Should I worry that my 2 year-old isn't really putting sentences together yet?

Should I worry that my 2 year-old isn't really putting sentences together yet?

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If your daughter has just turned 2, I wouldn't be overly concerned at this point. Most children have a working vocabulary of about 50 words by age 2, but this is just an average — every child develops differently, and girls generally talk earlier than boys do. However, just to play it safe, it may be wise to have a hearing evaluation by an audiologist who performs tests specifically designed for toddlers. The evaluation should include a tympanogram, a painless test to see whether your child has any residual fluid in her middle ear. Fluid behind the eardrum is one of the most common reasons for speech delays in toddlers — it makes it hard for a child to understand and imitate speech. Frequent ear infections, colds, dairy allergies, or a reaction to secondhand smoke are common causes of middle ear fluid accumulation, which doesn't always carry symptoms. If this is the problem, you should see a rather significant and immediate improvement in your child's quantity and quality of speech once it has been corrected.

Assuming that your child's hearing is normal, I would keep an ear out for the next few months to see whether her speech improves. In the meantime, if your child uses a pacifier, get rid of it. Sucking on a pacifier, though it may be comforting, locks her mouth into an unnatural position, making it difficult for her to develop and strengthen her facial muscles normally. Also, if her mouth is constantly occupied by a pacifier, she's not getting as many opportunities as possible to practice talking.

Keep an eye on her nonverbal communication, too. It's a good sign if your child is making up for her lack of speech by communicating her desires through gestures.

By the time your child is 30 months or so, she should be speaking in short phrases ("Me big girl") and sentences, even if she mispronounces many words. If this is not the case, I would have a speech-language pathologist take a look to see whether you could do some specific activities at home to help give her a little jumpstart.

Learn more about signs of a potential language delay.

Watch the video: Speech Delay in Toddlers (February 2023).

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