13 Month Old Doesn't Talk Much

Updated on April 08, 2013
C.G. asks from Buffalo, NY
17 answers


Being a first time I am getting concerned about the speech of my nearly 13 month old boy. He had uttered around 5 words when he was 10 months old and then stopped using them. He just says nana, dada, tata, akka now and doesn't know to associate them with us. He had a good sense of identification for the same words when he was 10 months old but not now.He doesn't point when asked. But very rarely he himself will point and say aight( light) and an(fan). This makes me assume that he atleast knows things but doesn't point . He just looks at things when asked. for ex: when asked where is mommy he just see me but doesn't point. He doesn't understand basic commands like go and get your ball etc. when asked with hand gesture he would give me the ball but if it is in his hand. He is just trying to stand on his own but didn't start walking yet. His play sense is good for his age. He imitates well like holding a phone next to his ear and say aaa. takes the remotes and points to a/c as if he is truning on the a/c.

He makes a good eye contact and looks at my mouth if i am trying to teach him some word. Also wanted to amke a note that he still didn't use the consonants p, b, m. I believe thease are the ones a baby first starts with.

Just wanted to know if he is having a speech delay. Any mommies who is experiencing the same. I had him evaluated at 12 months with a neuro physcologist and he said that he doesn't fall under autism but is delayed in speech and asked us to get him back for eveluation at 15 months. Please give me your inputs as they would really help me alot.

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So What Happened?

Thank you Mom2many and B. Do I have to worry about his pointing because it is considered as a milestone for a 13 month old

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answers from Minneapolis on

my son walked at 9 months, said only a few words till 15 months. He had about 5 words total till 24 months. After his 2nd birthday it all came into play, and now he talks non stop. The only thing that worries me is that he has a possible lisp.

They want to see him saying a certain amount of words, but if they see him understand more, rather than talk they wont be that concerned. They will watch him closer though, than other children, and its also an indication you may need to work with him more.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Neither of my kids uttered a single coherent word until they were 15 mos. And even then, it was 2-3 words or sounds for words...not the "recommended 10-15" they should have by whatever the milestone is.

Now, I can't get them to shut up.
Language will really pick up between 18-24 mos, and then STRONGLY ramp up...as in sentences, after 24 mos.
No need to worry about a delay yet. If he's not getting chattier by 2 yrs, then you may want to have him evaluated.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Boise on

Perfectly normal, and I hate the guidelines for when a baby talks. If you did a poll I bet you would find that the average is around 2, and usually after the age of two it just takes off.

My oldest had severe speech delay, and said nothing till he was 4/5. kids # 2, 3, 4, and 5 were right around two. Maybe a word here or there by they time they were 18 months, but not much. Child #6 was 20 months or so when his speech took off, and #8 was 17/18 months...and neither of them are ever quite, but they are the exception when it comes to speech.

Trust me, your little one is not delayed.


No to the pointing, some figure it out early and others take a while. My #7 couldn't get off his back till he was 18 months or so, way behind the milestone age range, but eventually he did it. It was really funny and for a while we called him turtle boy. Didn't want him to move, lay him on his back lol

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Mine didn't speak until 16 months old. He was busy doing other things. In his case, he was an early walker (8 months). Yours is growing in other areas - you said he has a good play sense, imitates well, and so on. He's probably not doing things he did at 10 months because a) he's already mastered those skills, even if he doesn't use them all the time and b) he's focused on what you are trying to teach him to do, like say certain words.

It's possibly he is speech-delayed, but it's just as possible that he's developing other skills and will get to the speech later on. I found, with my son, that I anticipated his every need so well that he really didn't have to speak anyway. The doctor said that usually kids with significant problems are delayed in more than one area, but that she would have him evaluated at 18 months if he still wasn't talking. At 16 months, he was pointing and sort of grunting, and I got sick of it - I said with frustration, "Whatever you want in this world, you can have, if you just stop that annoying noise." Lo and behold, he announced "Cookie" - which was in the cabinet he was pointing to. He never stopped talking after that, and moved quickly into 2-word and 3-word sequences. He's now extremely articulate.

