16 Month Old Not Talking at All

Updated on June 03, 2008
S.T. asks from Kansas City, KS
11 answers

I have a 16 month old daughter who is not talking at all. She doesn't even say mama or dada anymore she did for a few months. She does suck on a binki. Should I be worried or let it go for a few more months before I really talk to the doctor or not?

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answers from Kansas City on

S., get your daughters hearing checked and go from there. One of my twins did not start talking until she was 3 years old. I thought that maybe she didn't hear well, but her test said otherwise. The other twin started talking a little over a year old and spoke for her sister, so we think that is the reason she did not speak. But be careful for what you ask for....since she has started talking, she never stops talking :), and when she did start talking, it was complete sentences!


answers from Kansas City on

it sounds like she's around other children, and i'm sure you talk to her plenty - most kids have a 15 month checkup, did they not say anything then? if not then she should have an 18 month one (our dr. let us schedule that one a couple weeks early) so maybe you could schedule that one for a couple/few weeks from now, and when she goes in, ask about it. it might be a hearing issue. try not to worry though, kids all do things on their own schedules. just my two cents but at 16 months old i might try limiting binki usage to naptimes and bedtime, as well. especially if she's not talking. worth a try!



answers from Kansas City on

I agree with the other moms on the ear issue. We had one boy that hardly talked. Turned out he couldn't hear that well. Tubes solved that. Now he's in speech therapy and doing fine.

Kids seem to learn words first that they love the item/action to such as binki, kiss, no so focus on things she likes. My son's second word was binki, then Diego. Go Figure!

Good Luck.



answers from Kansas City on

I'm mother of four, and have a grandson. There have been various ear problems we have/are dealing with. You can call your doctor any time to ask for a referal to an ENT, and many doctors have a device (painless and incredibly fast) to test the eardrum in their office! My second stopped talking at 10 months - She got tubes in her ears and could hear better immediately. We currently have a 15 mo old grandson living with us who has already had tubes but still has only borderline hearing in one ear and none in the other. The ENT doctor is the next step. Like his uncles, we have to use basic sign language (find sites on the internet - no cost) to help him understand. Also check out a local children's hospital for help! If your income is low, they are very happy (and helpful) to let you apply for free or low-cost care.

Don't panick! Just act!! And if you find you need speech services, check out Early Headstart and First Steps (call your local school to get those numbers.) These services are free!



answers from Kansas City on

Your local infant toddler agency will evaulate them for free. At 16 months my child was not saying much so Ottawa Wellsville Ifant Toddler Services came out to evaulate him in all the areas, at that time he did not qualify for their services. 3 months later there was really no change in his speech so I had him retested and he qualified for free speech therapy until the age of 3. It is all done at your home. If you cannot find the local number your doctors office should have all the contact information that you need.



answers from St. Louis on

Talk to your pediatrician about it, just in case. The fact that she's not using words she used to use is one worry of mine... albeit small. Some children will use words then not use them while they learn/use other words.

In the meantime:

* Try sign language. I know it may sound funny, but sometimes sign language helps facilitate oral language development in children. Like another mom suggested, start with simple words that help her get her point across (more, all done, milk, cookie, etc.)

* Allow her the opportunity to talk. Sometimes we, as adults, constantly bombard a child with language when explaining things, reading books, etc. A child usually only has the capacity to understand short sentences at this age. They may pick up words here and there from long, drawn-out conversations, but to be effective - shorten what you say and give her time to reply.

* Offer her concrete choices. "Do you want a cookie, or a cracker". Give her the one she picks (and only offer what you want to give :) ). If she messed up by saying the wrong word, she'll learn because she got the wrong item. When she fusses for the other 'thing' (which is really what she wanted), say something like - "OH, you want cookie - NOT cracker. Here. Say 'cookie'", wait for her to reply verbally or with a sign, and give her the item.

* Here's something you may not want to hear - but... It's time for the binky to go bye-bye. I understand using it with her if it's naptime or around bedtime - but keep in mind: the longer this habit continues, the harder it will be to break later. As a speech-language pathologist, this is one of my personal pet-peeves: seeing children speak around a binky at the age of 2+. It impacts what they say, how they make their sounds, and the formation of their teeth. Children learn by DOING - and if they aren't allowed free time to play with sounds/words without an obstruction in the way, their speech-langauge development can be greatly impacted.

