Concerned and frustrated.My 19Th Month Old Son Does Not Talk

Updated on May 02, 2012
M.R. asks from Pottstown, PA
23 answers

My son will be two soon and he says "da da" and he has said "mom"a couple times.At first,i thought nothing of it,because all children are different and he seems very bright and is very active and happy.Family members have started to ask us if mabe he is Autistic.That seems very drastic and it does offend me,on the other hand It concerns me.He screams if he wants attention or other things,such as food ect..How do I go about figuring"this" out???

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Spokane on

My oldest talked full sentences very young, but my youngest was 2 before he said much at all (and now he never stops talking :). Give him some more time. Talk to him constantly ~ tell him where you're going, what you're making, etc. He'll get it :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son was a premie and seen by a developmentalist for three years. He was late to talk, saying a few words past 18mos. It wasn't a concern for the developmentalist because he was so far ahead in other things (like large motor skills - he was walking the stairs and climbing out of his crib at 14mos). She explained that children can only work on one category at a time, so if one area is strong, others may be lacking. She gave me tips on how to focus more on speech - she recommended the Baby Signing Times videos, which sound/show/explain words (they also have cute characters that my son preferred to watching over me, haha). He had major speech explosions each month, almost going straight to sentences.

There's no real way of knowing which helped him the most - it may have been a combination - but I've met three other moms in Early Intervention who also had success using the Baby Signing times with their speech delayed children.

Good luck!

EDITED: I forgot to add that it's important to watch the BST videos with him, to learn the signs and words. Using them as you go throughout the day will help reinforce.

More Answers


answers from Norfolk on

My son was fairly quiet till he was just over 2 yrs old.
And after that it was constant chatter, chatter, chatter.
When a friend of mine told me "we spend the first 2 years teaching them to walk and to talk, and the next 16 years telling them to sit down and shut up", I was a little offended.
But then a few years later I had a toddler of my own and I suddenly knew exactly what she meant.
See what your pediatrician says.
If he's making all his other milestones, I wouldn't worry about it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

At 18 month check up our dr told us that if she doesn't start "talk"/use more words than 3-4 by 21 months, to set the early intervention meeting.
21 months went by and my daughter still didn't talk so at 22 months I set the checkup. after all the paperwork done finally at 23 month she got evaluated and found behind speech at her age.
My daughter now receives speech therapy and developmental therapy every week. And I see a great progress in just a couple of weeks!

She understands everything, just the speech was not there. She turned 2 in March and says more words, not 2 or more word sentences but I will take that instead of shrieking and getting frustrated! LOL Therapists are wonderful and they also teach her sign language to help her express better.

Ask your pediatrician for a phone number and set the appointment with early intervention (every state has it- just under different names). It is "free" until your child turns 3- it is based on the family income.
Good luck! Oh and the initial evaluation whether the child needs therapies is for free.
HTH, good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Contact your local Early Childhood Intervention organization.
They do free assessments and speech therapy for children 3 and under.
My son had that.
I did not have to get referred by our Pediatrician.
I called them myself.
My son was speech delayed.
It helped him immensely and he really enjoyed it.
They come to your house.
Its great.

Remember: speech delays have NOTHING to do with how smart or not a child is. My son is very bright and is actually advanced in several areas and is bi-lingual. But he had a speech delay.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Burlington on

My 25 month old son still isn't talking and I'm not really concerned. My husband and I have had him evaluated by the program that is offered through the county. I hope this helps ease your concern. Every child is different and I think it's really offensive that people are asking if your child is autistic - how rude!

Is there a county/state program that offers speech evaluation? I would ask your pediatrician for some advice - they will usually know of such programs if that is the way you want to go. The program that we participated in was completely voluntary. They came to the house and interacted with our son, asking him to point to pictures and perform different tasks. He did an outstanding job and did not qualify for assistance based on his scores.

Don't fret. Just continue to read him lots of books, sing him the alphabet, etc. and I'm sure he'll be talking in no time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on


First: I really, really hate when someone who is not an early childhood specialist or therapist mentions autism to someone. That is a truly horrible thing to say and most people really don't know what they mention 'casually' can become a deep hurt very quickly. So, unless their own child is autistic or that's their line of work, I'd ignore that immediately.

