How many words is your 18 month old saying?

Michelle - posted on 08/12/2010 ( 86 moms have responded )

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I didn't have any concerns until I took my son to the ENT due to multiple ear infections. The nurse and the doctor made it sound like they were concerned because he was not saying more words. He's currently saying about 15-20 words but understands more than what he says, imitates, repeats and follows one step directions. I believe he's developing age-appropriately but was wondering what other average 18 year olds are doing.
Thx,
MM

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Angie - posted on 08/24/2010

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My 18 month old daughter only says about 5 or 6 words, but she was walking at 10 months and climbs on anything that will stand still. She can also follow directions like "find your sippy cup" or " go get your blankie". I'm not worried. She gets her point across without speaking and manages to be the bossiest person in the house. She's clearly intelligent and I know she'll speak when she's good an ready! Sometimes professionals can make you crazy with worry, go with your gut. How do YOU think your child is doing? Were you at all concerned before the Dr said something? Kids are all different. Good luck!

Sarah - posted on 08/13/2010

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I wouldn't worry too much - children are all so different and develop at their own pace. My daughter (nearly 18 months) is really great with language, she can say over 70 words in context, and is sometimes putting a couple of words together like "bye-bye daddy". On the other hand she has been slow with her physical development, and was quite a late walker.



I can only guess she is good with language because I have read many, many books to her. We visit the local library every week. She also has a decent sized collection of her own books that we read frequently - she loves it!! It is all about repetition, I point at pictures and say what it is, and now she can do the same. Also we did a 10 week course called Rhyme Time (it runs for free in Australian librarys) where a group of mums and bubs sit in a circle and sing nursery rhymes and do all the actions. Studies show that singing songs and doing the actions really helps reinforce language development. Maybe there is something like this in your area?

Rachel - posted on 08/27/2010

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I think as parents we worry too much. We need to be patient and wait for our children to develop at their own rate. Yes there are red flags, but sometimes I think we are just comparing our children to other children. When we need to let our kids be themselves and delevop at their own rate. Yes you can help them by reading to them and communicating with them. Enjoy moment and milestone even when they are small.

Melissa - posted on 08/17/2010

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My 18 month old is the youngest of my three boys. He says about 10-12 words but babbles all day long (even in his sleep). If your child understands what you say to him and he's demonstrating other forms of communication like pointing, making other sounds, leading you to the kitchen when he's thirsty, etc then I think you're fine. My oldest son started talking at 8 months old and never stopped from there. I think he had a vocabulary of a hundred words by the time he was two. My second son hardly said a word until he was 18 months to two years old (but he started reading at 4 years old so we knew he didn't have a learning challenge). Children learn and demonstrate their skills at different rates. Your baby may not be much of a talker yet, but I am willing to bet there are other things he excells at that some other children who may be big talkers aren't doing yet. It's a process. No worries. :)

Teresa - posted on 08/16/2010

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There are these set of norms that doctors go by and they scare us mums by saying that our children are not reaching these normal stages when they should. If you have concerns, by all means go to all lengths you can to make yourself feel better and get advice on what to do from the professionals but in the end our kids will talk when they are ready. But again if you think your child may be one of those few who really does have an issue get it looked into. My son at 18 months says very little, as did his sister, and we read books everyday, chat about what we are doing, go to play groups and all of that. My daughter now five, didn't talk much until she was about 2 and then suddenly sprung a verbal leak and didn't stop. Enjoy them before they talk back and start saying the dreaded - NO!!!

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Susan - posted on 09/08/2010

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Megan only says Hi, Bye and Mama and Daddy...I am not concerned she understands alot of what we say an dis very independant. My son was just over 2 when his language skills kicked in, Kids will always do things in there own time. I can suggest always repeating questions to your child and asking questions like do you want Pancakes or Oatmeal lfr breakfast, and asking them to say Yes or No.. you just have to keep talking and reading, and taking the time to speak slowly so your children can pick up the pronounciation of words... give them the opportunity to answer and repeat the answers to them. They will get it..,that is my advice anyways.

Mwangala - posted on 09/08/2010

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i dont think you should be too concerned because babies are different and develop at different paces. my older son took a long time to talk he only really started talking at about two years and now he just wont stop talking. my 18mth is different coz he now speaks almost a 100 words and seems to understand alot i think having an older sibling has also helped him coz the brother pushes him to talk. As a result he can count up to 13 without mixing up the numbers and also knows the alphabet up to "p".

