32 answers

1 Year Old Stopped Saying Words

I have a little girl who is about to turn one. She has said a few words like "baby" "mama" "bye bye". However, the last 3 or so weeks she has not been saying any of her words at all (just lots and lots of babble!). She understands LOTS of words. I can tell her to give her baby some "sippy" and she will find her baby doll and pretend to feed her from her sippy cup. Seems like she knows 30-40 words, but has gone silent in actually saying her words. Is this normal?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your concerns and suggestions. All is well again! About 5 days after I posted, she decided to start talking again! I suppose she was concentrating on other things! She has said like 4 new words since! Her dad was reading her the Easter Story and he pointed to a picture of Jesus and said, "that's Jesus". She pointed to the picture and said "Jeesuhs"! That just thrilled my hubby!
I told my doctor what had happened at her last appointment and he said this was very normal for this age. He said the only time we get concerned at this age is if they are not babbling or communicating non-verbally like pointing.
Anyway, thanks again!

Featured Answers

less than 1 yr, is very young to be saying as much as she is. I would wait and see, as she is so advanced that she may need a little break, and this may be her way of resting before she begins again.

Sometimes it has to do with where they are in their development: i.e. is she focusing on other areas now as in walking, running, eye to hand coordination, or others? Be patient and keep a watchful eye. A Grandmother

I would say something to the pediatrician, but if she is still babbling she is probably focasing on other skills and babbling is a part of learning. My son had a regression at that age and was not babbling at all nor was he following commands. He was in his own little world. My second daughter was totaly diffrent and she would babble all day. It's a lovely thing to hear when you missed it with the first child. My son has never babbled and he is at a 21 month old language level ,he is 3 years old, but intellectually he is very high. My son is in the process of getting diagnosed he has lots of autism red flags in communication and behavior but socially he only has a few red flags. I wish you the best.

More Answers

Hi B..
Has your daughter been vaccinated in the past 3 to 4 weeks? The thermasil (mercury derevitive) in vaccines has been linked with this particular issue in many children. I have included some sites for your reading.
I do hope it is not vaccine induced, but wanted you to have information to rule it out.
http://www.whale.to/vaccines.html
http://www.informedchoice.info/cocktail.html

W. from Indiana

1 mom found this helpful

Sometimes it has to do with where they are in their development: i.e. is she focusing on other areas now as in walking, running, eye to hand coordination, or others? Be patient and keep a watchful eye. A Grandmother

B.,
I think this is normal at her age. Sometimes they regress a little before reaching other major milestones. Just make sure you mention it to your ped at her 1 yr checkup. You want to make sure it is not hearing related. If this is the case, you will notice other things too, such as she startles when you walk up behind her, she isn't startled by loud noises, doesn't respond when called from another room, etc. My friend is a hearing impaired teacher. Her own daughter had these problems, and since she knew what to look for, she was able to recognize some of the symptoms. She took her daughter in and she had massive amounts of fluid on her ears, but no infection. After tubes we put in to drain the fluid, her daughter is fine! Good luck!

My question would be, did this happen right after getting her 1yr shots? If so you may be dealing with a side effect/ allergic reaction to the shots and I would investigate!!! If it is I have read you can reverse it if done quickly.

I'm axious to hear the responses to this because I have a 14 month old son who understands a lot of what you say to him and follows instructions like your daughter but doesn't articulate much other than "bah, mah, and dah".

If I were you I would take her to her pediatrician as soon as you can get an appointment and voice your concerns and ask if he can refer you to a speech pathologist for an evaluation. The reason I say this is I have a 6-year-old son who was not talking like I thought he should and stopped saying words when he was almost 2 years old. I was told by his pediatrician that he may be a late bloomer but he did recommend and refer an evaluation. They said he was speech delayed and from that point he started speech therapy. He was later diagnosed by a specialist as having an autism spectrum disorder called PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-None Otherwise Specified). So just to be on the safe side get an expert in the field to check it out so you can get on the right path to intervention. My son is doing remarkable and is a kindergartener and is getting better each day. He still has a long way to go but he is doing so much better.

I am a developmental therapist who works with children birth to 3 on all areas of development. As children develop esp. at their milestones, it is not unusual for them to only focus on one area. Around 12 months, children are learning to walk and focusing on gross motor skills. It is not unusual and it is also indicated on developmental tests that children may indeed stop talking while they are learning new skills. Can't multitask with those new, fresh brain. If this continues to 18 months check with your PCP. By 18-24 months children should have at least 10 words, name a familiar household object, and be putting 2 words together a little.

i have known this to happen if the parents aren't requiring the words. if your daughter is able to just point at something that she wants, and you get it for her, she wont use her words. make sure you require her to use the word she know if she wants something. if she wants a hug, and can say the word, don't hug her unless she says it. of course this only works for the things that she only knows the words to.

