Allison is 18 months old and is for the most part, non-verbal. When should I start seeking speech help?

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Carrington - posted on 04/15/2009

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Hi Ann,

I see that other moms are telling you to not worry and while I agree that worrying won't help, I don't think there is any harm in checking with your doctor and perhaps pursuing an evaluation from a speech pathologist. It's my understanding that every state has some sort of early intervention program. I live in NY and my kids are 21 months. At 18 months they still had no words and I got them evaluated, to find that they are significantly delayed. They are now receiving state funded speech therapy. I am not now nor was I ever concerned that they would never get it. But just because you are confident that your daughter can catch up is no reason not to give her some extra help along the way. And the fact is, if there is a significant reason for her delay beyond just taking her time, you're better off finding out as early as possible. I'm not trying to be negative, just trying to give you another perspective from someone going through it right now. I am so glad I have my kids in speech therapy. They love it and they are definitely making progress. Plus, it's nice to know that we are finally getting the tools we need to alleviate some of the frustrations we all have related to lack of communication or misunderstandings. Good luck!

Deborah - posted on 04/18/2009

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She should have around a 15-18 word expressive vocabulary and have an understanding of items (receptive vocabulary). She also should be babbling, lalling making lots of different speech sounds even though they may not be very clear. No mama or dada?

Have her evaluated by your county to see if she qualifies for the 0-3 intervention program. I am a speech pathologist and early intervention is key! She is adorable BTW.

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Mary Beth - posted on 04/20/2009

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to increase her speech.......

read simple books to her, repetitive type books. Read the same ones over and over to her, after a while leave out the last word on a page and see if she will fill it in.



sing repetitive type or simple songs to her (happy birthday, the wheels on the bus, the itsy bitsy spider, etc) and do the same thing you did with the books, leave off the last word and see if she will fill it in.



Give her choices, 'do you want the ball or the doll?' but don't show her the objects and see if she will tell you which one she wants. If you show her the objects she will just point to them. For her sippy cup ask her if she wants 'milk or juice'



basically you are trying to get her to be verbal with these ideas. If she is getting frustrated with her lack of ability to communicate you can teach her basic sign language. Signing Time videos are excellent for that. My youngest son didn't talk until he was almost three and he LOVED those videos.



There are so many aspects to look at when a child isn't speaking and so many things that can play into their lack of speech. If you go for a speech eval. they will take a complete family history and ask you a million questions to find the source of the problem if there is a problem. Personally at 18 months I would not be concerned, but if she still isn't really speaking at 2 then I would definitely bring her in. It really is up to you and your comfort level, though. Like I said, if it'll put your mind at ease then take her in. Try what I suggested and see what happens. Good luck!!

Mary Beth - posted on 04/20/2009

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Hi Ann-It's been a long time since I have practiced (I chose to stay home when my kids were born) but I am a speech pathologist. Things you should be looking at at this point are whether your daughter understands you. Can she follow simple commands? Has she had any ear infections. When a child has an ear infection they are hearing sounds as if they are under water and this can delay their speech. Do you feel she is hearing o.k.? A child can have fluid in the ear and it can be clear (no ear infection) but this causes problems with their ability to hear. As far as taking her to the doctor at this age, if it will make you feel better than do it. At 18 months the average child has about 10 words or so. Here are some suggestions

Jessica - posted on 04/20/2009

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how often do you read to her? repition of nersery rimes help and how often do you describe things to her. My daughter is 17 mo and she is very observent but she will not repeat things that she says.

User - posted on 04/19/2009

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My son who is 3 in a couple of weeks would not say hardly anything just before xmas i think that had a lot to do with his older siblings and me knowing what he wanted and him just pointing and he got . I had enrolled in a speech therapy course which involved him then he started saying more and now he won't stop talking just keep persevering and your daughter will get there. If you are worried go to your drs and see if they casn advise you on some thing to help her.

Shannon - posted on 04/18/2009

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Absolutely!!! Trust me better safe than sorry. The earlier the speech intervention the better. If she does start to talk great!! If not you are already covered and getting her help. Trust me there might be wait lists, so get her name on them!!! I waited too long and both sons were on lists for 6 mos!

