Dr Teresa Signorelli Pisano
Delay in Development
Dear Dr. Teresa,
I am concerned that my 15 month-old son is not "talking" as much as his older sister did at the same age. He is also not babbling or talking as much children in our mommy and me groups. My pediatrician tells me I should wait, that boys don't speak as early as girls. I am still concerned. What are your thoughts?
G.K. NY, NY
Pediatricians' expertise is in medicine, so they sometimes give parents the wrong advice where speech and language development is concerned. I have had countless families come to me much later than they should have because their pediatrician counseled them incorrectly.
If there is a problem that requires intervention, a delay in beginning therapy can lead to a more difficult and longer remediation process than may have been if intervention began sooner.
It's best to check with an expert, in this case a speech-language pathologist, as early as possible if you suspect a possible problem.
Fifteen month-olds, boys or girls, should say about five different words and jargon fairly often. Jargon is babble-like speech that seems to have sentence-like intonation patterns reminiscent of adult sentences.
Families can get free speech and language evaluations through Early Intervention Centers for children birth to three years and through the local school districts for children and young adults ages three to 21 years.
Families can also go to speech-language pathologists in private practice. Some practitioners take insurance. Those that don't will provide you with the paperwork you need to submit to your insurance provider for reimbursement.
You can find more information on the website of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) at www.asha.org.