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Why has my toddler stopped talking?
Vicky Richmond
Vicky, it is difficult to answer your questions without more information or actually seeing your little boy. It is not unusual for a 2½-year-old not to be talking fluently or even to regress in speech. However, the other behaviors you describe do raise some red flags. Repetitive behaviors such as these and the failure to talk – or the disappearance of speech – are often seen in children who are autistic. You need to discuss the situation with your pediatrician or family physician and ask for a referral to a clinic or hospital that has a developmental diagnosis program. After a work-up in such a facility, you will either find reassurance or guidance as to what to do next.

You mention that you went back to work six months ago. That means that you have arranged for childcare for him, either in your home or a center. Although children usually adapt to that experience within a few days or weeks, it’s possible that your son isn’t happy with the arrangement. Make a point of visiting the facility and staying around for a few hours to make certain that he is receiving the care and stimulation he needs, and that it’s not contributing to the problem.

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education