The "late talker"—when silence isn't golden

November 1, 2004

Not all children with delayed speech are "little Einsteins" or garden variety "late bloomers." Some have a speech-language disorder that will persist unless warning signs are recognized and intervention comes early. Includes a Guide for Parents.

What advice do you give this mother? Joey seems to be developing normally in every other way-he's had a few ear infections before this one, all of which resolved without a prolonged period of effusion. But his delay in talking does warrant further assessment, and you decide to send him for a hearing test after his infection clears. Meanwhile, you tell the mother not to worry-boys often speak later than girls, and there seems to be a history of late talkers in this family. You let her know that if results of the hearing test are normal, you will follow up at the 2-year well visit.