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Does My Child Need Early Intervention Evaluation?

I have a 13 month old boy who can point to several objects we name like light, door, window, mama, dada, grandparents and body parts including head, ear, nose, mouth, belly. Clearly the cognitive skills are there but he is not yet spoken his first word. He mumbles "buuu buuu buuu" for blueberries, "baaa" for banana, "dah" for down and "tha" for that. He bables mama and dada but it is still indiscriminate.

At his 12 month checkup, his pediatrician said he should say mama and dada deliberately by 13 months or I should call her. I spoke to her yesterday and she seemed satisfied that he can point, communicate his needs, understand simple directions ("go get a book and sit on mommy's lap") and most importantly he consistently uses the same babble for certain things. HOWEVER, my mother is constantly on my case. To be fair, she is an educator and has a speech degree but it's hard for me to accept her alarmist negative comments that my son is delayed b/c she said he would be delayed the moment I announced I was hiring a nanny and returning to work. So, I'm trying to get some perspective. Am I being defensive and should I listen to my mom who is trying to help...or is she overreacting b/c she is, by nature, an alarmist and therefore no need to set up EI speech evaluations until my MD suggests I do. I feel like he is on par with kids his age and agree that his expressive language needs a bit of work...or time, which one? No harm in getting an evaluation but is this necessary?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hey KF- I wouldn't worry about it now, he's not really behind and the other thing is you have to have a 33% delay to qualify for services, so at this point they may give suggestions. Hope this helps.

Hi K F,

I son is 16 months now, and is just starting to pick up a few words here and there. (not clearly by no means) Everyone developes at there own pace. I would give it a few more months. Good Luck! :)

There are already a lot of responses here. But I wouldn't worry at this point. My son pointed to everything at 13 months and said "dadada". I questioned the pediatrician at his 12 month and again at his 15month because he hadn't progressed at all from doing that. The doctor said he wouldn't be worried until he was 2 and then look at his speech then. Low and behold just this month, he is now 17 months, he has started saying many words. Just remember that every child is different and will learn at their own pace. I would wait until he is at least 2 and then see where he is at that point. Good luck!

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relax, ignore your mom, enjoy your baby. Babies do things at different ages, but by the time they are 3 or 4 they have evened out. Early talkers are no more verbal at 4 than late talkers, as a rule. Personally I think 13 months is way too early to worry about speech, and if you make an issue out of it you might cause a problem.
PS I was a foster mom for years, so saw all kinds of babies. if you want to read my book search Amazon for 97 Pictures of Kids on My Wall.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is 26 months and I stay home with him. (Not a judgment - just saying it doesn't matter as far as speech if you are home or not.)

At 13 months he was about where your son is. At his 18 month check-up he had 12 words which was the bare minimum he should have for his age, and "mama" was not one of them (it broke my heart). At 22-1/2 months he still wasn't saying mama, but he had about 75 words. But he couldn't put 2 words together, except "all done". By his 24 month check-up he had over 100 words and was putting 2 words together consistently, saying "mama" all the time. Now, at 26 months, he is putting 5 words together and saying anything you say back to you.

At 18 months and 22-1/2 months I was convinced he would need speech therapy. And then he just started talking away.

So, yes I think it is too early to start worrying because I just went through it and came out the other side just fine. He just said "Mama all done puter. Go!" because he wants me to play with him so I have to cut this off.

Other hand - EI eval might not hurt, they would probably say he's fine and get Mom off your back. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

There are already a lot of responses here. But I wouldn't worry at this point. My son pointed to everything at 13 months and said "dadada". I questioned the pediatrician at his 12 month and again at his 15month because he hadn't progressed at all from doing that. The doctor said he wouldn't be worried until he was 2 and then look at his speech then. Low and behold just this month, he is now 17 months, he has started saying many words. Just remember that every child is different and will learn at their own pace. I would wait until he is at least 2 and then see where he is at that point. Good luck!

I am sure your mom is trying but you need to go by what you think. I don't know if it's too early or not. My oldest so was talking really good at 1 year old by the time was 2 1/2 yrs old, his speech was going down and they thought perhaps because of walking so early at 10 1/2 months old. So, Try to stick do some fun songs with him, itsy bitsy spider ie. I am hearing impaired and at least he is able to say something. I was still not talking by age 3 and finally got speech therapy at 3 1/2 years old. I still wasn't saying anything just pointing to things I wanted to eat or drink and so forth. Trying to get something across with body movements. At the same time, he may be slower with speech which does not mean he is speech delayed amd meed evaluation. If it makes you feel better, get him evaluated and see if he needs speech therapy and they'll come to your house anyways or you can continue to work with him on that. Let us know and I'll pray for you for Wisdom from Jesus and that you'll receive His Wisdom when you ask for it.

