January 4th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Some kids reach age 3 without saying a word

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some children are reaching the age of 3 without being able to say a single word.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/04/art.3.jpg caption=""]
The London Times reports on a survey that also shows boys are almost twice as likely as girls to have difficulties learning to speak. The average baby speaks their first word at around 10 or 11 months... but this poll done in the UK shows four-percent of parents report their child said nothing until 3 years old. At that age - toddlers should be able to use up to 300 words, including adjectives, and string them together.

The poll of more than 1,000 parents also shows almost one in six parents say their child had problems learning to talk... that figure rises to one in four when it comes to parents of boys.

On average - girls say their first word sooner... and string words together at a younger age.

Experts say late speech development can lead to problems - like low academic achievement or mental health issues. They say that it takes lots of help and encouragement in order for children to learn how to talk... parents need to talk to their kids, read stories, play word games, point out new objects, etc. Translation: Some parents need to focus on their kids and engage them more.

This is scary stuff here... if some kids aren't talking until they're 3, it can cause issues for the rest of their lives... when it's time to read, write, communicate, etc.

Here’s my question to you: How serious a problem is it if some children reach age 3 without saying a single word?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Lou writes:
Einstein was 4 or 5 before he spoke; they thought he was retarded. My daughter was a late speaker. She's 12 now and we can't turn the motor mouth off. I hate that the 'experts' are always worrying folks that their kids should meet certain guidelines and conformities or else something must be wrong with them.

Clay writes:
Kids need human interaction, not cyber-interaction. I'm surprised they talk at all, save for a few odd bleeps and bloops, uttered to emulate their silicon siblings.

Larrie writes:
I had older sisters that spoke for me until I was around 3 yrs old. The only "side effect" I had was a slight speech impediment that was corrected in grade school. I don't feel that it caused me any problems into my adult life. Children learn and develop at different stages, and if they are communicating in other forms, there should be no reason for concern.

Larry from Tuscaloosa, Alabama writes:
Jack, This statistic is not so strange when you consider the increasing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders, currently estimated to affect nearly 2% of children. Rather than looking for problems with the parents, we should be investigating possible causes of the Autism epidemic.

Dave from Columbia, Maryland writes:
Jack, There are many of us who did not talk until 3 and who have been successful. My Ph.D. is in mathematical statistics and I run a communications training company. There is even a book on the subject of people who have been very successful and were late talkers. Parents of people like me should remain be hopeful.

Kris from Ohio writes:
Jack, I am a special ed teacher. Believe me, it is a serious problem not saying a word until age 3. My class is too full already. Read and talk to your kids and they will respond long before they turn 3.

Dave from Altoona, Pennsylvania writes:
Jack, We spend the first 2 years of our kids' lives teaching them to walk and talk. Then we spend the next 18 years telling them to sit down and shut up. When they talk is not as important as what they say when they do.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. JENNA

    How serious a problem is it if some children reach age 3 without saying a single word?

    This is a very serious problem. Autism is on the rise and it is robbing our children of normalcy. We need to get a handle on this issue and fast.

    Now if former elected officials, one comes to mind: Dick "Shooter" Cheney, would keep their mouths shut for 3 years after leaving office – now that would be a Godsend!

    Roseville CA

    January 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  2. David of Alexandria VA

    Jack, I sat in a nice restaraunt for lunch today and got a 2 year old at the next table. The kid would not shut up or stop making noise with every object or orafice he could find. His parents encouraged him. If that kid didn't talk until 3 years old, it would be a blessing. And his parents should observe a triennia of silence along with their son.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  3. Willow, Iowa

    My grandson did that. He was an at risk birth, and they had speech therapists see him quite often. He is now 12 years old, smart as a whip in math and English in school. A's and B's in everything. Just as some children aren't potty trained at 2, and some children wet the bed til they're 12, all children are different. They mature in different areas at different times. My kids didn't walk until they were over 15 months old. That was my long distance swimmer and my softball player.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  4. Joanne B

    Some children are slow learners...so what !
    Joanne B

    January 4, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  5. Ron from Chicago

    Jack, the problem is tremendous.

    If parents aren't engaged in their child's development there are other major issues within that household. Perhaps there isn't enough health insurance to proceed but there are a few county hospitals in some areas who would exam the child.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  6. John from Alabama

    Jack: Albert Einstein did not speak until age 5. Many very bright children do not speak until they can form complete thoughts in sentence form. It means nothing unless its one of your grandchildren, Jack.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  7. Cheryl in Bluffton, SC

    It's not necessarily a serious problem. My friend Steve grew up with 2 sisters and a mom who catered to his every need; he didn't speak until age 4, when he started speaking in full sentences. I guess there was no need to!

    January 4, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  8. Melissa

    That can't be a good thing.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  9. Tom Bayliss, Bradenton,FL

    My child is three and can't say a word but he/she knows how to play computer games.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  10. Fred R DeLeon SR

    Well that is not good but what is real bad is kids graduating from HS not knowing how to write nor spelling with property.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  11. chaney, La.

    It means that some one [parent] is failing miserably.. children who reach the age of 3 with out language are being neglected...period. Children learn language and other social skills from interaction with family, primarily parents......it is time we addressed the appalling conditions that some children live in, these kids are used as a means to an end., neglected, abused and used to game the system. and it makes me fighting mad......

    January 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  12. Steve from Canada

    In the case of my son, he was eventually diagnosed with Autism..That was 20 years ago.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  13. Nabeel

    For parents who dont care, it isnt much of a problem I suppose.

    What do you expect them to say? That dad hasnt had a job because the economy is in shambles or complaining that we would rather throw away our money on two pointless wars instead of helping our own people in need.

    A wise man once said "silence is golden". Hopefully they grow up and act more than they speak ... something that this country could use a whole lot more of.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  14. Ed

    The cell phone industry considers this a serious problem.


    January 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  15. Tina Tx

    Turn off the dang idiot tube and let the kids be kids again and they will start to talk sooner. You place them in front of a talking box and why should they talk?

    January 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  16. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    It is a very serious problem. My three year old granddaughter speaks in complete sentences with a wide vocabulary. Since her birth she has been talked to, read to, played with, and loved by her parents, grandparents, and brothers and sisters. Many parents today plop toddlers in front of a TV for hours on end and ignore them. I still say people should have to have a license to procreate. Parenting is hard work.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  17. Troy Fairview, Texas,

    It may be a very serious problem. Especially for those children who's parents can not speak, read or write very well themselves. Having ignorant people educating their own children is a very bad combination generation after generation. Just watch some of the television shows on and you will see what I am talking about. When these same parents are watching shows like Big brother, Reality TV or the Bachelor or Desperate Housewives or Saturday Night Live and their 3 year old is sitting right next to them. What the hell ever happened to wholesome television and educational shows like Sesame Street?

    January 4, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  18. Mark

    Parents are just too "busy" texting, twittering, emailing, checking their MySpace page and watching "reality" shows to actually pay attention to their kids. Where are the "idiots" now who said technology would make this a better world?