Aimee - posted on 04/18/2009

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Thats an excellent question, im glad you asked it, I would have...my child is 23 months and he doesnt say mama..although he does say dada 3 different ways(dad, dada and daddy) He does say other things, but according to the pedi that saw him for his 20 month appointment, he doesnt have the vocab that a "normal" 20 month should have.I've been thinking of having him evaluated also. He understands everyone says, ask him to throw something out for you he does, go to his room he does, so I have no doubt he undertands. I suppose its kind of for my own peace of mind, but I would like to know early on so if there is something wrong we can take care of it.

Megan - posted on 04/18/2009

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My daughter was speaking much at 18 months either. I pressed it with her MD because she was having a lot of frustration because of the difficulty communicating. We got her an eval with early intervention & they picked her up under clinical judgement which gave her 6 months of service. In that 6 months she went from delayed in her speech to speaking at a 34month level when she just turned 2 years old. They were extreemly helpful in both teaching us what to do to stimulate her language, increase the motor control of her mouth muscles & improve our communication in the mean time. The sooner you get her help the better. My sister in-law, who is a speech therapist & works with children under the age of 3, says that almost every child could benefit from some form of speech therapy & the ones who have it tend to have much better articulation than those who do not.



Anyway, long story short, a speech therapy eval has never hurt a child & could only benefit. If you have any concern, you should talk to your MD & persue it. Good luck.

Tara - posted on 04/18/2009

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Hi Ann! When my daughter turned 2 and a half I made an appt with the pediatrician to discuss her speech, or lack thereof. She wasnt putting even 2 words together, besides hi mom or hi dad, and her vocabulary consisted of less than 20 words, tho she understood everyone else perfectly. And she used her hands to relay what she wanted to say. The dr thought speech therapy was the next step. So she had two 30 min sessions each week for about 4 months. It has made a world of difference! Once she got started, she quickly realized that talking gets you places!! Lol she basically just needed a "push" in the right direction, and she started adding new words all on her own fast. She went from saying one word at a time to speaking full sentences in a few short months. She will be 3 in a month and you would never know she had delayed speech!

Sarah - posted on 04/18/2009

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In Connecticut we have a program called Birth to 3 which helps with all sorts of developmental delays/problems and they wont take referals for speech until after 18 months.

Keep talking to her and encouraging conversations with her. Sit down with her at meal times and talk, do pretend play with her...anything!!

I'm a childcare provider of 1 year olds right now and I've had a few kids in my class that I was ready to refer for their speech and all of a sudden at around 23 months they become talknig machines!!!!

[deleted account]

Make sure you are encouraging speech. Make her ask for what she wants. Talk to her like she is an adult and not a baby. Slow your speech down so she can understand your words and they dont sound like a blur. My friends baby turned 2 in december and has had very good understanding of things, but just now started to talk a bunch, he just started talking scentences one day and skipped a lot of the two word things.

Jeannette - posted on 04/18/2009

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I put my son in daycare. It was the best thing I could have done. Kids learn from kids. After I put him in daycare, it was not long at all before he starting using words and even making complete sentences. My question to you is, is she around a lot of kids regularly. It really does make a difference.

Tara Greg - posted on 04/18/2009

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my son didn't really start talking until he was three, we started speech when he was just about 3. It has helped a lot, next time you are at your local health unit ask then if she should be in speech, i did that and they had him in right away. My other son is 14 months old and is already starting to talk. I think alot of it was that my older son is a very shy person and my younger son is very out going. If i had had my younger son first I would have known from day one that he was delayed but being a new mom i didn't know.

Cindy - posted on 04/18/2009

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Does she maintain eye contact? Does she interact with others? Note any concerns you have and present them to her doctor.

Always, always, always, read to your child. It expands their comprehension and vocabulary.

User - posted on 04/18/2009

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I am a mother of 4 and the best thing that I have learned is the more you push them to verbalize and don't allow them to use as much non verbal communication is best. Also the more you talk to them the more they seem to want to talk!! Hope this helps!!

Michelle - posted on 04/18/2009

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I wouldn't worry to much unless there are other milestones also not being met. All kids learn at their own pace. Some kids seem to take everything in,then one day BANG! she'll start talking and will never shut up! lol.

Nicole - posted on 04/17/2009

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relax and let her be herself, i wouldnt push her. im sure all kids develop at own pace. as long as she happy and healthy.
good luck.

User - posted on 04/16/2009

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It is never too soon to have her evaluated. usually they check the hearing before speech, believe it or not.

