When do you start to worry about a toddler not talking? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-03-2006, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 15 month old is not talking at all. She'll say mama or mom when she's shrieking for me (as in, "MOOOOM! I'm on the stool in the bathroom waiting for you to come turn the water on for me even though I can't reach the stream and will end up frustrated and crying anyway!!!!!" ) Other than that, she really says very little that's recognizeable, and I'm starting to worry. Her only real "words" are "shz" for cheese and/or shoes and, very occasionally, "bub" for Bubba (her grandfather).

I don't know if I'm worrying needlessly or not. My older DD talked at 10 months and her vocabulary grew incredibly rapidly. This baby WALKED at 10 months, and is very advanced physically. She clearly understands every word we say and more. But still, no words. Our ped said that if, by 15 months, she doesn't have at least a few real words, they start to look for problems. Is that really true, do you think?

TIA!

Oh, and ETA that she expresses herself very clearly by pointing and nodding and shaking her head, and by expressive sounds, so she gets the whole two-way communication thing.

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Old 12-03-2006, 05:10 PM
 
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Well she does ahve at least one or two words that YOU can understand, and since she does communicate other ways, I owuldn't worry yet. She understands when other people talk to her? And doesn't seem to have a hearing problem? I'd bet she's just saving it up

I've seen lots of younger siblings who end up speaking a lot later than the oldest. Not sure why, I htink it has something to do with the older sibling talking 'for' the younger one (we need a snack, can we go outside, etc...) and also there is more going on around them so they seem to spend a longer time just absorbing everything before they decide to try it themselves.

hth
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Old 12-03-2006, 05:21 PM
 
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Our girl was kind of like that. She had more words, but would "forget" them for a month or so and really only use 3-4 at a time. (And completely refused to learn Mama, Daddy she never forgot) And then at 18 months she had a word explosion. It's like she was just paying attention and learning them in her head and then they all came out of her mouth one day. I wouldn't worry if I were you.

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Old 12-03-2006, 06:03 PM
 
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If it makes you feel better, your kid is more advanced (language-wise) than MY 15 month-old. She has one recognizable word- the sign for "nurse".

That sounds really normal and okay. As long as you feel like your kid is progressing, she is almost certainly fine.

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Old 12-03-2006, 06:25 PM
 
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My son is almost 17 months old and isn't really talking either. He says "dada" and "Daddy" but not usually to get my dh attention. That's about it. But he understands soooo much of what we say. For example, I was reading him a book the other day where the character was sweeping and he jumped up and went to the closet to get the broom out. And he baby signs some things, more, milk, drink, diaper, stinky. But its so frustrating for him (and us) when he points and yells "ehhh" when he wants something and I'm holding things up, do you want the book, no, do you want the shoe, no, etc. Sometimes he sounds like he says a word clearly, but that's it, one time only -like "yet." And he babbles - at times like he is carrying on a conversation, but not everyday.

Our pediatrician said that he is "officially" behind, but that they generally don't do anything about it until they are older (Can't remember, 24months?) because most kids make up for lost time by then. So I keep reading to him and naming things and singing to him....

My husband and mother-in-law think that it's because he isn't in daycare, but I don't see what difference that makes. We take him places and he "plays" with neighbor kids.

I keep thinking that he is just going to suddenly start saying everything one day!

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Old 12-03-2006, 06:29 PM
 
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Those are words that you're describing. She says Mom, cheese, shoes, and Bub, right?

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Old 12-03-2006, 06:42 PM
 
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Apparently, I barely uttered a word until I was 25 months old and then my vocabulary (and ability to pronounce words) just exploded. HTH.
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Old 12-03-2006, 06:55 PM
 
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It sounds pretty normal for 15 months to be - I wouldn't be concerned. The 18 month old I look after had no words at that age, and now only says mama, hello, bye bye, baby, woof-woof, quack-quack and hot. There's a lot of variation in when different children hit developmental targets, very few follow the 'typical' schedule exactly imo.
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:06 PM
 
