How to Help Late Talkers

Having a child who is a late talker can be stressful. Will they talk on their own? Do I need to intervene? Are they just a late talker or is it more – like autism? Whether they are just late talkers or it is more, the fact remains that there is a lot you can do. That’s why I’m going over how to assess your child’s speech delay, the difference between late talkers and autism, and tips you can use today to help your child. 

Late Talking Children

Recently I spoke with a new member of my turn autism around community. The dad wasn’t ready to label his child with autism while the mom was ready to start interventions. Dad mentioned that he himself was a late talker and felt like his daughter was just a late talker too. So the question is, do you wait for late talkers to catch up? Or how can you tell if there’s something more? 

When the word autism was first considered for my son, Lucas, I met with a friend who told me that if ABA therapy was working for kids with the most severe autism, why wouldn’t it help my son who I thought was just speech delayed? It was from then on, I decided to do everything I could to help my own son catch up developmentally. Whether your child is a late talker or has autism, you want to start intervention as soon as possible.

Assessing a Speech Delay

The first step before intervening is to do an assessment. Part of that assessment is looking at your child in terms of not just how much they’re talking, but what they’re saying and how they’re using language. Are they just labeling numbers and letters or are they not talking at all? Is there any babbling or word approximations? What age are they? The other thing also to look at is receptively, how much are they understanding language? If you have a child that’s fully comprehending everything you’re saying and the expressive language is just delayed, that will make a difference too.

Finally after your own little assessment, you can also look at the CDC milestones to see what milestones your child should be doing currently. If there is a big gap, that’s when you really need to look and see how you can help your child catch up in some areas.

We want to assess all language areas, expressive and receptive. Also, assess things like social language sharing, playing, pointing to show you things, and imitation. And look at whether tantrums are excessive, whether there’s very much insistence on sameness and what their play looks like.

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Is it Just a Speech Delay or Autism?

Being a late talker doesn’t necessarily mean autism. I have a video blog on the difference between autism and speech delay and another video blog on autism versus ADHD that go into this more. Some kids who have language delays and are late talkers actually do just catch up on their own or with some minimal help. 

But some kids who have some speech will have words that they don’t use functionally. Those are the kids with poor expressive language and receptive language. Those are kids that we should be more concerned about. Kids who don’t use language functionally will label things but won’t ask for things. They may not be good at nonverbal communication such as pointing, sharing, showing you things, and imitation. If they’re not responding to their own name that may also be a red flag. 

A late talker who’s pointing and sharing and showing an understanding of language, might just be a late talker. But, a late talker with a lot of other issues may have autism. It’s important, regardless of what it is or what it might be, for you to not be in denial like I was. Waitlists for evaluations are long. Get on a waitlist just in case because it can take months and sometimes over a year long to see a developmental pediatrician to tell if it’s autism or something else.

How to Help Late Talkers

Regardless of a diagnosis, you can build language starting right now. I have a whole online course that you could learn a lot more from, but I also have a really simple tip that you could start today. You want to simplify your speech as much as possible. If the child wants a banana and they are not speaking at all, hold up the banana and say “banana, banana, banana” as you hand it to them. You want to repeat the words three times and use single words. Instead of saying, “Johnny, let’s go up the steps and let’s get a bath,” say “up, up, up” to get them up the stairs. Try to be animated and fun and see if your child starts to comprehend and starts to talk a little bit more. 

Late Talkers

Having a late talker talker may be just that, a late talker. Others who are late talkers may go on to receive an autism diagnosis. As scary as this all is, the best step is to act now. Do an assessment, check out the milestones and learn more about techniques to help your child. The longer we wait for talking to come, the harder it becomes to help these kids catch up. Breaking language down to single words and repeating them frequently can help. You may want to check out my number one technique to get a child talking or talking more called the Shoebox Program

If you are interested in learning more, sign up for my free two-minute quiz at marybarbera.com/quiz, watch a free online workshop and consider joining me for my online course and community where you can learn step by step what to do to help your child. Intervening at the first signs of late talking is critical to your child’s development. I encourage you not to wait, but to start helping your child or your early intervention clients today by taking the free online quiz at marybarbera.com/quiz.

