My not-so-verbal toddler - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 28 Old 01-25-2007, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is 16 months now and really doesn't talk much. He says "hot," "dis" and "dat" and "yook" (What is this, that, look, accompanied by pointing), sometimes says mama or dada but rarely with intending a person to come out of it (more just making the noise.) He doesn't make any animal noises and can't identify body parts or animals or anything like that. We do baby signs and he can do about 15 signs now, but only does a few with any regularity (more, hot, milk, all done, and dog are the most common.)

He hears just fine and makes babbling noises, and he's interested in things around him, frequently pointing and saying "yook!" or asking "dat?" Our nephew was speaking in two word sentences at this age, so I feel like DS is "behind" somehow.

He's very active, walking, running, jumping, dancing, and CLIMBING all over the house. When he hears music he dances. Am I asking too much of him? Should I just keep talking and wait for him to talk in his own time?
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#2 of 28 Old 01-25-2007, 06:05 PM
 
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I would follow your gut. If you think there is something wrong have him checked on. To me, he sounds fine. Keep up with the signing and verbal dialogue. If he seems to understand most of everything you say that is a really good sign. Try not to compare too much. But yes, by signing you will help to reduce his frustration level until he is better capable of communicating verbally.
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#3 of 28 Old 01-25-2007, 06:38 PM
 
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Sounds like my 16 mo!!! I can ask him where every body part is and he will point to it, but he can't say them yet. He will say momma...I swear he calls everyone momma!!!! He says duck when he see's one, he says dat, dis, HOT and he says bath really well. I'm not worried about it though, because when I talk to him, he understands what I am saying..if I ask him to go get a certain toy, he goes and gets the certain toy or if I ask him to go "tell" daddy something...he goes and gets daddy and babbles..sometimes a word will be in the mix somewhere. I really feel that he is on the very edge..he's about to "get it" and start talking in sentences!! I know some little ones don't start talking until they are atleast 2, but you go with you're gut feeling and do what you think is best for your little guy!
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#4 of 28 Old 01-25-2007, 07:19 PM
 
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Your son sounds like mine at that age - very physically coordinated, good gross motor skills...but a little lagging on the verbal. On his 2nd birthday, literally, on the DAY, he started really talking and hasn't stopped since! On the other hand, DS has a cousin who is the same age and could talk circles around my DS yet couldn't walk a few steps without falling all over himself, couldn't climb, couldn't run.... From what I understand children ahead in one area of development are a little behind in another area. In the end it all evens out.

Obviously your DS has great comprehension skills, which I think is right where he should be for his age. Give it a year, then worry!
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#5 of 28 Old 01-25-2007, 08:21 PM
 
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That really isn't even lagging in verbal skills. There is a HUGE range of normal for kids developing language.

That said if you are worried, early intervention is pretty easy to do.

My daughter didn't have a lot of words at that time either but all of a sudden she busted out in sentences and says maybe 5-10 new words a day now.

I know some 21 month olds who speak more clearly then some 3 or 4 year olds I know. It really is so dependent on the individual child that comparing your son to your nephew won't help you figure it out.

The standard is two word sentences by 2 year of age so I wouldn't worry yet.
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#6 of 28 Old 01-25-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momaste View Post
DS is 16 months now and really doesn't talk much. . . . .

We do baby signs and he can do about 15 signs now, but only does a few with any regularity (more, hot, milk, all done, and dog are the most common.)

He hears just fine and makes babbling noises, and he's interested in things around him, frequently pointing and saying "yook!" or asking "dat?" Our nephew was speaking in two word sentences at this age, so I feel like DS is "behind" somehow.
I thought I'd respond because when my daughter was your son's age, she was more verbal. She had a big signing vocabulary and was adding words to her spoken vocabulary all the time.

BUT, considering this information quoted from your post....

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He's very active, walking, running, jumping, dancing, and CLIMBING all over the house. When he hears music he dances.
In contrast, my daughter wasn't walking yet (well, she started a few days after she turned 16 months old.) She still doesn't run with real abandon (she'll be three in March) though she can hustle a bit. I saw her truly run once when a bird was stuck inside our storm window and really scared her--she came flying around the corner and threw herself on me. But she doesn't really run the way other kids do. At nearly three, she's working on jumping and getting closer and closer to the real thing each day (her toes still do not leave the floor.) She's a good climber but has never been relentless about it. Okay, here's an example. Last night she climbed onto the table (from standing on my chair.) For the first time EVER in her life. It was like it just dawned on her or something. She's always been a good climber (on stairs and on objects), but not one of those "constantly" kinds of kids. She's just not very physical.

