16 month old not talking..normal?

Nicole - posted on 08/13/2010 ( 208 moms have responded )

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my 16 month old son...doesn't say any words yet. He's says momma..but that's it. I've always heard that they should be saying momma plus another word by now..and its starting to worry me. Any advice on how to get him to start talking...and is it normal??

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Charlotte - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son didn't talk much until he was 2 yrs. He has an older sister who talked for him. If your son can HEAR you and understands what you are wanting him to do I wouldn't worry about it. Every child learns things at a different pace.

Carol - posted on 08/19/2010

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Nicole, I'm an older mom. My son who is now 30 was speaking in full sentences at 1.5. My younger son, 11, didn't start really speaking at all until about then. Both of them very smart, both normal. Children are different. Does he recognize things? Are there older siblings who "speak" for him? Do you repeat the word of the thing he's reaching for? Chances are, your son is deeply normal. We all compare, smug when the comparisons go our way, panic-y when they don't. I do my best not to compare, after the speech thing, when I was sure my youngest was perhaps not very bright.

Trisha - posted on 08/19/2010

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My 1 daughter was saying a few words (mamma, dada, etc) then suddenly stopped around 15 months. Her pediatrician said that it just "takes time" I did a lot of research on the internet and then asked her pediatrician for the phone number for the County. I self-diagnosed her with DVD-Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (the county told me that I was right and started her on speech therapy, also started her on occupational therapy (for low muscle tone in her face) and physical therapy (for impacted rib cage-that I was not aware off-and it can impair getting the right breaths out to form and produce words)
This was all eventually diagnosed through very detailed evaluations (which the county WILL do) no charge, at that time anyway.DVD is a neurological disorder involving the thought processes in the brain. She started all of these therapies at 18 month, She started in early childhood education at 3 years old, and today at 11 years old, she still has an IEP at school. My point is..take it upon yourself to ASK QUESTIONS-don't automatically take the Dr.s word for it. There are only 2 things the county can say...either they will say nothing is wrong, or there is something wrong and provide the proper care and treatment

Elizabeth - posted on 08/19/2010

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every child is different, take him to the park and let him socialize with other kids, He will follow from example, or he will just start talking when he is ready. Talk to the doctor if you are still concerend. If he is a younger sibling, the other kids may be talking for him most of the time, encourage the older kids to let him do the talking more.

Tina - posted on 08/19/2010

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It is normal for a slight delay in the speech development, but my son had problems early on, so it may be other reasons. Find out if he can hear properly, that could be a problem, also for attention span as well. Find out what is interesting to him, and ask him a question simple of course about it, and see if he can answer you. Otherwise get a dr. to check his hearing and read up on normal speech development in young toddlers. Talking to them a lot does help them to also develop their speech patterns so be sure to try to speak good English grammer around them as much as you can feel comfortable to do so. What does he like besides food right ? i.e. a toy, he likes a game, of something simple that he can respond to you with. See if that helps, if it hasn't already been suggested. Otherwise you might just want to get his hearing checked, and a speech dr. to ask a few questions of. I had to have a speech therapist help my son through the school system, and that was a lot of help. So check out the resources and get your husband to participate in this as well if he isn't also concerned. Do you have other children ? Or is this your first born ? They tend to make a lot of noises and like noises as is a normal 'boy' thing to want to do. So see if that is also able to be done and see if he responds to that. Your husband should be good to help there. I hope.

