We spoke with the pediatrician, who, after asking us a few questions about LO, seemed to think that he’s otherwise a normal little boy. She said we can respond to his grunting at this age because otherwise he’ll get frustrated, and that it’s good he’s finding other ways to communicate. He points, he grunts, he has body language—he’s not just throwing tantrums in frustration at not being able to talk. She likes that he has eye contact, that he smiles at something that pleases him (for instance, he’ll play with a toy and all of a sudden look up and smile because it made him happy).
I asked her what constitutes a word because he has said “nana” twice for “banana,” but only after I had said it. In that case, she said it doesn’t count a word because he’s imitating me. While it’s great that he’s imitating, a real word would be something he’d say on his own. For instance, instead of grunt when he points to the clock, he would say “clock” when pointing to the clock.
She said half of the kids who don’t hit speech milestones are late talkers, and the other half need speech therapy. The problem is that there’s no way to test which category a kid falls into, so they just end up doing speech therapy on everyone. I did mention that he seems to be on a later time table on certain things, like he pointed after he turned one, and he clapped when he was 10 months.
He seems to be doing all the pre-verbal things he needs to do: grunting, pointing, etc. The next step is to schedule a hearing exam to rule out that possibility, then schedule a speech therapy in 3 weeks. We’ve so far been doing everything that we could be doing to facilitate his speech, so hopefully in due time he’ll catch up.
We do feel better knowing that he’s otherwise healthy, and that the speech delay isn’t a symptom or sign of more dire conditions.