While her fine motor skills and her verbal skills are still advanced, her gross motor skills are just coming along. I tend to think your son's effort has gone into a lot of physical things. He's definitely growing and maturing, and it sounds like other things than the verbal have had his attention. I wouldn't discourage you from following your gut if you're really worried, but I had to say that he sounds fine to me.

I know the feeling of that nagging wondering thing, though. Even though my daughter had hundreds of words, I would hear friends describing an exchange with their children (all within 6 weeks age of each other) and I'd think "Oh my gosh, she's nowhere near speaking in sentences like that." She just kept adding words, more words, but not stringing them together. Then she started pairing words, and within a few days she was stringing them together into complex sentences.

I KNEW not to worry, I knew she was just going about her language acquisition in a slightly different way (building vocabulary first), but I still had that twinge of wondering... It sounds to me like you're sure your son is fine, but then you think of your nephew, and you start wondering. And worrying a bit. It's natural, I think. Sounds like you've gotten lots of good feedback here, already. Hope it makes you feel more settled!
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#7 of 28 Old 01-25-2007, 11:37 PM
 
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Hi Momaste! I'm a speech-language pathologist and based on your description your kiddo sounds just fine. There is a VERY WIDE range of normal at this age and girls generally talk earlier. If you combine his words and his signs he's got a good list. Just model lots of basic language for him--lots of kids have a big burst around 18-20 months.

OTOH, if you are truly worried, it never hurts to get an eval done. But, if I were you, I'd wait 4-5 months and see where he is at that time.
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#8 of 28 Old 01-26-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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I'm a speech-language pathologist and based on your description your kiddo sounds just fine.
Hi kayaking mama,

I tried to send you a PM but I guess you don't have it active?

Anyway, I was just wondering what you would look for in a kid that would make you worry (or start to become concerned)?

My DS is almost 20 months and says NO words. Not mama (well, he says mamamamama but doesn't call me mama), not ball, nothing. He assigns no words to objects/people. He babbles constantly, can point to 100 things when asked, can sign a few words, and is totally physically precocious. But NADA in the spoken word department.

MY gut has said not to worry - but 20 months with nothing is now starting to worry me.

So, what are the things that I might really look for - or the things that might signal a problem?

Thanks in advance - I appreciate your insight!
Shani
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#9 of 28 Old 01-26-2007, 06:25 PM
 
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my mom always said a child either learned the physical firat (walking, running, climbing, jumping, stc) and some got the verbal first, but it was hard to learn both at once

*~*Ashley*~* newly single mama to Tristan 10/01/2007
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#10 of 28 Old 01-26-2007, 11:03 PM
 
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Hi Shani,
Don't know why I didn't get your PM. Oh well. Does he imitate sounds/words that you say? Do any gestures to familiar fingerplays or songs (wheels on the bus etc)? Make animal sounds? It's good that he is babbling and doing some signs. Does he point to things to show you what he wants or to comment on things? (For example, my son's big interest right now is lights. Everywhere we go, he points to lights and looks at me so that I will say "light".)

Has his hearing been tested? Has he had a lot of ear infections?

There is a really wide range of normal at this age. It does sound like he understands a lot--does he point to body parts? Follow one-step directions (like, go get your shoes)?

His big "burst" might be just around the corner...
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#11 of 28 Old 01-27-2007, 12:58 PM
 
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Hi Shani,
Don't know why I didn't get your PM. Oh well. Does he imitate sounds/words that you say? Do any gestures to familiar fingerplays or songs (wheels on the bus etc)? Make animal sounds? It's good that he is babbling and doing some signs. Does he point to things to show you what he wants or to comment on things? (For example, my son's big interest right now is lights. Everywhere we go, he points to lights and looks at me so that I will say "light".)

Has his hearing been tested? Has he had a lot of ear infections?

There is a really wide range of normal at this age. It does sound like he understands a lot--does he point to body parts? Follow one-step directions (like, go get your shoes)?

His big "burst" might be just around the corner...

Thanks for the reply!

His hearing has not been tested but that kid can def. hear! He he's like a cat. And he hasn't had any ear infections.

And yes, he understands alot. He follows many 2 step commands (get the paper and put it in the bag). And yes he babbles at me as if he reciting a monologue - but doesn't imitate anything I say. He doesn't call me mama, he doesn't make animal noises.

He does 'imitate' everything I do. (wiping countertops, shaking trash bags, screwing with a screwdriver)

He does point to body parts and can pick out a toy from a pile if I sing the song the toy sings.

After rereading all of this it seem silly to worry - because there are alot of positive signs. But the fact that he doesn't even call me mama (although if I ask "where's mama?", he points to me) and he doesn't assign any word/noise to any object - seem like things to be concerned about.

