My Child Doesn’t Talk Much: When to Worry About your Child’s Language


Ellen Dolny, UPAT Parent Educator

Do you remember showing your baby items and telling them the names of the item and hoping they would say them back?  In the beginning, our babies hear speech sounds and words of their languages as we provide labels for the objects and people in their world.  Once they begin to use words, we start to ask questions and tell stories to them. Language becomes a conversation between two people and actually makes sense!

What if we are not understanding the child’s language or other people are asking you what they are saying all the time?  Or, what if you baby never gets to the “ba ba ba” and everyone else is saying “ma ma and da da”?

Every baby will write his own book on development, and language is only one chapter.  Receptive language is responding to the words and sounds that your baby hears, and understanding language.  Expressive language is sounds and body language a baby uses or says (when older) to communicate.

If you have concerns, you can have your baby/child screened by a professional.  Here are some facts that may help you decide.  Most two year olds have a receptive language from 300 to 1000 words in that second year.  Their expressive language goes from 50 to 300 words.  It happens from early opportunities given to them from books, conversations and experiences with words and sounds (mostly from the experts…the parents!)  You are the expert of your child and if you have a feeling that you are worried abut our child’s language, please talk to your parent educator about a screening.