Your kid has been diagnosed with a speech delay ... now what?! Here's how to take action:
- If your kid is under 3, he should be referred to an early childhood intervention program for speech therapy. If he is over 3, the local school district may provide you with a speech therapist/pathologist.
- Read to your kid. Make a game of pointing out and naming things in picture books.
- Narrate your day. Name foods at the grocery store, point out things going on around you. By talking a lot, you are exposing your kid to language.
- Ask him simple questions about his day (but don't use baby talk). Repeat his answers to him using longer phrases.
- Be patient. Don't rush him to answer or force him to talk.
- Don't correct errors in your kid's speech—unless a speech therapist advises you to do so.
- Ask your kid's speech therapist how you can help his progress. Work together as a team.
If you find yourself feeling down or getting frustrated with your child's progress, don't beat yourself up. It's only natural. But try not to let your kid feel your frustration. You don't want him to think that you're angry at him for not being able to express himself. With professional help and family support, his speech should improve and he'll be chatting your ear off 24/7!