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is anyone else's 21 mo not talking?

889 Views 19 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  sugarmoon
my ds is just past 21 mo and he's not talking. actually, he is talking in his language - he babbles all the time. he understands everything - like honey go to your room and get your white shirt with the farm animals so i can put it on you because we're going outside. so he'll go to his room, get the right shirt, bring it back to me and then point outside. his hearing is fine. he just isn't talking.

ct has a great "birth-to-3" program that provides occupational therapists for children who exhibit *any* type of developmental anything. we've had one come twice a month for 6 months now and she's a little suprised as well that he still isn't saying anything.

i'm not worried about his hearing or his cognitive development - i guess it would just be nice to know my ds isn't the only one. and i know, einstein didn't talk until he was almost 3!


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My ds didn't talk until he was 26 months. He would point and "urghh," but that was it. No words.

At 23 months, I got sick of doctors telling me to wait it out and contacted Early Intervention for an evaluation. He was at a 9 month old level for expressive speech and right on target for receptive speech (so he understood everything we said). They provided free speech therapy twice a week in our home to ds for a year. His speech therapist found ds to be slightly apraxic and also recommended OT and PT. She started him with some sign language since he was a visual learner, which took him all of 7-10 days to pick up on and start using. Two months after starting therapy, he was talking: letters, numbers, objects, everything! He said "mama" and "daddy" for the first time on father's day last year.

DS is now 38 months, been talking for one year now, and has tested out of ALL of his therapy. You can't even tell that he wasn't talking a little over a year ago.

HTH and good luck!
Hi Mona,

My nephew was the same way. He talked gibberish for the longest time, but he was *extremely* physical. He finally started talking, and speaks fine now.

My DD was the opposite. She talked like crazy, but was 19 1/2 months when she started walking. My Parents As Teachers educator (sounds like the CT program you mentioned) was worried, and on the verge of referring her, too.

It seems like kids focus on one or the other. I wouldn't worry yet if I were you. It sounds like you're doing everything right.

my ds is also a non-talking 21 m. old

i'm giving it the summer, and then I think I'll look at doing speech therapy. He also has great comprehension, follows multi-step directions (well, when he's in the mood
) etc.

We do use some sign, and he will imitate a sign right away when I introduce it, but doesn't try at all to imitate sounds/words when I ask him to. He does combine to do two and three word sentences w/ sign, but not words...

Who knows!
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yeah, he will do signs - he knows the basic words and can string "love mama"
and "love papa"

MamaAcorn - what is "apraxic"?

tia -

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Hi all! I'm a speech-path in NY and hope i can help! by the age of 2, the average girl has about 50 single words and starts putting them together. the average boy is typically less. All kids are different and progress at their own rate, but for a 21 month old, it's worth having an evaluation to really see where he is.

Early intervention services (birth to three) are free, state funded services. Your child, if s/he qualifies, is ENTITLED but not OBLIGATED to receive services. Services can be refused, without penalty later if you change your mind. Once they turn 3, the local school districts take over & it can get sticky. 0-3 are usually home-based services- best for the child b/c it takes out the unknown place element.

Apraxia is sort of like a disconnect between what the brain wants to say and what the mouth wants to do. It's almost as if the mouth is getting mixed signals so things get confused on the way. a lot of times, kids who are apraxic are very sure about what they're saying & have no idea why others don't understand!

Another thing to know about EI services- getting an evaluation started, even if you have no other concerns, (at least in NY) means a full developmental evaluation. this i'm familiar with b/c my 14 month old gets PT 2 times a week. First, i met with a service coordinator to fill out the "intake packet," discuss my concerns and get the ball rolling. Next, the special education evaluator came to the house & looked at DD as a whole- cognitive, fine & gross motor, receptive (understanding) and expressive communication, social awareness, etc. THEN, the PT came. It was a bit involved & took about 2 months from the first meeting to starting services.

