my son is 21mths old and wont speak and single word and wont walk..is this normal? what can i do?

Kimberly - posted on 03/24/2011 ( 42 moms have responded )

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hes 21 months old and i cant get him to say a single word not even mommy....he knows what im saying and he loves his books but he wont say hes pointing at and on top of it all he wont walk either...he'll stand up and walk around the sofa but thats it...he refuses to walk on his own or if were out in the park or anything he wont even stand up.

hes really testing me...am i doing something wrong?????

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Julie - posted on 03/28/2011

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Speaking as a mother of 3 and a special education teacher who specialized in work with very young children, PL:EASE get your child evaluated. Every state provides evaluations of young children at no cost to you, though the agency that provides them varies. Here in NY it is the Dept. of Health. 21 months is outside the upper limit of typical development for walking and speaking. The best thing you can do is to get your child some help as early as possible. Early intervention can make all the difference in the world. It is highly unlikely that your little boy is just doing this for attention.



Oh and please do not just listen to your pediatrician. They generally do not take note of more mild developmental delays and often placate parents by telling them "he'll outgrow it" or "all kids do thing in their own time". They are not specialists trained in the cognitive, gross/fine motor, and social/emotional development of young children. Their specialty is generally simply the physical development.



Please seek out a team of specialists through whatever agency does these evaluations in your state. If you tell me where you live I will happily find out who you need to talk to.

Debbie - posted on 03/29/2011

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that is so true never compare ur child to other children i learn that myself my son and lil cousin r 2 months apart and he is doing everything but my son is nt but i did hve him tested and he hve sumdelays as well as asds but he still wont talk much just one or two words never compare on his terms on his own time he will.

Theresa - posted on 03/28/2011

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Before you decide to go and worry about your child being 'behind' or 'delayed' I would suggest trying a few easier suggestions to assist in conquering these hurdles. As for the talking, try engaging in conversation with him quite frequently. Talk to him about EVERYTHING. When you get up, when you use the washroom, when you prepare food. Talk about everything you do. Then take time to ask HIM his opinion. Like at making breakfast "Shall we have toast with butter today?" Then remember to wait to give him a chance to answer. It may not be words, but if he tries, respond positively. Make him realise how glad you are of his input and attempts to speak. As I said, give him time to respond, then praise heartily any reply. After a while he may start to catch on.
As for the walking, devise a game where he has to walk. Perhaps hide a toy or a treat (easy to find of course), again with much patience for him to work it out and get the object, and much praise for a job well done.
Mostly, it sounds like you need patience and praise. Give him a chance and I'm sure it will work out. If it doesn't (again, patience) perhaps see a professional.

Lady Heather - posted on 03/27/2011

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It might be a confidence issue for him. My 21 month old just started walking and only really started talking in the last couple of months. Now that she's tried walking she loves it.

That said, at this point it is best to get it checked out. We do see a speech therapist and it's really helped me learn tricks to assist my daughter's speech. If he can walk around the couch it is doubtful to me that there is anything wrong with his muscles, but it can't hurt to check. I'm sure that is a confidence thing though. Sounds just like my daughter. She cruised for 4 months before she took the first steps. She didn't crawl until 17 months. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with her. And no, it was nothing I did. There are some really crappy parents out there who have walking and talking kids. It's not a reflection of your skills.

Sarah - posted on 03/26/2011

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it sounds to me like your little guys has some apraxia and dyspraxia issues going on. He isn't speaking because of oral/verbal apraxia. basically the oral apraxia is a developmental version of what happens to an older adult who has had a stroke that affected their "speech center"-- your son knows darn well WHAT he wants to say, but either he cannot think of the word when he wants it, or he tries to say it, and it just doesn't come out right. there is a break down in communication between his brain and his mouth.

what you need to do is contact your local early intervention program ( WIC or the health department can point you int he right direction). It may take a month or so for them to come out and evaluate him, but he will get either free or low cost speech therapy until he turns 3. At 3 years old if he is still not up to where his peers are, he will be eligible for preschool ( also at no cost).

My youngest was only saying 10-12 words at 27 months old. If he learned a 13th word, he dropped one of the first 12. He got 30 minutes of speech therapy 2 times a week until he turned 3. At 3 he almost did not make the cut for special needs preschool! He is now 5.5 years old and ahead of the learning curve--he is reading at doing simple math even though he doesn't start Kindergarten until August!

