The Circle of Moms site will be discontinued on March 1st, 2020. Head to POPSUGAR Family's Facebook page for more community discussions.

Let's Go >>

16 month old not talking..normal?

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

17

29

2

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??

This conversation has been closed to further comments

208 Comments

View replies by

Elyse - posted on 08/18/2010

2

31

0

My son was 2 when I put him in speech therapy. He has tubes in his ears because he had such bad ear infections and fluid in his ears and heard everything like he was under water. By that time he should have had between 25-50 words. He wasn't even close. See if your county offers an Early Intervention program or something like it. With ours, if my Health Insurance plan didn't cover it, which it doesn't, then the county does. Our therapist comes right to the house. Try calling your Health Department to ask. The first thing we started with my son was to get on the floor and act like an animal and try to have him imitate the noise. He loves it and knows every animal noise I can think of. He is also now talking in short sentences and it has only been 5 months. Good luck!

Jeanne - posted on 08/18/2010

16

22

0

Hi, there is large variety of norm. However if you are at all worried, contact your early intervention. If you are not sure how to contact them, usually google your state with the words early intervention to bring up a list, or contact your doctor. You do not need a referral and if anything it will give you piece of mind and strategies to work with your child. If however the early intevention team finds things they can work on you have an early start and a wonderful advocate to help you navigate early preschool if necessary. My oldest (now four) has a speech delay, before that was noticed he had extreme high muscle tone, so he was orginally on for pt, and then for speech. They also helped me transtition him into a preschool to work with a speech pathologist. My second (now 3) is autistic and they helped with finding other services in my area and assisting with the preschool transition. My third chronologically 9 month, gestationally 7 (yes he's a preemie, my first was toobut not to this extreme) is also being seen by early intervention. Even if your doc tells you it's all normal, get an assessment from your EI in your area. Lots of docs are not trained in finding areas of slow development and early intervention is key in helping your child if there is an issue.

Niah - posted on 08/18/2010

2

1

0

My son is 14 months and only says mama and dada, which according to researchers and doctors, sadly, do not count as words! He understands, though, and communicates with gestures. I think thats what you should focus on at this age. Some babies just don't feel the need to talk early! I've also read that input=output. Maybe not exactly, but its proven that the more you talk to your children, even about mundane things, like narrating everything you're doing, the earlier he will start to understand and put words together. But really, at 16 months, I wouldn't be concerned. My daughter took a while to start actually speaking in sentences and now we can't get her to EVER STOP TALKING. Enjoy it while it lasts.

[deleted account]

I am the mother of 4 boys and none of them talked well at that age. Boys find it more effective to point and grunt. Girls usually develop vocabulary earlier then boys. Don't worry about it, if he's still saying only one word at a time when he's 2 and a half then worry. Right now he's fine.

Jeanne - posted on 08/18/2010

2

20

0

I was wondering if it is because you really don't encourage him and you know him so well that all he has to do is make a sound now and you know what he wants so you get it for him instead of encouraging him to speak. I had a niece that was like that and as soon as her Dad stopped and made her speak what she wanted the conversation started and have never stopped. Keep me posted. Love you

Lerato - posted on 08/18/2010

2

10

0

U shud try making converation with him cause kids likes repeating every sentence you are saying.

Jennifer - posted on 08/18/2010

4

2

0

The doctor was concerned that my youngest wasn't talking at 18 months, but she talks just fine now. and like someone else posted, the later talkers tend to jump right into sentences. I found that she would sing with me long before she would talk much.

Isabel - posted on 08/18/2010

2

0

0

Do not worry, my son now 27 years ols only started to say any words , he was 24 months, but once he started there was no stop,to me it is perfectly normal, all the best, regards Isabel.

Vicky - posted on 08/17/2010

1

9

0

My now 12 year old started talking at 9 months, my 3½ year old didnt start until after 2 and my youngest that just turned 2 can say about 12 words. I would not stress yourself out about it. kids learn on there own and in there own time. the one that just turned 2 does everything you ask him to so not worried about his hearing. kinda glad about him not talking then the 2 youngest would argue all the time. lol

Wendy - posted on 08/17/2010

10

0

0

My oldest waited until he was two and then started talking in complete sentences. I wouldn't worry...sometimes they don't talk because they don't have to. I had a telepathy with him and "knew" what he wanted to say before he said it. Someone pointed it out to me and I think they were right, but it took a while for him to understand that he needed to verbalize what he wanted. Do not worry....I had three sons and they were ALL late talkers!!!