I guess I would suggest to try to stop TEACHING him and just let him grow up and develop in his own sequence. Don't anticipate his every move, don't ask him to give you too many things or do things on your command. I think it's good to start teaching skills like "clean up" but really scale it to his age. Let him model your behavior by showing him how you put 1 toy in the toy bin and see if he can pick up another toy and do it. It's not so much to get him to "perform" but to begin early with modeling desirable behaviors, like tidying up. But again, keep it very age-appropriate.

It's really not unusual for a 13 month old not to speak or walk. He'll get there. I would try to expose him to as many activities as possible - get him outside in nature, and let him play in the dirt and pick up a rock. Take him to a playground and let him go in the baby swing and start to climb on some of the equipment. Take him to a children's museum and let him explore textures and shapes. Go to the library and get out some children's books - sometimes they have story hour or puppet shows, and our library has a puppet area for free play. Be sure he has toys that require him to DO something - blocks, wood puzzles, touch-and-feel books or lift-the-flap books, balls that roll and that are a good size for his hands, etc. Those sorting toys are fun - he might be young for "put the square block in the square hole" but try one of those hammering toys that has the child hit a ball with a mallet and push it through the round hole. We had one with multi-colored balls and several holes, and when the ball went through, it rolled down a chute and out the other side -- kids like "cause and effect" and it's a learning skill as well as a motor skill. Go to a pet store and let him look at the turtles and the mice and the hamsters. We have a local garden center with an animal area that is free - just watching him learn which animal is which is fun. I didn't drill my son, but I said, "Where's the turkey? I can't see him? Do you see him?" If he pointed (even if he didn't speak), I said, "Oh yes, there he is! Thanks for showing me!" I made it more exciting and cooperative than "training" or "drilling". Kids just don't want to perform on schedule. They do things in their own time.

If your child needs some early intervention services, you'll know in 6-8 months probably. For now, don't worry and don't try to "fix" anything. Just give him opportunities and let him reach milestones on his own rather than on the schedule in a book, which is really just a list of averages.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My guy didn't speak much before he was 2, then his vocabulary just exploded! Apparently he'd just been taking it all in. As far as walking he didn't until 16 months. I'd been concerned but his pediatrician had said she wouldn't be concerned until he was 18 months and not walking.

Is your son going to be bilingual? If he is it's normal for little ones to speak later than "normal," his brain has two languages to process. He's looking at you when you try to teach him words, and that's good. So is the fact that he will look at things when asked, he understands what or who you're talking about. And my guy didn't point, he just didn't, he still doesn't (almost 4.) Yet his preschool teachers say he's quite smart. I didn't worry when he was younger because I knew I could voice my concerns to his pediatrician and she would know if there were any problems and we would tackle them.

Milestones are guidelines, not an absolute. Most babies and toddlers hit them at the "right" time, some don't. My sister kept comparing my guy to her son, he'd done everything earlier, and when I brought something up to our pediatrician that my sister had said, she asked, "Who is your sister? I've never heard of her." And smiled and winked. Meaning, my sister is not an authority on development or she'd known of her.

Keep talking to your son, just regular conversation all the time, even though he can't respond, that's how he will learn to talk. Encourage him when he babbles Nana, dada and so on, that's his way of talking right now. To me it seems early to be alarmed, relax.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

It's okay. He's still really young. If he is learning how to walk now, that's probably one reason why he isn't trying to talk much. They usually don't do a lot of both at the same time because they are focusing on one.

I had a child who was speech delayed. The nice thing is that your doctor is willing to do an eval at 15 months. Mine wasn't until 24 months. There is a lot of leeway in the tests between 12 and 24 months, mom. It's after 24 months that much more is expected of a child. AND that's when early intervention becomes really important.

