A 2-year-old child does not say: when to worry

When a child does not speak at two years of age or utters few words, parents begin to worry about whether the baby is developing correctly. There are various hypotheses of speech delay – hearing impairment, mental retardation, autism spectrum disorder. However, speech delay is not always a sign of a disease. To distinguish the norm from dysfunction, it is enough to know what the correct speech development looks like up to three years.

Studies show that seven out of a hundred children have a specific speech disorder (SLI), despite the fact that the brain functions correctly, hearing is not impaired, neurological and other disorders are absent. Half of the children compensate for the lack by catching up with their peers, while other kids are diagnosed with dyslexia at an early school age. Therefore, if you notice serious differences when comparing a child’s speech with the “talkativeness” of peers, it is better to contact a specialist as soon as possible.

The child does not speak at two years – acceptable norms

Speech development is an individual, genetically determined process that cannot proceed in the same way for all children. Speech reflects the personality of the child, the environment where he grows up, the number of social contacts. If you do not read books, do not acquaint yourself with nature and people, the lag is quite natural, but easily fixable. Standards indicate that the child’s speech should develop as follows:

  • From birth to the first year of life. There are two significant periods, this is the cooing and the formation of syllables. Cooing, an unconditioned reflex, formed even in deaf children, it appears between the first and third month of life. Syllables are formed in the sixth month (ma, ha, ba, etc.); children with hearing impairment do not develop this skill.
  • First – second year.  Pronounces short words, tends to repeat words and syllables after an adult. Responds to verbal commands and questions. At 18 months, he pronounces about 50 words, including sound imitations (how a cow mooes, a car hums, a bird chirps, etc.).
  • Second third. Formation of simple sentences. First, these are two interconnected words – give me mom, I’m thirsty, buy a toy. Then there are interrogative and exclamatory sentences. At the end of the third year, the child should speak an average of 700 words, with a minimum of 300.

If the child speaks in syllables, pointing to an object (shoes – boo, stroller – ka), this is also a variant of the norm.

When to worry?

An alarming sign is a situation in which a child at the age of two does not understand the appeals of an adult. You can test this by asking your baby to point to a toy or other object if he doesn’t respond appropriately, this is an important sign not to be underestimated. The second reason for visiting a specialist is that the baby does not imitate animal sounds, does not use short words, and does not repeat simple syllables. The chosen way of communication is facial expressions, gestures, emotions.

How to speed up the development of speech

Never ignore what the child says, he must understand that his words make sense. At the same time, correct incorrect speech, for example, if the baby calls the spinning wheel “yu”, ask him to repeat the word syllable by syllable (without forcing him to repeat the sounds exactly). Practice speech therapy exercises, first of all, work with improving the mobility of the tongue. For this purpose, you can use chocolate paste, asking to lick it off the chin, nose, cheeks, pull out the tongue with a spatula, where the “treat” will lie.

Communicate more! Tell, explain, show – this is the simplest method that accelerates development, both general and speech.

Another effective activity is the development of phonemic hearing with the help of games such as finding the source of a sound, recognizing an object by the sound it makes, dividing a short word into syllables. The most effective way is to get to know the letters (remember! the letter “m”, not “em” until you learn to read). This method causes a lot of controversy, because two-year-olds are very mobile, but at the same time, they are very inquisitive. Five minutes a day is enough for the baby to get acquainted with one letter and learn to pronounce it more clearly. Mastering reading will be delayed for a year, however, during this time, many words will be pronounced fully and clearly.

The child does not speak at 2 years old – reasons 

Before summing up, let’s highlight the main culprits in speech delay:

  • Hearing impairment – detected much earlier than the third year of life, since the first hearing screening is carried out immediately after birth.
  • Lack of social contacts – the child spends most of the time alone or is next to a person who speaks very little.
  • Speech is not supported – if the baby’s desires are fulfilled or guessed before he asks for it, the child loses the need to speak. This also applies to those cases when the baby does not have the right to vote, he is often asked to be silent, to play quietly.
  • Fear – sometimes, for some reason, the child stops talking, although earlier, speech developed according to a set schedule. Usually, the situation is observed after experienced stress, for example, visiting a kindergarten. Logophobia is treated by limiting traumatic events and seeing a psychologist.
  • Impaired maturation of the brain or articulatory organs – too slow development leads to the fact that the child cannot correlate the request with the action or control his speech. As a rule, such children are observed by a neurologist. The causes range from difficult pregnancies and premature births to serious neurological conditions.
  • Problems with sensory integration – the baby is hypersensitive to surrounding sounds, and the speech of people almost does not notice, or vice versa, pays more attention to the pronunciation of words. In this case, the ability to speak is significantly reduced, since the sound elements are perceived as something irritable and unpleasant. The sensitivity of the oral cavity, the feeling of the position of the tongue, the muscular tension of the face and throat, make the pronunciation of some sounds impossible.

Regardless of what cause is suspected, the diagnosis is made only by a specialist. Don’t panic if your fears are confirmed. Proper treatment by an otorhinolaryngologist, psychologist, neurologist or speech therapist in most cases corrects the situation and the child catches up with peers. In difficult situations, the minimum skills are acquired, allowing to communicate in a social society.