I've heard our ped refer to 'language' vs 'speech' and this is what I wonder about - the fact that he understands it all doesn't necessarily mean he can connect the dots and move his mouth to make the sounds of speech?

At his 18 month visit - our ped asked me to call her when he's 21 months and report in. I'm guessing she'll send him for a hearing test if there has been no change.

I'm just getting a little anxious for there to be a change!

Thanks again,
Shani
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#12 of 28 Old 01-27-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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Shani,
Some kids are officially termed "late talkers"--there's absolutely nothing wrong with them, other than that they start talking a bit later than most.

I forgot to ask, do you have other kids? Often kids with older siblings talk later because their sibs talk for them.

When he babbles, is he making consonant sounds as well as vowel sounds? Does it sound like he's really talking, but it's not real words?

How does he do with chewing/swallowing/drinking from a cup?

Where is he with gross motor milestones?

If you're not in the room, how does he call you?

Kira
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#13 of 28 Old 01-27-2007, 04:02 PM
 
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Shani,
Some kids are officially termed "late talkers"--there's absolutely nothing wrong with them, other than that they start talking a bit later than most.

I forgot to ask, do you have other kids? Often kids with older siblings talk later because their sibs talk for them.

When he babbles, is he making consonant sounds as well as vowel sounds? Does it sound like he's really talking, but it's not real words?

How does he do with chewing/swallowing/drinking from a cup?

Where is he with gross motor milestones?

If you're not in the room, how does he call you?

Kira
He's my first. But I really anticipate/intuitively know/guess what he wants so he rarely gets frustrated with lack of communication.

His consonants are soft and mushy. Sometimes it sounds like a mouthful of marbles.

Chewing, swallowing, drinking from a cup are all great.

He was an early-ish walker (11 months), was climbing stairs straight away, can use a screwdriver and unscrew lids, could put coins in a piggybank slot by one year, etc. I think he's fine with gross motor.

I'm really never in another room for him to call me (single mama) but he wants something (like to be picked up) he whines. Ehn, ehn - that kind of thing.

Whenever we play chase and it's his turn to chase me - he chants "mim mim mim mim mim".

Does that count?

Kind of sounds like he just doesn't have a reason to talk, huh?

Is 20 months with no words really that far behind?
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#14 of 28 Old 01-27-2007, 10:29 PM
 
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No, not so far behind at all! It sounds as though he is just developing more of his motor skills first, which is pretty common. One thing you might do is lots of repetitive reading, singing/fingerplays, etc and start leaving some gaps to see if he will fill in. You can also "play dumb" when he wants something to try to give him a reason to talk--like, point to something and say, "this?" when you know he wants something else nearby. Just try to avoid him getting frustrated!

Don't worry...It'll come along. Like I said before, his big burst could be just around the corner!
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#15 of 28 Old 01-27-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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What is the connection between chewing/swallowing/drinking from a cup and talking? My not so verbal 15 month old is not very good at chewing/swallowing (although she has 12 teeth). She can sip from a straw but she hasn't really figured out regular cups or sippy cups. She has said lots of words but the vast majority of them she either said once and never said again or she says them really irregularly. She has a core group of maybe 5 words/signs.

Mandy, mother to Alexandra (10/14/05) and William (12/21/07)
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#16 of 28 Old 01-28-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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My dd wasn't doing much at 16 months either. At 18 months we've got video of her saying 'ice' and we were all excited that she was saying a word legibly.

Now at 35 months she's fluent, reading some, and we're told she's gifted.
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#17 of 28 Old 01-28-2007, 10:41 AM
 
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What is the connection between chewing/swallowing/drinking from a cup and talking?
There is a condition called apraxia (sometimes called dyspraxia) which is essentially a problem with the coordination of the muscles needed for speech (many of which are the same as those needed for chewing, swallowing, and drinking from a cup). Sometimes kids who are making sounds but have trouble putting the sounds together into words that others can understand also have trouble with keeping food in their mouths, making an extra big mess when they eat, closing their lips around a straw or spoon, etc.
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#18 of 28 Old 01-29-2007, 02:48 AM
 
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There is a condition called apraxia (sometimes called dyspraxia) which is essentially a problem with the coordination of the muscles needed for speech (many of which are the same as those needed for chewing, swallowing, and drinking from a cup). Sometimes kids who are making sounds but have trouble putting the sounds together into words that others can understand also have trouble with keeping food in their mouths, making an extra big mess when they eat, closing their lips around a straw or spoon, etc.
It is all making sense now. Even though she can suck from a straw, sometimes it all comes flowing out. She definitely has problems in all these areas regarding mouth muscles. Do kids ever have mild cases of apraxia? She does seem to say words here and there but not many and not often.

