Seth didn't take his first step until he was 18 months old. This was after the tail end of what I thought was normal; but I thought because he was late crawling, he was late walking. He wasn't walking exclusively until 20 months.
When I took Seth in for an appointment when he was 2 1/2 and I told the doctor he wasn't talking. The doctor told me that he was just "the strong, silent type." I believed her... for a few days.
But you can call it mother's intuition or bullheadedness, I didn't take her word for it and, in tears, I called Children's Therapy Center in Kent. By then, he was 34 months old and hardly talking at all. I took him in for a speech evaluation. They said he was talking as much as a child who was 1 year and 11 months old. He was a full year behind "typical." He qualified for speech therapy.
Unfortunately, because he was 34 months just 2 months shy of 3, he did not qualify for the birth to 3 program known as SKIP (South King County Early Intervention Program). SKIP has speech and occupational therapists who bring the therapy to your home because that is where the children are most comfortable and most likely to respond to therapy.
Instead, I dragged my three small children in diapers to a weekly appointment in Kent, 25 minutes from my home. It was worth it to get Seth the help he needed.
I wish I had known that children work on one area of development before moving on to another one. They must learn to walk before they can learn to talk.
I wish I had told my pediatrician she was wrong and pursued an evaluation sooner. I didn't because we're on private insurance, and I knew we couldn't afford the extra money. I feel really foolish for using that as an excuse.
At age 4, Seth is just beginning to be understood.
I'll never know what he would be like today if I had taken him in to be evaluated sooner. I cannot undo the past. I can, however, spread the word...
Early Intervention is FUN!
Little Known Facts...
- If a child qualifies for the Birth to 3 program with SKIP, the state will pick up the tab after insurance runs out.
- Often, there are scholarships for families who can't afford the co-pays.
- An evaluation will put your mind at ease. Worst case scenario: a wasted a co-pay that costs the same as an evening out. Best case scenario: a child gets the help they need.
- The therapists don't judge parenting. They're actually really nice and encouraging. They also have the best interest of the child in mind.
- There is no stigma surrounding a child with developmental delays. Many children are "caught up" by the time they reach school age.