Hi KF,

I am a speech pathologist and work with children from birth-3 years. From what you have described, it sounds like your son is recognizing many household words, pointing, and communicating with you. If "buu buu buu" is consistently used only to stand for blueberries then that is a word for him. If he consistenly says the same thing for blueberries, banana, down and that, then he has at least 4 words, which would be typical for a child his age.

I understand the difficulty with having a mom who is voicing her opinion. I am sure she only means well but you should trust your feelings since you know your child the best. About the second half of a child's second year (around 18-20 months) they have a "vocabulary explosion" where they suddenly are saying new words faster than before until they have over 50 words at 2 years of age and are putting two words together.

If a child still only has a few words at that point, I would suggest they be evaluated.

If you are concerned you can always call your birth-3 provider in the state. Your pediatrician can give you that number. I know in our state the evaluation is free so there is nothing lost in getting that information for peace of mind.

On my website, www.playonwords.com, I have lots of suggestions for getting toddlers to talk and fun play ideas, toys and books to stimulate language. You might be interested in my article on determining a toddler's first words:http://www.playonwords.com/blog/2008/01/09/learning-langu...

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.

Best regards,

S. Artemenko

I say go for the eval...if he needs help he gets it, if not all is well...a win/win in my book. Another thought(I've had 2 go through speech)change the way you and his other caregivers speak to him...you are giving him a way out by pointing...ask questions that can't be answered by a nod of the head or a finger point...for example..."do you want milk or juice?"(not do you want juice) ask before you open the fridge so he can't point...start with manners"say please, thank you, your welcome...." it won't sound correct, nor does it need too...it's the sound your after not the pronouncation...it takes time to retrain ourselves and it's hard to wait for the words because odds are you as mommy already know what he wants...but wait for the sounds and slow down and be patient, it will come.

If his hearing is ok, I would wait a little before getting an evaluation. It sounds like he's a bright, alert child who is just taking his time learning to speak. And that's completely ok, as long as he eventually figures it out!

You may be surprised. He could very well be one of those kids who starts speaking at a more advanced level- just a bit later than the ones who babble "mama" and "ba-ba" by a year old.

I have 13 month old fraternal twins, which is a fascinating study in child development. One has a vocabulary of several clear words- she says, up down, hungry, milk, socks, etc. But she doesn't stand on her own or walk at all. The other runs - and she runs fast, but all she does is point at objects and say "tat." She does not say dada or mama, but she can communicate her needs and follow directions, just like you siad your son does. I think that all kids develop differently and in their own time. Unless there is something glaring, I would give him time to get his words out.

Perhaps you may want to have an evaluation simply to put your mind at ease. We had my son evaluated at 14 months b/c he was not interested in talking, however, he was very motor-driven and walked early, climbed, etc. Evaluation did not reveal anything b/c he was "too young". When he was ready (around 20 months!) he really began speaking. Maybe since he was our first, he felt comfortable letting us do and say everything for him. What I found helpful with our second child was using Infant and Toddler Sign Language. It boosts their vocabulary while they are still pre-verbal (cannot form the words they want to say). There are several professional sign language instructors (in our area) and one is a freind of mine. I hope this helps!


My son did not speak the amount of words that is said to be a standard. He would point and make sounds and became very frustrated when I could not understand him. He is now 3 and still has trouble with his words.
I definitly recommend to have him seen by Early Intervention. It cannot hurt, and I have to say I went and had my son evaluated by Early Intervention at the urging of his pediatrician. They have worked with him at my home and at his day care. Thay have showed me methods of bringing out words from him. Dont get nervous about it, it was a blessing for us. I also brought him to a Ear/Nose and throat specialist to make sure that he was hearing correctly and that he was not tongue tied.
The conclusion is that they are babies and all babies learn at different levels. I chose the speech therapist from Early Intervention and it worked for us.. or it could be that he just started to talk when he was ready..

Hi KF-
Maybe you should have your son evaluated. It will put your mind at ease if he does not need early intervention, and if he does need speech it's better to find out early.
As far as your pediatrician, speech is not their field of expertise. My pediatrician did not think my son needed speech, but I had him evaluated anyway. He's had speech therapy for almost a year and it has made a significant difference.
Hope this helps.

Having your child evaluated does no harm to him, it will shut your mom up and you will know where the baby stands on development. It never hurts to check and if it comes back that your son has a delay, the earlier you start therapy the better.

