17 answers

22 Month Old Does Not Talk

My 22 month old son barely says anything. When he does say something like BYE it does not sound like bye we just know he is saying bye because he says everytime we tell him to say bye bye. Nothing is clear and he still jibbers A LOT. I have read to him everyday since he was born, talked to him all the time, point things out and tell him what they are etc....He knows what we are saying which is why it confuses me why he is unable to speak. We can say get the ball or kiss your brother etc...and he does. Should we be worried? I am very much so. My husband is not.

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I got my son tested when he was 18 months because he only said about 4-5 words. They said he was okay and to not speak for him and everytime I offered him anything say the word to him. Honestly, he didn't start to really speak until he was with other children where he HAD to speak and afterward he still didn't speak a lot and clear until he was about 2 1/2 to 3 years old. Whenever he whined I always told him to say his words becuase I don't understand what he is saying. I'm actually going to get him tested again, because he has started to studder a little bit (I tell him to slow down and that he has my FULL attention and not to feel rushed). We have a family history of speech problems in my family.Sorry I strayed. If you feel he is not on track get him tested, better safe than sorry. Good luck!!

SAHM mom of a 3 year old boy and a 11 month old girl.

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I also would recommend getting your son tested now! I knew that something was not right with my son's speech at age two and our pediatrician even gave us a referral for speech that I did not follow through with. The only reason that I did not follow through with it was because of my husband. He did not feel that there was anything wrong with our son because my husband and father-in-law were late talkers, yada, yada, yada. Anyway, after our second referral from our pediatrician at my son's three year check up, I went ahead and pursued it and my son qualified for developmental preschool. This last year he was in regular preschool and pulled once a week for speech. He is so much more outgoing and personable now that he is able to communicate with his peers and adults. They said that he is meeting and exceeding all of his goals and that he will be in speech through kindergarten, but after that he should be speaking fine since he is doing so well now.

To make a long story short, it is better to get him tested earlier than later. It doesn't hurt to find out and your husband, like mine, will eventually accept that your son just needs a little extra help. My son was and is very stubborn and also understoond EVERYTHING we said, he just chose not to speak. Now that we know his personaltiy a little better he is a real jokester and loves to pull our legs. He actually 'pretends' like he doesn't hear us and then give a little crooked grin when you say it five times. What fun this is. I don't know if this was the reason for his delayed speech, but at any rate we got help and have never regretted it! Good luck and let me know if you need information on who to contact to get your son evaluated.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

I would have your son evaluated. He would benefit greatly from speech therapy. I wish I had my son evaluated sooner. He did not speak until he was almost 3 and I had him evaluated at 3 and a half. He started developmental preschool shortly after he turned 4. He has made such dramatic improvement. His behavior has gotten tremendously better. He was very frustrated that he could not communicate and would act out. You have a unique chance to help your son before it really becomes a problem. Good for you for catching it early! Good luck!


P.S. Send me a note privately if you would like to talk about the evaluation process or how to get started.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S. -

I would definately talk to the ped at his 2 yr well check just so they know what is going on. My daughter was the same way - maybe 10 words at her 2 yr well check but all simple and mainly only ones we knew what they were so I'm not sure they counted. She started really talking at about 27 months. Some words still don't sound right and she tends to add and drop letters from words. We had her hearing checked and everything came back normal so we know that she is still just learning. I practice words with her (for example she says Aria instead of Maria) so we go over and over it until she says it right. You could do the same, like when he says "bye" practice it with him doing exagerated phonics b-ie and then going over and over the word to see if that helps.

I think it's ok to be concerned, but take comfort in that hes not yet 2 and every child is different for when they begin to talk. Good Luck!

Hi S.,
My 4 y/o was the same at that age, and I took him to an ENT and they tested his hearing and found he had fluid behind his eardrum which was preventing him from hearing. He did not have an ear infection, and had only one ear infection when he was 10 mos old. I had no idea he couldn't hear well! He has tubes now and I also contacted AZEIP and got him in that program -speech therapy and then Project Able at 3 y/o. He's still catching up, but I don't know what he'd be like now if he hadn't gotten help at age 2. Don't wait. Get every possible help now and good luck!

