My toddler isn’t talking yet. Help, what should I do?

  • You’re not alone, 15% of children will be late to talk.
  • We don’t know which children will catch up on their own.
  • Research has shown that children with a speech and language delay are more likely to have difficulty when it comes time to read and may go on to have difficulty at school.
  • Getting in early with speech therapy is best for your child.

Okay, so you’ve watched silently as all the other kids im mother’s group got their first words, then started putting them into short phrases while your little one remained resolutely silent. Happy to run and climb and play…..and grunt.

You kept telling yourself, he’s a boy, he’ll catch up, He’s focusing on his physical skills. He seemed to jabber away using baby talk, but at two years old, he seems to be the only toddler still not talking.

Take a deep breath. You’re not alone. A whopping 15% of children will be late to talk and most of the them will catch up – the only problem is that we don’t know which ones. What research tells us unequivocally is that getting in early and helping out with your toddler’s language delay will give them the best chance at learning language. Children’s brains develop rapidly in the first three years of their lives and this is the best time to help them learn. We also know that children who have larger vocabularies learn to read earlier, and with less difficulty and have all-round better academic achievement  in primary school.

Okay, so what should you do? Ignoring this niggling concern won’t make it go away and by acting now you will give your child the best chance at later success at school. Have a chat to your child health nurse or GP about your worries. They can help get you referred to your local speech pathologist. You can also find a private speech pathologist in your local area by searching on the Speech Pathology Australia website.

With your help, little one will become a walkie who can talkie in no time!

Child, N. S. (2007). The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture: Working Paper No. 5. Retrieved from Center on the Developing Child:

Henrichs, J., Rescorla, L., Donkersloot, C., Schenk, J., Raat, H., Jaddoe, V., . . . Tiemeier, H. (2013). Early Vocabulary Delay and Behavioural/Emotional Problems in Early Childhood: The Generation R Study. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, Vol. 56, 553-566.

Rice, M. L., & Hoffman, L. (2015, April ). Predicting Vocabulary Growth in Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment: A Longitudinal Study From 2;6 to 21 Years of Age. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Vol. 58 , 345–359.