My 18 month old wont speak actually words? Any suggestions?

Rebecca - posted on 02/02/2010 ( 260 moms have responded )

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Hey everyone,
My son is almost 18 months old and so far hasn't really said any words. He babbles ALOT in baby talk and occasionally he'll say something that resembles a word but we are still yet to hear any actual words. He responds to requests from us e.g. if I say 'give Daddy and kiss and cuddle goodnight' he will and if someone says 'bye' or 'see ya' he'll start waving at them, so I know that his hearing is fine. We talk to him all the time and dont 'baby talk' to him, we have also tried refusing him things like a treat if he doesn't say 'ta', but nothing seems to be working.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Leslie - posted on 02/08/2010

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Hi everyone!
I am actually a speech therapist working in a preschool and my oldest son (now 6) was speech delayed. From what everyone is saying here, I would not be too concerned. My 17 month old doesn' really say too many true words yet either. As long as your child is understanding what you are saying and can in some way express him/herself, I would wait until 2yrs old to be really concerned. Most kids should be putting two words together by the time they are two or a little after (e.g., daddy go). If your child is starting to display bad temper tantrums and cannot make his wants and needs know either by words or gestures (such as pointing), then I would speak to the Dr. You have a right as a parent to ask for a referral for an Early Intervention Evaluation. I am not sure where everyone lives, but look up the guidelines for your county. In NY, this is a free service and all it takes is a couple of hours to evaluate your child. A few things may help...ALWAYS model the words for your child. For example, if they point to something they want say "cookie" don't just give it to them. Also, the simpler the language the better. At this stage, you want to use as lest words as possible. Don't say "Do you want a drink of juice?", instead say "Want juice?" They cannot process alot of words given to them at one time. Also, reading, labeling pictures, asking them to point to named pictures are all ways that you can help develop their language skills. If you do planned on getting them evaluated, be aware of your child's birthday. Our tests have age brackets that require different skills. For exampl, if youe child is 1.11 years, his score will be dfferent then if he was tested at 2.0 years because more is expected of him.

hope all this helps!! Hang in there!

Angela - posted on 12/07/2013

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Hiya I've got a 18mth old boy I'm abit worried about he won't mingle with other children he likes to play on his own he also now and again walks round in a circle plus he dose not give much eye contact to people he waves and says bye or see ya but that's about it a couple of people have told me to take him to be checked I don't know if its normal or if he needs to be checked .

Alexis - posted on 02/01/2012

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My little boy (19m today) is doing exactly the same thing. Babbles with inflection and tone and can hear great, but has never said "mama" or any real words. Sometimes he'll give a kiss or high five or clap his hands if I ask. He knows words like cookie and banana and milk when he hears them. At his pediatrician's referral, we are taking him to be evaluated by a psychologist tomorrow for autism. SO nervous. He's obsessed with looking at his hands and walks around and around our coffee table. My heart is aching to hear him say "mama" … will he ever say he loves me? Did I do something wrong? I love him so much!

Carlie - posted on 12/02/2011

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yes. Turn your child around so that he is looking directly at your face. Say a word and OVER ENUNCIATE your words. Point to your mouth while doing so, so that your child can see how your lips are moving while you are saying the word. Don't refuse anything when your son tries. Trying is something that should ALWAYS be rewarded. Repetition dear. He may not know what to say, because he does not know HOW. Or there may be other reasons. Don't FORCE it though. If you want HIM to AT LEAST try, then YOU should ONLY at least try as well. No force ok? Your child will speak when he's ready to, but AT LEAST you will be able to SHOW him by repetition, HOW to do so, when he is ready. Don't give up mama. Have patience. I would say, "Good job!!" EVERYTIME his lips/mouth EVEN MOVE. or "hey....good try......you can do it!!" ENCOURAGEMENT goes a long way let me tell ya-even if he just forms his lips in the shape of an "O", and no sound comes out....then it's still a GOOD TRY and effort-and probably more than what he was doing before. You can also talk talk talk as much as possible with him. If you take him outside for a walk, then point out things...."Oh look honey....pretty leaf.....!!" Pick up the leaf, show him the leaf while looking directly at your child....say the word....OVER ENUNCIATING IT. that kind of thing. EXPLAIN everyday things with your child: If you are doing the laundry....."Ok honey...time to do the laundry....first we add powder......here you put some clothes in for me.....etc....." Just please don't refuse a treat. If you are refusing he may not UNDERSTAND THAT or EXACTLY why.You can continue with the ABC'S in a sing song voice. Or other nursery rhymes. Children usually pick those up fairly quickly, and especially if done continuously. I mean really, it doesn't matter if he learns a nursery rhyme first or not right? RIGHT. As long as he's talking....who really cares what it's about? Good luck mama....Keep the faith. PRAISE. ENCOURAGEMENT. REPETITION. CONTINUOUS SPEAKING. OVER ENUNCIATION OF WORDS. DIRECT EYE-LEVEL SPEAKING. EXPLANATION OF YOUR EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES WITH HIM.......PATIENCE. He will speak when he's ready!! Hugs and kisses for his effort..... :)

