Late Talker Book review from Advance

Comprehensive Resource for Parents of Children Who Are Late Talkers

Late Talker book review from ADVANCE October 27, 2003
Reviewed by Alice Rhein, MS, CCC-SLP

Every parent of a child with apraxia should be armed with a copy of the book The Late Talker: What to Do If Your Child Isn’t Talking Yet. Author Marilyn C. Agin, MD, a pediatrician and former speech-language pathologist, and co writer Lisa F. Geng, A Florida mother of two late talkers, are so instinctively in tune with their subject matter that their book comes across more like a conversation among supportive friends than a medical ‘how-to’ manual.

Yet make no mistake the information provided in its 221 pages is comprehensive, concise, practical, rational and non-patronizing. The authors assume parents have already heard the “wait and see” response as to why their child cannot talk and are trusting their own instincts to delve further.

Chapters include warning signs of a speech disorder, ways to obtain an evaluation and treatment, services offered through the school system and health insurance, at home activities, and advice from parents who’ve been there.

The professionals parents have encountered are not always portrayed in the most flattering light. Many will cringe when they read the story of the parent who was told at an individual education plan (IEP) meeting that she had “too much time on her hands” for putting together a comprehensive plan as to why her child needed one-on-one therapy.

Parents must be their child’s biggest advocate, the authors continuously stress, and this book backs up the reasons why with research, resources, and real-life examples.

While parents should find the information in the book invaluable, therapists will benefit from its wealth of resources, including a list of children’s books dealing with disabilities, fun therapy exercises, a guide to ICD codes, where to order sing-along music for children with speech disorders, and an appendix of support tools.

Malcolm J. Nicholl, the third author of the book, contributes a chapter about the use of omega-3 fatty acids to help stimulate speech. While there is limited research on the effectiveness of giving late talkers fatty acids he notes numerous parents provide evidence of its success with their children.

The questions and concerns for parents of late talkers are endless. This book offers reassuring and realistic advice while providing a comprehensive map through the maze of terms, techniques, and troubles they will encounter.  Armed with this knowledge, both parents and professionals will be able to help late talkers find their voice.

This book can be obtained from St. Martin’s Press (or online through Barnes and Noble or Amazon…or ask for it at your favorite book store)


Alice Rhein is on staff at St. John Health System in Detroit, MI.

“ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists is a weekly publication, reporting on up-to-the-minute developments, the latest technology, and current trends in audiology and speech-language pathology.”