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.
- Boaden, D. & Koohi, A. L. (2018). Strengthening Your Child’s “Control Centre”: How Bilingualism Boosts Executive Functioning. Available online: http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/strengthening-childs-control.aspx.
- Capone Singleton, N. (2018). Late talkers: Why the wait-and-see approach is outdated. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 65(1), 13-29.
- Hawa, V. V. & Spanoudis, G. (2014). Toddlers with delayed expressive language: An overview of the characteristics, risk factors and language outcomes. Researchers in Developmental Disabilities, 35, 400-407.