Daughter Not Speaking Any Words at All at Twenty One Months!!

Updated on June 04, 2008
M.C. asks from Santa Cruz, CA
54 answers

Hello,
Does anybody else out there have a child who does not speak any words at twenty months? My daughter did not walk until she was seventeen months so it is only fitting that she isn't talking yet but as a mother I can't help but worry! We are going to have a person from Early Start come into out home next week to assess her! Does anybody have advice or can commiserate with me! It always helps to know you are not along and she will be okay!
Thanks, M.

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C.B.

answers from Redding on

2 things come to mind.....First is anybody bilingual? Sometimes when there are more than one language the child absorbes and absorbs until one day they start to speak one, the other, or both. I have seen this several times. The other question would be....Does she get ear infections a lot....or when she is sitting in an open area....walk around her and say her name or words and see if she responds through the whole walk. Like when you are behind her....does she respond when you speak? If not then she may have a hearing problem causing her not to speak....it could be minor too...like she may just need tubes or her adnoids out if this is the case. I have also seen this. A child that has been in my care for 3 years and she had what was called gum ear....past the ear where the pediatricians could see....so she went to an ear-nose-throat specialist and they fixed her up. Also through the office of ed she can get looked at and they refer to speech and stuff. Hope this helps and doesnt get ya scared.

1 mom found this helpful
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W.H.

answers from Stockton on

My son is 2 years, 3 months and does not speak either but very few words. He has been assessed and his expressive language is at 14 months and his receptive language is at 19 months. He started speech therapy this past Monday.
He is not around children his age very often and that may have something to do with it. If you research enough you will find out that the vaccines may or may not have something to do with it.
I am not real worried about him as he is very smart and understands everything you say to him. I just think he's way too busy to talk!!
Good luck to you!

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I.T.

answers from Sacramento on

You are having her assessed, that is good. I had one that I taught to read by 2 years old. Another didn't learn till later. My oldest one didn't walk until about 14 months old Each child is different.
I taught them their sounds and repeat them frequently. Some television programs are great with the sounds and then the word in teaching them their alphabet.

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L.N.

answers from Stockton on

You are doing the right thing. There are many different reasons for a language delay - anyone who tells you not to worry about it is COMPLETELY IRRESPONSIBLE (if i could make that font any bigger and bolder i would!). Of course we all hope your child is fine, but its a parent's job to rule out any problems or disorders. My only recommedation is not to rely too heavily on your pediatrician - they are not always trained on everything. Your local regional center is a great place to start. Please let us know how it turned out - a lot of us have been in the same boat. L.

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E.F.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi,

My son didn't talk until right before he turned three. He gave up babbling about 11 months, and the only things we ever heard out of him were da-da, ga-ga (grandma), bye-bye, and bu cai (blue car), and believe me, we hardly ever heard them. He never even said "no". He toilet trained three weeks before he turned three (in three days), and a week later he looked up at me as I was opening a closet door and said "I want some juice." Well, was I surprised! He talked in complete sentences, and never really babbled or did baby talk. Two months later, he said "mama" for the first time. I remember that we went to visit friends a month after he started talking, and the first thing he said when he walked in the house was "Where are the trucks?" Even though he hadn't talked the last time we'd been there, three months before, he knew the words for everything...

One thing that became clear about my son (he's 26 now) is that he never did anything until it was perfect. Talking, reading (10 years old!), everything. He has a cousin who didn't walk until 18 months and talked late also. I know it's hard when everyone else's child is babbling away, but every child is individual. She will have at least one special gift or interest, it just takes time to find it, and as she gets older she will be more and more unique. If you are speaking two languages around her, stick with just English. Some kids do get confused.

Take care,

E.

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S.S.

answers from Yuba City on

Hi M.. My son also was a late walker- at 14mos. He said a few words then regressed and didn't talk for a long time. He just started using more adult sentences recently and he's 3 1/2!! My nephew is 2 1/2 and he doesn't talk- my Bro. decided to get him speech therapy - he seems to have his own language - he mimics you but the tone is different. My Dr was concerned with my son and said he had to go to speech therapy- although he's older, but a little while after his appt he really started talking... so I think some kids are slower than others- if you ask a professional they will tell you that your child is behind!?? Good luck!

