Saturday, May 03, 2008
Late Talking Children
I am the parent of two bright late talking children, both of whom had markedly different early childhood experiences. My oldest(son) was raised by daycare(40 hours a week) until age three, and had the "advantage" of an excellent early preschool with speech therapy. Yet he was two years delayed in speech at age four. My two year old daughter has always been at home with me, and she has a speech delay as well.
Parents are not necessarily to blame for their children's lack of speech. Can you tell I've had this issue surface with both children?! (giggle)
Late talking toddler: New research debunks the myth:
The study found that a mother's education, income, parenting style or mental health had no impact on a child's likelihood of being a late talker. Study Coordinator Associate Professor Kate Taylor said the findings debunked common myths about why children are late talkers.
"Some people have wrongly believed that delayed language development could be due to a child not being spoken to enough or because of some other inadequacy in the family environment," Associate Professor Taylor said. "This is clearly not the case and I hope these findings will reassure many parents that delayed language is not a reflection on their parenting or the child's intelligence.
Um, thank you. I'm not offended by these sorts of comments when they are directed at me, but I do find it frustrating. In the past, my response was to educate, and explain the probable origin of late talking, but often I would get a condescending look(I'm in denial) or one of confusion. Now I just tell people who imply a connection between parenting and late talking to mind their own business(in a kindly patient way). I've got enough miles on me to trust in wisdom and experience.
Why do people persist with unsolicited advice for a "fix" for non-standard children anyway? There are instances where we cannot change God's creation, and who are we to even question God's plan. It is us who should change, not God. We must fit people into society and not the other way around. We were created in God's image, and trust that we are all equally worthy in God's eyes. Society needs fixing, not children. The definition of perfection is God's; true perfection is not set by the standards of society. If we embraced everyone, who knows the potential of person.
Along these same lines, I've actually had two doctors ask me if I had considered having a tubal ligation due to my son's speech delay, the implication being that children with genetic/hereditary issues should not be born. This shocked the heck out of me. Is eugenics(liberal eugenics) on it's way back as a social policy?!
How can we measure the potential in children? My son was classified as retarded by the school system at age four. If I had not had the where with all to remove him from our school system, he would have spent his days in a special segregated classroom with low expectations for academic achievement. He is ten now, and with five years of home education he is an advanced reader and excels at math. His speech is normalized. At the rate he is going, he'll be done with high school at age 16. Ironically, it didn't take any specialized curriculum, just standard back-to-basics school books(Rod & Staff). More importantly, I'm not a trained or gifted teacher, just an ordinary mom who loves her children. So maybe love is missing from our society, love for the individual, not the statistic.
If my son had been a slow learner, I'd have not treated or labeled him as such. The sky would have been the limit, and I'd have fostered a love of learning. He'd have gone as far as God allowed him, unfettered by ridiculous limiting measurements based on impersonal standardized norms. The bar is set by the child, not the statistic.
Here are some other resources for parents with late talking children:
Thomas Sowell: Heredity, environment and talk Sowell's books, Late-Talking Children and The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late
In the case of late taking, always get your child tested by a physician specialist to rule out issues which may be corrected such as hearing impairment or other physiological causes. Whatever the issues, all children are special, and all children are souls born with their own God given potential. Parents know their children best, and should be their first educators and their greatest advocates. Be still and pray; let God move your heart and mind. His plan is the only plan, and it is good.
Late talking resource for at home speech enrichment.
Also see: Experiences Homeschooling a Speech Delayed Child, Part II
And: Late-Talking Children Confused with Autism Spectrum