Worried your toddler is taking too long to talk? You’re not alone.
Many Moms measuring milestones worry when their babies seem stuck on “ma-ma” or da-da” and prefer to point rather than pronounce. But when should you really be concerned something might be wrong? That’s a question I asked myself recently when my nephew, Ashton, was about to turn 2. He had, maybe, 4 or 5 words he said clearly but seemed to struggle to communicate. Almost as if he had the words in his mind but couldn’t get them out. I couldn’t help but compare Ashton, to our son, Andres who was a very early talker. He said his first words at about 5 months and by 1 was saying full sentences. So, when I saw my nephew struggling, I became concerned.
My sister, Rosemary and my mom had made the same observation. It wasn’t long before we were all googling and researching to figure out if something could be wrong. Rosemary read somewhere that “chewing” could actually help increase a child’s ability to speak. She started visiting Ashton regularly to take him snacks that would force him to chew like crackers and Cheetos made for toddlers. Mind you, we did not discuss this with my brother or his wife, Carina Canals, who happens to be a psychologist. We had our own plans on how to help Ashton.
Just as we were preparing to tell his parents our concerns, Ashton found his voice, literally! The words just started spilling out of his mouth. Now, it brings me great joy to brag about my nephew, the little genius as we call him, who has an impressive vocabulary at only 2 and a half years old. You can see him in action below.
I guess the lesson I learned here is that every child really is different and develops at a different pace. Still, if you have concerns it is always best to talk to a professional. Nicklaus Children’s Hospital has wonderful specialists who can help guide you.
Beatriz Canals is an Emmy nominated journalist and proud mom. She has a 12 year old son, Andres and 24 year old step-daughter, Victoria.