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Expressive language delay in young children is often secondary to another condition, such as hearing impairment, general intellectual disability (ID), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or deprivation or abuse. Children identified with delayed expressive language before age 3 to 3½ in the absence of any of these conditions are called late talkers. Late talkers include children who have a receptive language delay as well as children who have typical receptive language. Much is known about the characteristics, treatment, and outcomes of late talkers, but less is known about the etiology of late talking or the predictors of outcome.
Many late talkers are identified because parents or pediatricians request an evaluation if a child is not talking by 24 months. In general population samples, late talkers are often ...