My son had his 18 month checkup a few weeks ago and everything went great. Except for the part when his Pediatrician asked me how many words he was saying. She mentioned he is supposed to be saying up to at least 8 words by now and well he is well under that. He said about 4 or 5 then and since the visit I have put more effort into helping him so he has probably learned another one or two new words. Since he was like 15 months I begin to feel concerned because he begin to yell and scream for everything.
Also I know it’s not fair to make comparisons but my daughter was already saying several words at his age. I would point at parts of her face and she would name them (i.e. nose, eyes, ears, hair, etc.) and when I pointed at a character on television she would actually pay attention and repeat. However my son is not like that at all. He won’t stay still long enough to pay attention. There has been several people who have told me that girls are faster learners then boys. I’m assuming this is true. One thing I did notice about my son is that he didn’t really ever baby talk (baby coo). I remember my mom being worried that he might be deaf. This was definitely over thinking I know but we were comparing his development to my daughters.
I did ask the Pediatrician if it was possible that he was confused since our household is bilingual. I mainly speak to him in Spanish but we my husband, my daughter, and myself, we all speak English to each other. The Pediatrician actually said she thought that even though we spoke two languages he should still be able to say up to 8 words whether they be in English or Spanish or Spanglish words. She referred him to a Speech therapist. That was about a month ago but I have yet to take him because I figured since I am home with my kids I can work with him to see if I can help him say more words.
If that doesn’t work then I will definitely look into taking him to a speech therapist because of course I want him to develop at an average rate and not be behind. The only thing that worries me about taking him to a speech therapist is that he will only learn to speak English. That is something that happened to my friend’s son, they took him to speech therapy and he only speaks English and doesn’t want to or like to speak Spanish at all. I guess it’s better than not talking at all but I would love for my kids to learn Spanish as well. Especially since Spanish is literally the second language now in this country.
As far as trying to get advice from some of our family members, a lot of family of ours feels that the Pediatrician is exaggerating with referring him to speech therapy at such an early age. As ignorant and silly as it sounds a lot of Hispanic (older Hispanic) people think this way. They think that as long as they are talking at age 4 or 5 that it’s fine that the child will be ok. This is without thinking that this speech impediment could ultimately have a negative impact on other areas of the child’s development. So I definitely am for taking my child to a speech therapist if I see no improvement in a few months. What I am currently doing is just pronouncing out words for things that we play with or eat (i.e. if we are playing with a ball I will repeat the word ball multiple times or use it in sentences and emphasize the word ball). I am focusing on the shorter easier words first rather than the longer harder to pronounce words. So let me know if anyone has any suggestions of different things to try.