Parents often tell me that their pediatrician recommended that they shouldn't take their child to a speech-language pathologist unless the child isn't speaking by age 2. I have immense respect for pediatricians because they are caring individuals who know a lot and often are right; however, when it comes to speech and language development, they are not the specialists. A brief phone call and possibly a consultation with a speech-language pathologist can save parents a lot of worry and help prevent a potentially lifelong problem for their child.
Many fellow parents also reinforce such advice from pediatricians. In this Huffington Post article, a professor from William Paterson University in New Jersey reports, "I can't tell you how many times I have heard parents say, 'My mother said I didn't start speaking until I was three years old and I turned out fine.' This may be true, but it fuels the misconception that a significant delay is nothing to worry about."
As the article points out, "Seeing a speech-language pathologist now [and possibly beginning appropriate intervention at an early age] can save your child from more serious issues later on." Although some children who begin talking late do catch up to their peers, many children don't and can have lifelong difficulties with language.
Go ahead, make the call.
Joanne Summer, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist based in Morristown, NJ, has helped hundreds of children improve their speech sound production and language skills. She founded Well Spoken Speech Therapy, LLC, in 2014 after spending 12 years providing therapy to children (K-5) in the New Jersey public school system. In private practice, her clients also include younger children and adolescents. In addition, she treats people of all ages who stutter or otherwise find it difficult to speak fluently—an area in which she has received extensive specialized training.