This is normal. I'm not sure how to explain it in medical terms but she is just busy learning something new right now and she will be back talking when she is ready. :) I have three girls the oldest is 23 the youngest is 16. They all did the same thing.

hi maybe ur lil girl is teething big time i really don't know about this one. srry good luck

B.,
I would definitely just give your pediatrician a call. If your's is like mine, the nurses or MDs themselves promptly return all calls regarding any questions that day. My MDs offive also has a website to field nonurgent questions, and they will reply.
Good luck
Rachel

My kids at this age have done this many times. From my experience, as they are developing toddlers, they work on one thing at a time. For instance, they make great strides with speech, and then back-track a bit when they start walking or working on another motor skill (fine or gross). She will focus on speech again when that is what she is "working on". I think your daughter is doing great!

Believe me, what your daughter is doing is completely normal. I have two daughters, who are grown now, and a 2 year old grand daughter. So, I have experienced and wondered the same thing at one time or another. They had even said words they only said once and never said again until they had gotten to the age of talking "normally". So, don't be alarmed. All the babbling will soon be clear sentences and to encourage that, talk to her clearly, read to her often, along with pointing out things and telling her what they are.

Hi B.-Your daughter is young to have that many words but shouldn't be going the other way. I have 4 kids and work in a Peds unit at a local hospital. Watch for other signs, walking, hand-eye cordination. One of my daughters was keeping fluid in her ears, not infected so no fevers, but this had everything off. She didn't walk to talk until 18 mos. hold when we figured it out. Definately get her ears checked.
To make a long story short, I have seen a child experiencing very mild symptoms of regression and it ended up being something very serious. Always get things checked out, better safe than sorry.

less than 1 yr, is very young to be saying as much as she is. I would wait and see, as she is so advanced that she may need a little break, and this may be her way of resting before she begins again.

Has your daughter had an ear infection lately? When you take her for her 1 year check-up, you should ask the Dr. to check her hearing.

Another thing to think about-have things changed in her child care situation? She may not be able to express what she needs yet. Have other behaviors changed?

Her pediatrician can hopefully help you get to the bottom of things quickly.

P. Q

Totally normal from my experience with my two kids. They just get busy learning other things, but you'll probably find that she'll start saying those words again along with some new ones. Or, like my eldest did, she could still not say those first words for a while but add in new ones. Then drop those and say more new ones. My first used words in batches like that, but now at 3 1/2 he talks up a storm!

Your daughter sounds like she is doing great! My 20 month old daughter has gone through phases of 2 - 4 weeks where she says certain words and then she doesn't say much for another 2 - 4 weeks. Our pediatrician said age 2 is typically when language takes off. It is amazing how much babies and toddlers understand even when they can't say many words back.

Almost ALL babies make several consonant sounds in their first year (baba [baby or bottle], dada, gaga, mama, nana, tata). Babies probably gave US our nicknames than we taught them to say them! LOL If your daughter is a perfectionist (as our grandson is), she won't want to say words until she is confident that she can say them well, so just keep talking to her and praise her for TRYING rather than 'saying it correctly'. I don't know any normal 5 year olds who still can't talk! Soon she'll be talking your ears off.

I have a daughter about to turn 2. She has an extraordinary vocabulary as well, and was doing the same things at your daughter's age, including saying some full sentences, like "Where are you?" But when she turned 1 she started focusing on doing some of the physical things she couldn't do before, and it seemed her language skills suddenly diminished a lot. Turns out though, she was still learning even more words, just waiting to use them until after she learned to walk!

It's such an exciting time, isn't it?

Has she had 12 months vaccine? Especially MMR? Ifso, that is something to be concerned about and I would speak to your pediatrician about it.

I would speak to her ped about it. I have heard that one sign of autism is the loss of speech that had begun to develop. I'm not saying that this is the case with your daughter, and I'm not sure if autism can be diagnosed at one, but it is worth checking into. If it IS autism it's best to catch it early so intervention can be started early.

One of my three kids did this. She would babble and babble, but not say understandable words. She knew lots of words. If you tried to get her to speak, she would look at you and shut her mouth. Don't worry. She is now by far the most talkative child I know! When she did start saying words again, it was bunches and bunches and bunches. I think she was thinking about the sounds (and maybe practicing where I could not hear her). When she did start talking, everything was much clearer than others her age. My youngest is at this stage now, and he will try the words, but makes a huge effort to watch my mouth and copy the shapes and sounds. My oldest would make sentences but you had to skip the babble to make sense. ex: "Blab baabbl I ukkky want mmmaallb a ibble cookie." It was fun to watch people try to interpret!
Hang in there - someday you will be asking her to stop talking so you can hear yourself think!!

