When my son turned two I noticed he was pretty quiet which didn't seem right to me. Every developmental milestone either happened right on time or long before average timing. The kid was walking and running his iPad like a pro by 8 months among other things. He has a cousin about 6 months younger who was singing and babbling pretty much coherent words. Of course, I kept being told there's nothing to worry about, some kids talk late, he's very intelligent nothing could possibly be wrong. All of these things were true but my Mommy gut said nah homie it's time to ask questions.
My first area of inquiry was my son's doctor. He had excellent nonverbal communication, you didn't have to guess what he wanted because either he showed you or had already figured out how to handle it on his own. His doctor suggested speech therapy because at this point he should be learning two new words every day. I went into meltdown mode blaming myself for not breastfeeding long enough to help his brain develop, not talking to him enough, maybe I should have been a stay at home mom and this wouldn't be happening. Truth is none of these things are factors.
So now I know he needs Speech Therapy but there is a looong waiting list. I wanted help and I wasn't sitting on my hands waiting for it to happen so I started doing research. I read blog after blog about activities to do with kids who have a speech delay. I set up tons of playdates with cousins, friends, and random strangers in the park. My theory was with all the activities and exposure to little humans his age he'll be talking in no time.
One month in and no results so back to researching I go but this time instead of looking for what I could do, I looked for who could help me, help us. It only took a second to find Goodwill Easter Seals Early Intervention program, an in the home or in daycare service that provides speech and occupational therapies to children under 3.
The first visit was the evaluation. They did a series of short test to assess his delay and decide what services he needed and how often. Twice a month a speech therapist comes to my home and teaches me how to help my son while also working with him. Last night the most amazing thing happened, he stood in front of the tv and sang the theme song to SpongeBob Squarepants! The child who spoke 5 words only 3 months ago sang a whole song. He has several words, a few phrases, and soon I'm sure a sentence or two. While service will stop with Goodwill once he turns 3, they'll refer him to a school therapist who will continue service until he doesn't need it anymore.
If you suspect your child may have a speech delay and could stand these services just know they are available but not always talked about. They have Mobile and Baldwin County services available. If you're worried about pay, don't, insurance will cover it or it will be taken care of through donations they receive. Don't be ashamed to get this kind of help. My son is intelligent and he also learns a different. The only disservice I could ever do is see his need and not meet it trying to keep up appearances.
Since my son started this program I've been directed to a number of services that they offer including a K3 program I never knew existed.