I want to introduce you today to my sister, Jennifer. Check out her page for the facts. What you won't see there is that she is creative, funny and just about the best thing you could hope to get in a little sister. Every Thursday, or thereabouts, she is going to share her expertise with us - this is the Communication Station. Hop on!!
If you suspect that your child is not developing or late in developing speech and language skills or other developmental milestones as compared to others their age, the first thing you should do is start a conversation with your pediatrician. When you take your young child in for a routine check-up, the doctor is only seeing your child a couple of times a year for a very limited amount of time, so the fact that the pediatrician may not pick up on your concerns is not surprising.
Children are often very quiet and nervous when visiting the doctor’s office, so the pediatrician is probably not surprised that your child is not talking, non-compliant, or even having a tantrum. You as a parent need to be proactive in starting the conversation with your child’s pediatrician. Ask for a referral to a speech-language pathologist or developmental pediatrician, especially if you suspect autism.
There are many services in your community that can provide services at no or very minimal cost to you. Look for resources with early intervention services and the public schools to help get started. It can be a scary thing to think that your child may have some delays, but you should follow your instinct and get it checked out. The earlier a child starts receiving intervention services, the better the outcome. Don’t wait! In my personal opinion and professional experience, the greatest window of opportunity is between the ages of 2-5.