    January 4, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  19. cy

    It's not so bad that they're not talking, they're probably texting. cy from arlington,va

    January 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  20. vdh

    My sister's little granddaughter had a more or less a complete command of language at age 2 1/2, including adjectives, adverbs and pronouns. Now, thanks to Dora, at age 3 1/2, she's learning Spanish! It blows our mind. A lot of kids really are smarter now than we were way back then! But we did have to laugh when she said that her brother told her he was "the boss of the applesauce!"

    January 4, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  21. Tom Bulger

    It isn't necessarily a problem. My wife has said of our son, Dr. David Warren Bulger, that he never spoke a word until he had something to say. Then he spoke a sentence, and that with perfect grammar and enunciation. Now he writes papers on such erudite subjects as Global Optimization. Anyone but a mathematician would think he is making his words up but he keeps getting published.

    Read good books to your children and they will blossom and shine.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  22. Hoosier Hillbilly Gnsbg,IN

    How serious a problem is it if some children reach age 3 without saying a single word?
    Jack I really can't say, I have a [just turned 3 grandson] and he is not without words. He can put a complete sentence together using adjectives & adverbs and some conjunctions that make you wonder what grade of school you should start him in.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  23. Isabel

    It is not a problem at all.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  24. Darren

    With all the additives, perservatives, and pesticides in our food and a lot of infants drinking out of bottles contaminated with lead, can anyone be surprised by any significant abnormalities in childhood development.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  25. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, I think if there is no physical or mental reason for a child not speaking, such as not being able to hear or being retarded, then there should not be a reason to be seriously concerned. I think you should do everything in your power to try and help them along and really that is all you can do. When it comes to girls speaking before boys that is in their makeup. When a group to women get together is impossible for them to be silent. But men on the other hand keep to themselves more. I don't think speaking at an early age has anything to do with intelligence. I am sure Sarah Palin started talking as soon as she was born but still has not said anything that makes any sense. I rest my case.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  26. Dakota Don from Akra

    It's only a symptom of the toxin saturated enviroment they are now immersed in from the time they're born ... or from the time of conception.

    It would be interesting to see what the statistics are for the children of the Amish.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  27. Ed from California

    Around us we have four families with toddlers age's 1.5 yrs to 2.5 years, three boys and one girl.
    The oldest boy 2.5 talks too much! The 2 y/o girl and boy, the girl talks more than the 2y/o boy and the 1.5 y/o boy tries. The oldest boy and the youngest boy goes to day care. The girl stays home and the 2y/o boy goes to grandma's. Day care is the key, kids need contact with other kids.
    A kid at three should talk, but, maybe it's their environment. It's a serious problem, yes!
    Are you saying that we (collective we) should intervene in this child's life and check out their parent(s) for abuse? If so, then I'm for it. We all need to protect our (collective our) children from abuse.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  28. John - Texas

    Each day more and more kids are being raised by single mothers or by day care workers – who are, most of the time, not well prepared for the importance of the job . Add to that an excessive exposition of them to a total erosion of family and moral values in our current society – praised, stimulated and spread by TV shows, Hollywood movies and movie stars, music, etc.
    No wonder why the family institution in America is a MESS !!! And I defenitly don't see a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately...

    January 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  29. Dave , Munhall , Pa.

    I don't believe it's a serious condition, the child wil eventually talk and become annoying at times. But I do know a bunch of politicans in D.C. that I wish would come down with this problem ,all they do is talk,talk, talk and are annoying all the time and NO ONE can understand them at all , except lobbyist !!

    January 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  30. Anne

    My sister made noises but didn't talk in words and sentences until she was four years old. Everyone wanted her tested, but my mother insisted that she would talk when she was ready to talk because she was obviously very smart. She was right. My sister was a certified genius and Mensa member. She was brilliant. She just had nothing she wanted to talk about as a young child.

    Sometimes children develop at their own rate. That's OK.


    January 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  31. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    This could turn out to be a very serious problem on many fronts. More parental interaction with the children is needed. My son and I were together all day long. I constantly talked to him. I described everything I was doing,what we were going to do,and I read to him from the very early beginning. It was a lot of work on my part but my son spoke his first words around 9 months and was conversational way before age 2 years. Now,28 years later he is on a full scholarship at a top 30 Law School. The time spent paid off very nicely and now will benefit his family and hopefully society.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  32. Rob in NC

    I believe this is a serious problem, however, in this "new electronic age" in which we live, kids don't need to know how to spell ( or for that matter communicate correctly). LOL,TMI,OMG – these are the prefered means of communication today. Rob in NC

    January 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  33. Rick Medina,OH


    Until you raised this issue, I didn't know it existed. It is both sad and timely. Over the holidays, my wife and I collected and gave to our daughter the books we read to her, so that she can use them again. Parenting is totally uncalculated ... it is an instinctive art. Sure, we make plans for our kids, but our interactions with them mean far, far more.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    January 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  34. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Some of them are able to say Football at an early age because too much emphasis is placed on sports and parents are not taking the time to work with kids. Maybe their too busy working or watching TV. Does this really suprise anyone?

    January 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  35. Michael Alexandria, VA

    It's pretty serious Jack, although more information is required to come up with a solution, such as the economic and educational status of the parents and whether autism or other mental disability is involved. The problem is worse if some in society have no choice as to whether they can spend the necessary time with their children – or lack the necessary intellectual skills themselves.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  36. Maria

    It's pretty darn serious. I was reading and writing and comprehending by age 3 and was encouraged by my parents to read any books in the house, get a library card and use it, et al. My first grandaughter didn't speak until she was about two, because she was a physically beautiful child. spoiled and she had an older brother who would run and fetch anything she pointed at. Thank goodness there's been no lasting effects on her, but maybe some on my grandson.

    Parents...if you have children by accident or on purpose or whatever, then take care of them as if their lives depend on it, because it does.



    January 4, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  37. Steve - Omaha, NE

    My sister has a three year old who seems to have difficulty speaking. Whenever she visits, it disturbs me to see the child not be able to call out simple things like "ball" or "dog." It is definitely a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Communication and language is the key to life and therefore – success.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  38. Ruthie, Stone Mountain, GA

    We spend the first year of a child life trying to get them to talk and the rest of their childhood trying to shut them up. We complain about toddlers talking to much, but if they don't talk, that will be a BIG concern. Communication is key; kids should be able to express themselves it cuts down on frustration. I would like to know when these kids started walking. Did they have gross motor skill delays; it could cause delays in fine motor skills. I have a boy and girl twins. My daughter learned to walk and talk first, but my son was the first to use complete sentences and potty train. After this article their constant talking will be music to my ears.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  39. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Sounds to me like there are some over bearing parents.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  40. Robert from Atlanta

    Humans learn speech from the day they are born sounds enter the ears and act on the ear drum to the cranial nerve to the brain. If sound is not heard it cannot be made. A child that does not speak before the age of 3 is of the scale for normal human infants. This lack of speech or attempt at speech should be handled by a medical professional ASAP.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  41. Frank from Connellsville, PA

    No real problem, after all we see officials all the time who could reach 103 and still not have said a single meaningful word.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  42. Michael H. of Albuquerque, NM

