Late Talker? - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > Late Talker?
Amber_G's Avatar Amber_G 06:54 PM 04-29-2009
My daughter is 19 months and has a very small spoken vocabulary - Mama, Dada, baba (for binkie), brrrrrr (for anything that makes noises cars, trucks, lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners). She has a larger sign language vocabulary. But I stopped teaching her sign language in order to spur her spoken language because she picked up the sign language SO fast. Now she just seems stuck. She wants to communicate more and she tries to stretch her 20/30 sign+spoken word vocabulary as far as it will go. She will sometimes imitate our words, but they don't "stick." She understands a large range of words. I know she's not "behind" in the typical milestone since (tho she will be soon).

I guess I just need some encouragement here. This afternoon I have to go to a playgroup where another mom will be there who has a son just a month older than my kid. And she will brag endlessly about how many words he has. I'm not sure she is even aware of it, but after the 20th "oh, Charlie is now saying this" I just can't take it. I feel like a bad person, but I'm a very competitive person and I try REALLY hard not to let this affect my kid. So I smile and nod and nod and nod.

I also wonder if I should start teaching her sign language again. Her doctor said I should stop in order to help her spoken language, but I'm beginning to wonder if that is true. I wonder what it must be like to have an ability to communicate and then feel like that is closed off. Maybe I just need more patience. I also wonder if I should be saying one word repeatedly to her. I tend to talk and talk and talk in long sentences to her. And my husband sometimes speaks to her in Bengali, tho I wouldn't call us a dual language family because mostly she hears English.

ChampagneBlossom's Avatar ChampagneBlossom 07:41 PM 04-29-2009
My son is in speech therapy for being a late talker and they purposely taught him sign language. He started talking about six months after he started signing. Do yourself and your kiddo a favor and start signing with her again!

I'd write more but I'm in a total rush, I'll come back to it later.
kirstenb's Avatar kirstenb 08:50 PM 04-29-2009
DS is 23 months and his language just started picking up in the last month or so. He only had a few signs but he did pretty good job of letting us know what he wanted so I figured he just didn't see the need to talk. He also understood everything even though he didn't say it. I'd guess he has over 40 words now and a majority have just come in the last month. I didn't do anything special to get him to start talking, he just decided he was ready. If she likes signing I would keep doing that. I wouldn't pay much attention to the other mom- a month older can make a big difference when it comes to talking!
Rowansmama's Avatar Rowansmama 09:21 PM 04-29-2009
I'm right there with you! DD is almost 18 months and has a very limited vocabulary...she says hat, cheese, dog, and ball, as well as mama and dada. She understands everything you say to her however, At this point, I'm not too concerned about it. We're seeing the doctor next month for her 18 month checkup and we'll see what the doctor says. But really, I think a lot of kids start really talking closer to 2, so for now, I'm just talking to her a lot, telling her words, naming things, etc, and figure she'll pick it up eventually.
Code Name Mama's Avatar Code Name Mama 09:32 PM 04-29-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowansmama View Post
I'm right there with you! DD is almost 18 months and has a very limited vocabulary...she says hat, cheese, dog, and ball, as well as mama and dada. She understands everything you say to her however, At this point, I'm not too concerned about it. We're seeing the doctor next month for her 18 month checkup and we'll see what the doctor says. But really, I think a lot of kids start really talking closer to 2, so for now, I'm just talking to her a lot, telling her words, naming things, etc, and figure she'll pick it up eventually.
I don't think that is abnormal or late at all. One article I just found says:

Quote:
What Experts Say

Every toddler is different when she begins to speak. Some children (often girls) start using words at around 12 to15 months. For others (more often boys), it might not happen until 18 to 20 months.

What's important is to keep a running monologue going with your child even if he doesn't talk back to you yet. The more he hears language, the more he picks up. That's why reading is essential to getting your child talking. Read to him on a daily basis and together point out colors, animals, and characters, says pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D., co-author of "Toddler 411."

Toddlers understand much more language than what they actually say at this age. The average 1-year-old says at least one word besides "mama"...
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Every toddler is different when she begins to speak. Some children (often girls) start using words at around 12 to15 months. For others (more often boys), it might not happen until 18 to 20 months.