Mary - posted on 02/04/2010

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A lot of babies, especially ones who love evaluating things, don't say much words at a young age. There usually isn't anything wrong with them they just are waiting to put those words together in a sentence. They talk in their own time.

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Tanya - posted on 02/03/2012

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repeat the words to him over and over to him and your see he will say them i use to say good morning to my daugther in the morning all the time and one day i walk in the room when she said to me good morning i was shocked, but happy also.

Rose - posted on 02/02/2012

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I don't know, my youngest son had many ear infections, and all though I thought he heard fine. But my son had been deaf because of the frequency of the ear infection. He had no intelligible language, as far as out siders were concerned. My son's Dr. didn't even see hear it. It took an ER dr to see it. My son was 2 1/2yrs. old. I was show when I asked my son something, I pointed at it.

Megan - posted on 01/30/2012

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Read to him! :)

Everynight read the same book. Something easy, that rhymes. And after a few days of reading the book to him ask him to say the last word on each page or ask him "what happens next"?. When he masters this book, move on to the next! This not only helped with my kids vocabulary, but it also helped with getting them ready for reading. And it gave us some quality time together :D

Megan - posted on 01/30/2012

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Read to him! :)

Everynight read the same book. Something easy, that rhymes. And after a few days of reading the book to him ask him to say the last word on each page or ask him "what happens next"?. When he masters this book, move on to the next! This not only helped with my kids vocabulary, but it also helped with getting them ready for reading. And it gave us some quality time together :D

Sharlene - posted on 01/20/2012

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dont give up keep up with the repeating words to ur child. my son is almost 18 months old and i have always talked to him, id show him a book, id say look book., book, lets read the book....book.... ya know alot of repeating....id count and say abcs to him even though i think hes not listening or paying attention he picks up things quicker then others.....but eventually.....he started picking up words faster and faster........give it time and lots of repeating..... :)

Katrina - posted on 01/14/2012

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My 17 month old is also not talking and her older sister who is just turning 3 is just starting to use 2 phrase words. I'm in the same boat as well .

Mindy - posted on 01/07/2012

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I am a speech-language pathologist. Typically, a 2 year old can speak in full sentences. Yes, many children develop at different ages. It sounds like you are doing a lot of good things by modeling. If you have concerns, I would contact a Birth to Three organization in your area and discuss your concerns or find a certified speech-language pathologist in your area. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (www.asha.org) is a great resource to find information about typical speech and language development, as well as speech-language pathologist in your area. Talking with a professional is always a good idea because they can rule out a speech and language impairment and put your mind at ease. Good luck.

Vatsala - posted on 11/18/2011

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Hey you needn't worry.My little one now 3 1/2 didn't start talking till 2 but the day he did there's been no stopping. You wouldn't believe at times I miss the days when he used to babble ha ha... but jokes apart it is such a pleasure to hear him....I'm sure soon u'll be experiencing the same...all the very best!