I'm very much of the sooner vs. later school of thought on developmental issues. some kids do all of their developing at once. DD is like that. it's almost like she needed someone else (an objective 3rd party
to convince her she could do things & raise the bar for her. (and i'm NO softie!) she's been making great progress & still has a way to go, but it's making a very significant difference week by week.

ok, i really hope i wasn't
, but i wanted to give you some info & options. please pm me if you have questions!!!!
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At 30 months DS says a few words consistently, like 15, and many words spontaneously (like once, then never again). We just had him evaluated by a speech therapist. There is nothing 'wrong', he just thinks that DS is having a hard time making his mouth make the sounds. We were given things to do to help him and signs to teach him so he is not frustrated. Just yesterday he came to me and signed "more food please" and said "oor ooo eeees" I nearly cried.

Get him evaluated. they can give you techniques and things to do to help him learn to talk. You are not alone nor is your DS the only one.

And talk to those who will give you support. We refuse to talk to my Inlaws about this as they only compare Nick to his cousin who speaks in complete sentences and is 8 days older.
Chelsea- well said!!! The comparisons are awful! My GODMOTHER of all people, nastily compared siobhan
to her oh not so cute grandson who was cruising before siobhan and 3 months younger.
So nasty. I was upset and mad for ages!!! I'm trying the whole "accept it's just ignorance" approach. :ignore Ugh, i'm not THAT tolerant

What really upset me is we had just had her evaluated & were genuinely concerned about her physical development. But she slammed me with that whole mentality of my kid can beat up your kid. Thankfully, i was able to bite my tongue
(probably from shock more than strength of character) and not get nasty (i had a few ideas!

DEFINITELY only talk about it with those who are supportive. My mantra for the others was "isn't it great how different they all are?" I think i even say it in my sleep!
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My 21 month old isn't talking wither. He says 'Ma Ma', 'Da Da', 'Na Na' and makes a few animal noices (Ba Ba, Ooo ooo ah ah, Mmmmmm (cow)). He now says (just started in the last 2 weeks) Ah dat? And that's it. He babbles and hums and grunts all the's like a constant non-verbal narration of his life
. Like your kiddo, he understands EVERYTHING! He knows a few signs and it took him all of a couple hours to learn them. I can't say that I'm worried! Slightly concerned would be appropriate I guess. At this point I'm not willing to put him into any sort of therapy. He's slightly ahead of the game when it comes to physical milestones and is pretty bright. Our ped says that they should be saying two words (besides Mama and Dada) by age 2.

It's frustrating tho! For him and me both!

Anyhow, I know where you're coming from!
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Originally Posted by pumpkinhead
Our ped says that they should be saying two words (besides Mama and Dada) by age 2.
Pumpkinhead- I llike your attitude and agree that they focus on one skill set at a time. However, I'd check with the ped on that 2 words by 2. The average (less for boys) is 50 words and starting to put 2 words together. 2 words by 2 is way off base for language milestones.

Of course, all this said, usually by kindergarten, you can't tell who was faster than whom in terms of all this development. My friend's DS was SO slow to talk & by 3 he was JUST starting to put 2 words together. He started preschool & his language took off. Now he's your everyday average (although awfully cute) 4 year old. For therapy, i think it really comes down to frustration levels. For us, Siobhan was getting VERY annoyed that she wasn't mobile AT ALL and it was building. Same for communication- some kids are just fine with talking little and being understood little. It's a judgement call most of the time.

Good luck!
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Yes, frustration is a major motivator in our household
. I think part of the problem is that Jacob is extremely skilled at getting his message accross to us non-verbally, and that works just fine for him. I feel as if I'm playing an eternal guessing game most of the time tho. Do you want X? Do you want X? Do you want X??! This is accompanied by head nodding or head shaking. I'm not sure what ref our ped had for saying '2 words by 2yrs'. It could have been an aribitrary fob off.