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Your children sound like mine. Ds#1 started talking at 9 months and became very verbal, very quickly. He was using full sentences at a year and hasn't stopped. Ds#2 walked at nine months, and was running everywhere before he was a year. He still has great physical dexterity (he's a great roller skater at 3 years). He didn't speak much at all (much like your little one) and would sign. He didn't send up any red flags for us until he hit about 18 months. After he turned 2, he actually regressed, and has now been diagnosed with verbal apraxia. I'm not saying this to worry you, but more as a warning to just keep your eye on things ... for 15 months old, your dd sounds perfectly typical of the age. If she hasn't shown signs of improvement by 18, 21, or 24 months and hasn't picked up any more words or improved intelligibility, then you might want to look into early intervention through your state's 0-3 program (early intervention for 0-3 year olds). We started speech with ds#2 in March/April - at about 28 months old - and saw tremendous improvement from the start. He has now transitioned to speech 2x a week with the school district, and will go at least this school year. But I know he will be fine. I firmly believe in early intervention (and it seems 2 years is kind of the age for speech, at least from what we were told). So, for now, keep doing what you are doing (and add signs if you don't already, to increase her ability to communicate), and reassess when she is a few months older and again when she is nearing 2 years. Chances are, she will be fine.

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Old 12-03-2006, 07:16 PM
 
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Paddy will be 16 months on the 10th and he only has a few clear words, like Dada, Mama, "ight" ( light), and a few other garbled ones He jabbers a lot and tries to imitate sentences and the inflection in others' voices. Yesterday we were reading a book and pointing to pictures, and he said "dog" and tried to say kitchen. His words sometimes are just unclear, and he's the only toddler I've ever spent large amounts of time with, so maybe its that I'm not used to "toddler speak". DH seems to understand him a lot better than me. But I still worry sometimes. He didn't crawl until 9 months and walked at 13 months, now he can run I am a SAHM without a car, so he doesn't go very many places and doesn't have opportunities to interact with other kids his age, so this might have an influence. DH and I have discussed putting him in daycare one day a week just so he can have more social interaction that I am unable to provide for him. Sigh. It's so easy to get caught up in what other people's kids are doing and comparing your kid to theirs and then dealing with doctors who say your kid is behind or ahead or whatever. I think there's just too much stress placed on things like this, too much pressure put on kids.
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:20 PM
 
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I have three kids with speech delays, all of them significant. If by 18 months you don't see an improvement, at least a few words that you understand and that she uses consistently, I'd have her hearing checked and then get an evaluation by a speech therapist. Speech therapy is most effective when it is started early-- the earlier the better. (My daughter started speech therapy at about 18 months.) Does she seem to understand you? Does she follow your directions? Those things are important, too.

This doesn't sound like something to worry about yet, but I would definitely keep an eye on it. Chances are she'll catch up all at once.
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:28 PM
 
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I have three kids with speech delays, all of them significant. If by 18 months you don't see an improvement, at least a few words that you understand and that she uses consistently, I'd have her hearing checked and then get an evaluation by a speech therapist. Speech therapy is most effective when it is started early-- the earlier the better. (My daughter started speech therapy at about 18 months.) Does she seem to understand you? Does she follow your directions? Those things are important, too.

This doesn't sound like something to worry about yet, but I would definitely keep an eye on it. Chances are she'll catch up all at once.
Wise words, Mothra! I'm a speech therapist, and would say if she is understanding what's going on and attempting words, as well as animal sounds etc, I wouldn't worry too much. chances are, she's attempting words and you're just not catching on what they mean yet too. Advice? Repeat single words often, and stay in the here and now, i.e. follow what she's doing and name everything she touches or points to at least three times: "Oh cow! Moo, cow. Cow!" etc.

Overall, at 15 months, she is saying some words, so if she were on my caseload I'd do a wait and see approach, and give the suggestions you just got from me: Single words, repeat repeat, and repeat some more, and follow her lead as to what she's interested in. Try not to ask quizzing questions: "How many? what color?? What is it?!?!" : drives a toddler batty!

Just my $0.02. HTH!
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:31 PM
 
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Mothra:

What kind of testing did they do? What kinds of things do they do during speech therapy?