Second: For 2.5 years I worked as the lead teacher off an older toddler group (20-30 months). It was very common for children to come into this group babbling and using only basic words. Most of them left that room quite a bit more verbal, and they all came to using verbal language at different times.

Good on you for not Googling autism or speech delays. In my opinion, you can often find more reasons to worry than not online.

Teaching some babysigns is a good idea. I'd start with the ones you think would most convey his basic needs to you. Another idea that works with bright children is to make a set of picture cards which your child can bring to you. This task will take a day or two, but can really help. Find pictures (online or in magazines) of things your son needs: to be picked up (pic of a parent holding a child), a cup of milk, a diaper change (pic of baby being changed), favorite foods, etc. You can cover them with clear contact paper instead of laminating. Then, you can put them together with either a big binder ring or using adhesive magnets (Office Depot/Max will have these) put them on the fridge. Every time you offer him something there's a card for, show him the picture on the card. Encourage him to show you with the cards what he wants.

Also encourage him to use a quieter voice, and lots of simple praise when he brings the card to you. "You showed me the banana! Thank you. Now I know you want the banana. Let's go get one." (Cheerful voice on your part.)

The signing or cards is not an overnight process. This may take your son a while to learn. Once he's getting the hang of it, you can remind him in simple language. "No scream. Show me the (card, sign) please." Then, show the child each card or sign until they can point it out. Overstressed and upset children will have a harder time focusing so outwardly, but being proactive and getting to the matter before they get completely upset will really help.

Lastly, two things: keep an eye out on media exposure. It has been proven that more tv time is a great contributor to expressive language delays. AND if you are still not seeing any more language acquisition in the next four or five months, then it is wise to check in with the pediatrician, just so it's documented. My experience, however, of all the children I've taken care of over the years, is that they do come to it eventually.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I remember when we went to my son's 18 mos. check up and the doctor asked if he had 3-5 words and I said, yep, about just those many. I was a little worried but knew he was bright and very observant. Then I started noticing that his big sister and other family members talked for him a lot so why should he? Then when he turned 2 he started speaking in full sentences!

One thing that also helped us communicate was we used sign language...that way he didn't have to scream for things and could communicate more easily things he didn't know how to say. The Signing Times has a good series of DVDs (our library has the whole set)

I would double check with your pediatrician and if he/she is not concerned then you shouldn't be. There are a lot more markers for Autism than speech delays so don't let those family members question things (unless they are doctors).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would try teaching him signs. Kids can use more signs than they can speak. I would also speak to his pediatrician about any concerns you have and perhaps get a recommendation for further testing. Autism is a very serious "diagnosis" that people throw around. It could be any number of things that are not Autism.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Champaign on

I would try not to worry too much, but I would also mention it to your ped. My son, who is now 3, is speech delayed. He was evaluated at 18 months, 24 months, 30 months ... that's when he began receiving services (about 2 1/2). He's been seeing the same therapist for about 9 months and because he is now 3, he is starting to see someone at the school.

One of the great thing about seeing a speech therapist is that she gave me lots of ideas to work with him. We did just a few basic signs - more, all done, thank you, please. It really helped. It helped him to begin to communicate, and it helped him to feel better becasue he knew we understood what he wanted.

Talk to your ped. He/she might recommend a hearing test (just to rule that out) and ask you some more questions (again, just to rule things out). Having him evaluated by a speech therapist will be huge, because it will give him/her a baseline. There isn't too much that can be done at the moment, but it gives a baseline so that there is something to compare future evaluations to. Also, speech therapist can help make sure there isn't something else going on. Always good to know!

Good luck! Lots of kids have speech delays. It's not a huge worry in the sense that they really are fine and will be fine, but it's something you want to address because you don't want to hold them back in other areas. Speech problems that aren't addressed can really inhibit their learning and growth in so many other areas. Also, kids are happier when they are able to tell Mommy and Daddy what they need.