I am going through the exact same thing. My son will be 2 in August and doesn't say even one word. He too, understands us. If we're looking at a book(his FAVORITE thing to do!)when we ask him to point to certain things he does. He loves pointing to things! When he needs something he will take us by the hand and show us whatever he needs. I have a wonderful pediatrician who had us get his hearing checked at his 18 month check up. So, we've done that and it was fine. Not his hearing. We now are starting Speech Therapy. So far, we've only gone for the speech evaluation. Which, by the way, was hard on me. No one wants to hear that their 22 month old beautiful little boy has the speaking ability of a 3-6 month old. However the therapist was awesome and had him doing some new things just by the end of the evaluation. So, we are now going to start him with the therapy as soon as we get the insurance all straightend out. That's another thing, a lot of insurances do not cover speech therapy. We are very blessed to have one that does. In addition to the therapy, we are also doing an Early Intervention program which is run through the state. Since it is through them with grant money, it is free. In that situation someone will be coming to our home to work with him here. Since it's free, it will take a little longer to get him started with it because there's a lot of children using this resource, but at least it's there!! I am just so thankful that there are resources out there to help us.
It's been so frustrating not having him talk. He is the most loving, funny, beautiful little boy ever(I know I'm his mom so I'm probably prejudice but that's my right as his mom!:)
My daughter spoke very early and is actually very advanced for her age so this has been doubly hard seeing the vast contrast in my children. It's hard also not knowing why he isn't talking. His hearing is fine, there's no autism (thank heavens), he is so smart in everything else he does. It's just one of life's little mysteries.
Anyway, I've gone on long enough. I would definitely start out by having your pediatrician refer you to get his hearing tested then move forward from there. From what I've learned, the earlier you start to get him some help, the better off he will be. Oh, I should mention also that both his hearing test and now his speech therapy were done at Tucson Medical Center and I couldn't be happier with their therapists! Very friendly, very competent, very punctual.
If you ever want to talk or just vent feel free to contact me sometime.

Best of luck for both of us!

-M. L.

My sister's son is now 4 and he still doesn't talk. We all noticed that he never talked and the doctor checked everything and nothing was wrong. They didn't start speech therapy until he was three. He goes to speech therapy once a week and goes to a special school. They still don't know what the problem is but he is the sweetest, smartest, most adorable child on the planet (and I have four adorable ones myself..LOL) Therapy is slow but he is improving. He is learning to talk slowly but surely. Keep your doc informed and if nothing is wrong physically, they will most likely recommend something down the road. You can also try practicing with him. Reading is excellent. My daughter had trouble saying her r's really bad and I was told to get her therapy. I just practiced with her a little every day and she got over it herself with no therapy. When I was little I went to speech therapy because I had a lisp. All they did was practice with me saying my s's. So a little practice (not too much or overwhelming) and patience may help. Also, I have 4 kids and I found that at least one at one time was slower at something that worried me. One wet the bed until age 13, one potty trained at 4, one sucked her thumb until 8, one couldn't read until 9, but all in all, they all over came the problem eventually. Love, patience and acceptance of the child goes a long way no matter what their development is. You're a good mom! Way to go! Good luck!

I always say if you feel something my be wrong with your child get them tested. A major mistake I make with one of my sons (who will be 5 in July) is talking for him. We were in the same position as you are, he didn't speak clear at all & I found that with work on pronouncing his words right then as he tried to say them really helped, and he became more comfortable talking. Most important advise I can give to you is not to speak for him because that was my mistake. He will become or is probably aware his is not saying his words correct, just ASURE him its ok & he is doing a good job! Just remember SUPPORT & PRACTICE!!!!!

We had a similar concern with our son. And our pediatrician had a good rule. 18 WORDS BY 18 MONTHS. If your child doesn't know 18 words by 18 months old- then is the time to be concerned.

Luckily our son made it in time. But we took him to a speech therapist who tested him and reported that he was right on track.

But its' a good rule to remember. Also, something to think about is sometimes boys just don't talk as much as girls, and if it's a second or third child...they may not feel the need to talk because they have siblings to do it for them.
Hope this helps.


I got my son tested when he was 18 months because he only said about 4-5 words. They said he was okay and to not speak for him and everytime I offered him anything say the word to him. Honestly, he didn't start to really speak until he was with other children where he HAD to speak and afterward he still didn't speak a lot and clear until he was about 2 1/2 to 3 years old. Whenever he whined I always told him to say his words becuase I don't understand what he is saying. I'm actually going to get him tested again, because he has started to studder a little bit (I tell him to slow down and that he has my FULL attention and not to feel rushed). We have a family history of speech problems in my family.Sorry I strayed. If you feel he is not on track get him tested, better safe than sorry. Good luck!!

