Disadvantages limited among late-talking tots

Late-talking toddlers don’t experience any increased risk of behavioural or emotional problems in childhood or adolescence, a West Australian study has reported.

Researchers compared 142 “late talkers” who had scored in the bottom 15 percentile (for their gender) in terms of language development, with a control group of 1245 toddlers.

None of the children had any other developmental delays.

While the toddlers with delayed speech were more likely to have poorer behaviour, and internalise and externalise problems when they were aged two, the problems did not persist in the long term.

Follow-ups when the children were five, eight, 10, 14 and 17 years showed the late talkers were no more likely to experience behavioural or emotional disturbances.