Why isn't my 18 month old talking?

Alicia - posted on 06/10/2010 ( 34 moms have responded )

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Jonathan is 18 months. He only says "dad." When he was about 12 months, he would respond to the words "I love you," with something that sounded like it, but that has stopped. He says "bop" for stop, and "Osh" for Josh. That's about it. My older two kids talked quite a bit more at this age. In fact, they were putting two words together by now. In all the baby updates, they say he should have at least ten or more words. He has maybe three!

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Rebecca - posted on 06/10/2010

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If you're genuinely concerned, you can always talk to your pediatrician about it. I know that some children experience being "tongue tied" (I believe that's what it's called), which I think is when the webbing beneath tongue is too far up, making the formation of words too difficult.



Baby milestones are all different; it may be that your son is simply absorbing the things he hears and sees and, one day, all those stored up words will come pouring out. Does he know what things are - meaning if you ask him to show you a shoe, or his tummy, or to go get a teddy bear, does he understand? If he does, then he's clearly processing and understanding words - they just aren't coming out yet.



My twins, 17 months, are pros are pointing stuff out, but are just now turning their baby babble in to real words - baby, tree, teeth, and so on. You just have to be super diligent about pointing things out, telling him what they are in higher pitched voice (babies respond well and listen more attentively to higher voices). Read with your son and point out the pictures in the book, telling him what they are.



I also found with my girls that it helps immensely to say the words as THEY would say them - slowly and with a sort of slurry, exaggerated pronunciation.



The words will come - just be patient. -=0)

Jane - posted on 06/18/2010

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All of the posts here have been very encouraging, but I worry they aren't very helpful. It's true that all children develop at their own pace, but there are things that you should watch out for as signs of something more serious than a slight speech delay. Do you feel like his language development is slow but progressing, or do you feel that it really is not progressing or even regressing? Does he understand words? Does he follow simple directions like "Give me ______." and "Come here." Is he able to get familiar objects that are out of sight like if you asked him to get his blankie, or to find dad, would he go into the next room to do it? Is he able to point to things you label for him like while looking at pictures of favorite animals? Is he pointing to things and otherwise gesturing and communicating his needs with you? And most importantly, does he stop and look at you and listen when you call his name? You can encourage langauge by doing a lot of talking. But try not to use full sentences. Just stick to one word labels and start by labeling the things he seems to find most interesting. Also, try to get him to talk or point, or otherwise communicate before giving him things you think he might want. Sometimes kids don't talk because they don't have to. We as parents do a really great job of anticipating needs and just giving them whatever they want before they tell us.
If you are very concerned, you should talk to your pediatrician and try to get a speech evaluation from a speech therapist. Insurance will often pay for speech therapy.

Susan - posted on 06/25/2010

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I am a speech-language pathologist. Jane Kim (above) gave you a wonderful response.

You have to step back and look at the whole picture of how your child communicates. Do you think your child understands what you're saying overall? Can your child follow simple directions? How is his hearing? Is he babbling a lot? (Babbling is when he sounds like he's speaking a foreign language with lots of inflection like he's asking questions or commenting, only you can't understand him. It's a riot to hear them do that!) Or does he stay quiet most of the time?

Please visit the American Speech-Language Hearing Association's website. Here is a great link: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/develo...

You, as a mother, should follow your heart. You know your child better than anyone. If you feel your pediatrician is brushing off your concerns, ask for a referral to a SLP. (Many pediatricians feel they're doing you a favor by telling you "everything is ok, don't worry," but in reality, they don't know everything about speech and language development. The speech therapist is the expert.... You wouldn't ask your dentist about your foot would you? Get an evaluation scheduled. Your insurance will pay for it, and you will have your answers.

Between 18-24 months, there is generally a speech & language explosion. Most children this age are picking up words left & right -- almost daily. I would recommend that you listen carefully to what your child is saying and see if he really is saying more "words" than you realize. (Those first words aren't going to be perfect!) Make a list. It might surprise you to see how many he is saying....

Good luck!
Susan

Christina - posted on 06/13/2010

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It goes one of two ways with the youngest child. Either they will talk so much at an early age b/c they hear it from their siblings or they wont talk at all b/c they talk too much for him. lol I'm sure he will talk in his own time! Keep asking him questions and talking to him.

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Rachael - posted on 07/03/2010

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My son is 18 months two. He does say a few words like mommy, daddy, more, please, thank you, bye, and ball.. But does not talk alot. But Its normal that babies will start talking by this age. By this age my oldest daughter was already taking, but they do say that boys are slower than girls at a lot of things. Just dont get all worried about it right now, but if later on it dont get any better just consult their doctor about your concerns.. Good luck on everything!

Shay - posted on 07/02/2010

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Amaya is 18 months old,and can ask for whatever she wants, and she repeats any words, phrasaes or sentences that you say! I had gotten flash cards and started her at 8 months, I read to her, and I also do the, "What's that", activity all the time so she learns body parts, things in the house, and outside the house, her toys, friends, and family! She also likes watching Nick Jr. which is like prescholl at home. Yo Gabba Gabba, Wonder Pets, and Nhia KAai-Lan, and other shows that help motivate her language, and motor skills. Hope that I was helpful, good luck!

Sandra - posted on 06/28/2010

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Hi, I happen to agree w/Jane Kim..That was probably the best advice on here. Pointing is very important as well as eye contact..Labeling objects is also a good idea..Maybe you could even work on sounds like ahh..Keep track of any regression and talk to your pediatrician..Good Luck

Amanda - posted on 06/28/2010

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Is your son walking? I have read in magazines that kids this age can only get through one big milestone at a time. So if he is still working on getting the walking thing down, that may mean he isn't concentrating on talking. If he is already walking, I would try to point out more objects in your everyday life and maybe the use of words over and over might get him to start saying what he hears all the time. If you are really concerned that something isn't right with your son, than you need to make an appointment with the doctor to determine early if there is a problem. But every child develops at their own speed. Good luck. I would just make sure he understands what you are saying, like pointing to his tummy if you ask him to.

Althea - posted on 06/28/2010

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Hey Alicia thank you. That makes me feel so much better. My son is 17 mo. and only says a few words as well. He understands alot like if I tell him to go get his shoes he'll go get them and same with his cup. But he really on says daddy, and Maddy (his sister) He just screams and points for anything else. I know it's still early, so we'll see where he is at 2years.

Melissa - posted on 06/25/2010

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Thanks Susan!! I'm from Australia but what you have put up is quite helpful. I was a little worried that my 17 month son wasn't talking much.. after my niece at the same age was talking so much! He has started to say quite a number of thinks lately 'meow' for cat, 'quack' for duck, door for when we're going out, shoes, mama, dada, car (now that is continuous, car nut child)... I just keep reading to him, point things out & he is slowly picking things up.

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My 4 1/2yr old son has sever oro motor dyspraxia. At 18 months he had no words and we were told not to worry, boys are always slower! If you are worried then please check with your doctor and push for help if you think you need it. Generally though if he is able to 'babble' with different sounds then that is a good sign even if there are not many actual words. My 18mnth old daughter can say some words but makes lots of attempts with different sounds which is very different to her older brother at that age. See if you can get him to make animal sounds, remember it is not the 'words' you need at this age, it is just the different sound attempts, which is why babies generally start with bubba, mumma, dadda - as sounds rather than words. I hope that helps, remember if you are concerned the earlier you get onto it, the better.

Dayna - posted on 06/24/2010

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My daughter is 17 months and does not say very many words. She has surprised us on occasion ans said "good tata (tata is polish for dad)". Mostly just says "dog", "tata" & "dada". "mama" only if she is crying.
Kids focus on different things. My daughter started walking, climbing, kicking a ball, running early. She doesn't seem to think talking is important. She does whatever I ask of her, putting shoes away etc, so I know there are no hearing issues.
She has actually pushed her climber into the kitchen to get her favorite crackers from the counter. So I really think her brain is just not concerned with language right now. Hopefully all the similar stories can put your mind at rest.

Stephanie - posted on 06/24/2010

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My son is talking much either. he says, "stop, "that"(for any food item and "clap". My daughter had sentences at his age but I'm not worried. As a teacher I know that children reach these milestones at their own pace. Plus he follows instructions pretty well. So I know he understands me. making repetitive sounds, mimicking your tones and pitches are signs that a baby is trying to learn speech. Talk to your doctor if it really concerns you but I think he just needs more time.

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My 3 1/2 year old is speach delayed and is seeing a speach therapist. I asked her about my 17 mth old boy yesterday as I am concerned about his speach as well as he only says Mumma and Daddad. He was saying ta and duck at 13mths but has stopped that now. She said wait a couple of months and if he doesn't improve make an appointment, so my suggestion is you do just that, but definately book him into a hearing test just in case (ask your GP). One thing that I have found out is that speach delayed kids often are slow in crawling, walking and a little later on toilet training so that is something to look out for (I am not saying that if your child is slow doing these things that they are speach delayed, nor am I saying that if they aren't slow that they not speach delayed, every child is different). My 3 1/2 year old didn't walk until she was 16mths however my 17mth old started walking at 12mths and crawling at 6mths, but I don't know yet if he is delayed. My suggestion is don't wait too long however, as I did with my 3 1/2 year old and have had to do a load of work to try and catch her up and she is having going speacialised Speach School next year.

Ginger - posted on 06/23/2010

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My son is 17 months old and says nothing. He points and grunts. he also has 3 older siblings and does not go to daycare. I am not concerned at all because my brother didn't talk until he was almost 3 years old for the exact reasons, he didn't need to.
My girls were speaking full sentences before they were one. So i was a bit upset at first but His dr. said not to worry, when he has something to say he will.

Elaine - posted on 06/23/2010

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I feel you...My 18 month old says dada and that's it. We took him to our pediatrician and she said not to worry about it, but he did have some fluid in his ear so she recommended we go to an ent to get that checked out...Sure enough he is having difficulty hearing. the therapist said that has alot to do with his not speaking yet. I think that you should definitely take your child to your pediatrician and ask questions....

Sal - posted on 06/23/2010

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as a few people have mentioned,girls generally talk sooner than boys.my daughter could put small sentances together by 17 months whereas my son can just about put 2 words together.his favourtie ones always begin with 'my' eg 'my cat' 'my nana' 'my dada' all i can say is that all children are different.my nephew couldnt say much at all until he was 2 but now at nearly 3 i can have a very clear,intelligible conversation with him.and as everybody else has said,your son probably doesnt feel the need to talk yet as you anticipate his every need.but if none of these comments put you at ease,see your HV

Wendy - posted on 06/22/2010

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don't know if it's any help but i have a 17 month old who is just starting to want to feed himself but he doesn't have a huge vocabulary and I think it's mainly because he really likes his food. my son Marcus(2) has a large vocabulary yet has no interest in food much. I asked my doctor and he said everything was fine it just goes along with every child develops at a different pace. I wouldn't worry about it just yet.

Shawni - posted on 06/22/2010

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dont worry my sons 17 months and doesnt say much either but he walked early and hes very clever he understands mostly everything i say to him he just wont talk yet, some kids start talking early and some dont and then others start and stop a lot, i wouldnt start worrying until your little ones about 2 its perfectly normal, the babies i know that talk lots have only just started walking every child develops differently xx

Catherine - posted on 06/22/2010

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my son is nearly the same age and also isnt saying many more words then that either however i have no concerns because all his other developments are going well, he is walking and coordination, see a pediatriction if ur seriously concerned but if ur just stressing over something that u really dont need to be... relax! he is only 18 months

Gayle - posted on 06/21/2010

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lots of variables can be affecting his speech. He has two older siblings, who could be doing a lot of interpreting for him, so it makes it unnecessary for him to speak. If he is exposed to more than one language consistently, that could also delay his speech. My 17 month old son goes to a Russian daycare, where the caregivers speak a lot of Russion to eachother. A lot of my son's babbling sounds Russian. How much does your son comprehend? I totaly understand your worry. My daughter (4.5 years) was a big, big talker and was using sentences by this time. My son babbles a lot, but his vocabulary grew much slower than hers. I do agree with other posters, that if you are concerned, you should speak to your pedicatrician.

Calista - posted on 06/20/2010

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My son is almost 3, and I was always concerned about his speech. It seemed like all his friends spoke much better than he did. He's finally at the point where his vocabulary is exploding and some of what he says is in complete sentences. A couple of things...boys usually talk later than girls and at 2 years of age if he doesn't say more than twenty words you should be concerned. In my state you can get a speech therapist come to your house a couple of times a week to work with your child one-on-one if they don't say more than 20 words by age two. A friend of mine's little girl fell into this category and she said that when they came, they made sure to announce everything! They also made sure she was watching their mouth when they talked and worked with one word and putting several words with it like, "throw the ball." "Kick the ball." "Roll the ball."
Your obviously a parent who is attentive to youru child's development which the first way to help him. Just keep reading to him, singing songs, and talking about everything you do all day. If he doesn't say 20 words by two, seek professional help. It could truely be a speech problem or it could be a hearing problem.

Katie - posted on 06/20/2010

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My son is 17 months now and only sais momma occasionally. I dont have any other children so he is not around many kids so idk if that has anything to do with it but Im a little conserned myself. I am hoping that it isnt a big deal, I know he hears fine though lol

Shannon - posted on 06/19/2010

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my son is also 17 months and not talking....dadadadad for everything.....i was really concerned but after reading all these replys i feel better knowing we are all concered and they are all at the same stage so i guess we are worrying for nothing lol.

Kimberly - posted on 06/18/2010

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I believe this may have been mentioned but it is quite possible that your child is expending much energy, effort, focus on another skill such as walking. I have been told by my twins' former PT that this is very common.



My 17M old twins both only say mama and dada and babble. My radar is up but my son is a relatively new walker and is working on mastering this skill and my daughter is focused on other things as well.

Laura - posted on 06/18/2010

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Jane,
Great insight... my son gets the pointing and grunting thing, it's just waiting for the words to come out! We can see that he's frustrated when we don't understand what he's pointing to, so I'm thinking that language is there, just not the ability to spit out what he wants to say yet. He understands commands well, and that is definitely something to look at. Take into account all of the things that your child is doing cognitively, and if seems as if there may be a problem, talk to your doctor. The doctor may refer you on to other specialists to help your child. Even a simple hearing test might be able to tell you a lot!

Jodi - posted on 06/18/2010

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My son is saying about 10-15 words, but my husband expects him to say sentences!! (This is his first). I have known other children that didn't speak for the longest time, but when they did, they had a lot to say! Your son may just be taking it all in, so keep talking to him and teaching him, and then he may just surprise you one of these days.

Marisa - posted on 06/17/2010

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Are older two girls? That was my first thought. My son didn't talk much until is was close to three. At two he said several things, but his pronunciation was not good and he didn't have much vocab. Boys talk later than girls generally. My second a girl is 17 months and only says up and on (in addition to ma and da.) I am not going to worry about it until much later. You might have your son checked out for physical problems. I did with my son and it was through a county program, not his Pediatrician.

Heather - posted on 06/17/2010

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My sons the same way as you Laura. He says dada all the time, but pretty much babbles the rest of the time, no real words yet. But he knows how to communicate physically. Which I think is still a great start! The talking will come when he's ready...I'm not too worried! :)

Laura - posted on 06/16/2010

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My son is the same way, but I'm not too worried about it because he's really working hard on his gross and fine motor skills. He understands a lot, so the words are there, just not coming out yet.

Jordan - posted on 06/15/2010

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My 17 mth old girl says mum, daddad (her form of grandad) and up.. thats it! I dare say that all his needs are being met, hence no real need to develop more as yet but my mum says i wouldn't talk much until i was about 3 - then they couldnt shut me up!! I have taught my daughter a few sign language signs - eat, drink and that helps but she is happy and content and thats all i care about. Every child is different.. dont let what he "should" be doing worry you.. but if you are that worried - do see your doc.

Hirono - posted on 06/13/2010

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My son is not talking too much either. He rarely says mama. He says dada but nothing else. If I say dog or light or anything of that sort he will go and point, but talking is going very slow. He sometimes says something similar to light.

I have been reading to him a lot and pointing things out. But no sign of speaking yet. I think that he will just be a slow talker, and your son maybe too. Is he progressing in other areas? Odin's dexterity is very good for his age. He might just be learning other stuff.

Kristina - posted on 06/12/2010

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my son is 17 months and he doesn't really say anything. He can say dada and mama, but he just say those words, he doesn't call us by those names. when i point out familiar objects and ask him to say those words he just smiles as though he's humoring me. if i keep trying to get him to say the word, he gets annoyed. i'm going to talk to his doctor next month and see what she says. i would guess she's going to recommend an OT.

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2010

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My son babbles a lot, but doesn't say too many words. He says dad, ball, throw ( because he throws everything!), baba for bubbles and everything is "this" I'm not worried yet. They will all talk at their own pace.

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