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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Jessica, I would really appreciate an opinion on my toddlers speech development, if you wouldnt mind!

My son is 20 months, he only consistently says 'Mom' and 'Dad'. He started saying both of these at around 6 months, so we thought he would be an early talker.

He has said other words since then, but with each new word, he'll only use it a few times, and then we dont hear it again. A few of the words have been multisylable, like banana, and he could say it very clearly, and specifically asked for a banana 3 times at around I think 12 months. He has put words together like 'Dads eye' while pointing at his dads eyes. He has said around 30 words, one or two times each.

He clearly understands almost everything we say to him, even things I think are probably complex for a 20mo to understand, but he just doesnt communicate verbally. I have been pretty unworried about it so far, since he does clearly understand what we say to him. I wonder sometimes if its because he seems like he puts a lot of his time and concentration into motor development type things, he can do/play with toys and puzzles at around a 3 yr old level. I am starting to get slightly concerned about his lack of speech lately though, so I am just wondering if this is in the realm of normal development. My mom keeps harping on it, and I think that is what is rubbing off on me and making me start to be concerned.

Thank you so much in advance for your time!

Melissa
 

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Hi Melissa,

Thank you for your question and your appreciation.

I will post my answer within a few days.

All the best,

Jessica

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Dear Melissa,

Thank you for writing in.

There are several components to language acquisition, including comprehension, following orders, tracking your conversations with another adult and imitating the rhythm and cadence of your speech. Your son is displaying many of these signs as well as sophisticated cognitive function in other areas.

Toddlers tend to experience bursts of speech. For no apparent reason from the outside, they'll round a corner and their vocabulary will double. There is usually a burst around age two or shortly before or after. Your son will begin utilizing the vocabulary he has already acquired, stringing more two-word sentences together, "up, peez," "cat go," "bye, dad," etc, fleshing out the second syllable to words, and he will continue to increase his vocabulary.

In the meantime, if you want to do speech and language promoting activities you can:

  • Narrate your experience & your thought process as you complete daily tasks.
  • When your son communicates to you non-verbally, respond with the words for him; if he points to the crackers respond with "Momma, may I have some crackers, please?" or a simpler, "Crackers, please?"
  • "Quiz" your son on body parts, family members, pets, familiar objects, etc. If he doesn't give you the word, give it for him. Give encouragement regardless of how the word sounds when he reiterates it.
  • Sing simple songs with repetitive words.
  • Point out things and name them all the time.
  • Ask your son to repeat words after you.
  • Read books out loud (I'm sure you already do this!)
  • Always talk to your son as if he understands and is responding with language.

They say most toddlers have 20 words at 18 months and 50 words by two years, with variability within those averages. Extenuating circumstances such as a second language spoken in the home, or factors seemingly unrelated to speech and language acquisition can affect a child's development in this area as well. From your description, your son is well within the range of normal speech and language development, but ask your pediatrician at your next well-baby visit for a second opinion.

Sometimes grandparents' observations are off the mark and filled with unnecessary worry, and sometimes a grandparent has the necessary objectivity to notice an important developmental delay that needs attention. Learning to be thankful for their caring enough to notice and take an active role, and yet, still maintain connected to your intuition and your sense of things and not absorb their anxiety is a delicate balance. It can be helpful to always get the second opinion from your pediatrician in the case of child development issues to put your mother's (and your) mind at ease. In this case, however, I believe your 20 month-old is right on track.

Feel free to keep in touch, sign up for my E-zine and visit me on Facebook.

With love,

Jessica

Birthing A New Mother home study program NOW AVAILABLE for pre-conception, pregnancy & the first year of motherhood. I am a featured contributor in this course brought to you by Conscious Motherhood.

The Ultimate Parenting Course will be available November 15, 2011. A cadre of the best of today's progressive parenting experts come together in this transformational 8-week home study course for parents of children birth to 7 years. Email me at [email protected] for pre-order.

The L.O.V.E. Parenting Birthkit has helped women have a transformational and empowering birth. Written exercises, audio & private coaching. Amazing for first or second pregnancy.

Sign Up for my E-Zine! Email: [email protected]

Like me on Facebook L.O.V.E. Parenting and Follow on Twitter @LoveParenting

Private Coaching Session! Phone or Los Angeles office. www.LoveParentingLA.com

"Truly amazing woman. I love her advice."-Carrie-Anne Moss

"All you have shared has helped tremendously."-Lisa Bonet

"I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach." -Andrea Bendewald

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you, that puts my mind at ease. It was funny, after you replied to me, my son had two more speech episodes. We were picking up toys, and some needed to go upstairs, I said 'We are going to take these toys upstairs, alright?', and he said 'Alright' clear as day. He also said 'Juice Mama''.

I am starting to be convinced that he could be not only speaking, but actually conversing with me if he felt like it. I suppose I just need to wait for him to be ready!

I also forwarded this information to my mother
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I'm so glad my answer was helpful for you. It can be helpful to have a neutral third party to assuage a grandmother's concern. Some toddlers potty train first, some speak first, some are more physically agile...there is a continuum. Enjoy the ride!

Much love,

Jessica

Birthing A New Mother home study program NOW AVAILABLE for pre-conception, pregnancy & the first year of motherhood. I am a featured contributor in this course brought to you by Conscious Motherhood.

The Ultimate Parenting Course will be available November 15, 2011. A cadre of the best of today's progressive parenting experts come together in this transformational 8-week home study course for parents of children birth to 7 years. Email me at [email protected] for pre-order.

The L.O.V.E. Parenting Birthkit has helped women have a transformational and empowering birth. Written exercises, audio & private coaching. Amazing for first or second pregnancy.

Sign Up for my E-Zine! Email: [email protected]

Like me on Facebook L.O.V.E. Parenting and Follow on Twitter @LoveParenting

Private Coaching Session! Phone or Los Angeles office. www.LoveParentingLA.com

  • "Truly amazing woman. I love her advice."-Carrie-Anne Moss.
  • "All you have shared has helped tremendously."-Lisa Bonet.
  • "I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach." -Andrea Bendewald.

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