When children are late in hitting developmental milestones, parents worry. And no delay causes more parental anxiety than late talking, which is associated in many parents' minds with such serious conditions as autism and severe intellectual disability. In fact, as children's speech expert Stephen Camarata points out in this enlightening book, children are late in beginning to talk for a wide variety of reasons. For some children, late talking may be a symptom of other, more serious problems; for many others, however, it may simply be a stage with no long-term complications.
Camarata describes in accessible language what science knows about the characteristics and causes of late talking. He explains that today's greater awareness of autism, as well as the expanded definition of autism as a "spectrum" of symptoms, has increased the chances that a late-talking child will be diagnosed - or misdiagnosed - with autism. But, he reminds us, late talking is only one of a constellation of autism symptoms.
Although all autistic children are late talkers, not all late-talking children are autistic. Camarata draws on more than 25 years of professional experience diagnosing and treating late talkers - and on his personal experience of being a late talker himself and having a late-talking son. Camarata offers parents valuable guidance on seeking treatment, advising them to get second and third opinions if necessary and warning them against false diagnoses, unqualified practitioners, and ineffective therapies. He provides information that will help parents navigate the maze of doctors, speech therapists, early childhood services, and special education; and he describes the effect that late talking may have on children's post-talking learning styles.
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