What is Late Language Emergence (LLE)?

New parents may find it difficult to resist comparing the development of their child to that of his or her peers. However, comparisons such as these are of no use because communication developmental milestones are met at different times. Additionally, parents need to know that a delay in speaking does not necessarily indicate that their child has a developmental or communication disorder, and some of these children will eventually catch up with their peers. However, according to The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), a child with Late Language Emergence (LLE) may be at a greater risk of developing other literacy or language issues (e.g., ADHD or an intellectual disability).

What Is Late Language Emergence (LLE)?

ASHA states that late language emergence is a delay in the speech development of children who have no other developmental issues. Typically, a two-year-old child with LLE usually speaks fewer than 50 words. In addition, there are no two-word combinations in the child’s vocabulary.

Avoid Making Comparisons: Use Communication Benchmarks Instead

When determining their child’s speech development, parents should use communication benchmarks instead. These benchmarks provide insight into communication expectations based on age.

From the moment of birth, babies start learning how to talk and long before children speak their first word, various skills and abilities emerge, laying the foundation for spoken language. These skills and abilities include non-verbal communication, imitating actions and social interaction. The show, give and point gestures a child uses as an infant, provides a window into his or her language development. Therefore, parents need to consider their child’s gestures and signs as if they are words.

Communication benchmarks:

Newborn to 3 months

Cooing sounds and crying. Parents may notice that their baby cries differently depending on his or her needs. Babies also smile at this age.

4 – to 6 – months

At this age, babies can hear a sound and move their eyes in that direction, they can respond to tone changes in someone’s voice, as well as babble and coo. The sounds a baby makes while babbling may resemble speech.

6 months to a year

Babies speak one or two words, make gestures (e.g., waving goodbye, reaching to be picked up) and shaking their head back and forth to say no.

12 – to 24 – months

Toddlers can understand and respond to questions, follow one-part directions, point to pictures in books and body parts when asked, combine words and use new words. In addition, the child’s speech sounds are clearer, including those that involve pushing their lips together.

24 – to 36 – months

Children can now follow directions that have several parts, recognize words that refer to people, actions, toys and places that he or she is familiar with. The sounds toddlers make at this age are clearer, and they can even talk about things that are not present in the room.

What Signs Are Associated With Late Language Emergence?

A child with LLE may:

  • Find it difficult to follow directions.
  • Use very few gestures.
  • Display signs of language regression.
  • Have problems socializing with his or her peers.
  • Find it difficult to produce the sounds necessary for speech.

A child who displays any of the signs listed above, who frequently develops ear infections, or who has a family history of speech-related disorders or delays, may benefit from an evaluation with a speech therapist at Therapeutic Potentials, Inc.

The Importance of Seeking Treatment for LLE

Seeking treatment is vital because if a child has late language emergence and does not receive treatment, he or she may experience difficulties related to reading and writing in the future.

If you think your child may have LLE, and you reside in or near the Bradenton, Sarasota or Lakewood Ranch, Florida, areas, please contact Therapeutic Potentials, Inc. today at 941-758-3140 to schedule your child’s appointment. At TPI, we have experienced, dedicated and caring speech therapists available to help your child improve his or her verbal communication skills. If you prefer, you can also contact us using our online contact form. To complete this form please click here.

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