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Speech/language therapists slam new CDC guidelines; more difficult to identify

Feb 21, 2022, WSBT TV, Mishawaka, IN: Experts question new guidance for young children; changes may fail to ID problems early

Questions tonight after updated guidance has been issued for young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC have updated milestones for kids who are learning to walk and talk. It's the first update in almost 20 years. And it's part of the CDC's "Learn the Signs. Act Early." campaign. But a checklist that's supposed to make it easier to screen kids for delays, is raising questions from a local expert. The first major changes in almost a decade added checklists for kids ages 15 and 30 months. They now advise 75-percent of all kids should meet these milestones instead of 50 percent. According to the new guidance, some milestones changed as well. Now, talking should happen at 15 months instead of 12 months, based on the last update. Babies taking steps on their own has moved to 15 months from 12 months. Crawling was previously considered a milestone at 9 months but now it is not mentioned. "The SLP world was up in arms the other day when these recommendations were released,” said Danielle Newcombe, Speech-Language Pathologist. Newcombe says these new guidelines raise a lot of questions. "But if you look at different guidelines and different milestones, again, the question just is where is that research and can we find that research and do we have it,” said Newcombe Since the guidance was updated, Newcombe says she hasn't found any major research to back up these changes. She's concerned that moving some of the milestones later could make early identification of problems harder. "That age of acquisition shifting later might result in it being more difficult for us to identify these kids earlier and get them the services that they need earlier,” said Newcombe. Newcombe stresses that you know better than anyone else if your child is behind, and says that early intervention is key. "Have dialogue with your pediatrician so that you can, if there are concerns and there is something that warrants services, we can get that child in sooner rather than later so trust your gut,” said Newcombe. The American Speech Language Hearing Association released a statement today expressing concern to the CDC. It says it'll be conducting a review to make sure these milestones are evidence based.


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