I would not worry right now if I were you. Talk to him a lot. Read, read, read to him. Do a lot of physical activities with him. Give him toys that nest, easy puzzles, stuff like that. Don't teach him how to play - let him discover. Make sure he is evaluated if you continue to worry, but don't worry so much right now. He is still very little.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I wouldn't be concerned until 18 mos, especially if he seems to understand you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I'm surprised an expert said he was "speech delayed" at 12 months. That is so young and I always thought too young to be seriously concerned about it. My oldest didn't talk until 19 months other than the occassional "uh-oh" or "da da." My youngest didn't talk until 23 months and he went from saying one or two words to speaking in complete sentences within weeks. Now he NEVER shuts up and it's actually an issue. They are both very bright and taking honors and/or "gifted and talented" classes now that they are in their teens. Neither one of my boys walked until 13 months. I've known toddlers who didn't walk until 14-15 months. Personally, I wouldn't worry yet. Just continue to talk to him normally (without baby talk and without asking him to point or do things for you) and read, read, read to him. Reading aloud to babies, toddlers and preschoolers is a huge part of their language development. Start with simple, rhyming board books. I love the classics like Good Night Moon and the Boynton books. Dr. Suess has some good ones. Read them over and over even if you have them memorized and can recite them in your sleep. He'll develop favorites and let you know which ones he likes. I also like the board book versions of the Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom books. Have fun reading and talking!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

My son's talking didn't really take off till he was just over 2 yrs old.
(He was 14 months old when he walked.)
And then it was non stop chatter chatter chatter all the time.
I don't know if he's delayed or not but read out loud to him as often as you can.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

13 months old is early for talking for many kids. Every kid developes different things at different times. My 16 yr old who is now VERY verbose barely said a word by 18 months - but she was walking at 7.5 months! My niece was talking full sentences at 14-15 months but had no interest in walking until 18 months. No worries - he'll begin to talk when he wants to, when his mind is ready. In the meantime look at some of the other milestones and you'll see that he's on target or ahead. Milestones are averages and each kid hits different ones at different times. There are times when I wish my 16 yr old would talk less now. ;o)



answers from New York on

He is 13 months old!!!! My goodness. Keep doing what you are doing and don't worry until you need to worry. My daughter had words at 10 months. As soon as she was on her feet the words stopped hard for them to do two big things at the same time. She did not talk u til almost three. When she did it was full sentences like Mommy may I please have lunch. You get the picture.



answers from New York on

He sounds pretty normal to me, I mean, he is only 13 months old. I had my son evaluated by a neuro when he was 2 1/2 because early intervention reccomended it. Although he has a slight speech delay and also some sensory issues, the main thing the doctor said was that I need to chill out. I was so nervous that it was impacting him negatively. It's not easy to relax but I share this with you because your child is most likely just fine. Just enjoy him and try not to analyze everything because before you know it, the time will be gone.



answers from St. Louis on

sounds normal! Wait until closer to 2 to worry about this!

just be sure to allow him to try to repeat each word....it takes patience.



answers from New York on

He's 13 months. He's fine. Plus he's a boy. Some boys don't talk until 2.

I suggest that you talk to him constantly. When you are out, point things out and keep talking. If you talk to him like he understand you, he might react differently.

Also, if you start pointing to things like the sippy cup or the apples, I bet he will, too.

I agree with Dawn - if he is about to start to walk, that is going to take a lot of brain power - so it might be his focus right now.



answers from Chicago on

My Daughter did not walk until about 16 months. She is talking, but nothing like my son was. She says " more, nana, mama, dada, papa, doogie etc.. there are more words and she is doing a lot of mumbling and working on words. (On his 2nd birhtday, he watched a bicycle fall over.. " mommy daddy bike fell down and went bumpt" we were down town chiciago). So of course every child is different.

So you have a 13 month old, It is Great that you are paying atten and watching him closely- not trying to run from problems. I am not convienced that there is a problem, I am not convienced ther is not. Keep an eye on him. Early intervention is great, keep monitoring him. but I would not throw up the red flags yet.. I know kids that go from Nothing to full sentences the next day.

Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

My son is 2 and doesn't talk much either, he makes noises like he is trying but you can't make out any "words". He makes eye contact, follow directions and is completely normal. He just doesn't talk yet, I try not to worry because then I'll just freak myself out! I don't know if this will make you feel better but this happens more often then you think an its okay. All children are different and they will talk when they are ready, and when they are it will be amazing! :)


answers from Columbia on

This is not a big deal. Some kids just aren't talkative.

My oldest didn't say much at that age, and didn't walk until 14 months. Today, he has the best vocabulary I've ever heard in an 11 year old, writes amazing stories, spells perfectly, and talks and talks and talks.

He'll catch up. Unless he's showing serious delays in other ways, I wouldn't worry about it.

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