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J.C.

answers from Sacramento on

My son is 2 1/2 and doesn't speak English yet. He talks all the time, just his own language. He's very smart and can hear just fine, he just doesn't speak English. So we started working with him in different ways. He does all the hand movements when we sing songs so I've started trying to teach him simple signs (kind of like baby signs)to help us understand him. We also starting observing him and discovered that he has a very mathmatical mind (he puts all his toys in either a straight line or a stack)so we started teaching him to count. He can now count to 5 in English! He still doesn't call us "mom" or "dad", but all children are different so we need to let him be him.
My younger brother didn't speak a word until he was 3, nothing at all was wrong with him either.
We did take him to a pediatrician who tried to send us to have him evaluated for autism, but he was a quack. They have their little list given to them by the state that says what milestones children are supposed to hit when, and if they don't their must be something wrong with them. Well, God works a little differently.
You aren't alone, trust in the Lord. If you have a church talk to your pastor, he will be able to hear from God at a time when you may not.

God bless.

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J.W.

answers from Yuba City on

Having her assess is a great idea. Have you talked to your doctor yet? My niece was a slow starter too and they discovered she was autistic. However, because they caught it early and got her into special schooling including sign language, she is a very high functioning autistic kid at the age of 6 1/2.

My son walked early (9 mos) but he refused to speak until he could say full sentences. Go figure. She may just be a late bloomer but have her checked out anyway.

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C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

There are lots of reasons for why your child might be a little "behind": Is she in a bi-lingual household? Were she a preemie? Regardless, I don't think that getting a second opinion is ever a bad thing.

There are many reasons for speech delay...sometimes kids just aren't developmentally ready...sometimes they are working on motor skills...sometimes they have hearing issues...and sometimes it can be cognitively related (such as autism). I hate using the big A word since lots of people jump to that conclusion first. And sometimes it's just that...a speech delay, and kids catch up rather quickly by the time school comes around.

My older one is on the spectrum, and part of why he's doing so well now is that we sought help extra early (at almost 2). Matthew talked early, and then lost all of his 20+ words by 18 months, and didn't talk again until he was almost 4. He did babble with full inflection the whole time, though (weird!). As time progressed he started having more and more "symptoms" that were worrisome (head banging, tantrums, obsession for wheels and things that spin, etc). People kept telling me he'd grow out of it, he was a boy, and it would come...but gut feelings told me otherwise. If you do go in for a speech eval, and they do recommend treatment it's not a bad thing, and defiantly won't hurt your kid, or "stigmatize" her. All children, even "typical" ones, can benefit from speech therapy. Most therapy today is "play" and modeling based, and when has extra one-on-one interaction ever been a bad thing? :0)

We sought out a private eval through a hospital, and also one through the school district. Check which school district you are in, and give the special education team a call. They will come to your house to do assessments (for free!), and if you qualify for placement kids ages 0-3 will be given free services (usually in your home) with a qualified Speech Language Pathologist and sometimes Occupational therapy as well.

If you do end up qualifying it's often best to get a parent advocate since dealing with the school district can sometimes be tricky. I'd recommend using the site Parents Helping Parents (http://php.com/). They are a Bay Area parent advocacy group that helps people sort out the whole special ed maze.

Matthew's been through a gambit of interventions, but he's doing great in 1st grade, and people don't even really notice his "label." His speech is still a little behind, but he's very creative, and very good at math. In fact, most don't believe me when they see him now... I'm glad I followed my gut. It's better to be safe than sorry, and study after study proves that early intervention is they key!

Also, one last thing, I'm a huge proponent of baby-sign! I still use it today with Matthew..it's so nice to just sign "no, stop" from across the park and not have to yell, lol!
Anyone can e-mail me any time if you want to talk more about any of this :0)

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A.T.

answers from Sacramento on

We had friends while living in Italy with a 2 year old boy and a 5 year old girl. The girl and her mom very very talkative, and the boy hardly spoke. Some may have been confusion with the languages of family vs. babysitter, but we felt he couldn't get a word in edgewise and wasn't bothering to try. It didn't mean that he wasn't absorbing it all though and he eventually did fine.

Also, as a school psychologist, I did a work up of a 3 year old who barely spoke. When I tested her, she was doing some rudimentary speech which I encouraged and repeated what she said. "Oo unny" was "blue bunny" and so forth. We had fun and apparently after that, she started chatting away (with a little help on diction from a speech therapist). They thought I had made a miracle, but I felt that she had been assimilating it and just had to get over the threshold to start using language. Perhaps she is being eclipsed by attention on the baby?

