More information- he does recognize and point to body parts, follows simple commands etc and babbles but doesn't attempt to repeat words or sounds
I did try teaching him to sign but the only ones he uses are poop, milk and all done/all gone
Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it. My son is 21 months and doesn't speak well, or often. He repeats a few words, mainly, "Meow", "Ow", "Cat"(we...have a lot of cats, lol, he imprints off of them like siblings). And has the occasional repeat of a short sentence like the other day I saw, "You....child.." as I was picking him up because he got himself into silly business and he shouted back, "You, CHILD!" But hasn't done it since. I personally am not worried about my son.
Someone mentioned on here that I guess doctors aren't even concerned about picking up speech until after they're 2 years old. And I read on some site that the NORMAL range for speaking is anywhere between sometime after 12 months, to 22(or heck, it could've even been 24)months. Is your son an only child? I read children with no siblings, and boys in general have a tendency to talk later than girls or those children with siblings. It's all about imprinting..(that's why our son meows more often than talks, lol), and English is a TOUGH language.
I think it's definitely worth getting checked out. He could be a late bloomer, but there could be an underlying issue and the sooner he can get help for that the faster and easier it will be to fix. My 21 mo old DS wasn't saying any words at 18 months either, not even making animal noises. He was evaluated by a speech therapist and she thinks he has an expressive speech delay. He'll be starting therapy in a few months unless he starts catching up, and my gut tells me he probably won't as he recently stopped saying the only word he had.
My son was a late talker. I started to worry about it at around 18 months, but waited until he was 2 (when it was clear that there was no progress happening) to have him evaluated. He's been in speech (early intervention) ever since, and has been showing improvement.
The evaluation process is rather straightforward and at least you'll know for sure whether or not you have a problem. If you do end up needing it, early intervention is nice because they come to you and work with you/your child in your home (until they turn 3).
From what I have read, receptive language skills are a large indicator of whether or not a child is a late bloomer or delayed. From what you have indicated, his receptive language seems right on (but I am no expert).
FWIW, there is something called the Einstein syndrome, brilliant childen speaking later, as in first sentence at 3.5 or 4 yrs. If your physician has not indicated a problem (hearing, tongue, hard or soft palate), he may just be within normal range. http://kelleyward.hubpages.com/hub/Children-Who-Talk-Late
Also 'words' are counted as anything that is repeated to indicate the same thing, dodo for dog, pa for hat and so on, so long as it is the same.
My son was only saying first syllables at 23 months and within two weeks the words were spilling out like a waterfall. WIthin 3 days, sentences of 3-5 words. It was astounding. I never would have predicted it.
He skipped the 'dog yard' 'water cup' phase and went right into real sentences and conversations, it was amazing to say the least. But that is just an anecdote, what matters is your child and his development. If you have concerns, I would address them. Not because of what the neighbor, the well meaning relative, or anyone else says, but because of what you feel or your instinct is telling you.
It's prudent to get an evaluation at this point. Are you in Canada? Because if you were in the US I'd say contact your local Early Intervention or Birth-to-3 program, but I'm not sure what the Canadian equivilant would be. Here, you could find the local program by calling your local school district.
I know there are children who don't talk until later and it all turns out fine, but there are also children who benefit greatly from professional treatment. By the time you know which category YOUR child fits into, you won't have the option to go back in time and do it right. My advice is always to choose the safe path and get an evaluation.
My daughter wasn't walking at 19 months and our pediatrician thought she was fine, and a million people had stories about their cousin/father/family friend who didn't walk until he was 2 or 3 or whatever, but we had her evaluated anyway. She was in physical therapy from 20 months until she turned 6, and all that therapy is a huge PITA, but it was exactly what she needed.
My DS is 21 months and also doesn't use any words (unless you count "uh-oh"). We just had a check-up with the doctor and she was not concerned at all, but we are raising him bilingually, so a delay in speech is expected in his case. I agree with the above posters, though, that if your insurance covers it, it can't do any harm to have him checked out. At the very least, the therapist will give you some fun ideas to work on his speech at home.
My DS said his first word at 18 months. Lots of babble, but very, very few real words until 2. He probably had...I don't know, 30 words at his second birthday that he used very infrequently. Now, only 2 months later, he parrots everything I say and is putting two words together, picking up multiple new words on a daily basis. I think this language explosion just happens at different times for different kids. But like others have said, if you are concerned, by all means get him evaluated! I brought it up with my ped when he was 19 months and really not saying anything other than "bye" and he said he didn't even evaluate for speech until after 2, just because there is such a hugely wide range of normal and kids learn in different ways. Some kids don't talk and then practically wake up one morning speaking full sentences.
Both of my boys talked late, ds1 said two or three words from the time he was about 1 1/2 and then the day he turned 23 months he said nine new words in the first hour after he got up! Ds2 didn't really say any words at all until 21 months, but he started picking up words regularly at that point. I was worried, of course, but I kinda knew they were both fine. And I knew they could understand me. I think your little one sounds within a normal range.
My 7yo son was a late talker. We had him in a program and they taught us parents how to work with them. Basically saying the word for everything instead of just getting them down out of the highchair with a grunt. I would like her to say down (da, de...whatever) before I get her down. She doesn't do it yet. I think she did once. Oh sorry, my 19 month old isn't talking yet either. She understands very well though. Before you give their snack you can say a key word every time and then hold it back a bit, say the word and see if they will. You don't withhold the snack until they say it because that just frustrates them. So I will have milk and I will say ... milk. Do you want milk? Milk. I would hold it expectantly and say milk. If she says it I will praise her like crazy. lol If not, she still gets the milk. Then I can say Mmmmmm, yummy milk. Just some ideas you could try maybe.
If it were me, I wouldn't do a thing. My DS barely formed words that we could understand until almost 2, then quickly started talking a month or two later. Now, he is doing really well and is 33 months. I see a trend on this thread... all boys. I've heard boys are slower to speak than girls. My brother barely spoke until about 2 and then suddenly started spitting out sentences. I think you've got some time before you should consider evaluating him.