Will My Toddler Grow Out of Her Speech Delay?

While I don’t want to scare you, do understand that…

What You Don’t Know CAN HARM Your Toddler

But since neither of us want that to happen, read on!

I’m sure you’ve heard before that your toddler probably learns at a different pace and will catch up, or that they don’t need help.

Many of us of heard this advice, and it’s almost common sense really.

But the problem is, the reality is counter intuitive.

Some of the facts you’re about to learn below won’t seem seem obvious.  But they all result in a huge impact to your toddler…

an impact that can last years down the road, if not for the result of their lives.

But before you start sweating bullets, I’d like to offer some perspective for you right now.  Something I wish we had when we started going through this.  You need to remember that it’s NOT your fault.

You see, it’s easy to start thinking about what you may have done wrong, if you could have done something different, and how you may have contributed to your toddler’s speech delay.

So let me shut that down now.  It’s not your fault.  Speech delays can happen regardless of what we do as parents.

And we are not taught what signs to look out for, and how we can help out toddler’s learn to speak.

So don’t panic.  You can take action to start helping them today.

But first, let’s look at why we should help them.

I’ll bet you’ve probably heard the advice that “kids learn at different speeds”, and you can “wait and see” what happens.  That’s what we initially thought.

I’ve learned that waiting is bad advice.

While some research has been reported that late-talking toddler’s will be fine by the age of 5, the headlines are somewhat misleading.  For example this Australian study assessed the emotional and behavioural capabilities on children after they had a speech delay as a toddler.

The headline result is rosy.  Children who DID suffer from a speech delay as a toddler did not have any noticeable differences in emotional and behavioural control, compared to kids who didn’t have a speech delay as a toddler.

But the research can give a false sense of security.

When it comes to your toddler’s language and reading ability, it’s a completely different story.


According to a study on early language delay, waiting may not be good.

20-30% of toddlers, with only an expressive delay, will NOT CATCH UP TO THEIR PEERS.

This suggests that intervening action is required.

Ellis EM, Thal DJ., (2008) Early language delay and risk for language impairment

The unfortunate truth is that it’s impossible for you to determine whether your toddler will fall into that 20-30% group who doesn’t catch up.


The impact to them is well documented.


When toddlers don’t catch up on their language skills, they have persistent language difficulties, and difficultly with reading and writing when they get to school.

Sharma M., Purdy, S.C. & Kelly, A.S, (2009) Comorbidity of auditory processing, language, and reading disorders.

Starting school can be hard on your toddler for several reasons.  New location.  New teachers.  New friends.  Heck, these can also be hard on you as a parent.

That’s why you’re going to learn how to help their speech development shortly.




 If it’s not stressful enough to struggle with your toddler’s speech delay, this study is even more concerning as a parent.

Researchers wanted to evaluate what was happening in the brains of toddlers during speech.  They looked at toddlers in three groups.

1) Those who were speaking at an early age, 2) those who were speaking on-time, and 3) those who were late talkers.

They specifically wanted to compare the brain activity of each group through the use of MRIs during various listening and reading tests.  The results are scary.

Activation in the bilateral thalamus and putamen, and the left insula and superior temporal gyrus during these tasks was significantly lower in late talkers, demonstrating that residual effects of being a late talker are found not only in behavioural tests and written language, but also in distributed cortical-subcortical neural circuits underling speech and print processing.

– Preson J L, Frost S J, Menci W E, Fulbright R K, Landi N, Grigorenko E, Jacobsen L, Pugh K R , (2010) Early and later talkers: school-age language, literacy and neurolinguistic differences

All of this sounds very technical, and it is.  But the English translation is

Toddlers with speech delay can have future reduced brain activity.

But you don’t need to panic.  You can take action now and get them to start speaking and develop an interest in reading.

This in turn will have the effect of helping their brains get engaged.

The most heartbreaking impact of speech delay on Rebecca has been the her social interactions with her daycare classmates.

When all her little friends started talking and she wasn’t able to, she became self-conscious around her friends.  I’d pick her up at school and if a classmate said anything to her, she’d hide behind my leg.  It would kill me inside knowing that she was socially anxious.  No toddler should have to go through that.


When kids can’t communicate clearly, they may struggle to make friends and be part of a social group. They may prefer to be alone and become shy or distant.

– Spiliotopoulou, B, (2009) Expressive language disorder and how it connects with mood and behavior disorders


When I saw Rebecca act this way, I started to wonder what this could do to her longer term.  I know being shy is not really the best trait to have, but I was blown away when I saw the research.


Toddlers with speech delays could be at increased risk of being TARGETS OF BULLIES, or develop tendencies to ACT AGGRESSIVELY because they can’t resolve problems verbally.

– Whitehouse, A, Watt, H, Line, E, Bishop, D, (2009) Adult psychosocial outcomes of children with specific language impairment, pragmatic language impairment and autism


I actually saw the aggression start to manifest in Rebecca.  She started acting out towards the other children at daycare.  She would bite other toddlers when she wasn’t understood by them.

It’s embarrassing to be the parent of the kid who’s a biter.  It makes you feel like a bad parent even though you’re doing everything you can.

But there’s a way out of this problem.


You’re going to learn to help them start taking, which will reduce these risks.

And let me tell you….now that Rebecca’s speech delay has been eliminated, she’s a little chatter box.

In fact, she talks too much (if there’s such a thing)!

She’s become very social with her classmates, and doesn’t act out any more (no more biting other kids).

Learn more about the Talk Now program and start helping your daughter or son today.