Late language emergence (late talking) is a common concern for parents, and one that is easily treatable. Unfortunately, many doctors, teachers, and other trusted resources continue to give outdated advice, encouraging parents to "wait and see" instead of obtain a speech-language (or multi-disciplinary) evaluation. But the evidence is overwhelming: early intervention (EI) is one of the most efficacious types of treatment available.
What is the "wait and See" Approach?
Often parents first communicate their concerns regarding their child's speech and language development with those in their "tribe" - pediatricians, other family members, early childhood teachers, daycare providers, and other parents in their community. Many of these "trusted advisors" encourage parents to wait to see if their child "grows out of it". This is the "wait and see" approach.
Here's the thing, though - while there is some variability in when children develop early language milestones (check out this blog post: How Do I Know If My Child Has a Speech or Language Delay), if your child is delayed according to those milestones, there is reason to be concerned.
Three Reasons You Should Have Your Late Talker Evaluated
- EI is effective in treating (and even preventing!) speech and language disorders. In addition, EI can aide in preventing later-developing learning difficulties, like reading delays and social-emotional delays.
- Late talking can be one of the first signs of more complex diagnoses. A thorough assessment of speech, language, swallowing, and other developmental skills is critical in not only developing a treatment plan, but also in early detection of other existing diagnoses, including neurological, cognitive, and motor impairments. For example, Autism is often detected early because children miss speech-language milestones. If other types of delay are detected, addressing those delays can mitigate or eliminate the effects of a disorder.
- Neuroplasticity supports EI. Neural circuits are most flexible during the first three years of life. Over time, they become increasingly difficult to change. Therefore, intervention is often most beneficial in the first three years of life.
The earlier you get help for your late talker...
...the better the outcomes!
Call 410-274-0041 to book a speech-language evaluation for your child today.
Shanna Klump is a speech-language pathologist and CEO of Kid Connections Therapy, a speech/language therapy clinic in Severna Park, Maryland.