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.
What is “normal?”
Children over age 2 are expected to have huge verbal vocabularies. They should have a word for almost everything in their environment.
Two-and-a-half-year-olds are expected to be using multiple 2+word to 3+word phrases and even merging into full sentences.
If the CDC is seeing a significant decrease in pediatric language acquisition, agency officials need to be asking why — instead of simply changing the standard expectations.
Yet this isn’t new for the CDC. The CDC has been changing IQ standards and student testing outcomes for years. American children are getting dumber and dumber, with more learning disabilities, and more health issues (54% of American children suffer from a chronic disease … but I will save that for another article.)
The CDC needs to just stop with this nonsense of making abnormal = normal, and start looking into what is negatively affecting our children’s development.
Let’s start by asking: Why the sudden change in speech and language in 2021-2022?
We can only assume the national implementation of mask mandates for the past two years has much to do with our current situation.
I have been screaming from the rooftops for the last two years that masking is inappropriate and harmful.