Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Speech delays and misdiagnosis: why wishing your baby was the best can get you in trouble

Posted by on Oct. 27, 2012 at 10:44 PM
  • 4 Replies
  • 702 Total Views



Question: When did you get your child tested for a speech delay?


12 months old

18 months old

2 years old

3 years old

over four years old

Only group members can vote in this poll.

Total Votes: 17

View Results

Here is a recent blog post on misdiagnosis of speech delays. People on this site have told me to go to a doctor, but that isn't what the science says is the right thing to do. Join me on my Wordpress blog for lost of great, well-researched parenting information at The Art and Science of Parenting.


Speech delays and misdiagnosis: why wishing your baby was the best can get you in trouble

Everyone wants their baby to progress normally--OK that is a lie. Everyone wants their baby to be a  genius--growing, speaking, engaging ahead of schedule.

Bodhi is 18 months--that key age where speaking begins to emerge--he has a number of words, but until the full sentences come I will worry. The window of progress for toddlers' comprehension and verbal skills is so great, it is a time many people find stressful and full of pressure from practitioners who may or may not be well-schooled on child development.

After seeing Bodhi for something else, my diagnosis-happy doctor has me worked up. Talking to me in passing for 30 seconds about my son, he informed me I may have wasted time intervening a speech delay. Ack! Mother guilt triggered. So I started to read and research.

The window for toddler development in speech is significant and there are a few slots that a child can be put in if they aren't progressing at a rate considered normal.

Developmental Apraxia is one of the diagnoses given to speech delays. It is a neurological disorder that causes the inability to form the correct sounds. For this single speech disorder,  75% to 87% of cases are wrongly diagnosed. This means families have gone through the stigma and worry of their child having an illness, spent thousands on specialists and wasted time they could have spent with their family in other ways.

The main reason for the misdiagnosis: the physicians were making it too early. According to the linked article, early intervention is important, but a diagnosis shouldn’t be made until age 3 not 18 months!

I am listening to my gut, the scientifically-valid information I have read, and the mothers I trust.

After coming to my senses, my pediatrician was fired--there is a difference between a concerned doctor and one acting out of ego.

Use your intuition about your child and couple it with scientific fact. I am the expert on my child–not my doctor. The doctor we are taking him to now asks me if I have any concerns. At age 3 we will put a heck of a lot more weight on the doctor's assessment if he is struggling, but the question about speech at 18 months isn’t if the physician is concerned–it’s whether the parent is.


I found this to be a sensible website for child speech development:

by on Oct. 27, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-4):
by Member on Nov. 6, 2012 at 2:55 PM
1 mom liked this

I brought up the delay when he was almost 2 they said he's just being "spoiled" which I can't deny he was didn't have to ask for anything just gave it to him. When he turned 3 he was still just gesturing not saying much so  I brought it up and they finally took it serious. He's been in speech since he was 3 and is doing GREAT =)

by on Jan. 3, 2013 at 4:16 AM

My ds is in speech for a year and a half now.  At 1 year he wasn't making any sounds at all.  No coos, no babbling, nothing at all.  At 2 1/2 now he is beginning to jargon, babble and 1st words.  If I wasn't so insistent I do not believe that we would be where we are now.

by New Member on Feb. 28, 2013 at 12:53 AM

We had 'D' checked out at 18 months then again at 2 yrs old. At 18 months we were told that he was still too young to be determined with a speech issue but at 2 they determined he has an issue since all he does is babble and has no clear words at all. He has been in speech therapy for 10 months now and has only started to say mom. He is also signing which has help trememndously with communication. 

by New Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 2:58 AM

I sought help just before 2 years old because he had started saying words at 9 months, and then just completely stopped, and seemed to have an extremely hard time copying any sounds at all.

He'd be stressed, confused, even act embarrassed, and then the sounds he did make would come out wrong.

Literally right after I got some therapy (before they had even worked with him) his speech suddenly exploded and he started attempting words.

He's still behind for his age (27 months), but now he actually copies us and has gotten up to maybe 75 words, although most of them don't actually sound much like the word.

He only has about 2-3 words that he can say the end of. His letters are always evolving because he's very unsure of how to actually make the sounds.

He went from "mo" to "more"  but has now digressed to "Moy."

Many words sound identical, so he gives me other signs to let me know. 

Doo is door, cold, two, toes, etc. so when he's saying it's cold he pretends to shiver lol.

He wasn't at all receptive to sign language at first and I just stopped trying, so he then later ended up inventing his own signs for things, and is now finally into copying real sign language. We had a bit of a breakthrough last night when he finally put two words together for the first time. We were reading a book that had a bumble bee that was smaller than the other creatures so he pointed and said, BEE! and then BABY! and then with some encouragement he said it together, "baby bee" and I was totally thrilled lol.

He has no signs of any other problem, and I now finally have hope that he will be able to talk relatively soon.

I am Kaela, a proud 24 year old atheist, pro-choice, single Mama to full-term breastfed, co-sleeping, freebirthed, intact, lucky little Wolfgang!

"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted." 

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)