My 20 month old daughter understands pretty much everything we say to her but shows no interest in learning to speak herself - any advice?

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Blake - posted on 03/03/2009

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My pediatrician told me the biggest issue with late talkers is the parents understanding the childs cues and without making them ask. He told me to say "use your words" when they were asking for something and to not give in until they did. Don't respond to pointing and grunting. And don't offer up what you think they are trying to communicate...like"you want the banana?" Thess were his suggestions and they worked for us. But just so you know...Einstein didn't talk until he was 3 :)

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Adrienne - posted on 03/03/2009

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I'm kinda in the same boat as you are. My 20 month old son understand what we are telling him and what we tell him to do. He does say a lot of words but only when he wants to. He also surprises us once and a while with a short sentence like "where are you going?", "I don't know how". But besides the surprising us part he barely talks. We taught him sign language which he still does. But I noticed today he is starting to repeat when we are saying ABC's and 123's.... It takes time. My doctor told me if he is still barely talking at the age of 3 then he'll talk to us about doing something. It takes time... Good Luck!!

Deena - posted on 03/03/2009

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I would suggest that you just talk with her... all the time. Point out each object in her world and name it every time you come in contact with it. Also, reading is a great language stimulator. My son, who is 20 months old, loves to read stories. Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama books are awesome because you can make silly expressions that kids love as you read them, and they rhyme. Avery thinks his Llama Llama books are crazy funny. I think constant communication that demands a response from her, such as question and answer sessions, is imperative to language development. (Would you prefer your lion cup or your giraffe cup?) My son also likes to sign. We've been teaching him ASL along with words since he was born and it seems to work out really well. (My husband is deaf, so this is imperative in our home.) Good luck. She's going to talk at some point regardless. Hopefully some of my little tips can help you out.

Ailin - posted on 03/03/2009

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although it is not a big deal,and sooner or later she will start to talk,wether you like it or not,but I think the best way is to put a mirror in a place where she can easilly reach there when ever she wants ,and see her self .she will probably start to talk to herself and sing the songs you have tought her ,for sure that is more likely to help her ,I hope so.

Sarah - posted on 03/03/2009

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Our son went from saying only mama, daddy, and dog to a whole slew of words all at once - probably around 18 - 20 months.  It is good to have lots of conversations with them even if they don't verbally respond back as it helps them to see how conversations work.  Also talking out loud about what you are doing can help.  I agree that leaving room for your child to talk as well as asking them to repeat things.  Our son now at two knows a lot more words than he lets on and is shy about using new words unless we really encourage him and leave space for him to talk too.

Kate - posted on 03/03/2009

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The fact that she has understanding of what you are saying is the start to it all and is a good sign. Encourage her with books, pointing out objects in every day surroundings and lots of conversation and songs with repetition in them. As she becomes more familiar with words, she will start to say them, probably all at once i reckon. I have found that doing baby sign from really young has helped ease my little ones frustration and she was not a late speaker. Each time we teach her a sign, we always say the word with it and now she says the word as well as doing the sign.

Rebecca - posted on 03/03/2009

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My son just turned two and he doesn't talk much either.  The doctor and WIC clinic both gave me the same advice...don't give him anything unless he asks for it.  Problem with that is my son is super stubborn and won't ask.  We tried for three days to get him to say m&m's but he wouldn't do it.  So I just gave up on that idea.  We talk to him, read a lot, and work on letter sounds with him.  He is slowly starting to talk now.  I think some kids just have to take the extra time to be ready.  I know my son likes to make sure he is doing things right so I think he is waiting until he is sure he can say the word right before he tries.  My advice is to talk to your daughter  and read a lot.  Point to letters and tell her what sound it makes.  When you hand her a glass of juice tell her what it is.  If you keep using words eventually she will decide to as well.  Don't make it into a battle...she will talk when she is ready.  If she doesn't start talking in the next few months and you have any concerns speak to your doctor.  My son's doctor said that if he isn't talking by his next appointment we can have him referred to a speech therapist.

Jess - posted on 03/03/2009

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My son was the same way. We got him this letter station that you put on the fridge and he puts the letters in and it says the sounds of the letters. Once he started doing the sounds pretty well he started to become a chatter box. He doesn't always make sense when he is talking, but he is at least trying with his words now. And of course there is a few sounds he still can not do yet like the letter L and the sound it makes. It just takes time. Although I have heard that kids that learned baby sign language take longer to develop their speech because they don't need words to communicate.

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