Fenella - posted on 08/17/2010

9

12

0

as long as you talk and read to him all the time, he will probably pick up more words along the way. I would only start worrying after 2. I apparently only used baby sounds (not words) until I was older than two and haven't kept quiet since! Have his ears checked and then just play with and enjoy him!

Melanie - posted on 08/17/2010

51

83

0

books...books... books. find a story book with lots of pictures in it and regularly read it to him pointing out familiar things to him eg dog, cat, cow, bird.
My little boy is 15 months and has a slowly growing vocabulary. he says mum, mumma, daddy, grandmumum, grandpa, grandad, dog, gone, what you doin (we say that to him quiet often, now hes sayin it back) and car.
When out and about point things out too, like the cars, trucks, birds etc....

Lindsay - posted on 08/17/2010

4

20

0

Nah he's fine! My little boy is 16m too and thats about all he says too. I was used to how early my daughter talked, she was saying 10plus word by the age of 1. Boys are just slower in that area and faster in their motor skills, trust me once he starts talking you will think back and wonder why you even cared! lol

Mya - posted on 08/17/2010

7

9

1

Yes, it's normal. Some children are just late bloomers. I bet he communicates in other ways like, sounds for things like cookie (even if he doesn't say the word), and gesturing to be picked up or wanting a drink. These are all ways of communicating and prove that he wants to make his needs known. Try not to worry too much and Keep Talking to him, asking questions and telling stories. Some day soon, he might just surprise you. Keep Smiling.

Lori - posted on 08/17/2010

98

3

0

at 16 months, you shouldn't really be too worried or pressuring him to talk. Use simple words and sentences with him, and use them often. If he is still not using more words at 2, then speak to your doctor. first words are usually beginning with P, B, and M. SAy everything to him, whatever he points at. I was suspicious of my son as well. At 2 the goal is 60-100 words. My son had 45. I had him assessed and was put into speech therapy. One thing they strongly suggest for children with speech delays are to have them in day care 1-2 days a week. They learn best from their peers. Let me tell you, it is true. I had my mother looking after my son, but put him in day care a couple days a week, and within no time he was picking it up. He still has a delay, but no where near where he could have been without day care. My middle son is a talker! He started talking at about 16 months with only a couple of words, which was not even mama. He is now 19 months, and has betwenn 20-30 words. So children do learn at different stages, and learn best from other children.
Hold off on the worries until 2. However use simple words until he starts to pick up words. Like ball, truck, bus, car. Then once he has a few down, then say big truck, red ball, and grow from there. Most important enjoy your time with him, do not make it always a learning session.

Kiersten - posted on 08/17/2010

7

23

1

Can I ask if he is learning another language at the same time as english? Reason I ask is that my son didn't talk until very late either and I think it might have been that he was learning both english and vietnamese at the same time, so his mind had a little trouble working out which word to use.
If not, then I still would just put it down to the fact he is a boy, who it is proven, generally start later at most things, including talking.
If you are really worried you could take him to a speech therapist, otherwise I would give it time. In that time though, I would be talking to him about EVERYTHING all the time. Ie if you are hanging out washing, then talk him through every step you are taking to do that.

Jenny - posted on 08/17/2010

5

25

0

It's normal. I would say it's pretty rare when kids start saying much before 18 mos. Some do, but most don't. It doesn't mean they don't understand or don't have intelligence, but young children literally don't have the physical palate development in order to form the words. Your son will start talking before you know it. All kids are different and parents are different too in what they "hear" their kids saying. "Mama" plus another word is totally appropriate for this age! :-)

A - posted on 08/17/2010

385

15

7

my son is 15 months and in the same boat. I'm a little worried, but try not to stress too much about it. His other development is fine. And he RECOGNIZES a lot of words. If I say a word, he will point to that object. He knows probably 25+ words, he just can't or won't say them. He even points to his body parts like nose, ear, head, hand, arm, leg, belly button, and "little piggies" (his feet). So I know he doesn't have a hearing problem. He just doesn't talk much. He does say "ba" for Ball, which is is favorite toy, but other than that nothing. I suspect one day he will just start. I asked my dr about it, and he wasn't too helpful. He just say "if all his needs are met, he has no reason to talk". I don't know if I completely agree with him, but none of the other autism signs are really present so that doesn't concern me either.

