Skip to Content
Between 12 and 24 months of age, changes in the brain help your
toddler learn and understand language. Most toddlers understand many more words
than they are able to speak. For example, they are often able to point to their
nose or eyes or other body parts when asked, even though they may not say the
words for them.
The rate at which children learn to talk varies widely, although in
general you can expect your child to:
Language development milestones
are the most variable of all skills. Toddlers who are slower than others in reaching these milestones may
still be in the range of normal development. It is important to
identify and monitor these patterns but not to become too concerned. If your
child communicates effectively through emotional expression, gestures, and
other means, usually he or she will develop speech normally. But if your
child seems to lose language skills that previously were mastered, it is a good idea
to have him or her checked by a doctor.
Also, keep in mind that newfound language skills may make it seem as
though your toddler understands more than he or she really does. Although
toddlers sometimes express words that seem to convey their grasp of an issue,
they do not necessarily fully understand. For example, a child may say "go
bye-bye" as you leave but may not fully understand what is happening until you
are gone. When parents understand this gap between speech and comprehension,
they can help the children manage their feelings.
For more information, see the topic Speech and Language
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - PediatricsSpecialist Medical ReviewerLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2017 Rush-Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)