My 18 Month Old Isn't Saying Words.

Updated on October 18, 2006
A.W. asks from Wichita, KS
24 answers

my 18 month old son wyrik isn't saying words. he has no intrest in talking. he has no other siblings and isn't in daycare. he is very advanced in other areas of development but we worry about him not speaking

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T.W.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Don't worry. My 2 yr old didn't start talking till she was about 19 months. She pointed and stuff, but never really said anything besides Mama. He'll get there!!

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P.B.

answers from Peoria on

Wht does the doctor say> some kids are slow to pick up on words. use small words and ask them to repeat. I'd say let him take his time and you'll be beggin him to shut up sometime hahahahaha

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T.P.

answers from Springfield on

I have twins that are now about 20 months old.. one is a regular chatterbox.. the other only says a few words.. he is very good with his hands and a real thinker.. but I dont worry.. I think he is just waiting until he is more confident with his speech. Good luck!...

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A.L.

answers from Kansas City on

Don't freak out just yet, a lot of kids are not talking by 18 months. Does he know sign? That is a good thing to teach initially, so they can ask for what they want without frustration. Second, read and talk to him ALL the time. Flash cards are also a good idea. You may also want to put him in a mother's day out program a couple times a week (good for socialization). Parents as teachers, is also a great idea.

A. L

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M.M.

answers from St. Louis on

A.,

hi my name is M., I'm 22 and a mother of two girls. Since you are worried about your son speaking and he is very advanced in other areas of development, try baby sign language. It would be a great way for you to communicate, he could learn the signs and while signing them you can say them. Over time I'm sure he'll pick up words and sart using them more. I really hope that you can use this advice. Good luck!:)

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J.S.

answers from Springfield on

My youngest was the same way, and through Parents as Teachers I got him enrolled in FirstSteps. He gets speech therapy, plus some other therapies (he has sensory issues too) once a week, and it has turned him into a different kid! He is so happy to be communicating. A lot of moms told me I was overreacting, and to just give him time, but I'm glad I listened to myself and had him evaluated. He also got free hearing tests, but luckily there is nothing wrong with his ears.
Check with your local school to see about any of these programs, since I don't know what KS offers. You're his mommy, and his best advocate, so if you want him evaluated, go for it. It won't hurt, and can only help. Good luck!!
Hugs,
J.

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S.C.

answers from Springfield on

From a mother with a son who has autism:
Does your child have any of the signs for autism? For example: ***

Research now suggests that children as young as 1 year old can show signs of autism. The most important thing you can do as a parent or caregiver is to learn the early signs of autism and understand the typical developmental milestones your child should be reaching at different ages. Please look over the following list. If you have any concerns about your child's development, don't wait. Speak to your doctor about screening your child for autism. While validated screening for autism starts only as young as 16 months, the best bet for younger children is to have their development screened at every well visit with a highly validated developmental screening tool. If your child does have autism, early intervention may be his or her best hope.

Watch for the Red Flags of Autism

(The following red flags may indicate a child is at risk for atypical development, and is in need of an immediate evaluation.)

In clinical terms, there are a few “absolute indicators,” often referred to as “red flags,” that indicate that a child should be evaluated. For a parent, these are the “red flags” that your child should be screened to ensure that he/she is on the right developmental path. If your baby shows any of these signs, please ask your pediatrician or family practitioner for an immediate evaluation:
· No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
· No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
· No babbling by 12 months
· No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
· No words by 16 months
· No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
· Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
*This information has been provided by First Signs, Inc. ©2001-2005. Reprinted with permission. For more information about recognizing the early signs of developmental and behavioral disorders, please visit http://www.firstsigns.org or the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/actearly.