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[deleted account]

my son is 23mo and wont speak also... sometimes i wonder whether it was because he fell off the bed too many times (7 times to be exact) I'm still waiting for his 2nd bday then i will bring him to get some treatment.. :/ *worried*

User - posted on 03/31/2011

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I just wanted to say that my son didn't speak until he was three. Just pointed ect. One day he opened his mouth and not only did he speak clearly, he also had an advanced vocabulary, literally over night!!!! I guess he always knew how, just didn't want to. I'm telling you this so you don't completely freak out and start rushing around to a bunch of specialists as others have suggested. He might just be a little lazy :) As for the walking, just make him do it more, every skill needs practice!

Charlotte - posted on 03/30/2011

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my son is nearly 22 months old and he has only started walking in the last 3 months, he is absolutely petrified of falling over tho but only walks slowly, when he does walk i jus tell him what a cleaver boy he is n then he thinks its good and does it even more, your son will get there eventually, with his speaking i jus tend to talk 2 my lil boy all of the time but he already speaks loads like when you put his shoes on tell him you puttin his shoes on and do things like that and he will get there when he is ready

Renae - posted on 03/29/2011

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You are not doing anything wrong. Infant and toddler development is barely influenced at all by what the parents do or dont do.



You do need to get him assessed as he is outside the normal range for both talking and walking unassisted. You need a referral to a paediatrician who will then refer him to a child psychologist for an assessment (probably a Griffiths) and a hearing test. Just because a baby can understand every word you say and follow commands it does not meen they dont have a hearing difficulty that will impare their speech. I expect your end result will be a referral to a physiotherapist and speech pathologist. Dont be frightened by any of this. If there is a significant developmental delay then the sooner it is found the sooner it can be helped and if not, then you know he is fine and can stop worrying.



Ordinarily I tell people not to worry and let them do it in their own time, but in your case his delays are significant enough to warrant investigation.

[deleted account]

I think you should ask his pediatrician as soon as possible. My son is 20 months and walks and talks well. Every kid is different and he may just be doing it by choice even though he is able to. Just to be sure ask his doctor if it involves something like a hearing issue the sooner you get it resolved the better so he doesnt get behind.

Jamie - Lee - posted on 03/29/2011

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My favorite saying is "Albert Einstein didn't start talking until he was 4 years old"... If you are concerned about it talk to your doctor and see what he/she recommends.

Pj - posted on 03/28/2011

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You should talk to his pediatrician. A friend of mines daughter wasn't speaking and they found out she was having hearing problems. She got tubes in her ears and is doing so great! Talking up a storm! :)

Shannon - posted on 03/28/2011

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I don;t think you are doing anything wrong, they like to learn at their own pace. Just be patient and keep working with him and he will eventually do what you want. Or you could bribe him. If he wants juice or milk, you say the word then make him repeat it. Do not give him what he wants until he at least tries to repeat it. Good luck !!!

Heather - posted on 03/28/2011

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i think u should call his doctor...i mean every kid will do their own thing, but i would call just 2 be on the safe side...my daughter was 2 years old when i had them check her hearing cause she wasn't talking they said she was fine, but they did have her take a speech class after that, cause they said she talked like a 12 to 18 month old...If something bugs me that is going on with my kids...i don't care if it's something stupid or even small i always call my kids doctor and they are always really cool with me...hope this helped

Melissa - posted on 03/28/2011

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I have a son he is now 4 years old. He did not talk at all . I had REACH come to my house they assest him and noticed he was'nt talking and just murmering babble,He understood all I said to him pretty much , I grew increasingly worried then I took took him to his doctor he said he was just taking his time with speech .I new somthing wasnt right so REACH brought in a OT to look and observe him and she was pretty sure it was Apraxia . I had him assest and he sure enough has a diagnosis of Apraxia . Im not saying your little guy has apraxia , but if he has any speech delay or is showing weakness in walking it may be a disability and not your fault or his. You can take him to the doctors and tell them what he is not doing . I would ask for a OT and get him assest DONT WAIT if its Apraxia the sooner you get him into theropy the better chance he has to get a head of it . Apraxia is when the speech part of the brain hasnt developed the way it should have and its like rebooting the brain to reteach it . the oral cavity as far as tonge placement ... you can look it up on the computer . Thats haw I learnded about it cause its relitivilly a new diagnosis and just less then 10 years ago doctors were saying children with this were autistic, Now they see its not because he will understand you. Sign language is a helpful tool!!!!!