I would do it just to shut my mother up, but if your mom is anything like mine, even if you get your son evaluated, she will be on to the next thing to gripe about soon enough. So do it for your son and for yourself, forget about mom (easier said than done I know) and try to brush off her negativity.

"Mama knows best." If you think he's okay, in all likelihood he is. Keep an eye on it, be sure to read to him 15 minutes a day and let him hear clear English spoken. I'm not sure if you already have a nanny or are contemplating hiring one. Is English her first language?

There's a product put out by Discovery Toys called "Sounds Like Fun" which is a CD that has songs of the alphabet and counting, opposites, manners, months of the year and more. Many speech therapists use it. I highly recommend it. You can find it at http://www.toysofdiscovery.com

There is ABSOLUTELY NO reason to get him evaluated at this young age. He is perfectly normal. Most kids, especially boys I hear, don't talk at 13 months. Tell your mom you love her but she should get off your case and just enjoy her grandson and let you enjoy your son.

I would wait and see. All children have their own schedule and it seems a little early to assume he is delayed. He is communicating his needs and one day it will just pop into place. Try to develop at his own pace without worrying too much about what he is "supposed" to be doing at this age. My son seem to focus on his physical development and has recently begun to blossom with his speech. He was clearly communicating his needs so I did not worry. Now he has about 50 words at 18 months.

Just try to enjoy your son which I know can be hard if your mom is pressuring you into worrying about him.

In my opinion, your son is way too young to be alarmed yet. I am a special educator, so I was really watching my first born judging every skill at every age (okay, I am still doing it!) He only had a handful of words when he turned 2 (not one...your mother is way off there in my opinion!) and at 2 1/2 I had him evaluated for speech services. They said that even though he did not have a lot of words and had a lot of repetetive mistakes, that it was all completely normal for his age. At 3 1/2 if he was still having issues I could have him reevaluated. He is not (though he still does not speak very clearly he has hundreds if not thousands of words now). The reason I had my son evaluated was that I did not want my kid to be the one that had to be pulled out of kindergarted to get services when I could address them much earlier and get them taken care of before he developed even worse patterns. The speech therapist told me that kids develop at such different rates that until they are preschool age (3-4) you really cannot tell if they are going to have issues when they are school age - and even then they may still adjust in the next year or two.

I would let your mother know that you have taken her concerns seriously and you could even call your local school and see who the preschool uses for speech services so you could consult over the phone if that would help ease her concerns. good luck!

I think you can give it some more work and time and if you see little progress by 18 months do an evaluation then - you can contact the birth to three program if you live in CT. They are great.

Does your nanny speak English to your son and does she speak it well? My friend had a similar issue with her daughter who is now 19 months. She realized her babysitter, who babysits 4 days a week, was speaking spanish to her daughter the whole time and on top of it her English is not good. My friend made a point of spending more time at home working on "speech" development and it has paid off. Her daughter is saying more words and seems less frustrated. Maybe you could talk to your nanny about your concerns and she can help you work on the speech development. If she has a thick accent and/or does not speak English well you are going to have a challenge.

Hi -
I waited until my son was two and not putting two words together to get an evaluation through early intervention. I kinda wished someone had noticed earlier and told me to seek help. It sounds as if your son is more advanced, so I would say its a judgement call, trust your gut. I have a mom who is totally opposite of your mom, and doesn't believe in any of the services my son gets. So I know what its like to struggle with the mom issue, whatever direction it may be. If it were me, only because my son needed services and still gets them at age 4, I would get the evaluation. It will help the strained relationship with your mom, it will make you feel better, and it address whatever needs your son may or may not have. The speech therapy only helped my son's vocabulary. I honestly don't think it can hurt. I hope this helps. Good luck!

this whole thing is a non issue-your child's development should not be a source of anxiety for you. If the pediatrician is concerned, then, logic dictates, you take things a step further. Usually, I suggest that a full physical, including hearing, vision, and neurological exams be scheduled to rule out any disorders. An evaluation for early intervention may allay everyone's concerns as well as providing additional support to you and your family. It's a resource that is free and available. The thought of taking advantage of that shouldn't generate dissention between you and your mom. The fact is that you both want the best for the baby-she sees speech as a need because it's her field of expertise. Someone with a background in deaf and hard of hearing might see it as a possible hearing disorder. An evaluation doesn't hurt-the results whatever they are, are intended to provide for additional support.

My 17 month old daughter says a lot of "words", which aren't really whole words. Our Ped. never once has suggested that she be evaluated. I feel that she is consistant with the other kids in her room at daycare.

