How much are your 20 month old boys talking?

Louise - posted on 04/25/2010 ( 196 moms have responded )

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Hi there I have a 20 month old boy and today was told by a health professional that he's not talking enough and should be able to speak fluently using sentences and for us as parents being able to understand all the words. My son has used one sentence very clearly which was "I want narna" the rest when he uses sentences is babble with key words. He has a vocab' of around 30 + words. Just wondered how everyone else viewed this or whether this guy has the expectations of a 20 month old mixed up with a 3 year old.

Look forward to hearing you responses! :)

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[deleted account]

I'm a speech pathologist (and mom) and based on your info., your maternal instinct is probably right. Most kids (boys are often a bit slower in this area) are combining 2 words around two years old. Here's a link for more specific info:
http://www.asha.org/public/speech/develo...

If you are at all concerned, it never hurts to get an evaluation to get more information and ease any worries. If there is something going on, it's always better to intervene earlier than later. GL!

Melody - posted on 04/27/2010

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I do think that the health professional is coming on a bit strong. At 20 months the child is still really growing into themselves. My son was not saying much at all at that age & he didn't develop/progress over the coming months. By the age of 3 I knew there was clearly an issue (his peer were all noticeably ahead) by this stage. I had him assessed in 100 different ways at 3.5 & the help available was phenomenal. He had a language & communication delay. Speech therapy & all sorts of remedies ensued & today at nearly 5 he is all caught up & absolutely thriving. My daughter was virtually conversational by two. So my point is that I don't think you should panic. Every child is different & they all do things at a different pace. HOWEVER do be aware that this is something that may need attention, don't fall into a silent trap with him (because my son didn't speak I found myself not really speaking when we were alone) & do make sure you are prompting him & modeling appropriate responses when you are together. Up the reading a bit & just basically be aware.

Good luck :)

[deleted account]

My sons didn't speak 'well' until they were 4 or 5, but they're twins and also had several ear infections. We know the ear infections affected their hearing and, therefore, their speech. I've also heard that boys speak later but don't recall how much later.

Bev - posted on 05/09/2010

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I'm reading The Late Talker a great book for parents and professionals that answers all the concerns............. great perspective and facts.

Wendy - posted on 05/05/2010

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My first born did not put sentences together until he was two years old, then also developed a stutter and concern by professionals was expressed at the time. Today he is 40yrs old and an extremely bright, successfull and wealthy Chartered Accountant. Children don't all develop the same. Lots of love and stimulation - like reading books to them - is usually much more efficient and cheaper than seeking proffessional help.

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Kianne - posted on 05/26/2010

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my twins are talking in sentences yet. I'm not too worried they understand everything i say and they babble and say a few words i can understand. maybe next year i might be worried.

Abbie - posted on 05/12/2010

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My son is now 25 months, but lets sleet that would put him at 4 months older then your son. I would say my son can say easily 100+ words. He will talk in 3-4 word sentances. And repeats pretty much everything he hears. Did you baby talk? Im sure someone has already asked that, but I didn't read all 194 answers. I have a friend her son is 2.5 and says like 10 words, they did find that he has only like 15% of an ability to hear out of one ear. They are doing speach thereapy and he is talking more. sometimes its a good thing.

Mardell - posted on 05/11/2010

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I think the very best advice would be for you to follow your intuition with regaurds to your childs speech, or lack of, and most importantly see another physicain in ur practice. A parent does not need to leave a DR.s office fearful.

Kerrie - posted on 05/10/2010

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my son,jack, is now 22 months. at his 18 month check, i was told by the nurse, he should be talking more, (he was only saying mum, dad, nan, nana, bub, car), and if he hadnt improved by aged 2 they would send him to a speech therapist. during the last 2 months, since starting at daycare, he has started talking a lot more, it was as if he woke up one morning, and he started and hasnt stopped. he now says about 30-40 words, copies anything being said. and speaks "2 word sentences". try not to worry about him not speaking, i stressed quite alot, with people telling my jack should be talking already, and that there was something wrong. he could understand what was being said, but didnt want to talk. also, older siblings often talk for younger ones, which my daughter did, so he didnt need to talk for himself. i found using picture books worked well-and photos, and we made the grocery shopping into a game, trying to get him to say the items as we put them in the trolley... good luck, i hope your son starts talking soon

Tito - posted on 05/10/2010

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I have two girls, the older one was talking a lot at that age, at 18 months she knew over 200 words, and pretty everyone could understand her (but not a lot of sentences ever for her).... And now, my younger one is 19 months old, and all that she can say is words like "pa", "ka", "ba" etc.... Those all have different meanings, but that's all (except Mama, of course ;o)
My point being.... If I can have two perfectly healthy girls, who came from the same parents but couldn't be more different one from another, who is that "health preofessional" to tell you anything?
His 30+ words should be enough for now... Don't worry!
Kisses.