Common Characteristics of Autism
While understanding of autism has grown tremendously since it was first described by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943, most of the public, including many professionals in the medical, educational, and vocational fields, are still unaware of how autism affects people and how they can effectively work with individuals with autism. Contrary to popular understanding, many children and adults with autism may make eye contact, show affection, smile and laugh, and demonstrate a variety of other emotions, although in varying degrees. Like other children, they respond to their environment in both positive and negative ways.
Autism is a spectrum disorder. The symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations, from mild to severe. Although autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, children and adults can exhibit any combination of the behaviors in any degree of severity. Two children, both with the same diagnosis, can act very differently from one another and have varying skills.
Parents may hear different terms used to describe children within this spectrum, such as autistic-like, autistic tendencies, autism spectrum, high-functioning or low-functioning autism, more-abled or less-abled. More important than the term used is to understand that, whatever the diagnosis, children with autism can learn and function productively and show gains with appropriate education and treatment.
Every person with autism is an individual, and like all individuals, has a unique personality and combination of characteristics. Some individuals mildly affected may exhibit only slight delays in language and greater challenges with social interactions. The person may have difficulty initiating and/or maintaining a conversation. Communication is often described as talking at others (for example, monologue on a favorite subject that continues despite attempts by others to interject comments).
People with autism process and respond to information in unique ways. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present. Persons with autism may also exhibit some of the following traits.
· Insistence on sameness; resistance to change
· Difficulty in expressing needs; uses gestures or pointing instead of words
· Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language
· Laughing, crying, showing distress for reasons not apparent to others
· Prefers to be alone; aloof manner
· Tantrums
· Difficulty in mixing with others
· May not want to cuddle or be cuddled
· Little or no eye contact
· Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
· Sustained odd play
· Spins objects
· Inappropriate attachments to objects
· Apparent over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to pain
· No real fears of danger
· Noticeable physical over-activity or extreme under-activity
· Uneven gross/fine motor skills
· Not responsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf although hearing tests in normal range.
For most of us, the integration of our senses helps us to understand what we are experiencing. For example, our senses of touch, smell and taste work together in the experience of eating a ripe peach: the feel of the peach fuzz as we pick it up, its sweet smell as we bring it to our mouth, and the juices running down our face as we take a bite. For children with autism, sensory integration problems are common. Their senses may be over-or under-active. The fuzz on the peach may actually be experienced as painful; the smell may make the child gag. Some children with autism are particularly sensitive to sound, finding even the most ordinary daily noises painful. Many professionals feel that some of the typical autism behaviors are actually a result of sensory integration difficulties.
There are many myths and misconceptions about autism. Contrary to popular belief, many autistic children do make eye contact; it just may be less or different from a non-autistic child. Many children with autism can develop good functional language and others can develop some type of communication skills, such as sign language or use of pictures. Children do not "outgrow" autism but symptoms may lessen as the child develops and receives treatment.
One of the most devastating myths about autistic children is that they cannot show affection. While sensory stimulation is processed differently in some children with autism, they can and do give affection. But it may require patience on a parent's part to accept and give love in the child's terms.
***I know that was a lot of information, but I just want you to be autism aware. I would be happy to talk with you via private email, or anyone else who is having the same issues.

S.

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O.G.

answers from Wichita on

If you are worried , you could always have him checked with the Early Intervention . At 18 months old , i think my son at that time just started to really talking , but i was still worried , since i heard a lot of kids talking at 12 months or 15 months , i know how u feel , i am a first time mom too . So i set an appointment with early intervention , and we went there , they said not to worry , everything is okay . Maybe you should take him out more to see friends and family , i found that after every visit to his grandparent's house ( which is 3 states away .. ) my son always comes up with new words . And beside he's still not even 2yet , so don't worry , once he's start talking u wouldn't be able to stop him :)

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M.M.

answers from Lincoln on

Hi there! I see you are in KS, I'm in IL. I was wondering if you have an Early Intervention program there, like something called first steps. I work for a 0-3 program here and we give free evaluations to children a lot like yours who are not talking. Then speech therapy can be an option through that program too. It's cheaper through the state program otherwise you are paying out of pocket to private clinics using your insurance. Have you had his hearing checked? Has he had many ear infections? He could have fluid in his ear. I would definitely get him in a group of somesort. We have something called KinderMusic or any kind of group would work. The 0-3 program might also have something.

Speak slowly and try to use one work with him. So if he is pulling you over to the fridge and wanting a drink...say "drink?" slowly and multiple times. You could even sign the word drink by putting your hand up to your mouth like you're drinking. Eventually he might say "dink" or something close. Keep working hard, but slow and point to your mouth when you are saying that one word. I'm told that if parents say "say drink" children get stubborn so just shorten it down to "drink". I hope this helps, but I believe a 0-3 program would be helpful. He might be one of those kids who is content and just won't start talking until closer to 2, but you don't want to wait, now's the time to work!

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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C.L.

answers from Springfield on

I have two boys one is 4 and one is 7. My seven year old did not talk until about three weeks after he turned two. I was a little worried about it but then once he did start talking he never shut-up. All children are different. I have a nephew who is 23 months old and he still talks jabber. On the other hand my 4 year old when he was a baby I was told that he would talk late b/c of having an older sibling and that the older siblings usually communicate for the younger one. Well he was tested by parents as teachers and he was lacking being two by two months and his vocabulary tested as that of a three year old. You can't judge what a child is going to do based on another. Just be sure when he askes for things to say what it is so he knows and say can you say please or say what do you want and let them tell you. He may not say the correct sounds for awhile but alteast he is trying to communicate. Just don't talk for him. Read a lot of books that is also a vocabulary builder for them. Most importantly just learn and have fun! Don't worry about it. It will happen when he is ready just like potty training.

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M.W.

answers from Kansas City on

My son turned 2 in August and has a very limited vocabulary. Just like your son, he's a pretty smart kid. At his 2 year appt my pediatrician told me not to concern myself too much for another 6 months or so. He said that some kids just start a little later, especially boys. He's clearly intelligent, so for the time being I'm letting him develop at his own pace and will worry when and if I need to. Have you talked to your pediatrician?

