Is My Child A Late Talker and What Can I Do To Help?

January 12, 2020 No Comments

We often hear concerns from worried parents of children who have not yet started speaking or are saying far fewer words than their age-related peers. Typically these children are meeting all of their other developmental milestones (e.g. play, motor, social, attention) and are experiencing a specific difficulty with language development.

Young children, between the ages of 18-30 months, who are experiencing difficulty using spoken language, are often referred to as Late Talkers.

As a parent what should I be looking out for?

If your child is a Late Talker they will be delayed meeting their language milestones. Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Not using a minimum of 20 words by 18 months
  • Not babbling as a young child
  • Not joining two words together by 24 months
  • Not speaking in short sentences by the age of 3
  • Difficulties following directions

Will my child grow out of being a Late Talker’?

The research has shown that Late Talkers will follow one of two paths:

  • 20-30% of Late Talkers will not grow out of their language delay. These children will typically go on to receive a diagnosis of Developmental Language Disorder or Language Disorder. These children will have ongoing language difficulties and will require Speech & Language Therapy.
  • 70-80% of Late Talkers will catch up with their peers by the time they start in school; however these children may continue to have difficulties/weaknesses in the following areas:
    • Literacy development
    • Language processing
    • Social skills development

If I am worried that my child is a Late Talker what should I do?

If you are worried that your toddler isn’t meeting the typical language milestones, contact us at Sparking Speech for a FREE telephone consultation to determine if an assessment is needed.

The evidence has shown that early language intervention can increase Late Talkers’ chances for long-term success in language and literacy, so it is important that they are seen as soon as possible.

We can assess children from a very young age and we will be able to tell you if your child has a speech and/or language delay and provide you with individualised recommendations to support your child’s language development.



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I am a Speech & Language Therapist who is passionate about all things AAC, Gestalt Language processing and providing neurodiversity-affirming services! Read More

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