In another case, it turned out to be a moderate hearing loss which meant she wasn't even hearing the language around her clearly. Have you checked that?

Joke: And remember: we spend the first two years teaching our children to walk and talk, and the next decade convincing them to sit down and shut up.

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D.H.

answers from San Francisco on

What does your pediatrician say? Or if you go to a clinic, do the nurses know this? It is very important that you tell your health care provider this information. Have you noticed whether or not your daughter responds to voices or noises? Do you think that she can hear? Your instincts are telling you that your little girl needs help, and Early Start is a beginning. The ability to hear is essential to being able to speak. Give as much accurate information as you have to the Early Start people so they can help your daughter make the most of her potential! Some children need a little more help, and they can put your child on the right path, with your family's help.
Good Luck!

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M.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Before having children, I was a pre-k special ed teacher. You are of course going to worry, but you are doing the right thing. Getting her evaluated is the best thing to do. Speech is correlated with walking, therefore since she was a late walker, she will naturally be a late speaker. Try not to worry too much, easier said than done, and know that you are a great mom for noticing she may need a little help. Early intervention is the KEY! Good luck and if you have any questions after the evaluation or about the process, please don't hesitate to contact me.

M. D

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M.S.

answers from San Francisco on

M.,

I think its wonderful you are going to have your daughter evaluated. I would talk to your pediatrician too for suggestions. I think that children will go at their own pace-but to calm your fears and make sure nothing is wrong- get her checked out. Also, I don't know if they check hearing or not with early start-but thats something I would get her evaluated for.

Take care,

Molly

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C.L.

answers from San Francisco on

Good morning! Yes.... my daughter (now 6) had the same late talking issue. She was 2 years old and would only grunt or make noise when wanting something, would not form words. We had the "early start" person come out at my daughter's pediatricians request. He did the normal "tests" which were.... watching her color, had her look at pictures and point to different items and parts and see if she could recognize the items and just not be able to speak. She passed those test and we began speech therapy at the local hospital/doctor's office here. She went about 2 weeks and then started to really talk. We thought it would be an issue for her to talk to a "stranger" but the speech therapist was wonderful. She went for a few months and when they charted her at a certain level they released us and we were done. I had a little talker from that point on.
I hope this helps. Good luck!
C. L.

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H.T.

answers from Bakersfield on

M.,

I understand your concern. As others have mentioned, the fact that you are getting her assessed is very important. Sometimes, however, a child has a longer silent phase. This is the phase in which a child is listening to the language and is not yet prepared to speak. My grandson was not saying much at 24 months, but erupted soon after. He started speaking pretty much in complete sentences. We used some American Sign Language baby signs to communicate when he was younger for small things like eat, drink, tired, afraid, etc. Baby Einstein's "Baby Signs" video is excellent for this. Try it out and good luck. Also to echo others, each child develops at his/her own pace.

Jackie

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L.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi M.. You are doing the right thing by having Early Start do an assessment. I have four kids that need speech services and early intervention will be able to help.

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K.V.

answers from San Francisco on

I was in the same boat when my son, our 3, was your daughter's age. My first question: does she repeat anything or attempt to reapeat that you're saying? If not, I'd say take her to your local regional center for a speech assessment. They will determine if she needs speech which, since it's thru the regional center, will be free. The assessment is free, too. We had our son assessed right before his 2nd b-day & by the Fall he was getting in-house speech therapy & now his sentence structure & complexity of his sentences is right on par for a 3 y/o but he just has some problems w/pronunciation. I would also suggest you make sure your daughter is around ohter speaking kids as much as possible. We started our son in preschool about 6 months earlier thant planned due to his slight speech delay & I really think that played a huge part in improving his speech over the past year. Hope this helps & good luck!

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K.U.

answers from San Francisco on

I didn't start speaking until I was three years old, but as soon as I opened my mouth it was in full sentences (not necessarily grammatically correct, mind you!) DON'T WORRY!!! Some kids start out tentatively, but are all caught up before long, and some kids will always be slower. In either case, keep loving her and looking for reasons to smile in her direction! She might surprise you one day with a full-feldged dissertation on the qualities of the colors in a sunset. And maybe not, but definitely don't jump off that bridge until and unless you come to it. We all have our own pace.

