Can you tell at age 15-16 months if child has a speech impediment?

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    Hi and welcome. To which kind of speech impediment are you referring? Is there a suspected delay or a problem with pronunciation, a stutter, or something else? (My eldest pronounced "spaghetti" as "basketti" for years. Very common.) More details will get you a better answer. Thanks! Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 0:59
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    If you think your child has a delay and that speech development is just a symptom of that, please do see the child's doctor. Honestly kids develop at different rates, my niece was running (and falling) at 11 months and my nephew did not even try to walk until 18 months. They are both in the range of normal child development.
    – WRX
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 12:46

2 Answers 2


IMO, you don't worry unless the doctor has specifically said there is a delay. Many kids do not choose to talk until after two. My hub who has a very high IQ, did not talk until 3 and his first words were a sentence. It takes all kinds. Model good language and encourage all attempts your child makes.

  • I wouldn't say you shouldn't consider problems if some development takes a very unusual amount of time, but 3 years till a child starts to speak is not unusual. Depending on the language it can take even longer.
    – Etaila
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 8:00
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    I will add that if you know there is something not right -- do not take 'no' for an answer. Get another opinion.
    – WRX
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 13:29

Yes, a Speech-Language Pathologist can assess your child for a delay in their speech or language development as young as 12 months. However, most insurance companies will not cover speech therapy until 18 months as it is difficult to qualitlfy a child under 18 months for therapy based on standardized scores.

Ask your pediatrician for a referral to an SLP if your concerned. The referral will help with insurance reimbursement.

If you're interested in how an SLP would determine a speech or language delay, one typical assessment is the PLS-5 (Preschool Language Screening) that is used on children from birth to five years of age. There are several others such as the CELF-P or BDI.

Again, the answer is Yes, but you should consult with your pediatrician or an SLP.

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    I'm not an expert, but this doesn't sound right. Females and males develop language at different speeds, and neither can be reliably diagnosed at 12 months.
    – phyrfox
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 7:21
  • I agree with phyrfox. IF there is a delay that is obvious, like say Down Syndrome, deafness or blindness, early speech and motor intervention helps development. Professionals can and do work with these children asap.
    – WRX
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 12:51
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    My wife is a Speech-Language Pathologist, she is the Director of Speech Pathology at her clinic, and she regularly administers standardized tests to children 12 months and older to determine whether their skills are consistent with normal developmental patterns. It is possible to assess a childs language at 15 months and anyone concerned about their child's language development should talk to an SLP; thats what they specialize in.
    – John Yost
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 15:44
  • @ John Yost -- in what country does she practice? I ask because in Canada, we'd have to have a doctor's referral for this level of test. In many places, insurance would not cover speech testing unless there was an obvious concern. I am now in USA and counsel families with special needs kids as a volunteer... they face the same problems. The child's doctor has to say there is a problem.
    – WRX
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 17:13
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    It depends on what state you're in. In California, an SLP does not need a physician's referral inless they have an HMO insurance. In Texas they do. There are also state subsadized programs that will provide testing for free. But, as I mentioned, having a referral is always advised. I manage all of my wife's insurance contracts.
    – John Yost
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 17:16

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