Special Needs

How to help a non-verbal toddler communicate

Koyeli Sengupta
1 to 3 years

Created by Koyeli Sengupta
Updated on Sep 21, 2020

Reviewed by Expert panel

The normal expectation for speech and language in children is that they start uttering single words by the age of one with a vocabulary of 10-12 words,  about 40-50 words by the age of 2 and joining two words to make two word phrases. As the child grows, his ability to speak and understand complex sentences and instructions increases. Hence, the child develops both expressive as well as receptive skills that form communication. That is how typical development of language progresses. However, if the child is unable to speak by the age of  2.5 years, there could be several reasons for the same. A formal hearing assessment becomes important at this stage to rule out any hearing impairment. Also at times children may not be able to speak verbally but will try to communicate in their own ways using broken words, actions and gestures. According to Dr. Koyeli Sengupta, a Developmental Pediatrician and Director Autism Intervention Services from UMMEED, Child Development Center, Mumbai, it is important not to consider just what the child tries to say verbally but focus more on what he is trying to communicate. It is important to encourage the child to communicate the way he can. Verbal communication may take time to develop, Supporting and motivating the child can help instill confidence in him to communicate and be more responsive to the parents' instructions and show more readiness to learn. Parents also should not get alarmed and seek help in the form of professional assessment to rule out autism and other developmental disorders


This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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