Melissa - posted on 08/17/2010

1

0

0

It is a bit late according to those pediatric week by week books, but kids are on their own schedule. Is he saying Mama to you?(using the word properly-not just random) I think it's much more important that he seems well related. Does he smile at your smile. Is he interested in people? Does he have the ability to look you in the eyes (sometimes it's not a direct stare, but he can look) Does he laugh at your games? Does he seem in touch or hard to reach? If he is making sounds (even babbling) is excited to see you, has warm smiles in response to you or other caregivers, I wouldn't worry too much. If he doesn't respond to you or other caregivers, ignores your overtures, doesn't seem to be with you, that is different. I would get that checked out. It may be that he needs a little help socializing. If he is happy, smiling with you, seems to understand what people say to him-like no or hi or bye(nothing too complex-he is a baby) than I think he is just fine. If you want to get it checked out to make you more relaxed (that's a good thing-a less worried mum is always good) speak to the pediatrician and perhaps call early intervention (you do not have to be referred by a physician.) They can come and asses. It's free for the assesment and services may or may not be free depending on what they find and where you live, they will be a fair price though. Best of luck and let us know how your little one is doing!

Stella - posted on 08/17/2010

2

1

0

his head is busy learning a language, context, meaning etc.. Don't worry too much about it, just talk to him lots, he has learnt his most important word already.

Rachael - posted on 08/17/2010

558

22

71

the key age to look out for is 18 months. If your child does not have 3 words (including momma and dadda) by that point you can have him evaluated by a speech therapist. Does your child have any problems eating/chewing food? Also, does he babble? If he is babbling and shows no difficulty with eating and chewing than chances are everything is okay. If he is not able to eat normally then I would check with your pediatrician to make sure that his mouth muscles are formed and developing ok.
If you want to help him along with speech you can repeat words to him emphasizing the consonants but try to avoid baby talk. repeat words bit by bit helps too my son and I just worked on Alligator today: say "A", "All" "Alli" "Alliga" and finally " Alligator" what he pronounced back was "allygay" which was close enough for me. It works with small words too. If you are worried about his ability to communicate you can throw in some baby signs which have been a big hit with my son. Good luck and let us know how he is doing!

Aysen - posted on 08/17/2010

1

5

0

If he is a bilingual kid, it takes longer than usual. My kids were learning 3 languages and all start talking after 2 almost at 3 years old. Nut number 3 daughter took longer than the others because she has hearing problem due to infection in the ears. So I suggest you check his ears with a ENT specialist. Good Luck on your most joyful journey. Love, Aysen

Jessica - posted on 08/17/2010

2

20

0

Yup, he should be saying a lot more by now. I'd talk to your pediatrician about it and see about getting him some possible speech therapy. There's usually a wait list, so he may not get in for several months. Meanwhile, read to him every day and repeatedly say the name of anything he's interested in and everything you do with him. Talk to him constantly.

Jennifer - posted on 08/17/2010

14

12

0

My husband says that his daughter Maddie did not start speaking until sometime between 2 and 3 and at age 7 I can tell you she speaks well and oh so very much!!

Kory - posted on 08/17/2010

11

5

0

I have heard from many different people that boys usually take longer to talk than girls.. my son is 17 months and he says momma, dadda, dog and tries to pronounce other words we tell him...but nothing clearly yet..He recently had tubes put in his ears, so that might be something to think about too, if he is hearing things clearly... hope this helps..

Kristi - posted on 08/17/2010

88

14

27

My daughter talked in her own language (a crazy one we did not understand! LOL) until sometime in her third year and all of a sudden started talking in full sentences. It was like she was just watching and taking it all in for a while, then bam out if came, she has not stopped since! Some just don't talk right away....

Lisa - posted on 08/17/2010

16

3

2

My 15m girl is only saying a few words, but I can tell that she is thinking about the words and just recently started trying to say them softly. If I listedn really well I can tell she is trying to say them and I just encourage her and tell her "that's right" and repeat the word. She does this most with things that interest her like the books she carries over to me. I also try to speak very clearly and repeat the words in an upbeat tone...happy words. Lisa, Santa Barbara

Charlie - posted on 08/16/2010

11,203

111

409

I think you have misinterpreted my post .



