I have a daughter who is "delayed".
She doesn't speak.
She is almost 20 months old and her only "real" word is "mama"... which she uses for everything.
She has two older sisters who speak non-stop. She hears and understands everything that is said to her, though she may not follow directions all the time. (She is, after all, a toddler.)
Despite this "delay" she communicates just fine.
My toddler "speaks" in sign language.
She uses around 17 signs and puts together three word sentences. She can tell me when she's dirty and needs a new diaper. She can tell me that she's hungry. Heck, she can tell me whether she wants water or milk in her cup. She tells me when she wants a bath or when she wants help in doing something.
Oh yes, my toddler is "delayed". She is "special" and, according to CPS, I need to put her in therapy to correct this "delay".
But my toddler is happy, healthy and loved. She is not "disabled". She is not "special needs". She is not suffering any type of neglect or abuse. She communicates more clearly than most 19 month olds. And she is polite! She says "thank you", in sign, when she gets what she wants.
So why, when I am doing exactly what a therapist would do (finding a way to communicate while encouraging her to use her speaking voice), am I being told that I need to have a "professional" look at her?
Her doctor has even said that I'm doing the right thing. I am not worried about her "delay". My baby sister didn't speak until she was 4! Why should my daughter be labeled "delayed" when she communicates just fine?
I think I'll just continue to treat my "delayed" daughter the same way I always have. ... With the love and respect that she deserves for being such a wonderful child.
She'll talk when she wants to. Until then, I'll teach her to sign.