Mandy, mother to Alexandra (10/14/05) and William (12/21/07)
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#19 of 28 Old 01-29-2007, 10:16 AM
 
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It is all making sense now. Even though she can suck from a straw, sometimes it all comes flowing out. She definitely has problems in all these areas regarding mouth muscles. Do kids ever have mild cases of apraxia? She does seem to say words here and there but not many and not often.
Yes, there can definitely be mild apraxia, and a classic presentation is where a kid will be able to say words "here and there" but have trouble imitating words on demand...when they're not thinking about it whole words come out, but when they make an effort the motor sequences get confused.

ETA: there are also two types of apraxia, oral apraxia (which is just dealing with movements involved in chewing, swallowing, drinking, etc) and verbal apraxia (which deals with speech). Some kids have one or the other and some kids have some of both.

15 months is pretty young to be thinking about this unless you've been concerned about this for a while. It's pretty typical for kids this age to use words here and there but not consistently yet. When she eats, does she push food out of her mouth? Does food fall out her lips? Does she have a giant mess on her face and never seem to notice? Does she stuff way too much food in her mouth? Have gagging issues?
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#20 of 28 Old 01-30-2007, 02:29 AM
 
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15 months is pretty young to be thinking about this unless you've been concerned about this for a while. It's pretty typical for kids this age to use words here and there but not consistently yet. When she eats, does she push food out of her mouth? Does food fall out her lips? Does she have a giant mess on her face and never seem to notice? Does she stuff way too much food in her mouth? Have gagging issues?[/QUOTE]

Well, her language skills do seem pretty typical of a lot of kids and though I know a lot of kids her age who speak a lot more and a lot more clearly, I would agree that her speech issues are not alarming in themselves. When she eats food that is soft (bananas, avocados, beans, yogurt, uncooked cheese, crackers, oatmeal, etc.), she's fine. Then there are foods that she just can't chew like baked cheese, most meat, most vegetables (unless they've been cooked a really really long time), most raw fruits. When she deals with those kinds of foods, she'll keep putting more and more stuff in her mouth and eventually it will all start falling out. She does choke a lot when she eats those difficult foods. I think she's getting to the point where she'll refuse a lot of foods that she can't chew. It seems like most of the people I know who have kids her age have long been feeding them all of the foods she can't eat.

Mandy, mother to Alexandra (10/14/05) and William (12/21/07)
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#21 of 28 Old 01-30-2007, 03:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reassurance, everyone! He does follow simple instructions (bring me the cup, where is your frog (stuffed animal)?, etc.) and comes when I call him. He does the motions for Patty Cake but doesn't even try to make the noises, and he loves Blue's Clues and does the dancing hand motions. He does signs, too, so he can get his point across. He's an only child so far. He eats really well, self feeding and eating solids. I guess he is just dveloping the motor skills first. Our nephew is SO verbal that it's funny that DS isn't saying much. I guess I should just be patient!
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#22 of 28 Old 01-30-2007, 12:17 PM
 
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Like other posters, i wouldn't be super concerned. Until DS as 2, he said only "mom" "Dad" "more" And "whatdat?"

Then he had a language explosion. And we haven't been able to shut him up since. Enjoy the quiet.

Now DS (5) says things like "mom, I get very frustrated when my game makes me play the difficult levels and I lose my ships to the boss" Ok, i wasn't the one to get him started playing video games, but that's another thread.
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#23 of 28 Old 01-30-2007, 03:33 PM
 
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My DD is 14 mo and only says "bah", "dat" and other similar sounds - and only one actual word (bye) on command. But she is very advanced physically - runs everywhere, climbs on the couch without assistance (quite a feat given how tall the couch is and how small she is), and is fully capable of walking with me to and around the park for an hour and a half without being picked up. I just figured she was ahead on some things and behind on others and I wasn't super worried. I'll worry if and when she's 2 and not saying any more than "dat" and "bye".

Oh, and she dances on request, can point to all her body parts, LOVES to read, and can follow multi-step instructions easily, so I don't think language comprehension is the issue.

Postpartum doula & certified breastfeeding educator, mama to an amazing girl (11/05) and a wee little boy (3/13).

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#24 of 28 Old 01-30-2007, 04:07 PM
 
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my 16 month old does what yours does....and I think he's a genius its all relative, I suppose.
he does make some animal sounds..he clucks when he sees a chicken, and meows for his kitty, and his favorite is 'mooooo' but it sounds more like 'oooooooo' for a cow...maybe your guy IS making animal sounds.... I mean, they are still babies!

