the further behind a child can get – and it’ll take even longer for them to catch up. Even slight delays need to be addressed so they don’t lead to bigger problems.
Jessie Nelson Willis, M.Ed., CCC-SLP