#336 Why Can’t My Child Use Phrases? Answering This Common Question


When I asked email subscribers to send me questions to answer on the podcast, I received half a dozen different emails asking some version of this question:


Here’s her question…

I feel like I often go through the steps of working on the 11 prelinguistic skills that you talk about in “let’s talk about talking.”  The kiddos build up a lot of their play skills and start to use signs and eventually get to single words.  Then, I feel like we plateau.  I have one little girl, specifically, who I’m feeling this way with.  She will be 2 in March.  She was a preemie and was getting OT services before she was transferred to my caseload.  She was a late walker and had some low muscle tone, which the OT addressed and continues to work on.  I was offering consultation services and the OT (who is fabulous) and the Mom (who is very good with follow through) worked on her play skills, imitation, social routines, songs, etc.  She has started using signs and single words.  Mom reports that she uses at least 100 single words spontaneously, but she’s not yet combining words into two word phrases.  I’ve heard her use different nouns, verbs and some adjectives so I know she has a varied vocabulary.  But she won’t attempt to imitate a two word phrase, yet she readily imitates single words.  Am I expecting too much too fast?  I feel like she has enough of the necessary skills to combine words, but she just isn’t doing it yet.

In this show, we’ll review the reasons toddlers don’t move on to phrases as expected as well as give you strategies that WORK to move kids to this important phase of language development.

Listen here:

If you’d like more information about phrases, read this post:

Making the Leap from Words to Phrases

For therapists, if this is a common problem for you, get my course Early Speech-Language Development: Taking Theory to the Floor for an in-depth review of what’s going on, video clips with kids using these strategies, and MORE!

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