Children who are late to talk


Children are often considered “late to talk” when they are aged between 18-30 months and have a good understanding of language and good play skills, however appear to say less words than expected for their age (or, in some cases, no words). Typically, children begin to say their first words around 12 months of age. This refers to ‘real words’ such as ‘mum’ or ‘car’ rather than ‘babble’ such as ‘mama’ or ‘dada’. By 18 months a child should be using at least 20 words. This should include a variety of nouns (e.g. ‘cookie’), verbs (e.g. ‘go’), prepositions (e.g. ‘up’), adjectives (e.g. ‘cold’) and greetings (e.g. ‘bye’). By 24 months, children should use at least 100 words. They should also be starting to combine two words together (e.g. ‘mummy go’). For children who are not achieving these milestones, it is important to consult with a Speech Pathologist.



Why is it important to see a Speech Pathologist if my child is late to talk?


If you are concerned that your child is a late talker, it is important to see a Speech Pathologist. A Speech Pathologist will be able to determine if your child is delayed in their expressive language skills only, or if they are also experiencing difficulties in other areas. Your Speech Pathologist will conduct a full assessment of your child’s understanding, their ability to make sounds, their ability to imitate or use words and their play skills. This way, any potential causes for your child’s suspected late talking can be identified and discussed. Based on your child’s individual difficulties, the Speech Pathologist will advise you on what you should do next and what you can be doing at home to support your child’s speech and language development.

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