Please help bring our children a voice… silence is not golden
If you want to raise awareness about speech disorders–and the threat to IDEA–here’s a press release you can share with your local media. Find out the name of the health and education correspondents. Call them up to outline the situation. Then send the press release to them. Call them again later to see if they need more information. Best of all make your family available to be interviewed to personalize the story. The first is a brief, which is good for TV or radio -just to snag attention. The PR release is more suitable for newspapers..but could be sent as a follow-up to TV.
They’re children without a voice—literally. They’re not able to speak at all while infants of the same age are talking like crazy, experimenting with new sounds and new word combinations all the time these kids are intelligent. They know what they want to say—but the words just won’t come out. It’s a frustrating and agonizing for them and their parents. Often parents are reassured by friends, relatives and even their pediatricians: “Don’t worry, he’s just a late talker.” But, for a dramatically increasing number of children that’s not true. Tens of thousands of American children don’t have a speech delay. They have a serious speech disorder. And if they don’t get intensive therapy at a very young age—they may never speak properly. It’s a problem that’s getting worse. In a 10-year period which saw a four-fold increase in autism, there was a staggering 30-fold increase in children with speech and language disorders. But it’s a problem that gets surprisingly little attention.
The non-profit group, Cherab, is now seeking to raise awareness with the public—and health professionals. Cherab president Lisa Geng is also co-author of a new book, “The Late Talker: What To Do If Your Child Isn’t Talking Yet.” Co-author Marilyn Agin, M.D., is a developmental pediatrician and medical director of early intervention for New York City .
Contact: Lisa Geng
Phone: 772. 335. 5135
For Immediate Release
Non profit group speaks up for children
who live in a world of silence
Billy is two years old—and he’s not uttered a word. His parents haven’t even heard him say “mama” or “dada.” Everyone—including their pediatrician—has told them not to worry because he’s “just a late talker.”
And quite often that’s sound advice. But for Billy and tens of thousands of infants like him it’s not that simple. A dramatically increasing number of children who don’t speak when they’re expected to speak don’t have a developmental delay but a serious neurological disorder that needs early and intensive treatment. US Department of Education statistics reveal a 30-fold rise in speech and language disorders, compared with a four-fold increase in autism. Yet it’s a problem that’s received surprisingly little attention.
Now a non-profit group called Cherab (Communication Help, Research, Education Base) is spearheading a campaign to bring greater awareness to these little known conditions. Cherab is providing a voice for kids who can’t speak up for themselves, children who live in a frustrating world of silence where they struggle to make their needs known. Says the group’s president, Lisa Geng, mother of a child with apraxia, a serious neurological speech disorder, “Children with speech disorders are often misdiagnosed as autistic or mentally retarded. They frequently do not get the therapy that they need. It’s a major uphill battle. If the proposed legislation becomes law, it will set us back thirty years.” Developmental pediatrician Marilyn Agin, medical director of New York ’s early intervention program agrees. Co-author with Geng of a new book called “The Later Talker: What To Do If Your Child Isn’t Talking Yet,” she says, “It is so important for children to be evaluated and treated at an early age. Adopting a wait and see approach can in some circumstances have devastating consequences.”
In their book Agin and Geng provide:
• A review of the developmental milestones and what to do if expectations are not met.
• An explanation of the various speech and language disorders, and recommendations on when and how to seek the right kind of professional evaluation.
• An exploration of the appropriate therapies a child should receive from speech-language pathologists (SLPs), and how to support their efforts.
• Exercises to do at home with a child.
• Tips for easing the inevitable frustration a late talking child experiences—as well as advice to parents on coping with their own frustrations.
• An explanation of parents’ rights and how to navigate the school system and insurance maze on the child’s behalf.
• Stories of other parents who have struggled with a child’s speech development problems.
(Above is a general press release. For parents who want to do something locally, insert at the end a personal quote…e.g. Philadelphia mother, Mary Smith, who has a xx year old child with a speech disorder, says, “You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get the right kind of therapy. It’s a never-ending battle with the school system and the insurance company.” You could use this quote -or if you’re more adventurous add an entirely new quote. If you are mentioned in The Late Talker book, you could get media attention by mentioning the fact that you’re in the book. Anyone who is a member of the nonprofit Cherab group could get media attention by mentioning the fact that you’re a member.)