Language Express Preschool Speech and Language Services System of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville.

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Ideas for Supporting Speech & Language Development

Is Your Child a Late Talker?

Children who are developing normally in all areas except spoken vocabulary are often called “late talkers.” In the past many parents and physicians took a wait-and-see approach to late talkers. We know now that this is not a good idea, because many late talkers will not catch up without help. Even the children who do seem to catch up may have trouble later with grammar, complex language, and learning to read and write.

A Late Talker is:

  • 18-20 months and  using less than 24 words
  • 21-24 months and  using less than 40 words
  • 24-30 months and using less than 100 words &/or limited 2-word combinations

Late talkers often have some additional risk factors such as being very quiet as babies or toddlers; a history of ear infections; a family history of speech, language, or learning difficulties; a limited number of consonant sounds; limited use of gestures; limited imitation of words; or using very few verbs.¹

If you think your child might be a late talker, don't wait and see! Call Language Express now. We can help you to help your child become a confident talker who is ready for school and for life.

There's a Word for That!

Late talkers are usually experts at getting their message across without words. Try this strategy to help your child use more words:  WAIT  HELP  WAIT.

Follow These Steps:

  • WAIT to see what your child is trying to tell you. He may use a gesture, facial expression, sound, or word.
    • Example: Your child points at a school bus and says, "UH!"

  • HELP by giving him a model that is one step up.
    • Example: You point at the bus and say, "Bus!"

  • WAIT some more.
    • Example: Wait to see if your child tries to say "bus" or tell you something else.

Great Books for Late Talkers

These books are great for late talkers because there are lots of opportunities for repetition, and because kids love them!

Who Said Moo? by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback. Pause and wait before you say “moo,” to give your child time to try to fill in the blank.

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman. After the first couple of pages, try saying nothing each time you turn a page, and wait to see what your child points to or looks at. Then say a word or two to describe what he is interested in before going on.

Find My Feet by Salina Yoon. Have fun with the animal sounds. Make the wrong sound and see what your child does.

¹Cindy Earle with Lauren Lowry, Target Word Parent Handbook 4th Edition. Hanen Early Language Program, 2015.