With Your Cards To Your Chest, Walking On Your Toes

A Different Kind of Okay

Well. He's speech delayed. All official-like.

Oh, dial back on the melodrama, Self. Whatever. He's okay. I'm okay!

I was a little late to our appointment. Because I kept changing my shirt. I was looking for my most-capable-looking outfit, as Cher Horowitz would say, and couldn't figure out how best to look like a responsible, informed mother...but, you know, not like a helicoptering stage mother who spends too much time on Google. I am thinking that mother owns a lot of sweater sets.

In the end, I wore shorts and a tank top. But! I wore a BELT. I was READY.

I read all of your lovely comments while we waited in the exam room (iPhone! iPhoneiPhoneiPhonemmmm), and after the dozenth or so story about a late-talking kid who went on to be perfectly fine and smart and become President of the United States and inventor of the TiVo, I began to feel really silly for even being there. This is ridiculous! He's fine!

So I shoved my phone back in my bag and waited for the doctor to come in and tell me how fine everything was.

Noah was particularly charming during the entire appointment and clearly developed a wee little grandpa crush on his doctor. He kept hugging him. He slapped him five and grinned like a loon and the doctor declared him utterly delightful.

The only thing he did not do was talk. At all. Not a word.

I rattled off all of our words: Aball. Adada. Amama. Ababy. Car. Banana. Oh no.

"Banana?" the doctor asked. "Does he really say the whole word?"

"Well. No. It's more like nana."

He nodded. And then he crossed it off the list. Not even partial credit! Way harsh!

I listed our sort-of words. Ball-ball for bye-bye. Eee for eyes. Dar for star and awawa for butterfly. Nah for Noah. I didn't mention abeer, but Noah hasn't said that in ages anyway.

I told him how Noah loses words or simplifies them over time. That's when he noticed Noah was walking on his tiptoes.

"Does he do that a lot?"

Fuck. Yes.

As today's modern neurotic parent knows, walking on tiptoes is your one-way ticket to the magical, fuzzy land of "sensory integration issues."  Add in some drooling, tantrums at Gymboree and a heap load of food and texture issues...and bam! You've just been upgraded to first-class.

The doctor took one look at my face (which, did I mention by this point I'd broken out in lovely Something-About-Mary-style hives all over my face and neck? Because I totally did. So much for my capable-looking tank top.), and immediately began to tell me over and over (and over again) that no! NOT AUTISM! NOT ASPERGER'S! WE ARE NOT TALKING AUTISM HERE PLEASE DON'T FREAK OUT.

I assured him that while yes, I am a neurotic mess, autism has never once been on my list of Things That Could Be Wrong With My Kid. (Thing #1: Almost Too Cute And Delicious, Thus Irresistible To Bears.) Who, by the way, is trying to tickle your thigh. Could you please indulge him and pretend to laugh, Doctor?

"Don't call yourself that." he said, while miming a hearty knee-slap. "I mean it. This is your child. You're supposed to worry about him."

So. Noah definitely falls into the 25% delayed or more category, and qualifies for a more thorough evaluation.  His doctor strongly believes some kind of sensory processing problem is the cause, but that it's probably nothing that can't be corrected before kindergarten.

I now have a list of early intervention centers and phone numbers, with the words DON'T PANIC written on it in large, friendly letters. (I may have written them. I have lovely -- if remarkably childlike -- penmanship.)  And I've been advised to start signing with him. (Karma has bitten me in the ass. And it has a beak. Like a duck.)

Part of me wonders if we're just making A Thing out of Not A Thing. Part of me feels relieved that this prickle of worry that I've been simultaneously ignoring and stressing about for months may have been justified. That all those times I said, "I think there might be something up with Noah's speech," only to get brushed of with a dismissive wave from friends ("Oh, stop being so neurotic"), I was actually right.

Most of me wishes I'd been wrong. But all of me will do whatever Noah needs me to do, and will love him just the way he is, because please. He's fine. He's okay. He's perfect.




You did the right thing. Good for you!


I think he's lovely.

Local Lurker

Even the worst case scenario at this point REALLY ISN"T THAT BAD. He communicates. He laughs. He's warm and loving and so are you.

Besides, signing really is fun. It will astonish you that he will learn it faster than you, even though you are hte one teaching it. Its so intuitive. Try it, even if its signs you make up. "L" on the forehead "loooser" symbol? It means Daddy!!

Local lurker. I'm shy, I saw you at the Target pharmacy w/Noah a while back and totally couldn't even make eye contact, so you wouldnt' think I was a huge slobbering dork, especially while you were toting around a sick baby.


As you said, Noah is perfect. And even if he isn't perfect by the world's standard, he is perfect because he is yours. You love him and he loves you. The End.

Suzy Q

He is a delicious cutie and shall always remain so. I wish I were 18 months old so I could grow up and marry him.