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A.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello there,

I have two children who had speech problems so I can relate. My son was not talking very well until he was three and he was in speech therapy until the 4th grade. Now he talks way too much and can't get him to be quiet. My daughter didnt say anything until she was 18 months old and she was also in speech therapy for about 6 months. She picked up language rather quickly and now she is a big chatterbox.

I think its good that you are getting her evaluated at this age. It is so much easier to do it now then when they are in school and she will pick up much faster if you start now. Be patient and things will work out.

Good luck

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M.N.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi, M.--

My now-four-and-a-half year old had about three words at three years old. Other than that it was a horrible screeching that made me shrink an inch in height. :)

We had his hearing checked and it was fine. We took him in for speech assessment through our school district and he entered their speech therapy state preschool. Within a few months he was speaking about 60% more and now, although he still isn't 100% he's about 85% and life has become SO much easier! We knew he would be speaking soon as soon as he started preschool (we'd decided he just didn't want to) and sure enough he met his year IEP goals within six months.

One thing we never let settle in our minds was that it was something more than it could be. Think positive and if you are worried about what the Early Start representative finds definitely go get another assessment. The good thing is you're checking so early.

Good luck! And be careful--as soon as she switches on her "verbalization key" you won't be able to stop her--ours can now keep up with his older brother who was speaking in complete sentences at the age of two. :)

M.

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N.P.

answers from Modesto on

Yeah, this can happen, I think more often than not to our first child.

Pay attention to how YOU respond to her. Are you "encouraging" her to use her own words, or is it easier and faster to "reaad her mind" and get her a cup of juice, or change the channel, or whatever.

I found that with my oldest, I got everything for him before he could ever ask for it! This led to almost "grunting" caveman noises to ask for things! When I finally put him Daycare at 2 yrs old, the provider told me that I need to encourage him to talk :o) I never realized, but I was the reason it took so long for his language to begin.

Anyway, it may not even be a developmental problem. Your daughter just may know that you'll get whatever she needs without asking for it.

Good Luck!

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J.H.

answers from Merced on

My son is autisic. he did not say a single word till he was almost 4. i would say to have her checked out at the nearest autism specialist. call your local pcp and they can either get her in to see them or refer you to a specialist. she may just need some speach theraipy.... could be that simple.

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J.A.

answers from San Francisco on

My son didn't talk to 24 months and then only a little. He was also a late walker. I was panicked. Don't - have your daughter checked out but I don't think you should panick. My son is just 7 now. He runs like the wind and never HUSHES UP! Never! Be careful what you wish for. PS - my husband didn't talk until he was 3 according to my mother in law and they had him assessed too (UCSF in like 1964 or 5)

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M.C.

answers from San Francisco on

Children do things at their own pace- and often in their own ways. *hugs* I know it can be hard to wait and it's a mother's inclination to worry but get the test done and when you see he's normal just take a deep breath and be glad he can't talk back yet. ;) On the serious side though, if it causes a problem for you communication wise I would teach him some basic sign language- it did wonders for my daughter and I and that way you're not going nuts trying to figure out what he needs or wants.

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S.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Does She have a binky? My son had one and that REALLY kept him from talking, I tried to get rid of it before my daughter was born and it was hard....so I waited....When my daughter turner 8 months we got rid of it and he is talking like a champ. Good luck

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P.S.

answers from San Francisco on

There are other factors involved other than her age --- she may be slower to talk if she doesn't interact a lot with other kids, if you get her everything she needs (no need to talk), if you talk with her a lot, etc. Some kids just don't have the desire to talk. Does she communicate in other ways? Does she understand when YOU talk to her? My brother didn't talk until he was almost 3 --- my sister was 2 years older, a little mother hen and he had no need to talk. He's a father himself now and STILL is a man of few words!! Our twin grandchildren (boy and girl) are not verbally on the same level (22 months). She is talking up a storm, now stringing words together into sentences, he has "real" words peppered with his baby gobblety gook!! However, he's a paci baby, she is not. AND he's way more physically adept than she is (except she's a climber). It's good to have Early Start come out --- if they find something wrong, they can help or they can reassure you that it's not THAT unusual.