Vatsala - posted on 11/18/2011

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Hey you needn't worry.My little one now 3 1/2 didn't start talking till 2 but the day he did there's been no stopping. You wouldn't believe at times I miss the days when he used to babble ha ha... but jokes apart it is such a pleasure to hear him....I'm sure soon u'll be experiencing the same...all the very best!

Alyssa - posted on 11/15/2011

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Your not alone! My 20 month old (hearing loss, sever reflux, astma, sensory integration disorder..) Has not yet spoken at all and barely babbles! All babies are different if you are concerned talk to the doctor.. It took me to switch peds and go for a second opionin for ENT before I got a doctor to do a hearing eval and guess what Mommy was right =( My little guy is going this week to get hearing aids! Hopefully soon we will have some talking! We sign with my little one but he is not seeming to pick it up =( Good Luck and remember they all do things when they are ready!

Candace M - posted on 11/13/2011

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number one- just make sure u have his ears checked because my stepson did not speak only babble until he was 3 because he had something wrong with his ear and had to have surgery which in turn saved his life.. a hemo tobin i think it was... other than that just repeat words and associate with actions or objects like touch his nose and say nose, but he should speak in his own time if u are doing all u can than it's probably not u..

Candace M - posted on 11/13/2011

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number one- just make sure u have his ears checked because my stepson did not speak only babble until he was 3 because he had something wrong with his ear and had to have surgery which in turn saved his life.. a hemo tobin i think it was... other than that just repeat words and associate with actions or objects like touch his nose and say nose, but he should speak in his own time if u are doing all u can than it's probably not u..

Laura - posted on 11/05/2011

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each child is different but if people are talking baby talk to him/her then they will talk that. i have had 5 children and when ever anyone started to do baby talking with them i would tell them to talk right to the children

Julie - posted on 11/03/2011

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Socializing with OTHER CHILDREN their age encourages them to try out there verbal skills. Otherwise, my brother did not say A WORD until he was 18 months, and then it was complete sentences! Some toddlers are more introspective with learning, and wait. If you are concerned, visit your Pediatrician, and get his hearing checked.

Maggie - posted on 10/05/2011

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My first son was the same way. I talked to him constantly, tried refusing treats or toys if he didn't talk. Nothing worked. Then one day he said "kitty" and after that he was a chatterbox! Give him time, he's fine!

Dawna - posted on 10/01/2011

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I haven't read all the posts but my LO does the same thing. However, my position is that she is just fine. She is very advance in almost every other way. So talking is going to be the one thing that she is a little slow on... so what?? Many genious babies are.... hahahaha

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Try putting on an ABC's song or an aminal video and try to get him to sing and dance along with you, he won't even realize he's learning to speak. Or even your favorite song in the car, sing it out loud. When they see Mommy bobbing her head and having fun they usually join in on the fun.

Letesha - posted on 09/28/2011

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Unless you have an oler child, child may not talk until 2 or so. Just keep talking and look at educational tv and videos.

Letesha - posted on 09/28/2011

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Unless you have an oler child, child may not talk until 2 or so. Just keep talking and look at educational tv and videos.

Colleen - posted on 09/25/2011

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Get "Your Baby Can Read"
It is FUN, interactive, educational and will help give your child the tools to communicate.
Expensive but worth EVERY penny

Kirsty - posted on 09/21/2011

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Hi Rebecca, I seriously wouldn't worry you are doing everything you can. If the health visitors start worrying there r lots of support out there to push him along. My daughter is 3 now and has only just started putting 2 words together. There are speech and language groups around :-)

Michelle - posted on 09/19/2011

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Really, I wouldn't worry just yet. The Health Visitor worried me when my little boy was around this age, she said he wasn't talking as much as he ''should'' be. Being a first time mum I was really worried thinking I'd done something wrong. So we went along to chatter matters courses run by a speech therapist who I then booked a private appointment with. She said I was doing things right in her eyes and that he's talk when he was ready, and within a couple of months almost over night he had litterally exploded with words! Now he's 4 and never shuts up :)
It might be that he's just taking in everything in ready to amaze you when he does talk.
I hope this helps put your mind at rest. x

