When should I start worrying about my 2 year old not talking?

Denise - posted on 04/19/2011 ( 36 moms have responded )

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My 26 month old is still not talking clearly. She says a few words that most people can understand, but most of the noises she makes are incoherent. At her 2 year check up I was told to give it a few months and she should start talking. Its been 2 months, when should I start worrying?

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Daisy - posted on 04/27/2011

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I'm sorry to disagree Melissa but i have yet to see a 20 year old not being able to speak Autistic or not. My brother per my mom did not say a single word at 2 and i mean nothing not one word, people literally thought he was mute and shortly after he started talking with no therapy. Some children are faster or slower than others but it doesn't mean anything. my son again a year and a half doesn't say much, just babbles and points and if he does need therapy then so be it but we're not concerned. I have lots of friends with autistic children (bless their souls) and they talk just fine. I for one don't follow too much charts and developmental stones etc...because back in the day none of it existed and kids were kids and they grew up just fine, now if a child is developmentaly slow it is considered a "big deal", sorry to disagree but i don't see it that way but i do respect everyones views on this.

Karen - posted on 04/26/2011

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I had my LO in speach therapy. He was 2 and only had 10 word vocabulary, although he definately got his point accross about what he wanted! LOL. Anyway, I would definately get an evaluation done, what's the worst they will say? Either yes she needs extra help or no she's fine. It's not a big deal. What we were told to do is repeat, repeat repeat! Choose 5 -10 words you want her to learn and work on those first. Because she is only saying 'one word sentences' start reapeating only 'one word'. for example, if she wants something to drink, the whole time you are pouring her one and handing her the cup - repeat "cup, cup, cup" in a sing song voice. You feel like an idiot and the more you repeat it the better (we were told between 5-10 times.) Within months he was saying 2 word sentences! Once your child has the vocabulary, than you can "word up them". eg. she says "Doll", you say "pretty doll" or "nice doll". I hope this helps and good luck to you.

Jasmine - posted on 11/25/2013

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My daughter is two n a half she'll be three in April but she's not talking at all and I'm kinda worried but then again I'm not because she understands everything, idk I just really want my daughter to talk an it makes me sad cause every where we go people ask y she not talking an I just don't know wat to say like is it my fault she's not talking wat could it be. I had her checked I had got a MRI done an everything looks fine . I think maybe I want her to talk so bad that I'm just gonna have to wait

OhJessie - posted on 04/26/2011

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I wouldn't worry much. Girls usually start a little earlier than boys but my son didn't do *too* much more than rapid babbling even when he was 3. He really meant whatever he was saying, though, so I knew it meant something to him. Eventually he started speaking clearly and he's a fine intelligent young man.



I think this has been mentioned, but an older sibling can indeed lead to a younger sibling not needing to do as much clear speaking. They catch up, though!

Barb - posted on 04/22/2011

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Hi! I talked to my sister she said :
"Pleeeaaase be careful with this though, because the mom who is asking is probably already worried and may take this way out of proportion. PLEASE warn her that all of this is just from an introduction class to 1st language acquisition, though it is a 4th year class in Ling, and definitely get another opinion.

Here's the 'warning signs' for atypical language acquisition. The thing is, though, is that though these will say (sort of) whether or not the acquisition is irregular, but it doesnt say what the problem is. It could simply be that the child has trouble hearing, or may have regular learning disabilities that a million other people have.

Warning Signs – all taken together (not just one sign, but all together are necessary to be considered atypical) Also, all of these ages vary by give-or-take a few months.