You mentioned that you are a first time mom and have a nanny. Is your child exposed to other children at all? I did notice that when my son (now 3) was first put into daycare, he picked up so many new things, words, actions, etc. I think part of how they learn is mimicking what other kids do. If your child isn't exposed to any of that, it may take him a little longer. I don't think it is anything to be worried about, especially since he consistantly uses the same "word" for things each time.

The next time you see your ped, I would ask if he thinks its necessary. If not, tell you mom that the dr doesn't think your child needs it and is right on track. She may just be using her skills too much!

I wouldn't worry to much yet. My daughter only said about 10 words by the time she was 18 months but she has a high comprehension level and could follow complex directions ie, got get the toy and put it away and then get something else. She just communicated by pointing or as few words as possible. By the time she turned 2 she was starting to take off on her speach. She just started using sentences. Now she is 27 months and you would never know that she was a slow started for talking. She uses sentences that have 4 or 5 words in them but she is still on the quiet side. She just doesn't like to talk much but when she wants something she will tell you what it is. I would wait a little before you get an evaluation. Some kids just start talking later than others. Take care and good luck to you.


My mother is an alarmist and an over achiever. If she had it her way my kids would have all been walking and talking by 6 months old. I think that you should go with your doctor 100%. If she feels your son is progressing at the right times then I would listen. If you still would like to know you can call and set up, but at 13 months the speech therapist will tell you that he is where he needs to be. Go with what you feel, you are the one who knows what is best for your baby. I know how hard it is to go against a parents advice, but I get overly defensive too when someone tells me there is something wrong with my child and I have stood up to my mother and told her I was taking care of it. I wish you the best of luck. Just remember to do what yuo feel comfortable doing. (O;

it sounds as if it may be possible for him to qualify for speech/early int. I would suggest waiting till 15 months for 2 reasons. Sometimes (which happened to me with me 2nd) it just clicks. I called early intervention a few days after she turned 15 months becasue I was very worried ( I am also a teacher by trade SAHM now) afer the scheduled the appt. with me to start this and1st step happened she started to name everything. Now she is almost and I can't keep her quiet. I know this is not the case, but my 2nd reason is that he is a boy? My 1st son I never even thought there was an issue, but most people asked me. He didn't talk "a lot" till well into his 2's. I could have called now that I look back but I figured the 1st child I did everything for him. He never wanted for anything and he was (still is a) bit shy. I am not saying don't call you can even call and cancel if you think he is improving. The process does take a few months. I just think that every baby is different and they change so much day by day you never know. Good luck

Your mom should know better! I had a son who did not even say mama or da, just lots of babbling. When he was 18 mo. he said his first word ---I'm hungry. I want a sammich----clear as day. And he spoke just fine after that. You couldn't shut him up. He is an ivy league school grad now and doing very well, thank you very much. All children develop at their own pace and do it THEIR way. Your son sounds fine and your mom is acting like an over-anxious gramma, not the professional woman who presents herself in the work world. Listen to your instincts and remember youre the mom now.

Sometimes a dr. will downplay what the parent (especially 1st timers) says but ultimately, as the parent you know your child best. If you believe nothing is wrong, then politely let your mom know that you are pleased with his progression thus far and do not feel a need to stress over it. However, if you feel he is behind in his skills to others his age, then get him checked out and let his ped. know you want him evaluated. No harm, no foul.
DO keep the following in mind...the range given by any dr. is just that ~ a RANGE ~ meaning children will progress at their own pace and you should not force anything upon them. While you do know what is best for them, they know what they are ready for and if they're not ready, then so be it. You can tell him to use his words if it bothers you too much, but ultimately, he'll get there in his own due time.
Good luck...
J. S

Dear KF

I am also an educator and own a preschool/ daycare. I have many years experience with children infancy through kindergarten. I think your son is exactely where he should be and it is definetely too early for an evaluation. I would be more concerned if he were not babeling at all. The fact that he is trying to speak and understands concepts tells me there is nothing at all wrong with him. I have some kids that are eighteen months and are still not speaking. I don't think it is fair that your mom (which I am sure means well) is indirectely putting guilt on you for going back to work. Have you considered putting him in a childcare center at this age so maybe his expressive language as well as social skills can develop? I think when your little boy is ready to speak he will, at his own pace. Ask mom to stop comparing him to other children and let him develop at his own rate. I am wondering is mom's experience as an educator with older children or preschool age children. Do not feel guilt, enjoy your son, and try not to let your mom get to you. When my kids were little (now 24 and 19) when i would take them places my mom would say "Make sure you watch them, don't let them out of your sight" my response would always be "Its amazing these kids are okay with me raising them. My point being your mom is probably just a worrier and thinks she is doing the right thing, however they sometimes have a way of making us feel incompetent. Good Luck!!!