    If these children have evolved to the point where telepathy is sufficient for them, I don't see the problem. It's up to us to develope our minds and learn to interact with them through games and play. The more the better for us and them. Nice to have you back, Jack.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  43. Linda in Arizona

    It's appalling. I hadn't read anything about this. Are they all autistic, or maybe retarded? Are they deprived of human interaction? What's going on anyway? Wow, we sure don't need kids getting any dumber than most of them already are. This is scary.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  44. Gail, Plano,Texas

    It may mean that the child is autistic. However, many children who are on the spectrum speak, and speak eloquently. I do not think that enough research has been done to give a definitive answer. I know children who spoke at 10 months and are autistic. So we cannot paint everyone with the same brush.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  45. Bev -an American in Canada

    Devastating Jack if that is not taken care of. Not only, in terms of getting somewhere academically but also creating extreme behavior problems as communicaiton with peers are difficult creating misunderstandings and eventually conflict, self -esteem, self confidence issues etc., This translates into social difficulties in young adults and then it is downhill from there. Reading books to your kids from the moment they are born, stimluates their curiosity for the spoken and written language even for those who may have difficulty with speech due to some other underlying problem. Parents do not need university degrees to read to their kids. Books are free at the library, Parents really need to take the lead when their kids are born and must want better for their kids.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  46. The Broker.

    "So would you! If nobody introduced you into the conversation. But no... Shey shut them away in a bedroom somewhere, and shut the door. All the kid has is a Baby Alarm. There is so much electronic stuff on the markets these days. They introduce kids into conversation!"

    January 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  47. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    this is serious. If a parent is not engage in speaking to their kids for different reasons and reading to them or even showing them and telling them this is an apple as a simple example is quite disturbing as well as not producitve for the child and future adult! How is the child suppose to know what is an apple, what is a table and so on if the adults in their lives do not share their knowledge to them! Not surprising about this news because I have seen for whatever reasons how parents uses tv, videos instead of talking to their kids and have seen young parents not even aware of their role to express to their child every word that defines the child's environment!

    January 4, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  48. Ray in Nashville

    I don't know, Jack. It seems to me that a bigger problem may well be what comes out of their mouths as they get older, like Rush, Glen and Sarah.

    Happy New Year!

    January 4, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  49. Dennis North Carolina

    it is a serious problem. the cause is a lack of a medical system to protect the children.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  50. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    It might help if parents were around to help their children learn to speak. But given the propensity of parents to park their kids in front of the Big Screen Babysitter, I'm amazed that kids aren't spouting the advantages of Kix and Sugar Pops!

    January 4, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  51. Eugene, Myers Flat, CA

    Happy New Year Jack,

    As long as parents substitute family time, with video games and computers children will suffer. Speech is just the tip of the iceberg. Education begins at home, not school. We're dehumanizing our children with electronics and filling their minds with movies that kill, maim and mutilate. If I were a kid, my first word might be unprintable.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  52. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, the late talking is just a symptom of the real problem, which is the parents. Children's early developments are a responsibilty of the parents, and more and more parents don't have time or desire for the interaction that is required to give their child a solid start. They birth the child, nurse for a short time, then turn the child over to the mass child rearing facilities, where teaching/learning is a secondary concern when the caregiver is responsible for 10-20 children, changing, feeding, napping, etc. The parents seem only responsible for paying and putting them to bed for the night. Who are they going to learn to talk from, their peers?

    January 4, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  53. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    This is what happens when medications have lead, mercury, and other nasty chemicals in the shots we give them before they go to school, it dumb them down, and because we allow the water companies in our country, to put another poison in our water sodium fluoride, which is also used in rat poison this stuff dumb us all down unless you buy a reverse osmosis water filter system with ultraviolet light filter! Many of the products that are sold to Americans these days are filled with all types of poisons that over time have harmed, are harming now, and will in the future cause other illness to develop within us all that we should never have to face! What ever happened to the FDA and the USDA it is their job job to protect the American people from these poisons!

    January 4, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  54. Gigi Oregon

    It is scary to grandparents and great-grandparents to see he changes in the raising of children today verses the 50's and 70's. Being a stay at home mom during the fifties and raising one son and three daughters the difference in development is quite noticeable. Food in the fifties was prepared at home. Seventies weekends became fast food. Week days meals were prepared in the home. I have great-grand children who only eat home cooking on Sundays at my home IF they eat. Potting training in the fifties was the first 18 months Seventy's 24 to 36 months, now some as late as four. It is the breakdown of the family structure and the need for two family incomes. And yes it does hurt the development of these children. Just look at the increase of behaviour problems in schools. Today we work for what we want and not for what we need the price that is paid I'm afraid is going to be very high. Compare the the learning levels of the American student against any country in the world and you will find some world countries excel far above those of this country. Maybe that's why our jobs are being sent overseas.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  55. Lil Me

    This is why early childhood education and intervention is so important. In most states, voters recognize this as an issue and have approved measures that tax cigarettes and other tobacco products to benefit kids age infant through 5. These programs offer a variety of programs aimed at addressing developmental delays, speech problems and other issues. Those who live in states who don't do this should get a similar measure on the ballot.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  56. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    In my case it would not have been a problem at all. If I wasn’t able to run my big mouth so soon I would have gotten into a whole lot less trouble.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  57. Birddog in Mississippi

    As a linguist, I feel it necessary to correct some of the assumptions made here. First, the has always been a wide range to the "normal" developmental stages of learning language. Second, late speech development does not "lead to" further problems - this is a matter of confusing correlation with causality - it is more likely that whatever problems lead to late development of speech also affect a child in other areas. Third, reading to a child (while a good thing) will not help him or her speak sooner. Speech development follows the same stages at the same ages in both literate and illiterate cultures as well as in cultures where there is NO written language. Please don't send parents into a panic. If your child doesn't begin babbling 'bababa' by about 5 months - see a doctor, but don't panic.

    January 4, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  58. Marii

    I would probably be concerned if I had a normal child and they did not speak until age 3. I have a 3 year old daughter with multiple disabilities related to Cerebral Palsy. She was diagnosed with global developmental delay, before being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. She understands very well but is delayed in her speech. She can say a few words, but amazingly can repeat any phrase in front of a dog. She adores dogs. She currently receives speech therapy three times weekly, and is starting school, for the first time this week, Early Childhood Intervention. The great thing is that we are seeing some progress with therapy, and repeated reading and reinforcements while at home.

    January 4, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  59. Thom Richer

    Jack, this is purely one man's personal opinion based on some measure of experience in education and raising children of my own, along with watching sibling's children raised from cradle to school age and beyond.

    Language development at an early age, between 0 to 2 years of age, is extremely important and revealing. Communication, with words, should be happening before or by age two by the child. If not, it is then parents and educators must recognize, admit and act on, the very real possibility of a developmental limitation. Difficult? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. The sooner it is attended to the better.