-Failure to babble by 1 year old (Not language, but almost sounds like language)
-Lack of conventional gestures by 1 year old
-No spoken words by 18 months
-Fewer than 50 words and no 2-word speech by 2 years old
-Any evidence of becoming less proficient with language, called linguistic regression (all kids do this a little bit)
-Grossly abnormal patterns of social interaction (this can vary)

A child can demonstrate one of these, but that does not satisfy the requirements to be ‘atypical’
There are many more signs, but they are more intense and/or this mom cannot test for it, like serious hearing impairement. These are just some things she can see if are true for her child and bring to the attention of a doctor if she feels the need. "

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Jerri - posted on 10/03/2014

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Sorry daisy! But I think your very arrogant to say "you have to to see a 20 year old who can't speak Autistic or not" there and millions of children and adults with autism that don't have the skills to be able to speak. I work with special needs children up to age 19 and I know lots of children that can't speak! Denise I hope that your little girl started to speak without any problems :)

Karin - posted on 04/26/2011

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I'm going to suggest an evaluation with Early Intervention as well. Ask your pediatrition for a referral. I know a lot of people here and in person say not to worry about it, but really you have nothing to lose and possibly everything to gain by having the evaulation. The eval is free and if you end up with therapy there may be a cost, but it's very little. Our local EI program is a cost share one depending upon family income. My son is a few weeks shy of 2 and has about 4 or 5 recognizable or consistent sounds that he uses as words. We have used sign language with him and that's the primary way we communicate. He has about 10 signs, for the important things for us to be able to communicate and aleviate some of the lack of communication frustration. There are two main types of communication or language, receptive and verbal. His is very high on his receptive language skills meaning he understands pretty much everything you say to him. He can understand and follow multiple directional instructions (being a typical 2 year old, when he wants to!), he just doesn't verbalize. I've tried the withhold and ask repeatedly for him to say the word tactic and he just walks away. Anyway, he has therapy through ECI and while he hasn't started talking much more, I do believe it helps and is a valuable service.
Again, suggest having him tested, both hearing and through ECI. It may bring some answers or just reassurance. Good luck!

[deleted account]

Some of the tests the pathologist did was have a picture book and ask him to point out various objects. Say, there are pictures of 4 different things and she would ask him to identify a specific one. She had a teddy, cup and plate in another test and would tell my son the bear was thirsty to see what he would do. She went through several scenarios. She asked him to go get her a particular toy out of a box, and she also watched (and recorded) him and I playing with the toys. Her advice was to keep interacting as I was... Which was letting him lead the playtime and while I was playing with him I would provide like a running commentary on what the objects were doing.

You know what your child can hear and comprehend, and it doesn't sound like she has a big problem. But if you want to allay your fears, you can always have her assessed.

[deleted account]

Denise, don't worry too much. My eldest (now 4) was exactly the same. I took him to a speech pathologist when he was 2 1/2 because I was worried he was delayed since he only used a few words. She tested him and told me he was fine, just doing it in his own time.

What they assess is the ability to hear, comprehend and speak. You have said that your daughter can hear and even understand what you are saying. If she can also follow complex instructions, meaning given two or more tasks in a single instruction, then her comprehension is very high.

My son didn't start really talking until he was nearly three, and when he did he came out with full sentences on one of the two languages he hears in our home.

I would encourage her to use words, but if you find she becomes frustrated let it go for a while. Some kids just do things in their own time. Funnily enough, my 2 yr old son says more than twice the stuff that his older brother did at the same age and I think hearing his brother talking (which he does near constantly now!) has encouraged him to talk more.

OhJessie - posted on 04/26/2011

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Yeah my son who was only babbling (rapidly) at 3 spoke just fine at 5 too. And never had any learning disabilities either. But then I spent tons of time with him; we didn't have speech therapists, and it's pretty hard to imagine bringing a 26 month old in as though she's supposed to be talking in clear sentences only at this point. Whatever; everyone has to do what they think.

[deleted account]

I would go back to the pediatrician and ask for a referral for Early Intervention. I saw that a lot of people responded that it's no big deal, but I disagree. My son was only saying 3 words when he turned 2 and just a little bit of speech went a long way for him. It turns out that he is autistic, but now at 5, his speech is as good as, if not more advanced than, other kids his age. Gaining communication skills was huge for him and some of it was the therapy, but it was also the therapist teaching us things we could do daily with him.



