#371 What to Do to Address Red Flags for Communication Delay in Toddlers

ASHA CEU Course 371

Not sure where to start working with a child who has red flags for language delay? In this podcast, join pediatric speech-language pathologist Laura Mize, M.S., CCC-SLP of teachmetotalk.com as she gives you ideas for helping toddlers who aren’t yet talking and communicating. There aren’t “cookie cutter strategies,” but real techniques that work that parents can incorporate at home!

Listen to part one of this podcast series.

Handout from part one #370 Handout Red Flags for Delayed Communication Skills


ASHA CEUs and Other CE Credit

An additional course handout will be provided with the purchase of credit.

Therapists… get continuing education credit for this 1 hour course! Details coming soon! (If you’re an email subscriber, you’ll get details first!)

ASHA CEUs for speech-language pathologists… coming soon! (See additional information for ASHA CEUs below.)


Link to watch…



Podcast link:


Course Description

In this one hour podcast, join pediatric speech-language pathologist Laura Mize, M.S., CCC-SLP of teachmetotalk.com as we discuss how to begin to address red flags in infants and toddlers that indicate problems with the development of communication skills. Recommendations for initial strategies will be reviewed so that clinicians can share this information with parents and other caregivers.


Learning Objectives

  1. Identify at least 6 strategies parents can use at home to address red flags that likely indicate delayed communication skills in infants and toddlers.
  2. Explain how each red flag negatively impacts language development.


Timed Agenda

Introduction – 0 – 4:15 minutes

Importance of Noting Red Flags – 4:15 – 8:15 minutes

Discussion of Initial Strategies to Address Red Flags – 8:15 to 1 hour

Summary and Additional Resources – 1 hour to 1 hour, 3 minutes



Course Director

Laura Mize, M. S., CCC-SLP, is a pediatric speech-language pathologist specializing in young children ages birth to four with communication delays and disorders in her private practice in Stanford, Kentucky. She earned a B.S. from Mississippi University for Women and an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from The University of Southern Mississippi. Laura holds her Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA. She authors the website teachmetotalk.com, hosts her popular YouTube channel, and publishes a weekly audio and video weekly podcast Teach Me To Talk: The Podcast. Laura produced a series of training DVDs for parents and professionals who work with children with developmental speech-language delays and disorders. Her best-selling DVDs and therapy manuals are used by pediatric therapists and speech-language pathologists in private practice, early intervention programs, grad schools, preschool programs, and continuing education conferences throughout the USA, Canada, South Africa, The Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel, Australia, India, Zambia, Greece, and the UK.



Financial – Laura Mize owns teachmetotalk.com and The Laura Mize Group and therefore receives a salary, compensation for speaking, and royalties from teachmetotalk.com product sales and also receives revenue from the YouTube Partners Program.

Nonfinancial – Laura Mize has no other financial or nonfinancial relationships with any author, publisher, or SLP whose work she recommends in this course.


Teach Me To Talk Laura Mize Group



This course is offered for .10 ASHA CEUs (Introductory level, Professional area).



(Coming soon!!)




Satisfactory Course Completion Requirements

Participants must have watched the video and paid the $5 processing fee to obtain a certificate of completion and/or to have your participation submitted to the ASHA CE Registry. Once the $5 fee is paid, you will be redirected to complete additional information online required to award a Certificate of Completion which includes completion of the Verification Statement that you watched the video, Self Assessment of Learning Outcomes, a Program Evaluation, Request for Certificate, and an ASHA CEU participant form or your ASHA number for filing ASHA CEUs (if applicable).  Once all required sections are completed and submitted, you will receive access to generate your certificate which will be emailed to you upon final review of your submission. No credit will be awarded without completion of this entire process. ASHA CEU information is submitted monthly and will appear on your ASHA CEU Registry shortly thereafter. Partial credit is not available.

For Other Professionals: Upon completion and return of the forms and receipt of your $5 processing fee, a Certificate of Completion will be provided so that you may file for continuing education with your own organization or licensing agency.

For Non-Professionals and Parents: All course content is offered at an Introductory, Professional Level and may not be suitable for all parents or non-professionals. If you’d like a Certificate of Completion, you may also register for credit.

Participants who are dissatisfied should notify us by email at customerservice@teachmetotalk.com so that your issue can be resolved. We want you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase.

Questions? Email me! Laura@teachmetotalk.com.



Written Summary:

(Get the downloadable pdf with course purchase)

Beginning Strategies for Working with Infants and Toddlers with Red Flags for Communication Delay…

When a child is not consistently making eye contact and responding to you with warm, joyful expressions by 6 months old, he is having difficulty learning to connect with other people. Try these ideas:

Keep them with you as you go about your everyday routines and give them reasons to make eye contact by looking and sounding FUN! Don’t let them check out or be alone for long periods of time. Position yourself so that he can easily look into your eyes. Do what he or she likes as you play, play, play together! Begin with fun social games like Peek-A-Boo and Ring Around the Rosies. (For ideas for these kinds of games and activities, check out my therapy manual Teach Me To Play WITH You.)


When a toddler does not share sounds, smiles, and other facial expressions during back and forth interactions, he is having difficulty learning to connect, respond, and take a turn during interactions. Begin with these strategies:

Treat his actions as if they are intentional and purposeful toward you. Play trading games with everyday objects and toys. Try making fun noises like fake coughing, blowing raspberries, cooing, or just smiling as you’re eye to eye and face to face. Widen your eyes and wait and give a child a chance to respond. Join in and take a quick turn with a toy so you’re included. (Find more ideas for teaching turn taking in my therapy manual Let’s Talk About Talking.)


When a toddler is not babbling by 12 months, he is having difficulty learning to vocalize purposefully. Start with these ideas:

Rather than words, model lots of play sounds for a child to imitate. Try sound effects such as car noises, animal sounds, and silly exclamatory words like yay, wow, and uh-oh. Imitate any sounds he makes – even things like whimpering, burping, or sneezing. A child may need to “rev up” in order to vocalize, so try rambunctious physical play and encourage laughing, yelling, and any kind of vocalizing. (Find more ideas for teaching a child to vocalize in my therapy manual Building Verbal Imitation Skills in Toddlers.)


When a child isn’t using gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months, he is very likely to be a late talker. Gestures precede words in language development. Teach a child gestures by:

Using lots of gestures yourself as you talk. Teach a child to imitate easy whole body movements first like jumping and dancing, and then early gestures like reaching, “Give me 5”, waving and shaking his head no before teaching a child to point. (For ways to teach gestures and then move a child toward words, see Building Verbal Imitation Skills in Toddlers.)


When a toddler does not respond to his name by 12 months, he is having difficulty making social connections and learning to understand and respond to words. Teach him his name by:

Helping him learn to consistently interact and respond with you during social games like Give Me 5, Peek a Boo, and So Big. Begin to set up situations when he is occupied and then call his name. Praise and reward him when he looks at you by picking him up or giving a hug or high 5.  (This strategy, along with other strategies to improve receptive language, are listed in Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual.)


When a child isn’t using any words by 16 months, he is having difficulty with expressive language development. Try these ideas first:

Help a child learn to imitate, but don’t start with words! Begin with actions, whole body movements, gestures, and easier play sounds. Toddlers must also understand what words mean before they use words to communicate. Talk to them often using single words to label familiar objects, people, and events at home. Repeat a key word often to provide a model for them to imitate. (For more ideas to help toddlers who are late talkers, get a copy of my therapy manual Building Verbal Imitation Skills in Toddlers.)


When a toddler does not follow simple and familiar directions by 18 months, there is a delay in receptive language or language comprehension skills. Begin with these ideas:

Stay together during the day so that a child can hear you talk and link meaning with words he hears. Keep your language simple with lots of short phrases and single words as you narrate your everyday routines. Use “Tell him, show him, help him” cues. Teach a child to “do his part” during daily routines. (For lots of video clips with therapy activities to teach a child to understand words and follow directions, get a copy of Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 & 2. For TONS of written activities, get Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual.)


When a 24-month-old is not using at least 50 different words and short phrases, an expressive language delay is present. Things you can do to improve this area:

Teach more new words to build a child’s vocabulary to the 50- word level. Expand what a child says by repeating his single word, adding a related word, and then repeating this phrase to the child. If you can add a familiar word a child already says, it’s even more likely that he’ll be able to imitate the phrase. (To see video clips of therapy sessions and ideas for working on teaching toddlers to talk, get Teach Me To Talk the DVD. For more therapy strategies for expanding a child’s vocabulary, see Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual. ) 


When a 30-month-old does not participate in conversational turn taking, he’s having difficulty with understanding and using language. Try these ideas:

Continue to help a child understand new words and process language. Help learn to answer questions by providing choices. Teach him to initiate by placing things out of reach so that he needs you to get what he wants. (For more ideas, see Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual.)








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Happy Therapists, Teachers, Parents & Children

"I purchased the book on autism and have watched the #400s series podcasts. Laura Mize has been more effective in teaching autistic tendencies, than many professors, shadowing professions, and the 100s of books, articles and classes or videos, or live workshop speakers, have been at teaching effective practices for a child with ASD. Some of the many lessons she has taught, which I will now use, to be a more effective Interventionist, include but are not limited to: red flags, typical behaviors, self-stimulating behaviors, not taking away toys, rather showing child to play with toy appropriately. She gives examples of child's actions, "inappropriate," explains the reason for: why the child is engaging in these behaviors and how they can be replaced with more appropriate, effective fuctional and age-appropriate skills."

"I’m sure Laura gets these messages all the time, but I thought I’d share. I stumbled across Laura‘s "Autism or Speech Delay?" YouTube video when I really needed it. This video finally listed and explained some of the red flags my son was showing for autism. I share the link anytime a parent is questioning in my FB autism group. This mother I don’t even know said Laura's video changed her life. I know exactly how she feels because It changed families too. Thank you to everyone at Teach Me To Talk."


"Good Morning Laura,
I received your book (The Autism Workbook) yesterday and it is absolutely amazing! As I evaluate young children (0-3) for developmental delays and write plans for them with their parents, there are a ton of ideas that are ready to use. Others that reinforce what I have been doing, and saying, all along. Thank you so, so much for writing this incredible book and pulling everything together in one place!"


"Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge, experience, and guidance.
I’m a parent who bought the autism workbook and it’s the only clear resource I found to make a change in my son. I’m really thankful to Ms. Laura for helping out people like us all over the world."

"Laura Mize, all I have to say is that ALL YOUR STRATEGIES WORK."

ANNE, YouTube viewer

"We have 7 SLPs in our preschool (public) program for special needs children (ages 3-5) and we use your courses, books, and techniques every day! :-) We have seen our preschoolers make such great gains!"


"I just received Teach Me to Play With You, and it is ALREADY WORKING! WOW!

Girl…my son is 3 years old, and he NEVER asks for something using words. We were playing “Get Your Belly” (from Teach Me to Play WITH You), and after several times, he laughed and screamed "BEWIEEE!!!"  It was a hoot. And I can't believe he said it! I have played with him like this before, but this time I took your advice and acted CRAZY!! I will act like a total lunatic if it will get him to talk to me!  Now I can give him "the look" from across the room, and he will say it. That manual is so amazingly practical, and it is a GODSEND right now! Thank you SO MUCH!”

"I wanted to send you a quick email to say thank you. I started watching your videos/podcasts about 4 months ago. My son has gone from losing words he previously used, only having about 7 words at his 2 year check up in August (assessed at a blended 10 month language level) -- to now having so many words, increased social engagement, following commands, spontaneously requesting things, and naming letters & numbers (not in order) as well as colors. We had our monthly meeting with our SLP through the state infants & toddlers program and it felt like we were just bragging the whole time, but I knew in the back of my head it was because I have been using strategies you taught me.

We still have so much work to do with our sweet boy, but I know in my heart he would not have succeeded without the education you provided. I will continue to read your emails & watch videos as we go along this journey and face challenges, but credit is due to you, Laura.

Thank you so much, endlessly."


"I just want to tell how fortunate I feel to have found your website and you!! I became a special instructor in EI almost a year ago and I started with hardly any applicable training. I felt so lost and confused as how to help the kids I work with learn how to use words and play. Honestly, I didn't even understand the importance of play, although I always played with my kids. But, once I started to watch your podcasts and get some of your manuals I felt a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I could finally teach these kids and their families something of value from a real therapist and based on research!. Thank you so much for seeing the need to help other EI service providers and providing a forum to share your knowledge and years of valuable experience. I'm sure you get a lot of these emails every week if not every day, but I wanted to make I could add to those notes of gratitude!! THANK YOU again!!"


"Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for these emails and your books, I have them all and they have seriously saved and improved my sessions with my kiddos. Huge thank you."


"I was very frustrated with how speech therapy was going for my child. I would take him and drop him off and not hear much of anything from his therapist and teachers other than, "He had a good (or a bad!) day." Your materials were invaluable for us because I learned how to work with him on his speech. I learned how to teach him to talk and play. I learned how to pay attention to his cues and work with him to teach him to communicate. Without it, I have no doubt he still wouldn’t talk."


"Hi! I just wanted to say (from an SLT perspective) how incredibly useful I am finding absolutely all of your articles, blogs and resources - I only discovered your site last month and have just received all your books which I feel I am learning more than on my entire university training course!! But also the way in which you give specific, realistic, fun, encouraging ideas for working with parents is really just fantastic, I only wish I have your site sooner! Thanks so much from the UK! Kind regards."


"I just wanted to reach out to say thank you for making things a little easier to manage for me this year. I made the transition from school SLP to private therapist about a year ago. While the change was welcome, it was a lot, and I was just getting my footing in the clinic when I began teletherapy full time. Your website has been a huge lifeline in helping me work with late talkers and coach their parents in an accessible but effective way, even remotely. I look forward to getting your emails each week. I am floored by the amount of valuable, free information that your website provides, and I’m looking forward to investing in your workbooks soon. A sincere thank you for all you do!"


"You are an inspiration! I am truly grateful for the way you put into words and writing how to do what we do as SLPs. At this time in my 13 years of practicing, I find your encouragement keeps me going. As a single mom, I find it a stretch to buy materials these days and I am so thankful for the freebies you so generously share that help me teach my families. I don’t have much time to put together lists or quick references for parents!! Much gratitude!!"