Mama.  Dada.  I think every mom-to-be spends nine months wondering what her babys’ voice will sound like.  First time mothers imagine what it will feel like to hear that first cry of joy for mama.  Some two-year-olds can speak in two to three word sentences.  When a parent is around the children of their friends and family and everyones two-year-olds are talking except their own it can provoke a worried  visit to the pediatrician.  Mothers and fathers buy health plans for themselves and their children for peace of mind.  When your baby isn’t talking you start to worry about the cost of treating your child if something isn’t quite right.  How much will the tests cost if needed?   Will my high deductible plan cover any of the costs?  Probably not.  Did I remember to pay the health insurance premiums? Hope so.  If you don’t have health plans in place to protect your children now would be a perfect time to do so.  Even if there is something wrong, carriers can no longer rider (not pay for or cover) any pre-existing conditions in children.  The health premiums might be a bit higher and you need to have an adult family member on the policy with the child but you can get health plans for the child.

When should you be worried?   Medicinenet to the rescue.  Diane Paul-Brown, PhD, director of clini cal issues at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) says that there is a broad range of normal.  “Some children develop language at a faster rate than others,” she says.  Bearing that in mind there are some milestones to watch for and times when you should have your child’s speech and language evaluated.

Kids may be labeled “late talkers” if they speak less than 10 words by the age of 18 to 20 months or fewer than 50 words by 21 to 30 months of age.  Boys tend to develop speech a little later than girls.  Again, from Medicinenet “  the American Academy of Pediatrics lists the following milestones for the first five years”:

  • By the end of the second year your toddler should be able to speak in two- to three-word sentences and follow simple instructions
  • By the end of the third year, your child should be able to follow simple instructions, identify common objects and pictures, and speak well enough to be understood by non family.
  • By the end of the fourth year should ask why and understand the concepts of same vs. different and be able to speak clearly.
  • By age 5, your child should be able to retell a story in her own words and use more than 5 words in a sentence.

If you are concerned about late-talking children, see your pediatrician or seek an evaluation from a speech-language pathologist.