Cyndi - posted on 09/07/2010

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My son hardly talks he says a couple of words but they are not as distinct as we would like. We think because we have a daughter just one year older she does all the talking for him. We think he will talk on his own time and when he is tired of his sister talking for him! lol

Julieanne - posted on 09/07/2010

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my 19 month old only say like 30 words, doesn't put any together...i guess it depends. I dont have time to sit and read with him since i am a single mom, so he doesnt get that extra time. If you constantly sit with your son and try you maybe should worry, but if your on the go constantly dont worry babies are all different. Plus they say boys learn slower than girls

Magela - posted on 09/06/2010

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my daughter says about 10 words in spanish and english .. i love it tho she seems like shes gana be a talkative lil girl because shes always babling like if shes having a conversation she also learns quick when u repeat words she gets them quick doesnt sound so perfectly at first but she gets the hang of it .. i love it cant wait till she starts having a conversation wit me .. my MIL tells me when she does ima want her to b quite bcuzz shes gana drive me crazy;)

Michelle - posted on 09/01/2010

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Wow, thank you all for your responses! This has been so helpful and I hope this post has helped other moms who have had the same concern. I took the ENT's recommendation and had my son evaluated. A social worker, speech therapist and developmental therapist came by to observe, play and ask several questions. In the end, all three said that he is developing age appropriately. I'm no longer worried and know he will continue to expand his vocabulary, as he is currently doing. As many moms have stated, all kids are different and will develop at their own pace. Thanks again, I feel so supported!

Dawn - posted on 08/28/2010

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Wanted to put in more of my opinion!! As I stated earlier, my son does not have a strong vocabulary at this time, but has no problems communicating or following direction (when he feels like it!!). He has said about 20 words over the past 5 months, but seems to get stuck with 1-2 that he uses over and over! He babbles longs sentences to people and his toys, but most words are not understandable to even me at this time. I restated all this because I didn't mention a few things in my original comments. We have been watching Baby Signing Time since he was about 8 months old; he currently signs about the same as he talks. We read everyday, sometimes it seems like all day...I would say about 30 times though; he is now in the repetition stage, so its basically the same 5 books over and over!! We go to storytime almost every week. We sing action songs and nursery rhymes throughout the day at home and in the car. I bring him to the library, the playground and my gym daycare once a week to expose him to other children his age and older (he is an only). My husband and I talk to him all the time, pointing everything out to him and asking him to name them as well. Just wanted to give another push to the point of view: they will do it when they are ready and no sooner! :)

Natalie - posted on 08/28/2010

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urs says more than mine my only says about five to six words i wouldnt worry about it he sounds like hes on track for his age

Hope - posted on 08/27/2010

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I understand the worry, when my daughter was 18 months old she had a vocab like i could not believe !!! I was one proud mamma bragging to everyone i talked to. However my son is now 18 months old and says MAYBE 10 words !!! I have a woman from a group called "help me grow" come once a month to detect any learning problems in the children so i can get a head start on helping them b4 it gets to bad. She said that rite now she does not think it is anything to worry about for one boys develop alittle slower then girls and second with as much as his lil sister talks he cant get a word in if he wanted to!!!! She assured me that when my lil over achiever heads off to school my son will change and develop by leaps and bounds and to tell you i cant wait it would take ALOT of worry of my mind.

Marie - posted on 08/27/2010

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15-20 words sounds fine to me..my nephew is 21 months and only says a few words, but he shows with sign what he wants..(my sister is an awesome mom) my twin boys are 18 months, one says very few words, and the other is making sentences (i want juice, i want go out) every child develops at their own pace, you'll know when your babe is a little older if there's a problem or not...i don't think so, 15-20 words sounds very normal..

Vicki - posted on 08/26/2010

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My little girl says tons of words but they're hard to understand to others. She says about 15 words clearly. The rest are like Gog for Dog, Shees for Cheese, Bup for Up and so on. I do attribute her many words to lots of reading. I also take her to the library once a week-they have music time and she plays with the kids while I pick some books. Also, I always repeat back to her whether I understand it or not. If I do understand it I pronounce it correctly. I also tell her quite often "take a deep breath and use your words" and she'll take a breath and try to tell me what she needs rather than screaming. Good luck! I'm sure its nothing to worry about.

Kasey - posted on 08/26/2010

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My daughter is 18 months and she doesn't talk much. Like 5 words at the most. It doesn't concern me though because she understands everything that I say to her. Like no, throw this away, night night time, lay down, diaper time, bath time, sitdown, put the toys away.

