2-year-old Speaks Own Language but Not Ours

Q: My 2-year-old acts like he is talking, but no one understands him, which his doctor says is normal for his age. Is it or should I get a second opinion? — Chelsey Young

Joel Steinberg, M.D.

Joel Steinberg, M.D.

A: No, it’s not normal. At that age, the general rule is you should understand at least 50 percent of what a child says. It is important that hearing be evaluated; a child who doesn’t hear well doesn’t talk well. It would also be important to know if the child listens and understands what is being communicated. A speech therapist should evaluate a child who has delayed or non-understandable language, and treatment should start by age 15 months or earlier, depending on the complete developmental evaluation by the child’s pediatrician.

– Joel Steinberg, M.D., Attending physician, General Pediatrics
at Children’s and professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern

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