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L.J.

answers from San Francisco on

You might want to get her hearing checked. I have a friend with the exact same case-twin girl and boy. The girl is talking up a storm and the boy not. They just had him checked--and it is partly due to a hearing problem. Doesn't hurt to check....

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M.K.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.-
At 2 1/2 my niece was hardly speaking at all. Now at 6 she is the biggest blabbermouth I have ever seen! Don't worry, your daughter will catch up. I think each child has his/her own pace and it will come in time.

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A.T.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello My friend M., My name is A. and I have a son who started to speak at age 8mo. after his many immunizations his speech was gone. He was diagnosed with Autism....I don't know if this is the same but it maybe a question for early start. It is great that you are so intune with your daughters needs. Some just take it for granted that some just develope slower than most but there is always a underline reason. Don't be afraid to ask questions. When and before I met with most of (those interested in my sons development) I made a list and brought it to the meetings...Sometimes when we are focused on the issue we tend to forget alot of what was on are hearts leading up to the issue. Good Luck and please let us know the outcome. So we can rejoice with you and your daughter.

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J.K.

answers from Fresno on

Spome kids just take longer to speak. As long as she responds to her name and acknowledges that she hears you when you speak she is probably fine. Talk to her clear and like an adult not in baby talk. Believe me when she starts talking she will never stop.

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W.H.

answers from Phoenix on

I am so very glad you are having an assessment done. I am a firm believer in early intervention (as necessary).

Something I very strongly firmly believe in is sign language - for deaf AND hearing babies. 1- it cuts down on frustrations (the terrible twos are often caused by the child knowing what s/he wants but not being able to express it or getting the wrong response. my son didnt have any tantrums till 3 or so when he wanted to do something that I wasnt going to let him do)
2- it helps set in the mind that there is a code for language, and somehow (I am not a brilliant scientist or researcher so couldn't tell you the hows/whys but I know it to be true) children who sign often more easily make that transition to spoken language (and written language as well I think - my son's 5 and reading on the 2-3rd grade level already, it's HIS doing not mine).
Basically, a child that learns to sign "more" "milk" "finish" etc learns that certain things(signs/words) mean something, then once their oral development is there, they can quickly and easily make that transistion to speaking fluently. Signing is a key to that process, more so for some than others I think.

Signing Time is an EXCELLENT series of videos (my library has them, see if you can check them out) that is VERY helpful to anyone wishing to learn sign language. As an added bonus, Signing Time uses "real" sign language that Deaf adults use, so it *really* enhances communication two ways - with your children and with deaf people you meet.

Good luck, whatever the situation may be for your daughter. Keep us posted! My sister has an autistic daughter. And my neighbor when I lived in CA also had an autistic daughter. I can see the huge difference that early intervention makes. If you need to talk about school options and/or learning sign language and/or anything else, feel free to email me directly! Follow your gut feeling if doctors pooh-pooh your concerns but at the same time, dont be overly concerned just because your child isn't just the same as everyone else. I hope the evalutation is helpful and helps you/her move forward.

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L.M.

answers from San Francisco on

My son too only grunted or growled for almost the first 3 years of his life. He was part of the early intervention program at our local school district (check with them if the "Early Start" is not part of your school district). This early intervention program provided the speech therapy classes he needed. They essentially trained me to help him out too. At home I would sit with him in front of a mirror and I'd try to get him to make sounds, "MMMM", "la la", etc. with a frosted cherrio as a reward (he didn't have sugar cereals at this point, so it was a treat). I also spoke to him all the time, explained stuff all the time, read to him a lot, played a lot of games where I'd make sounds for him to imitate (a couple of his favorites--at the park I'd bring several different size plastic cups, fill them with damp sand and create a row of "sandcastles". He'd then get to stomp on them when he made a sound (smash, bang, etc.) The whole word didn't come out, but he made sounds, which eventually led to the whole words. Another was to take bandages and put them all over his stuffed animals and we'd say "ow" or "owe", then he'd get to pull them off and say "rip" or "woosh". Again, not full words at first, but it got there. I'd add different food color to containers of water and give him a paint brush and he'd go crazy "painting" all the lawn furniture, the house and things outside. We'd say "brush, up/down, right/left, back/forth, and name the colors". I did most of it at first, but eventually . . . Long story short, he didn't really start talking until he was 3 (his b-day in fact), and had a little time before the enunciation came in properly, but by kindergarten he was a talker, and at 13 now he doesn't stop talking -- making up for lost time. Good luck!!

