May is speech and hearing month. That makes it a great time to talk about late talkers!
What is a late talker?
– a child between 18 and 20 months who says fewer than 24 words or
– a child between 21 and 24 months who says fewer than 40 words or
– A child between 24 and 30 months who has fewer than 100 words with no or limited word combinations (using 2 words together)
– as well, the child must have no major concerns in any other area of development (normal play skills, social skills and motor skills)
(Definition courtesy of the Hanen Early Language Program)
Why should we be concerned if a child is late to talk?
A ‘wait and see’ approach is not recommended. There is a window of time for developing language skills. Parents often get advice from well-meaning grandparents, friends, and even doctors, who suggest that there is no need to be concerned if your child is late to talk. Everyone has heard stories about children who didn’t learn to talk until they were three or four years old and who turned out ‘just fine’.
It is true that most children do learn to talk eventually. The concern, however, is how these children will use language as they get older. Research shows that children who are late to talk are at higher risk for language delays in a variety of areas. These delays can cause difficulties with literacy skills and in performance at school, even into the teen years.
Why are some children late to talk?
There are several different reasons why a child might be late to talk.
– normal variation in language development
– a language impairment
– motor speech difficulties
Before the age of three, it is difficult to determine the reason for a child’s language delay.
What is the good news?
The good news is, regardless of the reason that a child is late to learn to talk, early intervention with support from a speech-language pathologist has been shown to be highly successful at improving a child’s language skills.
The research tells us that with very young children, parent training and support are the best way to help develop language skills. Here at Pathways our Speech Language Pathologists are skilled at working with families to help them to support their child’s language development. We love to coach parents to help them develop their child’s full potential!
Want more information?
Contact us at Pathways Therapy:
+1 (519) 885-4211
Connect with the Hanen Early Language Program:
Investigate publicly funded local resources for preschoolers: