50 answers

18 Month Old Barely Talking

Hello - I have a beautiful 18month old daughter who is barely talking. She does say 3-5 words, but only Daddy and I can understand what she is saying. She doesn't pronounce the word clearly at all. She understands and takes direction very well and communicates with us very clearly without words or with little speech. Our pediatrician wants us to put her in speech therapy right away. We also have a 3 yr old. We are wondering if this isn't just more she's just learning at her own pace. I don't mean to be naive - but feel she is making strides and think the therapy thing is a little of an over reaction . . .maybe I'm just in denial. ANYONE WITH DEAL WITH ANYTHING SIMILIAR? ANY ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED! Also, we love our peditrician - this is the first thing we haven't agreed with him on.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My 3rd child (my first son) was the same. I had to interpret what he'd say or even my daughter's did. But no one else could understand him. The ped wasn't concerned. It wasn't until he went to the 3 yr old screening for kindergarten that a speech therapist was the only one who could even get him to talk as he clammed up once the first lady couldn't understand him (and I was kept out of the room). She recommended having him evaluated for speech therapy through the school. We did that and he was found to need it. We allowed it and he is almost perfect in his speech now. This is to be his last year (he's done it for 4 yrs now) and he doesn't want to end it. But it DID help and now he fits in better with his classmates. You daughter may outgrow it, but then again if you can get her to get her speech done earlier it may be helpful for her for fitting in at school reasons later. Good luck!

Mommy to 5

I would give it more time before testing. My daughter, who is now 4, was the same way, at 18 months she didn't say much, she also was not around a lot of other kids. She started at a new sitter at 19 months where there were a lot more kids and she just picked up the talking and now is a jabber jaw!! I was worried for a bit because I had a friend who's son talked sooner but by 2, she was just normal. And, my pediatrician said she was ok at 18 months with how little she was saying. Don't worry just yet.

I would maybe have her tested. I know that each kid learns to speak on their own accord. If everything comes out "normal" you can go back to the doctor and say now what.

More Answers

Your daughter is probaly fine. Does her older brother talk for her? I know alot of people have problems were the older siblings kinda just does everything and talk for the younger child.

My daughter did sign language at daycare which really got the wheels rolling to communicate and I believe it helped her talk quicker and faster.

If your pediatrician wants speach therapy do it. It can't hurt! The sooner you tackle problems like that the more likely you can stop treatments.

My daughter had to go to physical therapy for motor skill delayment she was clumbsy, fell down alot and stuff like that I took her for only 6mos. and she's perfect now and it's done in the past we don't have to worry or think about it anymore.Insurance covered it, it brought my daughter's self confidence and self esteem way up.

My son was just in for his 2 year check up and we go to PYAM. Dr. fishman there said that its not on common. we expressed some concern as well and his exact words were " He just turned two....give it some time" He said if he doesn't talk by the time he's 3 then we'll look into it further. My doctor and others have told me that one day it'll just "click"!

Hi S.,

I know the advice you've received has run the gammut, but I just wanted to say that I think you should go with your instincts. You know Ryleigh the best, not even your pediatrician knows her as well as you do so if you think she is making headway with her speech, then that's great. She's learning at her own pace. We all compare our children to others their age at some point and if they're not in the "normal" range, we get concerned. Most catch up when they're older so no one can tell who was early at talking or walking or potty training, etc. Ryleigh is still so young and is learning so much that I don't think you should be worrying about her speech right now, it's too early. I would wait until after she's two at least and see how she's progressing and if you're concerned at all it doesn't hurt to take her to a speech therapist. Just do what you think is right.

Good luck!


No worries, by youngest barely talked before her fourth birthday. Now I cannot shut her off! I suggest going to her next checkup and having them check her ears to make sure she is hearing well, then just enjoy the silence for now.

I wouldn't worry about it because alot of kids start off not hardly talking & then hen they do, you WISHED they would just (SHUT-UP) already! LOL!!!! But if she don't grow out of it then they are places to help your child in that area. But I wouldn't worry to much about it. before you know it she will be older & she will but so good in talking she might end up with a job where she gives out speeches in conferences some where in different cities or stateso one day for a job & then you will look back and say to yourself that you was worry for nothin when she was younger. She will be alright. My motto is just pray about it. Prayer WORKS!!! Trust me!:)

I would follow the advice of your pediatrician. Likely it's a case of learning at her own pace, but he/she may be seeing something which those of us on a board may not. Better to get help if it's needed then to wait. My experience with this is personal and observational. My neighbor went through the schools for testing and early childhood education -- it was free! Not sure when that starts though, seems he was 2. That child was born 3 months early and has had some real struggles getting "caught up" with help he speaks clearly and has a "normal" vocabulary for a 5 year old -- truly amazing progress, he did not speak until 3 1/2. Seems to me he had the tools in place when he started. Another friends daughter is in K4, her speach has been hindered by lots of sinus issues -- only mom can understand her well (a bit of a problem at school) and they've just now started to get help. My daughter developed a bit late, we went the route of ear tubes (twice) and an adenoidectomy and I am complimented constantly on her clear speaking --in two languages. She is 4. If there's a reason for the speach delay, better to correct it early -- language development is highest before 11 -- this is a critical time. All three children understood speach and are bright. In time they may all be at the same level, but the two with help are miles ahead, and receiving appropriate help early is the only reason why.

We have children the same age and with our second started to wonder the same thing... will he ever talk?? He is now approaching his second birthday and the words are all of sudden coming.
I have several friends that are speech therapist who told us wait it out. If by the time they are not 3 and talking, then there maybe a concern.
I do have a cousin who did not talk until he was 5, and was in therapy and still would not talk. He went to school and one day got mad at the teacher and told her "be quiet you drive me crazy." Just shows that when they want to talk... they will!!
Hang in there!! You are the parent and know your child the best, keep that in mind.

S. --
I don't personally have experience with this, but a lifelong family friend was a slow talker... he has an older sister who did all the talking for him, lol. Anyways he ended up being a linguist with the military! So while it took him a while, he does just fine now. I hope this helps reassure you that it isn't always a big deal. As for whether or not to see a therapist, I guess I'd see what the therapist wants to do with your daughter before ruling it out. Good luck!

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