What is wrong with the world we struggle to live in? The child is 13 mo old not 13 years old, for God's sake! So, he doesn't feel like talking now! Why this need to evaluate kids like they are all alike! It drives me nuts! Listen, I read a lot of stories about famous people, who started talking when they were 4! And, one of them, I don't remember who, when he was asked about it, answered that he remembered that he could actually talk but had nothing interesting to say at that point!!! So, going back to your question, I think you shold relax right now, enjoy your special baby, tell your mother that your child shows every sign of a genius, so she should relax! I am kidding, but I am not. Enough of statistics, and growing charts! You are a mother, and you will feel if there is something wrong with the child. And you'll take care of it, if that's the case. But he's only 13 mo.! he'll start talking soon and you'll pray for something to shut him up for 2 seconds!

Hey KF- I wouldn't worry about it now, he's not really behind and the other thing is you have to have a 33% delay to qualify for services, so at this point they may give suggestions. Hope this helps.

Get him evaluated when you think(or Pediatrician) says not because of other pressures.

Here is a long story short for you: My daughter talked at 9months by 1yo she used 40+words regularly. At 1yo 1week old she STOPPED talking completely. I FREAKED OUT! Dr. said give her until 2yo. @yo still no talking, got her evaluated, started speech therapy, 9 months later CAN'T SHUT HER UP!!!! She is now 7yo and still won't shut up!!! Speech therapist said her brain was consentrating on learning everything and couldn't do "everything" at once. When the speech returned she tested at 5yo for cognitive and speech ability.

Keep track but don't panic. Kids follow AVERAGES! Some faster, some slower and always THEIR OWN PACE!!! Relax and enjoy the time you have with your son. They get big way to fast! A.

People were the same way about our first and unfortunately, there is a fine line. On one hand you don't want to jump the gun if it isn't necessary but on the other hand, what will it hurt to have an evaluation done just to know for sure? Some children don't talk until they are 3 or 4 and for them it is normal but how do you know? What if there is a problem and by intervening early, you are able to turn it around?

Personally I would want to know because while our first was hard to understand, he did have many words he spoke by the age of one as have our last two. Our youngest now is 14 months old and he not only has a good sized vocabulary but he does a couple of 2 word sentences.

I am wondering if it isn't fear of the evaluation coming back with something that is stopping you from getting it done. You have to know that even if there is a problem, it doesn't mean it's because you hired a nanny. In that scenario he is still getting one on one care, right? I am guessing you are happy with your nanny or she wouldn't still be employed with you. Don't let your fear of your mom trying to say "I told you so" stop you from making sure your little one is getting what he needs.

My daughter had the same delay and we didn't do anything about it, although she was babbling a lot of other words, but never anything that resembled english and never consistently using the same words for the same items. But then all of a sudden she just starting saying whole words very clearly at around 15 months, started right in with mommy & daddy. My pediatrician told me that she should have five or so words by the time she was 15 months and I worked on it and she had them by then. But before then she had nothing. It became clear at one point that she was absorbing everything and figuring out what she wanted to do with it. I have to say that I think Sesame Street helped because they asked her to get engaged with new words and such.

She just turned two and is speaking in full sentences, knows the alphabet and can count to 20.

Hope that gives you some piece of mind. But I will say that it was helpful for me to do what I felt I needed to do to feel comfortable about my daughter's development at all stages. Sometimes the seeds of doubt, even when I knew there was no problem, gave me more stress. For me, those things that my parents harp on (of which there are few) are easier for me to just accept and incorporate rather than fight - I'd rather feel like I can have fun with them around than have them judging all the time. But that's my parents and in-laws who aren't around all that often.

Good luck

Hi KF, I think your child may just need a little more time. I am not a professional, just a mom of 5. On the other hand you could go for an evalution just to ease your mind and grandma's too. My daughter (child #3)was still only pointing at 2yrs, When she finally started talking, she never stopped. She is now 39 and the mother of 2, and very bright. She speaks perfectly well. Yes, I raised my children years before evaluations, but we made it OK. Follow your heart and good sense. Take advantage of the professionals. Best Wishes, Grandma Mary

i completely agree with your pediatrician--kids at this stage don't have to have a whole bunch of "adult sounding" words, but given that he consistently uses the same sort of partial words to describe objects, etc is totally normal at this age. just make sure he has close follow up with his pediatrician, and i think you can relax and enjoy! :-)

Isnt it better to check it out now??? If there is a problem, you will be able to get a jump start on it!! Which is so important!!!
if there is no problem, now you will put your mind at ease. I just can't figure out why people do not get their children evaluated ... Especially if it is a suggestion from a Dr. It will only HELP the child! It does not hurt them in any way. So ask yourself, what is the reason for NOT getting him evaluated????? Is there any logitimate reasons NOT to???