Jen - posted on 08/26/2010

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My son says around 20-30 words, so he's in a similar grouping. His doctor says he's doing great. If you are concerned though, bring him in to be evaluated. Better to be overly cautious than to have regrets!

Melody - posted on 08/26/2010

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my daughter is 18 months old too and she doesn't talk much at all. She says mommy and daddy and has her own version of her brothers' names, but other than that, everything is baby babble. She understands everything I say and all babies develop differently so I'm not worried yet. I think as long as the have the comprehension, you know they get it, they just might not want to talk yet

Stacie - posted on 08/26/2010

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my son is also 18 months and only says a handful of words but he understands pretty much everything I say to him and does mimic loads of sounds, he is talked to all the time and can imated words by sounds but I am not worried by this, hope it helps

Rachel - posted on 08/25/2010

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My son says Dad, Mom, Josh, Awesome, Izzy, Hi and Down. He does not say these all the time. I know he understands a lot more words then he speaks. When he wants something he reaches for it. We also read a lot of books and he looks at books all the time. My husband talk to him and encourage him to talk. He makes a lot of sounds. I am not worry about it. I am enjoying my peace and quiet.

Sara - posted on 08/25/2010

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my son is quite lazy with his speech, he older brother seems to do all the talkin for him :D he says mum, dad, ta, wats that, and no. that is pretty much it. he understands wat ur sayin to him and he will do wat u ask him to do, so i am happy.

Susan - posted on 08/25/2010

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My 18-month-old girl does the same things your son does. I wouldn't worry either.

April - posted on 08/24/2010

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My daughter has about 100 words and can sing a couple of songs. I think she is ahead verbally.

However, she didn't walk until 17 months!

Meggy - posted on 08/24/2010

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my 18-month old boy can say about 5 words but he can understand more than he says...he's a great learner...he shows in his actions...it's normal that he can't say much words..it's just not the time yet...;)

Miriam - posted on 08/24/2010

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My baby turned 18mo yesterday, but she's been excelling in her words since 12 months. I think what helped is that whenever she'd whine for something I'd tell her what it was, and wait until she'd repeat it back or at least try to repeat it back. She knows whining won't get her a thing, but words will. She caught on quickly. We also read 3 books together every night before bed and I ask her where things are or I point and ask the names. Or I point at words and ask her what it is. We work together with her language a lot! At 15 months she was using 3-5 word sentences. In the last couple weeks she's been repeating things her daddy, strangers, or I say just like a little copy cat! She's so funny! I didn't use sign language with her until recently. I wanted her to use words and not her hands. But every sign I teach her now, she catches on and uses it appropriately nearly every time she says the word. Her favorite is penguin. At her 15 month check up her doctor said if he didn't know her real age he'd guess she was two by the things that she was saying and doing such as knowing her alphabet. I'm thinking about starting the "My baby can read" program because she catches on to reading words so quickly I think I should help her any way I can.

Kristy - posted on 08/24/2010

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Im sure your kids say alot more then what you give them credit for. When i took my son to his 18m check up i was asked the same question " how many words can your son say?" and im thinking about all the words i hear him say all the time. My son can say about 60 words now i sat down one day and counted all the words i can understand him saying and there were more then what i thought. He is a very smart lil boy he walked early and talked early.

Sherrie - posted on 08/23/2010

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Hun, thats all my daughter is saying, i know each child is differant , BUT she doesn't say any more than that and alot of babbling, lol she is bilingual in Spanish and says maybe 7 -10 word also in Spanish, but i think he is normal, they told me my daughters doing great speech wise??? HOWEVER ,I worked for an E.N.T. Doctor, and they are usually excellent at spotting any concerns with early speech developement it can't hurt to listen and they really are there to help.I would do what they said, if reasonable. Good luck, sweetie! Hope this helps a bit!Sher PS: OH yes, my daughters the same age so< i think every child is diff.> ASK them to explain everything in detail or get pamphlets! You're on the ball taking him there in the first place. Sher

Katie - posted on 08/23/2010

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My son just turned 18 months and doesn't really say anything. He tries when the mood strikes him but it's not very often. He doesn't even say mama or dada. But he knows what things are and communicates well. All I have to do is ask him where something is and he'll take me right to it. Just doesn't feel like talking yet I guess. I wouldn't worry. :)

Michelle - posted on 08/23/2010

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You should try the Your Baby Can Read DVDs. My 18mth daughter's vocabulary increased a lot by watching those DVDs

Tabitha - posted on 08/22/2010

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no worries my friend. use toys that say words and light up. my son is 18 months but was born 5 weeks early so i didn't expect him to be on the same track. i don't really care how many words he can say according to number, but i know that he is doing well because we can communicate. he also loves sign language and it is really easy. i heard him yesterday play with his toy that kept saying "yellow" and then i heard him try to say it all by himself. it sounded more like "ell-oh" haha... but just remember, they will catch up as long as you are keeping up with it as well! good luck!

