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NYT: 18 AND UNDER: When to Worry if a Child Has Too Few Words

18 AND UNDER: When to Worry if a Child Has Too Few Words

New York Times, February 8, 2010

This NY Times article discusses the delicate matter of childhood speech development and when parents should begin to scrutinize their son or daughter’s progress with finding their voice.

The story is told primarily from the pediatrician’s standpoint, explaining the necessity of asking parents the standard questions about the child’s speech patterns.

My wife and I were moderately concerned about our daughter’s speech when she was around 18 months.  She had her steady set of individual words like “Mom”, “Dad”, “Nana” (for Banana), and a few others, but nothing substantial.  Then at around 22 months she just started saying everything that we said and by 2 years she is singing along to parts of Sesame Street and cartoons.

Funny enough, I thought the speech questions asked by our pediatrician at her 22 month appointment were a bit strange.  Very quick questions about whether or not we feel like our daughter understands us and can sometimes indicate what she wants.  All we provided was 2nd-hand feedback that was clearly subjective.  At the very least, the questions about our daughter’s speech made my wife and I think about it in a formal way and I suppose that it’s the only tool that doctors have to evaluate childhood speech development.

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