Sarah Shive

When serious health or physical impairments are not present, a delay in language development may be the first evident symptom that a child is not developing typically. Most children develop their first words between 12 and 15 months, but it can be common practice to wait until a child is 18 to 24 months and still not talking to refer the child for an evaluation. Yet, research over the past 2 decades has identified a collection of predictors of later language development that promise earlier and more accurate identification.
This research demonstrates that children delayed only in the use of words are very likely to catch up on their own, while children who are also delayed in several or many of the other predictors are likely to have persisting problems. Instead of waiting for children to start using words, evaluating these language predictors is a promising solution to improve early identification — and ultimately the developmental outcomes of children.

Below is a link to download the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales. These scales can be used to
determine the communicative competence (use of eye gaze, gestures, sounds, words, understanding, and play) of children with a functional communication age between 6 months and 24 months (chronological age from about 6 months to 6 years).