Often, it worries parents when their babies are already a certain age and still not doing what other babies their age are already doing—like talking. They fear the possibility of autism and begin to imagine the worse for their kids and keep asking themselves, “when should my baby start talking?” Accordingly, experts say 1 of 68 toddlers may be autistic.
So, if you have any reasonable doubts about your toddler, you can always consult the pediatrician. Says the National Institute of Mental health, here are some symptoms often observed in autistic toddlers:
- They don’t make meaningful gestures, like pointing to objects or babble, even when they’re over one year old.
- They don’t speak a single word even after 16 months.
- They can’t use two words at age 2 years.
- They don’t respond when called by their names.
- They have poor eye contact.
However, it’s also a given that some kids develop late in their toddler life. In fact, about 15 percent of them under 5 years old may experience difficulties in certain areas of their development, says Josefa Pete in her article on “Kids who meet milestones at their own pace” on EssentialBaby.com.au. A lot of times, parents have to allow their toddlers to develop on their own natural pace and not pressure them to reach certain “goals” of development.
Some kids still don’t talk even at two years of age, but they communicate well with gestures and babbles and respond to conversations. They understand basic concepts like what certain words mean, like the words no, don’t, come, play, eat, daddy and mommy. It’s just that their tongues and mouths still don’t coordinate as they should have to form words. Some call them late bloomers. But later on, these kids may astonish people by how well they can speak and learn other things so fast, even becoming outstanding in what they do. [INPOSTLB]
Sally-Anne McCormack, clinical psychologist, says: “Developmental milestones are there to take note of and certainly not to ignore, but parents should use them as indicators, not a point their child must get to by a specific age.”
“Children are so different – parents need to give their child the opportunity to reach their milestones at their own pace.”
Indicators Against Imposed Goals
In the developmental stages or milestones of toddlers, there are indicators that tell us how a child is thus far progressing. We wait for them to happen and they happen at different times for different kids because not all toddlers are the same. It’s different when parents become impatient and worry excessively to the extent that they push their toddlers to reach certain developmental goals.
It won’t hurt to consult pediatric specialists about the developmental milestones of your kids, but bear in mind that growing up takes time.