Anyhow...I dunno, I just can't get worked up about this. It's always in the back of my mind and I do think about it a great deal but the end result is mostly mild concern. Of course initially, the Mama in me always thinks the worst and I used to be a nanny for an autistic little boy so, you can imagine what conclusions I would have jumped to. But ds is a bright, interactive and engaging child with a broad imagination and a ready smile. He was rolling over at 2.5mos, creeping at 5 mos, crawling at 6.5 mos, pulling to stand and cruising by 7 mos. This 'behind in milestones' thing is kinda new to me.

I offically intend to start worrying by 2 and a half

I'd like to ask you this, if you don't mind:
As a speech path, if mine or the OP's child were yours, what would you do?
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since i don't know how to cut and paste into a box - i'll do it the old fashioned way ...

"Anyhow...I dunno, I just can't get worked up about this. It's always in the back of my mind and I do think about it a great deal but the end result is mostly mild concern. Of course initially, the Mama in me always thinks the worst and I used to be a nanny for an autistic little boy so, you can imagine what conclusions I would have jumped to. But ds is a bright, interactive and engaging child with a broad imagination and a ready smile. He was rolling over at 2.5mos, creeping at 5 mos, crawling at 6.5 mos, pulling to stand and cruising by 7 mos. This 'behind in milestones' thing is kinda new to me."

i agree pumpkinhead - i could have written that almost verbatim except ds started walking late (16mos or so i want to say). most days i am fine with it just every now and i again i start to worry. bobica - we have had him evaluated by birth to 3 - although it doesn't sound as thorough as ny. ds was ahead on some stuff, in line on others and behind on walking and talking. of course, now you'd never be able to tell he was "late" with walking. re: his talking, the bt3 woman gave us exercises to do and i have to confess i'm not religous about doing them. we did notice last week that when he bites into a cracker, he'll take the first bite then kind of swish the food around in the back of his mouth until its soft enough to swallow (as opposed to taking more bites). and i'm curious as to what you would do, as pumpkinhead asked.

i guess most days i'm okay with it all but every now and again i start to panic and think

maybe we should start a not talking yet tribe ...

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davmom, I shouldn't have said that ds was 'ahead of the game' in terms of physical milestones. High normal would have been more appropriate!
Whatever that means.

It's sounds like our ds's are somewhat similar on some levels! Ds has 3 pairs of shoes. If I ask him to go and get his brown sandals, he goes and gets them, points outside and says 'enh!!!' He says 'enh' pretty much whenever he points to something.

So, congnitively, they're on's just VERBALLY!

Anyhow, I didn't mean to hijack your thread, but I understand to an extent what you're dealing with and what you're going thru!
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My ds didn't say his first word until he was 23 months. I don't know why, b/c he would babble, he understood what I was telling him, etc... 23 months seemed to be the magic age for him though. Now at 3.5, he speaks in full sentences and while still a farily quiet kid, has no problems with speech. Your son could just be a late bloomer as well. I've always heard as long as they're babbling, it's usually ok. Course, I'm not an expert, but that's been my experience. Hope it helps!
Whew- you guys are so quick!!! Let me try to address your questions....

Pumpkin- i TOTALLY don't mean to tell you that you should be worried, so i hope it didn't come across that way
If it was my child, I'd probably do the evaluation for peace of mind's sake. Although, it depends on where you live & what services they have available. NY's system is pretty extensive & we were on the fence about getting DD a PT eval, but figured it was worth it regardless. She came out as functioning at an 8 month level when she was 11.5 months, so she was definitely behind. (they use a 33% of delay rule to determine qualification of services).

My big deciding factor in getting her the eval was frustration- hers, that is! She wanted to get around and wound up doing this modified butt scoot (pivoting her legs straight out to eventually wind up somewhere- very slow!). She didn't even start commando crawling until the day after the PT eval (she knew!) and she had had TONS of belly time (she took all her naps on her belly- :sheepish ) She's now almost 15 months and is walking like crazy, but is still learning to stand up without a HUGE effort of pulling up on something, and also learning basic climbing. At least i don't have to chase her up the stairs!!!

