Late Talker Therapy Techniques

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 learns speech, language, cognitive, and motor skills. 

Therapy may also look a like real, daily life! By targeting language learning during daily routines, your child will learn language skills in a meaningful, motivating way. Learn more below. 

Treatment Models

For late talkers, there are 2 types of models:

  1. Indirect (parents provide therapy with guidance from professionals)
  2. Direct (speech language pathologist provides therapy and parents complete home practice to supplement).

Indirect Therapy Options: 

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

Progress is monitored on a regular basis through email, phone calls, coaching sessions, or meetings.

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
  • Parents may provide therapy during therapy sessions under the guidance of a speech-language pathologist. This helps parents practice what to do during the week when the speech pathologist is not present.

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/creates a lot of opportunities for communication practice

Language Modeling Tip

Language Stimulation Techniques

  • Expansions: A child’s utterance is repeated while increasing complexity (grammar and/or semantics) by one unit
  • 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)
  • Choices: A child is given a choice of two options (usually presented in a one-word phrase). This is a great way to ask a question without quizzing and to create more opportunities for communication practice.
  • One piece at a time: A child is offered a toy or food (one at a time). This way, the child must use communication (word or sign) to request for more

For more late talker therapy 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
  • parents can practice language techniques under guidance of a speech pathologist
  • 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 is 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 Therapy 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!

Late Talker Progress Tracking

As therapy progress, you will need to track progress and update goals based on speech and language milestones. 

Find more guidance here: Late Talker Progress Tracking


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