"two to three words to label a person or object (pronunciation may not be clear)."



As in he may be saying mumma , dadda , cup , dog you know the words children use to label an object or person .



That was directly from a speech development site at what is developmentally appropriate .

Helen - posted on 08/16/2010

6

10

0

No one has labeled her child. And at 15 -17 months child are usually saying more then just 2 words.

Helen - posted on 08/16/2010

6

10

0

Tina, my daughter was recently diagnosed with verbal apraxia. She started speech therapy when she was 2 years 3 months. I had concerns at 18 months but was told to wait and see. Come to find out, the county would have evaluated her at 18 months. She is a twin and was the 1st to say dada and momma. Then one day she stopped. Anyway, she was diagnosed with apraxia about 2 months into therapy when she was really making much progress. My whole point in writing is to tell you that since the apraxia diagnosis, she now receives therapy 4 times a week rather then 2. I see a big difference. You should look into that.

Charlie - posted on 08/16/2010

11,203

111

409

I just wanted to add .

Girls develop verbally quicker than boys so please do not compare him to girls and each child is different and will develop at their own pace .

between 12 - 17 months it is only expected for a child to says two to three words to label a person or object (pronunciation may not be clear).

Helen - posted on 08/16/2010

6

10

0

As you already know, every child develops at their own rate. That being said, does he babble? Has he ever babbled? If he does, that is good. Maybe he will just be a late talker. 16 months isn't really late though. His pediatrician will evaluate how many words he has at his 18 month check up. If you still have concerns at that point, tell your Doctor you would like to have him evaluated by a speech therapist. Do not let them talk you into wait until 2 or later if you are concerned. What is the worst that could happen, they tell you your son is perfectly healthy/normal for his age. I don't know where you live, but in NY all counties provide free therapies for speech, physical and occupational therapies to age 3. They have therapists come to your home and evaluate your child and let you know then if your child qualifies based on their scores. Do not just wait as some would say, early intervention is always has the best outcome if there is some underlying cause (which there usually isn't.) For now, try using some basic signs to communicate with your son. Your daycare provider should know the basic signs more, eat, drink, ect. Young kids really take to the simple signs quickly. Good luck!

Lish67 - posted on 08/16/2010

3

44

0

Our oldest daughter started talking at 14 months, could even say words at 12 months. Our second daughter didnt start talking till she was 2 1/2!! My niece just started talking recently and turned two in June. She already is talking in sentences and actually never stops talking now:O) Don't panic......does he understand what you're saying to him? If he's two and 1/2 and still only saying momma, I might worry...but not at 16 months. Good Luck:O)

Charlie - posted on 08/16/2010

11,203

111

409

Totally normal , just read to him a lot and explain things to him like when you go shopping point out foods and say their names .

Tina - posted on 08/16/2010

29

25

1

My son is three years old and has trouble with talking he can say very little words every where i go people make in front of him and even little kids why can't he talk? they ask tons of questions when he started early on saying duck, mama, dada i thought great he's gonna be a early talker Boy was i wrong some way he stoped saying those words i was worried went to the dr's and got him set up with CDS (child development services) they have someone come to the house 2ce a week for a hour for speech therapy he has been doing this for 2years now and he has come ways he still has some to go and not saying a lot still but a lot more than he was. I am so thankful i looked in to bc i was worried, they have helped me to teach him. His disability is called apraxia.

[deleted account]

My daughter didn't really say much like your son but she did hold coversations with you in her own little language. We eventually took her to get evalutated by a specialist and found out that she was delayed in speech because something wasn't processing it right in the cognitive area of learning. So with the help of a speech teacher she's been improving tremendously. If you are this concern you may want to mention it to you Pedi and ask them to recommend a few specialist for you. Who knows it may just be a delay or something just as simple.....all I know is the early you get find out the easier it is to get him what he needs.

Marie - posted on 08/16/2010

16

26

0

Point at different objects in the house and tell him what it is and see if he repeats what you say, dont rush him because it will make it worse. Take your time and repeat yourself if you need too. Also, point at pictures in a book and have him tell you what it is. It will take time.