So glad you went. He is totally perfect, and you are doing the completely right thing. You are a completely capable and wonderful sweater-set mother, tank-top-be-damned. I hope to be as wonderful as you at the whole parenting gig. Kiss that precious boy-face-who-bears-can't-resist (which, by the way, should be your biggest worry) :)

FunnyGal KAT

He IS perfect. And it's OK to be neurotic when it comes to your child. And this is probably one of those things that you'll look back on with a dismissive wave of the hand. "Remember when the doctor said... Noah, could you be quiet for a moment please? Anyway, remember when... Noah, I'm trying to talk. Shhh. Um, that time the doctor said... Not now, Noah, please! Does this kid ever stop talking?!?"


Amy-I just emailed you. As I said in the comments to your last post, I work with a lot of the programs in the county. So email me if you want any reccomendations or help.

It is going to be fine.


Agreed - totally perfect.

When my kid was seven months old there was a HUGE melodramatic CAT scan because the fissures in her skull were fusing early and we had to meet with a craniofacial surgeon and a pediatric neuro surgeon. The preliminary diagnosis meant that she would need a lot of surgeries to make her head big enough for her brain, and she would look severly mentally retarded (but wouldn't actually be).
This is when I learned the true meaning of a parent's love. It will all be fine, and you'll love him no matter what, and you'll get to hold him that much closer to you to protect him from the mean, scary judgemental world. And you'll devote your life to serving children in similar situations - because the world is so big and mean and scary! And no one understands that this is a PERSON, a REAL LIVE PERSON... but you understand, so you'll so them the love they deserve.

And then Noah will be fine (like my child, who, as it turns out, was only fusing two fissures early, and only one month early - all is well), and you'll always be able to remember how it is children (who then grow into adults) suffering from a truly debilitating condition deserve to be accepted - as humans.

Oh, we're pretty awesome peope because of these scares, Amy... don't you love us!?!?


As a first grade teacher, you YOU are an awesome parent AWESOME! Because you love your child unconditionally AND you are parenting him with your eyes open. You are being loving and smart at the same time. You rock very hard for this. Addressing these things before kindergarten, well, I just can't tell you what an exceptionally good idea this is. Please feel happy, positive thoughts about your parenting prowess.

Oh, and thanks for the tips on hitting on the other blog.

And also, my 15 month Emma was totally just drooling over your son's picture, as she does every time she sees him.


Thanks for keeping us all updated. Sounds like he had a nice, thorough evaluation. And, of course, you know you did exactly the right thing, reacted exactly the right way, and jesus christ, you are exactly my newest favorite hero for posting about it here. Thanks for giving those of us with kids in similar situations a boost of confidence to do the same.

BTW, my offer to commiserate still stands. :)


Keep your chin up. Everything will be fine. Give him a big hug.


Oh shit! Not the news you were hoping for, but thankfully not worse.

Good luck! Noah's lucky to have you.


I'm with Sherry, except that my kid has already gone through it. My hat goes off to parents who aren't in denial about the possibility of their kids having problems, and a pox on those who delay evaluation or treatment until it's too damn late. I just met a 10 year old with an awful speech impediment who has never had therapy. WTF were his parents thinking?

It may not end here, either. We got through early intervention for speech and motor delays, dealt with the sensory freakouts, then had to deal with lazy eye and patching and glasses, then just got an ADHD diagnosis this year at age 9. My kid is extremely bright, socially awkward (but not Aspergers!), difficult for teachers to handle, and I thank God every day that I am his mom. He's not "fine" but he's fine by me.


0ur society places a lot of emphasis on early verbal skill, but we all know folks who spoke hardly a word until they were three, and now they are university professors, brain surgeons, or even (gasp) supermodels. Maybe Noah isn't speaking so much because he's distracted with his plans for splitting the atom. Only time will tell, but in the meantime hang in there!


I have a little guy that sounded a lot like you described your little guy at his age. He's now 4 and a half, and while he still has some catching up to do, I couldn't love him any more. He has a silly diagnosis called Specific Language Impairment, which is a bullshit term for "speaks with incomplete words and poor grammar and we don't know why." I've written a number of posts about him, and although I don't update anymore, looking at them might give you a sense of somebody else going through the same thing as you.

The point? It's all okay. My son still drools sometimes, and sometimes folks don't know what to make of him because he seems a bit all over the place but the truth is he's funny and charming as hell and doing fabulously with the alphabet and beginning to read little words. I truly believe reading will be his ticket out.

We all have coping mechanisms, and our kids may need to use some that other kids won't, but their great kids, and they will exceed everyone's expectations.

Because I said so. ;-)

I won't tell you not to worry, because you will, but I will tell you to have as much fun as possible. Singing songs is a good tool for learning words, Mr & Mrs Potatohead are good toys for learning gender pronouns, the Word Whammer is great for letter and word recognition.

It's all gonna be okay.


a friend of mine's little guy was speech delayed - he needed some speech therapy and now at 5 he's caught right up. my point is, it's good to catch this.

One of the Amy's

"...I've been simultaneously ignoring and stressing ..." So glad I'm not the only one who manages to do that. Never doubt your gut're a mom and moms aren't usually wrong about their gut feelings. Trust in yourself and in Noah...a little extra work and he'll be caught up in no time.


I won't say much as I know everyone else has but just know.. He is your Noah and he IS perfect.

