#277 Skills a Toddler MUST Use BEFORE Words Emerge.Show 3.Overview Skills 6-11


In this third episode, I’m continuing the new series I began two weeks ago to discuss the skills a toddler must master before he or she begins to talk. This information is super important for parents of late talkers so that you can begin to see WHY your child isn’t yet saying words to communicate with you.

Listen below:

As I mentioned, this is the third show in this series. I highly recommend that you go back and listen to the first two shows so that you’re “caught up” and ready to move forward with this series.

If you didn’t listen to the first show in this series (#275), you can do that at this link. In that episode I shared valuable background information and expressive language milestones including vocabulary size and age ranges. Read the written summary of the show here.

Last week’s show included an overview of the first 5 skills we’re discussing:

  1. Responds to events in the environment
  2. Responds to people
  3. Develops an attention span
  4. Exhibits joint attention
  5. Plays with toys

In this week’s show we continued with our list with skills #6 – 11 which are:

6. Understands and uses early gestures

7. Understands early words and follows simple directions

8. Vocalizes

9. Imitates actions, gestures, and words

10. Initiates interaction with you

11. Begins turn taking


Remember that we’re not talking about what to do to help a late talker improve these skills just yet (It will come in later shows!), but for now we’re defining what the milestones are and talking about how the skill is related to language development. We’ll also talk a little bit about what the problem (or eventual diagnosis) might be when a child isn’t doing the things we discussed.

If you’re a parent of a late talker listening to this series, for now your focus should be on deciding if your child can do these 11 things. As I mentioned on the show, we want all of these skills to be strong and stable. Skills that coming in or emerging aren’t “strong and stable” just yet, and that’s what our goals will be. If that doesn’t make sense to you, please listen to the show for a better explanation.

As we talked about last week, this list may be a launching point for a frank conversation with your child’s therapist. If you’ve all been focused on what your child says rather than thinking about all of the things that come before we hear a child’s first words, you may not be addressing the root cause of your child’s language delay. Again, listen to the show if you’d like more information!

Next week we’ll continue this topic with ways to work on Skill #1 – Responding to Events in the Environment.

Until then… listen to the show (more than once if you need it!). If you have a question about the show, leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear from you!


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1 Comment

  1. veenasudhir. on August 22, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Hi laura.
    Thanks for your help.your inputs are very important to the late talker and also therapists like us.the above mentioned skills will help us to choose the right goals for children we are working with…your are doing a wonderful service.thanks

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