A child may be seen as a ‘Late Talker’ up until the age of 3 years old if their vocabulary consists of less than 50 words. Typically developing children should have approximately 500 words by 3 years of age. After this age, it is possible that there are other factors and a delay present.
If your child also has difficulty comprehending language, playing with different toys and other people or any other developmental or behavioural concerns, it would be appropriate to seek support to investigate other causes.
Boys are more likely to develop language skills later than girls and children with a family history of language delay are more likely to be late talkers; however, it is important to monitor your child’s communication and seek support as early as you begin to notice difficulties or frustration.
Tips and Strategies for Late Talkers
1. Speak and WAIT. Give your child time to plan and say all that they need to. Count to 10 in your head to give your child plenty of time to talk.
2. Make sure their hearing tests are up to date. Hearing impairment can sometimes be overlooked, particularly if it is mild; however, it can have severe implications for development. If your child can’t hear you, how can they repeat what you are saying!
3. Follow your child’s lead. If they are interested in a certain food/toy, give them (model) the language for them to imitate “Doggy. Big doggy. Woof woof”.
4. If you notice your child’s siblings often speak for them then encourage your other children to wait and let them speak for themselves.
It’s never too early to seek help! If you continue to have concerns with your child’s language development and would like further assistance, please contact Kids At Max on (03) 9702 4447 to schedule a session with a Speech Pathologist today.
Written by Kids At Max – Speech Pathologist