    Language development, or lack of, is the single most important development sign there is. Don't ignore it because of pride, fear, embarrassment or just plain refusal to admit a problem may exist. Intelligence is not the issue. Any child may have slow language development for many different reasons other than intellect. Diagnose the problem for the child's sake and do it by age two.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    January 4, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  60. Drew

    This issue does a lot to highlight more than just how much of a problem children not learning to speak is. It speaks to other problems like the lack of time or energy parents can afford to spend with their children in our increasingly high-paced society. It's about time we slowed down a little and focused more on subtle, but important things like making sure the future is literate.

    Drew from Toronto, Canada

    January 4, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  61. lou

    Einstien was 4 or 5 before he spoke. They thought he was retarded. My daughter was a late speaker. She's 12 now and we can't turn the motor mouth off. I hate that the 'experts' are always worrying folks that their kids should meet certain guidelines and conformities or else something must be wrong with them.

    January 4, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  62. frankie

    A child who needs to be drawn out more, is likely to be even more at risk without a safe, nurturing environment and a superior school to go to. How many superior public grade schools can you name?

    January 4, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  63. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Jack, not only isn't this a problem, but we need to encourage it! 50% of the US population has an IQ below 100, the average. If we can just keep those on the low end of the scale quiet longer (say until their 70 or so) we'd all be better off. Of course, there would be no one left talking to run for public office, but I can live with that.

    January 4, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  64. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    As long as they can go to the bath room no problem.

    January 4, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  65. Jim

    Look out, looks like another stimulus plan here. Parents certainly are not accountable, so why not throw some money at it, hey it could be the newest entitlement program – if you fail your kids dont worry the government will send you a check.

    January 4, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  66. Pete

    That's nothing, Jack. The 2 year old on my block throws gang signs.

    January 4, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  67. Annie, Atlanta

    That depends. If siblings or parents decipher for them whenever they point, that’s not worrisome, just a bad idea. If that's not the case, and they're still not speaking, I, as a parent, would be freaking out.

    January 4, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  68. Rick McDaniel

    Just a reflection of the lack of parental time with children. The kids are off at child care, most of the time, and the parents are too tired to care about teaching their kids anything by the time they get home.

    Nice world we have made for ourselves, huh?

    January 4, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  69. Anna in Itasca, Ill

    This is becaue we import all those unsafe toys forour children abd our
    goverbnebt does not care. They are worried that Canada will send us all those unsafe medications, but China never send us unsafe product. That is why so many of our children suffer from ADD and our government is wondering why this is instead they should test all chineese products for safty.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  70. Clay

    Kids need human interaction, not cyber-interaction. I'm surprised they talk at all, save for a few odd bleeps and bloops, uttered to emulate their silicon siblings.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  71. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    I don't know, Jack. I think we need a Speech Czar to create some unilateral rules to regulate our homelife to ensure our kids become productive society members. Seriously, kids all evolve on their own schedule and if they aren't talking it is probably because they are busy refining other skills. In general I've noticed boys tend to develop speech much slower than girls, but their motor sklils can be tremedous. I wouldn't put too much stock in those experts.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  72. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    The serious problem lays with parents overwhelmed with working multiple jobs, consistently exhausted, and trying to just get by the best they can. The solution is to rebuild our cultures and societies into functional human experiences.

    Where there is not a problem with delayed speech, is if these children where to grow up to be politicians.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  73. audrey fryer

    Jack: My son was born 2 months premature and never spoke a word until he was 3 years old – the Doctors had him classified as a "retard". He is now 42 years old and has his Ph.D in astrophysics. Good thing I didn't listen to those Doctors.

    Vancouver Island, B.C.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  74. Ken in NC

    Jack it is a serious problem if a girl doesn't start talking before age 3. Can you imagine what her husband would have to endure if his wife didn't start to talk until age 3. He wouldn't get any sleep at night.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  75. Steve Niagara Falls Canada

    Jack, my son is almost 2.

    I'm pretty sure at this point he's used over 100 words.

    Here's how it goes.

    I say, "What's that?"

    He says "Kitty!"

    Then the next time, it's "itty".

    Within a week, it's "K!" (the sound for the letter K)

    I think my son has figured out that our language is far too long, and it's better just to shorten it.

    Either that, or he's back on Twitter again

    January 4, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  76. Bruce - Delaware

    They might grow up to be like Bush.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  77. Rick Seno

    This is a major problem. I blame it on parents using video games and the Internet as a babysitter where children are not encourage to speak. Parents who do not talk or read to their kids are being totally irresponsible.

    Rick Seno
    Chicago, Il

    January 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  78. Rick (DC)

    The problem is many kids today don't have parents who are actually willing to PARENT.

    How is a kid going to learn to talk when all he hears is 'Mommy be back'?

    January 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  79. Scott

    Maybe they just dont have anything to say.

    Aberdeen, Md

    January 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  80. Jo

    The vaccine schedule is the cause, not parental neglect. This has been shown over and over again yet people insist on holding onto outdated science that weakly showed vaccines are safe. They're not.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  81. Nancy, Tennessee

    My son said his first words at age 14 months and everyone in the room thought it was so cute they laughed. He didn't speak again for another year. We weren't worried because we knew he could talk. It is serious if a child is not saying some words and partial sentences by two years old. Parents need to take the time to coax their children into saying words and asking for what they want instead of responding to what the child points out.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  82. Sherry- Ocala, FL

    This is a very serious issue. We need to have our children begin connecting images with words to help them understand at a very early stage in life.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  83. Don Howard


    As I recall, Mrs. Limbaugh was quoted as saying, "Little baby Rush didn't talk until he was 57", and look at the mess THAT has created.

    Don Howard
    Newtown, PA

    January 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  84. Destiny

    I believe it is a serious issue,
    and in some cases it will fall under the parents
    fault due to jobs or in some cases, them not caring.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  85. Benji

    This is a serious problem. My niece is three and is also not speaking very well. She mostly screams and yells thinking as if she is actually saying something. When wants somthing, she screams continously and does not stop until she gets it.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  86. John

    Daycare is the problem. They don't teach kids to talk They keep them quiet & out of the way. There is no substitute for one on one with mom & dad.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  87. Tom

    The problem may be that the parents are sending their kids text messages instead of talking to them and are now unable to understand why the kids can't talk. But give the kids a phone and watch them work their magic!!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm |

    We need to pay attention more attention to our children. Our kids are are now robots who sit in front of the tube. This is great for the parents who are pleased to see their kids sitting quietly like robots. Whatever happened to books – our great source of information and connection with others. By reading to your children, you are not only connecting with them, but you are building the vocabulary skills and other language skills. Get the kids off the TV and into learning the old-fashion way.

    from NYC

    January 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  89. Chad from Los Angeles

    What do you expect when almost half the country thinks women should have their children no matter how unfit the parents are? Abortion should not be for birth control, but pressuring women to have kids out of wedlock and at young ages is just wrong!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  90. Mohammed Nor

    I think, it runs on the family, may bel his parrent did not talk when they untill they were 3? It also depends the gender of the baby, i have a boy and girl. I think girls talk quicker than boys.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  91. Janet

    I would be concerned yes, but don't get to ahead of yourself. Look at Einstein, he didn't speak until he was 5! Take your child to doctor if you are that afraid there's something wrong.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  92. Charlie

    My brother retired as a top achieving corporate executive and didn't utter a word until he was three. In his case, it was no problem at all, he's never hesitated to tell me (his younger brother) what he thinks. He's articulate, very bright and sometimes was a pain in the butt (mine). Worry not and get a preofessional's opinion. Your child could be storing up all he has to say. Enjoy the quiet while you can. (Love to my brother Frank!)

