I’ve lived in three states since I became a mom: North Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee.  When my big kid was two I noticed his speech was significantly behind that of the other kids in our playgroup, so I did some research and got him tested for free by a county/state run organization.  He started speech therapy privately (we did not qualify for the under age three free services in NC), then at age three we switched to free services at our elementary school.  He continued services when we moved to Arkansas (also free and provided by the public school system) and then through Shelby County Schools when we moved here.  He was finally “kicked out” of speech therapy in the 2nd grade – and we celebrated!

I thought we were going to avoid these problems with my second child, until around age 2 when I realized he was also delayed compared to his peers.  As soon as we had a move date I contacted TEIS – Tennessee’s Early Intervention System and started the process.

Tests done in my home (which was so much easier than what I did in NC) indicated a delay that was enough to qualify for services.  Free services.  In my home.  Wow.  What a blessing.  TN does not use income as a qualifier for services under age three, as NC does, so “Ms. Emily” and “Ms. Debbie” started visiting us each week, for an hour each.  He made great progress.  They played with him (they brought toys and other tools of the trade) and did their best to make him work on certain sounds.  As you can imagine, some days they had more success than others.  They are both wonderful women I was pleased to have in my home.

Ms. Debbie and B playing
Ms. Emily and B working on sounds

My son is now five.  Before he turned three our TEIS Service Coordinator helped us go through the process to see if he qualified (needed) additional speech services from SCS (TEIS only goes through age three).  If you’re concerned about your child I encourage you to contact TEIS.  Here is a list of developmental delays they handle (they need to have a 25% delay in two areas or a 40% delay in one area to qualify for services):

  1. motor (crawling, walking, using their hands to play)
  2. communication (babbling, indicating wants and needs, talking)
  3. cognitive (thinking skills including making choices and solving problems)
  4. social (playing near or with other children or adults)
  5. adaptive (taking care of ones needs)

TEIS Memphis covers the following counties: Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton.  You can reach them at 901-937-6738.  You can also contact the state office at 800-852-7157.  TEIS website