Question: We have a great deal of concern about our son's speech. At his third birthday party, compared to the other children his age, his vocabulary was very limited. He only says about 10 words and uses “mom” for everything he needs. And he calls everyone in our family “mom.” We do not know how many words he should know by this age. Would you please point us in the right direction? – Delayed Speech
Answer: Between the ages of two and three, most children will acquire a vocabulary of about 450 words. Your son has not reached this milestone in normal speech development. Have you addressed your concerns with his pediatrician?
You can contact your local school district’s Director of Special Education for a diagnostic screening at no cost to you through the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) process called “Child Find.” This will help you see whether a delay exists. You need to find out about the federal special-education program for children ages three to five. Section 619 of Part B of IDEA (Preschool Grants) defines the preschool program, which guarantees a free, appropriate public education to children ages three to five with disabilities.
Under this program, your son might be eligible to receive services that will help him improve his speech before he enters Kindergarten. Your local Director of Special Education will have information on this program. You may also wish to contact the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s 619 coordinator, Jenny Giles, 405-522-4513.
Visiting the following websites will provide you with more information about opportunities for helping children ages three to five who have learning disabilities:
- The Oklahoma State Department of Education. Find resources relating to all areas of education in Oklahoma. sde.state.ok.us.
- The National Center for Learning Disabilities. Find resources or links to more information for people of all ages with learning disabilites. ncld.org.
- The National Association for the Education of Young Children. An organization “dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children.” naeyc.org.
- The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center. Resources geared to support children with disabilities from birth to age five. nectac.org.