When to consider speech therapy for your tot

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SpeachIt's hard to know is your child's speech issues are normal or something you should seek out speech therapy to address.

Cara Greene knew something was wrong when her son wasn't communicating at all at 12 months.

"There was no clapping, waving, pointing, no mimicking of sounds, no mama/dada, no following simple directions," says the Bowie mom of two.

Despite friends telling her not to worry, Greene started special education therapy and speech and language therapy when he was 14 months old. And she's glad she did. Before his 3rd birthday he was doing fine and right on target with his language skills.

"Knowing some of the speech and language milestones is a great way to help ensure your child's continued growth," says Elle J. Abell, a pediatric speech language pathologist at Cypress Creek Therapy Associates in Severna Park and Edgewater. "However, if you feel that your child's speech and or language skills are delayed, you should contact a speech language pathologist.

"Early intervention is key," agrees Jacqueline Paterson, a speech language pathologist and owner of Speech Matters in Annapolis. "Waiting to see if your child is a 'late bloomer' is risky. If the child needs help, the best success is starting early."

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