Trisha - posted on 08/19/2010

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what I did with my last 2 children and now even with my 17 month old grandson is also use sign language

Charlie - posted on 08/19/2010

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Oh yes, I should have added to be sure you are speaking to her like normal throughout the day. And be sure there are no hearing problems. Either you can have the hearing tested, or like we did, we just watched her. She responds when called (unless she's busy) and she hears both loud and quiet noises in quiet times as well as in loud, busy areas, so we feel confident about her hearing. :)

Charlie - posted on 08/19/2010

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Two of my four children have been late talkers. Since it was such a common story for me to hear that people's children didn't really start talking until 3 I decided not to be worried about it. My now 9yo son speaks just fine and I never did the speech therapy etc. that the doc recommended. As I'd had a hunch - he started really talking at age 3. :) My 22 month old daughter doesn't speak either. I'm so glad we decided to use baby signs (ASL) with her b/c she uses over 200 of those to communicate just fine with us. But as for talking, the occasional "mama", "dada", "mimi" for milk, and "nih nih" for no no is all we hear. From knowing lots of families over the years and my own experience - it seems to be extremely normal. :)

Kalisha - posted on 08/19/2010

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be patient and see what your pediatrician says. Also, i made both my kids work at getting what they want. for example if they want something like a drink, they would point and i would say, what r u pointing at use some words. the baby talk would come out and I would say Drink, and we would clap and say YEAH!! they loved clapping and congratulating their progress. Perhaps your son needs to be around people who talk alot.

Nathalie - posted on 08/19/2010

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My daughter was the same way. She talked baby babble until she was 2 years old. My fiancee was always worried, his daughter was speaking a little after a year old so thought that there was something wrong. I explained that she would just suddendly start speaking, and she did. My son was also the same. Children will start talking when they are ready. My daughter is 4 years old now and my son is 6 years, they both had the vocab of a 4 year old by the time they were 3 years. Boys concentrate on their motor skills before anything else (run, jump, kick a ball etc) I personally, believe it is nothing to worry about, talk to him with real words (not baby words) help him try and pronounce words, but one day in the not to distance future you will find he starts using those words and all of a sudden you will be wishing he will give his mouth a rest lol
Hope this helps x

Carol - posted on 08/19/2010

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Hey Nicole, I'm a speech therapist specializing in working with very young kids. I'd be somewhat concerned at this point about your son. Has he had lots of ear infections? That could explain it. If so, get him tubes asap! If he is not putting 2 words together soon, seek a speech therapy evaluation. The state offers free programs for children under the age of 3 that give treatment in your home. In Louisiana, its called Early Steps. As far as advice, insist on your son using some form of words for the favorite things he asks for....such as cookies. Don't give him what he wants until he at least tries to say a word other than Mama. Hope thats helpful!

Deborah - posted on 08/19/2010

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My dtr has a problem with my grand dtr and she had her hearing tested and found out the speech delay was due to congested ears and had tubes put in..and it improved immediately....

Madelin - posted on 08/19/2010

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Very normal, trust me once he starts talking u will want him to stop...lol

Erin - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son was also speech delayed. Check with your pediatrician. He or she can refer you to a local agency that will test your child (and provide speech services if needed). Speech delays are really common, and no big deal, but early intervention makes a world of difference.

Brenda - posted on 08/19/2010

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This little guy will talk when wants to. My grandson was the same way. Now he talks all of the time.

Meg - posted on 08/19/2010

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I am a mother of 3 and grandmother of 4, I wouldn't worry, in fact enjoy the quiet, there will come a time when you wondered why you wished he was talking. My 2nd son didn't say much until he was close to 2 and then he NEVER stopped rambling!! He does say momma so you know he can talk. Hope this is helpful.

Renee - posted on 08/19/2010

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I am a mom of two toddlers. My almost 3 year old daughter was talking great and progressing well above the curve, then one day just stopped talking, got really begind in everything. Turns out she has autism. Her younger sister, almost 2, still says nothing except mama, and only when she is extremely upset, and it isn't diffinitive of me. You ask if this is normal, no, at least not at 21 months. At 16 months, okay, it may just be a little personal delay. So many people tell me that my kids are just developing on thei rown, and that I need to not label them, and other moms get really upset with me. But the way I see it, pretending nothing is wrong, doesn't make it so.

All of that to say that you might want to bring it up to your doctor. At 16 months there may be nothing wrong, but if he continue to fall behind, then there are things you can do to help. There is early intervention, that comes in your home and helps you develp his speaking skills, and a million other things you can do.