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H.P.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.,

I know the feeling that you are going thru right now because my daugther who is about to turn three in a couple of months does not talk either. She met all the other milestones besides talking (crawling at 9-10 mths and walking by 14 mths)
I'll share w/ you my story: When my husband and I brought her in for her 18 mth checkup, the doc asked us questions regarding certain milestones, based on our answers... she referred us to the regional center, i must admit my husband and I were in denial in the beginning, we thought the doc was wrong and that nothing was wrong with our baby, after talking to a few ppl, i made the decision to bring her in and that's when i found out that my daughter was austistic. When they told me that my whole body went numb, i couldnt understand why this is happening to my child. I also went thru stages where i felt sorry for myself and for my daugther, but i got over it and got her help! The regional center was great, they got us the help we need, but since my daughter is turning three, the school district has to take over, to make a long story short, my daughter is currently in the ABA program, occuptional therapy and speech therapy... she is still not talking, she can only say "ba ba ba"... that's it!!!! there are days, when i am worried about her future and there are days when i am hopeful.. it's just been a roller coaster ride for me.. (the only frustrating part about the regional center and the different therapies is the timing, it's such an inconvience for us, but they were able to work around our full time work schedule). What I also did was enrolled my daughter into preschool, where she can be surrounded by other kids, as a parent i think this is the best thing i could ever done for my daughter... it's expensive but it's worth it...

But regardless of her conidtion, i love soo much and i would give anything for my daughter to talk however the future is soo unclear right now but i am hoping for the best... but when i have my moments of feeling down, i tell myself what someone told me and that is "as long as she grows up to be a good person, that's all it should really matter." if you really think about it.. this is soo true, any parents' goal for their child is for them to grow up to be a good person... regardless of my daughter's condition, as long as she grows up to be a good person, i have done my job as a parent. But my advise to you is seek help from the regional center, that should be a starting point! also, do not stall, do it ASAP because it will take a while for somebody from the regional center to contact to get the assessment started... by 21 mth, your daughter should be saying atleast mama or dada, if she's not, then it is a red flag... just know that you are not alone!(sorry for the long message)...

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J.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Please make sure she gets a hearing test. It can be an factor preventing speech and language development that is often overlooked by many professionals. Even if you had the newborn hearing screening. A mild loss will not be detected and can delay speech. Push for it despite what a pediatrician might say. It can't hurt and at least you can rule it out. I am a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing with a master's degree and this could be one cause. CHO Children's Hospital Oakland has testing we also test children at CEID, Center for Early Intervention on Deafness. ###-###-####. 1035 Grayson St. Berkeley. She may be a late talker and things will be fine. Early detection of anything will allow you to take the propers steps to get her on the right track. Don't let fear stop you. Baby sign language may help too Signing Time has a show on PBS and/or A&E to learn some. Go on signingtime.com for more details also signingsmart.com Good luck! Feel free to contact me for more info.
J.

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J.E.

answers from Sacramento on

Talk to the Sac county people with the Infant Development Program. It is free and if the child qualifies they will come to your home for speech therapy and any other developmental therapy you made need. Also have her hearing checked. Don't wait. It is very important that you acertain there is nothing holding her back from learning to speak and hearing.

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H.D.

answers from San Francisco on

HI!

Early Start is a wonderful, helpful program. I took my son there at age 19 months for his gross motor delay. He walked at 2 years (finally!!) and still has some delay at age 4 years.

Actually, if a child walks late (like your daughter), it is more likely they will talk first. So, with both talking and walking being on the late side, Early Start can help you out. Good luck!

H.

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P.C.

answers from San Francisco on

Some children don't speak until they speak in full sentences. However, most children learn that speaking is part of having some control in your life. Initially, words are only approximations of the correct pronunciation, but it's very important that parents make an effort to understand these early utterances. We always played talking games with our children and all the children in our family (including my sisters' children and my birth and adopted children) spoke very early. We started out playing the ma-ma-ma da-da-da ba-ba-ba sound repetition games and graduated to naming objects when that because age appropriate (very, very young). We read books to our children throughout the day and always before going to sleep at night. The important part in reading is to engage the child to "talk" about the book. For a non-speaking child, this might include making the sounds that the animals in the book might make (roar, meow, woof) or saying the name of some of the objects in the book (flower, car, boy). Children also need a space in conversation where they can contribute their own ideas. The conversation needs to be focused on interests that the child has-- a favorite toy, book, game, or television show character. All of these techniques set the expectation that the child is a communicating human being. For starting speakers, it's especially important to be enthusiastic about efforts to speak. If ball, bottle, and book all sound identical, still cheer on the child for making the effort to speak. Before long, she will be speaking non-stop. I am aware of children whose language development was not encouraged until the age of 3 or 4. Those children remain language-delayed, but I am certain that if their parents had begun a concerted effort to encourage speaking, those children could have made up the delay. Best wishes!

