A young mother talking to her toddler son inside in a bedroom.

If you have asked yourself some of the questions listed below, then your child may have a speech or language delay. Continue reading to learn about several tips you can follow to help a late talker.

Below is the list of questions that may have crossed your mind:

  • Should my child already be talking?
  • What can I do to help my child speak better?
  • Why isn’t my child talking yet?
  • Does my child need speech therapy?
  • Why can’t I understand my child better?

For children who may be experiencing speech delay, they may either have pronunciation delay or general speaking skills delay. Either way, children who use lesser than 10 words by 18 months of age or lesser than 80 words at 2 years old are considered to have a delay in communication. There really is no fast rule about speech delay as some children will eventually grow out of it whereas others do not and may require speech or language therapy. If you are concerned about what you can do to help your late talker, below are some brief descriptions of things that you can try with your child.


Talk about yourself or what you are currently doing. Describe the object in your hands or the actions that you are carrying out. Explain in details what you see or how you feel about something. Add certain sounds that you are hearing or describe the taste in your mouth. Express yourself to let your child learn from the words that you use. The key is to use simple words which can easily be understood by children. If your child is not talking yet, only use a single word at a time. If your child is already using single words, then it is time to introduce double words. It is fine to repeat certain words as that is how children learn.

Parallel Talk

This is similar to the “self-talk” strategy but instead of talking about yourself, you talk about your child. Talk about their clothes, their hair, objects around them, sounds that they can hear, sights that they can see, ask about their feelings, and so on. Use correct sentence structures but not too long as they may get confused and lose interest.

Expand Speech

This strategy will encourage your child to use more words. If they are already using single words, you can try to add an additional word at the front or back. For instance, if your child already knows the word “ball”, you could say “my ball” or “that ball” to expand the sentence. This will increase their understanding and motivate them to use more words.

Receptive Vocabulary

You can help your child to build their receptive vocabulary. This includes all the words that they may or may not already be saying. For instance, if your child has not yet said the word “dog”, you may point to the dog and ask your child “Where is the dog?” while pointing to it. This action will let them understand the word even when they have yet to say it out loud.

Start with these easy steps before you advance forward with much progressive methods to help your late talker make progress.

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