Post # 1
Looking for insight from parents of late talkers. My little guy is 18 months old (yesterday) and says very few words. I’m not sure he qualifies as a late talker yet, but I’m looking for some info in advance. He says Mama and Dadda, but not super regularly. He has done Mama since about 10 months and Dadda since maybe 14 months. Occasionally, I can get him to say other words (Papa, up, cat, Grandma), but this is like, one word a week, not a regular occurence. Today I totally bribed him with cookies to say words (I rewarded any effort), and he did okay, but still refused to try most words (or signed instead.)
He does have other expressive language. He points, gestures, grunts, and has about 30-40 signs he uses correctly and unprompted. He can also use two-word signing phrases (“more grapes” or “downstairs please”). He follows directions very, very well, even two-step directions sometimes (go get your shoes and sit by the door.) He can point to most things in a book as long as it’s been labeled for him 1-2 times, and he has a decent grasp on major colors, the concept for “one,” more abstract concepts like “I love you” or “stop” etc. He makes some animal noises, but does best with silent animals (fish, giraffe–for which he sticks his toungue out, etc.) The advice on Dr. Google is split–half say to wait and see and he’s probably fine, and half say early intervention is really important.
He’s always been an observer and a quiet kiddo. He rarely babbles and tends to need to feel really comfortable to make other sounds. He uses tone appropriately (soft, gentle sounds when he talks to his stuffed animals, loud sounds when he’s playing with daddy, etc.) He has appropriate imaginative play, etc. I will say I’m not concerned at this point about something like autism, just a speech delay of some sort. His hearing was checked out at a year and was fine.
He has his 18-month check up this week, so we’ll talk to the doctor, but I’m 90% sure she’ll say the wait and see approach is right for him. I’m wondering if any bees with experience (either as a parent or a speech pathologist) could weigh in so I have a better sense for how to approach the conversation with his ped.
Post # 2
My nephew was this way. He can say a few words but cannot make ‘s’ or ‘g’ sounds and frequently says things that are completely unable to be understood. He is severely behind as he is 4 now. The lack of speech was noticed earlier and dismissed as being a slow talking. My only caution would be allowing it to go on too long. He tried to say so much and NO ONE can understand his babble. He’s in speech therapy now. Good luck! I think 18 months is ok for saying a few words and trying out new words.
Post # 3
You are okay, my son didn’t really start talking to age of 2.5 which was in March. There is nothing to worry about. I would give it time and don’t rush it. Your son will start talking withing the next 6 to 8 months here.
Post # 4
Sassygrn: Thanks. This advice seems pretty common, but then there are always the horror stories (I feel like the internet has made parenting both easier and more terrifying). I will say I don’t generally try to force him to talk, I only did it this morning to investigate a bit. Usually we happily communicate with the sign language.
Post # 5
Jess1483: I would have been a bit worried about him until you said that he signs. I work with a lot of children around that age who have learned to sign, and many of them seem to have a delay in learning how to verbalize the signs that they know. I also think it has to do with the fact that it can be easier to sign things that they already know rather than learning to say the word.
A girl that I nanny for basically didn’t learn to speak until she was almost two years old. She said mama and dada, but for everything else she used her signs. Right around 19-20 months she just started blurting out very clear words and started forming sentences. She will still get “lazy” sometimes and try to use the sign for milk instead of asking for it with words.
I think it’s still worth it to discuss it with your doctor, but I wouldn’t be too worried just yet!
Post # 6
Jess1483: Yep and he will be okay. I promise I was in the same boat I was so worried about his speech. We attend ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) classes with him and I said the same thing this past fall about worrying about his speech. We are in a class for 2-5 year olds. All the moms assured me he will start talking it just takes time. And boom, around when he turned 2.5 in March his speech has exploded. Some children don’t talk until later, experts say Albert Einstein didn’t start talking until he was 4 and look what all he did.