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J.K.

answers from Redding on

I am going through the same thing with my son..We have the appointment next week..I think my son is an indigo child.. first i was doin research on Autism..Because he vacinated and had very bad reactions..all i know is something changed after that..But he looks at us and seems to be here mentally..I dont know its frustrating when all the other kids speak in full sentences..im with ya sister..Love J.

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C.M.

answers from San Francisco on

You are doing the right thing by getting in touch with Early Start and getting your daughter into an early intervention program. You're daughter may out grow the problem, but it is a safer bet to get her into progams that will help her as soon as possible. Many of these programs are free (Early Start, Regional Center services). School districts are responsible for students from ages 3 - 22, but it is better to start before she is three.

What county do you live in? If you live in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz or San Benito county your "regional center" is San Andreas Regional Center. (408) 374 - 9960. Call and ask for an "intake." Early Start or your peditrician should be able to tell you who the local reginal center is.

Parents Helping Parents is a great resource. www.php.com

An inspiring book about a family dealing with autism is "Let Me Hear Your Voice" by Catherine Maruice. Programs like the ones she describes are avialable (and sometimes funded by the regional center). Look for the book at a public library or the library at Parents Helping Parents in Santa Clara.

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A.P.

answers from San Francisco on

I'm in the same situation, but my son is 3 yrs. old. My 2 yr. old is more advanced than he is in speech. When we spoke to our pediatrician about it she told us to call our local school district and have him evaluated. We've been going through that process and they feel confident that he'll be chatting away once he's in the program. Just because she can't speak, doesn't mean she's not at her age level for other things. She may have good comprhension for her age, but is just unable to verbally express it. So don't be quick to let others tell you she's slow because that''s not always the answer. Hang in there, I know it's tough, but it's tough for her too. It will all come together eventually.

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T.P.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi M., my best friend went through the same thing with their first son. had him evaluated and realized he was just an observer. When he did start talking it never stopped and he is brilliant to boot!

My daycare provider's child had some difficulty as well, only 2 words at 20 months. We invested in "Signing Time" videos and within two weeks she was saying at least 6 new words and signing even more. My daughter is also watching these videos and loves them! She is communicating both verbally and with sign. A speach pathologist I know HIGHLY recommends these videos.

hope this helps, T.

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H.F.

answers from San Francisco on

My daughter stopped learning words when she had an ear infection. It can cause a little deafness. Have your daughter's ears checked. That could also explain slow walking if maybe it is an ear infection she could have balance issues.

Good Luck!
H.

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C.J.

answers from Stockton on

M.,
My son now 4 1/2 only said mama and dada at two years old. He very slowly started to say a few words after that, also my little brother now 27 didn't not say much until 3. That is probably why I didn't really worry. They both now speak completly normally, my son never stops talking. I also have a 2 1/2 year old and he spoke very early. So they are all different and that is what my pediatritian said. I did teach him signs when I noticed that he wasn't really talking and by 2 he new like 50+ signs which helped him comunicate and not have melt downs.
Good luck,
C.

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C.W.

answers from Redding on

I do not have first hand experience with this, but a friend of mine had a daughter who didn't speak for a very long time, and after MUCH studying and tests and doctors and such they finally diagnosed her with a smiple "She is tongue tied" Which means the flap/skin we all have under our tongues was too short in her mouth and she basically couldn't move her tongue properly to speak. So just a thought to keep in mind. It is a very easy procedure to fix the problem... as opposed to ALL the tests the poor thing had to go through to find the problem! Good luck : - )

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K.S.

answers from Sacramento on

Not to scare you but there is a checksheet to rule out autism for those children who are not meeting the "standard" time frames for different behaviors and developements. Google autism research institute, I think it is there.
K.