Mine is a runner and climber too, in fact he severed/lacerated his nostril on Sunday and needed 4 stitches to put it back together again.....this kid is gunna kill me :


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DS is 16 months now and really doesn't talk much. He says "hot," "dis" and "dat" and "yook" (What is this, that, look, accompanied by pointing), sometimes says mama or dada but rarely with intending a person to come out of it (more just making the noise.) He doesn't make any animal noises and can't identify body parts or animals or anything like that. We do baby signs and he can do about 15 signs now, but only does a few with any regularity (more, hot, milk, all done, and dog are the most common.)

He hears just fine and makes babbling noises, and he's interested in things around him, frequently pointing and saying "yook!" or asking "dat?" Our nephew was speaking in two word sentences at this age, so I feel like DS is "behind" somehow.

He's very active, walking, running, jumping, dancing, and CLIMBING all over the house. When he hears music he dances. Am I asking too much of him? Should I just keep talking and wait for him to talk in his own time?
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#25 of 28 Old 01-30-2007, 06:23 PM
 
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This topic got me thinking some about ds. He is 22 months old today. He only says a few things that he means to be words (no one else would know what he means). He says agoo for vacuum, la for light, and ommy and addy instead of mommy and daddy. He does use about 30 signs, mostly ASL ones that I use with him and a few that he made up himself. I started showing him signs at 6 months, but he did not do any signs himself until 18 months. He does not eat or drink anything (exclusively breastfed) and unfortunately has stopped growing (he just had a stomach flu and lost 2 lbs, so he's down to 21 lbs and hasn't been able to gain the weight back). We have just started seeing a therapist to help him with eating. He doesn't seem to have any physical reasons for not eating, he just refuses to do it (he is very stubborn and we think it's a control issue). The part that got me wondering about him is that everyone mentioned that kids do well in either physical things or verbal things, so it's okay if they are slow in one area. He seems to be behind in talking and definitely in eating, but he also never learned to crawl (he started scooting around 9 months) and didn't walk until 18 months. He doesn't run or climb or crawl over things. Should I be concerned? Thanks for any advice!
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#26 of 28 Old 01-30-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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Well, at 18 months my DD had two words: "no" and "dat" (cat). It was only after she hit 2 that her vocab really expanded. Maybe 2 months after she turned 2 she started stringing words together. Now at 28 months, she won't shut up. LOL. All kids are different. No need to worry just yet!

ETA: DD also signed a lot. I do think some of the reason for her delay was that she didn't need to talk. She could communicate just fine with signing. If you can start signing that will at least allow you to communicate.
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#27 of 28 Old 01-30-2007, 07:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mandymichel View Post
..Then there are foods that she just can't chew like baked cheese, most meat, most vegetables (unless they've been cooked a really really long time), most raw fruits. When she deals with those kinds of foods, she'll keep putting more and more stuff in her mouth and eventually it will all start falling out. She does choke a lot when she eats those difficult foods...
I have a 30 month old with oral motor planning issues and a little low muscle tone. She has trouble with foods like you mentioned, and prefers soft food because they are less work. If I were you I would think about asking for an early intervention assessment. We started looking at these issues with my dd at about that age. (She's been in speech therapy for over a year, with no progress. But that's just us.)

A lot of people say "oh, you are over-reacting -- she's grow out of it" and that might be true. But if you are worried, I don't think there's anything to lose by having an evaluation done. Or, wait a few months (write it in your calendar!) and if things have no improved, call then.

DD1 = 8 yrs *** DD2 = 6 yrs
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#28 of 28 Old 01-31-2007, 08:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Literate View Post
I have a 30 month old with oral motor planning issues and a little low muscle tone. She has trouble with foods like you mentioned, and prefers soft food because they are less work. If I were you I would think about asking for an early intervention assessment. We started looking at these issues with my dd at about that age. (She's been in speech therapy for over a year, with no progress. But that's just us.)

A lot of people say "oh, you are over-reacting -- she's grow out of it" and that might be true. But if you are worried, I don't think there's anything to lose by having an evaluation done. Or, wait a few months (write it in your calendar!) and if things have no improved, call then.
Yeah, my doctor didn't take me seriously when I talked about the eating stuff. He just started suggesting soft things that she could eat, which I know about--I just don't want her to be restricted like that forever. I'm definitely going to have her assessed through the parents as teachers people. I don't see any reason to wait when they apparently do assessments starting at 16 months and she's almost there.

Mandy, mother to Alexandra (10/14/05) and William (12/21/07)
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