Good News for Children with Speech Delays

A new study suggests children with speech delays early in life typically outgrow the delay and manage to “catch up” by the time they enter school. The study is outlined in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) August issue of Pediatrics.


The findings are great news for parents of “late talkers” who have speech delays but otherwise function normally. However, speech delays can still be indicators for possible psychological problems.

One great way for parents of late talkers to feel even more at ease would be to set up an appointment for a speech screening. Many local hospitals and clinics provide free speech screenings.

Here is more on the AAP study on children with speech delays from the August issue of Pediatrics

Up to 18 percent of children are “late talkers,” but the majority catch up on their language skills by the time they enter school. Less is known whether language delay is a risk factor for psychosocial problems later on. A new study, “Late Talking and the Risk for Behavioral and Emotional Problems During Childhood and Adolescence,” in the August issue of Pediatrics, examined whether language delay at age 2 could be linked to other behavioral problems later in childhood and adolescence. Researchers in Australia followed more than 2,800 families from birth through age 17, tracking behavioral and emotional development. Children who were late-talkers had mild levels of behavioral and emotional problems at age 2, but are at no greater risk of these problems during childhood or adolescence. Study authors conclude these findings support a wait-and-see approach for late-talkers with otherwise normal development, but they also note the scientific evidence linking persistent language problems with psychiatric difficulties.

Pediatrics is the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

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