What's important is to keep a running monologue going with your child even if he doesn't talk back to you yet. The more he hears language, the more he picks up. That's why reading is essential to getting your child talking. Read to him on a daily basis and together point out colors, animals, and characters, says pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D., co-author of "Toddler 411."

Toddlers understand much more language than what they actually say at this age. The average 1-year-old says at least one word besides "mama" and "dada." The average 18-month-old should speak at least five words. What you should see, regardless of how many words your toddler says, is the ability for him to indicate his needs to you by pointing, grunting, or demonstrating.

His ability to turn to you when you call his name is also an important indicator of comprehension. And, hopefully, he'll follow simple directions like "Come here" or "Please put the toy away" -- when he's in the mood.

ABrez's Avatar ABrez 12:36 AM 04-30-2009
Don't worry! DD didn't have but a handful of words until after her 2nd birthday! Then she started talking in full sentences one day. Now she is 31 months and even uses pronouns correctly most of the time, sings all sorts of songs, and has incredible enunciation.

We never did anything special except to talk, talk, talk to her.
ChaoticMum's Avatar ChaoticMum 12:43 AM 04-30-2009
I agree with a PP that it doesn't seem that late to me either....

My DS was 25mths when he went for a speech assessment. He had 5 words - two verbal and three that the SLP deeded as words (they went towards comprehension) and we had only taught him those in the previous month as we were soooooooo frustrated.

By the time he was 3 he was talking clearly and in sentences. He was just a late bloomer.

I honestly wouldn't even worry about it til she's 2. Our SLP won't do an assessment until that age. Personally I think 5 words at only a year and a half is pretty darn good from my experience!
Amber_G's Avatar Amber_G 01:20 AM 04-30-2009
Thanks everyone so much for the kind responses. I was totally overreacting. That other mom didn't brag at all while I was in earshot, so either the novelty has worn off or maybe she figured out it bugged me. I know she'll speak when she's ready and I feel like she's getting closer. I just need some patience. I really appreciated hearing all your perspectives and I'd love to hear any experiences with baby sign language
soxthecatrules's Avatar soxthecatrules 01:27 AM 04-30-2009
DS spoke a total of maybe 10 words when he turned 2. Within 2 mos of his birthday he unleashed his fury and was probably speaking close to 200 words!! He has been picking up steam every since. Everyday is a new adventure with that boy!!! LOL
askew's Avatar askew 02:15 AM 04-30-2009
Another vote for totally normal. DS had about 10 words at 18 months. At 23-24 months he had a verbal explosion and starting speaking in complex sentences. Now at 2.5 you can't get him to stop talking. Even if you really really want a quiet moment.
LauraLoo's Avatar LauraLoo 02:25 AM 04-30-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber_G View Post
I also wonder if I should start teaching her sign language again. Her doctor said I should stop in order to help her spoken language, but I'm beginning to wonder if that is true. I wonder what it must be like to have an ability to communicate and then feel like that is closed off.
I agree that while your dd is probably within range for normal speech development, I would also question your dr's advice about stopping sign language. Everything that I've read has indicated that sign language doesn't deter spoken language, and in some cases spurs it along. Do a little research and see what you can find out.

If she is trying to communicate, I'd give her all the tools you can, IMO.
JudiAU's Avatar JudiAU 02:37 AM 04-30-2009
DS is 23m and didn't really speak at all until around 20 months. I think he had three words at 19m. He has gained language really quickly though and I would bet that your child will have the same experience. Did I mention that in 3 months he has a huge range of words (although no phrases) and knows all of his colors, 1-10, and alphabet? He just needed some time to figure things out.

Personally, I would continue signing with my child. I would want to encourage him to express himself in any way he can. I wouldn't worry about spoken language. She is obviously making the connections.
Aridel's Avatar Aridel 08:42 AM 04-30-2009
Another vote for continuing sign. It's a great tool to reduce frustration and increase language. No, it doesn't work directly on speech, but communication is so important during that toddler age when everything is frustrating so often!