Lisa M

We know so much more about developmental issues than we did even 10 years ago. He will be fine! He will learn and he will be a fantastic man someday. I won't tell you not to worry because that's what moms do. But because you do worry and have noticed this about Noah, now he can begin the process of (for lack of a better term) re-wiring his brain. Kid's brains are so amazing and resilient! Noah will totally rock it with his teacher's!!


He's adorable and perfect and just needs a little push. He is a boy after all. ;-)
Good job trusting your instincts, it's way too easy to listen to the friends who are telling you you're neurotic.


He'll be just fine. Do what you need to do and it will all work out. All kids are different, heck...I had to go to speech therapy because I couldn't say my 's' right and that's what my name starts with. Also, I would write them backwards, because I am left handed. I turned out a smart cookie. Hell, my sister didn't talk for years, now we can't shut her up. :)


I can honestly feel your pain/worry/concerns right now. My son was diagnosed with Aspergers. Had all the signs and we finally said, well, if it quacks like a duck, lets call it a duck. That said - he is doing so amazing - and not just cuz I'm his Mom and I get to say it - he really is - and I 100% believe it's because we were honest and did lots of intervention until we found the mixture that works best for him.

I am also a sped teacher, with mostly experience in Autism and Asperger (and then I ended up with my own child on the spectrum - talk about being on both sides - parent and teacher).

I know I am a complete stranger to you - but I live in NoVa and if you ever need local advice, ideas, venting, etc, please feel free to contact me. I feel like I know you so well from reading your blog and realize you know nothing about me, but, if you need an ear from a parent who has been there as well as an educator, please let me know.


He's fine! He's perfect! And signing is fun. If Jason learns some signs too, you'll no longer need to talk about people behind their backs. You can do it right in front of them and they'll never be the wiser! Also great for communicating across noisey playgrounds and big parking lots.

As I wrote in my comment to your previous post, I really recommend the Signing Time! series. Noah might not be talking, but from what I've read here in the past, he understands just about everything you say. Other series, like "My Baby Can Talk" only have one or two videos. They're good videos, but Noah will be past "dog" and "horse" and "more" very quickly. With Signing Time, you and he can learn literally hundreds of useful signs. And like I said, it's fun!


i'd be worried about the bear thing, too. because damn that child is adorable.
also, perfect.
screw talking, he's probably already written the great american novel in his precioius head, and is just looking at you like: woman! when are you going to teach me to write?


Little man is way too social and happy and huggy for Autism, methinks. I'm sure he's just being a stubborn little bear, and he'll be just fine :-)


Well fuck.

I commented on your last post about how my son is in the same boat with the not speaking thing but I wasn't at all worried about it, so I had no plans to do an evaluation. I mean, he understands me, he makes lots of sounds (just not words), he babbles with inflection in his voice and pauses, he has no problems eating . . .

But then you bring up the tippy-toe walking, which my doctor said was only a problem if he never walked flat-footed. And then you said 'tantrums at Gymboree' and after more than a year of going to Gymboree, we're on our last month because I CAN'T HANDLE THE F'ING TANTRUMS ANYMORE. And then - then you said issues with texture, which isn't a problem with food textures because my kid loves some food, but he won't touch playdoh.

Crap - I really didn't think your follow up post would actually cause me to worry . . .


Hey Amy,
I have twin nephews that were in the "delayed speech" category. We all started signing with them, and it is really amazing how qucik they pick it up. This was one year ago, and sweet jesus! they have got a massive vocabulary now. They will be three in September.

Okay, so maybe not massive, but they have improved immensly. I am a very proud aunt.


He is perfect and everything will be fine.


He is just perfect! Like so many little boys I know he is probably just doing things on his own schedule. Stubborn little guy!


My mom always says that I didn't talk "on time" and preferred to babble to my brother (two years older than me) who would translate. I later had speech therapy from 3rd through 6th grade and should have gone longer but my good teacher had a baby and I got stuck with two old ladies who thought giving me worksheets would somehow help me pronounce words, even though my reading was fine and at that point I'd read all of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy," Cold Mountain, and a bajillion YA books.

After all that speech drama, I ended up a National Merit Scholar and graduated high school with high honors. (I would have highest honors if I had been less or more lazy- done more work in the AP classes I took, or decided to not take them.)

So don't worry about Noah's future. Even if he doesn't turn out exactly like a boy version of me with cooler parents, he's still going to be a wonderful bright darling guy, and the worst thing is that he might be Almost Too Cute And Delicious, Thus Irresistible To Bears.

(Also, you know those average development milestones? I think they're totally off-the-mark and are swayed by tiny children like the one who told me, for no discernible reason, "I have a Spiderman mask at my new house," even though he looked, at most, a few months older than Noah.)


You absolutely have nothing to stress about. Call the numbers they gave you and get him started on the early intervention he needs. He will be fine. And yes he is very cute.

My daughter is 4 1/2 and hasn't spoken a word. That however is the least of her problems. Really, you have nothing to stress over.

Good luck!