Post # 7
my FI was a late talker, and he’s fine now. he had some motor skills issues, as well as hearing issues. his mother thinks that’s why he didn’t speak until later. he did some speech therapy as a toddler, and turned out fine.
my nephew was a late talker too, and he turned out fine with no intervention. he just didn’t feel like talking, i guess. he was always a quiet baby. he’s still a quiet kid, even at 19. he has always been the reserved one. his younger sister does enough talking for the entire family.
Post # 8
My nephew will be 2 in august and does way less than your son. He’s a pointer and a grunter and follows directions well but doesn’t have much to say. I wouldn’t worry about it at all. I’d continue to talk and encourage him to talk, “do you see the bird outside can you say bird” ya know the normal stuff which you are clearly doing because he can effectively communicate with you via sign language. He sounds like a super smart kiddo to me! I was a nanny for a few years, 4 different kids all around the same age and their language developed all at very different stages. Check out this link to the NIH, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/speechandlanguage.aspx, looks like hes right on track to me!
Post # 9
My daughter will be 2 in August and she still doesn’t speak. We are in a Early Intervention class with her and we just recently enrolled her for two days in daycare. As long as everything else is fine I wouldn’t worry too much about Autism. It’s always good to know other parents are having the same problems and worries.
Post # 10
ThePrincessBride10612: Thanks for the link!
Peach_Cobbler: Thanks, ladies! I’m definitely not worried about autism–I wasn’t already, but we did the screening questionnaire yesterday, and he has 0 risk signs. We did talk to the doc, and she’s sending us to a speech therapist because it’s her personal rule for 18 months, but she said she really isn’t concerned. I had some funny speech things when I was little (spoke really early and in complete sentences, but then stopped speaking for awhile, and when I started again, said whole sentences, but only pronounced the vowels–went to 3 speech therapy lessons, where the lady said “say the consonants” and I did) and she thinks he’s just a careful kiddo (true in all other aspects) and will speak when he’s ready. But going to a speech therapist now will allow us to have a baseline in case she decides we should start intervention at 2. I think she wasn’t even really convinced we should even do that. It’ll be nice to talk to someone, though.
Post # 11
Jess1483: I wouldn’t worry too much just yet. My nephew is 2.5 and is now starting to talk a lot more. Earlier on, like your son, he was only saying ” mama” “Dadda” and “puppy”. But now he says “that one”, “all done”, byeeee”, lots of things, but really it only started like 2-3 months ago.
With him, he just took his time with everything like walking, crawling (which didn’t happen until he was one), and talking.
Some babies just take their time 🙂
Post # 12
Jess1483: I’m a speech therapist and a mom. Your son sounds very very normal. I wouldn’t worry about him until closer to 24 months. The fact that he has other expressive language is a great sign. How is his receptive language? If you ask him to go get his shoes does he understand? A lot of times there is a big language explosion around 20/22 months. Also statistically boys are a bit later than girls.
Post # 13
Ballet513: His receptive language is awesome. He follows 90% of directions he hears, and it’s clear that he’s messing with me when he doesn’t. He is even starting to follow two-step directions and also can point to the correct object in books/what he sees as long as he’s been introduced to it 1-2 times. Thanks so much for weighing in!
Oh! And he also said no for the first time today. He was telling a neighbor’s dog “no” after the neighbor did. I think it’s just new-mom worries 😉
Post # 14
My brother (2 years older than I) didn’t start talking until he was 4 (I started at 6-7 months apparently), yet he is now 22, just got a prestigious government job, and didn’t have any mark lower than 92 in school. However, I, who started talking early, don’t have that sort of intelligence. Sometimes kids are late bloomers. 🙂 I wouldn’t worry too much.
Post # 15
I am a speech-language pathologist and I would definitely recommend having your child assessed by a SLP. Children should have 24+ words between 18-20 months. While it’s true that some children catch up on their own, many children do not and benefit from SLP services. Early intervention is key. I recently took the Hanen Target Word workshop and it is wonderful for parents. Id suggest buying the Hanen book It Takes Two To Talk. It has a lot of really effective strategies for parents that can make a big difference for late talkers.