Michelle - posted on 09/19/2011

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Really, I wouldn't worry just yet. The Health Visitor worried me when my little boy was around this age, she said he wasn't talking as much as he ''should'' be. Being a first time mum I was really worried thinking I'd done something wrong. So we went along to chatter matters courses run by a speech therapist who I then booked a private appointment with. She said I was doing things right in her eyes and that he's talk when he was ready, and within a couple of months almost over night he had litterally exploded with words! Now he's 4 and never shuts up :)
It might be that he's just taking in everything in ready to amaze you when he does talk.
I hope this helps put your mind at rest. x

Shelly-Ann - posted on 09/14/2011

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My children are a little older 8 and 10...I'll explain to you what I have gone thru my oldest she didn't talk either she had chronic ear infections well finally we went to a ENT who has put 3 sets of tubes in her ears she has done speech for the first 2 years of school she is good now grade 5 and awesome...now my 8 yr old totally different her speech is not good but her ears are fine....I think maybe one infection...she is dyslexic with a moderate to severe language delay which means she talks younger then 8 like she is still 5...so two different stories but just want you to know language is so huge keep your eyes open I learnt the children want to talk when they want to lol...mine were just stubborn lol :) good luck

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Talk it over with your doctor but I had my daughter evaluated at Early On when she was two. She is now nine and is still receiving special services. The early intervention was priceless! The eval is just like play time. Give them a call....can't hurt.

Alisha - posted on 09/12/2011

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My son just turned 2 and only says mom but only when he wants to say it. He makes his own sounds but no other words. I started speech therapy about a month ago now,, it helps I think not only with signing but I am around other parents who know and understand the developmental delay.

Kathy - posted on 09/11/2011

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Don't automatically think his hearing is fine. when my son was little he would respond to things we told him but one day my neighbor beep her horn and he did respond or move We found out that he was not able to hear everything and he had fluid built up in his ears after having tubes put in he began to talk. He was 2 yrs old when this happened.

Crystal - posted on 09/07/2011

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children are all different. My youngest son would not talk until he was four.. he had brothers and they did it for him but he is fine and in the army now. The main thing when talking to your child is to never baby talk. it is so tempting but when we do this we are teaching them improper language skills. Repeat the words you want him to learn or place objects infront of him tell him what they are then ask him to pick those objects. theses can be fun games for him and he will be learning with out knowing. he will most like speak when he is ready to so be patient. The main is to keep talking and be prepared because once they start talking the next trick is teaching them to be quiet...lol

Jennifer - posted on 09/06/2011

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I had the same problem with my son.. i heard everything from he could be deaf to he is just a boy and boys are slower.. well his hearing is fine and the dr and therapist said dont listen to the he is just a boy thing.. talk to your pediatrician about it.. mine suggested therapy (yes even at 18 months) because they should have some vocabulary.. my son now 3 talks up a storm and has a very wide vocabulary but it didnt start up till he was about 26 months.. also have them check to see if he is what they call tongue tied ... this will hender his speach as well.. do not take "nothing is wrong" for an answer..even if he is just late talking therapy wont hurt him..

Teresa - posted on 09/06/2011

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my son had large amounts of fluid in his ears, forced there by some violent vomiting episodes, and this ended up being the problem. we knew he could hear, but apparently it was all very muffled and unclear. as soon as his ears were drained by the surgeon, it was an immediate change. just a thought - have his ears checked, even though he can obviously hear.

Melissa - posted on 05/11/2010

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Children natuarally develope at their own pace. I owuldn't worry about him not talking yet. He probably can but just doesn't want to. He will start pronouncing words when he is ready/

Amanda - posted on 05/01/2010

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My now 11 yr old daughter didn't speak until she was 2. Turns out she COULD she just chose not to! She would communicate with gestures. For example if she wanted a drink she would grab my hand, lead me to the kitchen, and point at the fridge and the cupboard.

