My son is 20 months old, and an active child. He listens when I call his name, and we have some non-verbal communication. But he doesn't understand what I'm saying to him. Whenever I say, "Come to mama," he doesn't understand me, but when I say it while holding out my hand to come he'll come.

The only thing he understands is when I ask him to give me a hug like, "Huggiee," he will give me a hug. But he doesn't understand anything I ask him verbally.

What should I do in this case?

  • 2
    Have you addressed this issue with the toddler's primary care provider? What did they say? Also, what is a bump snuffler? Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 18:15
  • It's easy, Instead of holding hand. Start using fingers by moving and say come, come come.
    – Nadeem Taj
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 19:01
  • Yes i talked to the peds and he said to wait and talk to him.
    – Amna
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 21:43
  • @anongoodnurse bump snuffler is one who scoot instead of normal crawling
    – Amna
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 21:44
  • I'm not confident enough of this to make it an answer, but my goddaughter had the same issue, she also used very little language for her age despite being very good at expressing herself nonverbally. We eventually found out that she needed tubes in her ears, the fluid build up was likely muffling sound and thus causing her difficulty with learning language. Her vocabular and verbal skills shot up almost over night when she got the tubes in.
    – dsollen
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


Talk to your child's doctor.

If there's something concerning you about your child's development, I would recommend talking to your child's doctor. Random internet strangers can't diagnose any conditions your child may or may not have. It's possible that your child is perfectly normal; it's possible that they might have some kind of learning disorder; it's possible that your child has autism or some other condition with delayed speech development. Your child's doctor will be able to figure out which of these scenarios is the true one.

  • I talked to the pediatrician and asked him directly if he do have autism, he said no to that as he is very social, do eye contact, play with toys and childrens, listen to his name whenever called. Just wondering if someone experienced this and what they did. As my pediatrician said to just keep talking to your child but i am still so so worried. Feel like crying alot.
    – Amna
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 21:47
  • @Amna I think nick is right that only trained professionals should look at this. I will say nothing you described sounds remotely like autism to me, autistic children are more likely to understand verbal communication and struggle with non-verbal, so the opposite of what you describe. In fact while there are conditions that can cause purely verbal learning issues they aren't that common. If there is any medical issue it most likely would be difficulty with hearing, which can be fixed. It's also quite possible that nothing is wrong and he grows out of preferring non-verbal communication.
    – dsollen
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 20:26
  • @dsollen Before they were all rolled together into Autistic Spectrum Disorder, the primary difference between Asperger's Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism was that the latter had delays in childhood speech development (often not talking until the age of 3 or so).
    – nick012000
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 4:20
  • So update is my son started to understand few things, saying few words aswell. Its a bit relief that hd started learning things
    – Amna
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 17:18

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