Melissa - posted on 08/22/2010

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HI My son does not talk much either he tries a lot and will repeat words when it suits him, but I am not concerned as he is my 3rd boy and all my boys have been the same, my first went to speech lessons for nearly a year and a half and my 2nd (who is 3and a half) is on a waiting list to get a assessed. In saying this my children are a bit behind in the language department compared to a couple of friends but in motor skills they are way better my boys were walking by 9 months 10 and youngest at 11 they love to play with blokes and are great at building my oldest is a wiz on the computer compared to most children and always has been!! And yes I read alot talk alot to them it's just how it is, they are a bit behind in talking!!! I am saying this to say that even though your child may be behind in one thing they are probably ahead in others... it's how they are wired.. and it will come with time. Don't stress as a child will pick up on this and they will withdraw from doing it as they will feel they have done something wrong!!! Just let them grow at there own pass get them assessed if need be but really they are still babies at 18months and have a lot of things to learn and some things they learn easier Have fun with them, they dont stay little for long!!!!

Christina - posted on 08/22/2010

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I just had my sons 18mth immunization. As of right now Pierce is not really saying any words consistently... a lot of babbling & occasionally we can get him to say things like dada, mama, nana, & uh oh.
None of the Drs, nurses, etc. that I've talked to seem to have a concern right now as he does understand a lot more than what he can communicate.
I wouldn't be worried tho... boys generally seem to take a bit longer to start talking anyway.

Randi - posted on 08/21/2010

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My guy is not saying much either so was great to see we are not alone. Thinking prob not to worry. He understands everything and goes too fast to bother slowing down to make words. My Dr told me to start trying to make him say words of what he wants. we been trying but give in a lot

Samantha - posted on 08/20/2010

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My son is 18 months old and doesnt walk.. He will using furniture or hands to hold but he wont do it on his own. He talks alot and he crawls mostly to get around his dr told me I needed to get him checked out to make sure there isnt something wrong with his hips but if he can walk holding on to things I dont think there is anything wrong with him. I think all kids are different and will learn certain things when they're ready. 15-20 words is GREAT! I knew some kids that were about 2 and werent talking at all..

AndyJessica - posted on 08/20/2010

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My 18 month old son says about 20 words and he says hi dadda and no momma (when Ieave him with someone else) I think all children develop differently and you shouldn't worry this early about their language.

Chrissy - posted on 08/20/2010

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I wouldn't worry about it. My 18 month old doesn't say anything, not even mama or dada. He does babble and have conversations in his own language. He can read some words and he knows most of his body parts. And I read several books to him every day. I've started just repeating simple, everyday words to him hoping he'll just start repeating me! I'm not worried!

Emily - posted on 08/20/2010

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Michelle, is he your first born? I have two girls and the oldest talked really early on and said many words at even 12 months and putting 4 word phrases at 18-24 months. My youngest one says maybe 8-10 words at 18 months. Both of them have had tubes in the ears. It may just be the way he is all kids are different.

Marcy - posted on 08/20/2010

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My daughter is just now 18 months and she says very few words, five words currently. Our pediatrician said that they don't get too concerned until their 2 yr wellness appt. He asked about hearing, understanding and following directions. She can do all that, just hasn't started to talk yet.

Kristie - posted on 08/20/2010

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My 18 month old daughter only says about 3 words but like many others have said, understands a lot! She does know over 25 words in sign language though so I'm not worried about her because she is still communicating. She is starting to try and say more words and does babble a lot so that's good. Not concerned as of now.

Cyndi - posted on 08/20/2010

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My son also is having issues with ear infections, instead of multiples, hes had the same one for months. Hes now on his 5th antibiotic and they are running out of ideas, but he only says about 2 or 3 words. The doctor just told us to work with him and try to get him into daycare or a setting with other kids his own age and hell pick it up. They dont seem too worried at this point but will reevaluate it at his next physical.

