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Growth and Development, Ages 12 to 24 Months - When to Call a Doctor

Call911or other emergency services if you become so frustrated with your child that you are afraid you might cause him or her physical harm.

Call your doctor if:

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  • You are having constant trouble managing your child and often become angry or frustrated. Your doctor can guide you to resources for help if you feel unable to properly care for your child for any reason.
  • You are concerned that your child is not growing adequately or is not reaching major developmental milestones in any area.

It is also a good idea to call your doctor if your child:

  • Shows delays in several developmental areas.
  • Successfully reaches a developmental milestone but then loses the new ability.
  • Displays behaviors that may be associated with autism. These may include not appearing to interact with or be attached to others, especially caregivers; acting in a repetitive manner, sometimes with odd gestures; or seeming to selectively tune out other people or noises. For more information, see the topic Autism.

When it comes to your child's growth and development, keep the big picture in mind. Individual children vary in the exact timing that they achieve milestones. For example, a slight delay in one development area, such as talking, usually is not of concern by itself. As long as your child communicates effectively through gestures and regularly responds to your speech and that of others, using language usually soon follows.

It is generally of more concern if a child shows signs of a general communication problem, which may include delayed language development. This type of delay can be related to hearing impairment. A child with signs of a communication problem:

  • Does not know a word in addition to "mama" and "dada" or point to a familiar object when instructed to at 12 months.
  • Does not say a few words, look like he or she is listening when you are talking, or point to what he or she wants at 15 to 18 months.
  • Does not say 5 or more words or comprehend more than 50 words at 18 months.
  • Does not speak more than 50 words, put two words together, name or try to name objects, or use words to request things at 2 years.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 19, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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