Maija C. Hahn, an autism specialist and certified speech-language pathologist, said she is “appalled” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would quietly lower long-held pediatric language expectations by “normalizing” significant language delays.
Last month, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) issued new developmental language standards for American children. The updated guidance states that a 2-and-a-half-year-old child is now expected to say only 50 words.
As an autism specialist and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association-certified speech-language pathologist, I am appalled the CDC would quietly lower long-held pediatric language expectations by normalizing significant language delays as “the new normal.”
I have worked in hospitals, schools and clinics, and have been the lead director in developing autism programs and centers in multiple states.
I am considered an expert in pediatric development of speech, language, communication, oral motor function and swallowing, and an expert in providing appropriate treatment approaches and protocols when such functions are “abnormal.”
For 25 years, I have been an advocate for early identification and treatment because research shows the earlier a child is identified, the better their treatment outcomes will be.
Now the CDC wants to normalize delayed speech and language skills in American children, depriving them of early identification and treatment.
This will inevitably adversely impact our children’s future successes in school, in relationships, in their communication and in their self-esteem, leaving them to possibly face years more of speech and language therapy and educational support.