16 month old with no words yet, did I do something wrong? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,
I'm so worried... My son will be 16 months old in a few days and doesn't say any words yet. I'm not expecting Shakespeare, but isn't he supposed to be saying a few words, something, anything?? He will *occasionally* try to repeat something I say ("done" for "all done", "nie" for "night-night"), but only very rarely does he do this. At one time I thought he was saying "mama" and "dada" but now I think it maybe it was my eager imagination because he doesn't seem to do that anymore.

The thing is, he seems to understand most of what I say to him. He responds to simple commands ("help clean-up", "bring me the book" etc.) So I think his hearing and comprehension are OK?

It's hard to deal with this because he gets very frustrated when he can't communicate his needs and he throws a lot of temper tantrums.

I know I'm not supposed to compare my kids, but my dd was communicating pretty well at this age, and I just don't know what I did wrong this time around. I do talk to him, read to him, and sing to him a lot. With him being the second child, of course I'm a little busier this time around, and I wonder if I'm not giving him enough attention to promote his verbal development.

The pediatrician doesn't seem too concerned yet, but I sure am!! At what age is there really a problem if there are no words?

Thanks for listening.

Frazzled Mama to DD 7, DS 5, DS 2
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#2 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 02:41 AM
 
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I'm sure you haven't done anything wrong! We mamas are so quick to blame ourselves!

My babe is younger than yours, and I don't know exactly at what age they're supposed to blahblahblah, so can't help you there. My suggestion, though, is to make a list of all the words/phrases he already knows. If he is following basic directions, I bet you'll be surprised at how much comprehension he has, which might make you less anxious. My dd knows already many words, but not a hint of wanting to say any of them. So of course I was worrying that she is not speaking (which is totally illogical, I know, especially since she is still soooo young!I am able to be way more logical about other people's children than I can my own). The list thing made me feel 100% better. Plus in years to come it will be neat to look backand see what words were part of her little world.

When they want to talk, they'll talk.

Hope this is helpful...
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#3 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 02:49 AM
 
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ITA--it sounds like you've done all the right things, and he probably has a much larger passive vocabulary than is apparent now. If you don't mind trying a video, i do recommend trying a signing video. it really helped ds develop an interest in language and naming things. We like the Signing Time series (dvd through amazon), but Mothering mag had an article over the summer with several recommendations.
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#4 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 04:27 AM
 
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ds is 17 mo and he also repeats words sometimes...although I'm the only one who can hear him trying. He does say Mom and Dad but that's it. For some reason I'm not worried about it. I find that we communicate just fine. He does get frustrated, but I think even if he could talk he would be just as frustrated. It's hard being little and not having control of your own life - whether you can talk or not. my ds, like yours, understands a lot. I think he's brilliant and he'll talk when he coordinates all the pieces and parts inside to do so. Maybe your babe is just so busy taking it all in, he hasn't gotten to the letting it all out part?
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#5 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 09:53 AM
 
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I'm so sorry that you are worried about your little guy. I have had 2 late talkers and one early talker. I have a 17mo right now who sounds just like your son. He comprehends a LOT. He will shake his head yes or no, but doesn't say very much. We have heard him trying to say a few words lately. but nothing too extrordinary.

My first two hardly said 5 words before their 2nd birthday. They were in daycare full time though, so I think that had a lot to do with it. Once my oldest started talking she never would be quiet. She is almost 7 now and quite the chatter box. She reads on a 4th grade level, and is pretty advanced. She never had any speach therapy or anything like that. She was just going to take her time.

My second was also a late talker like I said. He would grunt to get my attention and to try to tell me things. It was like living with a cave man . We finally started signing with him because he was frustrated about not being able to communicate. We just made up our own signs and used them consistently. Like we had a sign for drink and for food. If I remember correctly he started talking not to long after that.

My 3rd was an early talker. She was saying momma at 8 months, and it just went from there. She has always be a . I have always been at home with her full time, but I can't see where I did anything to make her talk so soon. Its just the way she is. Its neat to know what is going on in your 1yo mind though. She is 3 now, and communicates very well.