What Steph said rings so true for me too - my guy is 8, he does have a mild autism dx, but that's gone back and forth since he was 2 - from autism to behavior disorder to gifted and back to autism. Never Asperger's, even though that's what everyone thinks he has, because in a lot of states, you don't get "services" with that label. I'm glad to have a label. Without a label, by the time they start Kinder and they still have issues, you're pretty much shit out of luck.

I believe I got what I could handle, what I needed to show me to myself and make me a better mother. And a better human being.

Noah is going to be fine, you are going to be fine. You are all going to be amazing. He came to you for a reason because you are the only one who can mother him the way he needs to be mothered. Power on with those instincts. You are right to feel validated. I can't tell you how justified I feel looking back at different situations - but you just don't trust yourself totally while you are in the middle of it. Trust that prickle - turn it over, poke it with a stick, contemplate it. Make friends with the prickle.

Oh, and when my guy got diagnosed at age 2. The outfit I wore to the appointment that day. I threw it away.


Hi from a lurker. I am a Speech Therapist, and I just wanted to give you a high-five for taking your little dude in to be checked! Speech-wise? Worst case? He could need some speech therapy...and get all fixed up! It won't be horrible (you'll love his therapist, you'll see :) and you'll be telling him that your 'ears are tired' in no time.

Under the age of 3, there's a LOT of variability of what's "normal," and if he needs help, you'll get him help. You're a good amama, and it's okay for there to be little glitches along the way!

Hugs to you!

~Jadine in Austin, TX

Rattling The Kettle

Not to be too much of a guy about this, but...

With the "right" diagnosis, you and Noah could be eligible for some federal money. A friend's kid has what seems to me a very similar speech developmental timeline as Noah, and that friend's kid's daycare is being paid for by our fabulous government because the doctor felt it would speed the kid's speech development. You could get therapy sessions covered if Noah needs it. There is a lot of funding for speech development intervention, and you might as well get some of it.

And, on a slightly more sensitive note, I'm glad to read it's not something more serious. :-)

laughing mommy

I know you've probably read a version of this story one hundred times today, so this number 101.

Two of my nephews had such garbled speech that they could not be understood AT ALL, but they had speech therapy and are totally fine and understandable now.

You are right, it is probably nothing a little speech therapy can't correct. He is perfect. And fine.


You just described my kid, but the only difference at that age was that he wasn't too thrilled with kids his age. He loved adults and babies and was cuddly and huggy and sociable. We took him to columbia University in NYC for a full eval because everyone blew us off and I KNEW something was not quite right. They said he was borderling autistic spectrum and needed some therapy. They gave him a PDD diagnosis with sensory processing disorder (everything Noah does, Jagger did and still does some of it at 4). He went to a school the has a focus on sensory activities and 50% of the class is typically developed. The other 50% has some sort of disability. Slight (ADD) to extreme (one kid has no arms. Just hands in his armpits).

2 1/2 years later he was just re-evaluated and they said to drop the spectrum diagnosis because he is now "socialized" (sounds like a dog to me) since he will interact with his peers, but his sensory processing disorder is still in full effect.

These kids are AWESOME kids and so so so so smart.

I'm not going to lie, you do have some work ahead of you if he gets the SPD diagnosis, but this kind of therapy is so much fun. It is hard becuse the tantruming increases many times at first, but then life gets AWESOME!

I am really proud of you for going with your gut and not blowing it off like most people do.


I wanted to add the other day in the car my husband and I wanted to pull our hair out because our son WOULD. NOT. STOP. TALKING! He is non-stop. I mean on crack non-stop. Not bad for a kid who didn't talk to way after 2.


When you badmouthed sign language in your earlier post, it was a stab in my heart because American Sign Language is my native language but I didn't take it personal. For Noah's sake, I really hope it helps him get caught up on his speech. My son seems to be speech-delayed to hearing people but I know he will catch up eventually because ASL is his first language, which he is fluent at. The important thing here is that the boys have a LANGUAGE, whatever that may be.


I'm sending you a great big hug through the universe. Everything's going to work out a-ok, but in the meantime, it's incredibly stressful not to know all the answers. But, you know you have the right instincts, and you'll trust yourself to find exactly what's right for Noah. And your little guy is and will always be absolutely perfect.

Daily Tragedies

It will all be OK. I mean, how many of us (or our parents or grandparents or Founding Fathers of the whole damn country) were "speech delayed" only nobody was there to diagnose it? And we all turned out just fine, right?

My sister is one of those kids -- kinda stubborn, didn't feel the need to talk until late, etc. She kicked ass on the GRE and is in grad school now, so I don't think her verbal skills suffered much. Even if they were "delayed."


I wasn't speech delayed (that I know of), but I was painfully shy -- especially at doctor's offices! I think I was well into elementary school before I could be convinced to utter a word in front of a doctor without first being bribed with a shiny new quarter (and even the quarter was no guarantee).

Noah is way more than okay (but quite possibly Almost Too Cute And Delicious, Thus Irresistible To Bears) and he is very lucky to have you for a mom.


Oh, he's totally perfect.


One more thing...

