About 15%-25% of young children have some kind of communication disorder. Boys tend to develop language skills a little later than girls, but in general, kids may be labeled “late-talking children” if they speak less than 10 words by the age of 18 to 20 months, or fewer than 50 words by 21 to 30 months of age.
What are some common reasons or causes for late talking?
Late talking is something that’s common to many different diagnoses. Those with a known genetic disorder like Down syndrome or with autism are late talkers. But children who are late talkers are those that are typically developing normally. In other words, they have typical hearing, vision, motor, and cognitive skills. Everything else seems to be fine, but for some reason, language is an area that is delayed.
What should parents do if they suspect their child is a late talker?
They should first get their child’s hearing tested. You want to make sure that the child is hearing properly. And you also want to visit a speech-language pathologist or therapist who specializes in language development and can measure a child’s expressive and receptive language skills.
Encouraging Normal Speech
To support normal speech and language development in your youngster:
*Talk to your baby and young child throughout the day, including during bath time, while changing diapers, and during meals. For example, get your child’s attention, and then talk about what you’re doing (“Look, I’m opening the refrigerator and I’m getting out food”).
*Babies tend to pay more attention and respond more eagerly to baby talk than to normal adult conversation. The playfully exaggerated and high-pitched tone your voice takes lights up your little one’s mind.
*Sing to your baby, and read to her beginning at a very young age.
(PS: However, some studies reveal that late talking toddlers are likely to be fine by age 5. Some of the famous late talkers were Einstein and the great mathematician Ramajunan.)