Early Intervention - Boston Moms Blog

When my son Dylan wasn’t saying any words (or even copying sounds) at 17 months, we decided it was time to get him evaluated for Early Intervention. Dylan scored significantly low on his expressive language skills and qualified for services. He now sees a speech therapist and goes to two toddler group classes every week through EI. (Did I mention all this is free?!) We also decided Dylan could use a little more help, so he sees a private speech therapist as well. (Unfortunately, this is not free, but insurance does subsidize some of the cost.)

Since starting EI and speech therapy with my son, I have gone through so many emotions. From feeling guilty that I should have been able to prevent this to being ecstatic when he started to say a few words, this has definitely been a learning process for Dylan — and for me! Here are a few of the most important things I’ve learned along the way:

Sign language is a necessity

One of the first things Dylan’s EI specialist recommended was that we teach him sign language. Signing has so many benefits, including decreased frustration and stimulating cognitive and emotional growth. It took Dylan about a month to catch on to signing, but once he started, it became really easy to teach him new signs. His most-used signs are eat, drink, more, all done, bath, bubbles, book, ball, and play. Sign language has been a huge help and lets Dylan easily communicate his wants and needs.

Be patient

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn through this process is patience. Learning to talk does not happen overnight, and sometimes the big breakthroughs do not happen quickly. Dylan has been in Early Intervention and speech therapy for eight months, and although he has made significant progress, he is still behind the norms for child speech milestones. I have to remind myself that I’m getting him all the help and support possible and that he will start speaking soon.

Celebrate the small stuff

Along with being patient, it is so important to celebrate any and all of the growth your child makes. I sometimes worry that Dylan still isn’t talking as much as his peers and forget to focus on all the amazing growth he has experienced. Since we’ve started Early Intervention Dylan has learned sign language, copied gestures and sounds, and spoken several words. This is huge progress for him, and it’s important to recognize that!

Don’t compare

The one piece of advice I sometimes struggle to take is to avoid comparing your child to his or her peers. It is really hard when I see other kids my son’s age (or younger) talking up a storm, and I wonder when my little man will be able to speak too. I keep telling myself that all kids develop at different times, and although he isn’t speaking much now, he is doing so many other amazing things. I have to trust that he will learn to speak soon and that I’m doing everything possible to help him learn.

*If you have any concerns about your child’s development, get him or her evaluated for Early Intervention (EI). It is FREE, they come to your home, and they can help with a whole range of issues your child may be having. Check out https://www.mass.gov/orgs/early-intervention-division to find the EI provider in your area.

*If you are looking for a private speech therapist around the inner suburbs of Boston, I highly recommend Children’s Speech and Language Services, LLC in Lexington.