Nora - posted on 08/20/2010

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Your child sounds completly normal. I wouldn't worry about what the doctor says. Every child develops at their own pace. Does this doctor have children of his own? ?
My daughter talks non stop more so recently.. I'm not sure how many words she can say as I lost count and figured its not what's important. She recently has been very interested in singing. She will sing her favourite lullabys or songs from the tv shows or adverts she likes. She can put words together really well too...but like I said and the others each child will develop at their own pace. Try not to worry too much. : )

Elizabeth - posted on 08/19/2010

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15-20 wrds is perfect....i would not worry at al. My daughter is 18mths and only says a few words prolly less then 10, but she follows any comands i ask her to. Dont stress about language sounds like hes doing fine!!!

Jessica - posted on 08/19/2010

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I 18 month old son (according to me)has a very extended vocabulary and is able to say 65+ words and about five 3 or 4 word phrases. However my niece is almost 18 months and only says about 7 words, but she can count to 3 with little assistance. So obviously the amount of words an 18 month old should say various.

Amber - posted on 08/19/2010

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my daughter is 18 months old and she is finally making sentences and climbing different kids do things at different times ecspecially if they was born early. some do things sooner than others the only thing my daughter is not doing yet is walking by herself.

Michelle - posted on 08/19/2010

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My Daughter is similar Sandra since she can't sit still for more than 30 seconds and would rather look at the pics than let me read. She wants the book for herself to flip through.

Sandra - posted on 08/19/2010

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my 18 month old started to talk when he was just over one year old. he could say puppy, bubbles, mama, tucker, yes, no and hello. and he did talk for good 3 weeks and then he stopped until he was 17 months old. he can understand everything, when i tell him to get his nappy bag out of his bedroom he walks off and gets his nappy bag. he understands. but he only makes noises, when we're singing he sings "lalala" and he only nodds and shakes his head for yes and no and waves hello and good bye. it's weird. he loves books, but he won't let me read them to him he loves looking at the pictures, but when i try to read one to him he grabs the book and runs away. another problem is that he never sits still for longer than 30 seconds. but i guess every child is different so i'm not to worried yet.

Amanda - posted on 08/18/2010

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every child is different...my daughter just turned 18 months, but she can say 200+ words. She can read anywhere from 40-50 words when you write them down. When we took her to her 18 month checkup the doctor said this was very unusual for a child this age. An 18 month old that can read and say perpendicular, elephant, rectangle was quite phenomenal. They are looking at putting her into enrichment classes. My friend, who also has a daughter 2 months younger can only say mama and dada though, and that is perfectly normal. It really just varies by child how advanced they are in speech. I wouldn't worry about it.

Jennifer - posted on 08/18/2010

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My 17 month old is a little chatterbox, she can carry a conversation very well with me, her dad and pretty much anyone else around . She's always been a bit advanced though in everything. growing up way to fast for my liking :(

Cassandra - posted on 08/18/2010

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My doc asked if he was using at least 12-20 words. It's so hard for me to count because there are several words he doesn't use that often and it's easy to forget. My son uses at least 18 words that I can think of right now.

Star - posted on 08/18/2010

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I'm in the same boat. My 18 month old only says about 5 words- and not clearly. I'm assuming it's because we sign. We're now putting signing "on the back burner" and emphasizing talking. But yes- it is a bit concerning when you see/hear other children this age talking up a storm. I agree with Sarah- READ, READ, READ to them! I am finding my son is trying to mimic the sounds and words now. ;-) Most importantly, we need to love a respect our little ones no matter where they are developmentally.

Jennifer - posted on 08/18/2010

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My daughter is the same way. I personally think she is fine. Doctors can be a pain sometimes. I have another little girl who is small. The doctors think something is wrong with her they have done all kinds of test and guess what no problems. Kids are just different, if they are developing age- appropriately for most things I would not worry. Just keep watching and playing with him and he should be fine.

Jennifer - posted on 08/18/2010

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My son just turned 18 months and he has about 10 words in total so far. I am not concerned at all, every child is different in their development and it is something that shouldn't be rushed. They will feel like they are doing something wrong or something is wrong with them if you are concerned about it. Let them be kids, we all grow up to talk someday

Elizabeth - posted on 08/18/2010

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Wow - reading these comments is making me feel so much better, my 18-mo old little boy says just a handful of barely recognizable words (mama, dada, hi) everything else is dah, or bah, or something like baby babbling. His motor skills are fab though, he climbs, he jumps, he runs, he opens and closes doors, etc. etc. I have been very worried about the verbal stuff though because my twin boys were speaking in complete sentences by the time they were his age. I think they must have wanted to talk to eachother or something. I don't know but it's nice to know there are plenty of other little boys with approximately the same speech level. I won't worry so much now - he certainly understands plenty and follows directions, points, etc.

It is so very true that every child develops differently and those differences can be very widespread.

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