Also, what is verbal apraxia. I've not heard of that.

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Old 12-03-2006, 07:49 PM
 
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Mothra:

What kind of testing did they do? What kinds of things do they do during speech therapy?

Also, what is verbal apraxia. I've not heard of that.
:

I'm curious about this too, my Ds is 31 mos. and not talking much at the moment. Actually, he is talking a lot, but he's very inconsistent with verbal speech. His sign and body language are amazing, and he clearly understands everything we say, but he gets quite frustrated if we ask him to use his words or repeat something he said that sounded like a word to us.

I'm well aware that some help is needed, and have a referral in with the appropriate people, but can't afford to go off Island to see them until the end of Jan., and would love some insight about what to expect, and what I might be able to do in the meantime to help him!
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Old 12-03-2006, 08:41 PM
 
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Based on the fact that she has a few words and is understanding what you say, I think there probably isn't anything to worry about -- at least not at this point. I see so many posts from people with kids in this age range who aren't talking! I'm really beginning to wonder how the "normal" ranges became established, lol. My dd is 16 months and says "uh-oh" and "no" (no is not used contextually). She also meows and barks, and maybe moos. Other than that? Nada. She signed "more" and "eat" (contextually) for a few days and then stopped. She said "hi' for a few days and then stopped. She does not say mama or dada/papa. She used to while babbling, but no longer, and has never used them contextually. But if I say "take that to papa", she will. So she understands what we say and she demonstrates that she HAS the ability to speak and sign. I have come to believe that she is simply choosing not to do it. I honestly think she is soaking everything up and it will come pouring out one day like a geyser. But it is easy to worry, especially when there are so many kids this age who are talking.

So not to say that sometimes intervention isn't called for, but at this age, and with the signs you're seeing, I wouldn't go that route yet. My understanding is they typically call for intervention at 24 months.

FYI, dd was always a little ahead with gross motor skills. I think that's where her focus has been, and the language will catch up later.

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Old 12-03-2006, 08:49 PM
 
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Here is some info on apraxia of speech. In the case of my son, he has had to learn how to move his mouth/tongue/muscles to produce the sounds. His hearing and understanding are great; his cognitive language (I think that is the correct term - as opposed to his expressive lang.) is above age-level. But his expressive language was over a year delayed (close to 18 month delay). He was also a very quiet baby - not a babbler like ds#1 or ds#3. He has been learning to move the correct muscles to make the correct sounds, and then blens/transition them into words, phrases and sentences. He even can now blow out his lips ansd blow out candles and make bubbles - that was huge! When we had him evaluated, the tested his cognitive and expressive speech and diagnosed apraxia based on the results. (I can go through his paperwork if you are interested in more specifics).

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Old 12-03-2006, 09:46 PM
 
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Unless there are other known causes right now...hearing impairment among other communication disorders..they will most likely tell you not to worry until after 2 and then at that point - only to worry if strangers can't understand what they are saying 50% of the time.

Both kids are hearing impaired. DD started talking before a year and constantly picked up language but couldn't understand songs and stuff. Didn't find out about her loss till 4.

DS has been diagnosed since birth, aided at 14 months and enrolled in speech, he is 20 months old and doesn't say anything expect mom. Doesn't even attempt other words unless he is at speech therapy! Just now started imitating car sounds with they say is good because that comes first, and also started following directions which they say is good because receptive comes before expressive. I still get the "don't worry yet" statement.

You can contact your state Early Steps program if you are really concerned and ask to have a speech therapist evaluate him. Would probably set your mind at ease.
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Old 12-03-2006, 10:12 PM
 
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DD never said a word until nearly 19 months. I had her evaluated at 18 months, and she was found to have a delay, not serious but enough to qualify for services. Anyway, we started therapy-- basically consisted of a really nice woman coming to our home for an hour a week with a big bag of fascinating toys and playing with DD. She loved it. The therapist and I had a number of disagreements, but overall I'm glad I did it.