I can't stop myself - I must gently, with love and utter respect, offer a correction to the post that said he was too huggy, happy and social to have autism. That is a common misconception and was the most heartbreaking part about the initial dx for us - our lack of knowledge about it. My first question to the doc was "does he know that I love him?" I've since learned that they are not all just like "Rainman." They are quite capable of having fun, wanting hugs, feeling joy, feeling love, wanting to please you, desiring friendships and being social. Mine is, for sure.

Whatever happens next, it doesn't change him. He is who he is. A delicious ball of love and joy who might get eaten by bears someday if he doesn't contain the cuteness. And who probably just needs speech therapy so who keeps bringing up the goddamn autism anyway? :)


Jr had the same thing (except for the tip-toe thing), he was diagnosed at age 2 years, 10 months (he had the vocabulary of an 18 month old). Since we had him tested before the age of three the No Child Left Behind/Smart Start thing kicked in and he was admitted to special pre-k at age three. Right now he's still fussy about what he eats but he'll be in the third grade next year and has tested out of ALL of his IEP stuff. No more speech, no more OT, no more special classes with the special ed teacher. Don't freak out, it's all going to be fine. You can email me if you want.


Noah is an absolutely delightful little boy and one I'm so enjoying watching grow up.

He is perfect and things will be okay, because if there is an issue here, you've already begun addressing it.


My delayed speech issues caused me to go through a long period of speech therapy. But, I absolutely loved it. I remember playing such fun games with toys that I didn't have at home (like Mr. Potato Head). And, the only remnant of my speech difficulties is that people sometimes think that I have a slight, unplaceable accent - not a problem.

I'm sure it will all work out fine for Noah!


What a sec. I totally cant remember but is he even two yet or just barely two? If so then my kids was way behind yours because she barely said anything till she was 2.5 but I guess I never even thought to worry. Now she is 3.5 and I cant get her to shut up and she has entire conversations with me about politics and fashion and well its just insane. DO NOT WORRY YET! Heis far to young to determine if he has a speech problem yet. Doctors can suck it. My baby is far advanced now at 3.5 even if she was a late talker.


18 months ok...yeah way to young to determine if he has a speech problem. Way to young. He is fine.


Ok, I know you don't need any more comments -but... I feel as if I was in perputual worry/neurosis about my son when he was growing up. He had a pretty severe lisp (speech theapy), had to be screened because of high lead blood levels, was VERY shy (REALLY very, very shy), didn't know his colors (discovered he was color-blind in 2nd grade when I knew there was probably a reason why he insisted on coloring Christmas trees brown), and developed severe asthma in 6th grade. Each time I kept remembering he was the same lovable little boy and no label or disease would change my love for him. Fast forward - he is now 17, an honor student and athlete, with loads of friends and a terrific outgoing personality (and no lisp).
I know this is long, but I'm also a teacher. Some of my sweetest and smartest students have had aspergers - and from what I have read about Noah on your blog, he appears to be very smart and social, so although you won't stop worrying, he is still the same smart, sweet boy he was a week ago.


Darn straight, he's perfect. You know, there were many times I felt like I should have had Harry checked for early intervention (and still do!) but his doctor never caught it and I didn't consider it at the time. But like I said earlier, he's fine now. He's shy and awkward, but I can say with confidence he inherited that from his mother. Oh, and he walks on tiptoes a lot TO THIS DAY. Great with fine motor skills, not so much with large motor skills. Chances are, the doctor is playing it safe. That happens more now than it did five years ago and probably for good reason. Noah will be the better for it in the end, I am sure. And really? Considering what he DOES say, I think he's perfectly fine.


He is perfect. And awesome. As are you.

And I'll totally vote for him for President one day.


My son is autistic. It's not the end of the world. He's very smart and has a very dry, advanced for his age, sense of humor. And yes, he was a late talker. When he did speak, everything was "dat". I love him dearly.


And there you go... perfect. Survey a hundred kids and you won't find any two alike. Every one will have different abilities, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Perfect because you'll do what you need to to help him with what he needs. Who could ask for more than that?

Heather B.

He's my main man. He's totally fucking perfect.


Good for you for listening to your gut. My 2 1/2 has a diagnosed speech delay and he's been going to speech therapy class since he was 22 months old. It's the best thing I could've ever done. So many people told me "oh, he'll just start talking in sentences out of the blue one'll see." Nope...not going to happen out of the blue. He has a real delay and if I would have waited to begin therapy he would have been THAT much farther along. By taking the proactive route and having him assessed and into therapy he is definitely improving. He's about 9 months behind where "he should be" but he's finally calling me "Mommy" which is so much better than the "mah" I was getting. And we're getting a lot of single words when before it was just sounds. What I am trying to say is: I've been where you are and it all works out!

Side note: Although the speech therapist recommended therapy my insurance denied it because he was so young. The doctor says a lot of insurances do that, they say "no" until the child is 3 and then they have to be covered by the school district (in California anyway). We paid out of pocket for the therapy for months and then finally was able to get the State involved and covered by their Developmental organization. When he turns 3 we'll probably have to move over to the school district and go through their specialist, but I'll gladly do that if that's what it takes! Hang in there!


