Late talker or something else at play?

It can be hard for parents to recognize and identify if their toddler is meeting their speech and language milestones when they are otherwise typically thriving and developing. Around 12 months your child should have 1-2 words and recognize their name as well as follow simple instructions. We would recommend that by the age of 2 children have over 50 words in their vocabulary and be using 2 words together in a sentence. Its hard to keep track of all the words your children use throughout the day so I recommend starting a list to keep track. Of course at 2 some of the sounds in the English language can also be difficult to produce so for example if your little one says ellie for elephant consistently then that is counted as a word your child uses. Between 3 and 4 we are expecting children to be using 3-5 word sentences and understanding longer instructions.

What can you do at home to promote speech and language development:

  • Read to your child – if your child loses interest in the story you can just point to and talk
    about the pictures
  • Play simple games with your child like peek-a-boo
  • Sing nursery rhymes with your children
  • Listen to your child and give them time to respond it can feel like forever but count to 5
    before jumping in for them.
  • Label your actions and their actions throughout the day talk about what you are doing when
    you’re at the supermarket or cooking in the kitchen.
  • Expand on what your child has said if they say “car” you could say “yes a fast red car”
  • Follow your child’s lead and interests they’re more likely to talk about things they are
    interested and engaged in.

It’s difficult for a parent to know if your child is just a late talker or if there is an underlying reason why their speech or language may not be developing at the same rate as their peers. As a parent you always want the best for your child and it’s important to remember there can be a variety of reasons why your child may have difficulties with their speech or language none of which are your fault. Early intervention has the best outcomes so if you are concerned a speech pathologist can determine whether your child has a speech or language difficulty by talking with you about your child’s development and completing appropriate assessments with your child. The speech pathologist can then help to determine the most suitable course of action.

Click here to view communication milestone poster

by Ashleigh Howie: Speech Pathologist

Consults onsite with Adelaide Mums and Babies Clinic at Rose Park.


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