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Speech and Language Evaluation; Speech and Developmental Delays

speech and developmental delays
     About a month ago, Tantrum Tot, my 23 month old, had his initial autism screening during a well-baby appointment at the pediatricians office.  The result conveyed was extremely high risk.

The pediatrician made an appointment for us to have a speech and language evaluation while we wait for an appointment with the developmental pediatrician, who by the way, we will have to wait several months to get in to see, AND drive three hours in each direction for a visit!

We are still waiting for our initial information packet, which needs to be filled out and returned to them to arrive in the mail.  No appointments will be made until they receive the packet (it would be nice if they actually send the damn thing to me though). To date, I am still waiting.

Today we went for T’s Speech and Language Evaluation.  He played quietly lining up toy school buses in the waiting room while me and hubby filled out the intake paperwork.  Unfortunately that quiet was followed by a head-banging temper tantrum two seconds into his evaluation.

The speech pathologist took him into the therapy room leaving hubby and I in an observation room behind two-way glass.  I felt like my poor baby was interrogated while we lurked on the outside.  She attempted to sit him in a hair with a “tray” of sorts.  It was like a high chair tray–big mistake! He freaks out if you attempt to restrain him to a high chair or anything where he cannot move around freely.

He screamed, cried, threw things, and tried to hit the poor woman with his head. I had to go into the room to hold and rock him because the poor kid was hyperventilating he was so upset.  The pathologist said that most of the autistic children she works with love to be in that chair, and have their own play space.  Well, not mine!

When finally calmed, he wanted the animals from the Noah’s Ark toy on a shelf. Mom and the little guy sat on the floor lining up animals together. He was fairly cooperative from that point on.

The results: Receptive Expressive Language Delay; His developmental age is right around one year.  He is only using three words at the moment: Mom, No, and Go. Little guy does not respond to his name, or make eye contact–but we knew all this already.

We are still awaiting a visit with the Developmental Pediatrician to confirm his doctors ASD suspicions, and will (hopefully) be starting therapy two days per week–if our insurance will pay for it.  If they do not, I am not sure exactly how much therapy we will be able to afford.

I was not able to get anyone from Blue Cross / Blue Shield on the phone today, so I will be hounding them first thing in the morning armed with my diagnosis and treatment ICD-9 codes.  If anyone has experience with BC/BS and speech therapy, please let me know what your experience was.

This is the first of my three boys who has had any kind of speech therapy/intervention this early so I am not sure what to expect fully at this point.  The older boys were both at least four when they began speech therapy through the school system.

If your little ones had early intervention speech therapy, what was the outcome?  Do you think it is really effective at such a young age? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.