Marie - posted on 08/16/2010

16

26

0

My son is almost four He talks a little but not much and it is hard to understand him sometimes. Every child is different; and will develop at his or her own pace. When he wants something, instead of him pointing to an object and making noise and moving his hand, tell him what it is and see if he will try to say the word. It does help

Josie - posted on 08/16/2010

17

55

0

Practice... Talk to him ALOT! Repeat the things he loves... I'm pretty sure, by now, he points at what he wants. Everytime he does, say what it is. Easy words like juice, toy, truck, nummy, go, out, yes, no... Get other family members involved too... like nana, papa, sissy, doggy...



Good Luck!

Alison - posted on 08/16/2010

2,753

20

471

This is not uncommon at all. I would say relax until his 18 months appointment, then discuss it with your doctor. I think it is the 2 year mark that is really important. So much can happen in a few months. And remember that EVERYTHING counts. Momma is a word, bye bye is a word, "oh no!" is a word. Be patient and don't compare him to other children. The rate of development varies SO much.

Danielle - posted on 08/16/2010

16

15

1

Every kid develops at their own pace. My oldest didn't start really talking until he was almost 3, my second one is 2 and a half, and he is just really starting to say words, but my daughter who is the youngest at 18 months, talks almost as well as they do. He'll talk when he's ready..If you are really worried, try teaching him some sign language. We did that with our second child, and once he started signing, he started trying to say the words right along with the sign. It made a huge difference. Hope that helps!

Danielle - posted on 08/16/2010

915

38

42

My son is 15 months old and I don't think I'd be too concerned about it if I were you. Talk to your baby lots...repeat things...he will eventually start trying to imitate you. If he is babbling lots I think it's only a matter of time before he starts to actually form words.

Audrey - posted on 08/16/2010

1

4

0

have his ears checked maybe he needs tubes my grandson did then look out after tubes he talked like a trooper

Ashley - posted on 08/15/2010

10

11

1

I didn't speak until I was about 3 and a half, my sister was the same way, it isn't an indication of the child being slow or anything of that sort, He will speak when he is ready, he is just more of an observer, sit with him, and practice words... Show him Nose, Eyes..ect... and just do that sort of thing every day for about 15 minutes a day and he will pick up on it :) My 2 year old just started talking, and she hasn't stopped since

Lainey - posted on 08/15/2010

3

6

0

Always best to talk to your Dr. if you are concerned. If your son acknowledges you when you speak to him and focus' well it's probably nothing to be concerned about... one day soon you won't be able to keep him quiet!

Laura - posted on 08/14/2010

6

0

0

Our 2nd daughter had a speech delay. At 2 yrs, she had very few words, and an older sister who spoke for her. Concerned, we followed the pediatrician's suggestion, for our own piece of mind. We contacted our local *Infants & Toddlers* organization (check by your county for info). They tested her hearing and did an evaluation. Might be worth asking your pediatrician his/her opinion, just for your own piece of mind. If there is any delay, early detection is best. Either way, continue to talk normally, and reading is def great. Encourage words instead of pointing. I.e., child points to his cup. You can show him the cup, and say, "Cup, please". They do go at their own pace, and will get it. But the more exposure to the words and sounds the quicker he will start, and not stop! BTW, our daughter started speech therapy when she was 2 for her delay. By Kindergarten, she was completely caught up and no longer needed the service. She is now 7 and you would never know there was an issue. Good luck.

Jen - posted on 08/14/2010

12

51

1

My Daughter is 18 months now and to be quite honest, she only says a few words, she has started saying Mom rather than Mama, and she can say dirty (cuz I'm potty training her) but other than that she doesn't really say alot, my Neice who's now 5 didn't start talking properly untill she was atleast 2.. There's too many people in this world that have too much to say that then makes us Moms worried.. My next door neighbours Daughter is a month older than mine and she count to 5.. I don't care though because my Daughter will pick it up when she's good and ready, don't worry babes.. All children learn at different paces.. x

Rebecca - posted on 08/14/2010

2

18

0

i work in a childcare centre in the nursery and honestly all children are different, children will speak when they are ready and the specialists don't worry too much until they are atleast 2 and sometimes even three. your son may be taking every word in and he may be waiting for the right moment to let you know just how clever he is. continue to repeat familiar words during everyday activities and don't make too much of a big deal when he doesn't reply. hope this helps

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms