Is it normal for a 16 month old to not be talking?

Kids start talking at different ages, but should you start getting worried if a 16 month old hasn't start talking yet?

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28  Answers

1 11

I work as a consultant in the autism field and my friends ask me these types of questions a lot.
It really all depends. If your child is not babbling at all or making any kind of noises, then I would take him immediately to get evaluated for speech. If you are noticing any other symptoms such as acting like he can't hear you, abnormal temper tantrums, aggressive behaviors like excessive biting or scratching, sleep issues, major issues with eating, or obsessive compulsive-like behaviors, then you should discuss having your child screened for autism. At his 18 month appointment most pediatricians offices do a hearing screening and an autism questionnaire.

Lack of speech on it's own, especially in boys, isn't cause for concern unless it's coupled with other symptoms. If he's pointing, babbling and making noises to get your attention, and using other gestures to get what he wants then there is really no reason to be worried. My brother, for example, didn't speak really until he was 2.5 and his first word was 'garbage truck!' My son, on the other hand, went from babbling to speaking sentences practically overnight at around 18 months.
If, in your gut, you feel like something is wrong, you need to remember that you're his mother and you're the best advocate for your child. It never hurts to ask your pediatrician if you have concerns or to make an appointment to have your child evaluated to be your fears at rest.

7
1 1

It's true that every child is different, but there are general ranges for age groups that you can use as a gauge. My son said his first word fairly early, but then slowed down after hitting the 1 1/2 year mark. We had him evaluated at 2 1/2 years and he is starting therapy. If you have insurance, call them and see what they cover for a speech evaluation. If it's covered, then it can't hurt to have one done, because if there is a problem, the sooner it is identified, the sooner you can find resources. On the other hand, if the 16 month old is simply not talking, and has no other atypical behaviors or doesn't bite or scratch more than normal, then there may not be anything to worry about. I think you have to take all their other behaviors into consideration as well.

4
1 15

Yes, every child does develop at a different pace, but if your insurance does cover a speech evaluation, I don't think it would hurt to get one. At 17 months old, my daughter was only saying, "ma". She had previously said, "mama" and "dada" and "ba", but she 'lost' those word approximations and was only really saying, "ma". She understood everything I said and responded by grunting and pointing. We went to get her evaluated for feeding issues (still only eating stage two foods at this point and gagged/vomited on other textured food) and when evaluated, she was diagnosed with a neurological speech/oral-motor disorder which affected both expressive language skills and feeding skills. I think the earlier you find out what's going on, the better. After 9 months of speech therapy, my daughter is speaking in 3-5 word sentences.

2
0 63

My son is 2 and still only eating baby food we did feeding therapy and it hasn't helped .... What should I do now? He gags and vomits when eating other things as well but he will eat pizza... That's it.

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14 15

My son is now 2.5, and is not saying a single word. I took him for hearing tests at 18mths and 2 yrs, and he passed both hearing tests. I bullied my GP into and ENT referral, only to find he had glue ear (not picked up by the audiologiest), and inflamed andernoids (he had gromets in ears and andernoids out a month later). He then started speech therpy for a couple of months, and although was making good progress, was still not talking. I have just been to see a peaditrician, and we are getting him evaluated. As many of the commets suggust - Mums always know best, and if you're not sure, go ask someone, it can't hurt

1
225 13

kids all learn at their own pace, but if your child isn't babbling, or doesn't show understanding of what you are talking about then you might want to have your child checked for a hearing problem.

1
0 4

I was actually goingt to suggest this too. Usually you can get your childs hearing tested for free.

54 0

My son was super shy and I had concerns. A lot of states have free programs ours is called birth to 3 and they come to ur house and talk to ur kid and do tests and games and of they feel somethimgs up they will tell u and it's free. Look it up

0
0 0

My children are grown and I now have grandchildren so my advise may be outdated but my son who has children of his own was like this as a youngster come to find out he had an very high IQ. His brain moved faster than his mouth. very simple once he did start talking it took time for him to come around. as he progressed in later years reading was difficult with help in this area he was in the gifted program for science and math. we thought there was something wrong. to find all this out took us till he was in 2nd grade. I hope this helps you.

