Your child has a speech delay: a cheat sheet on the next steps.

February 17, 2016

You’re concerned about your child’s speech and language development: Now what?

The last few posts I wrote last year focused on when to worry about your kids speech + language development. Remember, if you have questions, be sure to move beyond your phone or computer screen and talk to your pediatrician. Stop scrolling and start talking.

Need to know info on infants to 2 year olds

Need to know info on 3 to 5 year olds

Once you’ve gathered up your observations and ideas, if you remain concerned, here are some tips on what to do next:

 Talk to your pediatrician. Be sure to have specific questions and examples.

 At this point, the pediatrician or you might request a SPEECH and LANGUAGE evaluation. This assessment by a speech-language pathologist will look at your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of sound production (articulation) and language (vocabulary, comprehension, social skills, etc).

A quick overview of what the evaluation process looks like that I recommend.

A few speech and language evaluation options (below) , at no cost to families:

If your child is an infant through 2.6 years of age, you would go through EARLY INTERVENTION (EI) for a free evaluation.

Click here for the EI process.

The first step is making a request/referral to an Early Intervention Program. One way is to call 311, state you’d like your young child evaluated through Early Intervention. They will help you find a local Early Intervention Program in your area.

For further EI information click here.

If your child is a little over 2.6 through 4 years of age, you would go through CPSE (Committee of Preschool Special Education).

How the CPSE process works

The first step is contacting your child’s Preschool District Coordinator. Even if your child is not currently enrolled in public school preschool, they are entitled to a CPSE evaluation if concerns arise.

Find your district

Another option beyond these free city and state funded evaluations includes going to a University Clinic where graduate students studying to become speech-language pathologists are closely supervised and conduct evaluations + provide therapy services. Here are some local options:

Brooklyn College 

Hunter College 

NYU Clinic  

Teachers College, Columbia University Clinic

* Full disclosure, I graduated from here and later went on to be a clinical supervisor as well.

Additional options (which increase in cost) include going through your insurance company with an in-network provider or seeking out a private evaluation. With the insurance company, contact them and ask about pediatric speech and language evaluations. You made need a referral from your pediatrician. The insurance company will give detailed information here. With private speech evaluations, you’d contact a speech therapy office or independent speech therapist to conduct the evaluation.

This post is full of information that can be overwhelming and time consuming. Remember to go slow. IF YOU have questions about your child’s development, start asking them out loud. These questions may lead to having your child evaluated.  An evaluation will result in you having more information about your child’s skills or how they learn. You can choose what to do with this information once the evaluation process is complete.

Because it can be so confusing and I love to give out lots of resources, here is one more website that can be a help you along the way Include NYC

Hope you found something useful here as you take the next steps in helping your child grow and learn. As always, thanks for reading. Till the next post, take care.

Vanessa D’Auria is a licensed speech-language pathologist providing home-based services in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. For more information about Vanessa, visit or to ask speech/language questions, email directly at


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