Relief for parents with late talkers

Most parents are anxious for their little ones to hit development milestones. It starts with the first smile, first tooth, first tentative step and eventually the first word.

Late talker at 2 will catch up

Anxious mum

Well meaning relatives and health visitors checking on your child’s development often add to the frustration if your toddler takes his or her time to speak clearly. Happily, the latest research on late talking shows no evidence of emotional or behavioral problems¬† later in childhood or their teenage years.

According to a study published in the journal, Pediatrics, children who are late-talkers at the age of 2 do not show any increased risk of behavioral or emotional problems in their child-hood or adolescence. The study by the University of Western Australia, compared late talkers with children whose language developed at what experts view as a “normal” trajectory.

Communication frustration

Andrew Whitehouse, the psychologist who led the research, believes that any “behavioral problems among 2 year old toddlers was due more to their frustration with not being able to communicate their feelings fully.

“Having a child who is not talking as much as other children can be very distressing for parents. Our findings suggest that parents should not be overly concerned that their late-talking toddler will have language and psychological difficulties later in childhood.

There is good evidence that most late-talking children will ‘catch-up’ to the language skills of other children. The best thing that parents can do is provide a rich language-learning environment for their children. This means getting down on the floor and playing their child, talking with them, reading to them, interacting with them at their level.”

Dr Whitehouse does point out that children who reach school with language problems should have appropriate support and help.


Pediatrics, Late Talking and the Risk for Psychosocial Problems During Childhood and Adolescence July 2011


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