Will my child simply “grow out of” their speech/language difficulties?


Parents are often unsure whether their child will simply “grow out of” their speech or language difficulties as they get older. However, many children will not outgrow their speech difficulties without intervention! Research shows that 40-50% of typically developing children who are late to start talking do not catch up to other children without speech-language intervention1.


When Should I Be Concerned?

It is suggested that you seek help from a speech-language pathologist if your child:


By 12 months

  • Doesn’t babble with a variety of sounds
  • Doesn’t use gestures (waving, head shake for “no”)
  • Doesn’t respond to their name

By 18 months

  • Isn’t using at least 20 single words
  • Doesn’t respond in some way (with a word or gesture) to questions such as “what’s that?” or “where’s daddy?”
  • Can’t point to 2-3 major body parts

By 2 years

  • Isn’t using 2 word phrases (e.g. “mommy go”)
  • Says less than 100 words
  • Doesn’t imitate actions or words
  • Doesn’t engage in pretend play

By 3 – 3 1/2 years

  • Doesn’t have one or more of the following sounds: h, m, n, w, p, b, t, d, f, k, g
  • Doesn’t ask questions
  • Isn’t using full sentences
  • Isn’t using “ing” endings, plurals, or regular past tense


Why Take A Proactive Approach?

Early difficulties with speech or language can leave your child at greater risk for a language delay, difficulty with reading and academics, and/or difficulty making friends! If your child is late to start talking, or has difficulty pronouncing certain sounds, this can negatively impact their later academic achievement. The later they start talking, the less experience and practice they have with formulating grammatical sentences and/or correctly pronouncing sounds before starting school. Difficulty with speech sound production can negatively impact the child’s ability to sound out words and may affect their reading skills. Children who are hard to understand or who do not talk much may also have difficulty making friends.


Early speech-language intervention can help! Best outcomes are achieved when identification and intervention is during children’s critical period for language learning. Speech-language pathologists at Butterfly create treatment plans based on your child’s individual speech-language needs.


What Can you Do?

If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language development, it is always a good idea to take a proactive approach and get your child assessed. Please contact us at 905-206-0300 to set up an assessment.


Further Information on Speech and Language Milestones

It is important to look at whether your child is meeting speech and language milestones.


Language milestones: http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/When-You-Are-Concerned/Warning-Signs.aspx


Speech milestones: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Speech-Sound-Disorders/



  1. Paul, R.  (1991). Profiles of Toddlers With Slow Expressive Language Development. Topics in Language Disorders11(4): 1-13.