Please don't worry about your little boy. He sounds like he's right on target. At 18 months my sister and I convinced my niece that her son needed to be evaluated because he was doing just what your cutie is doing at 13 months. We thought he was hard of hearing because he wasn't finishing his words. They came and evaluated him and because he could communicate his needs, make sounds for certain words and understood whatever they said to him, they said, "wait until he's two and we'll take it from there". Well, by the time he was two he began to say both syllables in a two syllable word and now at 27 months is talking up a storm. Enjoy your little boy, and tell your mom you're looking into it, and then do your own thing. The more you read to him, the better his vocabulary will become. Mom's can be a pain sometimes; I know, because as well-meaning as I am, I can be an alarmist when it comes to my grandsons and know that I sometimes make my daughter nuts. LOL Grandma in Westchester

call the state early intervention planning. i did this with my 2nd b/c she was delayed in some things, including speech. there are certain sounds that a child should be making at certain mile markers.
or speak with a speech therapist, but this would then of course be out of pocket.

My guess is that he will start chatting on his own in due time! It sounds like he's very smart and in tune with his body and his surroundings which is GREAT for that age. My honest opinion: just relax for now, and if he's still not saying a handful of words in a few months, then proceed with the evaluation. Hope that helps!
PS- my neighbor's daughter just started chatting up a storm, and she's 2.5 years old. It took awhile and Birth to Three did have to come and do some therapy with her, but she's got it! :)

You know what....I think you should have your child evaluated for Early Intervention. I think it never hurts to be safe and early is the best. If you go through school districts it won't cost you to do that. Call your local school and ask to speak with someone who deals with early intervention. Ask what their criteria is and what you should be doing. I'm trying to remember exactly when my children really talked but I do think they said more at 13 months then babbling. When my grandson, now 10, was a few months old, I went to the Dr with my daughter for his check up. His Dr said that he was not verbal enough and that he would most likely need some speech. I thought he was crazy....well...low and behold...he did. He's totally fine now and it didn't take long for him to become legible in his language. I think speech can be picked up early if children aren't making enough sounds. He wasn't. He was a very easy lay back baby so we didn't think much of it. My other daughter just had a baby in July and he has several problems from his birth. My daughter contacted early intervention and he is starting on speech already (he's 3 1/2 months old). So....it's up to you...you can give your son a little more time or try to check it out. I'm sure your son will be fine. Remember every- body develops in their own time. Just don't let it go to long if you have doubts. Some people would rather walk an extra mile then to admit that there could be a problem then to address it and help to correct it. Good luck to you, I'm sure you'll make the best decision for your beautiful little boy. xoxoxo D.

My twins barely said anything at one. I'm not sure they even said "mama" or "dada." I brought them in for an EI evaluation when they were 15 months (mainly for PT and OT issues because one of my sons had a poor pincer grasp and one had flat feet). I told them that the boys had no words at 15 months and the physiatrist (not psychiatrist) told us to come back when they were 18 months if they didn't have 10 words. Well, lo and behold, they had only 1 or 2 words at 18 months, so they did get speech at that point, but they only barely qualified because their receptive language (ability to understand) was not at all impaired.
Mostly likely, EI will tell you to wait until 18 months to do a speech evaluation. Also, unless there is over a 25% (I think - might be wrong on the percentage) delay on speech, he won't qualify unless he is delayed on something else, like PT or OT issues.

OMG!!! He's only 13 months old!! If he's not doing "more" in about 6-12 months, then go for an eval...he's a baby still...Tell your mom to chill out...my 17 month old hardly says anything, but she has a big bro and sis to speak for her...she may not say a lot, but you can just tell she is a smart little girl.

All kids develop at different stages, so don't worry...your son sounds like a very bright little boy - enjoy him and his babyhood - it goes by too quickly.


Give him a little more time. Talk to him constantly. I have 4 children and they all do things differently, at their own pace. Pretty soon he'll be talking non stop and you'll wonder why on earth you ever worried. Also, find out if the nanny talks to him. Some people just don't think they need to talk to young kids unless there's a reason.