I also have a 17mo as well. He started out grunting to get my attention and I was like...here we go again! He does comprehend a lot though. He will follow simple instructions. He says momma and dadadadad for dad. We have heard him say a few other words as well. I have a feeling he knows more than he is letting on .

From what you said and from my experience I really wouldn't worry. You might try coming up with some signs if he is really frustrated. That might help the situation. It sounds like you are doing everything right....its just his personality. Hang in there. Pretty soon you will be posting and asking all of us how to get him to shut up.

GL
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#6 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 12:33 PM
 
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I'm no expert on this, but anecdotally... My husband didn't start talking until he was 2! And he's a perfectly articulate person today. His parents say he just pointed to everything, and kind of developed his own signing system. Whatever works, right?

The fact that your son understands some words and commands suggests to me that he *is* developing language skills. As someone else said, they're just passive at this point. Does he babble? That would also be a good sign.

Our dd (17 months) is much the same way. She only says mama, dada, dog, and a few animal sounds. But we know that she understands a lot of words and phrases.

Teaching her a few baby signs has really helped, like eat, drink, up, down, all done, more, change my diaper. That way she can at least communicate her basic needs.

Just a word of caution ... I've read that if kids sense that they aren't meeting up to their parents' standards, they might get scared of failure and just shut down. Just something I've personally tried to keep in mind when I find myself comparing her to her younger friends (who are saying lots of words).

Hope this helps!
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#7 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 12:55 PM
 
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My son was the same,no words at 16 months but clearly comprehending everything.Now at 22 months he has started making some progress verbally. I know how scary it is,worrying.The Dr still wants him to see a speech therapist if he doesnt have 10 words by 2 years,so far he has maybe 5 real words but he's babbling more now.Sign language has helped him to communicate and that reduces his frustration,so I'd recommend trying it. Good luck,
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#8 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 02:59 PM
 
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When my ds wasn't talking at 2, my not very helpful MIL said- "When I was raising dh... I talked to him a lot." Talk to him??!! Oh, no, we forgot to talk to him. Why didn't I think of that?!!

He is doing great now- 9 months later, can't shut him up. Babies are like weeds- they grow how and when they want. You can't pull on them, to make them grow faster.

Maureen
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#9 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 03:58 PM
 
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Please don't worry about it! This is very common for second/subsequent children. My dd, at almost 16 months, sort of says "da-da" and "kitty" though a stranger would never know it. At this age my son was speaking in three word sentences!! I know of at least 3 other families IRL where the first child was very verbal around 1 year and the second not until 2 years old.

It's nothing to worry about. So long as you know his hearing is okay I would just go on about your day. FTR all of the second children in the above 3 families went from less than 5 words to speaking in sentences in 3 month periods or less. When they did finally talk they learned very quickly.

If you are not already signing with your ds you may want to give it a try. My daughter does use 3 signs (nursing, more, and all done) and understands several others ( we are working on drink and hungry). It helps her frustration level a great deal. You can see her eyes light up when she knows we understand her.

I know it's hard not to worry, but I honestly think you've nothing to be concerned about. Your ds is totally normal.
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#10 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 04:04 PM
 
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No, you have not done anything wrong! You say that your son understands most of what you say to him, so that is very good. At 16 months it is sort of a toss-up whether there will be words or not. As a speech-language pathologist, I would recommend checking things out if he still has no words at all by 2 years, but for now it sounds like things are fine. Also, in comparing your dd to ds, keep in mind that *often* (not always) girls talk earlier than boys.

You're absolutely right that tantrums will come from frustration of not being able to communicate. Have you tried to teach your son a few simple signs? He may be able/willing to sign until he can communicate more verbally. Some helpful signs might be food, drink, sleep, more, all done. He is at an age where he may pick up signs very rapidly. If you're interested, check your library for a baby sign book or there are some site online that will show you the signs. Then you can use the sign whenever you say the word & maybe help him make the sign a few times. Just a thought to help with the tantrums.

