Monday, June 26, 2006

Speech Delays

There is no doubt that today is Monday. By ten o’clock this morning I had dealt with two pushy sales calls and received two calls from daycare. The first call was that my son had fallen and hit his head – no damage, but they have to call. The second call was because my little vampire bit another child while they were fighting over a chair. Above and beyond my morning, I thought I’d write a little bit about a topic that I have no background in at all - speech development.

I am not an expert on speech development. I have provided some interesting links that I found at the bottom of this post. My biggest suggestion is that you try to self-diagnose. If you have concerns, talk with your child’s doctor about it, but don’t get too upset until you have all the information.

Those of us adopting from Korea are lucky. The biggest speech delays are in children that are in an institution and do not have one on one language interaction. In Korea, most of the children are placed in foster homes which helps keep the language development on track.

Link: This article talks about recognizing speech delays, some activities for helping speech development and some of the milestones in speech development.

I think that it’s really important not to get too hung up on the milestones. They are good guides, but remember that all children develop at their own rate. One of my co-workers went to her daughter’s well-child visit and the doctor put a lot of emphasis on the fact that her daughter should have at least 50 words. It worried her at the time, but now her daughter is not even three and speaking in very clear full length sentences. At my son’s two year well-child visit, my doctor asked me about his comprehension and if he was saying Mommy and Daddy. I said “yes” and she said “good.” She never asked me how many words because she wasn’t concerned with the numbers. She was concerned with his comprehension development and his responses.

Link: This website is a little more technical. It talks about adoption and language development. The basis of the information is a survey of internationally adopted children broken down by age groups. If you select the link for children who were adopted at 0-12 months, the data suggests that these children rapidly catch up if there is a delay and many are right on track. Once again, good news for parents of Korean adoptees since most of the children arrive at 12 months or younger.

I didn’t have any speech delays. By age two, I was speaking complete sentences. My sister also had a very large vocabulary, but we couldn’t understand her because she had pronunciation problems. At three, she told my mother that she had to go to “peach pearatree” (speech therapy) because she was not so very “arca-tickle-it” (articulate). Her issues were probably not adoption related. They were guessing that she had inner ear infections (the kind that don’t hurt) when she was a baby which affected the way she heard things. My son talks constantly. I can’t understand him 80% of the time, but he seems to have the vocabulary. We’ll have to wait until he’s three to see if he needs “peach pearatree” like his aunt.

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