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The Twenty-Five Words Every Toddler Needs to Know

Sarah B. Weir
Shine from Yahoo! Canada
February 22, 2012

A two-year-old's limited vocabulary may red flag hearing problems, autism, or a developmental disorder such as dyslexia. Researchers from the Child Study Institute at Bryn Mawr College have identified a list of 25 words every toddler should be using by age two. Dr. Leslie Rescorla, the director of the institute, presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The Daily News reports that Professor Nan Bernstein Ratner, who moderated the panel, described these words as the "canary in the coal mine."

The average toddler uses 75-225 words and is able to combine them into phrases. Twenty-five is considered the minimum for late talkers. In a previous study, Rescorla demonstrated that children with normal delayed speech tend to catch up by four or five. She adds that when helping late talkers build their language skills, it's a good idea to focus on basic vocabulary.

The 25 common words that should form the building blocks of a toddler's vocabulary:

-all gone

-baby

-ball

-banana

-bath

-bye bye

-book

-car

-cat

-cookie

-daddy

-dog

-eye

-hat

-hello/hi

-hot

-juice

-milk

-mommy

-more

-no

-nose

-shoe

-thank you

-yes

Rescorla says parents shouldn't panic if their toddler is using fewer words than average, but they should consider having them evaluated by an expert. Early intervention offers the best outcome.

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