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My 2 Yr Old Daugther Is Not Talking

I am really concern about my two yr old daughter. She is not talking at all, there is nothing wrong with her hearing, we had her tested and she passed with flying colors. she bables here and there and she likes to "hhuumm" to herself and that's about it. She doesn't even know how to say "mama" or "papa". When she wants something she just grunts. She likes watching TV and when she wants us to change the channel, she'll go get the remote and put in our hands. When she wants her bottle, she'll pull her dad's hand towards the kitchen. For some reason, she doesn't understand that we want her to repeat what we are saying. She gets really frustrated when I tell her to say "mama" or "papa". The doctor has suggested that we get her evaluated for Autism and referred us to the East Bay Regional Center. I have not started on the Austism application yet. I know I should do this ASAP, but I don't believe that my daugther is autistic because she is really playful, she has great eye contact, she takes direction really well, like when we ask her to close the door or to throw something away. She responds to her name and likes playing with toys (I know I am probably in denial about the possibility of my daughter being austistic). But I have left two messages for the Regional center, and nobody has returned my calls.
I think the problem maybe that my daughter is confused because my in-laws watch her while my husband and I go to work. Since we speak two different languages, I believe my daughter is confused. When she's with my-inlaws, they speak in their native language to her, but when she's home with us, we speak English to her. Also, it be genetic because my husband's cousin, who is a little over 3 yr old,do not talk. I've only heard him say, "papa" and my in-laws told me that my husband's brother didnt know how to talk until he was 3-4 yrs old.
I am so stressed and concerned.. I am starting to blame myself, and starting to think what I did wrong when i was pregnant with her...Any moms out there who have similar experience with their little ones?

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It is true that a child that grows up bilingually develops their speech later. But, this is quite wonderful for her to know 2 languages. It is the best way to become bilingual. My daughter took quite some time to talk. I don't think you should worry if she seems normal in other areas. Just keep talking to her. If she has eye contact, likes to cuddle, and interacts with others I do not think that you have to worry about autism. Good luck!

My friend married a french man and he only speaks french to their kids. Their oldest didn't talk to much a two either. She finally realised that her son was talking but in "baby" french. It took them a little while to realise this. Also if there are two languages being learned it takes them awhile to "catch" on. Don't worry she will soon be putting the two together and you will have a whole new language!! hahaha I wouldn't worry...she is learning two languages...that would be hard on anyone!!

Hi Nancy,
I had the same problem with my oldest and now he talks all the time, lol. I put my son in preschool, and that worked like in a month, going three days a week. My family was all over me to get him tested, and I just did that, and it worked. They get them to talk, it's amazing. Plus she's around other kids that talk and she want to. It's a guarateed thing.

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First of all I would not panic about your daughter being autistic at this point. A couple of things stood out right away when I read about your concerns. First I would say that she seems to be getting her needs met without words. You and your family obviously know what she wants by her signals of "grunts" or pulling you where she wants you to go. Also at the age of two there is little to no need for her to be watching TV. Listening to music, books on tape, reading to her and just talking to her about what she sees around her is key. At this age they comprehend everything you say while their verbal skills are lacking. Don't worry about the multiple lanquages, that is a wonderful asset to her. In my experience, with a degree in child development and a mother of two with over 15 years of experience caring for infants and toddlers, I think your daughter just needs a push. Maybe start her in a toddler program two to three days a week so she can socialize with other children her age and be in an environment geared towards her age group. I'm sure your in - laws love caring for her, and I don't know the situation, but children this age thrive in a stimulating environmnet. Just remember not to give in to her needs without her working for it a bit harder. Say what everything is and model for her how to speak. If she seems to want you to pick up a book or toy repeat multiple times while giving it to her..."book please", "book please". I hope this helps!

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I am so sorry you are going through all of this stress about your daughter. Having two languages does tend to complicate things and can prolong speech production. I am a mom and a bilingual special education teacher for elementary age students. She might also be speech delayed, but it is hard to tell. You could look into having a speech therapist evaluate her, trying to find a bilingual one would be helpful.

The one piece of advice I can give you is that it cannot hurt to have her evaluated for autism. I know it is a very scary concept, but the statistics show that the earlier it is detected and therapy begun the more possibility of helping lessen their characteristics (if that makes sense). I am definitely not saying that your daughter is autistic, but if she ends up being autistic and you waited too long you will never forgive yourself. I work with 3 autistic children (two are 6 and 1 is 5). One boy was diagnosed at 1 1/2 yrs old and has made unbelievable progress and is in a regular education classroom with minimal help. The others were diagnosed at 5 and need significant intervention and 1:1 help.

That is my two cents. DON'T blame yourself!!! Every child has gifts and challenges. Speech just appears to be your daughters challenge. She needs you to keep looking for ways to help her grow. You can try to have her communicate with pictures if she cannot with words. Search on the web for "picture schedules" or PECS or nonverbal communication.

Take care

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I was in the same situation and my daughter is now 8.

She was not talking and flapped her hands and looked off to the side and didn't respond to her name.
We had her hearing checked and she was fine.
Sadly she carried toys around and played a little she said some words and stopped. One sign of autism is that kids do not point at things to share there experience with you.
Madison never ran to open the front door and didn't care about other kids, I remember she stood in a corner at a party and never ran with the other kids.
I was so much in denial and confused I didn't know what to do.
It is SO HARD.
When I called San Andreas Regional Center they would not see my daughter until she was 3 and I waited toooo long.
The best thing is to take her to Childrens Health Counsel in Palo Alto near Stanford.
They are the Experts!!!!
I have been doing this for many years now and know kids can get help early on so don't wait. Get an appointment ASAP!
If she is diagnosed as not autistic you can be relieved and move on with your life and know you went to the best professionals in the country.
My heart is with you and clearly you are a great mom or you wouldn't be concerned.


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Virginia Woolf, likely one of the smartest women to walk this earth scarcely uttered a syllable until she was 3. Try and be patient with your daughter as your impatience will only cause mutual frustration. Attempt to make her ask for things - or at least vocalize for them. I know you are trying that already. Perhaps consider a speech coach before accepting a diagnosis of autism. Children come to things at their own time and in their own way. Autism is being mass diagnosed for many conditions that it does not apply to. If you do think autism is the culprit of your daughter's silence then get her to a specialist to diagnose appropriately. I know you are worried sick but truthfully only time can tell and your patience, love and acceptance are what both you and your daughter need. Good luck and god bless.

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Hi Nancy,

I am no certified expert and your best bet is definately to have her evaluated; my words are just as a mother of two autistic children. My son is almost 6 years old and my daughter just turned 3. I have been dealing with this since my son was 2 as well. I had him in a preschool at first thinking that because he had no one at home to mimick, it would do him good to be around other kids. They at the preschool were the first to agree with me and my gut feeling that something was wrong. Anyways, my advice like I said is to have her evaluated by your pediatrician, regional center ASAP. There is a lot of help out there for her and I can tell you first hand that everything you read about autism telling you that early intervention is crutial is 150% true!!!!

If I had known or been more persistant with my feelings that my son had some type of delay I could have gotten him the help I did my daughter once I noticed signs in her. He would now be in a much better place in his development. Just think it can't hurt any to have her evaluated, but it is a world of difference the sooner you get her help. I know first hand.

Good luck to you and remember to go with what you feel in your heart, even though it hurts to admit it to yourself, we are the number one advocates for our children and as their parents, it's our job to get the best help there is.

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Hi Nancy,

On the bright side, if you did get your child tested now and they were a problem, the regional center could start her in early preschool and solve the problem before kindergarden and your daughter would be all caught up with the other kids. I know this cause my sister works for the regional center so if there is a problem its best to find out sooner than later. They is no harm in getting her tested and if there isn't anything wrong then you would have your mind at ease.


mother of two boys, one 7 months and one 2 1/2 years old

That is a sign of AUTISM...I know I have 2 ASD boys!!!
Talk About Curing Autism. An Introduction For New Parents.

Love, G.. :0)

Please pass it on!!!

If you need more info: ____@____.com
I am a Rescue Angel for www.generationrescue.org
I help parents find the right treatment for their Autistic child!!!

Hi Nancy,

I am an Alternative Health Practitioner and want to share with you that you cannot blame yourself for what is happening. Being a parent is a learning process and your daughter being 2 is in a learning phase. When I first read your note I, too, thought it could be autism. There are different stages of it. From almost functional to non-functional. What I hope you will look into is not giving the vaccines that the traditional medical model suggests. Read up on Autism. I have a goood resource for you if you are interested. I would be patient for a while longer. With the other family members who were late talkers, that may be what is happening. Rather than putting her through traumatic experiences which the tests can do for her, again, wait a while and see how she develops.

I have a good friend who has an autistic child and she is plugged into some really remarkable information. I can also send you her e-mail address if you would like.

I will wait to hear form you before proceding further. I don't want to overwhelm you.


J. Sanders

Dear Nancy,

I am the mother of a 3 year old son who was diagnosed with Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).I know exactly how you are feeling. My son was absolutely normal with everyother developmental milestone with the exception of speech and language. I first played with the idea that something was wrong about 18 months when he had no "words". My pediatrician said " He'll probably be talking by the time he's 2. Don't worry." We'll at his 2 year check up I was very concerned. Still no words. So he referred us to East Bay Regional Center. I had to call everyday for 1 week until I got a response. I had him assessed through EBRC and they were able to put him into an early intervention program.
Now, I too initially hesitated to take him, because to me language was his only issue. After the assessment, they were able to see other areas he needed help in. my suggestion to you, for your own sanity, is to get her in the very least evaluated through EBRC. Maybe she just is confused between the two languages, but if she is in need of early intervention programs, EBRC can help you with that. They can provide you with Speech Therapy and other services if needed free of charge. Once she turns 3, she is no longer eligible for services from EBRC.

My advice is get her assessed, if nothing is wrong, great, she's just late to talk. If she does need services, they can help you get started. The earlier you pick up on things and seek out intervention, the better her chances will be to catch up with a little help.

Good Luck!
J. D.

My daughter is two years 4 months old. We currently have her working with the local educational agency. When they tested her about three months ago they told me that she has the verbal skills of a 6-9 month old. We read to her every night, play with her. I even got out picture cards for her to work with. The frustrating thing is that when tested in other areas she tested above her age level. I know she can talk, but for some reason she just won't. I am very tired of everyone telling me she will talk when she is ready, or that I should not compare her to other kids (or siblings) The siblings do not talk for her, infact thet try to get her to repeat after them. I mentioned siblings because one of my kids in first grade was tested and had the verbal skills of an eightteen old. I keep waiting and hoping that one day she will just decide, hey its cool to talk! Until then I will continue to look for ways to help her and pray!

I also experienced a similar issue with my son. When he was two he also was not talking. He made sounds, but not words, he was very normal in every other way, however. I also was advised to go to the Regional Center. We took him there and was provided (FREE) in-house speech therapy until he was three. He then qualified for speech therapy at the school until he was 5. He is now in Kindergarten and no longer requires speech. He is the top of his class. I truly believe that because of the speech therapy, he is much smarter than if he did not have that one on one attention.

It has been proven that children raised in bilingual households do speak later than those who only speak one language. But in the end they are smarter. It may also be that she doesn't need to talk because she has people to cater to her.

I didn't think that was the case with my son, but looking back, I do think that my daughter would talk for him. He also cried a lot out of frustration. So we would do what we could to soothe him. We practiced sign language to help with this frustration.

I once thought, "oh my gosh, what's wrong with my son, is he autistic?". Now, having gone through this experience, I know that children develop at different times. My son may have been fine with out speech. It may have been his natural progression. But I’m sure glad I had the resources to help him along (maybe a little faster).

I don't personally have any experience, but a good friend of mine had a similar situation with her daughter. She didn't talk at age 2, either. All she did was make animal noises. They had her hearing checked as well, and everything was fine. When she watched "Dora",she always knew which path to take and would point, but never speak. They had her tested for everything, too, but it just turned out that she was a late bloomer.

I think they did enroll her in some speech therapy classes, and it seemed to help. She is now 3 1/2, and is talking - it just took a while.

Every child is different in his/her development, and it is very difficult when yours doesn't reach certain milestones when you think she's supposed to.

Hope this helps!


There is also a form of autism called Asburgers which is a high spectrum autism I believe. Take a look into that. Hope that helps!

Hello Nancy,
Even though I do not have any little children, I do have a nephew who I adore like my own (sister's son) who is almost 2 and does not talk. However, when we ask him to say mama or dada he'll repeat it. My sister has had him checked for autism as well, but like your daughter he is very active and knows exactly what he wants. We've tested him ourselves and have asked him "where's the kitchen" and he will point to it or "Where the cat" he will point to it. Little basic questions. So we think it's not autism. However, my sister did tell me that a speech therapist told her that if he does not begin to expand his vocabulary by the time he is 2 1/2 to definetly begin with speech therapy. Her doctor did tell her that he may be autistic, but honestly we do not think that is so! He is way to active and does repond correctly to basic questions that a normal child his age would understand. She's also had his hearing checked and we've even tested him ourselves by whispering his name or by calling his name a couple feet away. He turns around and smiles. Don't blame yourself. My sister did say that my brother in law also had speech therapy and so did her first son who is now 9. Perhaps it's generic?


While I am not a mother yet (our baby is due in 8 weeks) I was a nanny for several years and one of three children and feel that I can offer some insight. My brother, who is older than me, didn't speak until he was over 3 years old, my parents took him to a hearing specialist and his hearing was fine, as is your daughters. They then took him to a speech therapist and were told that wasn't needed either - he just wasn't ready to speak yet. He didn't have a need for it, then sure enough he did begin to talk and from what my mother says it was full sentences. He just had to take ev everything in, and just in case you were wondering - he is an exceptionally intelleigent man now who teaches Physics.

Seperately, while a nanny for bilingual twins, I learned first hand that children that are being taught two languages take longer to begin talking. They are processing two languages (which is great!) and so it takes a little longer. The mother of said twins had literature on the subject and was completely comfortable at where they were in their language development, as it was considered "normal."

Personally, I think it's great that you daughter is being taught two languages and encourage you to let that continue. You should not blame yourself, most children talk by two but not all, and that's okay. By the time they reach first grade almost all children are on the same level. I would talk to your daughter a lot, describing what you're doing and reading to her but past that I wouldn't try to force her to talk, let her do it at her own pace.

Also, continue to try to have her evaluated, if she has autism, the earlier you begin to work with her the better. And she might just have a mild form of it, since there are certainly varying degrees of the disease.

Good luck and please don't blame yourself, this is no ones fault and it's not good for you or your daughter if you stress over it.

My friend married a french man and he only speaks french to their kids. Their oldest didn't talk to much a two either. She finally realised that her son was talking but in "baby" french. It took them a little while to realise this. Also if there are two languages being learned it takes them awhile to "catch" on. Don't worry she will soon be putting the two together and you will have a whole new language!! hahaha I wouldn't worry...she is learning two languages...that would be hard on anyone!!

I was in your place once when my son also did not speak as well. I think she is confused with the two languages as with my son he is also bilingual. Also some chlidren need more interaction with other children like in a preschool setting. That really broke the barrier for my son he started to talk more. We also had an evaluation done at Children's Hospital but he was not found to be autistic but they found out he had a speech disorder. He is great now he is getting speech therapy at school and is talking up a storm. I think you should get a referral from her doctor to get an evaluation from a specialist before anyone else tells you she is autistic.

Hi - what abour contacting your local school district and have the special ed unit evaluate her. It is VERY odd, for her not to be speaking.

Get her into her normal doctor and start the referral process from there.

Hope that helps

Hi there,
It is really scary when your child isn't talking by two for boys its usually not a red flag until 21/2 to 3 years old. Girls are suppose to talk sooner. Look at several things (You should follow up with what your doctor recommended do the test if she isn't autistic you'll be relived but if she is and its mild she can get services that are needed right a way to help her get on the right track) Other things to look at are, is she working on her gross motor skills (walking, running, throwing) sometimes while they are working on the gross motor skills it delays the language skills but the language skills comes back as soon as the gross motor skills are mastered by the child.

The other thing yes having another language in the household or her caretakers may hinder but def. not delay for long periods of time. She should be at least naming names in the family such as mom dad nana or papa (for grandparents)

But one way to make sure that she is on the right track autistic or not is to learn sign language. We have classes here in Hawaii that can help.This will also help communicate even though there are two languages she is trying to figure out.

I teach sign language for families here in Hawaii and the out come of these classes are so great it keeps me going. I just taught a class with families who have austism down syndrome and other special needs but the out come was they were all able to communicate to each other. Start by you and your family watching TV show on PBS (10) called Signing Time 10:30am you all have to learn the signs so your all on the same page you can sign and use what ever language is comfortable to you but the sign to your daughter will mean the same Bath, food, eat etc.

If you do have further questions please feel free to email me at ____@____.com. I will do my best in helping you get through this.


There could be so many reasons for this, but I thought I would share our experience. My grandson also was not talking or saying any words by the age of 2, although quite obviously he understood. It turns out he has a disorder called verbal apraxia. He has been in speech therapy now since that time, and although he still has difficulty, his speech is now (at age 5) is MUCH more understandable. You can read more about verbal apraxia at http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/apraxia.htm


Hi Nancy,

I am sorry that you are feeling frustrated. I do not have this in common with you but our 22 month old son is learning two languages and it doesn't confuse him what so ever. I think that if we spoke to him only in one language he would be talking better at his age but it all takes time. Now he will say words in Czech to me and words in English to my husband at times. I think for children learning two languages it's absolutely great and plus they are like sponges. I hope this can help you in the bilangual part of your concern. Good luck and keep us updated!

My daughter didn't speak until 27 months, my son until 38 months. Their father didn't speak until 3, too. Many times the children are very analytic and speech is delayed because their little brains are so busy doing other things. Many times, these kids are REALLY smart, way above average. Go and get a book called "The Einstein Syndrome" by Thomas Sowell. It might help a lot and you might see your child in it. Many times there are genetic components. It isn't your fault!!

Lots of kids don't talk at 2, some start at 3 and then never stop talking. Nothing about what you write sounds abnormal to me in light of the fact that your child is hearing 2 different languages and having to integrate all this. What a lot of info to hold!!! and sort and express!!!
If you wanted to find out about developmental issues I would go to an OT who deals just with children.
I had a friend who's child was cared for from infancy by a spanish speaking nanny . Single mom, working career woman. Her son was unintelligible until about 4 years of age. He eventually started to speak very clearly and is extremely intelligent. This is only one anecdote but my point is DON"T STRESS and don't jump to the conclusion that your child has autism under the circumstances. Read about autism and find some good info first if you really want to. Your child is clearly making her needs known just not in spoken language.
You might look at the schwab learning website - Chuck Schwab has a learning disorder.

Have you had her hearing checked??? My brother is going through something similar, and like you they were told to have their almost 2 year old screened for Autism. They repeatedly asked to have her ears checked and each time were told she was fine. Finally they got pushy and DEMANDED the hearing tests and it was discovered that she indeed had a huge amount of fluid buildup that was interfering with her ability to communicate with others. They are still going to have her assessed for autism, but are expecting that once she gets treatment for her ears, there will be rapid improvement in her ability to communicate. If she is making good eye contact, is social, seems to be developing normally in every other sense (physical, social etc,) then I would strongly suggest having her ears checked. The main difference in their story and yours is the family history of having children begin to talk at older ages. Bilingual children can take longer to develop language and if this runs in her family you can perhaps breathe a sigh of relief. Generally unless there are other areas of slowed development a child may just be following their own personal developmental timetable with language. I hope this helps some!

M. R

Good morning Nancy
I can imagine your concerns about your little daughter. Please do not blame you, you are are very caring and loving mother. And you are doing the best you can! Children use language as a communication with the world around them, they use all kind of sounds to imitate sounds they hear, learn how to form and shape words in their mouth. Language is something very complex, creative and important. It could be that she will learn also like her cousin later to talk.
As you describe, she hears ok, as she reacts to your voice, because that would have been maybe one point to check, if she hears good.
I would go to a meeting with your child and see what is best to help her formulate her first words and discover the world of language and communication.
Just to make sure you did all you can, I would try to call again or even go on the website of that place and send an email. Sometimes it helps when your house doctor makes the call, if that place does not respond. I guess they are very busy, like all these places.
I wish you the best and please feel better, you are doing your best.


First of all, let me begin by saying that there is absolutely nothing to blame yourself for. There could be several reasons that your daughter is not speaking that you have mentioned (family history of speech delay, different languages spoken within the home, etc.). I completely understand that you are stressed and concerned about this situation, and I really encourage you to follow through with the autism evaluation through Regional Center If Regional Center is unresponsive, I suggest you contact a local psychologist for a full evaluation. Early intervention is critical for disorders such as autism or speech related disorders. I understand that it is stressful to go through such a process, but the benefits of knowing if your daughter needs some sort of intervention far outweigh the risks. It will also help put your mind at ease to know if something is indeed wrong or not rather than continuing to second guess yourself. Best wishes to you and your family.

I agree that it probably isn't autism, but it never hurts to get her tested anyway. It can also tell you if she has a different disorder.

Has her doctor examined her tongue? One of the problems my son had was a shortened frenulum (the little strip of tissue under the tongue) which made it difficult for him to talk.

She could have elective mutism, or she could just be a late talker. I don't think the 2 languages are a problem. I have students that grew up with 2, 3 or even 4 languages in the home, and they speak fine (it's getting them to shut up that's the trick).

Have her tested, and if they can't find anything wrong, then just try to relax a bit and give her some more time. I wouldn't really worry until closer to kindergarten.

I understand your concern, but I can assure from the experience my 2 nephews. Both of them did not say ONE WORD out side of MaMa & DaDa until they were 4 yrs old. And when they did, it was amazing. It was a complete sentence, "Mama, can I have milk?" WOW HUH???
So rest a little easier today, because tomorrow just may surprise you.
I also want to add that they also were taken care of by their stricly Spanish speaking Grandmother during they day. They understood both languages when they heard it but verbalizing the two can be very difficult for children so young.


I have several friends whose children are learning two languages and they were "late" to talk. I was told that bilingual and trilingual families' children normally talk later because of the dual language assimilation. However, you should definitely follow the advice of your pediatrician and have her tested for autism. Actually it may make you feel better after she tests to find out there is no problem.

Also, if your daughter senses you are stressed out that she is not talking, this can make the problem worse. Make sure that she knows it is ok that she is not talking yet...and that you have confidence she will when she is ready.

I hope all works out well with you!
W. B - mother of two (3.5 yrs and 9 month old.)

Nancy, I know many moms may disagree with me out there, but before you do any testing, get your toddler in a play group or preschool. Get her interacting with other kidsher age and give that some time to get her talking. My sister, my brother, my cousins and I all did not talk till we were 3, and we are all fine. In fact, my brother and one of my cousins were in gifted student programs. Albert Einstein didn't say his first word till he was 3, and there was nothing wrong with him! So many disorders or learning disabilities are being over-diagnosed these days, and kids are being labelled with these disabilities when all they need is some time. Hang in there. Kids in bilingual homes always take longer to talk. My daughter still hasn't said mama or dada and she's 18 months old. But she interacts beautifully, she's affectionate, and she gets her point across. She communicates just fine, she just doesn't use words yet. So, get your daughter interacting with other children, and if you don't see any improvement in 6 or 8 months, then go back to the doctor. But don't stress...

Hi Nancy,
I was equally concerned when my 19 month old wasnt hitting his language milestones so I called my regional center and scheduled for a social worker to come out and evaluate him to have him referred for speech development. IT WAS THE BEST THING WE COULD HAVE DONE FOR HIM. He was enrolled once a week in a 2 hour class where he interacts with other speech delay (or other delay issues) children and within a couple of sessions, I saw improvement, and now 4 months later, he is like a parrot! I truly believe that the exposure to other talking children, the interactive singing and signing etc was the key to unlock that door. The curriculum may seem like any typical day care but the instructors are all specialist who can evaluate him and offer advice to boost your at-home development.
My son stays home with my mother in law while we work and we speak only english but he wasnt talking much because of his tendancy to 'alone' play. He was engulfed in his own world while his dad and I were working. Not to say that she didnt spend time with him, she did, but he really needed more focused interective time so we ramped it up at home and it really made all the difference. It wont happen overnight, but much faster than you would probably expect barring any deeper developmental issues. That being said, the programs are all paid for which was a great releif to us. We are now talking with our case worker about having a speech therapy session at home once a week to work on his articulation, also free! I hope you call today! :)

Hi Nancy,

I think you should get her tested regardless. If it is nothing at least you will know an not worry yourself so much. You will drive yourself crazy with this and then you will be missing precious time with your daughter. Get her tested. There is a great Dr in Sonoma who I highly recommend. His name is Charles DeTorres and he is a Pediatric Dr. Make a call it cant hurt. He
is a Dr with a heart. It is called Sonoma Valley Pediatrics. Good Luck.


It doesn't sound like your daughter is autistic to me either. It wouldn't hurt to have her evaluated. My son is 2 and a half and is just now starting to try to speak words. It is most important that you stop worrying about it. All children feel safe when their parents and other adults around them are calm and collected. She needs to know and feel that you love her just the way she is. She is wonderful! How special that she is able to grow up learning two languages! There are children who don't talk until 3 or 4. Read about Einstein. Listen to your heart and do what you need to in order to put yourself at ease.

Hi Nancy,
It sounds like you have a Crystal child. They are very telepathic so they do not need to talk to get their needs met. You can read more about this in the book by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., "The Crystal Children". I know you will feel much more at ease, and even more blessed to have a child so gifted.
Take care, relax, and enjoy the many blessings this child is bringing you and your family.

I would get her tested for Autism. I have a good friend who has a daughter and her experiences are very similar to yours. Her daughter is a high-functioning Austistic child. There are levels and it is important for you not to live in denial. Your daughter may very well NOT have Austism but it is in her best interests to have her checked. Early detection and intervention is the key so that the child can grow up to be independent. Denial is a detriment to the child, always. Please get her checked and I will pray that there is a negative diagnosis.

You may want to try The Children's Health Council. It's located on Stanford campus. Here's the website: http://www.chconline.org/ Our son was assessed by Dr. Nancy Sullivan and her team of experts. I highly recommend her. You may also want to try contacting Dr. Cheryl Bowers. She is a nuero-psychologist who specializes in assessing children who may have Autism and Autism Spectrum disorders. She's located in Campbell. There are so many degrees of Autism, so don't let it scare you. Your child is young enough that she can really benefit from various programs that these professionals can recommend. The earlier you get a diagnosis the more that can be done.

Please, don't waste any time getting your child assessed. Our son, who is now 15, was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder just a year ago. When I think how much more progress he could have made if this was caught earlier it makes me want to cry. But, we were and still are, constantly fighting the school district to get the appropriate education for him. There are so many programs and organizations out there willing to help, utilize them! At the very least contact Parents Helping Parents. They have a website and they can help point you in the right direction.

Good luck! You can do this!


First let me say, don't be hard on yourself. If there is something wrong, which I'm not saying there is, it sounds like its something that you have no control over. There is no definitive reason for why children are autistic. There are several theories, but nothing anyone can point to conclusively.

I am a speech language pathologist who is familiar with autisim, speech and language difficulties and bilingualism. From your description, it doesn't sound like your daughter is autistic but often this diagnosis can't be confirmed util 3yrs or so. Bilingualism could very well be a reason children speak later. My question would be...Does your daughter have any words in the other language? Typically by age two a child has 50 words or so. It sounds like your daughter has no problem receptively (that is understanding language). Expressively, however, is where the concern is. There are many reasons as to why this may be the case. Does your daughter have an older sibling that speaks/interprets for her? There may be muscle weakness that inhibits the articulation. There are possibilities. The fact that your pediatricain recommended an autism evaluation is significant. However, from your description I feel this is premature. I would recommend a speech language evaluation and go from there. If there is a language delay, early intervention can remediate the problem quickly. Often, young children need a kick start to get going. There may be a genetic component involved too since the three year old cousin isn't speaking either. I would also recommend an evaluation for him. East Bay regional center can do the evaluations for free and they come to your house. They are quite competent and will give you an overall report. From the report you will get a sense of whether you should proceed with the autism evaluation.

Good luck. I hope this helps.


Hi Nancy,
I don't think she's confused, I think she's bilingual! My household is bilingual, papa is German, and my daughter didn't start speaking until at least 6 months after all her little friends. That is perfectly normal! Kids who learn 2 languages (and I use the word "learn" loosely, whatever you want to call it with her foreign gramma) always take a little longer to speak. They need time to absorb and distinguish between the 2 languages. Then one day it will just suddenly click and she will start speaking, first English most likely, and then 6 months after that, she may be able to speak whatever the other language is. My daughter is almost 4 now and speaks perfect English AND German, and can say a few things in Italian and Spanish! That's pretty good for a kid who I thought was "slow" and "behind" when she was still grunting at 2. It doesn't sound to me like she is autistic, although I wouldn't know what to look for. I suppose you should have her checked just to reassure yourself. My Italian friend has an almost 3 yr old girl who is hard of hearing and bilingual and she really can't speak much either. They take her to a speech therapist and he said not to worry or expect much at first. If she is responding to what you say at least you know there is probably nothing really wrong with her. You can start worrying in a year if she still hasn't started talking. Good luck! (And by the way- bilingual kids have a huge advantage later in life! They learn other languages much easier and are statistically smarter!)

Hi Nancy: I know A LOT about this issue. Try to get into your pediatrician for a screening for autism as soon as you can. The good news is, there is a whole lot you can do to help her IF she is diagnosed, and the earlier you start, the better!

Because there is a family history of late-talking, I would really urge you to do this as soon as you can.

E. Horn
Mom to Sophia, 12, who is recovering from ASD
Producer/Director of "Finding the Words", A Film about Children Recovering from Autism,
President of the Autism Recovery Consortium

It is true that a child that grows up bilingually develops their speech later. But, this is quite wonderful for her to know 2 languages. It is the best way to become bilingual. My daughter took quite some time to talk. I don't think you should worry if she seems normal in other areas. Just keep talking to her. If she has eye contact, likes to cuddle, and interacts with others I do not think that you have to worry about autism. Good luck!

I'd go through with the evaluation. If she doesn't have the symptoms they won't diagnose her with autism, however, she can still get speech therapy through them where someone will come to your house and work with her and you and give suggestions on things to help make her talk sooner. My youngest isn't autistic but we went through the regional center because he was speech delayed and up until he turned 3 they gave us speech therapy services in our home. Then when he was 3 the school had to provide it.

Hi Nancy,

I believe you should get her checked out for your own peace of mind. All kids develop differently. But if you are concerned- listen to yourself. Don't blame yourself for what you should/shouldn't have done when you were pregnant. You can't make your baby autistic from in utero. My second piece of advice would be to read, read,read, to her. The more books the better- even if she is not speaking right now- hearing words, listening to how they are put together- picture books etc. She will learn. Good luck to you!

Does she do baby talk? Not necessary understanding words, but babytalk? If so, don't worry, she'll start talking when she's ready. My husband has 2 nephews and they're both slow talkers, one is already 2 years old and 5 months, and still don't talk anything clearly, one started his first word when he was 3. Don't worry about the 2 languages, some how kids understand them both, or she will pick up the native language as her first, since she's w/ your in-law most of the day. Anyway, if she's happy, smiling/laughing, and do babytalk, she's just a slow talker, don't stress out or affraid she has Autism. For Autistic kids, they usually don't understand or communicate w/ you well, and also, they don't smile/laugh or do eye contact. And stop blaming yourself, just love her, talk to her, and enjoy playing with her.

knowledge is power- by not having her evaluated you don't know what to think or do. you may have the eval, give them all of this background info and they may find that she has a speech issue, phonological issue, or language issue- that may be easily worked on with a speach and language or occupational therapist. it is possible that the evaluation shows she is does not have autism- and if she does, she can benefit from early intervention, the earlier the better. many children with autism can function in ways that make the diagnosis confusing-- please seek professional help. i am a mom of 2 kids and a mental health professional who works with young children, and i see this allt he time.

My little girl did not speak either until she was fully 2 years old. I was having her hearing tested, etc. and everything was OK. I live in Hawaii, and there is a state agency that offers services free of charge to all children less than 3 years old for any "delay" that you should be concerned with. Find out what the agency is called where you live (in Hawaii it is called Imua) and call them right away. There is lots of paperwork and procedural evaluations to schedule, so it may take a couple of months to find out what services she may qualify for. I had a very positive experience with them. They came to my home for therapy sessions, and my daughter really liked it, because they make it very play-oriented and fun. You may need to pay for services or get them through DOE after she turns 3, depending on what services she is receiving.

With my daughter, she just had not "decided" to talk yet. As she grows older, (she is in Kindergarten now) I have learned that she is a bit of a perfectionist, and will observe things before trying them until she is sure that she will get it right. Speaking was just her first "big milestone" that she wanted to be sure and get right.

Hang in there mom. I know you will get her the help she needs. Don't be afraid of the labels that they give her either. If they classify her as "autistic" then you are eligible to receive a HUGE number of services, reimbursement for diapers, babysitting time, etc. And I have found that the tendency is to err on the side of caution with young children. So they may over-classify her to get her more services at an early age, which is what you want. Chances are, she will outgrow any delays that she is showing, but you may as well put our tax dollars to work and get your daughter the boost that she needs to help her develop.

My grandson is just starting to talk and he is 31 months. Now he is like a parrot and is repeating everything. He is being raised in a bi-langual home and is learning both languages. That will make them slightly speech delayed but it is a huge benefit that they are learning two languages. We have some books in our native language for him. Learning two languages comes natural for the little ones. Once grown it takes a lot more effort to learn a second language.
One thing that really helped us when he was not speaking is to learn a few simple signs like for milk, more, thank you, etc.

Our grandson has some other issues as well as being speech delayed. He was evaluated by North Bay Regional Center here in Santa Rosa http://www.nbrc.net/ for early intervention services.

we are in the same situation ... my almost 20 months old son made the same , he is not talking yet , same when he wants the bottle or something that he wants he put the hand towards the kitchen and says "hhuumm" . but the difference is that, he dont like watch tv, He is not interested at all , but he only says "mama , papa, Amber(sister name)& hello" and I dont think he is confuse , cuz we only speak spanish in home, im concerned too cuz my almost 5 years daughter start to talking at 5 months old at 7 months she speaking too much words , his doctor says , we have to wait more ... but that worries me ,but like u I don't believe that my son is autistic The only problem we have with him is that .

I have heard that when children are exposed to 2 different languages it sometimes takes them longer to talk. She obviously understands you. So I wouldn't think you should worry too much. That being said, I would still keep trying to contact the center your Dr. referred you to, or call your Dr. for a different referral if they do not get back to you. Also, you mentioned she likes to watch TV...studies have shown slowed development in children who watch too much TV. I believe the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends NO TV until they are 2, and then extremely limited in content and then not every day. I know that can make things more challenging for you, I have 2 children myself. If it is playing any role in affecting her development, you may want to explore it.

I wish you all the best with your little one.

I am a pre-school teacher of children starting at age 18mos. Many of the children are not speaking much, however, some are speaking a lot. We find that much of a child's language development depends on their environment. The verbal skills of the child care providers and their level of understanding of the importance of verbal development has a lot of influence on the child's language development. The dual language could also delay development. Sometimes grandparents, in over nurturing, hinder the maturation of the child. My suggestion would be to get an assessment done, consider a child care center so that your child will be exposed to other children of similar age, and don't place blame anywhere. Getting caught up in blame will only divert the attention that your child should be receiving. Good luck and enjoy your child.

Wow, there are a lot of repsonses here so not sure how many of them you'll get to. I used to work w/kids w/disabilities & a good chunk of them had autism. Based on my experience I'd say that autism is a slim possiblity for your daughter. Because parents are more aware there are a lot more kids getting diagnosed w/autism but don't be too quick to jump to that conclusion. Unless, does she have any compulsive behaviors? Say, opening & shutting doors over & over or flicking her hands in front of her eyes, flipping over cars & spinning tires or other similar behaviors? I think the 2 languages play a big factor in her talking. Does she repeat you at all? Kids this age are absolute parrots & should be repeating a lot. Our son is now 2.5 yrs but at about 18 months or so I got a bit worried cuz he barely said anything either & wasn't repeating at all. So, we went to East Bay Regional Center (we love in El Cerrito) to have him assessed. He has a slight language delay & now receives speech therapy at home 1 hr/wk. Another mom suggested the school district but they aren't really an option yet. Your ped & any medical person will refer you to the Reg. Ctr. And, yes, they are s--l--o--w to return calls. Just keep trying & make sure you state in your message the day you've called & how many times you've called. Kids can receive free services thru the Reg. Ctr as long as they go to public preschool & grade school etc. Since our son is going to private preschool, he'll only get services thru them til he turns 3yrs. So, keep calling Reg. Ctr. Does your daughter take any classes or spend time around other talking kids? We enrolled our son in preschool this Fall almost a year earlier than planned due to his lang. delay & since he started, his speech has improved immensely! If possible, maybe you can get your daughter enrolled in a daycare or preschool situation a couple of times a week & join some classes....music, gym, anything to get her around talking kids. Maybe you could find one in the language that your in-laws speak to her. Try your local YMCA. Classes there are usually very reasonably priced. Please do not blame yourself ehre! Just keep being proactive & calling to get your daughter assessed. Hope this helps & good luck!

Speaking two languages at home will delay her speech. I don't think you have anything to worry about. I think you're right about her being confused. My son was a late talker and he has trouble making eye contact. He's slow to warm to people BUT once he's comfortable with you, he's pretty normal except for less eye contact than most. When he started school they tested him for autism. He is not although he has some minor characteristics of it. A large number of very bright children have a few autistic characteristics. Heck, my husband and I also have a few of these characteristics. My son is now 8 and in a special ed class (for a language processing problem) and all I hear from his teachers is how smart he is. Get her tested just so you have the information on hand. You can never have too much information.

No, it's not you. I had the same reaction and starting going over everything I ate. Was it something I did? No, our society has a weird way of looking at people who fall outside the norm. I'll bet you that your child will test in the very gifted range. Mine did. People outside the norm have a different way of looking at things and solve problems in unique ways. My son is 8 and very happy. He has friends and is slowly making his way. You can tell he has a problem processing language but other than that, he's fine. Most importantly, his friends and classmates have accepted him for who he is. He's happy and functioning and that makes me very happy. Hang in there! Get information, test her and then watch her bloom! It'll happen.

(11 and 2 1/2 yr girls, 8 yr boy)

Hi Nancy, It must be a little bit stressful for you, but before your mind starts going to crazy places, I would keep calling (the squeaky wheel gets the grease) for an autism evaluation, just to know that you did then move on. That is the most important thing. It is true that some children don't speak for a long time (Albert Einstein was a "late" talker!) From what I know about language development (I was a special ed teacher before children) two languages in the family shouldn't impact the development that much. My son (now 4) spoke very little until just after 2, and now he won't stop! Hope everything work out, but I would call that autism center or the Children's Health Council in Palo Alto (don't have the number). Best of luck, C.

Hi Nancy,

You need to get your daughter checked out for autism, it is important, her humming may be stemming, you need to see if she rocks side to side or front to back. I am working with a student who is 12 years old, and does not speak, you can teach her to lip read, and to sign, this will help her in the future. Do not blame yourself, it is not your fault. About speaking both languages, my daughter who is 8 spoke the native language first, and learned her second language. Try going to a speech pathologist, they can pinpoint what needs to be done. If your daughter does have autism, embrace it, do not deny it. If you embrace it, you can help her more and be a better mother.

I would not wait on the referral to the Regional Center. As stressful as it may seem, your 2 year old should be talking by now. While it is true, she may not be with Autism, your toddler has a language delay based on what you have shared. I am a school psychologist and have worked with a language based program for years and I can tell you the notable improvements with early intervention. Irregardless of what the diagnosis is, ultimately what you want is for your daughter to speak. Unfortunately, one way to have your daughter receive intervention and services is through an evaluation process. I don't believe that it is confusion over two languages. I have a 2 1/2 year old and 1 year old who are exposed to two languages. My toddler is able to communicate verbally in both languages, though it did take him longer to do so. From what I have read and gathered by consulting with speech pathologists, is that exposure to a second language will usually result in a six-month lag in language. Therefore, your daughter really should be speaking single words at the very least. I am not trying to stress you out but rather encourage you to at least obtain additional information so that you can put your mind at ease and make informed decisions.

My son was shy of 3 years old before learning to talk. His hearing was also okay, but just before 3, he started with 5 words and increased to 5 word sentences by the end of the next 2 weeks. He was a busy body then and maybe too busy to speak! He's now a non-stop talker and playing the lead role in the class play. It doesn't hurt to have children evaluated when there are delays but know it there are no conclusions, it can be normal. A two language family can have a small delay in speech and may be your answer here too. No matter what happens, don't blame yourself. If you can focus your energy on solutions to the problem, it's best. Best of luck!

I'm a teacher, I don't specialize in special needs, or early childhood, I'm just a plain ol' elementary school teacher. While I was reading this, my first thought was Autism, until I got to the part about the two languages. Does she talk when she is at your in-laws? It could very well be that she is confused. She is still very young, and is hearing 2 different languages spoken to her all the time. Although having her learn 2 languages will be very beneficial to her in the future, it may not be the best thing right now if she is having trouble speaking in general. Don't blame yourself. Even if it is Autism, it sounds like it would be very low on the spectrum, which means she could be very high functioning. I would still try and get her tested, but don't worry too much about it. Dont let it consume you. I know that's easier said than done. Try having everyone speak the same language to her, preferable English, since I'm assuming she will go to a Californian public school, and she will need English. Even though my first thought was Autism, I still do think that the two languages have something to do with it. And remember, if it is autism, Autistic children are very bright wonderful children, and many go on to live completely normal lives. The boss at my old job was on the spectrum of autism, and he was married, with children, and the director of a special education school. I'm not an expert, so I could be completely wrong. This is just what I thought when I read your entry. Good luck and I hope everything works out.

I have four children, my youngest is three almost four and he is just starting to talk, I was in denial too. He is not autistic just delayed and has some sensory issues, I think I stayed in denial because he was my last one and I thought he let's everyone talk for him. So right before he turned three, I contacted our Early intervention program and had them come to my home so they could do an evaluation. It was painless and quite quick. He is now in a speech program twice a week for two hours and he has been progressing slowly but everyday seems to say a little more. Don't be afraid, in your heart if you feel like it isn't right then just check to see what kind of resources are available. I now see other mom's who have children who are delayed and it is nice to know I'm not alone. By the way services are free. My son gets to go to school with really great teachers that specialize in delays and occupational therapy and its free..Good luck and keep trying.

Nancy, first of all, as moms we have a great capacity for guilt, I understand how you feel.. but, it isn't something you did or didn't do. From what I'm reading, you're a wonderful mom; the degree of your concern is just one proof of that....

Second, from what you are describing, I feel that your little girl is fine -- she's just on her own time table. My son was growing up with 2 languages, and from my experience I can say that it does delay speech. I think, there's just more to absorb. When he was around 18-24m, he had maybe 1-2 "words" (half-words, really); he babbled, but in his own "language"; he also granted a lot... I really think that since she obviously understands you very well, babbles, plays and relates well to people around her, and generally sounds like a happy and bright little girl -- she's fine.

Also, I think, I read somewhere that when a child is focused on one new skill, he or she may put others on hold...

However, if you are still concerned, I've heard that there's a way to get child speech therapy, I believe, it may be offered by the state. A friend had her little girl attend those sessions a few years back, and she was very happy.

One of my very good friends didn't start talking until he was over three years old, nearly four. When he did start he just flew into it. Complete sentences. None of this one new word a day crap.

He's amazing and smart. If it's electronic, he can command it. He built himself a "wearable computer" that makes him look like a Ghostbuster when he's all suited up, but I digress.

Every baby is different. If she's 10 and still mute... then you've got a problem, but it won't be the worst thing that could happen to a person.

I knew a girl in school who never talked. She communicated with shy smiles and head shakes and nods. She got A's on all her tests but she would just turn beet red and lower her head when the teacher would call on her. One day in junior high she just started talking. She did it when she was ready. I bet she was a Chatty Cathy at home with her family but just had trouble in school.

I'll repeat again. Every person is different.

Sometimes I feel bad because my daughter is nearly 15 months and she doesn't tolerate most solid foods. I give her all sorts of different things and textures but she has such a sensitive gag reflex and such a preference for her bottle I don't feel like forcing her to eat what she's not ready to eat even though the doctors and all the "specialists" make me feel like a bad parent for not forcing the issue to stick to some average arc of development.

Screw that. I'm sick of worrying about crap that I don't need to be worrying about. When my daughter is 16, I have no doubt that she'll be eating pizza and all sorts of other foods that she won't eat now so there's no sense in forcing the issue.

Same with the talking. Just have lots of monologs with your daughter. Talk to her about things as you do them. You'll get sick of your own voice but it's all education for her.

And don't worry. She'll talk. And as soon as she starts you’ll be wondering what the hell you were thinking and longing for the days when she was oh so quiet.

I understand how worried and frightened you are. Our daughter was delayed with just about everything (walking, talking). Like your doctor and the other Moms have said, get her to Regional Center and let them start working with her. Once you know what's wrong and start working towards helping her you will feel sooooo much better. Good luck

Good grief, go easy on yourself. Lots of kids don't talk by the time they are 2 years old. Your doctor should be telling you that if the child is learning more than one language, then it sometimes takes them longer. My daughter did not talk really until 2 1/2. She had about 5-10 words at 2 1/4 and then suddently at 2 1/2 she just started taking off. She almost started in sentences and then her teachers in preschool were telling me how advanced her vocabulary was. She is now 4 and will not stop talking! If your daughter is not exhibiting other symptoms of autism then you are probably fine to just wait and be patient a little longer. We put so much pressure on our kids so young. She will get there, I'm sure. At least give her until she is 2 1/4. In fact, at our pediatrician's they stopped the practise of seeing kids at 2, and started seeing them at 2 1/4 for this very reason. They were finding that a lot of kids were not talking by 2, but by 2 1/4 they were starting to pick up some words.

I hear you. It is challenging to have a kid that does not appear to be like all the other children.

Getting her tested at the Regional Center is a great idea - it will help alleviate your fears if nothing else. My son had language issues and getting him tested thoroughly did detect a hearing loss, though not one that the normal school tests could show. For him it meant that he could hear some, but not all of what we were saying.

He ended up with tubes and then later having his tonsils removed and those things have worked amazingly well with his speech and language issues.

They EBRC is great at doing testing for children, so is the Ann Martin Center in Oakland. In fact if you want to talk more about this, drop me a note. I've been all through the IEP process and dealt with teasting and school districts and so on.

I do want to say that difference is not inherently bad. I've known plenty of children who don't talk immediately who've grown into fine human beings. there could be lots of reasons that she's not talking - none of them autism. But if you don't get tested, the only thing you can do is worry. And that doesn't help anyone as far as I can tell (I know I've been all through it).

I urge you to have your daughter assessed by contacting the principal of your local elementary district school. Just find out how she is and write her a letter requesting that your daughter to be fully checked. The process is fast. Two weeks later you'd be contact at no cost to you. My story is similar to your. The sooner you tackled the problem - if some is found - the better your child will respond to any intervention that may be necessary for her to have a normal development.

Early intervention is the KEY to any successfull story of developmental delays. Don't be afraid to check to have her check. Most of the time these kids just need some specialized help and your local schools is where you should go first even if she is not at school age. Also check your REGIONAL CENTER. These are State organizations that also help kids that need early intervention

Good luck
Mom who had been there.

You should let a specialized professional evaluation your daughter to determine the reason for her behavior. When a child has autism is it not determined by if she is playful or not. I know you all ready left message for the Regional Center and they do not returnd your call, the next best thing is actually go to the regional center and speak with someone reagarding your concers and to schedule and appointment. If you go to the regional center someone has to see you. You have to be persistant to your childs needs.

My son is three and still isn't talking, he was diagnosed mildly autistic because he, like your daughter exhibits the same behavior. Good eye contact, affectionate, follows some instructions well, etc. Although, girls are rarely autistic it does happen and it's better to have your kids evaluated just to be sure that it's either autism or just a developmental delay due to any external or internal causes such as it running in the family where many talk later than sooner. One thing to say is don't blame yourself it's just something that happens. Blaming yourself just brings you unwanted stress and blame where it shouldn't because there really is no one to blame. Doing so won't let you focus on what you need to do to help your child. Also, hearing two languages spoken to her is a good thing, she'll be bilingual and it will open her mind to understanding more.

You definitely should get her evaluated right away. There are many variations of autism, that's why they call it the autism spectrum. My little neighbor was similarly diagnosed when he was 2, and with speech and language therapy, he is a bright, happy, successful 5th grade student with lots of friends. Even if it's not some variation of autism, there are lots of things that can be done, and the earlier the better, to help her develop language so she can reach her full potential. Communication skills are so important in every aspect of life, it will open the doors to so much. Don't be afraid, you will get a lot of help from other mothers who are going through the same thing. And information is a great weapon, be fierce in the battle to get your precious daughter everything she needs. Keep calling and keep insisting on help. You have done nothing wrong, it is not your fault, it's what is. I can see that you love your daughter so much, that love will give you the strength to fight anything that comes your way,
G. Gay


Honestly, focus less on your feelings (failure, blame) and put that energy and concern more on your daughter's welfare. Explore every avenue that could answer all of your questions. Take her to a specialist, FIND OUT NOW, so you can provide her the appropriate care and excercises that she needs during these years where she is still developing. My friends son speaks English and Spanish fluently, and is now learning German and he has talked since before he was two (he's 3 now).

If there is one thing to accept is that ALL children are different. Don't compare, that will only put up obstacles and put your personal feelings aside so you can think more clearly. This is your child, she needs you to focus on her. Be patient, get flash cards, read books, by a leapfrog learning toy (anything with words) and take her off a bottle and give her a little more independence. Bottles and coddling tend to keep babies in that frame of mind.

Resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_spectrum

Good luck and just love her no matter what!

Don't worry about it so much. I think I would be flabbergasted by two languages coming at me at once, as well.

1) Make sure her hearing is good thru your pediatrition if you haven't already

2) Kids learn differently. My first son started speaking before he was a year old, and never shut up though a lot was single word and repeated words. My younger son did not speak much until he was close to three and then it was in perfect sentences.

3) Account for other signs of communication. My older needed words because he did not have a huge range of other communication skills...Crying worked but it didn't give enough info and he wasnt the warm and fuzzy type...he needed to talk. My younger son had laughter, funny faces, cuddling, hand holding, giggles...lots of tools to communicate with.

If the kid is ok and healthy, all things happen in time.

Good luck

Mom with 2 very ok Teens.

I have a 21/2 year old son and he is talking now but started late, he goes to daycare everyday and she only speaks spanish to him. I only speak english to him. they say a child learning two languages is usually delayed when starting to speak but there is no harm in that. it is better for their brain development to learn to languages and later on will be very beneficial for learning other tasks. He is behind other children but all of a sudden he has become very vocal. My cousing did not bother to speak until he was about 3 or 31/2 and when he did he spoke complete sentences. I think some children are more cautious and thier little brains are working really hard to make sense of it all before trying something. does she hesitate when trying other new things? She might just be very analytical and really want things to be perfect before going for it. Just be patient but you should get her tested she might be mildly autistic.

My friend raised her child in a bi-lingual home. He did not start talking unitl he was 3 but I am not sure if that included "mama" and "papa". My son is being raised with two languages. He is 2 and 4 months. He has quite a vocabulary but we read to him a lot in both languages. Do you read a lot to him? Books have expanded my son's vocabulary quite a bit. Also, I point to everything and say the word slowly and tell him to repeat it. Don't get frustrated because then she will too and then she will regress more. Don't make speaking a chore but something that is fun and exciting. You can also try rewarding her with a treat if she does say a word. I hope that she does nto have auticism but if she does you might want to look into the new book by Jenny Mcarthy. They are curing kids with this disease through diet alone. You would need to start this special diet right away but I know children that are having fantastic results because of it. Good luck to you and your child.

Hi Nancy...

I'm sure this is all together a very hard time for you. I know when our babies aren't following a normal path of development we question so many things and ultimately begin to blame ourselves. First let me say, dont blame yourself..things happen that we have no control over. Now that I've said that..go through your list of possibilities for her not speaking and check one thing off at a time tilll you eventually find something.

I'd say go the medical route and get their opinions..if they believe she should be tested for Autism then maybe you should just go for the test. Easyier said than done, I know becuase there are alot of misconceptions about Autism, but there are over 100 types of Autism and you never know. For years my neice was not talking and we had no idea what could be wrong cause she did everything else in a normal manner. We had cat scans, MRI's, spech evals, hearing tests... In her case it did turn out she had a type of Autism. There isnt anything wrong with getting it checked off your list as a possibility.

You are right as the dual language thing could realy be confusing her..I'd imagine it rally could be hard for a 2 year old to kep up. Maybe haveth in-laws start speaking english and if not possible then maybe a English speaking nanny may become an option.

It also could be as simple as when she wants something she never has to ask for it cause everyone figures it out before she has to say what it is she wants. Try testing her..when she points or gestures for something Tell her what it is she is asking for and hesitate before you do it so she gets frustrated and wants you to get it for her faster..kep saying what it is she wants out loud and hopefully she will start putting words to her actuions.

Either way Good luck and I hope it works out..botom line if all else fails you did say there is family who hadn't talked till late in childhood maybe it will just happen one day.

Hi Nancy.
At 2 years old, your daughter should have some words. I was in the same situation with my daughter too. I wasn't worried about her intelligence; she was/is very smart. She just wouldn't speak! We made an appointment with the Golden Gate Regional Center (I'm assuming you are in the East Bay, I'm not sure they deal with the East Bay, but they could certainly recommend their equivalent there. Perhaps it is the East Bay Regional Center you mention.)
It did take a few weeks to get them to call back, but once they did and we got the ball rolling, it goes relatively quickly. It is a free federally sponsored program, run locally.
Our daughter has been in speech therapy once a week since her second birthday. It will expire when she turns 3. She can still get help, but it will be through a different agency.
I have heard that children who are learning 2 languages can have a speech delay. I think it is wonderful that your child is being exposed to 2 languages. In my opinion, a speech delay is worth it to have your child speak fluently in 2 languages when she does speak. That's only my opinion, though, and not backed by scientific facts, etc.
Don't worry too much. Call the Regional Center again, and continue to do what you are doing. I think you are doing the right thing by being concerned, but try not to worry too much. I knew that my daughter wasn't autistic either, but I also sensed that she needed therapy. Like my mother-in-law told me, worse case scenario is that nothing is wrong and you've eased your mind.
Good luck.

Hi there Nancy. I am a parent educator and preschool teacher working with a 2 year old class. If you were one of my parents I would be pulling in our director and setting up evaluations. Simply because, even though the most likely thing is that your son is simply on a slower track with language development (probably influenced too by the dual language issues), we would want to rule out anything more involved that might need early intervention. Plus, getting an evaluation would put your mind at ease.

If you were in my classroom, one of the things I would be looking for in your son is how his development is in other areas -- fine and gross motor skills (scribbling, building with blocks, trying super simple peg puzzles, sandbox, climbing, running, etc.), responding to music, looking at picture books together, etc. What I usually find is that a child who is lagging in one area, is shooting ahead in some other area. Or is otherwise expressing their awareness of and engagement with the environment and other people.

But we would want to rule out anything deeper going on. First because as parents we always feel better know we're doing all we can do, and giving our kids the best leg up on life. Second, kids who have information processing disorders, autism spectrum issues, and etc. do much better with early intervention. In fact, the sooner we start, the better they do.

Don't freeze up! :-)

As far as dealing with the Regional Center, you need to be the sweeky wheel. Definately get her evaulated. I have 3 special needs children I am adopting and my experience has been you almost have to be annoying to get things done. They are extemily overloaded at the Regional Center.

Also just keep talking to her like you would anyone else. She will respond when she is ready. Have you tried using sign language as a way to communicate with her? I am teaching basic signs to our 2 infants. It might help her feel empowered.

Hi Nancy,
I had a son who didn't talk early. He turned out to be a very analytical and musical son, who needed to assemble his first words into a first paragraph! He has an amazing vocabulary now...something I didn't think would happen when he wasn't talking at 3.

I am now a college instructor of infant and toddler development. There is growing research on bilingual families that indicates an almost universal need for more time as the child learns to "hardwire" his brain for two languages. K-12 schools are quick to hold back the child who is slow to speak, not realizing sometimes that developmentally, the child is setting up his brain for a richer linguistic experience in his future. It takes time. Relax and enjoy this time. Use the 5 second rule...give the child at least 5 seconds to respond. Avoid jumping in and answering for him. And decide what his primary language will be. It seems to be best if the child learns first all the nuances and meaning of one language, and then builds a second language.

Go ahead and be tested for autism, just to have a baseline. It's an interesting process! You seem to have good instincts, and I predict your son will be just fine. Lose the anxiety by learning more about the fascinating process of language acquisition. Go the the PITC website (Program for Infant Toddler Care) and learn more about development and get some great online web connections. Best of luck to you! A. H

My son didn't start really talking until he was about 2 1/2 almost 3 years. We were worried as well. The doctor even wanted to get him a speech thearpist. My husband was against it because he felt our son would talk in time. I remember when we were up at my mother's he said cookie for the first time to her and never said it again until much later. I first put him in a home daycare at about age 18 or 19 months and when he wanted something he would say ME. The daycare provider didn't like it much, but that was my son's communication at the time. When my son was 2 years I put him in a private preschool/daycare and in time he started to talk a little bit at a time. He is 4 now and talks up a storm so try not to worry about it. Take Care!

well at her age she should know more than just a few words. It would not hurt to get her evaulated just to see if there is something wrong with her or not. You knows she may not have autism but she could have something else. And the person who is evaluating her may tell you that two langs could be the big key for her to pick up some words. Just give it a try and if nothing is going on with her then at least you can be happy about it all. But you may want to see if your in laws can speak to her with one main lang... if not you may have to get someone else to watch her just in case if that is the cause of her not able to pick up more words. wish u luck!

Hi Nancy,

Your daughter sounds exactly the same as my daughter, who is Autistic. She was diagnosed in January just before her 2nd birthday (she turned 2 in March). The only difference between our daughters, from what you explained, is that my daughter DID have three words, mama, dada, and nite nite, and then lost them. She is now non-verbal, although we go to speech therapy every week, and we are working on that.

My daughter is VERY lovable, likes to cuddle, smiles a lot, makes good eye contact, is happy, takes direction very well, her receptive language is excellent, she understands everything you tell her, but her expressive language is very poor. She does the same things your daughter does, pulls me to show me what she wants, give us things (i.e. the television remote, empty sippy cup, etc.) when she wants something, etc.

I HIGHLY recommend you keep calling the Regional Center, EVERY DAY, THREE TIMES A DAY until you get in touch with someone. Early intervention is VERY important, and the sooner you get her some help, the better it will be for her and you as well.

Don't be in denial. Just get the help you need. And don't blame yourself, or feel guilty or any of that. I know it's easier said than done, but there is nothing that you can do to change what is. Accept it, and move on with making things better. It's a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end.

It really scares me when I see some of the responses and the misinformation that is out there. Yes, a child CAN be diagnosed as Autistic before the age of three. They are now diagnosing them as early as 1 year of age, and younger! My daughter was formally diagnosed at 21 months old. The sooner you can get a program started for her, the better.

It sounds from your description (only because your daughter sounds exactly like mine from your description) that your daughter may be High Functioning Autistic, which is what the specialists told me about my daughter. They told me not to expect anything less than for her to graduate from High School and go to College. But the sooner you get her intervention, the better it will be for her.

Follow your instincts and get her checked. Speak with your pediatrician AND the Regional Center. We got signed up with the regional center before our daughter was formally diagnosed, and it was a big help, because it took 3 months to actually get the appointment at the Santa Teresa Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders in San Jose.

I live in the North bay, which doesn't look like it's very close to you, but please email me if you'd like to talk more. I will be happy to help you through your emotions. I have gone through it, and am still going through it. It's always nice to have someone in a similar situation to go through it with together.

All my best,
L. Shoop

Please go have your daugther tested for Being Autistic. There are so many diffrent levels. If you go get her the help now they will provide speech for her.My son is a High Funcation Autistic and he is doing really good now because I got the help for him early


There are a few factors that could be contributing to your daughter's language development. First of all, you sound like a great mom and as hard as it might be, try not to blame yourself for anything that is going on with your little girl. There is nothing positive that blaming yourself will bring.

Secondly, a true diagnosis of autism cannot be made until a child is at least 3 years old, unless there are obvious signs such as lack of eye contact, arm flapping, obsessive fixations (such as with spinning objects)and no speech.

Unfortunately, my nephew who is autistic and has gone through the Regional Center has not received prompt attention either, so it might be how they operate. However, I have studied autism (I have my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy) and although I have not seen your daughter, it doesn't sound like her behavior is autistic. I do have to say that my sister (whose son is autistic) had NO idea that her son was autistic and she honestly believed that he was developing normally because she wasn't educated about the signs. Read about it and honestly look at your daughter's behavior, if any of it rings a bell- denial will only delay the treatment that can make a huge difference with these kids. Check out the Autism Speaks site for more info:

I have known children who did not speak until they were almost 5, especially when they are exposed to multiple languages. If you think about it, this makes sense. Learning a new language is hard enough, but to have to figure out which language is which is even more confusing!

Another cause of language delay is emotional trauma. I don't know if your daughter has experienced any emotional trauma, but it can cause significant delays.

If your daughter does in fact fall on the Autistic Spectrum, there is a great article on the Responsible Family website about autism at: http://responsiblefamily.com/blog/health/diagnosed-on-the...

Hang in there, 2 years old is still early yet. She might have some learning or speech delays, so if the Regional Center is not responding, in the meantime, see if the pediatrician can recommend a good speech therapist and make an appointment for an assessment. If nothing else, it might put your mind at ease! Your daughter is lucky to have such a caring mom! Good luck.

I have seen 2 and 3 year olds that didn't speak as they were being spoken to in 2 different languages. It's a wonderful gift that you are exposing your daughter to two languages. Maybe she prefers to speak in her second language, not English. Although I do not have this experience firsthand, I wish you all the best.

Unfortunatly most people don't know there are varing degrees of Autism because all they hear about are the most severe cases. I would have your Daughter tested ASAP just rule it out and if it turns out she has mild autism with a little help she should be fine. From what you've said she sounds like any other 2 yr. old she may just be a late talker. Try not to get to upset or frustrated your Daughter can sense that and it will only upset her too and make it that much harder. She may just need a little speech therapy, lots of children require some from of speech therapy in thier lives. Good luck I hope this info will help a little please keep me posted on her progress.

im not a mom, but I got laid off recently and I am a stay at home dad now. My son is almost 2 and my situation is almost the same, as far as not speaking hardly at all even the in laws speaking a different language. Our doctor said not to worry because our son shows great understanding like what to do with the remote or putting keys in the door. He also tested my son for fluid behind the ears. He said this is actually the main cause of children speaking later. They can have fluid and hear fine. He past the fluid test and is making great progress due to the program, Your Baby Can Read. Since doing this program an hour every other day he went from saying nothing to saying about 20 words in a matter of 2 weeks. I suggest you give it a try. Good luck

Hi Nancy.
I have a 2 year old boy. He doesn't talk. I took him to a psychology in Mexico, because I was so worried. She check him, make me a lot of question and told me that she doesn't believed he has a problem. She mention that when kids live in home where two languages are spoken, they took more time to talk (I speak in Spanish to him, and my husband in English). First they are learning and trying to decodificate the languages, and then they will speak. My mom told my I didn't speak a word until I was three... (I'm perfectly normal) So, don't worry. Take her to the doctor or specialist, so they can evaluate her, and wait a couple more months. Every child develop different.

Hi Nancy, There is a wonderful program funded by the state called Tri counties Regional Center in ventura county. It is a program that helps children under 3yrs of age. They have infant specialists that can detect social disorders, speech therapysts, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy etc... I'm sure your daughter's Pediatrician would be able to give you the phone number. If they can't help you i'm sure they can reffer you to someone who can. I'm not suprised that your pediatrician hasn't referred you there already. I had a simalar situation w/my son but his issue was not verbal it was physical I kept insisting something wasn't right but they kept telling me that all children develop at different times and to just give it time until they finally reffered me to Tri-Counties Regional center where they did several evaluations and found out he has a type of Muscle Myopathy, Which is still not a clear Diagnosis but at least he is getiing help. just keep being persistant. From my experience usually when a parent feels something is not right with their child they're usually right. It's better to be safe than sorry. My son just started walking before his 2nd birthday and still has a real tough time crawling. but i feel that if I wouldn't have pushed for the testing and been consistant with all of his therapy he would probably be doing a lot worse. I wish you luck and hope this info could help.

I am a child care provider,have been for 28 years. I have had several children over the years that for what ever reason have started to talk later than most. I had a boy that was three before he said a word. Then when he turned three he spoke every word perfectly. Do not stress, What ever it is it is not your fault and blame is not important. She will be as fine as you make it. It is not bad to be slow or different. You be strong and she will be strong. There may not be a problem, so do not make it hard on either one of you, and if it is a problem be strong, she will be fine with what ever it is if you are.
Best of luck to you both A.

Hi Nancy,
First let me start by saying denial is a normal feeling for any parent that is faced with the possibility of something being wrong with their child. I am speaking from experience that blaming yourself does not help anything or will change the situation. My son was diagnosed with Asperger (a form of autism) when he was 4 and we just went through a full evaluation with my youngest son to see if he was austic and I have spent many sleepless nights blaming myself.
As for your daughter there could be a number of things. It could be she is a late bloomer with talking. Also the 2 languages spoken could be a major factor. Austism could also be an issue.
Most importantly is to get a meeting set up with the regional center. If they don't call you back, keep calling. Everyday if you have to. My experience with my regional center is that there are so many cases and not enough workers to handle them. If it is austism, early intervention is a must!
On a lighter note, I have to say in my experience I have seen so many wonderful, healthy, loving, children who have autism. My life has been blessed by my son and I have come to see the world in a whole new way. Believe me when I say everything will be okay. Just remember that she is your little angel and no matter what they love you share will get you through anything.

Good luck and my prayers are with you.

i am responding for support. we have three kids, and any thing that's 'off' cuts so deep in our hearts! here's what i know:
1.i know that children exposed to several languages speak, that cannot be the problem. in fact, they are shown to be more advanced later on!
2.i know that kids pick their own time to enter and complete a phase (sitting up, standing, potty training, talking, etc..)no matter how fast we want them to go!
3.the fact that your child communicates her wishes, makes eye contact, snuggles, etc. is VERY good..
4.it doesn't hurt to have your child checked for autism. there are so many versions.
i checked out a site on speech delay, and it could very well be just that, a speech delay! the site advizes to take your child to speech therapy, and that these kids usually catch up to their peers. it even states that some kids catch up with their speech on their own, without intervention! they warn against doing nothing, because you can't tell in advance if your child outgrows it themselves..
here's the site: http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/welcome/conditions/speechd...

here's a site on autism: http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/welcome/conditions/autism....

something to consider might also be any nutritional allergies.
good luck!

While I certainly cannot say for sure there's nothing wrong, I will say that it really doesn't sound like there's a problem. The clue about the different languages spoken is the biggest key to me. I know situations of families who raised their children with 2-3 languages, and I have often heard that the child hardly spoke until about age 3, when it all came pouring out. She is likely just sorting it all out. The other thing is that while it's certainly fun, and easier, to have a child who's verbal early, not speaking early doesn't necessarily indicate there's a problem. My nephew hardly had any words until about 3, and was very frustrated with his self expression, which meant he had quite a temper. He's now 5, quite verbal, reading at a 6th grade level, and a very sweet boy.
Mostly, I think your doctor is just doing what he/she thinks ought to be done from the super-insurance-policy mind frame, and that she's probably fine, and that now, poor thing, you've got yourself worried sick and thinking you're doing something wrong. You've been avoiding the testing because you don't want to hear some bad news… but it's possible that you could go into the testing with the intention of putting your mind at ease, trusting what you know about your daughter and her well-being. Even though it might not actually be necessary, it seems like just going ahead and doing it might help you some, since by now you've gotten to such a place of worry about it. I hope you find some ease and some good news, and find your way back to yourself in all this.

Hi Nancy... I can sure relate to your worry. But it's probably just a speech delay like my middle son who is otherwise perfectly normal. The earlier the better to get her evaluated at the Regional Center. That's where we went too. He had speech therapy for about a year and now we are at Ramona Elementary Preschool (speech emphasis)It's free and so far seems wonderful. My son is four now. He's talking a ton but needs help with pronunciation. The only way to alleviate some of the worry is to start taking action. Don't blame yourself. We Moms can't control these things but we can sure take advantage of the available resources when needed. Good luck! K.

My nephew wasn't talking either when he was little. His dad spoke to him in Spanish and his mom in English. When he wouldn't talk my sister made her husband stop talking to him in Spanish until he learned English. I did read an article that by the time a child is 5 they can be bilingual. It wouldn't hurt to have her checked for autism, there seem to be so many autistic children now days. I do know if she does have autism the sooner she gets help the better off she will be.

What you are feeling is normal. I so relate.

And if two languages in the environment. It delays it I learned from two different professionals (school director and speech therapist's director)

The daycare or preschool helps tons to pick it up.

You didn't do anything wrong. I think the parent(s) are harder on themselves than the kids when it relates to the kids. I would try to remind myself not to be hard on myself if it is related to our son.

My brother and nephew didn't speak much until they were three. They were both observant just like my son. Observes things. You can see the wheels of his brain working. :)

Every kid is different. We tend to follow society's child development track to the dot.

My son's now three and hes thriving. last night he said another new sentence "where is it" on his own and we were amazed. Looking back, we were being too hard on ourselves and being worrysome. We did have the speech therapist and preschool. We did have a hard time thinking if preschool would be too much for our 2 1/2 year old. But he LOVES it, one sunday he would walk toward school. They do lots of crafts, singing, dance, storytime and playtime.

I think in general, it is harder for the parents than the children to make decisions like that. We were so used to make decisions for the couple. Etc. The preschool was the first major decision for our son and his future. We felt we made the right decision. If it wasn't we would have one less day etc or tweak it.

We did have plenty of playdates but the structure (circle time) of the school helps. He is a very busy little boy.

Just follow your guts and instincts on what is best for your little one.

Each of my four children talked, walked, and progressed individually. My daughter talked, did everything before she was a year old, but didn't walk until almost 18 months. Sometimes children communicate in different ways and don't talk because they don't have to. Others do it for them. Just like every child learns to read at their own speed or becomes potty trained when they want to be regardless of parent pressure, talking clicks in all of a sudden. If you relax and stop feeling guilty, all of sudden she may surprise you!

Have you asked your doctor about apraxia of speech? It's treated with a speech apthologist and usually the arlier the better.

Yes! My son is three, and has what has been called a "profound isolated speech delay". We're still going to go for another autism screening just in case, but overall it seems that there is just some little short-circuit between his brain and his mouth.

He has been going to speech therapy for a couple months now, and we've seen some improvement just in that short time! Also, he just started the special needs preschool program in our school district; hopefully, we'll be telling him, "Look, will you just...BE QUIET FOR A MINUTE?!" soon. :)

Keep your chin up, Nancy! Personally, I don't think there is any such thing as "normal" for children. There is "average", there is "typical", but every child has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Keep on Regional, don't let them ignore you! The earlier you get started, the better the results - whether it's autism or speech delay or inner ear infection.

Dear N., It's always difficult to make that first step towards finding out if something is seriously wrong with our children, but the sooner you receive information about what's going on with your daughter (might be nothing) the sooner she will receive services. Contact your local regional center or your local Resource and Referral. They will provide you with all the information you need to make that first step. You can do it and there's a lot of support available to you in your community. Good luck to you and your family, N. C.

My son had the same problem. We went throught t he same worries (it's awful) about autism and what not. If your daughter is playful, if she can make good eye contact, if she is capable of affection, if she seems aware of her surroundings, and if she doesn't flap her hands, get her sight totally fixated on something forgetting about where she is or if she doesn't seem overly obsessed with arranging and rearranging t oys in a certain way, she's probably just late in speaking.
I would have her evaluated just in case.
Our son did end up having a language disorder, he is four years old now and he speaks fine but he still sometimes struggles with proper sentence formation in conversations, but it's something that can be dealt with through speech therapy.
My guess is your daughter is totally fine (kids from multilingual homes do speak later) and she will start speaking when she's ready.


It's scary being a mom isn't it? I was worried about my son's progress at two as well. I called the local school district. I think they can test after age 3, but will refer you to the Regional Center if your child is younger than 3. I'm not sure if that is the same as the one you are referring to. It took a while for them to call me back, too. Try calling them back again - make sure you get in touch with them before mid December as they are on the same schedule as the schools and will probably take a three week break. If anything, the testing can show that your daughter is not autistic and relieve you of that worry. If it is something else, they can provide early intervention, so your child can be successful later in life. Once your child is enrolled in a program, she will continue through the school district until they determine she's ready to continue without therapy.
I'm very sure you didn't do anything wrong during pregnancy or after. In showing your concern for your daughter, you are a very loving mother. Your daughter is lucky to have you. Best wishes & I'll keep you in my prayers!

My first suggestion would be TURN OFF the TV. There really is no reason a child this young should be watching tv. The research shows that language acquisition is achieved and promoted by the child's primary caretaker. A study recently was released it went something like this....for every hour that a child watches so called "educational" programming, ie Baby Einstein etc...., that a child's vocab is 6-8 words less than a child who does not watch the same hour and spends that hour with a primary caretaker.

Basically, our children are genetically wired to learn language. All children develop at different rates....the best way to increase language acquisition is to talk with you baby!

Don't worry...chances are your daughter is NOT autistic. I have 29 month old twin boys who started talking VERY late. They are speech delayed NOT autistic, I think there is such a quick diagnosis for Autism more and more these days everyone is so worried about the rise in cases, however many children in bi-lingual households (as in a friend of mine) have children who are delayed in speech, mainly due to the confusion of the child as to which language they are to speak. The Regional Center here in San Diego told her to only speak English until her twins get more lingual and then start the 2nd language!!

Don't worry....your daughter is fine, from everything you described she is happy and healthy, enroll her in Regional (I did) it really has helped.
Also, get her in pre-school (my boys start in Jan), they say that will help them pick up their speech from other kids much faster than if they stay at home!!

Good luck...don't worry!
Merry Christmas!!



I'm sure you did not cause this issue by something you did while you were pregnant. I have two friends who had similar issues with their sons, and each took her kid to a speach therapist. It has worked in one case, and the other is still early on, though her son is starting to sign. He hears fine, but he needs to understand that he makes a specific request and then gets a response, so he is using signs for now. Next they'll move to words. He has something called apraxia? Anyway, I highly doubt your daughter is confused by the two language thing. Lots of kids grow up bilingual. Perhaps you and your DH should try not giving your DD what she wants a couple of times (with the TV perhaps?) so that, if she can actually speak, she has the motivation to do so. I've heard of that working. Sometimes parents are too good at anticipating what a child wants, and speaking becomes unneccesary. Most importantly, and I cannot stress this enough, you must take your child to be evaluated for autism immediately if that is what her doc recommended. They actually call autism "autism spectrum disorder" these days because there is such a large range in severity of symptoms. Early intervention is CRITICAL and can help immensely. Autism Speaks might be a good resource for you if you want to get some info. From what you say, it does not sound as though your DD has severe autism, but she might have a less severe case. Denial is where you could do something wrong and hurt your child, which clearly you don't want to do. Sorry to be harsh, but stop looking for some phantom reason from pregnancy and allow the docs to figure out what is actually going on. The earlier a child is diagnosed, the more that specialists can do to help her. You can be in denial all you want, but it won't change reality. I know that is easy for me to say, but I have a chronic disease (physical -- could eventually take away my ability to walk, see, etc.), and I sometimes I hear people in my doc's waiting room saying that they don't want to find out if they have the disease. While I understand the fear, I don't understand what good denial does. I always respond that I'm glad I know about my disease because now I know what to do to treat what is going on and keep things from getting worse. Ignorance is not bliss. Please follow your pediatrician's advice right away. She might not have autism spectrum disorder, but if she does, not seeing a specialist will not change that fact. It will only hurt her chances of having the best life possible. Please, for your daughter's sake, do not let your fears get in the way of her well being.


Fill out the Autism application. You are most likely right, your daughter doesn't have autism, but let the East Bay Regional Center tell you that. They may say,"well,autism is not her problem she just verbally delayed in her language skills and this is what we are going to do for her. Then she will get the help needed and you and her dad can relax.

Hi Nancy,
I feel your stress! I've been through it too. Please stop blaming yourself!!!! It's not your fault, and it's not because you work. Regional Center may be able to help you even if your daughter is not autistic or on the autism spectrum. They can help kids who are speech delayed and it can be a huge help (and the services are free, which is so helpful.) They might be able to provide speech therapy to help your daughter talk. Regional Center can also fund a program called "More than Words" which helps parents communicate with their kids who are speech delayed. (That class is for parents rather than the kids.) Anther good resource is C3. Also, the thing that really got my son talking is Music Therapy. He LOVES it. To him it's just the chance to sing and play and do music but he has picked up so much language from it. We go to Coast Music Therapy, which is in the Mira Mesa area. (Regional Center doesn't fund that for us, though.)
Best of luck,

It is really important to follow through with the Regional Center as they will provide you with resources if, following their evaluation of your daughter, they determine that she has any delays in her development like in her speech/language or socially. Try not to let the dr's discussion of possible autism prevent you from following through. It is SO scary to consider the possibility that your child is not developing as she should, but there are many possible explanations for why her language development could be delayed. Autism is only one of them. Prior to the age of three, children get early intervention through the Regional Center which could include speech/language therapy, infant stimulation, and/or specialized preschool placements. Children who receive early intervention services tend to respond and improve quite obviously and getting her services as soon as possible is critical as the younger these services start the greater the possibility that children can improve. As for the Regional Center not returning your calls, unfortunately, that is very often the case. You have to be VERY persistent in getting through to them and getting them to respond to your requests. Let me assure you that it will be SO worth it in the end. Best of luck to you and your daughter. I know it's often very difficult to avoid blaming yourself, but in my experience, there is often no particular explanation for why kids develop problems. The only thing we know for sure is that early interventions can often improve kids' functioning dramatically. Take care.

Hi Nancy,
My experience with this is that I have a 16 year old son, with Autism. If your duahgther would be helped by some therapy for any other problem, you would do it in a minute.
I can tell you care very much and have taken some steps to find out how to help her. Please have your Pediatrician check her. Many are learning about these issues and are better at identifying them, autism, learning disorders, language issues, etc. Go into the Regional Center yourself and make an appointment if they won't call you back.
You could look on line for support groups in your area and contact a parent in your neighborhood, believe me they know who to go to.
Mainly, we know that early therapy helps the most, but she may be confused with 2 languages, that must be changed.I have a friend that had that happen with her son, using one language made a huge difference and lots of speech therapy, play therapy, and interaction. Don't let your family tell you what to do for your child. You are in charge!! You know best!! Be positive and love her like crazy, she needs you to intercede for her.
My son is quite affected and yet he has a full range of emotions, he functions well in the community and plays with toys and loves to be around other people. But when he was little like your daughter, he couldn't look at us and tell us what he needed, or used us to get what he wanted.
You have some work ahead of you to help your daughter make progress and she will!!! Follow your gut and keep doing what is right.
I was going to remove this from my email, because I thought it would be for mom's little kids. I'm glad I read your question. I hope it helped to encourage you to go forward and not be afraid. Big deal if she doesn't need more that a year of speech therapy to kick start her language, right? If she needs more??? you will be ahead of the game! Take care, D. H

Hi Nancy,

I'm in no way a professional, but I do know that babies that are learning 2 languages at the same time are usually slower than ones learning only one. However, after they get up to speed with both languages, they learn other things much quicker.

I know my husband (#4 of 4) didn't talk until after he was 3. Have you taken her to your pediatrician?

Oh! please Nancy take it easy! If you think that she is interacting very well and that she understands everything, do not worry. She will speak. Kids have different times. Do not give her things that easy. When she wants something do not give it to her that quickly. My sister has a 3 year old and does not speak yet, she will do. Please, take it easy!!! And if you tel me that she is always hearing different languages, of course she will take more time to express herself.
Hope this help you!


I have a son who is not talking at two, before that I had two daughters who wouldn't shut up at this age! My son talks but isn't using sentences. As a child psychologist, I was happy to see you provide so much information in your post. There could be several problems with your daughter, or none at all. Let's address it.
1. She could be not "confused but taking her time to express language because of the two languages she is learning simultaneously...when she begins to speak language she will be bilingual, she currrently processes in two languages.
2 However, mama and papa are universal, she could be delayed in expressive language as it sounds like it isn't uncommon in your family (husbands side)
3. She could be autism spectrum, which you don't express as clearly in your email but your pediatrician may suspect. There are variations of autism, she may be high functioning.

Advice- When she points, use the word- you want mommy to turn the telivision? Do it then repeat what you did, encourage her to use her words, and reward her with praise for each thing she says even if it isn't perfect.
-Don't stress because she may feel you frustration and become frustrated.
- Get her to the reional center, their services are free for children under three, they rarely take children for help after 3 for speech therapy, which can be verrry expensive, get her evaluated to rule out any problems now, the sooner you get her treated the easier it will be on everyone.

I have a two year old who also dosent speak and we belong to Regional of the North Bay.She gets speach services.I would move fast with the paper work and stay on it, since they are pretty slow. It would be good to know now while is young. and if it is something not so simple you will have alot of support. When she starts school at 3 or 5 she will have all of the services in place. If it is only speach she needs you will have a wait for a speach teacher since there are many around.I have been a foster parent for 12 years and worked with Reagonal and California Children Services I cant stress to parents on benifits of early intervention. You would be suprized how the kids open up after a few classes.
Another good thing to do is go to the book store and pick up a book on The American Sigh Lanague but get on for her age noverable and verble kids love tho sigh

There are stories in every family about so-and-so who did not talk until age 3. However, it is critical to get a child evaluated for any speech-related problems asap, because the earlier the problem is treated, the better the outcome. Remember autism is not the only diagnosis that would explain a child not talking. There is just plain old speech delay and lots of other diagnoses. My son had fine motor delay and has been greatly helped by therapy, and I relate to how you are blaming yourself - I did the same thing - "why didn't I color more with him" etc. etc. - but really these things tend to be genetic. Keep your focus on helping him and get him in to be evaluated. Also another point - I am not familiar with the East Bay Regional Center but if it is a state-funded facility, it is probably understaffed and overloaded. If your finances permit, you might want to get a 2nd referral from your pediatrician to a private office specializing in that type of evaluation.

Oh Nancy, please don't blame yourself! You sound like a loving, caring mother and there is nothing you did wrong! I hope everything turns out well with your daughter. It's good to check her our for autism aybe your daughter is exceptionally smart. :) I was told my husband started talking late but his first words formed a complete sentence. He was just absorbing for a long time and talked when he was good and ready. He went on to get a PhD from Caltech and is brilliant! :)

Oh wow... I'm already getting the run around about my son (18months) not talking yet. We attend a weekly adult school class for toddlers and parents. I asked the teacher if I have any reason to be concerned at this point. My son doesn't make noises like "ba ba" for any objects like a ball or bottle (he's not been bottle fed though.) But I do a lot of sign language with him and he signs a lot.... maybe five or more signs that he really uses and knows well. I thought I might be hindering his speech with the signs but the teacher said no - to keep signing. And that all kids just come into speech at different points. She said anywhere between 18-24 months is totally normal. However, with two different languages being spoken - I think that can slow the speech down especially if the child will learn to speak both. (which in my opinion is better in the long run - I wish we were bilingual!) Is there a local adult school where you live? The one I attend has free speech testing for kids up to age 3. (I think because after that you can get it at elementary schools.) That would my first place to start before getting the autism test. Like you said, maybe you are in denial with not wanting the test, but it might also be your gut telling you that's not the problem. Either way, I wish you luck and hope that it all works out.

Try Regional Center again. They helped my friend's son by providing some speech therapy and now he is talking more and more every day. Bilingual children often speak later, but it's worth it by far in the end. Good luck!

Hi Nancy,
I had the same problem with my oldest and now he talks all the time, lol. I put my son in preschool, and that worked like in a month, going three days a week. My family was all over me to get him tested, and I just did that, and it worked. They get them to talk, it's amazing. Plus she's around other kids that talk and she want to. It's a guarateed thing.

I don't think she sounds autistic. I also don't think she is confused by the two languages, since my two kids both said mama and papa by 9-10 months, and my family only speaks english, while my husbands family speaks spanish, and in the house here, we speak both back and forth all day. Don't stress, just keep working on her speech with her, and have your MIL do the same, in whatever language she speaks, and your daughter will eventually pick it up. I would fill out the form and talk to the autism people about it, because they may have some tips and suggestions for what could be going on, and some possible speech classes she may join. Good luck.

I would be very concerned. Contact Alta California Regional and your local Special Education in your school district. If they give you grief, remind them that your daughter is covered under the First Five Act and the No Child Left Behind Act. Push for it. Here in Sacramento we have a great school system and Alta California has been a life saver for us. Also try contacting Warm Line. Here is Warm Line's web link http://www.warmlinefrc.org/. Here is Alta California's http://www.altaregional.org/. Paste the link into your web browser for more information. Good luck and remember you did nothing wrong - while pregnant or otherwise. My oldest was adopted at 22 months and it took us over a year of in home therapy and now a communicatively handicapped class at our local school district, but he is talking up a storm and we are getting ready for kindergarten next year! Push for help and do not blame yourself. Good luck!


There is documentation that several geniuses did not talk until they were four... the famous archetect, Bucky Fuller is one of them.

My experience with children learning two languages is very positive. And it may be a big challenge to your child. Be patient and use your words to assure your child that is OK.
Let her see you talking both languages and enjoying it.

A family I know were French and German. They spoke at home to each other with the wife peaking German to the husband, the husband speaking in French to the Mom and when the three of them were togerther, they spoke in English. Their boy learned all three. He has a very agile mind, even brilliant. My grandcgildren are bi lingual and the 6 year old has an extremely good ear for sounds - she is motivated and interested in learning mote languages.

Remember many children are not proficient speakers at 2 or 3. Park your concerns and enjoy the gift that rwo languages can bring.

LIz Wertheim, Maui

Hi Nancy,

As you've probably heard from other moms, every child starts talking at different ages, so try not to worry. If her doctor isn't too worried, then try not to worry yourself. That said, if you have a feeling that something is really wrong, then you should trust your gut and get a second opinion.

My nephew did not start speaking until he was 4. He's 5 now and has a big vocabulary. We can't always understand him because he speaks so quickly, but it is clear that he's had all of these words the whole time, but just didn't know how to use them until now. Once he was in preschool, he really started using language more and more.

Is your daughter in any sort of preschool program where she's around other children? That really seemed to be the changing point.

Hang in there and try not to worry to much. Trust your instincts. Your daughter will be fine and before you know it, she'll talking your ear off!


Dear Nancy! Please do not blame yourself for this! My son turned 2 on NOV 4th and he still can only say "no" everything else is "da" We too just went and got his hearing tested...also passed with flying colors. And we also took him to the speech therapist. She said that he is fine...he points, understands and does what you ask, good eye contact...and so on! She said that with some kids it just takes time. She also mentioned that when they turn 4 and their still not talking...that's when you need to be concerned a little more. Not now at age 2. So please just let it pass...she will come around! My first son was a late talker too so I have already been through it once.


Hi Nancy. I am by no means an expert in this (not a speech language pathologist). However, when I was doing grad work in linguistics, I studied language development in bilingual children. Also, my nephew is going through the same thing (though not bilingual): delayed productive speech. It seems as though your daughter's "receptive speech" (i.e. comprehension) is just fine. Does she follow two-step instructions ok? Sounds like it. But her "productive speech" (actual talking) is not coming along. It's great that she's growing up with two languages. We now know (unlike a generation ago) that bilingualism is a great thing for any child's intellect and long-term development. However, lots of bilingual kids start speaking a little later than mono-lingual ones. Imagine sorting out two completely different language systems before your third birthday - amazing!

What my sis-in-law did with my nephew was get a speech-language pathologist appointment just after his second birthday. He was doing a lot of what your daughter does: pointing at what he wanted, saying "Hmmmm" or "Hmmm?" (depending on the purpose of the hmmmm) and getting things and putting them in his mum's hand. The s-l p gave them a number of exercises to do, although mostly she told his mum and dad to change their pattern of talking to their son. Ask fewer yes/no questions and start asking ones where he is required to answer with words. This all happened only a few months ago and he's already putting two and three word phrases together. Also, we all know that TV does absolutely nothing for productive speech, right? Without getting into a debate about TV viewing (I am totally against it for any child under three - my daughter is 2y3m and wathces zero tv), perhaps she could watch a little less and instead sit down and read some books that require her to lift flaps and say what she sees (for e.g.). Start asking her a lot of "What's that?" kind of questions. As for the autism thing, it's good that you're concerned. That was my first concern with my nephew too. Does your daughter have speech delay PLUS unusual behaviours such as tics, obsessive-compulsive behaviours? If so, I'd be even more concerned. I'd definitely follow through on the autism assessment, more for peace of mind than anything else. And I'd get a s-l pathologist's assessment asap. If you do what the speech language person suggests, and follow some simple advice about changing the way you communicate with your daughter, you should find a big change in no time. BAck home, in Canada, the speech people wouldn't see my nephew (age restrictions), so my s-i-l made an appointment with someone "off the books". It really gave her peace of mind and a jumping off point for improving my nephew's language. You may have to do it that way too. i.e. pay for an assessment and then follow through on your own at home. Good luck.
K. in EC

One of my brother's did not start talking until well after two years of age. When he was ready to speak, it was according to his plans. He not only spoke in complete sentences, but whole paragraphs of information came forth. Yes, he was very late by comparison to other kids his age, but he waited until he could really verbalize what he needed to. He has done very well in school both academically and socially and even was class president in high school. He is also a member of MENSA (higher than average intelligence). It is possible that your child may also be taking her time to 'figure it all out' before she opens her mouth. Continue watching her development before you get overly critical with yourself and her. If you are feeling that what she does isn't OK, she can feel that and may be even more hesitant to express herself verbally.

Hi Nancy,
Try not to worry too much at this point. It sounds very much like my experience with my daughter. She was not saying any words by 18 months and I was concerned about the delay. We had her assessed at the East Bay Regional Center. She had a basic speech delay, receptive only, not cognitive. They offered speech therapy once per week in our home which we did and by 24 months, she was babbling away and saying lots of words. Anyway, she just turned 6 and you would never know that there was any speech delay at all. We'll never know, I suppose, if the speech therapy really helped or if she would have developed on her own at her own pace but in any case, we figured it couldn't hurt and it turned out great.
Good luck and don't worry yet, it may just be her natural development cycle.

Really, Don't Worry! Unless you notice signs that your daughter is not responsive to verbal cues or social interaction your daughter will catch on to language skills. As you know learning 2 languages at the same time is a great advantage but may slow her down a bit in the beginning. My husband spoke very few words when he was 2 and now he speaks 3 languages fluently!
Enjoy your baby girl,

First of all Autism is not something a child is born with. So if she is in fact Autistic the last thing you want to start doing is playing the blame game. It is crucial that you find out as soon as possible and get into some therapy including for speech and other exercises to encourage healthy growth in the right direction.

My little sister is thriteen now and as you explained some of the things your child does, it reminded me a lot of her when she was only two. She's autistic, and frankly, even as a teen has made very little progress over the years about communicating.

it took my dad and her mother a long time to accept that something about her was "different." And as a result they neglected to find out what the problem really was and get a handle on it until she was almost four years old. This meant that all the efforts to try and assist her in developing came late, and made it more difficult and extremely exhausting to get her to talk to us. I don't live that close to them, but it urks me to this day that I think they could be doing more.

I was in an elevator at Kaiser with another autistic girl, and was amazed at her speech and comprehension. Just goes to show how many different levels of Autism there are, and what different efforts and therapy can do.

The other thing is you may want to ask your in-laws to speak English for now. And you may also want to try and encourage normal speech by following every request for the remote or a bottle with words and making her repeat them. At least "please" and "thank you" for a start. Then you can try more like actual phrases to ask for things. "Can I have it..." repetetive stuff at first to get her going, then get specific at time goes on.

Do not "baby talk" her ever. I constantly get compliments on my childrens' vocabulary, diction, and enunciation. I speak to them like little people and in turn they speak back to me the same way.

This is absolutely normal for a child in a bilingual environment. Don't stress. Don't blame yourself. It is not a bad thing. She is processing it all in her mind and it will be a HUGE benefit to her later in life. Get her assessed if it will make you feel better, but beware that autism is being overdiagnosed these days. Follow your own instincts, Mom.

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