We had been wondering if M3's speech was within the normal range. Well, wondering if her ability to speak clearly was within the expected range. She started talking with a huge vocabulary at a fairly young age. She loves to talk and she comes up with such a variety of words, but strangers and sometimes family and friends can't make out 90% of what she says, which is what her doctor had expected at her 3 year old check-up.
When her daycare teacher asked if we had looked into getting her speech assessed it was the kick in the pants I needed. I had been meaning to get her teacher's opinion earlier, but with the zoo of drop-off and pick-up I never remembered.
We set up an appointment through the school district and she went in for a 20 minute evaluation to see if she might need the longer assessment that would unlock speech therapy options. The speech therapist was very nice and showed M3 some flash cards that they discussed. They tested her at both the 3 and 4 year old levels and she is doing just fine. The district offers a few screening days during the school year and the therapist suggest we bring her into one of those next year to make sure she is continuing to improve. The therapist said that it is M3's varied vocabulary that might make it difficult for people to understand her. (Probably combined with her lack of fear around strangers and constant talking - she's half way into a paragraph before she even has your full attention.)
We have all noticed that her clarity has improved in the last 6 months, but it is still reassuring to have looked into it. She just does not say the "s" sound at all and that is a little surprising, although ok for her age. Last week she was trying to teach M4 how to say "spoon" and it was not going well. "It is called a oon Matthew. Say OON if you drop your oon!" (I handed her a fork, she handed it to him, he threw it on the floor and she switched to trying to teach him to ask for that instead.)