@Daisy, I'm a little surprised at your comment. There are many people who are non-verbal. :)

Shereese - posted on 04/26/2011

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If you're concerned I suggest you follow-up with speech therapist and have her hearing checked. If everything is fine then no harm done. At best you'll loose the cost of a few co-pays!

Daisy - posted on 04/25/2011

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I am glad i saw your post because my son is 19 months old and he says bye bye and dada and tata which is his little sister but nothing else...thanke (thank you) but that's about it. I wish he would say more but nothing like two sentence words or anything like that. My mom told me not to worry because my brother was 2 and did not say a single word and yet later on he was talking. Our pediatrician told me to give it to 2 but i wouldn't worry so much about it. What i did with my daughter was buy her these cards with letters that make words and that's how i taught her to speak but every child is different. We always talk to him and tell him words but there's only so much we can do. Again, i'm sure she will talk eventually as i hope mine will do but not worried..i have yet to see a 20 year old not able to talk lol

Lori - posted on 04/25/2011

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My oldest son (now 7) was very delayed with Speech, it turned out that he was having ear infections quite often and I had no idea! He never pulled, or rubbed at his ears, or did ANYTHING to lead me to believe he was having any ear infections. When we finally figured it out we had tubes put in, then I had him in Speech Therapy, from the time he was 2 1/2 til he was 6. That did wonders, he still has times where he's hard to understand, he'll mumble, but I'll tell him to speak clearly and he will. I also think that the troubles he had with speech, also came from the fact that I am Deaf, and my speech even though it's excellent for a deaf person still isn't perfect.
So maybe look into some speech therapy, your child may just need a little boost and I think Speech Therapy works wonders!

Tpham - posted on 04/24/2011

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My son was exact same way at that age. 8 weeks of speech therapy did wonders. He's 4 now and talks a lot.

Lexi - posted on 04/23/2011

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I would look into a speech eval and possibly speech therapy. Doesn't mean anything is wrong with your sweet girl, she just might need a little extra help. My brother and I both needed speech therapy, speech delays and speech impediments run in the family, but we are totally normal, fully functioning college grads. No mental delays, just speech. Ok well maybe not "normal"... lol but you know what I mean! My son is 21 months and starting speech therapy this month.

Jessie - posted on 04/23/2011

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I wouldn't worry about it too much, but would also suggest for your peace of mind, and in case their is an issue to have your child evaluated for her speech. I work at a preschool where speech therapy has helped kids in less than a month. The brightest kids I have seen have needed a speech therapist, and some just take a little longer to form all their words and their is nothing wrong. Do what you feel is right for your daughter. Good Luck!

Jana - posted on 04/23/2011

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My 3 year old son was not talken maybe had 5 words you could hear at the age 2. His doc would always say don't compare him to other kids they speak at diff. times. I really wish I had not listen to him. I moved out of state and he got rotavirus was put in the hospital. I took him in to see a new doc when he said no he should have been talken by now(almost 3 years old at that time). He had us test his hearing which was fine. Then seen an SLP for speech. That was when we found out he has CAS Childhood Apraxia of Speech. He could have been in speech a year ago if I had went with my gut feeling. If you feel somethings not right look for more answers. Don't know if this helps just go with your gut feeling.

Michelle - posted on 04/23/2011

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My 3 year old son had similar problems. I put him in a half day preschool 3 days a week and they finally suggested getting him evaluated. Then the evaluation led to them saying to have him evaluated again at 4 if he's still having issues. But being in school this year, he's made big improvements. Very recently he finally started to use sentences and other people can understand him. Just keep talking to your daughter and encourage her to talk. Kids all develop differently. Putting her in a situation like school a little may help too. Get her evaluated and work from there.

[deleted account]

to be honest this is something that can be eveluated by a professional and really should be... But really I can say with experience of my kids and others kids... That everyone really does progress differently...My son did not talk more then a word until he was over 1... It seemed like he just did not get it... But he has since then progressed. I am told he is still behind, but making progress is a good sign. I know a little girl who was a little over 2 and another who was almost 3 and at times is still not making sense or talking clearly, but they are saying these girls are fine according to Dr.s I spent to much time worrying, nature/their development will develop in it's own time.... But if their is a problem it is better to know sooner then later!!

