Concern about language delay
Most parents worry when their children don’t reach stipulated developmental goals at the same time as their peers. But if there’s one milestone in particular that makes most parents nervous when it’s not reached, and it’s learning to speak.
Speech delays can vary in severity, from not saying anything to finding it difficult to pronounce certain words and form sentences.
Most parents assume that their child’s language delay or speech disorder will have a long-term impact on their child’s ability to function normally, socially, and academically. But this is not always the case, as can be seen in a relatively unknown condition known as Einstein Syndrome.
Definition of Einstein Syndrome What is it?
Einstein syndrome is the term used to characterize a child who has a speech delay but is simultaneously gifted in other areas that require analytical thinking. Children with Einstein Syndrome eventually speak without limitations or indications of its slow onset, while at the same time remaining more advanced in other areas.
Einstein Syndrome was named after Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant and influential scientists of the twentieth century. Einstein, a certified genius, was also a late talker (according to some biographers). He didn’t say full sentences until he was 5 years old. Einstein’s speech delay was not an impediment to his intellectual prowess and impressive achievements.
Thomas Sowell, an American economist, coined the concept of Einstein Syndrome. Sowell noted that while language delay is considered a symptom of autism, there are many children who have a marked language delay but are not autistic. And among them are children who later thrive, becoming very successful and respected analytical thinkers.
Characteristics, signs and symptoms of Einstein syndrome
What are some ways to detect whether or not your child may have Einstein Syndrome? Of course, the first criterion is that your child does not meet age-appropriate speech milestones. But there are more clues that can give you clues.
Some of the general characteristics often found in children with Einstein syndrome are:
- Outstanding and early analytical or musical skills exhibit exceptional mastery over instruments and devices, such as computers.
- With outstanding memory, they have a great capacity to absorb information.
- Strong-willed behaviour, children with this syndrome are usually very stubborn. If they don’t like something, they’ll let you know. It’s hard to persuade them to do something they don’t want.
- Very selective interests, many people with this syndrome have musical gifts or may have some other creative interests. Therefore, it is seen that they have unusual achievements in some fields, but in others, they are below average.
- Delayed potty training, they seem to take a little longer to get used to going to the bathroom.
- Close relatives with analytical or musical careers.
- Extreme concentration on certain particular interests. When they are interested in something, their concentration on it is one hundred percent, this is usually not seen in children their age. They also seem to be completely absorbed in what they are doing.
- These children seem to have difficulty in verbal communication, especially in the early years. Most children seem to speak only a few words by the time they turn three, properly constructing a sentence is usually not before the age of four.
Einstein syndrome is not fully defined and it is difficult to know how common it is. Strong behavior and selective interests can describe many young children, even those who don’t speak late.
There is plenty of evidence to show that talking late is not always a telltale sign of mental disability or diminished intellect. Nor is there a smoking gun that indicates that every child who may have Einstein syndrome is exceptionally gifted, with an IQ above 130.
The most important thing to do if you’re worried about your child talking late is to get an evaluation. If you’re sure your child is good in many fields and involved in the world around them, but is only a late talker, you need to make sure your doctor is using a holistic approach to determining a diagnosis.
Relying on speech alone can lead to misdiagnosis. A misdiagnosis can lead to incorrect treatments and can unintentionally slow the progression of small speech.
Specifically, a doctor should be alert to nonverbal cues, and be able to see that your child is listening and participating in the evaluation.
Don’t be afraid to question the diagnosis or even ask for a second or third opinion. If you decide to have him evaluated by another doctor, try to opt for someone who is not in the same professional circle as your initial doctor to avoid further confirmation biases.
Keep in mind that misdiagnosis can go both ways. There is also a risk that a child will receive a late diagnosis of autism because they are thought to be just a slower child when it comes to starting to speak. This is why a comprehensive approach to diagnosis that examines factors other than just speaking, such as auditory and nonverbal cues, is so important.
The recommended therapy will be customized based on the specific type of delays your child has at the evaluation. For example, you may find that you have an expressive delay in language, where you have difficulty speaking, but you understand what is being said and you are receptive.
Expressive and receptive language delays where the child has difficulty speaking and understanding what is being said may require further evaluation and more intensive therapy.
Einstein syndrome is a compelling idea that may explain the way many late-talking children achieve remarkable success and live happy, normal lives.
Einstein syndrome has no medical definition and is inconclusive about whether environmental or genetic factors play a role in this as-yet-little-known condition. This is because this term is fairly new and lacks sufficient long-term research, but the theory behind Einstein shows the importance of a full evaluation before diagnosing a late-talking child as having autism.
While it’s not known exactly why these guys are slow to speak, the likely explanation is that their brains are preoccupied with other, more pressing matters.
All the information we give you in this article is indicative as each child and each family is different and unique.
Carolina González Ramos
Do you have any questions or comments?
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