Hayes has been in speech therapy since March and he's doing great! Texas offers services though Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) for kids 36 months and under. He'll turn three in February and I doubt he will qualify for services once he is done with ECI. He's well past developmental milestones for 30 months. He talks incessantly now and I attribute that to his therapy.
At Hayes' 18 month check up, his speech was delayed. However, he is social and was very communicative in other ways, so his pedi wasn't concerned. Caroline had been home less than three months at that point and Walker was just starting to work with his developmental pediatrician. It was a triage situation in our house and Hayes didn't qualify yet. At his two year check he wasn't talking much more than he had been six months prior but was still so engaged in relationship that his pedi wasn't concerned. At that point, he was barely meeting the recommended guidelines for an 18 month old, so he was over six months delayed. I requested a referral to speech therapist and she gave me one. If I hadn't been down this road with Walker it would not have occurred to me to ask if it wasn't recommended.
The options at that point were ECI or a private therapy clinic. ECI is cheaper and comes to your house but I thought a private therapy clinic might be easier to work with. A Facebook survey told me enough good things about Easter Seals (my ECI provider) that I called them and got going. His therapist is great! She has an adult son on the autism spectrum so she'd been on the parent side of the occupational therapy. She thought Hayes' delays would be helped by different kinds of movements, similar to what we do for Walker with his occupational therapy. She gave me homework like read to him while swinging or have him kick a ball with his non-dominant foot. He immediately started talking. His first goal was to ask for two food items by name. I also wanted him to ask me to name pictures in a book rather than insistently pointing at them until I named it. He blew by those goals in a few weeks and I'd been working on them alone for months with no progress. He talks incessantly now so the focus has been on articulation. During his last session, we were working on a particular sound. It involved him saying it then getting the reward of me throwing him on the couch. He loved it. Also, his therapist noticed he speaks more clearly while hanging upside down. Working with Walker has made me a believer that all systems are integrated in more ways than I understand but Walker's issues are so global that it's more difficult to see what impacts what. Hayes is more straightforward so the cause and effect is clear.
He gained virtually no language in six months and has an extensive vocabulary after six months of therapy. I am so thankful to have this help for him! ECI focuses on equipping the parent so I'm engaged in the session the whole time and continue working with him throughout the week. It's been a great experience. It is a commitment but the progress has been so worth it!