Should I “Wait and See” if My Child Will Start Talking?
I have often had parents tell me that someone has advised them to “wait” and “see” if their child may just be a “late talker” and will soon catch up to his or her peers. Parents often know a story of a distant family member who suddenly started talking and all was fine. I am one of these stories. I was three years old and using minimal words to communicate. According to my mother, my brother who is only a few months older (we are both adopted) did all my talking for me. My mother was advised by our pediatrician to wait for my own response or request in order for my needs to be met. I did eventually start talking without intervention, and according to my mother haven’t stopped talking since! While it’s true that Children will continue to develop and grow even without intervention, if there is a delay it can follow the child as they mature. Research shows that delays, left untreated, continue to impact a child’s learning and development even into their high school years. So, what exactly is a late talker? Late talkers are toddlers that are developing at an average rate in other areas, such as cognitive and motor skills, but have limited speech and expressive language for their age. If your child exhibits the following, they may be a late talker:
- Limited vocabulary: Less than 50 words at age two
- Not combing words, using mostly single-word utterances
- Comprehension of language is intact.
- All other areas of development are age appropriate.
“Late Talkers” are just one of many reasons toddlers may not be talking much yet. A child’s speech and language delay may the first sign of other disorders not yet diagnosed. Childhood Apraxia of Speech is one of those disorders. The underlying cause of the speech delay may be something that requires intervention in order for the child to progress. It’s always best to seek a professional evaluation to determine if your child would benefit from intervention. The “Wait and See” model is too risky for a child who may be losing precious intervention time while we wait. Early Intervention services are covered at the state level and a speech and language evaluation is assessable without cost to families. You can call your area Regional Center to request a speech and language evaluation if your child is behind in his speech and language development. More brain development occurs in the first few years of life than any other time. Early interventionists want to capitalize on this critical window of development. Therefore, if your child is using limited speech, why wait! I say, what are we waiting for? Is your child frustrated when they are not understood? Do they have an increase in behaviors when they are not able to communicate effectively? There is no harm in having an evaluation and knowing from a professional whether speech and language services are recommended.
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