Bettina - posted on 04/07/2010

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My daughter is the same. She's 19 months and talks like there is no tomorrow but there's no actual words just babble. If I ask her to repeat what she says she actually repeats the same babble. I thought she'd talk early because my 3 1/2 year old son spoke a lot of words by her age but, as they say, every child is different. There's lot's of us out there... I agree, it is very comforting to know that we are not alone :-D

Angela - posted on 04/07/2010

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My daughter (now 4) and son (19 months) are in the same boat, i was very concerned with my daughter...took her for hearing check...speech therapy etc all was normal and now I can't get her to stop talking. Second time around I'm not so concerened.....both of my children excelled in other areas and eventually the language will come. Believe me he is taking it all in. I found that the "first impressions" dvd's worked for my daughter and my son is beginning to take an interest. We were watching the "colours" dvd the other day and clear as he said RED we couldn't delieve it.I Would highly recomend these simple dvd's.

Dacia - posted on 04/06/2010

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At 19 months my son talks like mad so I cant say I am in the same boat as you. But one thing i can tell you is all kids do things at different times and you just cant compare them. It will come. good luck

Amanda - posted on 04/06/2010

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My oldest son is 3 and he just started talking plainly we had to put him in speech therapy to help out. His doc suggested we try it and it made a huge difference. Some kids just don't want to talk and that was my sons case. The lady that came to our house once a week made it a fun way to teach him how to pronounce his words and now you can't get him to be quiet. It's something to check into if your concerned bout it.

Amanda - posted on 04/05/2010

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At 18 months I really don't think you should be worrying, especially if you know his hearing is ok. My girl is 20 months and the words have started from her books but at 18 months it was just babble. Try reading the same book to him a few times a day putting special emphasis on certain words thta you can do a movement or sound with and see what happens. Lolas first words are from her books like this. All the best.

Autumn - posted on 04/03/2010

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i too have a stubbornly silent little boy.....he will say a word once in a while and he listens to and follows instructions very well (when he wants to) but mum really is the word with this one.....

you are totally NOT alone......i just want him to say mommy!

Katie - posted on 04/03/2010

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my little girl has just turned 19 months and babbles all the time especially when she is walking round with a mobile phone!!!! she understands everything we say to her usually unless she isnt listening!!! however id say the only clear words she uses are mammy, daddy, apple, pepsi(cats name) but she does attempt to say other words but they arent totally clear!!!! dunno if this helps? im sure you little boy will start saying words when he is ready!!!

Jacquee' - posted on 04/02/2010

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trust me don't rush it!!! lol! My daughter is 19 months and her vocabulary is increasing slowing but surely and she has her own language that I am trying to figure out. The funny thing is...I think I am figuring things out she is saying. I just know one day she is going to switch over and start talking regular English and OMG watch out!!! lol

Bridget - posted on 04/02/2010

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It can't hurt to have him evaluated for a speech delay, however the language boom doesn't happen until between 18-24 months. So he just might be at the end of that spectrum.

Jamie - posted on 03/31/2010

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I have had the same issue with my son, at about 14 months old he stopped saying Mama and Dada and never really used them purposfully just in his babbleing. I am a recent grad in education and had many classes on disabilites, and I have a nephew who is Autistic. Knowing what I know I asked his ped dr about him regressing and not saying words at all and she said to wait till he was 2. As a parent I felt like I should be doing something instead of waiting so I called our county's Early Intervention myself and aske them to come out and evaluate him, which is a free service. They came out when my son was 16 months old and he started saying mama and dada here and there, but not towards us, but still no words at this point. He would give us his sippy cup when empty and I would say more and sign more to him, and would still get nothing. After his evaluation they felt he should be seen by a developmental ped dr. As much as I knew it I didn't want to think it but he was diagnosed with Austism spectrum disorder. They feel it is mild, but really can't say being he is so young. He is now 19 months old, and is saying a lot of babbling sounds, just no real words we understand. We also had his hearing checked just to be on the safe side. As upsetting as it is to hear your child has a disablitly, I am so happy I did something about it when I did instead of waiting. I guess I am saying if you feel there is somthing just not right, don't wait to have them checked out, it doesn't hurt to have it looked into and if nothing is wrong then you have tried all you can. And if there is something wrong then your child can start getting the help they need, it is never to early. I know if I had waited till my son was 2 years old to have him evaluated he wouldn't be where he is at now. He has progressed so much in just 3 months of therapies. Before we had no clue what he wanted and he would just scream and cry, now he grabs our hands and brings us to what he wants. We still talk to him as simple as it can be, UP, More, Juice, Food, and we are signing to him as well, just hasn't caught on yet, but I feel it will soon. As one person commented before they could be thinkers not speakers, so if their brain is processing it, it will be easier for them in the long run if you use simply one or two word commands with repitition. Sorry for making this so long, just wanted to share my experience with my child and let everyone know you don't have to wait to be evaluated or tested just becasue the ped says to. The county you live in should have a free evaluation for early intervention and you don't need a dr script for it, I would just wait till the child is atleat 15 or 16months old becasue they have told me it is hard to test kids younger than that. Good luck everyone.

