Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Parent to Parent: Late Talkers
They are milestone moments every parent waits for - their child's first step, first word, first time sleeping through the night. But when your child doesn't start speaking, many moms and dads don't know if they should worry or wait. In tonight's Parent to Parent, Dr. Sally has some advice on what to do if you have a late talker.
WSVN--This is the Martinez family -- no, not my family, but mom Kristy, dad Albert, Kiana and Albert Junior.
Kristy Martinez: "What color are you going to color?
Kiana Martinez: "This."
Kristy Martinez: "What color is that?"
Kiana Martinez: "Green?"
Kiana has plenty to say these days, but when she was still an infant, her parents noticed something was wrong.
Kristy Martinez: "Just like any parent, the first year...your just waiting to hear mommy...daddy, anything, anything thing at all."
Albert Martinez: "She said a couple of words...Elmo, stuff she sees on TV, but never two words, three words, so it was a little bit scary at first."
Plus Kiana didn't make eye contact and didn't smile, so her parents had her tested at Miami Children's Hospital.
Kristy Martinez: "I went through psychological, because of the autism they thought."
Dr. Nolan Altman: "I think parents should be concerned if their children aren't starting to talk and starting to use words by two to two and a half years of age."
But if you're concerned your kid is a late talker, 7 Parenting Expert Dr. Sally Goldberg says communication begins at age one.
7 Parenting Expert Dr. Sally Goldberg: "Coo's, babbles, or gurgles are natures way of beginning the development of language, when you hear them you should coo, gurgle and babble back."
Dr. Sally also says you should read, sing and talk to your child, as soon as they're born.
Dr. Sally Goldberg: "A high level of language development the quality and the quantity is correlated with later success in school and in life."
Just don't let the TV be your child's teacher.
Dr. Sally Goldberg: "It's important that the language comes from real people and real interactions and not just sitting your child down in front of a TV."
If a nanny or daycare worker takes care of your son or daughter, make sure they speak to your child throughout the day. If you do all these things, and your child still doesn't speak, tell your pediatrician.
Dr. Sally Goldberg: "At 2 years old if you don't hear about 50 words that's a good time to call for help."
Most importantly, follow your gut.
Dr. Sally Goldberg: "Many parents get this innocent or feeling that something is wrong. It is very important that you honor that instinct and that you act on it."
The second time around the Martinez's didn't wait -- like Kiana, her brother Albert is also a late talker. Neither child is autistic, but both are now in speech therapy. The Martinez's can't wait for the day Kiana and Albert are talking up a storm.
Kristy Martinez: "I am very optimistic with my kids now because of the therapy that they are receiving."
Being a late talker could be a neurological or physical problem, which if caught early enough, is often correctable.
E-MAIL QUESTIONS TO:
Dr. Sally Goldberg's Website:
Dr. Nolan Altman
Miami Children's Hospital