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24 19

they are all different my daughter was fluenty talking by 2yrs of age my son is 3 and half and still is a little hard to understand but he is ok! they learn quickly and you will know if theres a problem by the time they are kinder (4) they should be able to talk pretty well before then I wouldnt worry too much. Just encorage them by being clear in your own talking. Listen to them. Use proper words yourself not 'baby talk'. Read to them alot. Sing nursery rhymes etc... it all helps! point to things say what they are... look! dog! fish!...

0
0 11

While every child develops skills at different rates, Early Intervention in PA can assess and evaluate if there is a developmental delay and provide services to children and families at no cost to them. If you live in PA and are concerned for your child's development, call 1-800-692-7288 and request an evaluation from your County Early Intervention Program.

0
1,510 49

Most children are saying about 6 words by this time, though some develop slower and some faster. Don't get worried right away, first determine if your child is babbling or trying to say words, if not ask the pediatrician for a referral to a speech pathologist or get another hearing test done. Once it is determined your child has a hearing problem, steps can be taken to overcome this. If it isn't a hearing problem, tests will be done to find out what the problem is. If you are ever in doubt whether your child is 'normal' or not, don't worry about it. 'Normal' can be a variety of things but only you know your child.

0
12 6

All kids are different and I wouldn't worry. My daughter didn't talk until she was past 2 years. She's now 5 and carries on complex conversations and I can't get her to STOP talking. :)

0
100 27

If you live in the states I would recommend contacting your Local EarlyOn program... they can come to your home and do a free evaluation... do not put it off... They have been very Helpful for our family.

0
0 12

i think all kids are different, i have 3 under 4yrs! my 3 1/2 yr old speaks like a 6yr old and has spoke very well since he was 1yr old, my 2yr old speaks well but didnt start speaking till he was 14mths however my 8mth old only says dad at the moment,,, you need to take it on yourself as the parent, if you think theres something wrong take them to be looked at! but all mine spoke at different stages he/she will get there......

0
29 23

My son is 20 months old and says very few words. Our Dr told us not to worry, every child is different. He did check his ears and they are fine. I wouldn't worry about it.

0
1 0

Regarding speach therapy...the school district in our area provides this service (as well as hearing tests) for all children in the district free of charge, regardless of age. My friend's son wasn't talking well either, and she gets a therapist sent to her house once a month at no charge. Check and see if the schools can provide anything as well.

0
0 5

My oldest son started speaking clearly at around 1yr old, but we took our third son to a speech therapist at 2.5 yrs because he only said a handful of words. They did some tests with him and advised us to wait another 6 months and let them know if it hadn't improved. Sure enough, he was chattering up a storm by the end of that time. I think it's important to understand that children will each develop differently - it doesn't mean they are less intelligent if they develop later, it might just mean they are different. It's also important to seek out advise from friends, family, doctors to calm your fears and worries, and to find out if there actually is a problem. Nothing wrong with making sure.

0
23 19

At a year in a half my son was not talking and he started throwing bad fits it was real scary. I had my son evaluated and he started speech that same month.

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41 4

Yes, all children are different and it is impossible to compare children to one another. Just because a child doesn't talk alot that doesn't mean that they can't talk. It may just mean that they don't want to talk at the moment or in a certain surrounding. My son just turned 2 and doesn't really talk outside the home. It takes him a while to warm up and even after that period he may not say much. However, at home he never be quiet..lol

In regards to the question, it depends what is meant by the word 'talking'. Saying understandable words and responding to commands or questions verbally, then no, that is not average. The main thing for toddlers is their level of understanding. As long as they know atleast 50 words at that age they are developing on track. By understanding, I mean following commands, asknowledging objects, etc.

However, a 16 month old should also not be a mute. A 16 month old should atleast make sounds and attempt to say understandable words.

If your child is not understanding words, then it could be as simple as a hearing problem.

0
29 6

my son is 23 months old, he says about 20 words but does a lot of babbling. I"m not worried yet. He does understand me, but again does lots of babbling. The importnat thing is if your child is babbling at least they have the concept of talking.

0
3 1

My son stared to talk when he was 3 and a half ..I used to tell him say giraffe he would say achu...say elephant he would say:ata...he tooh some speech therapy ...I didn't say any progress. When he was 3. I said no more therapy...we went to my country...everybody was speaking to him in spanish...but still he wouldn't talk...we came back after three weeks...and he stared to talk in english...long sentences ...I would normal for kids of his age....it was great....now"thanks God" he doesn't stop talking.....10y.old now

2 7

i have 4 boys.....all talked at different ages. dont worry, it will happen.

0
4 0

My boy started talking when he was 4 years old. So you have nothing to worry about.

1 6

well, my son started speaking late too.... he used to speak only a few words by 2.. and i was quite worried... at 2.5 yrs, he used to speak many words, but still could not make sentences and indulge in conversations. I visited his doc, and he said - if a girl doesn't speak sentences by 2.5 yrs, he would be worried, but for a boy, he would wait till 3.5 years when he starts taking. Soon, though, all of a sudden, he picked up and is now indulging in lots of conversation by 2 yrs and 9 months. so, don;t worry, the time ur child starts school, he/she will pick up fast too!! Trust me, I laugh at all the worries I used to have a couple of months back... now he picks up all sorts of sentences and phrases from here and there!!

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6 17

My son is 16 months and only say what he absolutely has too. Otherwise he is quiet and reserved. He knows the words he need to get what he wants. But he can understand me and responds to me and does what he is told. I was worried about him because until recently he wasn't talking at all. My doctor pointed out that maybe he just didn't have anything to say. It seems to run in my family the fellas are quiet and don't say much and us ladies are loud and opinionated. You can see this in my daughter. I am not worried at all.

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38 23

My son is almost 18 months and still isn't talking very clearly but points and listens and responds when you speak to him. He's just lazy and knows how to work the system to get what he wants. My uncle had 5 sibling brothers all of whom started talking at different ages didn't speak a word until he was 2 and then they couldn't make him be quiet. Be patient and consistent.

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21 50

My son will be 19 months Aug 7 and he talks up a storm. I speak to him like a older child not a baby and I think that has helped. I run a day home and have two boys 2 weeks younger then my son and neither of them really talk. But like others have said everyone learns at their own pace!

0
0 10

My twins are 15 months old and one can say about 2 dozen words. the other one calls everything a dog. I would say if u continue talking to your child in sentences,not baby talk,they talk when they are ready. My daughter,6 1/2, was talking nonstop at 14 months.

0
0 0

16 months is too early to be worried about a child not talking. My daughter was very thoughtful and quiet at 16 months and only said a few words, none of which were very clear. Now, at three, she never shuts her mouth. I think it's quite normal. If the child isn't talking at 30 months, I would begin talking to the pediatrician.

0
0 63

At 20 months my son still wasn't talking and I was referred to a speech therapist and once evaluated she said that it was normal he knew what she was talking about by pointing or picking up the object she said he just didn't say it... He's 2 1/2 now and talks all day long ;)

0
0 63

Is ur child babbling?

0 4

Ever child is different. My children are 18 months (twins) and they talk up a storm. My friend’s son didn’t talk much when he was that young, but they were not making him talk. He had an older sister and the parents would get everything for him without making him ask for it. I think it is really important to talk to your kids all the time. Pause for them to answer (even if you know they cant) and continue to talk. My niece is 3 and only knows a hand full of words. She is in the process of being diagnosed with Autism. I would say that your best bet is to talk to your pediatrician.

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0 57

My son is 19 months and only says a handful of words i am also concerned about him not talking but i guess they will talk when there ready but like heather said continue to talk to them constantly and thats what i do! he talks but i just dont understand him.

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