Also, find out what your insurance will cover. Early intervention is state funded and it is there for you!!! But I'm not sure what they will cover if you have private insurance. Ask lots of questions about what they cover, how many sessions, if your child is covered after age 3, etc. Knowledge is power!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I completely understand your frustration. My son, now 8, was behind significantly in his speech (still is) and I could not get anyone to listen to me when he was still in the early intervention phase (up to age 3). Finally at age 4 I found doctors who would listen. The journey getting there, however was horrid.

Every state has an early intervention program. I did a quick search and this is who it is for PA -

Contact them and tell them you would like at the very least a speech evaluation done. If you have seen other developmental delays, even if small, ask for a PT and OT eval as well.

While there may be NOTHING wrong and he just may be a bit behind, which is typical of boys, especially a first born, there may be something and that something does not always mean Autism.

Pediatricians, family members, while all well meaning, are not experts in speech development. Have an evaluation done. A speech pathologist will be the only person who can tell you everything is okay or not. A slight delay is easily fixed with speech therapy. A more significant delay can be worked with and get your son where he needs to be or closer to where he needs to be by the time he reaches school age.

Early intervention is key. And no matter how well meaning those around you are, you are your son's best advocate. Get the evaluation first. That will help you the most, help your son the most. Then go from there.

Good luck! I have been where you are, I just wish I had known then what I know now and not taken no for an answer. There is no telling where my son would be now if I had not taken no for an answer then.

Bless you both!

PS others have suggested following your pediatricians lead. I say this is a good start BUT if they are simply suggesting waiting to the 3 year old mark, don't be afraid to pull rank and get the speech evaluation done. So much valuable time will be wasted, developmental time for your son, in waiting for him to catch up or to see if there is a problem. A speech evaluation only takes a short amount of your time and will provide you with much insight you will not have without it. It is better to get it done and find nothing is wrong than wait and find your son could have been getting therapy all along.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I would talk to your ped. My son is 17 months and says maybe 3-4 words but mostly just still babbles and grunts a lot :) Some take longer to talk, especially boys, but I would talk to your pediatrician.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

my youngest was speech delayed. in az we have a program that offers therapy for speech or occupational therapy thru the state till age of 3. then the school district takes over. my son has been in a developmental preschool on an iep. he has improved alot. i would wait till he his 2 though to worry.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I know it is hard, specially when other people ask you things like that, but every child really is different. My son said a total of about 10 words when he turned two. We were very concerned. Then he started in a new daycare that was a learning center, and withing less than a month his vocabulary exploded. He was used to getting what he wanted because he didn't need to use words to get it - myself and my husband and the in-home daycare provider we used just knew. In the daycare setting he had to talk to get his needs met. He had all the words, just wasn't using them. Follow the lead of your pediatrician. Ours told us not to be concerned until the 30 month mark, as some children are just slower to express themselves than others.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

What does your paediatrician say?? Have you tried sign language....that was a normal progression from us from sign language to saying a few words..............I didn;t even do a lot of signs just a few basic ones for all done, more etc............I would recommend consulting your dr and then possibly a speech therapist.......all kids develop at their own pace and delays in just one area can't lead to a diagnosis of autism.....good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

Sounds like he wants to communicate but just doesn't know how. He should be saying more than just two words by now. There is a service called "Early Intervention". At least that is what it is called in Pennsylvania. Talk to your pediatrician. They should be able to give you a number to call for an evaluation. They help with developmentally delayed children. If they agree that your son is developmentally delayed in his speech, they will set up a schedule. A speech therapist will come to your home to work with your son in an effort to help him get back on track. This service is free until your son turns 3.

My son was delayed in his speech also. A therapist came to my home twice a week at first, then once a week, then every other week until he was back on track. Once this therapist started working with him, he loved it so much that his speech just took off. He was back on track in about 8 months.

Also, don't think that this speech delay has anything to do with his potential intelligence. My son is now almost 7 years old and was tested into the gifted program in school for reading, math and creativity.

