Understanding Speech Delay: Speech Delay versus Late Talkers

Every child is unique when it comes to learning and development – they all learn things at their own pace. However, for most parents, you can’t ignore small differences between your child and the others or your toddler to his or her siblings when it is about learning and development, especially when you are talking about his or her language and communication skills.


Now, talking about language and communication development on toddlers, there are two most talked issues – speech delay and late talker.

Speech and language are two of many great milestones for children. However, not all children were able to speak their first simple words when they were between 10 and 15 months old and were struggling to combine words into simple sentences when they were around 18 months old – some have speech delay, while some are late talkers.

While both late talkers and speech delay have something in common, these two are different developmental issues.

If you are currently confused about whether your child is just a late talker or has a speech delay, you should keep reading this post.

What is a late talker?

According to the experts, toddlers (between 18 – 30 months old) who can understand his or her residing language, can develop playing, motor, social, and thinking skills without difficulties, despite he or she has a limited spoken vocabulary.

What is speech delay?

Speech delay is almost similar to late talking, where toddlers are having difficulties in speaking at the expected age. However, the former is a developmental issue where the child is struggling with the mechanism to pronounce words and may also have issues with articulation.

So, what is the difference between a toddler who is a late talker and a toddler with a speech delay?

Late talkers can articulate words, while toddlers with speech delay are having difficulties with not only pronouncing words but also with articulation.

Nonetheless, the two developmental issues should not be ignored; if you find these following signs, you should bring your child to a medical professional or a speech specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Are there ways to support toddlers who are struggling with speech development?

There is a lot of effective ways to help a toddler who is struggling with speech development other than therapies from speech specialist; in fact, there are effective speech delay exercises and activities for toddlers that you can practice at home. These include the following:

  • Be clear with every word you practice.
  • Use the words appropriately and avoid baby talk.
  • Practice with catalogs.
  • Let your child have fun when practicing; remember that positive reinforcement will help the child remember.
  • Repeat the words every day, until your child remembers it.
  • Be patient.

Final Thoughts

Both speech delay and late talker should not be ignored. If your child shows signs of difficulty of speaking, you should bring him or her to the specialist to find out what had caused the speech developmental issue. As well as, to find out if your child is suffering from underlying health conditions.

Lastly, have patience and stay calm when helping your child with speech developmental issues.