Two smiling parents gently encourage their little boy to speak. “Mama! Mama! Say, ‘Mama!'” they repeat to him over and over.
He talks back, but thanks to some special effects, it’s an answer only television viewers can hear: “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m almost 2 now and still not responding. That’s one sign of a communication disorder.”
The commercial, sponsored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, started airing last month and is part of “Identify the Signs,” a new campaign targeting the parents of young children.
In a survey of nearly 6,000 audiologists and speech pathologists earlier this year, 64 percent said that the parents of young children are unaware of the early warning signs of speech disorders.