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Toddler Speech Delay?

My two-year-old isn’t talking. Could something be wrong?


My two-year-old isn’t talking. Could something be wrong?

The Bump Expert

A speech delay can really worry you, but don’t get too stressed before you know what’s really going on.

First off, start by making sure you child’s hearing is normal. His pediatrician has likely already tested for this, but it can’t hurt to bring it up with the doctor again, just in case.

Taking his time
Then try to observe how much your toddler seems to understand of what you’re saying. Can he identify body parts like his ears, nose and toes? Does he understand basic commands, like when you tell him to get a certain toy? If so, he’s likely just taking his time to start to talk. Remember that like many other developmental issues, kids learn to speak at different rates.

Warning signs
If your child isn’t speaking and he’s also showing other issues, like not pointing to things, not playing with others or not understanding general commands, it may be a sign that something else is going on. Talk to your pediatrician about any concerns you may have. Most doctors follow screening guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. These keep them on the lookout for signs of autism or other developmental disorders.

Plus, More from The Bump:

Fun Ways to Encourage Speech Development

A Mom's Intuition vs. Doctor's Diagnosis

Weird Toddler Behaviors (That Are Actually Normal)

Hannah Chow-Johnson, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and pediatrician at Loyola University Health System

Toddler Speech Delay?

I am a pediatric speech language pathologist. The first thing you do when your two year old is not talking is to get an appointment with an ent for a hearing evaluation not your pediatrician. Next is to get an evaluation with a licensed speech language pathologist. Most states provide an early intervention program that you can call for referral. You can find them by looking up the department of education under special education services. If your state does not have a program locate a private therapist and request evaluation. Doctors often choose the wait and see approach which can be detrimental to development. The earlier services are initiated the quicker you will see results. If your child has good comprehension skills and is delayed in speech it is more than likely an expressive language delay that can be remedied quickly with intervention. Remember, the earlier intervention, the better the results.

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