If it makes you feel any better, Harry was skating on that very edge of speech delay - he is three months older than Noah and seemed to be not much more advanced than what you describe when he was about Noah's age. I started to worry and began really paying more attention to his language skills. About three weeks ago he literally exploded. Went from single words to three and four word sentences immediately - from being behind to being slightly ahead. Speech delay doesn't usually last forever.


Total anecdata, but my cousin was very speech delayed and always seemed super serious. This back in the days before much autism awareness. They were worried about him alright, and wondered if he'd have learning difficulties later on.

He is now on the Loyola Marymount Varsity Basketball team on a full academic AND sports scholarship. He's still kind of a serious guy, and doesn't talk much, but he's smart as all hell and obviously, a very gifted athlete. That strong silent thing works for him too, because apparently all the girlies are after him.

I think you're doing a great job of being non neurotic. It's impossible not to worry about your children. But yeah, I'll chime in with the chorus: Noah is perfect. I've been lurking since you were pregnant and he's just the sweetest thing there is. Well, except for my 4 month old daughter. :0)


I am glad that Noah is okay. I prayed and prayed for Charlie to speak early and he did. And now at 3 he has the vocabulary of a sailor and isn't afraid to use it. I am sure if we traded for a couple of days (or even hours) you would be fine with a small delay. (Most days I am praying for him to STFUP)
I mean wouldn't you rather Noah calling things ABEAH, than screaming "MOM DON'T KILL ME!!" in the middle of Target while you are shopping for tampons like Charlie does?
I know this probably doesn't make you feel better, but hopefully it makes you laugh. And I know that with the therapy and everything else he will soon be screaming at you in Target inappropriate comments when he doesn't get his way!


Nothing original here, but just a quick note to let you know that I'm rooting for you guys and to say thank you for putting things out there, I cannot tell you how many times you have made me feel like I'm not the only one thinking these crazy motherhood thoughts. And all these nice comments have made me cry, because I just love it when people reach out to comfort each other.

*snurfles into sleeve*


Well at least now you know what you're working with and are developing a plan of action. You are obviously a very capable mother (and woman overall), I have no doubt that you and the SweetPea will get through this just fine together. Chin up!


I know you will get a million comments, but let me just say:

1) Signing with babies is both easy and fun. Noah seems quite smart, and will likely pick it up quickly. (We have flashcards, and BG loves them.)

2) Whoever wrote Don't Panic was right: you'll figure it out!

3) With some good EI educators, you'll soon have a lot of steps you can take to help him achieve better, and that will be a big relief!

Best of lucks!


First time visiting your blog. Your son is beautiful and I enjoyed reading this entry even if the circumstances aren't ideal - you're handling it the way I think most mothers would. You're right, he's OK. (And "nana" TOTALLY counts for banana.)


Hi Amy!
I am a pediatric speech pathologist. I have worked with children birth to three (early intervention) for four years. Most of the kids on my caseload are just late talkers. The majority catch up by the time they turn 3.
Everyone worries about autism (including me with my own little ones!)
The biggest red flags for autism are when children don't understand language--do they identify pictures in books, body parts etc--do they follow 1-step directions.
If they consistently follow directions, identify body parts, and are social they are usually just late talkers.
It sounds like Noah has a good pediatrician. Many wait to refer until children are significantly delayed.
Hopefully the speech therapist that evaluates Noah will calm your fears.
I read your blog every day. You crack me up!


As a speech delayed (and major sensory sensitive) person who grew up in the 80's before it was normal to take your kids to be evaluated because they are slow, I commend you for getting him in so early. I had to wait until 5th grade to learn to speak like a human (vs a warbling record) and those were hard years.

For what it is worth, I now work in theatre and talk way too much (with only the occasional "Huh?" from others, mostly because I also talk too fast.) He WILL be fine - more than fine. He will be Noah, which is damn near perfect.


I'm a speech therapist and I used to work in a practice that specializes in children under 3. I do agree that Noah's a little behind (typically, by age two we like to see 50 words, plus a few simple sentences). HOWEVER (and it's a big however) I've seen and worked with many, many, MANY kids who were similar to Noah and went on to be just fine, even just great. There's often a huge expolsion in language from 2-3.

HOWEVER (another big however) I really believe that it's never too early to get professional advice and assistance. If your pedi hasn't already referred you, my suggestion would be that you take Noah to be assessed by a Speech-Language Pathologist. You'll learn a lot - and could get more specific, concrete advice than a pedi could give you. Pedi's are great, but I have found they often lack the expertise that SLPs have.

You're a great mom and have a great kid. Good luck!


Thank you for sharing all of this with us. We're cheering for you and Noah, all across the country. And did I mention that we love you? And Noah? We do.

Now please, if you could, go smooch him and throw him aball for us.


Forget about bears! That kid is so adorable that *I* may have to eat him. Hope you can keep yourself from worrying too much about your perfect little sweetie.


I just want to give you a hug...Noah is going to be fine. The fact of the matter is that because you followed through and listened to your gut and did what loving Moms do, parent their children, you rock! Whatever lies ahead Noah is one lucky little boy to have you both as parents. God gave YOU Noah for a reason, you have everything you need to care for him. I have 2 boys and am so thankful I was given the gift of watching them grow up. They both have a little quirk here and there, one more than the other and the best thing I have learned is to listen to my heart while staying educated about "stuff"...the best to you.


