characteristics of late talkers

Characteristics of late talkers

According to Stanford Children’s Health Organization, this are the language milestones that your child needs to have at different timelines.

Birth to 5 monthsCoos,Vocalizes pleasure and displeasure sounds differently (laughs, giggles, cries, or fusses). Makes noise when talked to
6 to 11 monthsUnderstands “no-no”Babbles (says “ba-ba-ba”)Says “ma-ma” or “da-da” without meaningTries to communicate by actions or gesturesTries to repeat your soundsSays first word
12 to 17 monthsAnswers simple questions nonverbally. Says 2 to 3 words to label a person or object (pronunciation may not be clear). Tries to imitate simple words. Vocabulary of four to 6 words
18 to 23 monthsVocabulary of 50 words, pronunciation is often unclear. Asks for common foods by name. Makes animal sounds, such as “moo”. Starting to combine words, such as “more milk”. Begins to use pronouns, such as “mine”. Uses 2-word phrases
2 to 3 yearsKnows some spatial concepts, such as “in” or “on”. Knows pronouns, such as “you,” “me” or “her”. Knows descriptive words, such as “big” or “happy”. Uses 3-word sentences. Speech is becoming more accurate, but may still leave off ending sounds. Strangers may not be able to understand much of what is said. Answers simple questions. Begins to use more pronouns, such as “you” or “I”. Uses question inflection to ask for something, such as “my ball?”. Begins to use plurals, such as “shoes” or “socks” and regular past tense verbs, such as “jumped”
3 to 4 yearsGroups objects, such as foods or clothes. Identifies colors. Uses most speech sounds, but may distort some of the more difficult sounds, such as l, r, s, sh, ch, y, v, z, th. These sounds may not be fully mastered until age 7 or 8.Uses consonants in the beginning, middle, and ends of words. Some of the more difficult consonants may be distorted, but attempts to say them. Strangers are able to understand much of what is said. Able to describe the use of objects, such as “fork” or “car”. Has fun with language; enjoys poems and recognizes language absurdities, such as, “Is that an elephant on your head?”. Expresses ideas and feelings rather than just talking about the world around him or herUses verbs that end in “ing,” such as “walking” or “talking”. Answers simple questions, such as “What do you do when you are hungry?”. Repeats sentences
4 to 5 yearsUnderstands spatial concepts, such as “behind” or “next to”. Understands complex questions. Speech is understandable, but makes mistakes pronouncing long, difficult, or complex words, such as “hippopotamus”. Uses some irregular past tense verbs, such as “ran” or “fell”. Describes how to do things, such as painting a picture. Lists items that belong in a category, such as animals or vehicles. Answers “why” questions
5 yearsUnderstands time sequences (for example, what happened first, second, or third). Carries out a series of 3 directions. Understands rhyming. Engages in conversation. Sentences can be 8 or more words in length. Uses compound and complex sentences. Describes objects. Uses imagination to create stories
Language milestones for babies and toddlers

If the child does not hit those milestones, then we can comfortably say that they are late talkers.

And then there is autism.

It is good to note that ‘autistic children are late talkers but not all late talkers are autistic’

There is a very thin line between late talking and autism. In fact most medical health  workers will wrongful conclude a case of a speech delayed child as autistic without examining whether the child displays any other defining characteristic of autism.

Dr. Stephen Camarata of the Department of Hearing and Speech Science at the Vanderbilt University says that late talking is not necessarily a sign of autism spectrum disorder. It could be caused by other signs such as the child developing in their unique way where speech was not necessarily a priority. It could also be brought about by physical problems such as hearing loss.

Any parent whose child does not hit the required language milestones will be in panic since they want their child to be just speech delayed or have the Einstein syndrome. No one wants it to be a case of autism.

What then are the defining characteristics that make you say that my child has speech delay but not autism.

Previously, we have looked at this difference but today we are going to restrict ourselves into looking at late talking only.

Einstein syndrome characteristics

Albert Einstein was a late talker but ended up very intelligent

A concept introduced by author Thomas Sowell as he compared his smart child to scientist Albert Einstein, children with the syndrome are generally gifted but take long before they speak.

Thomas Sowell noted that though his boy John was not talking, he was intent on working up even the toughest of door latches. The toddler would concentrate on the latch for long looking at it intently until he figured out how to unlock it.

He was also interested in computers but would get bored by baby play.

The boy is now a computer scientist.

In his book, Sowell brings in his research on other similarly speech delayed children who had great interest in musical instruments and ended up in musical careers.

The characteristics of children with the Einstein syndrome are:

  • –Have great memory
  • –Great love for music and analytical skills
  • –Ability to read, understand numbers and use a computer or a smartphone
  • –Are born to parents who are either in science or music fields
  • –Will get bored by things that do not excite them
  • –They take time before they get toilet trained
  • –Will be focused for long in things that involve analysis
  • –Are mostly boys

Receptive language disorder

Receptive language disorder is when a child cannot speak back to you because they do not understand what you are saying.

To help such children, you need to simply your language as well as intentionally talk to them. I have also noted that kids who grow up in multi-language homes where the mother, father, siblings and househelps are speaking in different languages might have a problem with receptive language disorder since they are confused by the many languages. However, once this is ironed out, the child is able to understand.

Check out our post on signs that a nonverbal autistic child will finally speak