53 answers

Expressive Language Delay

I was wondering if any moms have delt with expressive language delay in any of their children? My 17 month old son doesnt speak at all. We are having him evaluated next week by early intervention, which was recommended by his Doctor. He seems to understands everything. If you say "point to the doggie" he will, or go to the window, or anything like that. He can even pick out the triangle or circle. He seems to almost speak his own language. I am a little apprehensive about the whole thing. Anyone have any advice for me, or share the same experience?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi J.:
I have a daughter with special needs who is now 12. One of the best things, besides speech therapy, that we did for her beginning in early intervention was to "sign" with her while saying the word. American Sign Language is easy to learn, especially when you're learning it one word at a time. I have a friend who had a child who didn't speak at all either. As soon as they started using ASL along with the word, it all came together for him too and he became quite the little chatterbox. It will also help him to talk to you until he can speak the words. I wish you the best!

My son (now 2 yrs. 9 months) had an expressive language delay, but his receptive language was right on track. We had him evaluated by early intervention, and he qualified for speech therapy. It has done wonders for him. He started it when he was 2 yrs. 4 months, and in just 5 short months has made tremendous progress and talks all the time! I can not say enough wonderful things about early intervention and all the wonderful work they are doing with my son.

My daughter Eden is 27 months and we have been working with early intervention for the past 3 months because of language/speech delays. Early Intervention has been great - they are really good, supportive, and Eden has made significant progress over the past few months. The process can be a little overwhelming (no one likes to admit there is any kind of delay with their child, right!), but it is well worth the time and effort to address the issues now so that progress can be made sooner than later. Early Intervention will steer you in the right direction, regardless of the severity of his issues - just keep an open mind to the process and be glad you are recognizing and dealing with the issues so early in his development. Good luck!!


More Answers

My son also has Expressive speech issues BUT he has a syndrome and alot of time these thing go along with his Diagnosis...........
I have met lots of Moms like yourself kinda on the fence about EI and speech therapy....My biggest advice is to DO IT... You will be amazed at what they will be able to do for your son.....he will be chatting your ear off in no time with a little help.....

1 mom found this helpful


My now 6 yr old son has verbal apraxia so I went through the whole Early Intervention process etc. I started being concerned at 18 months when he lost some words after being ill. His doctor would not refer him until he was 2. People, including his doctor kept telling me, "Oh he'll speak when he's ready to!" boy I wish that I had done something earlier. So you are ahead of the game! Give yourself a hug and tell yourself that you are doing the right thing for your son!

I taught my son sign language using ASL and baby sign and he made many up himself. If you don't already have them buy or borrow (our library has them) the Signing Time Videos. I believe it's also on TV? The woman uses music and children to teach other children sign language. Sign is how we made it through! Just think of how frustrating it is to want to say something and not be able to! Sign gives them that ability. If he doesn't take to sign there are Picture Exchange Systems you can make or buy. Basically it is a notebook of pictures that he can point to when he wants something or to do something.

Some advice I wish someone had said to me back then - READ the book The Late Talker by Dr. Marilyn Agin and Lisa Geng. Ask inter library loan to get it for you or buy it. It will be a BIG help to you as you go through this process.

Lastly when you go to EI, they will be looking at the decrepancy between what he understands and what he can express. They may also do OT evals to look for sensory processing, low tone etc. It's important to have the evaluations but ALWAYS listen to your heart regarding your child. If the evaluation or the therapist has a wrong picture, ask for a new eval or a new therapist. There are therapists out there that are very good and there are therapists that are clueless. If you have bad feelings about the therapist stop the session and ask for a new one. You ARE your child's best advocate! Absolutely no one knows your child like you do!

Check out: http://www.cherab.org/information/indexinformation.html There is also a forum there to speak to other parents/care givers with children who are late talkers or not speaking.

I wish you and your son the very best. If you need to talk don't hesitate to contact me - ____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

I'm glad you've already taken the first step and called EI. If you have any doubt in your child's development, EI is a great way to go. My son was 22 months before I called, and we had him evaluated, when everyone else was telling me "Boys always take longer to talk and express themselves, he'll be fine!".... Meanwhile, his frustration was taking hold and we were having lots of difficult days b/c of his lack of expression. He was eval'd to have a 8 month delay - so EI provided services to us. We had home visits once/week, and participated in specialized playgroups with other speech-delayed children and community children. When my son turned 2.5, we were eligible for a 2 hour drop off playgroup, meant for transitioning to pre-school. My son loves going to "School" once a week.

SO - yes, we've been there. And best of luck to you and your family! I know EI will help you, too.

1 mom found this helpful

I would not be apprehensive about seeking an eval. from early intervention. They are just that. My friend's son was not speaking at 2, but as with your child, his receptive language was awesome. He was evaluated by Early Intervention. They had a speech therapist come to the house, and he went to a toddler group one day a week. He LOVES it. He did start speaking shortly thereafter. He doesn't qualify for an integrated preschool now within our town as his speech has improved so.

Children that cannot get their point across become very frustrated. The use of sign language can help with that frustration. It sounds like your child has made up his own, and you do not mention him acting out with frustration. So, sign language may not be an issue.

My child was in early intervention as she was born with Down Syndrome. Early intervention is a wonderful, loving, caring experience. Early Intervention is involved only until they are 3 yrs old, and then children requiring more services are serviced through the public school system.

I hope this has helped ease your apprehension.


Hi, I am wondering if it might be a form of autism. IF so it is good that early intervention is looking at him. If it is there are lots of resources out for Autism. The School systems have some very good programs.

My daughter was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 15 months. That was 6 1/2 years ago. She is now in a regular 2nd grade with a one on one performing at grade level. You need to remember no matter what it is you are going to have to be strong and know that you did NOTHING WRONG. Some things just happen.

If I can be of any help please let me know. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

My son is in early intervention currently with speech and gross motor delays. While I understand that speech and walking come to kids at different times, they have helped a lot! It gets really frustrating not understanding what he wants sometimes, and EI has helped figure out some creative ways for him to communicate his wants/needs while he isn't talking. Plus they are really nice there!

Good luck!

Been there. My son didn't speak till he was over 2 years. We had him evaluated and he was fine, they said there was nothing "wrong" he just didn't feel like talking. All children are different don't get too freaked out. He walked early and , much like your son, he could follow commands (up to 3 at a time) could point to every letter of the alphabet but not a word. He is 8 now and has the best vocabulary in his class. It's always a good idea to look into it, but like I said don't get too worried just yet. Good luck and I'd love to hear how it goes.

My son is now 8 years old. Around the age of your 17 month old, it was recommended to me that I have my child evaluated for potential speech/autism, etc. Not by one but by THREE prominent pediatritians. By the time he was two years old, the doctors sent the 'state' to my home to test this child. He was like your child. Understood everything. My boy, without the english language, aced the test. They say, at a speed faster than any 3 or 4 year old. And in 6 months after that, came up to me at the sink one morn and said: I speak now Mommy. And he has NEVER stopped! FULL language! The 2 testers from the state asked me why they ordered tests! Tests shouldn't be considered until at least after 2 1/2. I didn't know. I was a mother who didn't know. And now, I am a mother with a wonderful and brilliant communicator. Who never stops chatting, by the way! Your babe is young. I knew in my GUT he was fine. I went with the mainstream thinking out of fear. My gut always knew, this kid's fine.

Ask your mother's intuition. And still follow through with the tests. OH ... we never allowed the speech therapy either and he's a beautiful speaker. His speech has always been 'watched.' But my mother's gut told me more.

Hope it helps.

I am currently going throught the same thing with my daughter. She wasn't "saying" anything just noises that were her way of telling us what she wanted. We had her evaluated by Early Intervention and she has been working with a councellor and a speach councellor for about 5 months now. She's a few months past 2 and she's doing wonderfully. She is saying complete sentences and loves to talk. Early Intervention was the best decision my husband and I made. Plus she absolutely loves it when her councellors come to see her. That's the best part, they come to you so there one less thing you have to worry about.

I hope this helps.

My daughter, almost 19 months, isn't speaking much either although just recently had a big language burst. At her 18 month checkup she probably had about 10 words she would say regularly. I personally don't see it as something to worry about. Some kids simply take longer to talk and will catch up with others in no time. Although if hearing is a concern I would certainly have no problem getting a hearing test.

We also have used the Signing Time DVDs to teach ASL. Liliana has probably 100 signs if not more and she is so much happier being able to communicate. There are so many benefits of teaching sign language and I have to also say that I think it has HELPED her speech progress - not hinder in any way.

I wish you the best of luck!

I have 2 children, now 3 & 5 who both didn't speak until around 2yrs old. My ped recomended getting them evaluated as well but my gut told me to wait. They are both fine! They speak clear, no issues. Go with your gut-17 mo is still young. Good luck!

My daughter Eden is 27 months and we have been working with early intervention for the past 3 months because of language/speech delays. Early Intervention has been great - they are really good, supportive, and Eden has made significant progress over the past few months. The process can be a little overwhelming (no one likes to admit there is any kind of delay with their child, right!), but it is well worth the time and effort to address the issues now so that progress can be made sooner than later. Early Intervention will steer you in the right direction, regardless of the severity of his issues - just keep an open mind to the process and be glad you are recognizing and dealing with the issues so early in his development. Good luck!!



I totally understand your anxiety as I was feeling the same some time ago. I have an 8-year-old boy who had his own language up until he was 3 years old! As I am French and my husband American, we taught him both languages and he understood them perfectly early on. However, he just spoke a few words of each that made sense. We figured he just needed more time because he was learning twice as much! He is now entirely bilingual. Early Intervention is very helpful, you will find your child will make a lot of progress. It's not uncommon for a 17-month-old boy not to talk. The important thing is to rule out any other factor that may prevent him from talking. We found out our son was visually-impaired when he was 18 months old but we had been suspecting something was wrong for a while. He is considered legally blind. He had development delays but caught up quickly thanks to Early Intervention. I know it's scary, you're afraid your child is not quite like everybody else, but if he was not diagnosed with a specific handicap and acts like any other kid his age, you shouldn't worry too much.
You are very brave doing all the things you are doing. Make sure you get support from your husband if your child needs a little extra help!

I wouldn't be too worried about it. My 18 month old isn't speaking either, but understands everything we say and is extemely smart. He is going to his 18 month appointment next month, so we'll see what the pedi says then. I have faith that he will be speaking soon. My friend had her son in early intervention and he is now a very healthy, happy, talking 3 year old. So yes, it works! Nothing to be worried about.

My son who has just turned 2 also didn't really say much at 17months, although also seemed to understand almost everything we said or asked of him. I worried a lot until just this last week. All of a sudden he's starting to repeat words and use them to ask for things more than he ever has. I've been told that if by 2.5-3 yrs he hasn't made much progress , that is the time to have an evaluation. I think it just takes some a little longer to start getting the words out.

Both of my boys were expressive language delayed. My current 4 year old didn't use many words (less than 10) until sometime between age 2 and 2.5. We had him evaluated by a Speech Language Pathologist on the advice of his pediatrician at the age of 18 mos. At that time, he didn't even qualitfy for services because he was not considered that delayed. Eventually, he did qualify, around age 2. He received speech therapy once every 2 weeks at home. He did start to improve at this point but I honestly can't say it was the therapy that helped him. I think it was just 'his time' to start talking. My second son who is almost 2 now has even fewer words at the moment. This time, I'm not worried. I have heard that boys have a tendancy to later in general. Also, every child is different. So take a deep breath and don't worry! Give your son a little more time.

Don't be nervous about the evaluation. A lot of children are delayed in speech, but understand what's going on around them. My son is delayed in speech but since he's been 2 he's known the alphabet(upper and lower case), colors, numbers, and shapes. He sounds out letters and gives us words that go with it and will point out these things where ever we go. He ws tested and academically he's at a kindergarten level(this was before he turned 3)He's still delayed in speech(according to the norm) but he's getting there. You're doing a good thing about expressing your concerns but it sounds like even thou he might not be talking he gets what's going on around him. My nephew is 3.5 years old and just really started talking but he always understood what was going on he just couldn't talk. He's big sister who's 9 now used to get everything for him. what I do for mt son is to make him point out what he wants and I'm always talking to him having him use his words and repeating things. I bet things will be okay. Relax and enjoy him and like you say take it one day at a time.

Hi, There was 3 1/2 years age difference with my boys. The younger did not speak at 17 months either, nor at 2. I had him tested and tested. There was nothing wrong. My Dr. told me that he was just lazy and that his big brother was doing everything for him, including fetching anything he ask for by just pointing. He was correct, he spoke when he was good and ready. He is now 36 and father of 3. His children were late speakers also...they are just fine. Try not to stress over this. Your son will be fine...your 6 year old is helping him too much I bet. Good Luck

My daughter was evaluated through EI when she was 19 months old and only had about 10 words. She qualified with more than a 25% (minimum EI requirement) delay to her expressive language and has received services ever since. She will be 3 in about 3 weeks and is about to age out of EI. It has done wonders for her. She was recently tested by our public school system to see if she qualified as SpEd to attend preschool for free, but she's average in all areas for her age.

My daughter was 2 and a half when she spoke her first word. She did understand everything, and used a lot of sign language. When she was 18 months, we started early intervention, and a speech therapist came to the house to work with her. I felt that the thing that totally turned her around was an omega-3 supplement. Really! I started giving her this stuff called cor-omega, and within a week, she started speaking. Maybe she was just ready, but it really seemed to have an impact. Now she's almost 6, and never stops talking, no delays in any areas. So either she was just going at her own pace, and talked when she was ready, or she needed a little omega-3, and once she got it, she took off. Can't hurt, anyway.

Hi I am G. Mona My son who is now 35 did not really speak until he was almost 3 He would point to things and knew what we were saying but didn't feel like talking. I would just give him what he pointed at. He started to speak one day and we couldn't get him to stop. My 9 year old grandson had the same problem. He went to a special preschool and now has no problems. He also was about 3 when his speach took off. Hope this helps

My son also had expressive language delays. He had virtually no words beyond "mama" at 20 mos. so his Dr. referred us to Birth to 3. Two people came to the house and evaluated him, he qualified for once weekly speech therapy, and it has been the best thing for him! Like your son, he understands everything that is said to him but just wasn't ready to talk yet. The speech therapist works with him through play, and taught us how to encourage him to use words instead of grunts and hand gestures. Now he is 25 months old and has a vocabulary of about 50 words. He imitates many words and uses them spontaneously to communicate with us. He is on the cusp of putting 2 words together. He's still a little behind his age mates but I know he'll catch up over time. We also have a 4 year old, and for her, speech came naturally. It seems for my son, he just needs a little push in the right direction. I hope it works out for you! Good luck.

Let me first congratulate you on taking the steps to have your child evaluated, it is not easy to hear what others may advise you to do when it comes to your child. I'm a teacher and a single mom of a 4 yrs old that has a speech delay and alot more. For speech he is a whole year behind but is quick to understand everything that is going on around him. It takes time and patience to help your child during this difficult time for him. Let me tell you from my personal opinion I couldn't wait for him to start talking now he doesn't stop. Even til this day he is not clear to understand but is now willing to repeat it again without getting angry. He just started to say full sentence around july of last year. I am very greatful to my back ground of being a teacher and picking up on this at around that same age as your son. My child also has a sensory processing disorder that is part of his speech delay. If there is any other advise I can give you let me know best of luck

I have been a nurse for 15 years, my children are 20, 12 and 2. I have been going through the EXACT same thing with my baby. They took the language thing and have tentatively diagnosed him with autism or PDD or ADD. Seems like a pretty common occurance with children in this decade. (All my children are a decade apart) I personally struggled with it for a couple months - it takes about 6 months to get in to see the specialist. I am still hanging in the balance, my son speaks - not at the level that my other two spoke at at the same age - all boys. Let me know if you would like to take the conversation off line.

my daughter went through the same thing. At 24 mos. she had about 50 words. EI was a life saver. She is getting speech therapy now, after completing the EI program, through our school department and we can't get her to stop talking!!! She is currently 3 years old and knows her alphabet and can count to 20 all by herself. It will give him a head start whether the problem is severe or not! Don't stress

My 2.5 year old was evaluated at 2 yrs old. Didn't say much of anything before that. At 17 months maybe said 5 words. Of course, as soon as he was evaluated he started saying more words. But we have EI come in once a week and Peyton comes up for 6 month evaluation soon. He'll probably test out. EI is a great resource. I wouldn't worry about your son, boys talk late- but take advantage of the resources while you have the chance. They're wonderful and FREE (except for a one time charge based on your income) Good luck.

I don't know what state your in but CT has a birth to three program that will come to your house to eval your sons speech and if he quailfies for services the will provide them in your home free. Let me know what you do. T.

My name is A. and I work for Early Intervention in MA. The best thing to do is exactly what you are doing, finding out more information to better help your child. It is a good thing that your son has a strength in his receptive language. Let me know how it goes with Early Intervention and I can be available to you if you have any questions. Good luck
I am a mommy to a seven year old and work full time...more than full time, it definately can get the best of you at times, but hang in there. there is so much support available if you have the right people to show you the way.

We went through this with our now four year old. After lots of worry, stress and frustraton we had her evaluated. They said she was fine. Then we took her to an ear specialist and she ended up needing tubes. After getting the tubes she immediately improved. I was so embarrassed that I hadn't caught it earlier, but she didn't show signs of pain, which I was told was common.
Good luck and hang in there. We all do the best we can.

My son was almost 3 before he started saying anything. His two older sisters spoke for him and he simply did not see the need to speak for himself. His sisters are 2 and 6 years ahead of him. When he was three, he decided that they weren't getting it right anymore and he hasn't shut up since. He is very articulate, expressive and now at almost 6, very constant. We can hardly get a word ourselves!

My story sounds a lot like some of the mom's posts that are already on here, but I wanted to respond anyways...
My youngest daughter is 20 months old right now. We started with EI about a month ago. She scored way above average on everything but her expressive speech. She would point and make sounds when she wanted something... she would say "no" and "ya" and she does animal sounds... she had a few other words, like mama, dada, nana, papa, but that was about it. EI has been great for her. They come right to your house and you can join their playgroups for free!
Some people say to wait before you have your child tested, but I say why not do it now rather than later? Even if your child were to start speaking on his own at 2 1/2, why not start using the FREE service now? You never know, your child may turn 3 and still be no better off with his speech than he is today and you could have been using EI for a year and a half...
Hope this helps!

My son was a preemie (only 6 weeks, but ti the world for him) at 20 months i had him evaluated as I KNEW he was very behind. He tested at a 6 month to 9 month old level on his speech.

We then had a Speech Therapist come every week (I would of liked 2x's a week) and when he turned 3 he went into the school system as in Pre-School with ST while in the class.
He is now 5 and started singing this past summer!. It can work and you need to be behind it all the way.

One thing, does your older son 'speak' for your younger one? as that is a bad habit if it is happening. The Evaluation will let you know where he is and they will start things rolling ASAP.

You want to be on top of this as getting him to his own level is very important for him especially in the next few years as if he has any delays in school it makes life harder for the kids.

My son talked a little ( 2 words together at 2 1/2 ) but most of our communiation was just grunting pointing and throwing temper tantrums. I was apprehensive about early intervention but once I started I was amazed at how much he improved. It is a great program and I also learned my son was behind in fine motor skills which I had no clue about. Keep talking to your son all day it is really one of the best things you can do for him. The fact that you are getting him evaluated now is huge. Early intervention is really a blessing.

Hi J.:
I have a daughter with special needs who is now 12. One of the best things, besides speech therapy, that we did for her beginning in early intervention was to "sign" with her while saying the word. American Sign Language is easy to learn, especially when you're learning it one word at a time. I have a friend who had a child who didn't speak at all either. As soon as they started using ASL along with the word, it all came together for him too and he became quite the little chatterbox. It will also help him to talk to you until he can speak the words. I wish you the best!

Hello J.,

I have a 2 year old, soon to be 3. At his 18 month visit to the doctor he had less than 10 words that he used sparingly, and not very clearly. I got worried when his doctor said he should have 200 words. (my other son was very talkative by this age too) DR. recommended early intervention, I held off for another few months. No sooner than I got everything all set up, he started talking more and more. They did the evaluation anyway, and I decided to continue with it.
But I feel that he really started talking when he was ready.
They say, and we had already been doing this: to talk to him, when he points to the doggie, "say yes that's a doggie"
On a side note here.... because I, would get frustrated with not knowing what he wanted, and he would get frustrated because I didn't understand. I started to teach him some simple sign language (ASL). I then came across "Signing Time" dvds and he has learned hundreds more signs. Some people told me that signing would delay speech even more, but I don't think so, in fact he actually picked up more words.
I'd say have the evaluation done. and go from there. I found them (Rise for Baby) to be wonderful, and attentive to your concerns.
I hope this helps both of you!

Hi! I just went through the whole early intervention process with my daughter that is also 17 months old. She wasn't saying any words at her 15 month check-up, so the pediatrician recommended tp check her speech and to also have a hearing test done. The hearing test came back good, so the early intervention people came to our house twice. They check for lots of things not just speech. So, honestly, I didn't mind them coming and it worked out fine. They check for both cognitive and expressive language. If your son understands simple directions, that is great!! The expressive language will come. My daughter ended up being 3 months behind in expressive language, but they believe she will burst out with words soon. She is saying more now too! Anyway, she needed to be 4 months behind in order to receive services. So, they just gave us a few tips and that was that. If you have more specific questions let me know, because I could type a lot more about it. Oh, when they come to your home they just play with your child and ask you some questions too. My daughter loved having new toys to play with and it was very nice to not have to worry about it anymore.

Jen C

Hi! My son also suffers from an expressive language disorder. I had him evaluated by early intervention and got him into speech therapy as well as some other services that he needed. It was truely the best thing for him! He is 4 now and has been recieving services for over a year now and has come such a long way! He still has a hard time, but can express himself much better without becoming so frustrated! If I had it to do all over again I would have done it soooo much earlier!
Oh yea, a little about me I am also 28 years old and a nursing student trying to keep it all balanced before it all falls apart! Goodluck! It gets better...and easier!

Hi J.
My son Nathan is now 5.

Since around 2-1/2 he wasnt speaking at his level.. but only repeat things.
I had him eval by EI in MA in Jan of 2007.
He was signnificantly delayed in so many areas.
They told us to get in touch with the school district in Littleton,NH where we were moving to.
They enrolled him pretty quickly in a preschool program so he could get help with speech.
Last August (2008)- we had him evaluated in Lancaster, NH: they gave him a diagnosis of a severe expressive/receptive language disorder.
We are getting him eval by Easter Seals on April 1 because we believe he may be on the Autism or PDD spectrum or have a sensory disorder.
I think its good so that you can get some answers.

I would love to chat more:



My son is now 3 1/2 and is really just now starting to speak in ways i can understand. I had birth to 3 come out and evaluate him at 18 months, 2 years and finally at 2 1/2 years. They did not qualify him for their program because he could understand what was being said to him. Finally at the 2 1/2 year evaluation they qualified him, but said he was really borderline. They said he would talk when he was ready. His older brother was communicating for him. Your situation sounds very similar. He is now receiving speech therapy twice a week at his preschool and is really coming along great. I was apprehensive also, but its working out fine.

you are already doing the right thing.. having him evaluated and being proactive.. also, take advantage of all that EI offers.. they have classes and play groups - do it ALL!!! I did that with my son who was about 1 1/2 years behind in his speech.. he now is in preschool and is heading into Kindergarten and is getting all the therapies he needs to get him up to speed. good luck.. some kids are just stubborn and don't want to talk, some kids have physical issues that prevent them from talking and some just dont' want to. He'll come around and then when he's chattering non stop you'll be wishing for the quiet days! LOL good luck!

Children speak in their own time. As long as he understands and responds to what you say, there's absolutely nothing to worry about. Boys tend to talk later than girls. My son was 2 1/2 before he started speaking. Before that he could make animal sounds, but that's IT. Once he started speaking he just never stopped! My daughter was speaking at 15 mos. Every child is different. I see a trend of people using speech therapy these days on children very young. DOn't get me wrong, speech therapy has its uses. I truly believe it's over used these days. 17 mo old is still very young. DOn't compare your child to the next child.

yes, my son also had expressive language delay. He didnt talk other than Momma or dadda at 18 months old. I was concerned since I had just had my second baby at this time and when trying to communicate with him made it very difficult, which led him to meltdowns. My pediatrician didnt recommend EI (Early intervention) evaluation until he was 2. Pedi also suggested having his hearing checked before evaluation, which we did also. He was fine. We started services with them a few months later (due to their mistake) and It worked out GREAT! The service coordinator worked with him and also offered suggestions of how to get him to express himself/talk. It really helped. He is now 3 1/2 and started preschool this past Sept. and his preschool teacher had concerns about his expressive lang. again and also suggested he be reevaluated. At this time, i didnt because he was expressing himself at home but not in school. (he is shy) Now he is expressing himself more and more at preschool, now that he has become comfortable with his surroundings. I would wait a few months, because your son may explode with words in just a couple of months. Some of the suggestions that EI gave us to help him was instead of pointing to objects, really making/helping him use his words. But i would wait for evaluation until he is closer to 2 if you still have concerns. Good luck, it can be very challenging. I also want to mention that they also offer playgroups that also helps. My 2 yr old son does not require services, but i currently have him in one of their playgroups and they are GREAT. good luck

Albert Einstein began to speak at age 4.

Hi There- My oldest son, now 5 1/2, would not say a word until he could say the word perfectly. He understood everything but didn't want to make a mistake. He has an amazing vocabulary now. My younger son, now 3 was evaluated at age 2 because even though he was very talkative, no one could understand him. The evaluation process lasted about 2 hours. I was with him the whole time and the evaluators were great. My son thought he was just playing. I would suggest that you tell your son that you are both going to meet some teachers who want to play with him and see what he can do. Bring a snack and if he has a special comfort object, bring that as well. At the very least, you will learn how to help him. At the most, you may receive some services. Good luck!


The best thing I can say is to hang in there - that with the right help, it will get better! Half the battle is getting an appropriate diagnosis and then the correct treatment for the problem with the right provider. By early intervention, do you mean CDS? We have traveled a long, circuitous road to speech therapy with our son, now 3, but once it begins, you tend to see a real blossoming. Our son was initially diagnosed with expressive language delay, but the diagnosis has since changed to an articulation disorder. He simply didn't grasp how to actually make certain sounds...Do you live near the Warren Center? Also, make sure you know what your insurance covers, if anything, for speech therapy. Some carriers do not cover it if your child does not have a physical problem, etc., that impairs speech. It's important to know because there may be alternative sources of funding through the state.

Good luck!

The best thing is that you are taking him to be evaluated. I can't hurt. It can only do good. My nephew was over 2 and still not even saying mama or dada. His doctor always said that he would be fine. His mom was fed up with the doctor not helping that she went elsewhere. What ended up happening was that my nephew's muscles weren't right. All he did was some speech excercises and he was fine. That is all it took. Every child is different. My son who is now 5 didn't say a lot a two. Only a handful of words. Then all of a sudden he started and now he talks non-stop.

My son (now 2 yrs. 9 months) had an expressive language delay, but his receptive language was right on track. We had him evaluated by early intervention, and he qualified for speech therapy. It has done wonders for him. He started it when he was 2 yrs. 4 months, and in just 5 short months has made tremendous progress and talks all the time! I can not say enough wonderful things about early intervention and all the wonderful work they are doing with my son.

I am a Toddler teacher and have had very good experiences with early intervention. They know what they are doing and have the resources you may need. It has been my experience that most speech delays are reversible especially if you start early. Your doctor made a good call. Good luck and don't worry.

I also have a child with the same delay. He is 16 months old and says nothing. I have had a great experience with early intervention in the past. My middle son who is now 7 had a speech delay and we had services through early intervention, then he went on to have speech in school. He is doing great! I noticed the delay early in my youngest child and called them immediately. I was so impressed with them. Not only do they have a speech therapist come out to your home to evaluate them but also a physical therapist and occupational therapist to determine if there are any other issues with gross or fine motor skills. The great thing is, if there is a delay they work with you and your child until he/she is 3 and then they help with transition to your local school district. My kid's recieved lots of other services as well (ie, Gymbore, nutritional advise if needed etc.) Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

I had a similar experience with my daughter, who is now 2 years old. At the recommendation of her doctor, we had an early intervention therapist evaluate her around 18 mo because she called everything "da" while other kids her age were naming various objects. The therapist found that she had excellent "receptive language" skills--can't remember if that's the right term, but basically, she could understand everything. She just wasn't expressing herself. The therapist said not to worry and to call again if she didn't improve in 3 months. We also had a hearing test done, which was normal. Now at just 24 months, she speaks very well and often in full sentences. She just was slow to get started. She also didn't walk until she was almost 15 mo old, so I think it's her personality not to hurry into anything. It definitely stressed me out when I felt like she was behind her peers, but now I see that she was just at the far range of normal. Our doctor was just being very cautious. Hang in there and good luck.

My son who is now nearly 3 had the same "issue". He was 19 months before he said anything beside Momma and Dadda. Our ped also recommended early intervention. Due to some typical winter sickness and holidays the appointment kept getting postponed.
I had read that the average child said 150 words by age two. Once my son started talking I actually kept a running list of his words in an attempt to gauge his progress. By his second birthday (when I stopped writing them down) he was just shy of 150 (like 147) words. He made up for lost time in those short 5 months.
He is such a chatter box today. We all look back and laugh that we were worried.
We knew he was bright and understood, he just didn't have a need to speak yet. We just took it day by day and everything worked itself out.
I think in this day and age doctors would rather err on the side of caution rather than being accused later on. If you feel confident your son is fine than I wouldn't worry. If it gives you peace of mind, set up the appointment - no harm done if they say he is fine.
Go with your instincts! Good luck!

My 4 1/2 yr old son, had an expressive language delay. He was having difficulty speaking, and using unintelligible words. Early intervention was wonderful, and got him to the point that you could never stop him from talking! He still has a speech delay, but you can mostly understand him, and continues speech therapy thru our local school system.

Both of my sons had severe articulation delys. My oldest is 14 now and had speech therapy for 5 years. 2 yrs. in pre school and then k-2 grade. He speaks very clearly now and you would not know that he even had a problem when he was younger. My other son is 10 and just got done with his speech therapy this year. He speaks clearly also. It did seem like they each had a language of their own. Speech therapy works wonders. I have realized that this diagnosis is more common now than it was 15 years ago. It does not mean that your child has a learning disability if they get speech thereapy. I am glad that my sons did. Hope this helps. ~L.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.