You are right. He is perfect and fine. Perfectly fine.


He is perfect and wonderful. I have a son that has developmental delays (speech being one of them) and I am sure that you know Heather Armstrong (dooce) who had problems with getting Leta to walk and now she runs circles around the couch and my kid won't shut up. LOL. He will be fine. Early Intervention helps so very much. In one year my son has blossomed so much. Big hugs to you and Noah and Jason. He will be fine. He has great parents who will make sure of it.


Even though, this is echoed throughout, as a WAY neurotic Mama myself, I thought I'd share anyway!
I have a newphew who's situation was very similar to Noah's. My SIL, even taught him sign language for some basic words.(Thank you, thirsty, hungry, please, etc.) He communicated, he just didn't use words or very many. He is now a happy, healthy, extremely smart, funny, witty and charming nine year old. He is an amazing reader with a great vocabulary! I'd tell you not to worry, but I know you will, all good Mamas do!


Motherhood is just chock freaking full of doubt and second guessing, isn't it.


I feel your pain. With two boys, one eight and one 7 months old, I'm a neurotic mess most of the time.

Wine. Wine good. Make it all better.


I'm writing from the fuzzy land of sensory integration disorder and speech delay. I had an ababy who at 2.8 still sometimes says aball, but mostly now he just speaks, but it was a long, neurotic, drooly road to get there. (no gymboree for us though)

Enough about me... Be strong and just keep doing what you are doing, loving Noah with all your heart) He's going to love speech therapy (if that's where you end up) and I bet a year from now he'll be saying alove you mama.


I never comment, but just wanted to say that my brother was the same...and NOW HE NEVER SHUTS UP.

You'll all be fine :)


he is fine. he is okay. he is perfect.

i can say that because he's got you--you so clearly love him and are 110% in his corner. Hell, you put on a belt. Biatches* better get out of your way.


Dude. You are fine.

My kiddo has delays out the wazooie (possibly not a word) and a good sized stack of medical gobbledygook and we're okay. And therapy? Rocks our faces off. I mean, it has totally changed her life for the better. I could not be more enthusiastic about what it can do. Because wow. She can walk and talk now!

Oh, and TiVo Signing Time. It comes on PBS on Sundays.


Hi Amy,

Long time reader, first time posting a comment. Your last two posts have brought tears to my eyes because I can empathize with what you are going through. The fact that you are on top of the speech delay so early in Noah's life is going to help him tremendously. As others have commented, he WILL improve and he WILL catch up! I know it is hard to have faith in this right now, but it WILL happen! Hang in there!


i loves yous. both of yous. that is all.


At least now you have some resolution so you don't have to keep wondering. Your love for Noah is inspiring.


You're devoted, and this can be worked through. No worries. :)


he is preshus. and you are preshus. it's a hard blow to take when you perceive that your baby might be struggling. it nearly breaks my heart to know that you are struggling, too. you know he's ok, you'll be ok, we just want to tell you that.

(hugs) ...vanna...

Maxine Dangerous

"...and therefore irresistible to bears." CLAS-SIC. :]

(((((((((((((((Amalah & Co.)))))))))))))))


He *is* perfect and he *is* fine. Kids learn at their own rate. My daughter is 8 in a month and she was speech delayed. She still has to attend speech therapy classes, but you know? There are a lot worse things that could happen. She's sweet and loving and I couldn't ask for a more helpful big sister. If she has trouble making a few sounds, I hardly think it's the end of the world.


I walked on my toes from when I started to walk until elementary school (and still occasionally lapse into it at 23) and I am just fine, as far as I know. (aside from some merciless teasing and possibly some Achilles' tendon issues. it was a damn hard habit to break.) if the toe-walking and speech delay to turn out to be symptomatic of something larger, you will have caught it early. But there is a good chance it will all turn out to be the whole Kids Are Different thing. Don't panic!


My husband had a speech delay when he was a toddler and it seems our son is following is "a chip right off the old block", so to say...

NOW, my husband cannot answers "yes or no" questions in paragraph form. It's tedious, yes, but I can tell you first hand that Noah will be just fine.

You are a good mommy and doing a great job.

Her Grace

So, so, so many parents wait until their kids are school-age to address delays, and as a special education (preschool) teacher I'm so glad that you're sharing your story so that more kids will get early intervention services.


I dug through my bookmarkes folder to find you this website: (also linked in my name, although I am in no way affiliated with them). It's an ASL browser by Michigan State University that shows video clips of a woman signing along with a short written definition. It's not without flaws, but has a fairly big vocab list (namely both "ball" and "beer").


Alot of Noah's behavior sounds completely normal to me, but then again, I am not a doctor, I just play one on the internet. He's only 22 months old, for cryin in the mud! I can't believe he could be diagnosed with a delay at this stage! I am not saying the diagnosis isn't accurate, but geez. My daughter is just now 2, smart as a whip, and still only says about 10 words that are discernable by anyone other than family. And tantrums? Aren't toddlers supposed to be all tantrummy? My daughter could give JLo a lesson in diva-ness and throwing fits. And tiptoes? Wha--? Isn't that what they do when they learn this cool new way to walk?