Tristan - posted on 03/28/2011

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u are ur childs voice in all of this my first doctor would not listen to me when it came to my youngest daughter he told me all ur other kids are healthy i just think u are babying her thats why she wont do it my daughter ended up with 7 different things wrong with her some of which could of been life threating because he wouldnt listen to me my daughter now is doing alot better thanks to some great doctors and the help of theraphist my daughter will start preschool for special needs next year and this could of been different if that other doctor listened to me she was so far behind she was one and acting like a 3 month old so please make sure to push a doctor if u feel something is not right

[deleted account]

i would take him for a check up, because there may be a simple explination for this. if he's not talking at all, and not walking independantly you need to find out why, because he should be, but try not to stress too much.

Heidi - posted on 03/28/2011

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I am very happy many people weighed in on this topic. In my experience I have found that if YOU are worried, there IS a reason to be worried. If your doctor says, "he is fine," go some place else. Doctors are busy and moms want to say, they have no questions when deep down you are dying inside. I knew my son was not speaking normally (he was slower than other children, and his words did mean anything...) NOBODY said anything until I asked them to take a closer look at it. Finially I found Early Intervention services, through the school district, it is FREE and they have helped. It will give you peace of mind to help your child, so do it. I don't know anything about physically being able to walk or not, or if he is being "lazy." But, I would do whatever is in your power to uncover the mystery behind that. That could be a BIG problem that might effect him Forever.

Tristan - posted on 03/28/2011

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have you talked to ur doctor about this my daughter was the same way and i thought it was cus she was the baby but turns out my daughter had a gross motor delay and many other problems that are now taking alot of therapys to help her out my daughter is 26 months and only speeks very few words she too points at objects but cant say them have u tried getting ur sons hearing checked too cus that was another issue with my daughter she can hear me but not as well as she should i would talk to ur doctor bout some of these things my daughter did not walk till she was 24 months old and that was because i had her in therapy once a week plus a private person coming in

Christen - posted on 03/28/2011

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I would definitely ask your pediatrician about all this.. they should be telling you whether your child is hitting his milestones or not and whether or not it's a concern. At 21 months with no speaking or walking I'd definitely have him tested to see what could be causing the problem.

Becca - posted on 03/28/2011

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What does his doctor say about this? This may be a medical issue more than a "spoiled kid" issue....

Lady Heather - posted on 03/27/2011

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We had the same experience with sign language. Our speech therapist encouraged it and as soon as my daughter figured out her first bunch of signs she started trying to talk.

Also this idea that telling him "big boys walk" will make him do it - unlikely. I didn't carry my daughter around the house, but I also didn't force the issue. That hardly sounds encouraging to me. I might say "why don't you take a step to mum?" or something like that. In the end, she just plain stood up and walked across the room with no prompting from anyone. A little one that is lacking confidence in walking is not going to learn just because you want them to. And how crappy would you feel if you found out your kid actually did have a problem and you were telling them to suck it up and walk the whole time?

Sarah - posted on 03/27/2011

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I must say, one of my pet peeves is people who say a kid is "lazy" because they won't walk/talk or whatever... While my son was NOT saying more than a few words until he was 2.5 he WAS having tantrums from frustration up to 12 times a day. I spent almost a year telling people there was something wrong, and having them tell me it was just because he was a boy--that he would catch up. When I finally found someone who would listen, he made so much progress in just a few months--he was using sign language within 2 weeks of being introduced to his first few signs! he was aching for a way to communicate, and made so much progress as soon as I gave him what he needed.

Kimberly, you need to look for help for your little guy...MAKE someone listen to you. The lady from early intervention was the first person who listened to me about my son--he was ONLY behind in speech, and was ahead in at least one area.

Dionne - posted on 03/27/2011

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One thing to remember is you are not the one who is doing anything wrong unless you neglect his needs. It sounds like you do not neglect him since you are asking questions about his milestones. I have 4 children who all developed at different times. It was not until the 3rd and 4th were born that a genetic disorder was discovered in the first, third and fourth children. The milestones are a guide line so if your child is behind the schools can assist you with your child to bring them up to the milestone. Also there are therapy programs through medical references if your insurance will cover them but with medical insurance you need to watch the amount they are authorized. I agree with the moms that are saying to call the doctor and voice your concerns see what they say. If no results with the doctor call your school district and tell them your concern and ask what program, early childhood programs are available for them to check your child. There is always paperwork involvement and sometimes financial qualifications to be in some programs but it is well worth the effort and time. They also can give you ideas how to assist your child to catch up to the milestones. If you are looking at a medical issue that is where the doctors referrals come into play, if it is only developmental delayment the schools come into play. Also try early childhood classes like mommy and me sometimes they can help find the resources for having your son looked at. Boys do develop slower then girls but it sounds like there might be more going on with your son than the typical boy being slower than girl. Wish you the best and remember it is not your fault for any of this. It is really hard on mom's when things do not go according to plan. Moms have a tendency to think and blame themselves. Society seems to blame moms but not dad's so always remember if you are doing the best of your ability and you search to discover his needs and help him the best you can you are taking care of him.