[deleted account]

My parents said I didn't talk til I was almost 5 going into kindergarten, and didn't stop once I started! The doctors told them I had a speech problem, wasn't deaf but didn't have to ability to speak. Fooled them, had/have a speech impairment with my "r's" but otherwise nothing else wrong. My youngest (4 1/2 y/o) didn't start talking til he was almost 3 but when he did it let it all out. We decided he is an observer and when he gets things straight in his head then he'll say it, do it, try it, but if it's not right in his head he won't try it at all. Follow your instincts - what do you think you should do?

Lena - posted on 05/10/2010

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i dont think u have anything to worry about just yet, i wld just keep talking to him and im sure hell get it pretty soon.. kids r amazing, hell probably just start talking in sentences out of the blue one day, well not all in one day lol but itll prob be pretty rapid.. both of my kids did that

Ivon - posted on 05/09/2010

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I went through the same thing; However I went to see an ENT and allergist at 18 months, they wanted to put in tubes but I was to scare to do the surgery. I went for a second opinion and he told me to wait. My son suffer from ear infections that I was never aware b/c he would not cry; he was always a happy and independent child. When he started to make some progress it would stop; his language was limited but the words were clear at times however the more he try new words it would sound muffle. I decided to go for a third opinion and he told me that my child had so much fluid in his ears that he cannot hear me clearly. My son is now 4 1/2 and he finally got the tubes in. He is also recieving speech therapy. After the surgery, it has made a world of a difference. I know that boys are developmentally slower than girls but is always good to reassure that there is nothing else wrong w/ your child. Now we are playing catch up w/ his language; everyday I see progress. (The second ENT kept telling me to wait but as a mother you just know that there is something wrong). i hope this helps.

Diane - posted on 05/09/2010

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My son (21 months) has a good vocabulary but doesn't really speak in sentences yet. I usually understand most of what he's saying but if I wasn't his primary caregiver, I think I'd have trouble distinguishing every word. And I think he's doing fine. Is this health professional a pediatrician? What he/she said doesn't really sound right to me.

Samantha - posted on 05/09/2010

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My son is 21 months and speaks fluently , he has a very advanced vocab and a good understanding of everything he hears but I have been told he's advanced for his age. They all develope at thier own pace , I wouldn't worry too much .

Kerri - posted on 05/09/2010

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My sons ped. said that by age 2 they should know around 60 words. At his 2 yr well chiild check he only knew 30-40, and she wasn't really concerned bc that figure is just average. A few weeks later his vocabulary exploded practically overnight. He is almost 3 now, and can vocalize pretty much anything he wants or needs, although he is sometimes still hard to understand. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Alison - posted on 05/09/2010

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I think your health care professional is worrying you unnecessarily!My youngest son was only using singly words at 2 and a half and those not very clearly. He was 16 on Thursday and is top of the class in maths and has already passed his GCSE in English. Certainly nothing wrong with his learning abilities!!

Bobbi - posted on 05/09/2010

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My son of the same age is the same. i thought it was because his 2 older sisters dont shut up. But having spent 5 years working in child care i have found boys ARE slower to talk and vocalise. But dont be fooled.. it doesnt mean they dont know what your saying. Give them a set of car keys and bet he could open the door and put the key where it goes. Every child is different. If his not talking by 3.. then worry.

Keri - posted on 05/08/2010

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My oldest was speaking very well by 20 months, but we were still not able to understand everything he said. My second child was not speaking well at 20 months. We had him evaluated at 3 years and he is in speech therapy now. I would keep an eye on your son's development and if he is not speaking better by age two get him tested. It may be nothing, but it may be there is something wrong and getting him tested early will help a lot.