If I were in your area, I would go buy you a Raspberry Frappuccino and give you a big hug. Then I would watch The Perfectness That Is Noah while you drank it and read your People magazine. Then we would compare notes on our toddlers and laugh as they tried to dig their boogers out with crayons.

Whatever ends up happening, you have a whole Internets behind you. Kind of like the Verizon commercial where the network follows the guy everywhere? That's us.

Black Belt Mama

Hugs to you both.

Signing isn't that bad. You'll probably actually have fun with it. There's a great book that we have called "Baby Signs" and you don't even really need to read it. You can just go to the back and check out words and their signs in the glossary and go for it.

I hope your hives are gone. Doctors and kid stress gives me hives too.


Max walks on his toes. And he has amazing motor skills and attention span. And this freakish memory, made more freakish because I've usually forgotten whatever it is I hid away weeks before. He lost a lot of words between his first and second year.

At our evaluation just after he turned 2, his language tested into the 6 to 9 month range. Gulp.

We've been in early intervention therapy for about 5 or 6 weeks now, and the change is amazing. He learns some signs, but except for the first few he learned, he replaces them quickly with the word itself. It's so much better. I'm more relaxed because I can figure out what he wants now. He's less prone to tantrums because he can communicate his needs/wants.

And I felt the same way initially. Relieved in one sense because I was right when I said there was a problem, wanting to insist that he would get there on his own on the other hand. Then several of my family members blamed me for Max's delay and then I just wanted to drink.

Accidental Poet

I'm too lazy to read all the comments but you totally should because then you'll get to this one and I'm *special*. Or whatever.

All I wanted to say is that my speech-delayed child started trying to use real words a few weeks after I started signing with him. All we ever signed was "Please" and "thank you" but it seemed to unlock something.

and also - a developmentally delayed child doesn't make you a bad mother. Honest.


Well, one of the qualifiers for Asperger's syndrome is generally that there is NO speech delay. So hey, you've got that going for you.

Then again, that could be no consolation at all, since I have Asperger's (and am a fully functioning mostly normal if incredibly awkward adult!) so I have no idea if that's comforting or not. Maybe that sucks.

But truly. Having spent a good deal of my time around adults & some children on the spectrum over the years, and having briefly met one Mr. Noah, who is absolutely engaged and charming as can be, of course you've got not a thing to worry about. Not that that will stop you. But you know.

Ok, that's all.

Suebob Davis

He is a beautiful smart little boy with 2 smart, capable parents.

You will all be ok. Hugs.


He's going to be just fine, whatever the outcome. There are lots of kidlets that have speech therapy before they get to school, and it's not a big deal. (Well, it is, but it's solveable.)

He's a gorgeous kid, with a loving family, and he's going to be just fine. And so are you :)


He is SO young. And so many doctors are getting the itchies about "diagnosing" sensory stuff, speech stuff, spectrum stuff, and all that other "stuff" that equates to worry and overprotection rather than what the kid actually needs.

Some of the early-intervention therapy is good, quick, and nonchalant. (My bro had a minor speech delay that was cleared up within a month.)

And then there is the OH MY GOD YOUR CHILD IS DOOMED.

Do the former, not the latter.

And seriously - I could talk about this all day. (Hey, I do... that's why I have a blog about the Spectrum...) Please feel free to ask me any questions.


If I was a bear, I'd totally eat him. He's so cute.

Good luck with everything.


Huh. Because if Noah is delayed, so is my Charlie. Now I'm kind of dreadig my 2-year check up.

His oldest sister, though, didn't talk much until after 24 months. So I haven't been worried...

We'll see.

I'm totally convinced, though, that Noah is fine. Because Charlie is fine. :)


When I took Conner for his 18 month checkup, his spoken vocabulary was pretty scarce, too. I could list off maybe 4-8 words he could say, clearly. However, his understood vocab was great, like Noah's. Go get your shoes. Take this to Daddy. Give me a hug. And so on. Our Doc is GREAT, she has two boys, and said that, usually, they'll hit a "vocabulary explosion" sometime between now and two and a half; but if I'm really worried, we can look into something in a few months.

Well, at about 22 months, it's seems that Conner hit that explosion. He's saying new words every day, words that we're saying. (We've really started watching our mouths!) Sure, some of the words are still a little garbled; he has trouble with the "K" sound at the end of "milk" and the "th" sound for words like "bath."

But I'm glad that you're doing what YOU think is best for Noah, and he IS a lovely and wonderful boy. Conner waves at him when we watch some of your videos of him.


Thank you so much for writing about this. I have been going through the same thing and it can feel really lonley. I too had many friends and family dismiss my concerns regarding my sons speech. Trust your instincts! You did the right thing but getting it all checked out. My son is three now and has been recieving speech thearpy for the past year. My son does have sensory integration issues but has not been diagnosed with autism. Again, I just appreciate your honesty in writing about this. Please keep us posted on Noah's progress. He is without a doubt one of the most darling children I have ever seen. Emily

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