By age 2, most kids are talking. There's a wide range in the number of words they use, but it's typically suggested that they should be using at least 50. However, research led by Leslie Rescorla, Ph.D., a professor and clinician at Bryn Mawr College, has refined this perspective by listing the 25 most common words that toddlers master—and suggests that if your 2-year-old isn't using these words, at a minimum, then it makes sense to seek out an evaluation. The list includes the following words:
What's especially noteworthy about this list is that these are the basic words that are most frequently used conversationally by toddlers as they interact with their world. So if your 2-year-old isn't routinely using them, it's a good idea to talk to your pediatrician. There could be many reasons why your toddler's spoken language isn't developing at the typical rate (there could be a hearing problem, an issue with the mechanics of speaking, or early signs of an underlying learning disorder or autism spectrum disorder)—or it may turn out that those words will come with time. But, this is the age to start screening and evaluating, so that if there is a detectable problem, an appropriate intervention can be discussed and implemented. And the earlier an intervention starts, the more effective it will be.
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