I think your son just needs a little push in the right direction. Early Intervention Services may be able to help you with that.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

You need to have him evaluated. Our speech therapist suggested we use sign language. My son loved the signing times dvd's. There are several red flags for autism that can be screened for by your pediatrician at the 18 month check up. One of those is if he is trying to communicate. Does he ask for things that he wants by pointing? Does he point at something to show it to you and then look at you to see if you are looking at what he's pointing to. There are many others, but those are more important than if he's speaking or not.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Family is so helpful....

Have you tried google?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It's important that you don't respond to screaming. When they want things, tell them what to say. So, "grapes? you want grapes? Can you say grape?" Are you tired, say "momma tired." Whenever he looks at something or tries to get attention, give him the words.

I taught both of my kids to call for me from their cribs starting around 9 months. I cannot stand screaming, so it was important to me that they "used their words."

Kids only "use their words" when We, the adults, ask them to. Otherwise, they'd be prefectly happy to be wild monkeys. Just watch any group of 3 or 4 year olds. They mostly prefer hands to mouths, even when they are capable of real communication.

Just start talking and reading to your son like crazy. A language explosion happens between 18-24 months, if things don't start to improve, then discuss it with your Dr. but a lot of kids don't really start talking till after 2.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

You need to have him evaluated right away by early intervention. Your family members are not saying autism to be mean, they are seeing a problem, and they don't know what it is and the most common thing these days to think of is autism. They are worried for him. You should be too, not because I would think of autism but because he has an obvious developmental delay. He could be fine and just be extra slow in developing his speech, but EI can help so much for kids who just have a delay and need some extra help. It can help to prevent problems from developing due to the delay and you already see a behavior problem that is likely related to his inability to communicate effectively. That behavior may be prompting concern among your family as well. Like I said, he may be fine and just need some extra help, but if there is a problem, not even thinking autism here, but something like a hearing loss or some other issue, the earlier he gets help the better the outcome. In PA you do not need to see a ped or family dr for a referral to EI tho they can do it. But parents can just call themselves to ask for an evaluation due to a concern. I am about an hour from you so your number would be different, I did a quick search and found this number ###-###-#### , but I am not sure if it is the right number. You can look it up. But please call for the eval.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Have him evaluated! All states have a free program for kids 0-3. You pediatrician should have the number (in KS it is called Tiny K and in OK it is called Sooner Start). Our son is 21 months and does not say much at all. He's had extensive testing to determine that nothing is wrong...he's just speech delayed. He now gets speech 1x week from Tiny K at no cost to us!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

I don't know how people started saying all kids-especially boys-should be talking by two. That milestone is so way off. SO MANY BOYS don't talk at two!! I can name tons of boys in my family and those of friends who barely talked at three. My son is now four and talks WONDERFULLY including poetic sentence structures and sophisticated pronunciation. He did not say a word at 2 1/2. For real, barely ma ma da da. I was not the least bit worried because I knew so many other late-talking boys and his comprehension was obviously excellent-he understood everything we said.

For family saying your son is autistic at 19 months for not talking ??!!... tell them they're on acid and CRAZY. Keep your eye on him, and do not worry. If he's not talking at three, or he seems confused or like something is "off" then you can be concerned.

And I don't like to say anything, I had several friends with "late talkers" get early intervention and they insist it's because of that service their kids started talking...meanwhile my son started talking too just by growing up. For real. Take all the hoopla with a grain of salt.

And fits like screaming in frustration? All kids throw those, talking or not. use discipline to the extent you see fit, and use your instinct to know if he's OK comprehension-wise.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Our grandson was evaluated at 20 months for language and found to be delayed. They asked us to keep an eye on him and if he didn't start saying more in the next few months they would recommend some hearing tests for him. He started talking in complete paragraphs within a couple of weeks.

I think if your son is not saying at least a few more words than this he should be evaluated by a professional too. If you call your local health department and perhaps some local schools they may be able to tell you if your state has some kind of evaluation program where they come to your house and do the eval there where he is most comfortable.

You might just go ahead and make an appointment with an ENT too to have his hearing checked.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions