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Suffolk Center for Speech


Understanding late language emergence

What is late language emergence? Late language emergence (LLE) is a delay in language onset with no other diagnosed disabilities or developmental delays in other cognitive or motor domains. LLE is diagnosed when language development trajectories are below age expectations. Toddlers who exhibit LLE may also be referred to as “late talkers” or “late language learners.”

Children with LLE may have expressive language delays only, or they may have mixed expressive and receptive delays. Children with expressive delays show delayed vocabulary acquisition and often show delayed development of sentence structure and articulation. Children with mixed expressive and receptive language delays show delays in oral language production and in language comprehension.

Late Language Emergence activity-
Activities to treat late language emergence vary depending on the child’s interests. However, the methods are still the same. For example, if the child enjoys playing with animals a therapist or parent can engage with the child while playing with animals. To acquire words it is important to bombard the child with the target word. For example, to teach the child to say “cow” , keep repeating the word cow over and over. Describe the cow including what it looks like, the noise they make and where you can find one. Once the therapist or parent feels the child has an understanding between the word cow and the animal it portrays try having the child imitate the word. This can take several trials but it is important to keep trying and be patient to achieve the desired result.

For more information please visit https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/late-language-emergence/

-Nicholas I

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