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M.S.

answers from Joplin on

If you have concerns, talk to your child's pediatrician and ask for a referral to a speech-language pathologist in your area for an evaluation. I will say that many children, particularly boys, start verbal communication a little later--all kiddos are different. However, you didn't mention in your message whether he makes any sounds, babbling, that sort of thing. If it was me, I would want to get his hearing checked before doing anything. You may think he is hearing you just fine, but the results of a hearing eval with tympanometry may show differently. Advice for you--just start talking around him all the time. Talk about everything you do, see, eat, etc. Also, I believe in the power of sign language. Get a basic sign language book and learn some simple signs to use. You can also contact First Steps (I believe that is the 0-3 year old program in Missouri)for more information. We also did Parents As Teachers and loved it! Good luck to you and let me know if I can help in any other way.

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K.M.

answers from St. Louis on

I have a 2 1/2 year old who has been receiving speech therapy for about a year through First Steps. And I have seen great improvement with him. He too was not around other kids alot. He was either with me or his grandma. Now he has a younger brother (who is 15 months) and is around other kids and it is really making a difference. I know there are alot of kids that receive therapy through First Steps that do not have any developmental problems but just need to "catch up". If you have any questions, email me at ____@____.com.

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C.W.

answers from St. Louis on

Have you had his hearing checked? That would be the first place I would look for a solution.

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M.L.

answers from Rockford on

Do you read a lot to him? I think my son who is 2 knows a lot of words because I read to him and many different books and magazines I have read say that if u read to your kids at a early age they pick up language a lot quicker. Try taking him on walks and pointing and saying what everything is that might help too.

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C.G.

answers from Wichita on

Parents as Teachers is an awesome program! They work with you and your child! You can look PAT up in the phone book and they'll direct you to the right district :)

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R.H.

answers from Springfield on

I have three kids and found that they some times have words but not what we reconize as words. as for play time lets set something up. mine are 2yr,3yr,and 4month

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J.L.

answers from Wichita on

A.,
My 7y/o didn't start talking words until she was almost 2 1/2. She cooed, however that was it. Don't worry about it. If you are worried about it then talk with your PCP about it. e-mail me at ____@____.com if you have any further questions or if you find anything out. Please keep me posted.

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K.H.

answers from Rockford on

All I can say is good for you to be worried about him. I'm not saying you have reason to worry, but the fact that you are worried says what an observant mother you are. I watch a boy who is a second child, he's 2 1/2 and doesn't speak anything other than grunts. His mother is in total denial about it and thinks there is absolutely nothing wrong.

I'd get him into daycare maybe a few hours for a couple of days a week. Playdates, something involving other kids. That's all I can suggest.

Good for you for being such a GREAT mom!!!!!

~K.

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J.K.

answers from Oklahoma City on

If you are concerned get an eval and a hearing test done. Early intervention is a jumpstart for your child...almost every pediatrician will dismiss your concerns at this age, go with your gut.
Think about how much YOU talk at home, and how you talk to him.
Kids talk at all different stages. Talk his ear off, don't baby talk him. Explain what you are doing when you are doing it. Momma's gonna vaccum we are getting this house cleaned up! blah, blah, & more blah...Get some song videos, singing is funner than talking and might make him learn faster.
Try to get him to say cup,drink,juice or milk before every cup is offered. Identify foods and try to get him to use words like eat, & more. Get some kind of pictures, a book of objects ect. point and identify what they are. Sing songs to him, abc's, Twinkle twinkle little star, ect. Reading books helps allot, if you are a quite person you may have to try to be more talkative around your son...they model us.
If you are anticipating his every need...he won't need to talk.
In addition, just in case, if you are still using pacifiers and baby bottles trash them now!!! You can't talk when you've got your mouth full all day.

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L.M.

answers from Wichita on

I would definately contact Parents as Teachers. Both the Missouri and Kansas school districts have it and it's free. Just contact your local school district. My son loves his sessions when the parent educator comes to our home. They bring educational games and toys and make it fun for the kids. They also do developmental screenings. My son started at 12 weeks and they go thru 3 years old. PAT also has a play center that children can attend to interact with other kids their age.

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M.W.

answers from Springfield on

A., I wouldn't freak out just yet, when my little boy was 18 months he just wanted to grunt or point to everything, he will be 2 next Sunday and he is now a jabberjaw, within a matter of weeks. If you are really concerned you could call your pediatrician, you probably wouldn't even have to go in, but just tell them your concerns and they can tell wether it is necessary or not to see someone. I would also do things like read to him, make sure to point to the objects as you are reading. Hopefully it will comfort you to know that it seemed like one day my son wasn't saying a word and the next he said words I didn't know he knew. Hope this is encouraging to you A..

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B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

What state are you in? I am part of a moms play group that meets so the could have some one to play with
B.

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M.F.

answers from Kansas City on

Are you enrolled with your local "Parents as Teachers". It is through your local school district. If you would like more info email me.

Anyways, she was just here at my house and told me that babies brains learn one thing at a time. So if he is advanced in other areas that's what his brain is working on specifically. Speech will come later when his brain is ready to work on that particular area. Your parents as teachers person would be able to tell you if he is behind developmentally. I have a boy and a girl and can tell you my daughter was speaking before and more than my Son. I think it can also be the good ole "men" vs. "women" differences in communication. :)

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