I wouldn't be alarmed yet. Your son understands what you say and can follow directions, therefore his receptive language is there, and it sounds age appropriate. He is communicating deliberately, both nonverbally and with consistent syllables. He sounds very normal. My son was delayed; we had him evaluated at 21 months and he didn't qualify for services (his receptive language was a year ahead but his expressive was 4 months behind). At that point, I took him to a speech therapist, and he took off within a few months (and I think he would have regardless of the intervention: he was just ready). I think that I would sit back and watch for awhile, doing all the right things (reading, making him use sounds to ask for things, naming everything he points to, etc etc). There's also a great DVD called Baby Babble by 2 pediatric speech therapists that he might enjoy. If your nanny's first language isn't English, that too could be a factor and very normal--kids who speak 2 languages at home often start speaking later. If that's the case, you might ask her to stick to English with him, and make sure that she is talking to him all day long. I would give him till 18-20 months; if he's not on target then, have him evaluated and give him what you can. But I suspect he's right on schedule for him, and it will click when he's ready.

HI. It wouldn't hurt to just get him tested. If the doctor is right, then there is nothing to do but just wait until he is ready for more "talking". If your Mom is right,then you will be getting your son the help he needs early. I have a son that had early intervention for speech and SPD(sensory processing disorder).I wish I had started him with it earlier. I did listen to his doctor when my son would not eat anything but baby food until he was 18months or more. His doctor just said he will eat "table" food when he is ready. At his 18month check up he also said his speech will come more clearly too. Well alittle before he ws 2 we just wanted to get him teasted. The doctor said he did not think we needed to but would order testing if we wanted. We did and I am glad we did. That is when we found out he had a 48% speech delay.We then had him tested due to his not eating many things. We were told then that he had SPD and the first clue to the doctor should have been the baby food issue and "talking" too. So I am a very firm believer that it is ALWAYS better to error on the side of the child. If your son needs help you be getting it early.That is such a key to helping them.If he doesn't need EI, then all you have done is spent some time checking it out. You notice I did not say "waste some time".

Hope this helps and good luck with your son!!! :-)

They won't find for what is not there and then at least you'll have mom off the case! It's an easy eval. and they make it fun for the kids.

Hi there,

I'm a mom of a 13 year old boy who did not utter a telligable word until he was 2 1/2 and his first words were P U stinky as we passed a cow pasture. I too went to school for speech pathology and audiology at UVM and like your mom I was somewhat concerned but not too much so. What you really want to look at is he reaching his other milestones. Does he interact with you and others, does he like to be cuddled, does he have temper tantrums that seem to go on forever....? It is very difficult to adequately evaluate a child at this age however from one mom to another, trust your gut always. I will tell you that the best place for an eval is the child development center in Burlington. Their #is ###-###-####. Good Luck.

Hi KF,
Well my son had a little bit of a speech delay, like you I was not sure whether it was a problem or not. My doctor like yours, send there were certain things he should have been saying at age 2 that he was not. My mother though was the opposite, she said that I was not really talking until about 3 years of age and that my son was probably the same. However, I did have him evaluated and then signed him up for EI for speech delay. It actually turned out really well. It was like having a tutor come over once or twice a week to "play" with him. He enjoyed it, the read books together and played games. The instructor also gave me tips on what to do to help nurture his speech skills. The state also pays for all or a large portion of this service as well, depending on your income level.

EI ends at 3 years old. At 3 my son no longer needed it. He is now a normal, very active and VERY social 5 year old now. He is not shy or afraid to speak with both adults or kids. He LOVES to talk! I don't know if this had anything to do with the EI that he had for a little less than a year or if it was just his destiny to be a talker.

However, if you are still unsure about this with your child, wait a little bit. He's only 13 months that's still so young and every child progresses differently and at their own pace. You have time. You may want to wait until he's about 2 to see his progress. It may be fine at that time, if not then look into EI. For now let him enjoy discovering things he has time to develop his verbal skills.

I would say go and get the evaluation, don't wait. Not that I think something is wrong but I know for my own piece of mind I would kick myself if I didn't and there was a need for some intervention and I missed out. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that get help they "don't" need so don't be afraid or stubborn to get the evaluation and don't deprive your child of something he may need. A little aggravation now can save you a lot of aggravation later. Plus as far as Dr.'s go these days you need to be your own best advocate.

Example - My pediatrician was laid back about my son getting tubes and told me it was ok to not get tubes, to wait and my son would probably have a speach problem (Dr. has a speach impediment) and would eventually outgrow it (Dr. didn't!). That was enought to push me over the edge to call and make my own appointment for the ENT (ear, nose throat). Long story short my son got tubes and now speaks clearly with no speach issues. Actually spoke a lot that same day. Dr. never told me a lot of things!