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  93. Karl from SF, CA

    It is a serious statement of our times. Children learn from example. If they aren’t being talked to, they aren’t learning to talk which indicates parents need to spend more time engaging their toddlers and encouraging them to communicate earlier. Both parents need to be a part of the solution and single parents need to be extra diligent in this effort. Our declining education system isn’t going to be the solution, either.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  94. M.P.El-Darwish

    It's interesting. I have witnessed the outcome of late speech in kids- It results in delayed, slow and stunted cognitive capabilities. I can only speculate on the cause but I'll guess it's a combination of pollutants in water and food (inorganic fertilizers, additives etc) and air quality.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  95. Philippe Haussmann

    I think this is disgusting. this is not the childs fault, this can not be blamed on some kind of chemical or food additive, this is neglect. whatever disgusting human being is parenting any child who can not at least speak or understand language to some degree at age 2 or 3 has no active effect in their childs lives WHATSOEVER. it is pathetic the way people can and will be wrapped up in things they assume to make more important then their own children. not just will these children have troubles now, but later in life. they will learn to read later than others, and they will not have advanced communication skills untill much later than others (thats if at all due to other problems.). this is horrible and just plain disgusting!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  96. Larrie B.

    I had older sisters that spoke for me until I was around 3 yrs old. The only "side effect" I had was a slight speech impediment that was corrected in grade school. I don't feel that it caused me any problems into my adult life. Children learn and develop at different stages, and if they are communicating in other forms, there should be no reason for concern. They will come into their own soon enough. As many people have said, when they do start talking, they will make up for lost time!!!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  97. Lawrence Burnette

    This statistic is not so strange when you consider the increasing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders, currently estimated to effect nearly 2% of children. Rather than looking for problems with the parents, we should be investigating possible causes of the Autism epidemic.
    Larry in Tuscaloosa

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  98. Dave from Ohio

    If the're going to grow up to be a Senator or Congressman it might be a Good thing !!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  99. Mayan

    My father didn't speak until the age of three. However, he later earned a Ph.D, and worked as a professor at the Univerasity of Virginia. So, parents - don't worry, it's not automatic.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  100. Bill

    Is it true Einstein did not speak till the age of three?

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  101. JohnnyAce

    I never talked until I was 3. My parents thought something was wrong with me also. As I grew older, I found out that the problem was my parents being impossible to communicate with. Parents need to do a better job of listening to and understanding their children. {{-_-}}

    January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  102. Joyce

    Jack, I am in my late 60s. I did not talk until I was well over three. Parents took me to doctors and specialists to no avail. One finally told them to stop worrying because when I started talking, I would not stop! I think my Dad was worried that I was retarded so as soon as I started talking, he taught me to read. I was reading by four. An honor student throughout school, scholarships to college and graduate school where I got a Ph.D from Bryn Mawr in 1970. Taught college and wrote articles and more. I don't think I suffered from not having talked. My parents did tell me that when I started talking, I was talking in complete sentences!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  103. Jeff McGovern

    Is this the by product of a generation of children, who spent their childhood in front of the TV or video games? After all we teach what we know. This epidemic can't be blamed on the child, rather it's time for parents to take responsibility for their child's actions or lack of.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  104. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    They are probably afraid to open their mouths for fear of offending someone and being sued because of all the PC BS. That has been the problem with PC since some moron invented the concept.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  105. Dave (Altoona, PA)

    We spend the first 2 years of our kids' lives teaching them to walk and talk. Then we spend the next 18 years telling them to sit down and shut up. WHEN they talk is not as important as WHAT they say when they do.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  106. William anthony

    Barely speaking at age 3 is very horrible. My son is 4 and has been speaking for 3 years. The earlier children start speaking affects their learning curve. To make a long story short my son now understands alot of real life scenerios. We challenge him to understand aspects of everyday life worldwide.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  107. Candice

    You have to force yourself to point out objects, name them, then repeat. You cannot rely on a DVD to teach your child. It's annoying at time, but you have force yourself to be like a parrot and your child will learn and speak for themselves.
    Good luck to all parents out there!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  108. Donna Lukish

    Jack, My 5th child had a significant speech delay, received early speech therapy intervention, and speaks beautifully as an 8 yr old. He is the 5th of 6 siblings and my other children did not have any speech issues. We read and communicated with him from age one, just like the other children. Who knows what causes these issues....but attention and intervention are critical for speech and communication success. My little guy is very social and very funny...you would never imagine that he hardly communicated as a 3 year old.
    Happy New Year! Donna

    January 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  109. Paul Nielsen

    Girls start talking earlier, we men start later, OK, we're thinking while they're talking. That's why we run when the wife or girlfriend says..."we need to talk", they're better at it than us. Help us Jack.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  110. Theresa in Bozeman

    It's frightening that these kids aren't talking. Are the parents simply plopping them down in front of the tube with a video? Both my daughters were talking by 10 months and haven't stopped since!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  111. linda slone

    Jack, my grandson didn't talk until age 3. He's now 11 and still has a speech problem. His parents refuse to believe there's a problem. They home school him so he doesn't get the chance to learn from other kids. It's a serious problem and he's going to have a lot of problems when he goes out into the real world.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  112. Liz

    I'm studying to be a speech-language pathologist and this highlights exactly what I'm being taught in class: language can only be learned by interacting with children via story time, play, games, etc. We cannot have the TV raise our children and learning toys are not good for teaching children language skills. Conversational skills are only learned through having a conversation with an adult and new vocabulary can only be learned the same way.

    As a society, we need to be less focused on ourselves but more focused on our children. Children are being raised by overworked daycare center staff who cannot interact with each child individually like a parent or grandparent. This is because to maintain our standard of living, both parents need to work (if they have jobs). Maybe we should look into spending less time at work and more time home!

    Sesame Street is not enough... play with your kids!

    Kensington, CT

    January 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  113. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Our parents read to us and spent time with us, as did my wife and I with our sons. Doctor Seuss was the highlight of my after dinner time, reading fabulous stories with arms around the boys - the "Perilous Poozer" became the nickname for the youngest. I was a bit nervous when our first son was born, but my dad reassured my saying it is easy to raise children. He said: "All you have to do is love them". And spending as much free time as possible with them is loving them.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  114. Rick


    Generally speaking, it means that there are underlaying problems with either health or the social environment or both. I have a good friend, now 42, who didn't speak until he was 4. His parents, who divorced when he was 4, had taken him to hospital after hospital for test after test, and after completion of the last test available, when they were all leaving the hospital, my friends first words were, "Thank God thats all overwith". When asked why he didn't talk until then, his response was, "I never had anything I wanted to say until now".

    Just because kids aren't talking doesn't mean they can't.

    Rick in Toronto

    January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  115. EugeneWiese

    Parents need to talk to their kids,and teach them to talk;however,their maybe an illnes involved.See the Pschologist. Gene

    January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  116. Nelson

    Sure it is a problem! Research has shown that the earliest years are the most important for a child's development later on. I'm sure the recent influx of technology in parents's lives hasn't helped. No one talks anymore on the phone. There too busy texting.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  117. Daniel Jurek

    I'm surprised! We have more than enough politicians who currently can not read! Okay, let's start with the politicians and work our way down to our three year old children.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  118. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    Wow! Makes you wonder what's going on. So much for Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Scary.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  119. Jack

    Given the many mediums to disseminate information, it is then crucial to educate fledgling parents. Success is developed generationally so it is imperative to unlock our children's innate potential. Our future depends on it.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  120. Dennis Ferguson

    I remember reading Einstein did not start speaking until he was three. He also got such poor grades at University he was not given a recommendation and so ended up working in the Swiss patten office. The rest, of course, is history.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  121. Mark

    As a person who has done psychological testing I question the validity of the study. Children will learn to speak by just being around others who do. I would question if the 3 %( rather small percent) of the children who didn't speak also had other developmental milestones issues. It would be great if the actual study was referenced.

    Thank you


    January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  122. VoxAppeal

    It is NOT a problem if your child is a late talker. We don't know of kids who NEVER learn to talk do we?

    My sister's son was almost 8 before stringing a few words together. She was afraid he was autistic & took him to various doctors, therapy etc. to no avail, but Einstein had a similar problem, and my nephew was already a dab hand at computers & audio/video BEFORE learning to speak. He went on to finish High school with an average mark of 95% & is currently top of his year in engineering college, an accomplished musician and a very popular, though entirely normal, personality on campus.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  123. Homeless D

    Jack, my daughter was born in the middle of the year (June). The year she turned three she astonished EVERYONE at the family dinner table during the Christmas season, when she began (out of a clear blue sky) to recite "The Night before christmas". She got all the way through it!

    I had read that poem to her (along with hundreds of Dr. Seuss, and other childrens books) almost since she was born.

    Gee, reckon that READIN to kids and TALKING to them from birth might have something to do with their facility with the spoken word?

    You betcha!!!!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  124. Steve B

    Being the parent of a late talker (son ddidn't talkun till 3) y.o. I was concerned. Did some research and found out about Eintein Syndrome. My son is now in college now with a 3.66 GPA.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  125. Irv from New York

    I am over 60. My parents always said I didn't talk until after I was 3. I think they continued to worry about it – until graduation from Harvard.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  126. Tom Horan

    Dear Jack,

    I didn't say a word before age 3 and the first word I said was bus, my father almost drove off the road to miss it. Not speaking didn't make the slightest difference to me , graduated high school with scholarship, Med school and specialization. I think it means a person is MORE intelligent. Keeps his own council until he has something useful to say like BUS i.e. translated "For gods sake dad wake up before you hit that bus."

    January 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  127. Dave in Nashville

    Get them kids a dog, it'll bring out the best in them.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  128. Trial Balloon

    I don't think that it is a problem. When I was born, I was so surprised that I didn't talk for a year and a half.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  129. DJ in Denver

    I was deaf as a child and did not talk untill I was seven years old. I have a fairly high IQ. I think that a parent that worries about this should see a doctor but we are not all cookie cutter created and move at an individual speed. If your child is somehow challenged then they are and they are still your child. We all have our own gifts and finding out what that is is a greater thing than finding out what we have problems with.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  130. James the curmudgeon

    Probably not a problem at all. As long as they do learn to speak before about age four of five, they'll be fine.Human Children are programmed for a window to open allowing the rapid development of speech, That closes after a few years. As we all know, it is much harder to learn a new language after toddlerhood. In a long life, I've known many children who did not talk until three or so. They are all fine today.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  131. Ellie Johnston

    My two siblings and I started talking at 10 months or earlier. From the very beginning our mother read us 20 books per day. Reading was a major part of our childhoods. Our parents definitely made reading important. We were allowed to watch an hour and a half of t.v. max per day. In car rides they would read us signs. Our mom talked to us while cooking. I think the major problem with these children who aren't speaking is that their parents don't spend enough time working with them. I see more mothers messing around on their blackberries then talking with their children. Now they are saying that you shouldn't let babies or infants watch t.v. because of developmental problems. My mom said that at that age we may have watched mr. rogers or sesame street, but that was a rare occurrence.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  132. Irv in New York

    My parents always said I didn't talk until after I was 3. I think they continued to worry about it – until graduation from Harvard

    January 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  133. Ran Sea. Wa.

    Maybe todays society is too anxious to have an intelligent child. Does speech before 3 make my child more or less likely to live a normal life? If my child begins reading highschool level text books at the ripe old age of 2 . Does that make my child more or less likely to live a normal life? Lets stop trying to be the "first parents" to create the "first baby" that 's perfect. When did Einstein start speaking? The point is that they start speaking at some point. How could an "expert" be so sure of these significant hurdles, that will happen throughout the duration of those childrens lives? When did George Washington start speaking? I guess I had better back track. George W. Bush must of have been one of these statistics, as he has demostrated no ability to read or write, or listen, or speak for that matter. If nothing else comes up I guess these kids could be president some day. If we can fix this problem then, where will our future politicians come from?

    January 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  134. Dave Wyland

    Hi Jack,
    A friend had a nephew who had never spoken a word until he was eleven years old. His Mother over cooked some bacon and fried the eggs a bit too long. The kid complained aloud. His Mom said "Billy, you've never spoken a word before this moment!" Billy replied that she'd never ruined breakfast before that morning.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  135. Impromptu

    A child who cannot speak before the age of three will have serious problems interacting with others and isolation is not the best start to a full lfe. A child needs to be able to verbally communicate because this is an oral rather then visual age .No- one can help a child or successfully reach out without information only that child can provide.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  136. Vig

    Sppech delay is epidemic in this country. First off, pediatricians need to stop telling parents that their child is a 'late bloomer" or "boys talk later" or "you're talking for them so they don't have to talk" and whatever other ignorant comments these doctors make to mothers and fathers that delay getting their child evaluated by a speech and language therapist. And while parents can stimulate a language-based home environment, if these kids could talk, they would. They need professional intervention. The school districts in this country only contribute to the problem by offering minutes a week of speech therapy instead of hours a week. Now, the article seems to exclude autisic children who need intense, early speech intervention or risk permanent speech and language handicaps. The question is, what is causing these language delays?

