Magazine article Work & Family Life

Interchange: 'My 19-Month-Old Barely Says a Word'

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Interchange: 'My 19-Month-Old Barely Says a Word'

Article excerpt

Q My son is 19 months old and barely says a handful of words.

Some of his cousins who are the same age already say 30 or 40 words. Should I be worried?

-J.S., Sante Fe, NM

A No, children acquire language at different rates. In the second year especially, there's a wide range of normal language development-and there's no evidence that early talkers are more intelligent than late talkers.

Biology plays a role but environment and experience are both crucial. For example, a child who watches TV all day will not learn language in the same way as one who is talked to and read to by an adult. What's important is that you keep talking to your son. Later literacy is affected by how much and how kids are talked to. Here are some suggestions:

*Elaborate on the words your child uses. If he points at a dog and says "de," say, "Oh, you see a dog. …

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