Is my child a “late talker”?

Is your child a “late talker”? If your little one isn’t meeting the typical speech and language milestones for their age, you might be asking yourself this question. But before you start worrying, let’s first understand what we mean by the term “late talker.”

A “late talker” is a child who is developing normally in other areas – such as motor, cognitive, and social skills – but has a delay in language development. They may have a limited vocabulary, or they may not be combining words as expected for their age.

But why does this happen? The reasons can vary. Some children are simply slower to start talking, while others may have a family history of late language emergence. Sometimes, the cause remains unknown, which can be understandably concerning for parents (Paul, 1991).

So, what can you do if you suspect your child is a late talker?

Firstly, don’t panic. Many late talkers catch up to their peers without any intervention by the time they start school. However, it’s crucial to monitor their progress and seek professional advice if you’re concerned.

Here are some signs to look out for:

  1. By 2 years, your child uses fewer than 50 words.
  2. By 2 years, your child isn’t combining words.
  3. Your child struggles with imitating words and sounds.
  4. Your child isn’t using age-appropriate play skills (Paul & Norbury, 2012).

If you notice these signs, consider reaching out to a speech-language pathologist. They can assess your child’s language skills and provide guidance tailored to your child’s needs.

At Red Deer Speech Therapy, our team of experienced speech-language pathologists is ready to support you and your child on this journey. Remember, it’s okay to seek help. In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do for your child!

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Paul, R. (1991). Profiles of toddlers with slow expressive language development. Topics in Language Disorders, 11(4), 1-13.

Paul, R., & Norbury, C. (2012). Language Disorders from Infancy through Adolescence: Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Communicating (4th ed.). Mosby.