If you suspect that your child is speech delayed:
- Ask your pediatrician or ENT doctor for a regular hearing test. They aren’t particularly accurate, but if your child passes it, then good. If he/she doesn’t pass it …
- Do a Brainstem Audio Evoked Response (BAER) test. Nea was only 18 months old when she did it, so she had to be sedated for it. It checks whether the brain is receiving the signals from the auditory nerve, so if your child passes it, hearing is definitely normal.
- If your child has normal hearing, contact your state’s Early Intervention program for a full evaluation. (for Illinois: for California)
- Remember that there are many reasons for a speech delay. Chances for a formal diagnosis are slight. Most of the children in Nea’s Early Childhood class have no diagnosis other than “developmental delay.” Alternately, they may have a more global issue (Down’s syndrome, autism, etc.) which includes a speech delay as one component.
- If your child goes through extensive speech therapy and, over time, apraxia is the most obvious diagnosis, a neurologist will suggest an MRI to check for brain deformity. Assuming none is found, apraxia will then be the official diagnosis. For further information on brain deformity and language production, please read Schulyer’s Monster.
More apraxia-specific info at my previous entry.