SAHM mom of a 3 year old boy and a 11 month old girl.

S., I would not worry about your son, since he responds and understands. I'm a grandma who had early-speaking kids (3), where 2 out of 3 were super-early and I learned the other just processed things differently but was bright in other ways. Then I wondered about my grandson who is now 7 1/2. He, too, seemed to understand, but did not speak, just like your son (this seems to happen more in boys). Fortunately, his parents did not act concerned or pressure him, although his mom taught him sign language that he used fluently at a really young age. That was fun to see. Now, he is extremely normal and caught up with his vocabulary long ago. In fact, he is super-bright and almost can't stop talking, he is so interested in everything. I think, like your son, he was just storing it up inside...

my sister's daughter just entered speech therapy - she will turn 4 in September - both my sister and niece are benefiting because the are both being educated - my sis about how and why she hasn't spoken well and my niece is receiving appropriate assistance in learning how to speak - a lot of it has to do with them being able to hear themselves - especially if they can hear and understand you - it may be good to look into this for your situation - good luck

Have you tried teaching him any sign language? It can help him get the ball rolling on expressing his thoughts and studies have shown that giving this outlet does NOT hinder speech. It's not a replacement for getting him help with his speech but it can help him feel more confident in himself and his abilities, and can prevent tantrums and the like, because he will be able to communicate better with you! The books Baby Signs or Teach Your Baby Sign Language can get you started. The latter also has a dvd so you can learn what you need to know in a jiffy. Good luck to you and your son!

Hello S.,

If you are concerned in any way about your child's development, talk to the Arizona Early Intervention Program. They will come out and evaluate him to see if he needs speech therapy. It is good to find out now and not go through the hitting, kicking, and biting because he can't seem to communicate what he wants to you or others around him. I will give you their site online here and you can go through their referral page to tell them about what is going on and why you are concerned. They will then contact you and do the evaluation and let you know what he needs if anything at this time. https://www.azdes.gov/AzEIP/icc.asp
Hope this helps


Hi S.,

We are having a similar situation with our 23 month old, but we he has had a lot of ear infections and fluid in his ears. The ENT doctor says the constant fluid in his ears is interferring with his speech development and so he is scheduled to get tubes put in his ears on July 1. He said it would be the same as us putting our fingers in our ears and talking, that is how my son hears. You may want to take your son in and just have his ears checked out. Hope this helps!

This may want to be something you want to talk to your pediatrician about. My 3 year old son was having a difficult time at daycare because he wasn't speaking and we waited until just last month to get his hearing checked and found that his ear drums are not functioning properly. From exeperience you son may just be reacting more to actions but not correctly hearing what is being said to him. I don't want to alarm you but I put off getting my son checked because I just felt he would talk in his own time. Now I am hoping that it is not to late to correct this problem.

Hi S.
My son turned 2 in March and he is also a little slow in his verbal skills. Have you had his hearing checked? I had mentioned this to our pediatrician at my son's 2 year check and as it turned out, he had significant hearing loss due to several ear infections and fluid packed behind his eardrums. He ended up with tubes and it has helped alot. Call your pediatrician or find an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor...they do more advanced hearing tests. We used Valley ENT...Dr. Don Burgio. Not much of a bedside manner, but very good at what he does. Good luck!

Hi S.

My daughter had a speech delay when she was 2, she is 3 now and is talking up a storm. You can self refer you child to the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AZEIP). If look here https://www.azdes.gov/AzEIP/ you will find a link for referring a child online.

My daughter went through the AzEIP program....she had weekly speech therapy as well as a developmental specialist. They both came to see my daughter either at home or daycare whatever was handier for me. The service is free. They also did a hearing check with my daughter to ensure she was hearing us, as part of the evaluation process.

They were wonderful and really supported my daughter and our family,as well as offering us really wonderful suggestions for things we could do at home to help my daughter progress with her language.

It might be worthwhile to have your son checked out by them......if he doesn't qualify for services through the program (children have to have a 50% delay inorder to qualify) then they will give you suggestions on things to work on at home.

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