Deborah - posted on 04/16/2009

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I had the same questions when my son was 18 mos, then again when he was 24 mos and still not talking. The pediatrician kept saying, don't worry, lets wait. I finally got him evaluated at 30 mos and he is autistic. He talks now (5 yrs) but not without lots of work, early intervention and therapy. Trust your own judgment, don't let doctors and family make you feel paranoid if you want to get her evaluated further. Every day counts with early intervention.

Jocelyn - posted on 04/15/2009

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my friends mother is a foster mom, and she has seen every type of child imaginable, and she says the exact same thing that christine said above, if they talk later, they often end up smarter! (my husband didn't talk until he was 2.5 yrs and he's not a genius (lol) but he has great artistic abillity)



i do believe what she says tho about the higher intellegence (and im not just being a "my child is the greatest" type mom either)  my son will do something and my reaction will be "ummm, you're not suppost to be able to do that yet"  (he can switch the cables from the dvd player to the vcr depending on the movie that he wants to watch, for instance, remember he's only 2)



other ppl have commented on how smart he is as well, including the speach patholigist we took him to see!



so don't dispare!  you could have a very talented child :)

Christine - posted on 04/15/2009

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My son did not start talking until 2 weeks before his third birthday and now he does not shut up, lol.



 



If you are worried talk to your peditrition and see what they think. 



 



A good bit of news though is that they say a child who does not talk till later has a higher intellagence and with my son I beleve it.  He is now 5 and can read the boos his 8 year old sister comes home from school with , spell a bunch of words, is very musically inclined ect (I could go on & on).  I am by no means saying he is a genius but when I went to havehim tested (for something unrelated) they ran out of questions for him (even on a higher level than the then 4 year old level) before he ran out of answers.

Jocelyn - posted on 04/15/2009

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my son is 27 months and doesn't speak.  i took him to a speach pathologist (dr recomended it) and turns out he's perfectly fine, (who'da thought? lol) he just doesn't want to talk; he's too busy doing other things (my house is a disaster zone lol, very busy little guy) and everyone can understand him just fine, he's extreamly expresive



i also know a 23 month old who doesn't talk, and a 33 month old who just started talking (but still not alot)



i mean, it can't hurt to get her checked out, make sure she's not toung-tied or something. but for the most part, i bet you she just doesn't want to talk.  in her opinion she's probably got better things to do! lol

Aramanth - posted on 04/15/2009

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My older girl was very non-verbal until she was almost 2. She would say a word or two here or there but had no apparent interest in speaking. She could obviously hear well and could follow quite complicated verbal instructions so she understood speach just had no desire to talk.



Around her second birthday she had a literal language explosion. Instead of one or two words she would speak whole, intelligible paragraphs! She just spoke on her own terms and in her own time.



Certainly if you are worried there's no harm in getting her checked out to make sure there are no physical barriers to speach. But a good many children who are perfectly OK just don't talk much at this age.

[deleted account]

My daughter was the same way. We got her checked and she was slightly slow on her speech development but advance in her physical development. They said that kids usually choose one over the other at first. Now we can't keep her quiet and she's not even 3 yet. Out of nowhere she just started jabberin'

Siobhan - posted on 04/15/2009

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Hi I actually have the exact same problem when my daughter turned 18 months and we went to the doctor for her shots and check up my doctor asked me how her speach was and I said well not much of anything we get mama and dada but thats it and she recomended a speach evaluation she said she recomends it to all her patients that are 18 months and not talking. She is 19 months now and our evaluation is next tuesday. So I would say have her checked out it can hurt her any and if they find something then you will have a head start on treating it.

Lindsay - posted on 04/15/2009

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I was worried when my son was a little over a year old the pedi said not to worry but to watch it and try to encourage him to talk. By 18 months when he hadn't made much progress I took the matter in my own hands and had him evaluated with a local speech program. They thought he was significantly behind and sent us to the ENT doctor to check his hearing. We found that although he could hear, he had fluid that was on top of his eardrums(was not having infections so we didn't know) and everything he heard was muffled like he was under water. This all started in June '08 and in Dec '08 he got tubes put in. The difference in his talking now verses last summer has been so drastic! He sees his speech therapist once a week and is making such great progress! If I let it go any longer there is no telling how far behind he would still be. I'm not trying to scare you or be negative but I think if there is a concern have it checked out. It can't hurt and will at least put your mind at ease either way it turns out! Just trying to help...it wasn't that long ago when I was asking myself the same question as you are now. Good luck!

Vanessa - posted on 04/15/2009

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I had the same problem with my son and feel that if you ignore it the problem will not always go away. People would tell me that he would eventually talk and the delay become more evident as he turned 2. Check with your state to see if they have early intervention programs. My state did have one and they came to our house once a week to work with him. Since then he has gotten help from the county educational system and with the help of speech therapy has improved. He was diagnosed with developmental delay. Good luck to you.

Alkjfhlaksjfh - posted on 04/15/2009

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I have raised two children. When in doubt, I ask the doctor. This way I always had peace of mind or knew what the next step should be. Feel free to get a second opinion along the way. Your baby is beautiful but I am sure you already know that. =] God Bless!

Leslie - posted on 04/15/2009

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my son is 17 mo and doesn't say much either... he does understand when i say, "pick up the ball," or "go get your shoes." Does she seem to at least know what you're saying? I'm going to start trying to encourage my son to talk (like others were saying) since I seem to just get him what he wants with pointing/grunts!

Lindsey - posted on 04/15/2009

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I was paranoid about my daughter's lack of speech when she was about this age as well. She's now 23 months and talking all the time - she literally went from 0 to 60 over the course of a couple of weeks. As long as you know her hearing's ok, I would give her some time yet.

Ingridcovington - posted on 04/15/2009

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At her age I really would not worry. Every child is different. I know what you are feeling because my daughter was very vocal and well as doing everything very early. My son didn't really talk until he was three. I had made up my mind if something didn't change in a week I was taking him to the doctor when he just started talking, whole sentences, not just words. What really shook me up at that time was he didn'[t just parot what was being said as my daughter had, but had come to his won conclusions about what was being said. She could just be thinking things over also.

[deleted account]

You need to start working on things now. When my middle son was 16 months old and only knew how to say mama and dada I told his doctor I wanted him checked out. We started with ENT to see if there was any problem that would cause him not to be talking. When he turned 2, he started seeing a speach pathalogists and was diagnosed a month later with Apraxia of Speech. If I were you start getting it checked out, don't wait.

Luisa - posted on 04/15/2009

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Basicly is what everybody is saying, encourage her to use her words. Do not worry! Kids develope in different areas at different times. If you get stress about it she will feel it and then it may be a problem. If you are worring ask your doctor. He will know if it is just to easy for her.



Good Luck! Please try not to worry to much! It happened to me!

Christie - posted on 04/15/2009

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Don't worry too much at this point. I had one who did not talk until his younger brother started talking. I used to check his hearing by going behind him and whispering, "Do you want some candy?" :) There was nothing wrong with his hearing, I guess he just didn't feel the need to talk. He started talking (more than just a couple of words) at about three years old, and has had no problems communicating since. (He is now 18.)

Jennifer - posted on 04/15/2009

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Honestly, she's 18 months old. I wouldn't worry too much.



Is she an only child? If there are siblings she's probably just used to everything being done for her. When she comes to you wanting something, even if you know what she wants, encourage her to talk. If she wants her cup say, "use your words. say cup". It not only teaches her the proper word to use for what she wants but it encourages manners and some independence.



Encourage other family members and friends to stick to this as well. That's usually the hardest part. Set down the "rules" for encouraging her to speak and stick to them.



Really, she'll talk when she's ready. I wouldn't worry too much right now.

Elizabeth - posted on 04/15/2009

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I wouldn't worry too much.  My daughter didn't start really talking until she was 2.  The Dr. told me a lot of it was that she was the youngest child and all she had to do was grunt and people would give her what she wanted.  He told me the main thing was to tell your child "You have to tell me what you want."  Within a few months of my daughter really verbalizing she was making 2-4 work sentences.

Heather - posted on 04/15/2009

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Do you encourage her to verbally ask for what she wants?  I know that I got into the habit of knowing what my child wanted and just gave it to them.  I was given the suggestion to encourage them to verbally ask for it.  I was making it too easy for them and they didn't need to put forth any effort.  It was a struggle for a couple of days, but eventually they started talking.  Start with one word answers, like yes, no, cookie, milk, etc...  Then work up to sentences.  If you've already tried this, I would talk to your Doctor about it.  Good luck.

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