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How Your Toddler Grows

Read this page to see how your child may grow.

What you can expect
There is no fixed timeline for each child's development.
There are many books that say how your child should develop.
But each child will grow in his own way.

Toddler with a basketball

Children who are deaf may not follow "normal" or "typical" development.

  • This may be because your child was born too early.
  • This may be because your child had other medical problems.
  • Your child probably won't hear all the nice words you say to him.

Write down important steps in your child's life.
This will help you see how much your child is really growing! Write down when and how your child does things for the first time:

  • Your child's first smile
  • When your child first reaches out for a toy
  • The first time your child points
  • When your child takes his first steps
  • Your child's first words or signs

Keeping a record will help you see how much growth there really is!

Listen to your gut instincts

  • Many things used to be blamed on deafness.
  • But children with hearing loss react to people and things in the same way as other children.

Things to watch out for
See a doctor if your child is:

  • Not looking at people's faces
  • Not smiling at parents, brothers and sisters, and friends or other people who take care of him
  • Very interested in lights, things that move or make noise
  • Rocking back and forth in one place
  • Flapping, twirling or spinning his hands, body or toys all the time
  • Banging his head

Sometimes there are simple reasons your child acts this way.

  • Your child may not be getting enough stimulation.
  • Your child may feel like he has too many things to see and hear.
  • Your child may be feeling frustrated.

Life can be hard before your child develops a language that you use. It's hard for the child who can't hear clearly and who can't speak to tell you what he wants. Other times, the child may not understand what is happening when you change what you're doing. Or he may become confused when you go someplace.

Next: How your toddler learns

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National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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