Jane - posted on 03/26/2011

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My niece refused to talk simply because she preferred not to expend the effort if she could get what she wanted by grunting. We fixed it by simply refusing to do what she wanted until she used her words. We also reminded her to use them. It took a few weeks and a few tantrums but she now talks just fine.



OTOH, a friend's son walked poorly and oddly compared to his siblings. By the time he was three they took him to doctors. It took some diagnosing but it turned out that for some reason he could not use his thigh muscles correctly. Physical therapy and braces were needed to help him be able to walk, not well, but well enough to get around.



Also my grandniece from Japan still did not walk at age three simply because her mother insisted on carrying her everywhere.



The point is that something is not right. It could be behavioral. It could be physical. It could be environmental. However, what it needs is to be investigated so you can head it off early to get the best result and so you can have peace of mind. It could anything from stubbornness to deafness to minor brain damage.



I must confess, however, that according to my parents I never spoke a word until I was three, at which point I suddenly began to use full sentences. As the first child I apparently got whatever I wanted by pointing and whining like our dog. When I really wanted a drink of water late one night gestures and whines didn't do it, so I hollered "Give me a glass of water right now!" My parents were both relieved and angry.

[deleted account]

Another thing I might add on my prior comment... with the 8 yo, he did begin talking more quickly. When it came to asking for things, he liked to demand and think he was funny too (like Chesnie said hers does...) If they do that, you make it for them, set it on the counter just out of reach, tell them to ask for it (3 times). If they don't, tell them "you either ask nicely, or figure out how to get it yourself." All 6 of my kids have gone through this, and they have learned to ask first. If they do not ask first, then the get into trouble. And, I don't do demands! (ie "i want a drink" or "i need a cup") I am a smart alec and will respond with "i want a drink too" or "i am happy you want/need...." of course mine are used to this and know that if i don't get it for them right away, They HAVE to ask! And they have to say "May I please...." in order for me to get it to them!

Chesnie - posted on 03/26/2011

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You arent doing anything wrong...if anything we both r doing wrong becase my little one 22 mos wont talk real words (she tries ) and wants me to hold her everywhere and I do..we took her to dr and they refereed to a speech therapist, had an evaluation and they approved her to come to our home free and help her but that was over a month ago and still havent heard a word from them yet..i try make her say things before she gets it and she just looks at me and smiles or laughs or at me like im crazy!!!

[deleted account]

Boys are so different from girls! My 10 year old would only say a handful of words at 2, taking into consideration he was 6 weeks premature, but all other development fell into the appropriate categories... except speech and hand-eye coordination. I worked very diligently with him on speaking. If he wanted something, he HAD to try to say it first (ie drink, eat, a toy, book...) I didn't give in until he TRIED!
My 8 yo, I did the same thing with. He began talking very quickly when I started working with him. (he is my ss... rough 1st 2 yrs...) However, he would not show Dad his accomplishments for the longest time!
My 6 yo (ss) was very behind developmentally at 17 months. Took awhile to gather all that he was behind on. I started teaching him some sign language (which helped the 8 yo) to get started. We called the local child develpment intervention ground pretty quickly to get him enrolled. He had therapy (DT, OT, & ST) 1-2x/wk until he was 3. 1st year of preschool was special needs. 2nd yr was normal pre-k with speech 1x/wk for 1/2 the yr, and monthly checks from special needs program child development evaluator. He is doing pretty well in 1st grade now. Still on the lower end of major comprehension (with assistance in school), but doing so much better!
Best of luck! :0)

Katherine - posted on 03/26/2011

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I agree with the others that this probably needs to be seen by a doctor and soon. Something you might also consider is doing some signing with him. Teaching him to communicate might help you and him feel less frustrated. My son is very verbal, but loves to supplement with signs, especially when he's upset and words are hard to get out. A quick Google search for baby sign will get you some things. I'd recommend starting with "more," "eat," and "milk." Those are all very easy, and very useful.