I have 3 boys 7, almost 3, and 16 months. My middle son was very similar to what you are saying (except he had more issues to deal with as well, late walker, toe walker, texture issues, etc...) I had him evaluated by EI and he got speech, PT, & OT starting @ 16 months. Like I said he is now going to be 3 in November, and he is talking up a storm(still not age appropriate but in comparison to no talking and just grunting and pointing) I see no harm whatsoever in having him evaluated. My sons comprehension levels were and still are AMAZING which was what was frustrating to me. I think before you (and he) get to a frustration level because you can't understand him it is better to develop other means of communication. My son started signing with the Speech therapist and it was wonderful and occasionally he will still throw in a sign now and then despite talking. I was starting to see him get very frustrated if I didn't know what he wanted or was trying to tell me. All I am saying is it can't hurt- I know all kids develop at different rates but....
Well good luck I hope this helps, any questions let me know.

I'd wait a bit. I think when a person has a specialty like that there is a tendancy to see the issue. And your mom is also looking for the issue she predicted to crop up. There is a broad range of acceptable times for most milestones and your maom may be looking for hime to make the "average" while your pediatrician is OK with him being in the range. Being at the end of the range also does not mean he is at the low range for intelligence/ability either. I have a very bright nephew who lagged in clearly speaking -- he just focused on learning other things first.

Don't stress about it!!! I have a 2 year old (turned in August) who I had evaluated by early intervention at 18 months, and at 2 because our pediatrician scared us half to death about him not hitting the milestones of saying words at 12 months...18 months etc. Both times the woman who came to evaluate him told us that he was FINE! If your son is recognizing objects and understand things then they will not consider him delayed. It is not until they are 2 that they begin to look more closely at his progress.

The way they now look at their language development is NOT just how many words they can say, but how many they understand and if they can make known what they want. I used sign language with my son (simple ones like milk, more, please and thank you) and he is just now starting to say words and signs together.

If YOU feel the need to call early intervention about it then do so - it's great and it's free, but don't do something just cause someone else tells you to...you are his mom and your gut feeling is more important then anyone else's opinions! GOOD LUCK!

Hi K F,

I son is 16 months now, and is just starting to pick up a few words here and there. (not clearly by no means) Everyone developes at there own pace. I would give it a few more months. Good Luck! :)

Don't be defensive and don't worry, but get an evaluation. If there's no problems, great. If your child would benefit from services, the earlier he starts the better for him. The board of ed provides evaluations for free and recommended services are free. The service providers work around your schedule and come to your house. These people are well trained and caring individuals and they make the work fun and the kids improve.

So my advice is just get the evaluation and then go from there. (And also don't worry. So many kids get services these days. Getting services does not mean that your child is destined to an awful life. Try to relax and not worry.) Good luck

sounds like he is well within the normal range if he can say anything that you know what he means, that is first word right?. My DD's was "quack", you don't always get what you are hoping for. LOL.

I was not going to respond to this but I started to get angry about your Mother's comments to you. She is just being overly critical because it is her grandchild. My daughter is 17 months old and has the same skills as your son. She is just now starting to say words for things instead of sounds. She is my 4th child so I have been there before. I wouldn't worry about your son. Your son's doctor would not brush this off if she thought there was a problem. He is making great progress and is doing what he is supposed to be doing at this age. Now if he were making no attempt at making sounds for things that would worry me. But he is consistently making the same sounds for the things he wants. I know it is hard for you but you need to tell your Mother that you know she means well but you are going to trust the doctor on this one. She has to remember he is only 13 months old. He is developing at the same rate as other babies his age. She means well and is trying to help but she needs to back off a little.

PS I can relate to what you are going through with your Mother. My Mother in law is kind of like this but thinks that everything should require medication, hospital stays, and surgeries. For example when my son was 12 months old he had an ear infect and she wanted me to take him to the ER and demand they put him on IV pain meds and do surgery then to put tubes in his ears. I took him to the doctor in the AM for it and got antibiotics. I heard about it for a month how I should have taken him to the hospital. My niece was in the hospital a few months ago for stomach pain and my MIL insisted that it was her gall bladder even though all the DR and second opinions they got said it's not the gall bladder. She was furious they wouldn't operate and remove it. Turns out she needed to be put on Prilosec OTC and her stomach doesn't hurt any more. Go figure the doctors actually know what they are talking about! lol

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