Shannon - posted on 04/22/2011

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I also encourage getting your child evaluated if anything it might help allevate any worries...and unless other red flags are there she truly might be taking her time...good luck

[deleted account]

I second Maggie's post. Contact Early Intervention - go here to find your local info: http://nichcy.org/state-organization-sea...

Like Maggie said, an eval (and therapy) is free. Be sure to push for an eval ASAP. Otherwise it can take MONTHS to get your child into the system. The squeaky wheel gets the grease! And you're going to want to be squeaky in order to get your son the help he needs. The earlier the better.

If it turns out to be nothing, then you'll have an expert telling you not to worry. That always feels good.

Amy - posted on 04/22/2011

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Hi..my daughter is 2 years and 7 months and she isn't speaking sentences either. She says lots of one words and some sound muffled. I worry about her also and we have speech therapy for her... Early Intervention. Some kids speak later though too I am told..

Heather - posted on 04/21/2011

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I was worried also..but its going to take a lot of encouragement from you. I also didn't talk till i was almost 3 because my mom didn't make or try to make me say what i wanted. Start with small stuff...like mommy, daddy, please, dog, cat, no, yes...you get what i'm saying. Make sure you use your voice clearly. Hold what she wants in your hand and make her either say please or the objects name. this helped me with my 2 year old...shes 2 1/2 and just now wanted to say very small sentences. I believe you should be fine =D

Maggie - posted on 04/21/2011

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On the other hand, you could ask for an evaluation. Every state has an Early Intervention program. The services are free and in your home. Ask your doctor for a referal. My daughter gets services and it has really helped.

Getting an evaluation doesn't require you to get services if you qualify. If you are concerned, don't ignore that feeling.

Colleen - posted on 04/20/2011

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I would listen to your doctor. My daughter was the same. Her doctor said words like, in a few months we'll look and see how she is, then we'll talk about therapy. Lo and behold, she snapped out of it on her own. Her brother on the other hand, at 2 was saying nothing, not even babbling or coping sounds. Because he had no language, his ped sent us to have him evaluated. I'm happy to say through 7 months of speach therapy, he has made huge strides. If your doctor doesn't think there's a reason to worry now, I'd go with that. My husband wasn't a talker as a toddler, had speach therapy through elementary school, and he's now a Gunnery Sgt. in the Marine Corps:)

Barb - posted on 04/20/2011

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I wouldn't worry because all kids are different.. but I would love to forward your question to my sister who is a linguistics major and just took a class on first language acquisition. She may have some input for you.

Barb - posted on 04/20/2011

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I wouldn't worry because all kids are different.. but I would love to forward your question to my sister who is a linguistics major and just took a class on first language acquisition. She may have some input for you.

Pam - posted on 04/19/2011

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my 28 month old dosent talk much but is so smart already knows all of his abc's, 123's,feeds him self,sleeps in twin bed & drinks from big cup keep incourageing her to tell you what she wants it seems to work with my boy i would'nt worry to much if she is ahead in other things

Connie - posted on 04/19/2011

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My 26mth boy is exactly the same! he has been getting better lately tho, dont worry she'll get there and then u will want her to stop talkin after a while lol

Charlee - posted on 04/19/2011

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my daughter is 29 months, and she still will not say her s and t sounds, so I think it is normal, she is getting better, but it takes time, I would not worry about it, I do not speak to my daughter in baby talk or anything if she says something wrong I pronounce it correctly and we will say it in consenants (spelled that wrong) and she can say it but when it comes to putting the whole word together we have a problem.

