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My nephew, who is 21 months now is still not talking at all. He also recently has started to roll his eyes and has terrible temper tantrums.

I am really concerned about him as even the nursery commented on his eye rolling. I have mentioned it to my sister, but she says there is nothing the matter and he is fine.

Do you think there is reason for me to be concerned?


Baby Help Line:

Toddler Doesn’t Speak, Roll Eyes, Tantrums -Normal?

I understand that you are concerned and before commenting on the specific situation I want to say two things.

First of all, doctors often say that the one person that really knows if something is wrong with a baby or young toddler is MOM. Why? Because, she is usually the one who spends the most time with the baby and knows him or her the best. So if your sister says that her son is fine, chances are he really is.

Secondly, I’m not a doctor. And even if I was, trying to give medical advice online would be a really bad idea, I think.

Still, I want to share a few thoughts on the situation.

Regarding the boy not talking, that doesn’t have to mean anything. Does he understand words at all? At around 18 months of age, at least in some countries, there is a health checkup at which the parents are asked if the toddler can say 10 words. If the baby can’t, then no big deal. But if the baby says nothing, understands nothing and takes no part in the spoken family interaction at all, it could indicate a hearing or even a developmental problem. So such cases are usually followed up.

Regarding the tantrums – what does he do? If he yells, cries, kicks, tries to bite etc when not getting his way, it is completely normal. At the age of 1.5 to 2 years, however, many babies are still quite easily distracted and thereby calmed. But that varies.

The one thing that that seems the most relevant to check up is the eyes rolling. Again, even though some babies do this because they can or because they are tired, I think it is advisable to talk to a doctor to rule out any illness.

If your sister decides that she wants to talk to a doctor, then filming the boy while rolling his eyes is probably a good way to get relevant help from a pediatrician.

Here is another quite long thread about babies that roll their eyes.

And here is a thread with another 21 month old baby that doesn’t talk.

I hope this helps,

Find comments below.



Jan 12, 2014

Concerned Sister
by: Anonymous

You have to be careful on how you approach your sister with regards to her little boy, bearing in mind that she loves him more than anything & will fight for what she believes is the best for him.
However, sometimes mums do suffer from denial & seem to not want to admit that there may be a cause for concern.
What you should bear in mind is the fact that the nursery staff deal with & have dealt with a lot of kids, so if they are making comment or expressing concern maybe your sister should have a chat with her health visitor?

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