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Early Language Development and Therapy

Language is different from speech. When we talk about speech, we mean the sounds of the word, but when we talk about language, we are referring to the words themselves and how they are combined into sentences to create meaning.


Typically, there are three vital language milestones in the first two years of a child’s life (Telethon Kids Institute):


• At 8 months - understanding words spoken by their parents

• At 12 months - saying their first words

• At 24 months - combining 2-3 words in simple sentences


Sometimes very young children seem to struggle with the onset of language development; they may be 18 months old and have no words at all in their repertoire.

Late Talkers

This information has been obtained from research conducted at the Telethon Kids Institute website.


Most children learn language with ease, but this is not the case for all children. 13% of Australian two-year-olds are late to start to talk; this applies to otherwise healthy toddlers who do not meet age expectations for expressive and/or receptive language development.


80% of late talkers catch-up by age 7, however, 20% of late talkers have persistent language impairment.


Boys are more likely to be late talkers than girls at age 2. However, at age 7, a similar ratio of boys and girls have language impairment.


Most late talkers do not have persistent language impairment and not all children with language impairment were late talkers.


The dilemma is that we cannot predict which children will grow out of late talking, which children will have persistent language impairment and which children will start on track and fall behind later in development.


At Fremantle Speech Pathology Services, we can assess your child to determine if a language delay is present and then work with you to develop single words, then short sentences, leading up to mini conversations!

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