It's such a personal decision. I completely know what you mean about knowing other kids with issues & having that worry. I worked with babies & preschoolers for a while & figured i would NEVER have kids if i didn't switch!

Davmom- as for the oral motor issue (exercises, etc) i find it pretty hard to get a toddler to do exercises of any sort, especially MOUTH ones!
providing him with a variety of textures is a great way to get his mouth working. anything chewy is really good exercise (twizzlers & other junk like that work like a charm). Of course, safety is paramount and supervision is key (professional disclaimer
Encouraging cup (non-sippy) and straw drinking are great strengtheners. If he can blow- lots of bubbles! If not, try teaching him by blowing through a straw into a cup of water- strangely fascinating at that age!

Overall, i'll say again, it's extremely personal whether or not you seek evaluation and/or treatment for your child. take all factors into account- is s/he getting their needs across & met enough of the time? are they frustrated? (the majority of kids i have evaluated came b/c they were very frustrated), does their speech "problem" affect them socially? (not so much for a 2 year old!) what is your gut telling you?

Ok, windbag speech pathologist! Sorry!
Really, pm me with any questions- any help i can give, i'm happy to!
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My ds said only a few words at 21 months. Then suddenly at 24 months his vocabulary exploded to over a hundred words and kept growing. Now he talks a lot at 27 months and in sentences.
wow thanks guys for all your comments and support! (and pumpkin don't worry i didn't think at all that you hijacked the thread - imo, that's what these things are all about - promoting conversation!

as far as frustration, i sense ds is starting to get a little frustrated. he just went into a home daycare environment a few weeks ago for the first time. even tho he's only going 2 days/week, i'm wondering if being around a few other kids (16 mos, 2, 2 around 2.5 and 3.5) will help him as well.

thanks again everyone!

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My ds says a handful of words. He also babbles constantly. He will be 2 on July 1. Something that I have discovered with him is that some of the babbles he was making were actually Spanish words. He is in day care 40 hours per week where most of the people speak Spanish. So he is hearing both languages everyday. He was saying "Aqui" all the time. I thought it was just babble. "Aqui" means "Give it here". When I put it together with his hand gestures, he was asking for something. He also says "Aggie" Which means he wants his blanket with the taggie on it. He says Mama and Dadee. But he calls dh and I both Mama most of the time. He probably says 15 to 20 English words that I can understand and 5 to 10 Spanish words that I know what they mean. He also uses sign for bye-bye, sorry, and potty. His receptive speech is excellant. He is just slow on expressive speech. But I think it's because of the two languages. Today he put three words together. "Let go me." I was impressed with that.

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My ds didn't speak much when he was that age. Maybe said mama and dada, but that's about it. he had some words in sign language and understood both English and Spanish if I spoke it to him. Once he hit 25 months or so, his vocabulary just started to grow exponentially. He now can count to twenty, has probably 200 words and can thoroughly express himself. He even has words in Spanish and Korean (although few compared to English). We didn't worry much about his speech development. We were aware of it and monitored it closely, but felt it was entirely appropriate for him. I think there are cases that it's not a problem, and cases that need more attention. Monitor his behavior and follow your mama instinct. It will probably tell you whether or not it is truly a problem. Good luck, I understand how it feels!
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dragging up old threads....

Just wondering how everyones late-talking dc are doing! my ds is now almost 29 mos -- we did the eval through the 0-3 prog. this fall -- he was at or above age level for all areas except expressive lang -- his receptive was at 4-5 yr old level, but he was only saying about 10 words, and had about 30 signs. We have done one session w/ the slp, but then got delayed due to holidays -- we start again this month. Ds has increased to about 20 words, and is much more interested/willing/able to try to repeat words when we ask him to, but his enunciation is very poor and so he can mostly only be understood by me (i.e. for hot he just says the "O" sound).

We have been given the diagonsis of apraxia, and I'm still trying to decide whether to freak out, or to believe that all will work out fine, w/ minmal effort and stress...

Just wanting to check in and see how others are doing, or hear from more families dealing w/ non-talking older toddlers...
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