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Transcript

Having a child who is a late talker can be stressful. Will they talk on their own? Do I need to intervene? Are they just a late talker or is it more, is it something like autism? Whether they are just late talkers or it is more, the fact remains that there is a lot you can do. That’s why in this video blog I’ll be going over how to assess your child’s speech, the difference between late talkers and autism and tips you can use today regardless to help your child. Hi, I’m Dr. Mary Barbera, autism mom, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and bestselling author. Each week I provide you with some of my ideas about turning autism or signs of autism around, so if you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel you can do that now. Recently I spoke with a new member of my turn autism around community.

The dad wasn’t ready to label his child with autism, while the mom was ready to start interventions. Dad mentioned that he himself was a late talker and felt like his daughter was just a late talker too. So the question is, do you wait for late talkers to catch up? Or how can you tell if it is something more? When the autism word was first considered for my son Lucas, I met with a friend who told me that if ABA therapy was working for kids with the most severe autism, why wouldn’t it help my son who I thought was just speech delayed? It was from then forward, I decided to do everything I could to help my own son catch up developmentally. So whether your child is a late talker or has autism isn’t the important part here. Intervening now regardless is. The first step before intervening is to do an assessment.

And part of that assessment is looking at your child in terms of not just how much they’re talking, but what they’re saying, how they’re using language. Are they just labeling numbers and letters? Are they, are they just labeling things? Are they not talking at all completely not babbling, not talking. What age are they? The other thing also to look at is receptively, how much are they understanding language? So if you have a child that’s fully comprehending everything you’re saying and the expressive language is just delayed will make a difference too.  Finally after your own little assessment, you can also, you should also look at the CDC milestones to see what milestones your child should be doing currently. And if there is a big gap, that’s when you really need to look and see how you can help your child catch up. In some areas.

We want to assess all language areas, expressive and receptive. We also want to assess things like social language, sharing, playing, pointing to show you things, imitation. We also want to look at whether tantrums are excessive, whether there’s very much insistence on sameness and what their play looks like. But being a late talker doesn’t necessarily mean autism. I have a video blog also on the difference between autism and speech delay and another video blog on autism versus ADHD. And some kids who have language delays and are late talkers actually do just catch up with, on their own or with some, some minimal help. But some kids who have speech, some speech, some words, they don’t use it functionally. And those are the kids with poor expressive language and receptive language. Those are kids that we should be more concerned about. Kids who don’t use our language functionally either label things but don’t ask for things.

And also kids that are not good at nonverbal communication such as pointing and sharing and showing you things and imitation. If they are poor at imitation, this is also a more of a red flag. Response to name, if they’re not responding to their own name, if they’re young, that may also be a red flag. So if you just strictly have a late talker who’s pointing and sharing and showing and understanding language it might just be a late talker. If you have a lot of other issues it may be autism, but it’s important regardless of what it is or what it might be for you to not be in denial to not, like I did, stick your head in the sand and wait because the waitlist for evaluations are long. So if I were you, I would get on a wait list just in case because they are months and sometimes over a year long to see a developmental pediatrician to tell if it’s autism or something else.

And regardless of a diagnosis, you can build language starting right now. Couple little tips. Certainly I have a whole online course that you could learn a lot more from, but some, some really simple tips that you could start today is you want to simplify your speech as much as possible.  So you want to, if the child wants a banana and they are not speaking at all, even hold up the banana and say banana, banana, banana as you hand it to them.  You want to repeat the words three times and single words, uh very simple words up, up, up. Instead of saying, Johnny, let’s go up the steps and let’s get a bath. And those sorts of things. Limit your words. Try to be animated and fun and see if you, your child starts to comprehend and starts to talk a little bit more. In summary, having a late talker maybe just that, a late talker, while others who are late talkers may go on to receive an autism diagnosis.

As scary as this all is, the best step is to act now to do an assessment, to check out the milestones and to learn more about these techniques to help your child. The longer we wait for talking to come, the harder it becomes to catch, help these kids catch up and breaking language down to single words and repeating them frequently can help. I did do a video blog. You may want to check out my number one technique to get a child talking or talking more and to utilize also a shoe box, which is a part of that technique. So if you are interested in learning more, it doesn’t matter if it’s autism or late talking. Sign up for my free two minute quiz at marybarbera.com/quiz watch a free online workshop and consider joining me for my online course and community where you can learn step by step what to do to help your child. In summary, intervening at the first signs of late talking is critical to your child’s development. I encourage you not to wait, just start helping your child or your early intervention clients today by taking the free online quiz at marybarbera.com/quiz and I hope to see you right here next week.

 

 

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