Late Talker: Therapy

Late talker therapy will and SHOULD look a lot like play, playing with a purpose. Play is the most meaningful activity for a child, and during play, a child has the opportunity to learn speech, language, cognitive, and motor skills. 

Late Talker Therapy Techniques

Treatment Models

For late talkers, there are 2 types of models

  1. Indirect (therapy done by parents with guidance from professionals)
  2. Direct (therapy is provided by a speech language pathologist and parents complete home practice to supplement).

Indirect Therapy Options: 

  • Shared Reading
  • Implementation of individualized language techniques. You can find some of my favorite at Toddler Talk
  • Toddler Talk 2.0 is a resource to help parents practice evidence-based therapy techniques today!

Progress should be monitored on a regular basis through email, phone calls, or meetings.

Indirect therapy is often recommended when a child falls on the lower cusp of the average range on a late talker evaluation. 

Direct Therapy:

  • A child is seen for individual therapy sessions. 
  • A child has a plan of care with individual goals selected for developmental appropriateness based off of the initial speech-language evaluation. 
  • Parent implements language learning strategies at home, during the week

Late Talker Therapy Techniques

Child Centered Therapy:

  • Play based activities in the child’s natural setting
  • The child chooses toys and directs play
  • The speech pathologist uses indirect language stimulation techniques (more on that in a minute)

Clinician Directed Therapy:

  • The speech language pathologist creates structured activities, not necessarily play based
  • The therapist directs play
  • The therapist chooses toys/stimuli

Hybrid Approach:

  • The speech pathologist creates structured play activities 
  • The child engages in structured play with high interest toys
  • The speech pathologist follows the child's lead to some extent and guides play 

Language Modeling Tip

Language Stimulation Techniques

Expansions: A child’s utterance in repeated while increasing complexity (grammar and/or semantics)

Recasts: Recasts are a type of expansion where a child’s utterance is repeated but the repetition changes the mode of the utterance (i.e., active voice to passive voice)

For more language techniques, check out Toddler Talk 2.0!

Length/frequency of therapy

A child is USUALLY seen 1-2 times per week for 30-45 minute treatment sessions in the home (when possible).

Personally, I LOVE the home environment because:

  • parents are present and learn therapy techniques
  • toys are of interest to the child and "games" can be easily played all week when the therapist leaves
  • effective and convenient parent education opportunities

Once a child reaches all of his/her language goals and has age expected language skills, therapy is usually over.


Progress should be monitored by a speech language pathologist since many children will "catch up" but then fall behind again once language demands increase.

Many children who are late talkers are diagnosed with a specific language impairment in elementary school.

Read more about language disorders here!

Late Talker Games

Now, we are getting to the good stuff. What can you do about it!

There is actually A LOT you can do. 

Okay, now you are ready for some games.

  • Check out our favorite late talker games
  • Consider our eBooks series!!! These will TRULY help!!! Toddler Talk 2.0 is for children who are only saying a few words. START HERE. You will learn how to encourage those first words.
  • If your child is saying more than 50 words, consider Toddler Talking 2.0. It is the boost your child needs!


› Therapy

Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech-language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference. Follow Bridget at Facebook and Pinterest for more fun!

Author of  child language development eBook series

Reference:  Late Language Emergence. Retrieved 4 October 2017, from