“My daughter is 6 and talks at a 2 year old level. People always said things like “my 6 year old could talk at that age.” What is with yours is she retarded???”…I wish I had some advice to tell you that would cure the problems that we face.”
In response to the recent emails like this about horrible rude remarks that shockingly can even come from our own friends, no less from “family” movies like Agent Cody Banks that believe it OK to make fun of speech impaired children, I have an announcement about something I believe, I hope, will help to end the dead silence out there about our children.
It took many years to change the misconceptions of the hearing impaired populations cognitive abilities to most of the public. Unlike hearing impaired or visually impaired children, who do have awareness and compassion in most of the public eye, there is still the strong misconception that cognitive ability can be judged by the way a child or adult speaks or doesn’t speak. To show the severe lack of awareness there is about our children, there has been a documented dramatic 30% rise in the number of children with speech disorders in the past ten years, yet no awareness, making fun of those that don’t speak well is still in today’s “politically correct world” considered “good fun”. (I’m not even just talking about the recent MGM movie -just read reviews of the way Ozzy Osbourne speaks)
Just like hearing impaired children, most children or adults with speech impairments have average to above average intelligence. Yet too often we read here how our children after years of ridicule start believing that they are “dumb” or “stupid” or “retarded” as they are called by other children…and adults. These children have to fight not only their impairment of speech but false assumptions and low self-esteem in order to have a chance at future success in life.
As bad as our communication delayed or impaired children can feel about themselves, the way they are regarded by others can be worse – and these “others” include professionals (teachers and speech-language pathologists) that should know better. In studies, children with communication impairments were frequently ignored by other kids and were not as popular as their “normal” classmates. (see studies by Mable L. Rice, Ph.D. and colleagues at the University of Kansas)
All the problems I just spoke of -all of them, and more -are due to lack of awareness. Silence from our children and about our children is not golden. Our children deserve a voice.
These issues and much more, are covered in a book I have co-authored with one of my son’s developmental pediatricians, a former speech-language pathologist, and an acknowledged authority in this field. My other Co-Author is Malcolm Nicholl, a former international journalist, and Co-Author of The LCP Solution. The forward is written by Paula Tallal Ph.D., Board of Governor’s Professor of Neuroscience and Co-Director of the CMBN at Rutgers University.
I believe that The Late Talker book will get our message out to the mainstream -and bring our children the voice they so desperately need. The exciting news is that The Late Talker just started shipping early to stores all over. It was not supposed to be in the stores until late April or early May. Some of you have told me that your local bookstores are getting them early or earlier because you “bugged them”.
Even if you ordered your copy online -you do want copies of The Late Talker to be in your local book stores right up front for all to see -and here are the top ten reasons why The Late Talker book will help all of us, and why all of you should start “bugging” your local book stores.
Top ten reasons to celebrate now that The Late Talker book just started shipping to a store near you!
10. When someone asks a rude question (like “What’s wrong with him?”) You can pull out your copy of The Late Talker book that you never leave home without and say, “I didn’t get to that chapter yet, however, I did read how to deal with rude questions in Chapter 10… If you have a minute I can read that to you.”
9. Instead of walking into your IEP meeting with Xeroxed copies off the Internet, you can now walk in with The Late Talker book, a book that has been recommended by some of the world’s leading respected educational and medical professionals*. When something inappropriate is stated, you can say “I guess you didn’t read The Late Talker book yet, this is covered in Chapters _ and _ with references from _ …If you have a Xerox machine here I’ll gladly make you a copy.”
8. Leave your hair alone! Stop pulling it out!! You can now give a copy of The Late Talker book to friends, relatives, or anyone who asks you over and over, “Did he start talking yet?”
7. Insurance problem getting speech or other services covered for your late talker? What insurance problem getting speech or other services covered for your late talker? You have a copy of The Late Talker book, which even has example letters to send to the insurance companies! (Perhaps send your insurance company a copy of The Late Talker book as a thank you for being so nice!)
6. Your pediatrician will not want to admit not reading The Late Talker book yet, so as long as you bring The Late Talker book to your next pediatric visit and keep it visible, no more having to push for that referral for a speech and hearing evaluation. (When you leave, you can “accidentally” leave your copy of The Late Talker book in the office!)
5. You can now spend extra time with your child at the playground or the zoo instead of having to endlessly try to explain for hours “the difference between autism and apraxia and speech delays vs. speech disorders and the various types of late talkers, and what type of therapies are out there and what can you do at home to help, and what types of doctor would you see, and how do you deal with your frustrations and how do you deal with your child’s frustrations?!!” and all the other questions that are thrown at you from your child’s new teacher, or babysitter, or friend’s mother’s sister who is visiting for the day from Poughkeepsie. Just pull out your handy-dandy copy of The Late Talker book when the questions come and say just five words “It’s all in the book.”
4. If your child’s SLP asks you, “What are EFAs?” you’ll know she didn’t read The Late Talker book yet, so you’ll know what to buy her for the holidays.
3. No more long explanation as to why to do a segment on apraxia, or speech disorders, or late talkers for TV, magazines or newspaper…now everyone, locally or nationally, can easily raise awareness by just referencing The Late Talker book!
2. Your whole town will finally have awareness!! (Just convince your local bookstores to move just one of the hundreds of ADHD books to the side to proudly display copies of The Late Talker book, the first book of its kind for our children, right up in the front of the store where it can’t be missed.)
…And the number one reason to celebrate now that The Late Talker book just started shipping to a store near you:
1. Thanks to The Late Talker book, our late talker children will finally have a smile and a voice!!!!