Nora - posted on 05/08/2010

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My son was also a late talker. He did not talk a lot and in full sentences till he was almost 4 but once he started he was talking all the time. When he gets a little older you might have him tested for APD (Aditory Processing Disorder) My son has it but I did not find out what it was till this year. He was in speech therapy in school and his hearing was tested and found to be fine. His mind is just not processing what he hears fast enough. Because of school rules they could not even hint to me that he might have this processing problem. They just told me he was very smart but was not processing the info as well. This this not tell me anything. There is now treatments for kids with APD and you can read more on line. So, just keep reading to him, but read slowly and clearly to give him time to process what you say. Make sure you keep a positive attitude with him and always tell him all kids learn at different speeds. Even if he has problems in school with his reading, writing, and memorizing having a positive attitude about himself will help him till he gets help if he needs it or he just catches up on his own. My son is almost 13 and he still loves it when I read to him.

Janice - posted on 05/08/2010

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Well I believe all children are different, my son had two words before he was two eat and bed.

Nancy - posted on 05/08/2010

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Boys take awhile to be fully verbal. Some get it early, others, later. Kids are all different and you really can't come up with solid norms. You can tell if they understand you and are trying to communicate with single words and phrases. Gradually they all get the sentences out and no one is worried any longer. Keep encouraging speech with your boy by having him repeat words after you to make sentences. He'll get the idea and always be positive toward him.

Mari - posted on 05/08/2010

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From what I understand your son is doing just fine. Kids have their own pace of how things develop and if he gets himself around just with 30+ words and senteses, hey, it is all good. You cannot expect them to be rocket scientists at this age. There is so much going on for him in his life at this age. My doctor recommended speach therapist for us since my son didn't talk well and not allot at age 24 month. I would say the same as yours. Now he is 2.5 years old and boy he is learning words and letters and numbers and there is no stoping him. Some words ae not clear but he is doing just fine. People do understand him. You have to remember that doctors most often go by their guidelines but kids don't grow and develop by those guids, so he is still little to talk the way he wants him to see it do. Just remeber, the first two years we want them to talk and walk and then the rest 16 years we want them to sit down and shut up :) Your son is doing just fine and one day he will take off with talking and there won't be the end :) Take care!

[deleted account]

You don't say where you live, but you can get your son tested by the school district if the doctor reccomends it. Good luck!

Tiffany - posted on 05/08/2010

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I'm the queen of letting kids go at their own pace, but when my baby boy was about 2, I noticed he didn't have the same amount of words as his piers (they should be using sentences with words to match their age, so at 2, he should have 2 word sentences).
My point is that it's an early sign of things like mild autism & if you work with him now his brain is still forming and it helps him later.

[deleted account]

My son goes to speech therapy and there is a sign there that says if your 2 year old isn't saying 50 words then you might want to think about an assessment.

[deleted account]

My son is 21 months and says a few words, but no sentences. I've asked a few doctors and they've all said that it is normal for boys especially to take longer to develop speech. He's normal in all other categories, and as a typical boy, is fairly well-coordinated. We occasionally try to play some sight-word games with him, and we repeat the names of objects a lot. (I try to read to him, but he either eats or tears the books....) I'm pretty sure it's normal for boys....

Debbie - posted on 05/08/2010

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I have four children, and none of them really said much until they were two. They are now 17, 20, 23 and 25 and are all among the better-spoken adults I know. Even as little children they had the kind of vocabulary that made people do a double-take and say, "HOW old is that child?" I wouldn't fret yet. Some kids just take longer. Make sure you talk to him and read aloud to him a lot, and likely things will be fine.

Bridget - posted on 05/08/2010

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My grandson is 4 yrs old. He did very little talking at all until around 3. He had 2 assesments and needed to have tubes put in his ears. He has always understood everything but would say very little. He's doing much much better now - just need more help with pronunciation. ALSO, studies show that boys on an average are either physical or verbal early. Most boys are physical. So through experience, I wouldn't be worried at all. His doctor's cutoff time was 3 yrs old.

HUGE!!! Many studies show how TV affects the babies (& adults minds). NO TV is best but if it has to be on limit to 1/2 hour.

[deleted account]

When my son was the same age the pediatrician sent us to speech therapy. He did not have a problem, unless you count a dominant older sister who said everything for him! He learned to start talking for himself in order to get what he wanted. Now 7 years later, my daughter still tries to speak for him, but he will tell her he can speak for himself! We as parents push them to walk and talk at early ages, then spend years telling them to sit down and be quiet! Just let him be - teach him new things, certainly, but let him develop at his own pace. It'll work out just fine, you'll see.

Danielle - posted on 05/08/2010

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I am pretty sure that the health nurse has confused it with what a 3 year should be doing...my son is 21 months old and although he is learning new words every day, sentences are far from his vocab. From what you have said, your son seems perfectly fine ...happy chatty with your boy.

Lena - posted on 05/08/2010

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ok my son is 20 months also , he speaks well like as if he is older but that because i read to him alot i always ask questions let him sound them out. I am not a SRGt mom I am very relaxed but take ur time with him wwatever he is interseted in go off that meaning make a game out of it you have to get your child interested in talking in sentences like my son love wonder pets for the longest so i would sing the song to him sound it out do fals cards but say u can say it stuff like that but overall ur son is ok doctors exect to much when they should indivually rate a child

Sahana - posted on 05/08/2010

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hey dont worry...hes only 20 months just wait for 5 more months...my daughter will be two on the 31st of May and she speaks all the the words just upto the 2nd syllable...nothing to worry

Delwyn - posted on 05/07/2010

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I agree with Peita below - take it as it comes, enjoy him as a baby and don't stress! My little boy is 21 months and is very much the same as all of the otehr replies you are getting. He tries really hard and loves it when you understand him but much of the time he struggles to say more than half of the word, struggles with s, and c and some of the other consonants in particular - and that seems to be very much the norm for boys. So long as they are communicating with you (not necessarily verbally) and they understand what you are saying to them, ie obeying instructions etc then I think you can be reassured that his little brain is working furiously to gain those language skills and he will master them eventually!!

Hope - posted on 05/07/2010

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My cousin is a speech therapist, she said don't worry unless he can't talk and he's well over 3. And even then, if he has sibblings, they may be doing most of his talking for him so he might just not feel the need to. My boy can string together complex sentences, with complex words if he feels like it but he just tends to grunt and point for the majority of the time. I can relate :)

[deleted account]

for Heaven's sakes... talk about pressure. If he isn't talking by 3 then worry.sounds as if he's doing ok to me,,and I had 5 kids. if that means anything.

Dominique - posted on 05/07/2010

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I wouldn't worry too much. My son didn't have any words at 20 months, and barely any babbling. His hearing was fine, he was engaged in everything around him, and happy so we just let things take their course. He's now 26 months and we can't shut him up! He can count to 20, sings and dances, and tries to read along with us when we read to him. Kids will take things in their own time, and it seems like boys are usually later to speak than girls anyway. If you are worried, get him checked for hearing problems or developmental delays, but at this stage just enjoy your quiet little man, because it won't last.

[deleted account]

and who ever he /she was need to go sit down! I have 1 grandson who will be 3 in June and has been talking in sentences since 15mos. His brother will be 2 in July and has a vocab that consist of NO STOP MOM MOM DAD DAD POP POP NUM NUM and a couple more i can't think of . are we worried no. Every child goes at there own pace and should not be put in a box. Some are fast some are not Yes he has him mixed up

Melanie - posted on 05/07/2010

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Most children by the age of 2 - 2 1/2 usually have a vocab of 30 words. He already has a vocab of 30 + words so to me your obviously doing something right. Most children esp boys will start to string sentences along by the time they are 3. sometimes i think we need to let children be children. If you feel he's not doing enough speak to ur health visitor she may be able to suggest something xx

Kimberly - posted on 05/07/2010

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My oldest child has a speech delay. She is now 6 and still struggles with ptragmatic language. We also have 2 year old twins and because of their sister's history we have watched this development very closely. A speech pathologist who has worked with our daughter told us that by age 2 your child should have 200 words and be able to say two word phrases.

Päivi - posted on 05/07/2010

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My son is 26 months old and his only clear, undestandable word is "isi" (daddy). He has tried saying "äiti" (mommy) a few times, but only when he feels like trying.
In his 18 month check up we talked about his situation and both we parents and the healthcare professionals thought it was for the best to put him in line to go see the speech therapist.
There´s an unbelievable one year waiting a head of us, since there just aren´t enough therapists to go to.
Our son´s babbling is very simple and he doesn´t use many sounds.
When asked about something, the answer sounds exactly the same, whether he means: "yes" or "no".
I know he understands most of what he hears and there´s nothing wrong with his hearing either... ;)
I could whisper "want some juice?" from the other side of the room and he would run straight to the kitchen and to the fridge. :D ♥
His little sister is 15 months now and she has 5 words I understand. The most advanced one is "kiitti", meaning "thanks" and she says it very often when leaving the kitchen table. She also uses it whilst playing. She babbles a lot and sings and plays along to familiar tunes. His brother however has just begun to play along and sometimes humming a little.
Both our kids have developed in such a different pace in every way and I´m not too conserned about our son´s speech being missing, but I am hoping we get to the appointment sooner than next year...
In the meantime my husband and I try to talk, sing and read to both of the kids and encourage them to point to things as we tell them the correct words. :)
So long story short: I wouldn´t worry!! :)

Serena - posted on 05/07/2010

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I have 3 children, and I wouldn't expect any child to be talking before they are 2 yrs old. They are busy absorbing sounds and words, as well as learning new movements and hand-skills. One day, the things they've absorbed will come flooding out. I find they get really vocal just before going to sleep, like they're practising all the words/sounds they're interested in.

Elizabeth - posted on 05/07/2010

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If you feel that there may be a problem have it checked, but each child is different. My oldest grandson is 3 1/2 and they say he has speech problems so they give him help. I feel it is more that he does not have to talk for himself and is given everything he wants. Then you have my 10 month old grandson who can already say more then 10 words. My first grandsons father didn't really talk till he was over 3 he didn't have to big brother did it for him. Every child is different. Follow your heart. What was good 30 years ago when my kids were little is behind today.

Allison - posted on 05/07/2010

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I just went through the same exact thing last week with my 18 month old son. I was always told in the past the typically boys start speaking later than girls, and at this age you should not be concerned. But, my husband and I recently moved and started taking our son to a new doctor. The doctor was just as concerned as yours was about our son who has a decent vocabulary, but isn't speaking entirely in full sentences. They recommended that we speak with with an early intervention specialist, but honestly, I'm not concerned at 18 months. I think that when they get to be a little older and there is still an issue, then its valid to be concerned.

Sheena - posted on 05/07/2010

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my friends kid only said a few words n then like right after his 2nd bday.. seriously like a day or to after his 2nd bday he was saying sentences n all sorts of things... we were amazed.. i wouldnt worry about it yet.. hes still young.. good luck! :)

Cassandra - posted on 05/07/2010

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It child is different, My oldest did not really start speaking sentences until he was 3 he said a few words but not complete sentences. And my youngest well he has been a babble mouth sense the day he was born lol lol. So my opinion is not to worry about it to much right now just keep working with him. And if he is not speaking well by the time he is 3 or older then i would look into some options. Cause every child is different. Hope that helps u.

Jennifer - posted on 05/07/2010

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If you are concerned have him evaluated by a speech therapist. They are the professionals and they can help you. In NYS the pediatrician can recommend a therapist come and evalute your child (at home) and it is all free through the county's Early Intervention Program. Good Luck!

Krissy - posted on 05/07/2010

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my son was the same when he was that age, i was the only person that could understand him and was really worried, i spoke to my health visitor and she said if he's no better by the age of 3 he may need speech therapy. my son is going to be 3 in june and his speech is amazing now! i wouldn't worry if i were you :)

Sheralyn - posted on 05/07/2010

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I have 4 sons - all talked at different ages! My oldest was walking and talking by 9 1/2 months, my second son was totally different!! Second son started walking at 18 months and talking a little after he turned 2 yrs! Now I can't get either of them to be quiet!!!

As long as you talk to him and ask him questions, carry on conversations (even one sided)- whether or not he verbally answer back - he is learning !!!

[deleted account]

My boy is 2 next week and still not talking. He understands a lot, and is very observant. I've been told that children shld be talking by age 3. I think hes on the verge- he makes a lot of vocal noises, and chatters away a lot!

Raquel - posted on 05/07/2010

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I didn't say a single word until I was 2 years old. I have a law degree and 2 masters degrees (one from an Ivy League university). I am fluent in 2 languages and can read 3 others.

Wendy - posted on 05/06/2010

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My boys are 15.5 months and 3.5 years. My youngest only makes animal sounds, lol! He is in early intervention because of gross motor skills, but he's caught up now, and they say he's absolutely normal in terms of speech. My husband said his first word at age 2, while I was speaking in complete sentences. With my first child, I felt the pressure from others to get him into speech therapy because he was saying very little. He put 2 words together for the first time when he turned 2. I determined that everyone was just being pushy, with no regard to the fact that children develop at different rates. He is now a non-stop talker, and quite gifted. It was a little embarassing when he rattled off a couple foreign language alphabets at a car dealership the other day :) Engish is no longer challenging enough for him :)

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