    January 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  137. Chaille McGrew

    A gene mutation occured in my husband causing a serious speech/language problem. He is 71 and in his day never received therapy. He did learn to speak but with dificulty forming words.He also had a great deal of difficulty in school. Our one biological child inheirted the problem and she started therapy at age 3. She started talking around 41/2 . She was an honor student in school. Her son staarted speech at 18 months and is is 41/2 now and is just beginning to really talk, yet he is also beginning to read. Her daughter is 2 and also started speech therapy at 18 months. The newest baby (5 months) will probably have the same problem. I feel early intervention will definitely help children with speech problems overcome learning problems. Our advantage now is that we know this is probably a dominate gene and will automatically have our grandchildren evaluated at an early age.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  138. MJ, Wytheville, VA

    A child not talking until age 3 can be nothing but can also be very serious. My granddaughter didn't talk by age 3 but doctors said she was just being slow. Genetic testing showed nothing at the time but last year, new tests showed she had a genetic disorder called 3MGA – an extremely rare condition. She attended a school for the deaf from age 3-5 to learn how to sign so she wouldn't lose syntax and had speech therapy at the same time. She started talking when she was about 6 but had speech therapy for years. As she learned to talk, she gradually dropped signing and is fully verbal now. Don't let doctors tell you not to worry – the earlier intervention the better if it should turn out to be something rare.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  139. shaku

    Hi Jack,

    Pediatricians start worrying when the child does not speak until 3 yrs of age [now limit that has been reduced to Two] and then refer the child to Speech therapist etc.

    As a mother, my only son did not care to speak until he was 3 years old,being content to gesture or otherwise convey his wants and needs, but he was otherwise quite NORMAL.

    When he started talking ,he was very clear in saying what he wanted to –no baby talk, none whatsoever, then he was in to debates,acting etc and now he is a Professor at an IVY League University, even got the Best Teacher award 3 years ago.

    I do believe that boys tend to speak later than girls of the same age ,and some of the kids with older siblings may not speak soon , as it is taken care of by the older siblings who speak for him/her

    January 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  140. Laura

    The art of conversation died with the invention of AIM. Kids probably won't need excellent verbal communication skills to get along just fine.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  141. marc

    Must be the fault of those liberals in Congress with their socialist agenda. Just Kidding. Just wanted to be the first to take a possible medical issue and make a ridiculous political statement. Sadly, I'm betting some genuine yahoos will be chiming in.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  142. Richard Polka

    A child not talking until the age of three can be an indication of developmental delays. When our 4th child was not speaking by the time he was 2 1/2, our pediatrician recommended hearing and speech evaluations. When it was determined that he had significant delays, he began receiving early intervention services. His final diagnosis was an autism spectrum disorder.

    Thankfully, with the help of early intervention, most children are able to make great strides. Although our son did not begin talking until about 2 or 3 months before his fourth birthday, he has continued to progress. He is now 5, in kindergarten, and thriving.

    My best advice to parents would be to have your child evaluated and take advantage of any early intervention services available in your state. I know that the services our son received made a huge difference.


    January 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  143. Ed Jones

    How many of these children are on medication? Then I will know whether it's parents not spending enough time reading with the children or the kids are just too doped up to comprehend.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  144. Jatovi

    This is really sad. Our society has allowed us to be "ok" with not being the best and this is a prime example. The majority of us feel either entitled or owed instead of having to work for something. This is shown with this in our kids because we don't push them as hard to learn or compete for fear of upsetting them. Instead of parenting our kids lately we are determined to be friends with our kids or even worse live vicariously through them by forcing them to live out what we couldn't do when we were young.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  145. Jennifer Tapley

    Being a Speech Language Pathologist, I can say that not talking a single word at the age of three is something that a parent should really take seriously. Of course, there are children who speak later than others, but not speaking this late in childhood can be a sign of a much bigger problem, specifically Autism.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  146. syd lilly

    a child spoke his first words at 5 years of age. His stunned parents asked why he hadn't spoken sooner. The child replied:


    Sounds like good logic to me. I wish some of theguests on tv news shows would use the same logic.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  147. Jane/Seattle

    Children require that parents and others TALK To Them a great deal. Read to them, speak with them, actively teach them. This is how children learn to speak. Too many folks park kids in front of TV's and don't actively engage them in life. In some cases, disabilities may be slow in appearing and/or parents don't see this until later. Also, some kids are living in FEAR from this larger society. This can impede them from developing more quickly. In some childrn, this may be their persoanl normal. I had a grandchild who was slow to speak, but when he took off he was amazing to listen to and he still has a superior vocabulary at 5 years old. My entire family is filled with teachers!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  148. Robert, Louisiana

    I think a lot of these alarming degradations of our health are because the doctors and medical research people are mostly ignoring the fungi that are able to establish themselves in our bodies. There is growing medical evidence that fungi are the cause of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, ADD, ADHD, and many other diseases that involve inflammation.

    Check out: Know the Cause with Doug Kaufmann – TV show or his books.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  149. Ron Gough

    Hi Jack,

    Not a problem... they are all Republican's.

    Did you know that Rush Limbrahahahaha (or however you spell his name) did not speak until he was 12 and still does not made any sense.


    January 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  150. Arne Appelmelk

    Temple Grandin (animal behaviour scientist) said in a speech Albert Einstein couldn't talk before he reached the age of four. (She mentioned also some other famous people) According to her he was like her intelligent but autistic. So the problem can be different then just when being able to speak.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  151. rose macaskie

    Good mothers comment on everything that happens in the day in short easy sentences that usually get repeated when the activity is reapeated next day. They also say parents use already known vocabulary with children adding always a bit more. ·Working mums can't do this and in nurseries there canonot be the same individual attentiona mother gives toddlers or the same variety of occurations. Look at you foot, what a pretty foot, heres your shoe, its a red shoe isn't it pretty, do you like your shoe, etc.
    Lack of vocabulary must be a principal factor in making school work slow . My daugthter who did not speak much spainish took a bit of time to do all right at school here in Spain.
    The normal scorn of femine activities must have helped to make people think that talking came naturally, to ignore the importance of the individual attention that some small children get and the intelligence of the maternal system. I know i feel propfoundly active on the attention level when i am with young animals or little children, thinking how to bring them on.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  152. Carole Miller, Bethesda, MD

    Jack, it's the parents. Those who enunciate and speak clearly, use "big words" when they speak to their toddlers will find that their children learn words and speak in complete sentences early. On the other hand, I have seen children who did not speak until 4 or 5, but had very high IQ's. Unfortunately, those same kids were never as "socialized" as others. The children I remember who spoke late yet were exceptionally bright, were shy and unable to socialize well their entire lives.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  153. Tom Raywood

    Hi Jack,

    I've heard that Einstein didn't learn to speak until he was 3 years old. So [it would seem] what may appear to be an 'impairment' is actually something of a systemic necessity/advantage, that is, on a case-by-case basis. Linguistic ability is dependent on a certain, core linguistic intelligence which, I've learned, is simply one of several unique kinds of intelligence. Where Einstein (for example) lacked in this particular 'kind' of intelligence, he more than made up for [that deficit] in the area of logic (as well as creativity). I think far too much stake is placed on being good at 'everything' instead of developing a child in ways that match his/her specialized potentialities. Oh, and honestly, what greater blessing for a parent than a toddler that CAN'T speak?

