Words were like magic. . .almost.
by Megan from Minnesota
My first child was labeled delayed in much of her language/communication development up to the age of four. Never having had kids before, I delighted in everything my child was doing. I was never concerned with how she was developing. As far as I could see, she was eating, sleeping, and interacting with her family and others she met at playgroups.
When we went to doctor appointments, she was in the middle of the charts for growth. I never had cause to worry. Until I started hearing things from other parents about how their toddler was using so many words. They regaled me on the funny mispronunciations their child struggled with. Comparing my child who was close in age, I would see her hesitate before speaking. Looking back, I can see that she wanted to make sure that she had the words correct before speaking them.
It got to the point that I was worried about her development, concerned that she may have some disorder. But her pediatrician never brought any concerns she had. I only had the doctor and my friends to gauge where my daughter was landing on her milestones. I started charting her words down to make sure I had a record to bring to a specialist if the need ever came up.
It wasn’t until I went in for a school assessment that I realized my daughter was behind by only six months at most. The test the center had her do was set up for three to three and a half year olds, trending closer to the three and a half year olds to take the test. When we went in, she had just turned three and when I was told the results, I was advised that my daughter was delayed and would need extra support. Luckily a friend of my husband's family, who worked in special education and was at the site that day, overheard the conversation. She talked to me and set me straight on the test and said that if I wanted to bring my daughter back in six months to take the test again, she would probably get a passing score. I didn’t, not wanting to have my worst fears confirmed.
Like magic, almost, when my daughter was four, her words came out and she was easily understood. I wish I had someone tell me back then that development varies widely. I could have used some assurance outside of the medical field, to let me know that my daughter was developing in her own way, at her own pace. That these milestones are markers that are different for every child. Some are going to get there sooner than others, others may take a bit longer. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as they get there.
Note from wichealth: Children develop at their own pace. And, there are milestones that health care providers use to see if children might need some extra help. You can take our Milestones Matter lesson series for more information. This lesson will be available in July 2021. In the meantime, check out the CDC's page on developmental milestones. It will tell you which milestones to look for at your child's age.
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Megan.
My name is Megan. I am a stay at home mom with three children all under the age of 10. I live in Duluth, Minnesota with my husband, 3 kids, two dogs, and two cats.