18 Month Old Not Talking - Oneida,NY

Updated on September 12, 2011
E.C. asks from Fort Covington, NY
22 answers

Should I be worried that my 18 month old is not talking yet? He doesn't even say mama or dada. He knows what things are because my husband and I ask him where things are and he will point to them. We read to him and point out pictures, take him for walks and talk to him about seeing objects and tell him what they are. We coax him to talk too. He is obviously an intelligent child, but the speech is just not there yet and my mother-in-law is starting to get on my case about it. Anyone else have a late-talker?

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answers from New York on

If he has no words at this point, doesn't call things by a verbal name at all, I would have him evaluated. Even very smart kids can have delays.



answers from Boca Raton on

My daughter is 19 months and she JUST began to say Mama, Daddy, and See ya like a week or so ago... You're child knows the association of the sound to the object, and if he responds well I wouldn't worry. Some kids honestly just take their time making the association that they too can bring those sounds out from their little bodies. Just keep helping him learn, sound things out, and eventually he'll do it, and when he does its going to be a landslide of progress.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Well, just because it's the response just before mine, I'll say I completely disagree with H.B. and completely agree with 3BoysUnder3. LOL.

18 months is the perfect age to have him evaluated. My son (now 3 years) wasn't saying anything at all at 18 months, but understood everything like yours. I got a lot of the "oh, boys just talk later than girls" and "oh, I bet he'll talk in full sentences when he finally starts talking" (didn't happen), but I was unconvinced. Use your mommy intuition.

Many pediatricians don't worry until after age 2 (I brought it up to my doc at 15 months and said I'd wait til 18 months), but most states have an early childhood intervention program to help kids with developmental delays prior to their 3rd birthdays and it's all free. If you wait until age 2, your child may not get sufficient intervention before his 3rd birthday since it can take a few months to get all the evaluations done and services approved. I took my son in at 18 months for an evaluation and he was diagnosed with a speech delay (at 12 month level). He was provided speech therapy twice a week, then 3 half days per week at a preschool where he was around other talkers. Now, at 3, he's the biggest chatterbox, but we still have issues with phonetics.

An evaluation can't hurt a thing. If it's nothing, they can tell you. I just did a quick Google search for New York and came up with: http://www.health.state.ny.us/community/infants_children/...

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It can't hurt to get him evaluated, right? My twins weren't talking at 18 months. They said Mama and Dada, but that was about it. At 15 months, the pediatrician said to give it another 3 months. So, at 18 months we got them evaluated and both got speech. They are now 6 and in 1st grade. One of them is fantastic. Very verbal, very intelligent. Has great vocabulary. The other still is a little slower. He has some articulation issues (sticking his tongue out with the letter S) and definitely has less vocabulary than the other, but in general, he is doing great!!! I am so happy he got therapy. They also got PT, which was actually fun for them.
There is no cost to you so you might as well get an evaluation and maybe even a hearing evaluation. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Yes yes...another vote for EI!!!

My daughter wasn't saying anything at 18mo, when I questioned pedi about it he said to wait 3 more months and if no change he'd recommend EI. The day she turned 21months I called back and was then sent for an EI evaluation. At the end of the eval the therapists said "thank goodness you brought her in!". I started crying...I was so relieved to have someone believe me!! Up til then I kept hearing "she's fine....she'll talk soon enough" from all my family and friends. Luckily I went with my gut instincts. She ended up not calling me mama til she was 2 and 1/2! but then, as soon as she learned how to get out a couple words, the sentences started pouring out of her. All the words had been in her head, she knew everything we had been saying all along, she just needed help figuring how to get the words out. Right when she turned 3 she didn't need help anymore.

Go for it! An evaluation can't hurt anything.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I agree with others....sometimes older siblings will do so much of the talking that they don't have to. Also, the pediatrician will probably want to evaluate his hearing. Additionally, I have a friend whose five year old daughter barely spoke. Recently, she took her to a chiropractor who specializes in upper cervical work, and was surprised to learn that her daughter was experiencing pressure on her brain stem. Once that pressure was removed, she began to speak freely. And then there's that whole some kids just talk when they're ready thing. My daughter (who is four now) had a feeding/swallowing disorder that was diagnosed at two months of age. She too did not speak at 18 months...no Mama, Daddy, nothing. She got into speech therapy with Babies Can't Wait, who were able to work on speech, feeding, and other concerns. They eventually diagnosed her with Apraxia, which can affect speech, coordination, motor skills, etc. Now, she talks up a storm, has no feeding difficulties, and is only being seen once per week for hippo (horse) and occupational/physical therapy services. It could be so many things--and possibly nothing--that the best thing you can do is start with the pediatrician and push through until you are satisfied with the help and answers that you receive.

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answers from Cleveland on

Hi E.! I think early intervention would be highly beneficial for your son. My son, now almost 5, could not say anything more than Mama and Dada until I contacted E.I. (he was about to turn 2.) When he was evaluated, his expressive language was found to be severely delayed, but his receptive language was right where it should have been. So the poor guy could understand everything, but could not express anything to others! You can imagine how stressful it was for him (and us).

So......over 2 years of speech therapy later he is finally caught up to his peers! Hooray!

I cannot stress this enough-EARLY INTERVENTION! Sure, your son may just start talking in sentences one day, but having his speech tested to see where he is at developmentally will not hurt anyone. SInce you are writing this post, I can see that you may feel the same way.

Good luck to you!

Added: If my son did not have speech therapy, he would definately be struggling right now. He had an articulation disorder and his speech would not have improved as well as it has w/out help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

early intervention is the key!!! at 18 months he should be saying at least a few words, other than mama and dada...he needs to be evaluated by a SLP. what does your pediatrician say? I am very suprised your pedi hasnt said anything. no speech is a huge red flag.

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answers from Detroit on

My understanding is that by this age, they should have at least 5 words down. My cousin was concerned about her son because he was 22 months and still only was saying mama, dada and nana (and "nana" was anything that was not mama or dada - could be his grandmother, could be an airplane, could be the kitty cat, etc.) But he understood everything you told him and could follow 2 to 3 step directions perfectly (as in, "Go to the closet and get your red jacket and your shoes."). She was on the verge of putting a phone call in to the pediatrician about it when all of a sudden one day he came to her and said, "Mommy, I want an apple." and that was it. He exploded verbally. He picked up something like 10 new words a day and spoke full sentences. His mom thinks that, knowing his personality now, he tends to be a perfectionist who sometimes doesn't want to try to do something because he isn't really good at it yet. She thinks he was just "practicing" until he could get it right.

If it really concerns you, you could start with talking with his pediatrician and go from there. You can also look into Early Intervention services, since they are free in all states for kids under 3 years old. They can evaluate him and see if there really is a concern, then start working with him and you if necessary. My best friend's nephew was just over 2 and still not talking except for "Mama" and sometimes, "Wow" or "Bye-Bye". They finally convinced his mother to contact Early Intervention and now they have him in speech therapy, but he is almost 3 and it would have been better if she had taken that step months earlier.

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answers from Jacksonville on

There can be a lot of reason for speech delay. Does he point to things to let you know he wants them? Does he point to things and then look at you to see if you are looking at the same thing? These are all things you should talk to your pediatrician about. We started speech therapy with my son at about 20 months. They will work with you to give you the tools to work with your child. For us they suggested sign language.

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answers from Phoenix on

My son was the same way. I really wasn't worried b/c like your son, he knew what things were & understood . I did put him in speech therapy, that he wasn't very receptive to. He didn't really start speaking until 3, when he started preschool. Once he started talking, he had a huge vocabulary.



answers from New York on

I do think it's worth doing an eval, but I think it's also important to hang onto your initial confidence that your son is an intelligent child. My own experience with my son taught me that observers (evaluators, teachers, even parents) are just about always well-meaning, wonderful people, but no one gets it right 100% of the time. The summer my son turned 3, we had evaluators suggesting he was autistic and a preschool teacher strongly suggesting he had a global developmental delay (mental retardation). Today, at just-turned-5, he is reading at a 2nd to 3rd-grade level. He's in kindergarten, but too advanced for the kindergarten curriculum, even in the first week. He is on the shy side, but clearly not to the point of being on the spectrum. My son's speech was also somewhat delayed until he was 2.5 (though FWIW he did say words at 18 mos), and the ultimate culprit was dairy products, which were impacting his hearing to the point that he couldn't articulate clearly. Not sure that's your son's issue at all, but I try to mention it b/c it's not on the standard pediatric or EI radar screen.

Take care,




answers from New York on

Hi E.,
I don't think you should worry. My sister's son was in the same situation. She brought a speech therapist to have a look at him. The therapist asked him to point to objects and some other things. Just as your son, he wouldn't talk, but pointed. The therapist said there was no need to worry since he was able to point to things. He also said "yea" and "no", that's all. It also turned out that he may have been overwhelmed with two other siblings in the home who were always doing the answering for him. Are there any other children at home? If not, have him looked at, although it seems that he sounds fine. He may also be shy. My sister was very shy when she was little. She was truly the quietest child in our family. We think that her youngest son may take after her. Now she's a chatter box, opinionated, you name it. The only other thing I would recommend, is read, read, read as much as you can to him. His vocabulary will build up and before you know it and then he'll be yapping away.
Best to you.


answers from Columbia on

What does your pediatrician say?

I imagine the concerns would arise if there were other issues along with the late talking. Does he interact with other people and children? Does he play? Does he make eye contact?

