When should a parent pursue Speech Therapy?

Parents should consider seeking an evaluation with a Speech Therapist if their child demonstrates any of the following:

Birth to 2 months:
• Does not cry when hungry or uncomfortable
• Does not make comfort sounds or sucking sounds
• Cry does not vary in pitch, length or volume to indicate different needs
• Difficulty establishing/maintaining a rhythmical suck/swallow pattern
• Significant loss of breast milk/formula out of side of mouth during feeding
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3 to 5 months:
• Vocalizes separately from body movements (sound is not a response to body movement)
• Inability to establish or maintain face to face communication during feeding
• Does not vocalize in response to sound stimulation
• Has not begun to laugh by 5 months in response to play
• Difficulty with feedings such as above
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5 to 7 months:
• Does not babble during play or in response to stimulation (may suggest a hearing problem)
• Does not use voice to vocalize attitudes other than crying
• Does not respond to sound stimulation (indicative of hearing problems)
• Difficulty with swallowing early solids or other feeding issues
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7 to 9 months:
• Does not look towards sounds or own name
• Is not babbling double consonants (bababa....)
• Difficulty with textures in foods (gagging, choking, etc.)
• Is unable to participate in conversations with adults using babbling noises
• Does not say "mama" or "dada" non-specifically
• Does not use different inflections to produce exclamations
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9 to 12 months:
• Is unable to successfully eat early finger foods or munch/bite on foods
• Cannot babble single consonants such as "ba" or "da"
• Does not respond to words/language appropriately
• Does not experiment with language when playing independently
• Does not participate in conversations by responding with vocalizations
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12 to 15 months:
• Does not use inflection during vocalization
• Is not experimenting with language during play
• Is not using 1 to 3 words spontaneously while repeating additional words
• Does not vocalize or gesture to communicate needs
• Is not using "no" emphatically and meaningfully
• Is not using exclamatory expression such as "oh-oh", "No-no", Ta-da", etc.
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15 to 18 months:
• Is not attempting to sing songs
• Cannot use 10-15 words  spontaneously
• Is not using vocalization in conjunction with gestures
• Does not use language to communicate needs
• Is not repeating sounds or words or imitating environmental sounds
• Is not jabbering tunefully during play
• Continues to demonstrate eating problems (swallowing issues, choking, etc.)
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18 to 24 months:
• Is not using jargon with good inflection
• Cannot label 2-4 pictures while looking at a book
• Is not putting 2-4 words together to form short sentences to communicate needs
• Does not understand nouns, verbs and modifiers and their uses
• Cannot imitate 2-4 word phrases
• Does not relay experiences using jargon, words and/or gestures
• Does not have at least 50 - 100 words
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24 to 33 months:
• Cannot sing phrases of songs
• Is not using three word sentences
• Is not using a wide range of consonant and vowel sounds
• Does not use past tense words "He runned"
• Is not expressing frustration at not being understood
• Does not use up to or more than 50 expressive words
• Is not imitating phrases or experimenting with new words
• Words are not clearly articulated
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33 to 36 months:
• Is not responding to questions when asked things
• Is not producing correct beginning sounds of words
• Is having a hard time understanding prepositions
• Is not speaking in complete sentences
• Does not use plurals to refer to more than one (even if not correct)
• Is not participating in storytelling
• Does not have expressive vocabulary of 200 - 1000 words
• Is not using expressive vocabulary to communicate all needs
• Is not using sentences to communicate