Mandy - posted on 03/31/2010

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my daughters is also 18 months and does the same. i have been on a waiting list for early intervention for 2 months now I feel so bad that she hears us talking and understand what we mean but, just cant say real words. she babbles too i have just one suggestion early intervention

Tanna - posted on 03/31/2010

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Myson had ths problem He had a pobem with his ear ittuned out. And every thing he heard was like his head wa under wate. So It hendered his speach. He culd understand what we were saying but, his speach souded likebabbling because thats whathe heard. Anyway, he went to an ear nose and throght doctor who gave him special heaning tsts. That is how we found out about it. They put tubes in his ears so they would drain and he started saying sentences almost wthin a week. Something to maybe have checked out?

Carrie - posted on 03/27/2010

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Well Rebecca, as you see you are not alone. My daughter isn't saying much either. I talked to her pediatrician about it and had her hearing tested and signed her up for an evaluation for speech. Even though everyone keeps telling me she will talk in her own time, still don't make me feel any better. I did invest in the My Baby Can Read, so we will see how that works. It is frustrating because I often ask myself what am I doing wrong? Good luck with your little guy!

Ana - posted on 03/27/2010

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My younger son is also 18 months old and he also has not said any words besides "mam". My older son said his first true word when he was 2 years old. Now he speaks very well. We didn`t pressure him, just let the nature take its course. We are doing the same with our younger boy and we are convinced that it will turn out all right. So, if I were you, I would talk to him the same way as if he can talk back and don`t pressure him. You will see, once he start talking word by word, in no time he will speak nicely. Just don`t worry. Boys are very lazy and they are slower than girls for that matter.

Gemma - posted on 03/25/2010

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does he have a dummy alot or a bottle as these can delay speech development, my daughter has never had a dummy and bottles went at 12 months old, and shes speaking 5 word sentences now. dont forget though each child is an individual, and will meet his milestone when ready :)

Fitri - posted on 03/23/2010

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Might be you should try to play him music with children song regularly and teach him to try follow to sing you should be patient and dont ever give up to teach...it's work i thought...my son Azri have good communication and speak clear and talk actual.

We play him music lot start in the morning until night but now sometime if he wanna hear it only.



Good luck mom;)

Liza - posted on 03/23/2010

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I asked my doctor about this because at 15 months she was only saying "dada" and had said "mama" once or twice. My son on the other hand was saying quite a bit at this age and it did concern me. My doctor said that I should not worry as children all develop at different rates. He said the concern comes when there are other signs of problems, such as not responding when spoken too, not babbling and trying to formulate words, etc. I guess I would not worry as long as the babbling is taking place. If you do have concerns, I don't think that it hurts to ask, but don't stress over it. My son walked at 16 months and my daughter walked at 10 months. My son said probably 20 words by this age and my daughter says 2. I wonder if maybe the binkie has something to do with it, as my son never used one!?! Good luck!

Christina - posted on 03/22/2010

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My son is doing the same thing. He has a speech therapist, come to the house

once a week for speech. She is teaching us baby signs with saying words to help him.

Right now we are learning the sign for more. Have you talked to the doctor?? Ours sent us to get a hearing test and to get evaluated for speech. If you have any questions just let me know!!

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