It might not hurt to have him evaluated if he is not meeting other milestones, but if he is...he just isn't ready to talk yet. I'll bet when he does, he starts with full sentences! He'll have a lot to make up for!!



answers from New York on


My experience having a child on the Autism Spectrum is to recommend an Early Intervention evaluation IMMEDIATELY! Your child may not have the same issues mine does, but once you have him evaluated you will know for sure.

I was so nervous about the evaluation, but it turned out to be great. A woman came to our house with a huge bag of toys and played with my son and observed what he was doing. He had a blast that day, and the therapists that followed when he was approved were also wonderful and he enjoyed "playing" with them.

I delayed our evaluation because besides not saying much my son seemed to be on par with his peers. As time went on it became evident that they were moving forward much faster than he was. Knowing now what I didn't know then, I wish I had gotten the evaluation and subsequent therapy earlier.

Good luck,



answers from New York on

My son didn't really talk until he was around two years old. It was VERY frustrating & I had him evaluated at 18 months. I finally gave in & took him to a dentist (I was CONVINCED he was tongue tied) it turned out he was & getting the surgery sure fixed it. Now he never stops talking. If your son makes eye contact, can follow simple commands (go in your room & get your sneakers) then he is fine. I found boys are sometimes just slower to talk. I have a now 4 month old daughter & she is already babbling away (my son never did that) & she is tongue tied as well (will be fixed at 6 months) so I will say - take a look at his tongue - can he stick it out? If you are really concerned have him evaluated to just be 100% sure. Also if this is your first child you may not realize that you are talking for him. I was guilty of this as well. You know what they want & get it without pushing the asking for it issue.
Good luck!!


answers from Cincinnati on

I couldn't disagree more with the response from 3boysunder3. We are talking about an 18 month old. Your pediatrician wouldn't think nothing of it. He may suggest an eval after his 2 yr check up if he said nothing by then. My son said nothing until after 2. Then it clicked, and he gabs at me every waking hour! Relax. You are the mother. Is he "smart"? Does he walk to the fridge and grunt for something? Does he bring you a book, when you say "Bring me a book?". If he seems to understand what you say to him, then just wait it out. There will come a time when he'll talk so much, you'll want to shut him up!



answers from Springfield on

Sounds like my son. Have you been to his 18 month well baby visit? If not, definitely mention your concerns to his ped. My ped checked lots of things for me. She asked me lots of questions, and she said it really sounded like he was cognitively doing great. Sounds like yours is, too. He seems to know lots of objects and responds to you and your husband. Your ped can ask questions about things you haven't thought about, just in case. Our ped also had his hearing tested. He's fine in that department as well. Good to know.

We began going to a speech therapist. She did an evaluation on him. She said he was delayed, but at 18 months she fell he would benefit, not by seeing her, but by working with me. She gave me lots of tips. She evaluated him again at 2 years (same thing) and at 2 years 3 months. He's been making progress all along, but he's at an age where he can benefit from working with her. We see her every other week. He's doing better and we'll keep working with her.

If he's still behind next fall (long ways away) he'll probably qualify for PreK. He really is doing much better. Still behind, but much better.

Just ask lots of questions. I wouldn't be worried, but one of the biggest reasons I wanted to address my concerns is that I didn't want his language skills to hold him back in any way. He's so good in many areas (climbing, running, jumping ... answers the tv even though he's not saying it correctly). I just didn't want his learning and growth to be hindered by his lack of speech. Also, let's be honest, I want him to be more helpful in answering me and letting me know what he needs. Selfish, I know, but also a life skill!

Good luck. I'm sure he's fine. He just might need a little help to get going :-)



answers from Dallas on

Do you have older children in the house who talk for him? Sometimes that will delay talking for a long time. My sister didn't talk until she was 2 and my 17 month old doesn't talk a whole lot. She only has a few words, I think because my 4 year old talks non-stop. I wouldn't worry too much yet. Many little boys I've known have talked late. You can always ask your pediatrician just to be sure.


answers from Houston on

Does he babble? Both my sons have been major babblers before anything intelligible has come out. When my little one, who is now almost 20 months was 18 months I don't think he had any actual words. Then one day he looked up at a picture of me and said 'Mama!' that was it, words and more words. My older was exactly the same way, nothing and then sometime after 18 months words. My little one has a lot of words now and a few phrases and it seems like overnight. So I wouldn't worry at all yet, they say boys talk later and from what I have observed that is true. If by two he still has no words, then maybe it is time to get him evaluated to help him get talking. But at this stage I think you are fine.


answers from Richmond on

Go back and read my posts... my son is 20 months old and still not speaking.



answers from Seattle on

My son said "da" until he turned 2. He understood everything we said, he could follow 2 step directions. He just didn't talk. He'd say one random word and then nothing for like a month. After 2 he just started talking. He is 2 1/2 now and he talks constantly full long sentences - more than most of his friends his age. I was worried about it too...but if you can I'd try not to worry until he's after 2... easier said than done! Good luck! :)

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