I am very busy, and was just going to delete this mamsource email, until I read yours. I don't have time to read all the other responses, and maybe I won't be as sentitive as I should be. That said, PLEASE treat this warning sign from your child very seriously and quickly. Tell your pediatrician and ask for an evaluation of your child and speach therapy.

The earlier the intervention, the better off you will be. No matter what your daughter has. For your daughter's sake and yours, be her best advocate by being agressive in figuring out why this is happening and open to what the professionals tell you.

I wish you the best of luck!

Yes, B. this is quite normal. She will pick up right where she left off when she decides to. I have 4 sons who are grown now, but believe me I have just about seen it all. Don't worry, just give her time. L. P.

I am reading some of these responses, and I wonder to myself if I am not concerned enough about my own child. My little girl with 1 this Saturday! She has a serious metabolic disorder(she diagnosed on the newborn screening) which can cause all sorts of motor skills problems, speech delay, organ failure, etc. So speech problem is something I am paranoid about and I am closely watching. So when I read these responses, don't get scared. It sounds like you just want to know if its "normal". And I think what you are describing is normal. My girl has done the exact same thing you are describing about your daughter. About 6 weeks ago she started saying lots of words. I felt like I was really beginning to communicating with her! Now the last 2 weeks, its like the words all went away. "Concern" did cross my mind, but then I started thinking about "her world". She's walking now with lots of exploring. She wants to see new stuff...not talk to mommy. She is on the go! For a few days she got obsessed with words "cat" and "ga" all the time and wouldn't say anything else. I have no idea what "ga" is, but she points when ever she says it. And then yesterday some of her old words all came back at once. I wouldn't worry about it, personally. However, its always good to bring this up with the peditrician. And no, my child has not had her shots yet, so I don't think its an allergic reaction or anything. Hope this makes you feel better!

I would say something to the pediatrician, but if she is still babbling she is probably focasing on other skills and babbling is a part of learning. My son had a regression at that age and was not babbling at all nor was he following commands. He was in his own little world. My second daughter was totaly diffrent and she would babble all day. It's a lovely thing to hear when you missed it with the first child. My son has never babbled and he is at a 21 month old language level ,he is 3 years old, but intellectually he is very high. My son is in the process of getting diagnosed he has lots of autism red flags in communication and behavior but socially he only has a few red flags. I wish you the best.

Please do not ignore this potential sign of autism. Hopefully it is nothing as other responses have said, but why not confirm that and know.

Take care!

Hey B.!
It is so great that she is still following commands and has retained her receptive language skills. Is she doing anything new with respect to her gross motor development, like walking, jumping etc? I am a pediatric speech therapist and note that a lot of children seem to put some areas of development on the "back-burner" when they are focusing on a specific new area. This happens a lot when children are learning to walk. It is not that they have "lost" the words they knew previously, but it is almost as if they need all their energy for that one specific area. One of the other responses mentioned autism. It is true that one of the markers for autism it that the child had a some language but mysteriously lost it. The only thing is that your daughter has retained an amazing amount of receptive language (understanding and ability to follow commands and identify items.) I have a link to an autism checklist at my website that you are welcome to check out if you would like to put your mind at ease. You can also speak with your pediatrician if this continues. Good luck and feel free to ask if you have any other questions!
J. M.
www.jennifermcveyslp.com

Hi B.,
This may be the stupidist responce ever given. It's just that last Friday night on 48 Hour Medical Mystery was a topic on "selective muteism". Seems small children stop talking. This probably isn't it, but it amazed me to see 4 and 5 year olds that wouldn't speak. Fear and saddness totally blocked them from talking. Not at home though, they were typical little kids at there, but in public or in preschool they stopped speaking. Thought I'd tell you about it, but most probably it isn't what's happening. Never had I heard of this phenonomon. Have you? How long has she been doing this? The bottom line in this was to get the children to make "sounds"...like sippy cup sounds etc. Not to force them but instead make a game of it. Good luck, and talk with you pediatrician about it for good measure.

B., I have custody of my nephew and he is sortof like the same way. When he first came he said bee and bay that was it. I make him at least try to say the word before i give him whatever it is he asks for or he don't get it. Sounds like she has regressed some.You will have to figure out why,what has been going on in her life,someone new on the seen? animal,person? Just give her time she will come around.

This is very normal, just keep encouraging her and talking with her, try and not talk baby talk because sometimes thats how they will say it. Good luck Let me know if you have anymore questions. Pediatric nurse. J.

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