A late talker is a child who is between 1 1/2 years of age and 2 1/2 years of age that has good receptive language skills (what the child can understand) but has a limited number of words in his or her vocabulary.  Children who are late talkers have difficulty with their expressive language only.  Approximately 13% of two year olds are late talkers.

Some red flags for late talkers are:

  • Your child was quiet as an infant (did not babble much)
  • History of recurrent ear infections
  • A limited number of consonant sounds
  • Does not imitate your sounds or words
  • Has mostly nouns in his or her vocabulary
  • Has a difficult time playing with others
  • Family history of communication difficulties

By 1 1/2 years of age a child should have about 20 words in their vocabulary, by 2 years they should have about 100 words and be able to put two words together to make a phrase.

Instead of taking the “wait and see” approach, contact a speech-language pathologist about your child’s speech and language development if you have concerns.  Remember, parents are the experts on their children.