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 twenty-five 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.
About the Author
Stephen M. Camarata is Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt School of Medicine.
"The book on late-talking children. Stephen Camarata is a godsend for their parents."—The American Spectator
"Among the many anguishes of parenthood is having a child who remains silent long past the age at which his or her age-mates are talking a blue streak. Their deep distress makes them easy prey for hucksters and quacks who are all too happy to multiply their anxiety with dire diagnoses and to sell them on expensive but worthless remedies. In Late-Talking Children, the world’s expert on the syndrome offers good sense, humane advice, and the latest science to such parents—while reminding his fellow scientists that it raises fascinating questions for our understanding of language, genetics, development, and the organization of the human brain."
—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works
"Professor Stephen Camarata's new book will be a revelation and a treasure to anxious and puzzled parents of late-talking children. It should also be read by professionals who treat—and sometimes mistreat—late-talking children, as well as by those who set educational and medical policies."
—Thomas Sowell, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
"I met Dr. Camarata when I was physician-in-chief at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. I learned so much from him about children who are late to talk that I encouraged him to write a book for parents. I am glad he did this because his book taught me a lot more. While written for parents, professionals also will learn from his book."
—Ed McCabe, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, March of Dimes Foundation
"As parents with developmental concerns about our children, we often are told we are the best experts on our own child. This is especially true if we have good information at the start. For parents of late-talking children, including those with an autism diagnosis, this book is that. Camarata invites your critical thinking by providing a base of real knowledge."
—Sue Swenson, parent, and former Commissioner for Developmental Disabilities, US Department of Health and Human Services