Toddler Speech Delay?

My two-year-old isn’t talking. Could something be wrong?
profile picture of 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
ByHannah 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
Pediatrician
Updated
Mar 2017
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speech delay can really worry you, but don’t get too stressed before you know what’s really going on.

Hearing
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.

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