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Late Talkers: How to help your child

If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development please look at the ages and stages here or see our drop-ins page to arrange to speak to a Speech and Language Therapist. You may still find the below information helpful, however you will need to have completed the referral process in order to access further support from a Speech and Language Therapist. 

If you have been asked to watch the videos below by your Speech and Language Therapist please see the ‘what next?’ section at the end of this to book in your follow up session.

Below are some ideas on how to support your child’s early language development. As a parent you are the best placed person in your child’s environment to support their communication as you will have lots of opportunities to model language and for repetition. Evidence shows that when parents use the strategies below their children’s language improves and parents can be as effective or more effective as Speech and Language Therapists 

Typical Language Development

Please take a look at the video below to find out more about typical language development in children.

Special Times

It can be difficult to remember to use all the strategies below all the time so we suggest setting up a ‘Special Time’ 

Special time is:

  • A time for you and your child to play together and should ideally happen for 5-10 minutes everyday
  • A time when your child can choose the activity and is in control of how they play within that activity.
  • Your child's special time with you, so try to use a room / area where you won’t be disturbed.  
  • In the language you feel most comfortable in, you don’t have to do your special times in English.

Set up a daily special time with your child, pick at least one strategy from those below to focus on and have a go! You can use our Special Time log to record your Special Times.

Here's further information about how to set-up your Special Time: Special Times explanation sheet.

Strategy 1: Following your child's lead

Please see the video below.

 Here's further information about this strategy: Following your child's lead explanation sheet

Strategy 2: Asking Fewer Questions

Please see the video below.

 Here's further information about this strategy: Asking Fewer Questions explanation sheet

Strategy 3: Commenting

 Please see the video below.

Here's further information about this strategy: Commenting explanation sheet

Strategy 4: Adding on a word

Repeat what your child says and add one or two words to make the sentence longer. This will help extend your child’s vocabulary and show them how to join words together. For example: 

When a child says…. 

You can say… 

‘uh’ and shows you hands 



‘Wash hands’ 

‘Wash hands’ 

‘You’re washing your hands’ 

‘Wash hands soap’ 

‘Yes, you’re washing your hands with soap’ 

 Here's further information about this strategy: Adding on a Word explanation sheet

Additional ideas: Book reading

Please see the video below.

Here's further information about reading with your child: Reading with your child

Additional Videos

Please watch the videos below to see some of the strategies discussed above in real life examples. The videos are filmed from the child’s point of view.  

What's next?

If you have been asked to watch the videos above by your Speech and Language Therapist you should have a follow-up video call booked in. Please complete daily special times in between now and your follow-up appointment. In your appointment the Speech and Language Therapist will support you with any problem solving or questions you may have about the strategies in the videos and give you some ideas specific to your child. For the appointment please could you make sure you have some toys that your child enjoys playing with in the room.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Speech and Language Therapy team on 0300 555 5965 or email

The page was last updated on 27 July 2020 by paediatricpsychologicalservices.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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