Late talkers are children 18–35 months old who acquire language at a slower rate than their typically developing peers. Communicative gestures and symbolic play usually occur at 10-12 months of age, while specific words usually begin at age 12-15 months, on average. Behavioral and socio-emotional development improves by age 4-5 for most of these toddlers that are delayed in expressive language only. “It seems that parents of children with expressive language deficits are more likely to adapt their communication style, and this exacerbates the child’s language difficulties and is less than optimal for language acquisition”. Tannock and Giralametto (1992). Two year-old late talking toddlers are characterized by limited vocabulary and lack of production of combined words. Research suggests that no later than school age the majority of these children will show significant improvement on expressive language skills and reach the age appropriate levels (Rescorla, 2009; Roos & Weismer, 2008)
TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Do not be overly concerned if your toddler is a late talker, ie solitary expressive language delay. If there are additional developmental delays such as receptive language delays or motor skill delays, one would consider a full developmental assessment after a discussion with your pediatrician.