C.L.

answers from San Francisco on

I have a cousin who never spoke and ended up being diagnosed with having Rett Syndrome at 3 1/2 years of age. It's a debilitating neurological disorder diagnosed almost exclusively in females. Children with Rett Syndrome appear to develop normally until 6 to 18 months of age when they enter a period of regression, losing speech and motor skills. She is now 9 years old and is doing well and goes through lots of various therapies that really help her. It is a good idea that you have your daughter evaluated. I just wanted to share her story with you. Whatever does happen, she will always be your special little girl.

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G.D.

answers from Modesto on

You need to reffer her to the regional center in your county... the sooner the better, she may qualify for free services like speech therapy and more!!! Early intervention is key to helping kids with some delays... otherwise they will not develop normaly!!! Love, G.. :0)

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M.G.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.,

My son started walking at 10 months. I've heard early walker, late talker. I am actually going through the same thing. My son is 2.5 and only says a few words...more every day. Have you ever heard of verbal apraxia? This may be what is causing the speech delay. His receptive language is within "normal range" but his expressive language is only at a 17 month level. He starts speech therapy the first week of June with Early Start. It's great that you are having Early Start assess her...so far it seems to be a great program. I just want to say to you...Don't worry. It's only a speech delay. She will be fine. Good luck!

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J.S.

answers from Stockton on

First, has she had a hearing test? If she has, and her hearing was okay, then let the early start people work with her to figure out if it's just a speech delay or something else. I have an 8 year old that was speech delayed until he was over 4. He has autism. I also have a 6 year old that didn't talk until about 3.5 years old and he was just speech delayed only.

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L.K.

answers from San Francisco on

Dear M.,

I don't have personal experience with this problem, but my husband's family has always told a very funny story that he didn't speak until he was about two years old. The pediatrician said that it wasn't physical and that he would speak when he was ready. According to my mother-in-law, my husband's first words were: "You'll never guess what I put in the refrigerator!"

I should add that he has two older sisters that waited on him hand-and-foot when he was a baby, so maybe his every need was anticipated before he had to ask!

Anyway, I'm just telling you this because I know you are worried, and I wanted to give you some extra encouragement. Sometimes everything works out just fine--just slower than average.

Best Wishes,
L.

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L.H.

answers from San Francisco on

I did go through a similar situation with my daughter. At two years old, she said about 6 words. She too was tested through Early Start and showed that she needed Speech Therapy. She had it for a whole year. She was not diagnosed with anything, she was just a late talker. She was not ready to talk until SHE was ready. She is 4 1/2 now and won't shut up! Every person is different, but I wouldn't worry too much yet. She also walked at 14 months, which is a little late. She also got her teeth late. Hang in there, if you would like to talk more about it, you can email me at [email protected]____.com

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S.J.

answers from San Francisco on

Worry not. My, now 19 year old, son did not speak until he was over two. He is a wonderful, articulate young man.

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N.K.

answers from Fresno on

M.,

My daughter is not speaking either and she just turned 2. She says uh-oh, go, bye, hello, hi but that is about the extent of her vocabulary. I try to teach her but she is so stubborn. If she doesn't get it she gets mad and doesn't want to try anymore. My step sisters kids had trouble speaking also. One of the speech therapists told me that she we talk when she wants to. My doctor recommended someone to work with her or figure out why she isn't talking. She was also 2 months premature. I also think that she will talk when she has something to say or when they want to. Don't worry they will get there. I have another daughter who is almost 8 months old also. I don't think she will have a proble though. Good Luck and you are not alone.
N.

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J.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi,
I see you have already received great advice from others. I am a speech therapist and a mother of a 14 month old who is not yet walking. It is completely normal for you to worry and I would say that you are on the right track with an assessment from Early Start. I have worked with the program and you can receive wonderful services from them. I agree with those who recommended sign language. Research has proven that it can help enhance language development for all babies/children, so it is a great place to start. If you feel your child understands what you say to her, that is a good sign. If receptive language is on track, then there may be an oral motor issue, reduced muscle strength, but most likely just speech delay and may not be a "language" disorder. Also, if social skills are good and she likes to interact with others, that is a positive sign too. Don't assume the worst just yet despite what you may hear or read about on the internet! Please remember you are your child's expert, so you have the right instincts. Good luck in this process-
Jen

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