Janine - posted on 08/19/2010

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That brings up the question -- did he have a newborn hearing screening? Most areas require that babies are given a screening of the physiologic functioning of the ear prior to leaving the hospital when they are born.

Janine - posted on 08/19/2010

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That brings up the question -- did he have a newborn hearing screening? Most areas require that babies are given a screening of the physiologic functioning of the ear prior to leaving the hospital when they are born.

Janine - posted on 08/19/2010

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I guess I must be a resident expert on this topic. I'm an Audiologist and have a minor in Speech Pathology. In addition, my own son was language delayed.
The norms say that the 1st word should come in at 12 months plus or minus 6 months. So technically you baby isn't "late" until 18 months. "Mama" counts as a word as long as it means you and only you. As long as a sound has a consistent meaning for the child, it counts as a word until age 3. If the child says "mo" for more or "ock" for sock, that counts. If he points and grunts, make him try to vocalize SOMETHING before you give him what he wants.

The next set of norms is that we expect a 24 month old to have a vocabulary of about 50 words and expect that he would begin putting 2 word phrases together at that age ("daddy bye bye" or "car go.") Again, the norms are plus or minus 6 months. 'Hope that helps!

BTW -- my language delayed son is now 20 and has been talking incessantly since age 3, when he went from no words to sentences in a day.

Alex - posted on 08/19/2010

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I would ask his pediatrician, and ask about a speech and language evaluation and a hearing screening. I believe that between 12-17 months, they should be saying 2-3 words to label objects, so he's still within normal limits right now. If you are worried, you will probably feel better after having him evaluated, rather than waiting to see if there is a problem. They may want you to wait until he is 18 months for the speech and language eval, but I would definitely want to check out his hearing just to feel better. Hopefully everything is fine and normal, but if there are any concerns, you can rest easier knowing that you detected something early and can get early intervention to hopefully prevent any problems later. Good luck to you and your little guy!

Doris - posted on 08/19/2010

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Yes it is o.k. I have had four children six Grandchildren and also have taken care of children for many years.Many did not talk at 16 months old. I have also worked with children who have had speach problems. As long as he says Momma...It would be good if you try talking more with him and also animal sounds are wonderful to start with such as cow, cat, dog. If he wants something make him say a sound not just point and give it to him. It does not have to sound anything like what he is asking for but just some kind of effort so pointing and getting things does not become a habit. I hope this helps

Ann - posted on 08/19/2010

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All children do develop at different rates but it is always good to have his ears and hearing checked out. Also, Early Intervention is a great resource and will come to your house to evaluate your child. If there is a significant speech delay, they will set up a Speech Therapy program where the therapist will come out to your house to work with your son. That is hoe it works in PA. My son has been in Speech since he was 32 months but he definitely should have been in earlier.
Good luck,
Ann

Ceri - posted on 08/19/2010

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I do not have time to read all the comments, I am sure there has been allot covered. Has he had ear infections? That is very very important. My son is turning 3 in October and we started speech therapy about a month ago. He had 6 diagnosed ones in the 1st year which they told me means about 12. That can significantly reduce his speech. Talk to your doctor. I wish I had pushed more as our program we are in ends at 3 and we only get 2 months. You know your child best. What I have learned so far is it is VERY important to speak to your child clearly and in complete sentences. When he does start to speak do not repeat exactly how he says it. Example I ball. You say, You would like the ball? It also may help to learn some simple baby sign. We did the basics, please, thank you, milk, all done, and more. He still uses them and I think would have used more if we had done it. Good luck Talk to your Doctor. Also when he does start to say words, write them down so you will have a list.

Diane - posted on 08/19/2010

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remember the joke about the little boy who never said a word and his parents to him to every specialist and nothing could found? when he was six he said " my oatmeal is cold" his parents were shocked and asked why he never said anything before. his response " everything has been okay until now"

Rita - posted on 08/19/2010

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I wouldn't worry too much at this point. My little girl didn't say any words other than mama and dadda until about two and then she just started talking in sentences. You just need to make sure you talk to them a lot and repeat things over and over. I observed a lot of other children at that age not talking much.

