Late Talkers: Why the Wait-and-See Approach Is Outdated

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2018 Feb;65(1):13-29. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2017.08.018.


From a speech-language pathology perspective, there is a gap in interprofessional education/practice (IPE/IPP) that leads to a wait-and-see approach with late talkers (LT). In line with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Strategic Pathway to Excellence, this article attempts to bridge the gap, reexamining the panoptic view that most LT "catch up" to their peers. The LT who persist with language disorder should not be overlooked. Late talking can impact socialization and school readiness, and can place some toddlers at risk for life-long disability. Each state's early intervention program has an established IPP infrastructure. Parent-implemented intervention addresses risks and maximizes protective factors.

Keywords: Early intervention; Language disorder; Late bloomers; Late talkers; Parent-implemented intervention; Specific language impairment; Toddlers; Wait-and-see.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Language Development Disorders / etiology
  • Language Development Disorders / therapy*
  • Language Therapy*
  • Mass Screening
  • Parents
  • Patient Care Team
  • Pediatrics
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Speech-Language Pathology
  • Watchful Waiting*