Update February 2022 – The CDC has just changed baby developmental milestones for the first time since 2004. Take a look at the article in the Washington Post
Two years old and not talking – new study says not to worry
No matter if you have one kid or four, you know that each child develops differently. And because they develop differently, you don’t sweat the small stuff like developmental timelines all that much. Or maybe you do.
A recent study released by the Journal of Pediatrics has given parents a reason to relax over their 2 year old child’s lack of talking. The study found that a lack of forming words at age two has no bearing on future development. In other words, if your child isn’t speaking as much as their little buddy, you don’t need to worry that they will lag behind for the rest of their lives.
In general, the study found that:
- Toddlers who begin speaking later than their peers will not develop future behavior issues. In other words, late talking is not an indicator of how your child will be for the rest of his or her life.
- Although late talkers may exhibit emotional and behavioral problems when they are 2, the problems will dissipate when the child begins talking
- The children in the study were followed until they were 17, and 80% of them were fully talking by the time they entered school.
There are many reputable websites like BabyCenter that will provide you with timelines for development. For example, by the time your child is 18-24 months old, he or she should be (according to BabyCenter) saying somewhere in the range of 50 words. By the time they are two, they should be stringing words together. And that’s great, if your child actually sticks to the timeline.
But here are a few things that timelines won’t tell you:
- Some kids will excel at one area and then lack in another. For example, one child may be able to walk then climb on everything by the time they are 12 months, which is actually above the curve according to the timeline. In this case, their speech may be lagging behind because they are just too darn busy perfecting the climbing (aren’t you lucky) to work on the talking.
- Boys develop certain skills later in life, like talking. This doesn’t apply to all boys, but seems to be a general trend.
If you find your child is not talking by age 2, there are a few things you should immediately check for:
- Has your child had his/her hearing checked? Although it may appear that they can hear you when you are speaking to them, there are different types of hearing that apply to language. Ask your doctor to refer your child for a hearing test.
- Have your child checked for fluid in his/her ears. Frequent ear infections can cause a build up in fluid that results in everything sounding like its underwater. Your child may need tubes to alleviate the fluid.
- Take your child to a speech therapist. In your initial consultation they will look for signs of other issues that may be leading to the speech delay.
It’s stressful wondering why your child isn’t talking by age 2, but there are steps you can take to rule out issues which could be causing the delay. At the end of the day, your child could simply be a late talker.
Stop searching Google and reading Yahoo Answers. Relax, take your baby for a walk or sit down and play with them. Try to talk to them, and then listen. Chances are, your toddler is saying things that you just haven’t deciphered yet.
Further reading: My child is a late talker and he’s turned out fine.