When I was pregnant with Juliana, I read all of the baby books. Like many first time moms, I wanted to be prepared for everything. I carefully memorized the milestone charts – when should she start to babble, at what month should she sit unassisted, what signs should I watch for that would indicate a problem. Juliana clicked through each milestone ahead of schedule and eventually I stopped checking the charts. She sat, she babbled, she walked, and she talked. Oh how she talked. Anyone who has spent time with Juliana knows that she loves the sound of her own voice. She talks on the phone, she talks to her toys, and she talks to me a lot. She never seems to run out of words.
When Ruslan and Wyatt were babies I didn’t consult the milestone charts. 1 – I was too tired to read more than a few sentences and 2 – I was a second-time mom now, I had some idea of what was acceptable and didn’t concern myself too much with exact milestones. The boys did everything later than Juliana, but that was to be expected since she was ahead on everything. Ruslan usually met a milestone first and Wyatt would reach it within a week or two.
Ruslan loves to talk, in fact he may love talking more than Juliana (scary thought). Not only does he love to talk for himself, he has so many words that he likes to talk for Wyatt as well. Ask Wyatt a question and Ruslan will answer. Don’t understand what Wyatt is saying, Ruslan will translate. It was cute at first and then I realized that Wyatt was talking less and less. The only real conversations that I was having with Wyatt was in the car or if I was alone with Wyatt at home.
In addition Wyatt was starting to babble when he was tired and if he could get what he wanted by pointing and using one or two words, he would avoid using a sentence. While Ruslan would say, “I want more milk please Mommy.” Wyatt would point at the fridge and yell, “Milk!” Both get the point across…
Since Wyatt wasn’t talking as much, it wasn’t as easy to understand him. Even I had trouble understanding him if I didn’t understand the context of the conversation.
I didn’t want to be one of those mothers who insists that their child is perfect because they can’t accept that there could be an issue. I knew that Wyat was smart and capable of using full sentences and communicating appropriately and I wanted some guidance to help him.
I called our pediatrician and he referred us for a language and behavioral assessment. We made the appointment at the end of September and we finally had Wyatt’s assessment yesterday. In the meantime we were working with Wyatt to try to get him to talk more and making a conscious effort has already made a difference.
I prepped Wyatt for the appointment. He knew that he would be meeting with a teacher to play games and it was ok for her to talk to Wyatt and Wyatt should talk to her. Wyatt happily joined the teacher at one end of the table while I sat at the other end quietly observing. She went through a series of games with tiles and blocks and Wyatt showed her how he can stack and sort. Wyatt quickly passed the cognitive portion of the assessment.
On the language assessment, he did well with his sounds for single words. In fact he did well enough that his overall language score passed. But she agreed that it was worth an evaluation with a speech therapist based on my concerns that had prompted the appointment. We had the option to have that evaluation immediately and the speech therapist joined us with a large flip book of pictures.
She flipped through the book and Wyatt easily told her what was pictured on each page. Page after page, the evaluation continued. He moved past the vocabulary for 3 and 4-year olds and cruised through 5 and 6-year old terms. Eventually he started to miss some words, but by that time she had reached 9 and 10-year old words.
Apparently Wyatt’s word count is extremely impressive for a 3-year old. Now we need to put even more effort into helping him use those words more often.