Nicole - posted on 04/19/2011

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I know several kids that are the same way. They just take longer to vocalize themselves. For instance, my best friend was the exact same way growing up. His mom is a professor and was so worried about him and kept taking him to the doctors to run tests and what not. He was completely fine. He just took longer to express himself. Now it is hard to shut him up. He is the most observant man I have ever met. This may be just another part of her personality that she is taking in her surroundings. As a teacher that is not a bad thing because that will make her more detailed in her work. Just don't give up on her expressing what she wants and everything. This way she still is encouraged to talk, but may not want to right now. When she get closer to 3 and still has no improvement then I would seek a doctors help just in case.

Denise - posted on 04/19/2011

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Thank you for your responses. Here is a little more background: She is currently an only child and we've been encouraging her to speak for some time now. We never used baby talk and we engage her in conversation constantly (asking her how her day was, what she's playing, etc). We taught her sign language when she was younger, because she was getting frustrated that we didn't know what she was trying to say. She doesn't seem to have a problem hearing, in fact we often have to spell words like park or she'll come running over with her shoes. She has only had 1 ear infection when she was about a year old.
She is, as we say "too smart for her own good" when it comes to anything else: feeds herself with a fork/spoon, is in the middle of potty training, in a big girl bed, and she's great with puzzles. The fact that she understands so much but can't talk is what is making me worry that there might be a problem.

[deleted account]

Try a little withholding...it works for us. When the kid starts that 'grunt' with her hand out...make her SAY something first. I make my son say "please" at the least. I make him say "cookie" before he can have one. I encourage him to say the words before I give in. When the little one finally squeaks out "pretzel" hand her the snack and go NUTS! YAY! Sing, Dance, Hoop, Hollar, call the inlaws. Tell her you are PROUD of her!
And yes, have her pediatrician check her hearing. Does she respond quickly if she hears you rattle her favorite candy wrapper?
Is she further along in her advancement in other areas? My two year old doesn't talk much...but he CAN feed himself with a spoon/fork, use a grownup cup, sleeps in his own bed, prefers a shower to a bath and is completely potty trained. Maybe she is working on OTHER skills right now?
That's what my doctor told me, "don't worry about it, he's so far advanced in OTHER skills, he does have SOME speech, his hearing is fine. He's just learning other stuff right now."

Alice - posted on 04/19/2011

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Does your child have other siblings? Many children with older siblings talk later because everyone does everything for them and they find they don't need to use their words.

Do you encourage her to use her words instead of point or make noises?

Have you considered using sign language along with the words to help her brain connect sound to her actions? I did this with my daughter and even though she could not speak yet she was still able to indicate what it was she wanted.

Have you taken her to the ENT for a hearing test to see if she has an auditory problem? It could be that she is not hearing correctly and therefore unable to use speach like everyone else.

Has she had several ear infections along with tubes put in her hears? This can damage the ear drums and if she has tubes there is no filter and all sound gets in. It is difficult to tell the difference from mom's voice, the TV, the dishwasher, the radio and the wind. It all get's in at the same time.

Lastly, you are the Mom, you know your child and if you feel like something is not right then it is time to seek a second opinion. Many things can affect speech development. I never used "baby talk" with my children. I spoke with them just like anyone else and their language and proper speech skills developed much faster.

I hope this helps.

Alice - posted on 04/19/2011

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Does your child have other siblings? Many children with older siblings talk later because everyone does everything for them and they find they don't need to use their words.

Do you encourage her to use her words instead of point or make noises?

Have you considered using sign language along with the words to help her brain connect sound to her actions? I did this with my daughter and even though she could not speak yet she was still able to indicate what it was she wanted.

Have you taken her to the ENT for a hearing test to see if she has an auditory problem? It could be that she is not hearing correctly and therefore unable to use speach like everyone else.

Has she had several ear infections along with tubes put in her hears? This can damage the ear drums and if she has tubes there is no filter and all sound gets in. It is difficult to tell the difference from mom's voice, the TV, the dishwasher, the radio and the wind. It all get's in at the same time.

Lastly, you are the Mom, you know your child and if you feel like something is not right then it is time to seek a second opinion. Many things can affect speech development. I never used "baby talk" with my children. I spoke with them just like anyone else and their language and proper speech skills developed much faster.

I hope this helps.

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