Ada has been slow to talk for her age. We haven't been concerned with her development necessarily, but we have been keeping a close eye on her progress and watching for signs that she was struggling or falling too far behind. In the past, we assumed that, since Ada was so big for her age, she was putting all of her efforts into growing instead of her speech and language. More recently, I was encouraged by a few friends to have her evaluated by a speech therapist to see just how delayed she was and if she would benefit from some speech therapy. I haven't figured out how the program in the city works quite yet, but we got a referral from her doctor and got the process started. Last week, she met with an Audiologist to have her hearing tested and passed with flying colors. Next week she meets with a Speech Therapist and a Behaviorist to see if she is more than 30% delayed for her age. If she is, she would qualify for an Early Intervention program here in the city but... it's only available until age three and her birthday is the following Sunday. So, that means they evaluate her and then she would qualify to go into preschool at Chicago Public Schools as a three-year old.
Obviously I still have a lot to learn about how all of this is going to work, but it should be enlightening. Whether she has a qualifying delay or not, I was told speaking is one of the easiest things to fix versus issues with cognition. If nothing else, I hope the evaluators can give me some tips and tricks on how to get Ada to communicate better with us. She has been so frustrated lately and has resorted to pulling us over to things she wants and pointing, whining, and crying despite our best efforts to encourage her to "use your words". She has a ton of words, she just isn't stringing them together very often. And it is even more obvious when we are around her friends and they are talking in pargraphs. We'll get there. We just might need a little help figuring out how.
Moral of the story: Invest in the time it takes to teach your child to communicate, and stay on top of their development. If you are concerned in the slightest bit, have them evaluated early. It will save you both a lot of frustration in the long run.