40 answers

My 18 Month Old Won't Talk!

I took my son to his 18 month check-up yesterday, and talked to the pediatrician about his speech... lack of speech, rather. At 18 months of age, children are supposed to have at least a ten word vocabulary. But my son hardly has three! She suggested that we see a speech therapist. I would agree to have him go to at least one session to find out if there really is anything to worry about. BUT, my husband completely disagrees and thinks he will talk soon enough. He may be right, but I don't want to ignore it completely! He seems pretty smart, we read to him all the time. He will point out anything you ask him about in books, and he understands commands from us. He understands what lots of things are, he just won't talk! There is no problem with his hearing, either. I don't want to seem like a bad parent by refusing to take him to a speech therapist. Although, we don't have a lot of money, but we do have insurance through our work. My husband is mostly worried about the cost to go to a therapist, does anyone know how much they run?? Ugh, I am just not sure what to do!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone for your responses! You all have helped me greatly, and I am going to check out Parents as Teachers. Again, thank you all so much for your advice!

Featured Answers

dont stress over his speech right now. he is not even 2. My son will be 2 in september and he does not have great speech. we started doing baby signs with him and he has his own words for things. I wouldn't do therapy yet until he gets older. My friends son was the same way. Once he hit 2, it was a couple months after, he started talking up a storm. Like i said, he is not even 2 yet. everything will be ok. if he can communicate with you, thats the most important.

We had the same issues with my first son. He was as smart as could be, could point to anything you asked him too, listened very well, etc. etc. Then one day we realized that was the problem... we spoke for him, always. Instead of saying, "what is this?" in a book so that he could say, "Its a puppy" (or whatever) we would always say, "where is the puppy?" and he's point to it and we'd say "Yay!" and he never needed to talk! So what we did was simply try to change the way that we communicated with him and gently started to sort of change gears and let him have the need to be more vocal. Then.... eventually one day we were like, "Geee... remember when he WOULDN'T talk and now he won't stop??!" haha!!! We did take him to a speech therapist much later b/c he was born with a cleft lip and it was offered to us, we went even though we wer certain he no issues, and we were right. Everything was right on track. So, you may want to consider just changing the way you communicate with him and see if you notice a difference.


More Answers

My daughter wasn't talking and I was worried, too. Many people told me not to be so uptight, she would be fine. Turns out, there WAS a problem and had I listened to MY instincts, she could have had help sooner. Much sooner. I'm sorry to sound negative, but I don't want you to have a three year old who isn't talking like I did because everyone told me that I worry too much.

I agree with the other momma's that suggested Parents as Teachers. It's where we started, and we received a pretty comprehensive screening. She was seen by an audiologist, and speech therapist and a resource teacher that specializes in this area. All at no charge (your tax dollars at work!)

Again, I'm sorry if I sound negative and alarmist and I truly hope that everything is okay, but get in touch with PAT and let us know how it works out. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Why not go to the speech therapist evaluation? It can't hurt to go. I've known many parents that had no idea their children had hearing loss & it was found by going to speech therapy. You'd be surprised!

It's better to check out everything out now just in case a hearing loss or other problem is revealed. If it turns out that everything is fine, then great, but at least you know!


2 moms found this helpful

I agree that he should be able to speak a few more words at 18 months, but would not be too concerned until he's closer to age 2. That said, I also agree that you would not be wrong to seek help now. When it comes to issues like this, I believe it's always to better to be pro-active as opposed to reactive!

The other posters have provided excellent resources for seeking help. I have one more thought: you mentioned that you work full-time. Does your son attend a daycare? Is he with other children his age & older? If so, get those staff members involved in this issue. Ask them to encourage his speech. & this would also apply at home, too.

When he wants a drink, have him say "drink", "please", etc.....while you hand him the drink. I actually go as far as describing each of my actions....asking "where are our cups? Do you know where our cups are?"....& waiting for a response. I also say "water", "juice", "milk" & wait for a repeat....encouraging that parroting of my words. I do this with almost all of my interactions, especially diaper time! It's just an everyday, every moment- done without any thought- kind of thing with the children in my care.

On another note, my youngest son did not speak at home until he was two. His vocab was only a few words, & I took him for his 2 y.o. screening thru Parents as 1st Teachers. The staff was amazed at my concern, because my son spoke nonstop throughout the entire testing process! I was astounded!

2 moms found this helpful

You can get free services for your child!
Contact your health dept. or hospital, they should be able direct you to the resources. My oldest son had: physical, occupational & speech therapies for his first 5 years of life. He graduated from the services before kindergarten.
They can come to your house so your child is more comfortable.
As others have mentioned, Parents as Teachers is a great resource. You cna find them by contacting the school district.
If you need help locating these services, please e-mail me!

God bless!

2 moms found this helpful

You have received lots of great advice, and I guess my answer may sound redundant. There are so many resources out there to help with speech delays if you start before he turns 3. I'm normally a wait and see type mom, but since my daughter was diagnosed with autism at 27 months and I saw what a huge difference early intervention makes, I am an advocate for people to at least become aware of what is available.

Parents as teachers is an excellent free resource. You can usually find them through your local school district. They can refer you to first steps or what ever your local service is for children under 3. Every state is required to have some form of early childhood intervention for children under 3. There are usually sliding scales based on income to make the services affordable.

Albert Einstein may not have talked until he was 4, but there are also those who suspect he may have had Aspergers (a high functioning form of autism). Follow your instincts and at least look into some help evaluating if your son needs more services. Good luck, and I hope he starts talking soon.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you have to trust your "Mommy Instinct." If you feel a couple of months won't hurt, then wait, but if you're strongly feeling things aren't right, then get busy asking for more help.

In Missouri, you can participate in Parents as Teachers where educators from your school district visit your home from birth-kindergarten. They don't provide speech evaluations or therapy but it is a way to get another, professional opinion about your child's development and they offer lots of other wonderful strategies. Call you school district to find out more info.

In MO, First Steps provides evaluations and, if child qualifies, therapy from birth until 3 (which in when the school district starts providing). Your child can be referred to First Steps by a doctor, educator (like Parents as Teachers) or a parent. So you could call First Steps directly and ask for an evaluation. This service used to be free but with state budget cuts the last couple of years they are now provided on a sliding fee scale.

With these two services available, there's really no reason to avoid your concerns because of financial worries. In my opinion, it would be better to gain peace of mind than to later regret that you didn't seek help sooner. Research shows that if there is a problem, the earlier intervention is provided, the better off your child is.

I hope this helps, L.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi! My oldest ended up needing speech therapy as well. As it turned out she had earaches (and therefore water in her ears) at all the wrong times during development. By 2 we suspected that she would need therapy (exceeding all milestones with the large exception of speech) and by 2.5 she was in a class 3 days a week. It was nothing that we did - she just wasn't hearing correctly when she needed to so she needed a little extra help learning how to pronounce words correctly.

We found this out using our area parents-as-teachers. They referred us to the district's speech therapy personel who did some tests for us to find the cause as well as to see if she qualified for preschool/therapy - as it turns out she qualified (depends solely on her speech development). So she had 2 full years of therapy totally paid for by the district!

By 18 monthes some kids are really just taking it slow. There's no reason to think that you need to rush out for help right now - it sounds like your son is really just on the mellow side. ;) Definitely check out your district's website though to see if they participate in parents-as-teachers and see if you can get them coming to your home. They'll most likely have all the resources that you'll need, and what they don't have they can point you in the right direction. ;)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,

You seem a very smart and hard working woman and mom!
In my opinion, kids do different things at different times and many are out of the regular or common range, and that does not mean they have a problem. When my kid was 20 mo., I was suggested that he saw a speech therapist, and I decided to wait a little bit more, and interact more with him and talk with him more frequently. we keep playing games, sing songs and participate in playgroups (weekdays or weekends)so he could have the opportunity to interact with other kids and increase his vocabulary. after a while, he could talk a lot, and he became a little parrot (later than other kids, but he did it) Now days, he is bilingual and learning a third foreign language. He love it,a and he has a very rich vocabulary.
So, what I am saying is that may be you want to try do more activities that involve speaking, phonics, sounds, and so forth and wait a little bit more to see what happens. It is nothing wrong to check with a speech therapist, though. I hope this helps you, that was my experience.
Good luck!


1 mom found this helpful

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