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Yes -- toddlers often muddle their pronunciation, and speaking clearly is difficult for a young child. There are nearly 100 different muscles in the vocal tract that need to be coordinated, and some children have a harder time than others. Listen carefully to your child's speech. If the sounds he makes are similar to real words and sentences -- saying 'Whareesha' instead of 'What is that,' for example -- he's probably just a little verbally clumsy. Exercises like blowing soap bubbles will help his coordination. However, if the sounds don't resemble the names of the objects or concepts at all, it's a good idea to talk to your pediatrician. --Natalie Walker Whitlock
Copyright 2004. Reprinted with permission from the June 2000 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.