Good luck!
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#11 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 04:47 PM
 
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I'm sure things are fine, but as a former EI specialist, I have to say, call Early Intervention. If your ds didn't mind the communication breakdown, I'd say give it some time, but since he's frustrated, I think an evaluation (which is fun and play-based) is in order. This could be nothing, it could be a tongue-tie, it could be apraxia--there are many things to consider. The fact that his receptive language skills are intact is great--that pretty much rules out a hearing problem, but really, get the evaluation. My own ds didn't talk (much) until he was 27 months--we started speech therapy right at two, and within a 3 week period, Elliott mastered more than 200 words. Now he's says entertaining things like, "did you just slightly mutter?" something I never imagined my speech-delayed toddler spouting a few years later!

PM me if you need Early Intervention information. You can get the number from
an area pediatrician or by calling WIC, even if you aren't a WIC client.
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#12 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 05:03 PM
 
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Just another anecdote for you. My dd (my first born) didn't speak her first word til 17 months. Then she learned 4 words that month and at 18 months she exploded and by 2 was speaking in full, very advanced sentences. She's 6 now, very smart and I'm happy when I can get 10 minutes in a row without her talking :LOL

My son spoke his first word a lot earlier (13 months or so?) but hasn't had the explosion his sister had. He is now 2 1/2 and speaks in full sentences but not advanced like his sister was and it's not as easy to understand him.

So yeah, all kids are different. A 16 month old not speaking wouldn't make me blink
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#13 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OH, thank you all so much for the encouraging responses and for the suggestions! I really appreciate it.
Thanks for the suggestions about signing - actually I had recently begun trying to teach him a few made-up signs to help him communicate. Believe it or not, today as we were finishing up lunch I *think* he sort of did our "all-done" sign. I think he may have actually tried to SAY "all-done" too (but it sounded more like "ah-da", so it's hard to tell if that's really what he meant). Anyway, I feel encouraged.
Thanks again!

Frazzled Mama to DD 7, DS 5, DS 2
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#14 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 05:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
When my ds wasn't talking at 2, my not very helpful MIL said- "When I was raising dh... I talked to him a lot." Talk to him??!! Oh, no, we forgot to talk to him. Why didn't I think of that?!!
:LOL
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#15 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 06:02 PM
 
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I second the suggestion to try sign language. I used the website www.signwithme.com for their dictionary at first. My 16 month old says 2 words verbally but signs about 25 words now. He is rarely frustrated by communicating. We started signing "more" and "help" and "milk" and now he knows tons like animals, foods, certain toys, music, lawnmower (he made that one up). I thought signs could be a baby fad but really it's amazing. Yesterday he was signing "itsy bitsy spider" and pointing to the window. I looked and there was a spiderweb. He tells me he wants to go outside and blow bubbles, he told me the mole on my cheek looks like a fish. It is amazing the language and problem solving skills he is practicing. I've had to go buy a sign language dictionary to keep up with him.
I am a little worried, too, but I am postive about his comprehesion skills because of signs.
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#16 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 06:52 PM
 
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I can also highly recommend the Signing Time DVDs if you're okay with TV. My 18-month-old has picked up tons of signs from those: more, play, ice cream, fish, potty, cereal, moon, stars, dog, and a bunch more that I don't remember right now. That's at www.signingtime.com but you can also find them $10 cheaper on ebay.

Plus he's making up his own signs now, like for "bug" (we had fruit flies) and elephant (we have a book that says, "If you see an elephant, stamp your feet.")

He's got a few words -- golf (his first word, sigh), golfball, umma (mama), dada, dat (that), dere (there), bridge (don't know why he picked that one up), but he has lots more signs and all the credit for those goes to the signing time dvds.