Sheryl - posted on 08/19/2010

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The Doctor said kids will excel in one area or the other, motor skills or talking. Watch how he plays, like jumping and other things that are hard he may be concentrating on that, no time for talking.

Sheryl - posted on 08/19/2010

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I think every child is normal, iys his normal. I watch two little ones, and have since they were 3 months old. The girl is older she started talking at 9 months non stop, but her little brother didn't talk until he was almost 18 months. He just listened and learned now he is 2 1/2 and will not hush for anyone else to talk.

Suzanne - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son didn't start talking until he was 22 months old. Then it was complete sentences and you couldn't keep him quiet! Your son is absorbing everything that's going on and he'll talk when he's ready.

Kristy - posted on 08/19/2010

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Read Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson. It helps explain how boys brains are wired different in utero from girls. They lack communication, listening and verbal skills.

Maya - posted on 08/19/2010

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both of my boys had delayed speech. the first one i did not get intervention for and although he was talking well by 4 yrs old, until then it was very frustrating for both of us. My second one was not talking at 15 months; to avoid the frustration i got early intervention for him- it is free in my state (massachusetts) and they come right to your house. It was fun for him and really helped progress his speech. i would definitely recommend talking to his doctor and looking for early intervention in your area

Jodie - posted on 08/19/2010

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I am not trying to scare you, at all. This is simply an idea to rule out. You can see some of the symptoms of autism at the is web sit. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism/...

Take a look. Hopefully you will put at ease in this area by seeing there are many things on the list that your son does do. More than likely his language is simply delayed. We went through this when my son was a baby and it turned out he did have autism. But every other mother I talked to who was having the same concerns, their child was simply a late bloomer. Good luck.

Jessica - posted on 08/19/2010

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What does his doctor say? If the doctor isn't worried then there is no reason for you to stress over it.Just bring it up at his next appointment and the doctor can tell you what he thinks. You could always get his hearing checked if you're really worried. Good luck.

Nayanda - posted on 08/19/2010

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When my son was the same age, our pediatrician recommended a speech therapist. She came to our house twice a week and helped him find his voice through games and exercises. She realized my son didn't want to say anything if he wasn't saying it correctly (yes, at 16 months) and he still hates to get things wrong. He's 10 now.

Babitha - posted on 08/19/2010

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Dear Nicole,
In India we often say that children who talks a bit late will be the most smartest Kid and its is very very true. Please do not hurry as he is very good at observing himself around the house and friends and family. He has got it all up in his memory, he is actally learning by himself to adjust and to be more aware. please do not worry as it is very normal and once he does start to talk he will be doing so with much concentration and involvement to his surroundings.

Rebecca - posted on 08/19/2010

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did he gurgle or anything as a baby? i would ask your dr or health nurse for their opinion. He is only 16 months old - boys do take a little while longer to talk but I ignored all issues and have spent the last 12 months with my son at speech therapists....

Charlotte - posted on 08/19/2010

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No worries! He'll talk when he's ready to. All my kids were late talkers and 1st time round I was worried too. I know it's frustrating. All you can do is keep talking to him and be patient. If you're really worried then get his hearing checked out just in case. Apart from that there's not a lot you can do. My twin girls didn't talk really until the age of 2 and even then it was very basic stuff even for their age and my son who is now 2 is only just starting to make an effort! He's so lazy he's only saying half-words! lol Anyway, good luck and don't worry.

Sue - posted on 08/19/2010

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At 18-months, my son was barely speaking. I was concerned, so I talked to my pediatrician. He said my son was still within normal range, but that he could refer me for an evaluation with our county school district. They indicated he was behind, so we qualified for weekly speech therapy. By age 2, he was talking quite well.

My son is now 3 years old--and talks nonstop. I mean NONSTOP!! LOL! We had about a year of speech therapy, and honestly, I am not sure if it was that or just his normal progression.

I would say at 16 months, I wouldn't worry too much. Read and talk to him a lot. And if he's still not talking at 18 months, talk to your pediatrician. Most counties have programs that are low cost or free, so you might be eligible. And even if he ends up getting speech therapy, it's nothing to be overly concerned about. Some kids just progress slower than others.

Miriam - posted on 08/19/2010

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my daughter is also 16months and can only say dady and momma and thats it and am not worried because the sister started talking properly at around 2 years. so nothing is out of the norm yet. again kids differ. i also agree with Jonna, enjoy the quiet time now for when its a blubber mouth, you wont like it

Barb - posted on 08/19/2010

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Your school district should have a Birth to 3 program. A local Speech Therapist can screen your son and this service should be free of charge to you.

Donna - posted on 08/19/2010

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They all develop when they are good and ready, my friend's little boy walked at 9 months, but was nearly 2 before he said a word - he was still perfectly capable of making his needs and wishes understood though:-)
My boys were both talking by 15 months, but walked much later than that.
They are all individuals, so if I were you I would savour the peace and quiet, because when they figure out how to say "I want" life will never be the same again!
Donna x

Judith - posted on 08/19/2010

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As a German/ American speech therapist and a mother of 2 boys I understand that you worry. It is true, that boys have a tendency to start talking a little later than girls. But not all do. As mentioned before you should probably make sure that his hearing gets checked. Talk to your pediatrician and if you continue to feel uneasy get a check up from a speech therapist. Every child is unique and diffrent and there are soooo many diffrent factors to speech developement that it is just not possible to give an adequat answer online. Feel free to contact me, if you have any questions - I would love to help out as much as I can without seeing and experiencing your son in person

Terri - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son said only about ten words when he was two years old. We had him in Early Intervention for Speech Therapy and for Special Ed. Within a few months, he was speaking full sentences. Now he is 7 and reads at 4th grade level. Many children will not speak until they feel they have it down right. Right now, as a suggestion, talk to your Ped. and see what they think.

Michelle - posted on 08/19/2010

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my daughter was the same, take him to a speech pathologist. It is the best thing that i did.Is he your first child cause i found my first daughter spoke for my second daughter.teach him to finish the sentence.
Good Luck
Michelle

Louise - posted on 08/19/2010

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Hi Nicole, I have 3 boys, all very bright and inteligent , they are now 11, 8, and 6, none of them spoke a word till they were about 2, the youngest didnt talk till he was 3! the eldest and youngest did suffer badly with ear infections and so their speach suffered slightly and all 3 had speach therapy ranging from 2 months worth to 12 month worth just to enable them to clarify certain sounds. They are now all performing in the top 1/4 of their class. Boys generally speak later , they are generally early walkers of more active in other ways. The best way for them to learn to talk is by you talking to them, commenting on everything they do, almost like a football commentator. Hope this reasures you, 16 months is really still quite young!

Deborah - posted on 08/19/2010

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get his ears tested...maybe he has chronic congestion making it difficult for him to hear spoken speech...

Rachelle-Jay - posted on 08/19/2010

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Like everyone else has said I'm sure it is just fine. Keep talking, singing and reading to him. He will be taking it all in. If your still worried getting his hearing checked would be a good idea. There area also lots of books about it that might be of use to you. Does he respond to things you say to him? Does he follow simple instructions? Does he make a range of sounds. Cause they are signs that he is understanding what you are saying to him and he will start to talk when he is ready.

Sandra - posted on 08/18/2010

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I see no need to worry! Both my boys needed speech therapy but over here they only make a check when they are 3 year old. My 4 year old is still hard to understand. And yes, some kids can be so early and others so late, but they will all one day reach the goal;-) We just have to learn not to listen much opinions because most of time it worries us when there's no need to worry. I spent everyday worried about my 4 year old because of that...either too little, or not talking, or being too shy to make friends himself, etc etc for what? he is healphy..what a gift nowadays!All the best and don't worry...be happy!;-)

Sandra in zurich

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