Early Language Intervention

Soon after birth, your child will show off her personality and develop skills such as briefly gazing at objects, communicating that she wants to be held, and fussing to be fed. Although children develop at their own pace, most achieve certain milestones, such as crawling, walking, saying first words, at around the same age.

By 12 months most children have one or two words that they say with meaning and can comply with simple requests (e.g., 'Can I have your cup?') or commands (e.g., "Don't touch!") and understand little questions (e.g., 'Where's your tummy?').

By 2 to 3 years of age your child should be able to follow two-part instructions ('Get your teddy and put it on the chair') and string two or three words together to talk about and ask for things.

When children are not reaching expected milestones and are showing significantly delayed development, parents may worry. Suspecting a "delay" is scary, but there may not always be a problem. If there is a problem, early intervention services are available to help a child who may have trouble reaching certain milestones. Early intervention means using "therapy services to enhance a child's ability to interact with others and the environment; these everyday experiences and interactions are essential for optimal child development," In 1986 the U.S. Congress mandated an Early Intervention Program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to support children's development with funding for all 50 states. Early Intervention services are usually free and available for children under 3 years old who are suspected of having developmental (physical, cognitive, language) delays, disabilities, or special needs. A pediatrician will usually recommend an evaluation. You can also contact Tennessee Early Intervention System. Foothills Language & Feeding can help you with assessing whether your child's language skills are delayed and provide Early Intervention language therapy.