    Tom Raywood, Seattle

    January 4, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  154. Le Sublime Heretique

    A lot of this has to do with the amount of time moms are spending with newborns in our society. Newborns are left to the care of nannies and babysitters who often don't interact with this babies. In other culture, the way babies interact with their mother affect greatly how soon they begin to talk. Babies that are carried on their mom's back are either talk constantly even while these mother continue with their daily activity.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  155. Norbert

    It would seem alarming, at first, if I didn't know that Albert Einstein didn't speak until the age of three.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  156. Shelia

    Jack, I think several variables come into play on this one. 1.) there are an all time high percentage of one parent homes. With the one parent working two jobs, there is little quality time to spend with the children. 2) TV and computer time is taking the place of true communication between parent and child. Parents on computer & baby watching Dora, sponge Bob etc. Parents must take responsibility and give quality time to their babies so these children will not be left behind by getting a slow start in life.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  157. dale

    There are many of us who did not talk until 3 and who have been successful. My Ph.D. is in mathematical statistics and I run a communications training company. There is even a book on the subject of people who have been very successful and were late talkers. Parents of people like me should remain be hopeful.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  158. Rita Townsend

    Hello Jack,
    This is just crazy. My oldest daughter said her first word at 5 months old. She could say the word chiropractor clearly at age one and was saying 3 word sentences at 16 months! My husband and I spoke very clearly to her from birth and never ever spoke baby talk to her. We read to her every night, too. Maybe these simple things should be practiced by all parents. By the way, she is now a freshman in high school and taking honors classes with all As and Bs.

    Thank you,

    January 4, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  159. Carole, Ventura Co., CA

    Hi Jack,

    I guess I was lucky. My youngest daughter didn't say a word until she was 22 months old. Was I worried? You bet! Her sister started speaking at 5 months! The pediatrician assured me at the time (27 years ago) there was nothing to worry about. I guess she just didn't have much to say, because by 28 months she was talking in complete sentences and had taught herself to read! She went on to become a National Honor Society student while in high school, maintained a 4.0 GPA in college, and owned her own business by 24. My suggestion is to make sure your child sees their pediatrician regularly and you maintain a dialog with them. If you are even remotely uncomfortable with them, interview others until you find one you like.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  160. Brad Smith

    Boys not only lag behind as infants but throughout a feminized education system and now represent less than 40% of college students thanks to feminist hyperbole. A large under-educated, under-employed underclass of young men does not bode well for American society in the future.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  161. Joan

    It is a very serious problem if a child does not speak until 3. Being a speech therapist, I guide parents to consult with their pediatrician if there is any speech delay and especially if there is no speech present by age 2. If a child is not following the general milestones for speech development such as babbling, requesting, and labeling, there is a problem. The good news is that at least in the U.S., there is help for children who are speech delayed. Early intervention programs are essential. A delay in speech development may indicate other learning issues which can also be developed with the proper intervention.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  162. Luci - Illinois

    It is serious. The parents both work and do not have time to teach their children the basics and also to potty train them early.
    I am older, but I was a stay at home Mom and worked with my children all of the time. Reading to them is very important. They turned out to be above average intelligence. They could speak full sentences when they were two years old.
    Take time with them every spare minute you have. You will never be sorry.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  163. David Holmberg - Sweden

    When parents are worried about this, the comforting answer is often that Albert Einstein scarcely talked until the age of three. That might make the problem too easy to neglect, though. Worried parents should never hesitate to seek professional advice.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  164. Chris/Burtonsville

    As a linguist studying language development among infants and children, I can say that the lack of language production before the age of 3 creates no real problems. Just because the child is not producing a word does not mean that he doesn't comprehend the language.

    Language acquisition is a very complicated process of which production is only a small piece, and children are experts. It may take a while, but they will master it.

    The critical period in which a child must learn his first language last until the onset of puberty. Children acquiring and first producing their mother tongue anytime before this age are successful assuming there is no overriding mental illness.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  165. Nancy Deutman

    My daughter was born in Belgium – we spoke Spanish at home (father's native language) and I spoke to her in English but she heard French from everyone else. As a result, she did not say her first word until the age of 3 1/2 when she discovered a classmate with the same name was also Spanish. The doctors said not to worry because she clearly understood everyone but had a problem sorting out what she should say to whom. Once that connection was made, the words would come out in a flood. Well, that's exactly what happened. She never experienced learning difficulties and at 19 is fluent in all three languages, was a DDR champion in Spain (so no brain to body coordination problems either).Clearly the REASON for not speaking should be determined by a proficient medical source.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  166. linda m

    When my children were little I talked to them all the time, we read books together, I engaged them in conversation from birth. I encouraged them to speak, learn, read etc. Consequently, both of my children used full and complete sentences by the age of two. I noticed a neighbor one day interacting with her son who was close to the same age as my daughter. The boy grunted and pointed repeatedly and his mother held up one object after another until he nodded his head that that was what he wanted. I asked her why she didn't tell him the name of the object and encourage him to say it before giving it to him. She just acted like it wasn't a big deal and said he'd talk when he was ready. Parents just don't want to take the time children need to develop any skills. That is why there are so many functionally illiterate young adults today. It is a VERY serious problem!

    January 4, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  167. Ron from CT


    It's very serious. Most brain development happens when we are children. Unless the brain is stimulated and neural pathways are developed early, it's extremely difficult to do this at a later age.

    Children not speaking by age 3 is telling us something – their environment either lacks the appropriate stimulation or no one is paying attention to them so they're not trying to speak. Either way, it's not a happy thought.

    Every parent should be aware that it will require their time and devotion to children in order to give them a proper start in life. Here's an example of where a video game can't substitute for a little love, time and attention.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  168. Bob - Playa Union Argentina

    In brief . . . "Very serious!!"

    It indicates two things to me. 1) Lack of interest from the parents.
    2) Future lower education achievements, lower job positions.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  169. mark from tennessee

    the 3 yr old is saving it up for the future...when he/she becomes a politician.....all wind and no action

    January 4, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  170. Denise

    This is not a subject that should incite blame, be dismissed or trivialized or placed on the back burner!
    In the US, concerned parents can contact their local school district for an evaluation of a child who is not speaking "a single word" by the age of three. It is called early intervention. The child with an impairment is entitled to services until age five, after which the school district takes over.
    But please allow me to step up to the mic with this important announcement: Dyslexia may be the cause of the symptoms.
    As many as one in five children go to school with dyslexia. Education and appropriate instruction are the only "treatment" for dyslexia.
    The most common or important attributes that parents can monitor in their pre-school children are as follows:

    Oral Language
    Late learning to talk ! Difficulty in pronouncing words.
    Difficulty building a vocabulary or using age-appropriate grammar.
    Difficulty following directions. Confusion with before/after,
    Difficulty learning the alphabet, nursery RHYMES, or SONGS.
    Difficulty understanding concepts and relationships.
    Difficulty with word recall or naming things or colors.

    Jack, it is a tragedy of huge proportions that uninformed parents (who may themselves be dyslexic) send dyslexic kids to schools who will not acknowledge the condition because of their ignorance or unwillingness to fund the instruction needed at age five..

    Any concerned parent should get on the phone or internet tomorrow.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  171. I

    I was a late talker as I remember it I let everybody talk for me . Pass the potatoes was a simple gesture. They took me to a doctor to. Worst trauma I ever suffered (ha, ha). We came home and suddenly gestures did not work, I don.t remember how long I suffered , but suddenly I yelled "pass th peas!!!". My family was shocked.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm |