Here’s the most common question I receive at teachmetotalk.com about late talking from moms and dads.
It’s no surprise this is the same question I also hear directly from families when I work with their children.
Here’s my answer too – the same whether I am meeting you in person or replying to an email…
Will my child outgrow late talking?
Sometimes kids do mature and “outgrow” late talking, but many times they do not.
The reason that’s important is we can’t always predict which kids will catch up and which kids will continue to fall behind.
Generally, when a child’s only issue is expressive language or late talking, there’s more of a chance a toddler will begin to talk and then quickly close the gap sounding more like their other kids their same age who are developing typically.
However, and I have seen it over and over again in my career…
Parents think a child’s only issue is late talking when there’s much more going on.
There are other delays that a parent hasn’t noted.
There are issues a parent strongly suspects, but hasn’t yet wanted to face.
In their hearts they knew that their children weren’t learning and progressing, but it was so scary to deal with, they brushed it aside or for some, forced themselves not to think about it.
In the middle of a worldwide pandemic, it was easy to find something else to worry about!
But the truth is, when there are other, even what might seem to be unrelated issues in addition to late talking, it’s more likely a child won’t catch up on his own.
For example, during a check-up with the pediatrician, parents of late talking toddlers are asked, “How much language does your child understand?”
A parent may respond “Everything” before considering that their child doesn’t follow very many directions at home (“He’s stubborn.”), doesn’t respond to his name (“He doesn’t listen.”), and doesn’t do other things toddlers do like wave bye-bye and identify body parts on request (“He’s too busy to slow down and do it when somebody asks him, but he knows how to do it.”).
That child isn’t just a late talker.
There are receptive language delays too – or problems with how they understand the words they hear. When children over 15 months old don’t respond to simple requests or their names, they are not “defiant” or “lazy,” both terms a parent might innocently, even affectionally use.
When there are other issues beyond late talking, especially problems with understanding language, a child is much less likely to outgrow late talking.
This means you’re going to have to do something to help.
Early intervention – whether it takes place in a that’s a preschool program, therapy sessions, or when it’s parents conscientiously changing what they do with a child at home – is a child’s best shot at catching up.
I have TONS of resources at teachmetotalk to help you!
My YouTube page is filled with videos you can watch today to begin to change what you do at home.
If you’re more of a reader, my best resources for parents to begin to use today are…
Teach Me To Play WITH You – filled with EASY games you can begin to do immediately with your child to make a real difference. If you’re intimidated about “at home” therapy and don’t know where to begin, this book is for you! It’s also the first place therapists should begin with toddlers too.
Building Verbal Imitation Skills in Toddlers – a step-by-step plan for teaching a child to repeat words – but we don’t begin there! Get the book to guide your work!
If your child has been in therapy for a while and there’s not much progress or if you know already your child has more going on than “late talking” but you’re not sure what to do, I recommend…
Let’s Talk About Talking – a comprehensive guide to help you figure out what skills are missing, and more importantly, how to teach a child those skills!
Some kids will outgrow late talking when there are no other delays.
The rest need early intervention to give them their best shot.
YOU are early intervention!
Get out there and intervene today!