My favourite sign is potty because he now signs when he has to go and waits to poop or pee until we get him on the potty. We've been doing EC for a while, and it's so amazing to see these results. Plus it's so much nicer to have poop get flushed down than have to wipe it out of various nooks and crannies, if you know what I mean.
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#17 of 24 Old 12-09-2004, 07:08 PM
 
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From what I've heard, boys talk late, and 2nd children talk late--so you have two strikes. I'd say get an evaluation if it makes you feel better, but don't *worry.*

I 2nd the sign language recommendations. And (this is just me thinking, I have absolutely no data to back this up) it may be that once he has some signs to communicate w/, he'll relax about the talking, and will be able to make more progress when he's not so frustrated about communication in general...
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#18 of 24 Old 12-10-2004, 01:27 AM
 
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my dd is 19 mo. and has two words, Mama and Papa. That is it. She doesn't even try to say anything, but she absolutely understands everything. She follows complex commands, she SINGS on pich about 50 songs (no words, just melody) and she communicates very effectively. We always know what she is trying to get across. Her vocaliations are very expressive and she uses several signs. Ds was different, he was an early talker and tried to say everything we asked him. Most of what he said was was not very comprehensible though, and he spoke in a monotone voice until almost three. I actually think that mydd had the better language skills at 16 mo. than my ds at 16 mo. despite not actually talking. In any case, all kids are so different, even in the same family. My brother was talking in simple sentences at 9 mo. and my other brother not until almost 4 yo. Both are smart young men now.
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#19 of 24 Old 12-10-2004, 12:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BusyBee
she SINGS on pich about 50 songs (no words, just melody) and she communicates very effectively.
She sings on pitch? That's amazing! My 21 mo dd loves singing & music, but doesn't seem to have realized that she can sing too. (She'll sing when we ask her to, but not for very long.) I'm a bit worried that she's inherited her father's tin ear... :LOL
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#20 of 24 Old 12-10-2004, 12:23 PM
 
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LOLOL
ok, didn't read the other responses. but theres nothing wrong!

my dd's both spoke early ... by a year old both had words, and by 18mos small sentences "mama help zoey" and "peez mama milties" (please mama milkies)
but my son is 16mos and if i'm lucky he'll repeat mama for me.

lol
he'll talk w hen he's ready
and then he'll never shut up. LOL

don't worry. i read to him, talk to him, play games... he has no interest in talking. but he can dance. and he can climb and he can build towers. lol
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#21 of 24 Old 12-10-2004, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, all.
Barb, something you said really struck a chord with me. There are so many things he *does* do well. He's mechanically inclined, he loves to play with his sister, and he is really good at making our whole family laugh! He is a wonderfully interesting and capable little person. The talking will come eventually, one way or another!

Going to go check out www.signwithme.com now!

Frazzled Mama to DD 7, DS 5, DS 2
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#22 of 24 Old 12-10-2004, 11:46 PM
 
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If your doing something wrong (which you're not) then I must be too...because my 16 month old isn't talking yet either.



No worries...your son will be talking in no time...and then...the talking back begins...so maybe we should enjoy the silence and babbling while we still can.
Take care

Jenn - Mom, Photographer, Barista 

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#23 of 24 Old 12-11-2004, 11:13 AM
 
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It sounds like talking is just not that important to him. He's fine. My DD never said anything other than "momma, dadda and HI" until she was 25 months!!! Everyone kept saying I should take her to a speech therapist yada yada yada - but I knew she understood me perfectly, could sign 100+ words to me (so in essence, she WAS talking) and guess what? One morning she got up and spoke a complete sentence.

He's fine. Worry not. They say girls talk sooner, but that certainly wasn't the case with my DD. And as someone mentioned, now she NEVER stops. LOL.
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#24 of 24 Old 12-11-2004, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!

Willowsmom, after I posted my original post I regretted the subject line because I didn't mean to make anyone else with a non-talker think *they* were doing anything wrong. I am so sorry if I made you or anyone else feel that way! I just have a really bad case of mama guilt and I'm always blaming myself for any problem my children have. I just love them so much that I want to do everything perfectly (which of course I am completely incapable of doing). I never feel like I am doing well enough for my kids! I know it's a problem I need to work on.


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