If you don't mind I do have a few strategies SLPs have taught me over the years about spoken language. Feel free to ignore them if they don't sound helpful!

- Keep using your natural pattern of speaking to her (the long sentences) but find activities where you can change it a bit, and make it part of the game. If she is building with blocks, you can do "Up...up...up...CRASH!" That helps focus on the target word and cement it in her mind.

- Try songs about daily activities. It feels slightly less ridiculous then using the same word fifty times for someone who isn't saying it back yet. I'm not that creative so I use old kid songs and change out the word. "This is the way we jump so high, jump so high..." or things like that.

- Since she's imitating some, give her a choice of two objects, and see if she'll imitate the one she wants. (Milk or juice? Blocks or book?) If it's hard for her to choose, offer one thing she likes and one she doesn't. Follow through - if she chooses peas instead of a cookie, get them out, then overact the recognition that Oh! what she waned was a cookie! A cookie! Don't go so long she loses it, but help her start to take responsibility for her conversational turns.

A lot of kids take off when they hit around their 2nd birthday. She sounds like she's got some great basic skills, and should keep learning! If she doesn't, you can always call Early Intervention - it may be called Birth to Three or something similar in your area. They come to your house, do a free assessment of all areas of development, and give you her scores and strategies to help. If there is a significant enough delay, they will provide services. It's nothing to panic over, but just wanted to make sure you know it's out there.
kiwiva's Avatar kiwiva 12:43 PM 04-30-2009
My DD didn't have many words until around 19 or 20 months and then it was like a switch was flipped and practically overnight she just talked talked talked. She is 2.5 now and speaks very well (people always comment on it).

There is a wide range of normal. I also disagree with your pedi. We did sign too and everything I read on it at the time pointed to it helping language development. I know our friends son (who had very few words until about 26 months) was going to start EI and they specifically advised sign language until his spoken language caught up to cut down on the frustration he'd have. Btw, we saw that friends' son this week. He speaks very well now at about to turn 3.
flowers 12:46 PM 04-30-2009
ds2 is 19 months on barely says dada, mama and buh-buh for bus. He does sign quite well and am thinking I should have shown him more. Never to late for that.

I am not worried even though it is totally the opposite of my extremely verbal ds1. He's very cognitive and I've heard lots of amazing stories of kids waiting until past two and then using full sentences.


AutumnAir's Avatar AutumnAir 07:06 PM 04-30-2009
I posted something similar on here recently. DD is nearly 16 months and has no recognisable spoken words. Not even mama or dada. Though DH and I are starting to recognise a few strange ones 'deh-deh' is either 'beep-beep' or 'tweet-tweet' depending on context, 'duh-doo' is 'dirty' and 'duh-duh' is dinner...

Anyway, she has a signing vocabulary of something like 150 or more words/phrases and I'm soooo glad we decided to sign with her because we can really communicate, AND it gives me the reassurance that she's not developmentally delayed (or if she is, it's just speech and not language delays) as she clearly associates concepts with socially constructed symbols (the signs in her case). Her receptive language is great - she can understand and follow (when she's in the mood!) two or three step instructions in relatively complex language, e.g. I'll say something like "Okay, we're going to go out in a minute. I need you to go and get your shoes and bring them to me and we'll put them on." and she'll go, get her shoes, hand them to me and sit on the floor for me to put them on.

I got a bit freaked out, because I was an early talker - started about 9 months, and was expecting DD to be similar. But she's not. She's learning things and processing it all in her own way. I have a feeling that when she does start talking it'll be in a huge spurt, as some PPs have mentioned.

I think we also tend to get more worried about late talkers if they're girls - as yours and mine are. But really it's just as normal for a girl to be a bit more analytical and reticent to speak until they have it all figured out as it is for a boy.


St. Margaret 11:39 PM 04-30-2009
I would totally expand her sign language, and I agree it's not behind. I found with DD that the words we learned signing showed up in her spoken vocab a lot faster than just random words. Now, maybe those were important common words anway, but it seemed to help to sing songs about them (we used Signing Time) and reinforce them all day. And the communication signs afforded made it totally worth it. Communication and language (spoken or signed) is a good thing!
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