* Get/borrow from the library the book, "It Takes Two to Talk". This is a FABULOUS book for parents who are looking for ways to help boost language development.

I hope these suggestions help, S.. Good luck and let us know how things go.




answers from St. Louis on

You might want to have her checked out by a doctor. My boyfriend's Grandson is 3 years old and they initially thought he had a hearing problem because he doesn't really talk. He'll say a few words, or repeat what you say, but that's about it. He has since been diagnosed with Autism. He's a very bright, funny and loving child, and is now going to a special school for Autistic children. He's starting to talk a lot more and he can even go through a deck of flash cards with the right answers with no struggle at all. It's better if you catch it early, if this is what it is. But if I were you, I wouldn't wait to have her checked. Some of the signs he also had, was being fascinated with straight objects (sticks, straws, pieces of paper) that he would wave around and say "ticka ticka ticka"...with a big smile on his face! He's a great kid, and is no trouble at all! Good luck to you! B.



answers from Kansas City on

Where are you locacted? I would call First Steps early intervention agency, I currently work there and you can have her evaluated to see if she would qualify for speech therapy.



answers from Kansas City on

Hi S.,

Well here are my thoughts:

1) If she is only around you and 1 6 month old then she is only hearing you when and if you need to communicate with her, like when you need her to come to you or whatever.

2) Kids learn vocabulary from other kids, the more they are exposed to it the faster they are going to talk.

3) Limit binki use to naptime/bedtime, if she is walking around the house with a binki in her
mouth this is one reason for her not talking.

Now the other thing.. when she wants something if all she is doing is making grunting noises or whining or crying for them and then you give them to her then she has no reason to talk. So in everything you do with her, for instance if it is breakfast time let her know it is time to eat, this is what we are having for breakfast, here is your cup or whatever, come get in your high chair and eat. When she wants something ask her do you want a drink, or say do you want your cup and say cup. Start with the small things even the things she knows
what her foods are.
Even when she wants you to pick her up tell her up.
When she is done eating tell her done, down. Fill in the words to the sentence later, right now you are giving her key words to the things she does everyday. Let her know nap time, bed ime. I'm a home child care provider and my daycare kids are 20 months and 15 months and my own 18 month old and we do circle time everyday for 30 minutes and now they can say circle time.

Just start with common everyday words and reinforce them every chance you get. If you read a book to try, try pointing to the pictures for naow and pointing out objects in the picture and work up to setting there longer. Sing her nursery rhymes and/or songs with hand motions like 5 little monkeys juping on the bed, itsy bitsy spider, old mc donald where you can do the animal sounds, things like this, W.



answers from Wichita on

My brother and his wife have 8 children. Inevitably, they had one that wouldn't talk. NOt for a LONG time! He just would point and grunt or yell and cry. They finally figured out it was because he had 6 brothers and sisters saying" What do you want? Do you want the ball? Do you want down? etc." They would guess and then get what he wanted, instead of making him tell them. He didn't HAVE to talk to communicate.
They finally started making him say it, they'd say "What do you want? Do you want the ball? Ask for it. Ball" And then they would ignore him. He'd grunt and squeal an finally when that didn't get him what he wanted he'd say the word.

He was just being stubborn. It's entirely possible when your 16 month old does talk it will be in sentences. lol



answers from St. Louis on

I agree with the other moms. I would talk to the pediatrician now and don't wait. My son is 3 1/2 now and has been having speech therapy since he was 18 months. Is she walking? My son at 15 months was not talking or walking and the doctor was concerned. If she qualifies for First Steps (A Missouri program) it's free, then your local school district can take over from there, after he turns 3. If he doesn't qualify for First Steps, ask them what options you have for getting therapy on your own. Sometimes it's covered by insurance. (Mine was not.) Better to start earlier rather than later. Plus the speech therapists will help you in your everyday interactions with her. It could be an ear issue, but I'd check out all the possibilities.

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