Is Your 2 Year Old Not Talking But Babbling?
Is your 2 year old not talking but babbling? At Therapy Works Together, We receive a lot of questions from parents who want to know if their child needs to see a speech-language pathologist. If a 2 year old is not yet talking, it may be time to see a speech pathologist for a screening.
There is no harm done by speaking with a pediatrician or a speech therapist to see if a screening is warranted for your child. Often, if these problems are discovered and treated early enough, a toddler will catch up entirely and have no leftover consequences from an early speech or language delay. Even if a child does not fully catch up to their peers completely, they will be far better off than if parents had waited and done nothing.
To help parents we listed a few resources for parents in case they’ve observed their 2 year old not talking but babbling, or not making many sounds at all. We’ve included language milestones for a 2 year old child, some other questions a speech therapist might ask about, and a video about how to use a shared book reading task for parents to help work on language goals.
Check These Language Milestones for Your 2 Year Old
These include how a child communicates (verbally or nonverbally) with other people including language comprehension (understanding) and use (speaking). If these red flags are present, speak with your pediatrician or a speech therapist for a screening or evaluation.
- 6 months – Not making and maintaining eye contact with an adult
- 6 months – Not smiling at other people
- 9 months – Not making sounds or smiling back and forth with a parent or caregiver
- 12 months – Not babbling
- 12 months – Not gesturing, e.g., pointing, reaching, waving, showing
- 12 months – No consistently responding to their names
- 16 months – Not using words
- 18 months – Not following simple/familiar directions
- 24 months – Not using two-word meaningful phrases (not by imitation, repetition)
- 24 months – Not having at least 50 words
- 30 months – No back-and-forth turn-taking conversation
- Any Age – losing speech, babbling, social skills that were already acquired.
Other Important Communication Goals
While specific ages and timelines can be helpful to understand what your child should be doing and at what age, It’s crucial to think about whether or not your child is a good overall communicator. This, in conjunction with developmental language norms can help a speech therapist understand if your child is delayed or there is something else that is going on (like Autism or a language disorder secondary to another medical condition).
If you are considering speaking to your pediatrician or a speech therapist about your child, the answers to these questions will also be very important. Pay attention to your child’s skills and behaviors so you can report on the following:
Are they Interested in Other People?
When other people arrive or leave, does your child notice and react? Smiling when someone new comes around or if someone is eating, reading a book, or playing with a toy nearby, your child should be interested in what they are doing.
Do They Imitate?
If your child has never imitated movements, gestures or noises before, parents should make note. Imitating gestures like waving, pointing are signs of developing communication skills. Imitating sounds like a cat meowing, a dog barking or a sibling saying “uh oh” are all frequent early imitations.
Do They Use New Words Regularly?
You should see continuous and steady improvement in your toddler’s language development as they begin to use words. Once the words are in their vocabulary, they should stay there, and the number of words should expand consistently.
Do They Put Words Together?
Your child should be putting words together into meaningful short phrases around the age of two. When they want to eat, they might say “Me hungry,” or “Go out” when they want to go outside.
VIDEO: What Can Parents Do at Home if Their 2 Year Old Not Talking But Babbling?
Parents should speak to their speech language pathologist if their child is not yet using words by age 2 and only still babbling. Goals will depend on the skills the child already has as well as other factors like medical conditions, other delays, possible hearing issues etc.
In general, parents can use everyday activities to work on their child’s language skills and target goals. In this video, you can watch how to use a shared book reading activity to target some age appropriate language goals including use of the ‘ing’ (as in going, reading, sitting), ‘in,’ ‘on,’ and the plural ‘s’ (as in cats, flowers, apples).
The activity can be modified for any speech or language goal. Again, parents should consult with their speech therapist to determine which are the most appropriate goals for their child.
Therapy Works Together – Online Speech Therapy for Children and Adults
We care about every child and adult achieving their speech, language and communication goals. You can start speech therapy online now with a certified speech language therapist. We’ll discuss your personal needs, develop an individualized treatment plan, and schedule affordable online therapy sessions online at your convenience.