Nikki - posted on 03/26/2011

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While every child develops differently, by what your describing he is quite behind with his milestones. I don't want to scare you but you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. It could be nothing and he is just a late bloomer, or you maybe looking at more serious developmental delays, in which case early intervention in most cases is so vitally important.

I don't know him obviously but it is very unlikely he is showing this lack of development because you are around and he would prefer you to do things for him. So it's unlikely responding with "your a big boy you can walk" will help at all. You can try encouraging him, reading to him, holding his hands and cheering when he walks etc. However please see a doctor as well.

Sarah - posted on 03/25/2011

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I would also talk to your doctor. At 21 months he should be talking and walking on his own. There might not be anything you are doing wrong....there might be some delays or physical or mental issues that need further investagation going on. Honestly I would call your doc. today and let him know your concerns and see if you can either get him seen by his doctor or your local AEA (area education agency). The sooner you start to figure out what is going on the sooner he can get the help he needs. This is SO important because at this age there are SO many things they are learning and if there are delays the sooner he gets started with therapy the easier it can be to catch up to where he should be.

Krystal - posted on 03/25/2011

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Talk to his doctor because something is most likely wrong, not from anything that you are doing though.

Vicky - posted on 03/25/2011

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This sounds just like my son who is now 4. He didn't speak until he was nearly two I got in therapists who saw him a few times and played simple games like blowing bubbles and repeating every word at least 10 times during a game only use 3 to 5 words at a time no long conversations andhe will pick it up. Then you wish they would shut up poor kids can't win really. As for walking mine was 22 months when he got going enough to say he could walk but he is now 4 and still will not walk round for more than half an hour he attended several appointments with feet specialists who eventually discovered he had elastic muscles this is where the toes bend to far and the back of the leg doesn't stretch to allow walking. Signs in my son were his fingers look like they have to many joints and his thumb can bend backwards to touch his wrist, and he walked on his toes all the time and couldn't physically put his heal on the ground at the same time as his toes. Get him checked and ask if this is a problem he may have, as 3 different people missed it on my son. A month of excercise and he was away like a shot for short distances. Good luck hope its as simple as this for you. Please also bear in mind that no child is ever the same as another and timescales for each milestone are very broad check with health visitor/dr for these details. Best wishes

Kimberly - posted on 03/25/2011

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he'll walk around the sofa and coffee table but as far as just walking on his own he wont do it, he'll walk when he wants to if i hold his hands but hes still very unsteady on his feet.

Krystal - posted on 03/24/2011

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If he isn't talking at all he probably has a developmental speech issue and you should call his doctor and let them know. They'll ask for his 2 yr appointment but I wouldn't wait another 3 months. As far as the walking can he physically walk and is just being lazy wanting you to do it or can he not walk, if it's the second then you should take that up with his doctor too. If he's just choosing not to, don't give him the option. Big boys walk or just don't carry him and put things up where he can't get to them unless he stands up and walks, and give him lots of praise when he does.

Allicia - posted on 03/24/2011

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21months....he should be talking by now. you should call his dr and have a talk with him about this. my son has a speech problem and he was talking by 12 months. by 21 months he talked. he didnt say to many words and knew there was a problem. now he goes to speech 2 times a weeks and is doing great. big big changes. so i really think u need to make a call to the dr and go over everything he is doing.

Brandis - posted on 03/24/2011

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the best advice i can give u is DONT ever compare your child to another, every child is different and goes at their own pace...my son is 3 and not fully potty trained yet but his younger cousin is, my son is extremely picky with food and every other kid know isnt...the more you look at other kids and what their doing that your child isnt the worse you feel...trust me!!! sing songs and ask him to follow along with you. we bought my son the alfie robot toy and he loves it and his language has really picked up since getting it....maybe that will help

Kimberly - posted on 03/24/2011

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i think your right.....why should he do anything when mommy here will do it all for him........i jusy cant help but think im doing something wrong when i see kids younger than mine walking and talking, its very frustrating, i feel like hes never going to do it.

Brandis - posted on 03/24/2011

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no, tell him big boys walk on their own..i mean its totally okay in my opinion to still carry them...i break my back to carry my 3 year old still....but as for the talking idk about that...my son is off and on he still speaks his own language, but speaks clearly too...he might just like having mommy do everything for him ya know...

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