Red Flags for Expressive Delays
• No babbling by 12 months
• No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
• No consistent imitation of actions, sounds, and words by 15 months
• No words by 16 months
• Less than 50 words at 24 months
• No two-word phrases without imitating or repeating by 24 months
• No back-and-forth conversational turn-taking by 30 months
• Any loss of speech, babbling, or interaction skills at any age
If your child is over two and is still not talking or only says a handful of words, there is an expressive language delay.
Please don’t listen to misguided advice and do nothing. At the very least, you’ll need to change what you do at home to help your child begin to talk.
If a child is developing slowly during a time when other peers are rapidly progressing, the child will be falling further and further behind…and no parent wants to see that!
The older a child is at the time when intervention begins, the less positive the outcome.
What You Can Do To Help at Home
Teach a child to imitate actions during play. Little games like
“Give Me 5” or songs with hand motions like “If You’re Happy and You Know It” are critical first steps to helping a child learn to talk. He needs to begin to “do his part” during the game.
Introducing simple sign language is a life saver for many families and toddlers! Try signs for things he loves or requests like “more” and “please.”
Many times single words are too difficult for late talkers. Try FUN play sounds like animal and car noises and encourage her to repeat those silly sounds after you as you play together.
Simplify what you say to your child so that your child can imitate words. Speak in mostly single, familiar words when you’re trying to encourage him to repeat you.
Focus on words your child needs to say to get what she wants like words for toys, food and events. Words for colors, shapes, numbers, and letters aren’t important for late talkers!
Children don’t need to just learn to talk, they need to know what those words mean and use those words to communicate with others.