Early Intervention For Speech or Language Delays

Adorable little boy whispering something to his sisterThis is part 2 of a 2 part series on speech and language development by Speech Language Pathologist Timberly Leite of  Innovative Therapy Solutions, a full-service pediatric speech and occupational therapy facility in Harlem.

What should I do if my child’s speech or language appears to be delayed?

Talk to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns. Your doctor may refer to to a speech-language pathologist, who is a health professional trained to evaluate and treat people with speech or language disorders. The speech-language pathologist will talk to you about your child’s communication and general development. He or she will also use special spoken tests to evaluate your child. A hearing test is often included in the evaluation because a hearing problem can affect speech and language development. Depending on the result of the speech-language evaluation, the speech-language pathologist may suggest activities you can do at home to stimulate your child’s development. They might also recommend group or individual therapy or suggest further evaluation by an audiologist (a health care professional trained to identify and measure hearing loss), or developmental psychologist (a health care professional with special expertise in the psychological development of infants and children).

Helpful TipsI have concerns, where can I get help for my child?

These are local resources depending on your child’s chronological age:

If your child is 0-3 years old

Based on this checklist, (and/or according to the above mentioned milestones) if your child is exhibiting signs of a delay, call 311 and ask for Early Intervention. The direct number for Early Intervention is (518) 473-7016. If you are a New York City resident, call 311 and then ask for Early Intervention. Residents outside of New York City limits should call Early Intervention directly to find out your local contact. Please view the attached Early Intervention Guide For Parents

If you have concerns about your child’s overall development (or if your child is at risk for a delay for any number of reasons (hereditary/genetic risks, abuse, drug use during pregnancy, etc.,) call 311 for Early Intervention and ask to enroll in the Developmental Monitoring Program, this is a free program sponsored by the state.

If your child is 3-5 years old

Special education services are regulated by the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE.) If you have concerns about your child’s overall development (physical, emotional, psychological, social, fine/gross motor or speech-language development OR any aspect of your child’s development) you will need to contact your local CPSE office and request assistance. Let them know that you would like to have your child evaluated and what your concerns are. They must respond in a timely manner. Please review the Parents Guide to give you information on the special education process in New York City. When your child is being considered by the CPSE for services, transportation for your child will also be addressed.

If your child is 5-21 (School-aged)

Special education services are regulated by the Committee on Special Education (CSE.) If you have concerns about your child’s overall development (physical, emotional, psychological, social, fine/gross motor or speech-language development OR any aspect of your child’s development) you will need to contact your local CSE office and request assistance. Let them know that you would like to have your child evaluated and what your concerns are. The must respond in a timely manner. Please peruse the Parents guide to Special Education to orient yourself on the services available to and the process of seeking assistance for your school-aged child. These services are available to your child regardless of the type of school your child attends. I get calls all of the time from parents whose children are not enrolled in a public school so they feel that services are not available to them, but EVERY child is entitled to Special Education services despite the school they attend! `

In Manhattan, our local CSE(s) offices are:

CSE District Address Phone/Fax
9 1,2,4 333 7th Avenue, 4th New York, NY 10001 P.  (917) 339-1600F.  (917) 339-1450
10 3,5,6 388 West 125th StreetNew York, NY 10027 P.  (212) 342 8300F.  (212) 342-8427

While you are going through the evaluation process and you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Once you have gone through the evaluation process and if you are in need of speech therapy or occupational therapy services, please consider Innovative Therapy Solutions for your therapy needs!

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