Parents of late-talking children are always in a state of dilemma on whether they should ‘wait and see’ if the kid picks up speed in language development on his own, or if they should meet a speech therapist right away. Many of these parents are told not to worry as each kid develops at his/her own pace. Nonetheless, their gut instinct is always to seek help as they strive to do the best for their child.
The ‘wait and see’ approach for late talkers is borne out of a stereotyped observation about typical language development in children. While it is passable that children do develop at their own pace, there are certain age milestones that should be reached by a specific age. It is also true that there are many late talking toddlers who catch up on their own, a few do not.
In this write-up, when we speak about language delay, we aren’t talking about language disorders or physical and developmental delays like Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism or those with childhood apraxia. These conditions require special kind of therapeutics and doctoring. We only speak about those children who seem to lag behind a little in their spoken (or “expressive”) language.
Let’s quickly go through what our SOS Moms have to say about late talkers –
Mum, Anima Bhardwaj, says, “Just one answer! Don’t compare your kid to others for anything. Each child is different and develops differently. Just make sure that he is medically fit. If everything is okay, just relax. Some kids are late talkers… late walkers… late eaters… and so on”.
We have Somita Suri, who suggests, “Depends on what you mean by ‘doesn’t talk very well’. Most kids develop at their own pace just like when they take their first steps. However, do look out for other signs in your child with respect to social behaviour, because it could be linked to autism.”
Next, Julie Ekka Tanti proposes her viewpoint by saying, “Just like my kid who is four years old now, but doesn’t show any signs of eating on her own. I have to force her for each meal! She doesn’t chew and is used to swallowing. I’m pretty much worried, as kids of her age are fond of chocolates and so many edibles, but my child says no to all.”
Shilpi Saha shows a different dimension of the problem by saying, “It depends on how much you all talk at home. If yours is a silent type of house, then give your kid some more time. Moreover, if your kid has completed other milestones and is okay in other behaviours, then don’t worry, give a bit more time. My Lil’ brother also had the same problem because our house was a silent kind of house”.
Last, we have mums, Tanvi Nigam, Pooja Rathod and Noopur Agarwal, who collectively reinstate that parents should not worry about late talking in children. They jointly agree that things will take time and that parents should just have patience.
We conclude by saying that every child is unique in his/her own way and that parents should never compare their child with another child. Keep training your kid the requisite language skills and cherish that kiddish ‘blabber’. Once it’s gone, you’ll miss it badly!