After four sessions, however, DD had managed to pick up almost 40 words and was starting to put words together. So clearly all she needed was more time and patience! We were discontinued from the program when DD was 21 months old.

Even though it turned out we didn't need the services, I'm glad we did it, because it seemed like it couldn't hurt.

But a 15 month old with four words-- any sound used consistently to mean the same thing is a word, whether or not it's a really recognizable word-- is not a situation I'd worry about. An 18 month old with no words, a 2 year old not putting two words together, a 15 month old that didn't seem to understand language-- those are the things I'd worry about.

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Old 12-03-2006, 10:42 PM
 
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She's got 4 words. She's pointing and communicating. At 15 months, that means she's doing just fine. (Remember too to count animal sounds and sound effects - I suspect she'll have a few more if you add those -- any consistent sound linked with meaning is what you're looking for at this age.)

When you worry is when they
-are not gesturing (clapping, pointing or something like that) at 12-13 months
-aren't babbling
-have NO words at 16 months
-have fewer than 20 words at 18 months (some guidelines say 10 at 18 months, but that's a little low, IMO)
-are not learning new words any time after 18 months -- it doesn't have to be rapid but there should be new words every week (most kids go through a rapid period of word growth sometime between 18 and 22 months, but not all. But they all learn new words.)
-are not combining 2 words into short phrases by 24-25 months

AND any time they have a loss of language you worry a lot.

There are always kids who didn't say a word until 18/24/36 months and they're fine. But there's an equal number of kids who don't say a word until 18/24/36 months and are not fine. We can't tell, alas, until 2 or 3 which group those kids are going to fall into, so I'm always conservative about recommending assessment if you're in doubt. Assessment and therapy don't hurt, and they can help.

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Old 12-03-2006, 10:47 PM
 
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Ds #2 has just started speech thereapy through early intervention. He can understand very well and is a fast learner, walker,etc, but slow in the verbal dept. He will babble, and has a few phonetic words like "choo choo, ma, da, pee for please". THe therapist says there is nothing wrong except he is slow in that dev. area. Early intervention programs are nice because they are free, and they do parent child group play times and other things. We just went to our groups christmas party and it was huge.

I was recently talking to a mother in the program, and she said that they went wheat and gluten free and her son started talking up a storm! They also used massive amounts of magnesium and b12 since those help that area of the brain. To prove it really helped, the speech therapists monitered him and his massive improvement on the diet, and then she took him off and let him eat whatever. He stopped talking right away. They have other cases of this as well, and alot of autistic children who have speech issues benefit from wheat, gluten and dairy free diets.

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Old 12-03-2006, 11:34 PM
 
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My DD started talking at 9 mos. My DS is now 17 mos old and does not speak any words. He is jsut now siging, "more" and "potty"..oddly enough he also signs "cheese"
anyway..I am not the slightest bit worried and am honestly thrilled with the no talking since my DD is non stop all day long!!!

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Old 12-03-2006, 11:42 PM
 
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Our girl was kind of like that. She had more words, but would "forget" them for a month or so and really only use 3-4 at a time. (And completely refused to learn Mama, Daddy she never forgot) And then at 18 months she had a word explosion. It's like she was just paying attention and learning them in her head and then they all came out of her mouth one day. I wouldn't worry if I were you.
That was our experience with DS. I'd hear a word and get excited, but then it would be gone a few days later. By a week before his 18 mo doctors appointment I actually looked it up online and made a list of the words he used because he was behind at that point. Literally within a few days he had a language explosion, I always say it was like he was waiting to be sure he could say the words correctly before he'd use them. Now at 2.5 yo he is not the least bit delayed in anything. I also hear alot how 2nd children talk later.
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Old 12-04-2006, 08:09 PM
 
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I have a 16 mo old who doesn't really use "real" words (other than the dog's name and "mamama"). But he babbles and gestures quite a bit. He'll look me right in the face and say something to me in the form of a question. Or when he "talks" to the dog it sounds like he's telling her to go outside just like I do. He babbles A LOT so I'm not worried about it. I've been trying to use the names of foods and objects when I give them to him to encourage new words but I don't want to pressure him too much.

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