One Year Old Not Saying Much

Updated on July 08, 2008
S.D. asks from South Rockwood, MI
21 answers

I have a one year old son. I'm not sure if he is supposed to be talking at his age, but all he says is da da. Someone told me he should be saying a few different words by now, or at least trying to repeat them. I'm not concerning it because he is only one, but I was wondering what other mom's had to say on this topic. He is my first and only baby, so I'm not sure what to expect. I do notice that he seems really responsive to me, and if I ask him to bring me his ball, or one of his toys he will listen and bring it to me. I know he hears good, but he just doesn't seem interested in trying to say any words.

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M.V.

answers from Grand Rapids on

My daughter did "talked" a lot for about a 6 months, all gibberish. Nothing that sounded like words. She didn't start to actually talk until she was 20 months old. She is now 4 1/2 and has a tremendous vocabulary. Give it time.

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C.C.

answers from Detroit on

I remember when my 8 year old was 1 and I was worried about the same thing. However, now he talks way to much! If he is responsive to you, and meeting some of the other milestones(everything you need to know about babies book), then I really wouldn't worry it at this point.

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M.C.

answers from Detroit on

My son was also born in June of 2007, he says da-da and sometimes he'll say tree, but he doesn't really talk that often. I'm not worried about it because he seems to pick up on what we say to him and he points at things he wants or is interested in.
It bums me out that he doesn't say ma-ma yet, but I know he will eventually.
Just give your little guy time.

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S.K.

answers from Lansing on

My son didn't say anything other than mama and dada at that age. He's now 19 months and is speaking some words but I think that only my husband and I understand what he's saying. Listen carefully sometimes babbeling are words you just have to figure out what they mean to your son. It's amazing how fast they pick up on things. I wouldn't worry too much he'll be talking up a storm before you know it! Boys are slower than girls at most of their develpmental milestones.

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A.N.

answers from Detroit on

I have an 18 month old that says a few words, but not nearly as many as my other daughter did at this age. Kendall is the same way as your son, she understands EVERYTHING but she's just not that verbal yet. I think they are both TOTALLY normal. As mothers we have a hard time not comparing our children to what everyone else's are doing, but our babies are just fine and doing things on their own time. Also, I think that, generally speaking, boys are slower at talking than most girls. In my experience, my first daughter was verbal at a really young age but didn't walk until almost 15 months! Then Kendall came along and walked at 11 months but doesn't talk as much yet. Go figure.

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N.A.

answers from Lansing on

It depends on the child. My first born was talking sentences but my second didn't really speak much until 2 ( however he had to get tubes due to fluid build up.
My 3rd amazes me. I say the word once 9 for example fish and she repeats it back. ) Now she can not recall that word independently.
She was born june30 '07
She says on her own with no prompts
Mama
Dada
Jay Jay ( for her oldest brother)
Bubu ( 2nd older bro)
Titty ( for cat)
Tnk ( for our dog tanka)
nono
mo ( for more)
I think those are the ones she independantly says. The rest she parrots. She also babbles nonstop in some baby language like she is talking sentences.
I wouldn't worry at all. These things ebb and flow. Seems like one day they aren't keeping up and the next week they take off ahead of others.
People are on me because my daughter doesn't walk yet...i tell them we are in no hurry, when she sees the need she will!

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L.N.

answers from Benton Harbor on

My youngest was the same way...understood everything but had nothing to say. He is just now at 18+ months talking much more. In the last few months he just started talking out of the blue. Keep an eye on his comprehension so you have a good grasp on his skills and mention it at his next checkup...but you can't judge your child by anybody else's child. My middle was born talking LOL...chances are your son is fine.

~L.

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T.A.

answers from Grand Rapids on

S.,
I wouldn't get too worried about his talking yet. All babies progess at their own rate, he could just me more inclined to be doing things than talking.
Really just listen to him during the day and is he babbling? Thats how they learn to talk. The words will come eventually.
I had 5 boys and they all started talking on their own time. My 3rd son didn't say many words at all until he was 15 months old and he won't shut up now at 7 years old. LOL
My youngest is 17 months and is a babbler/talker, thats his thing, maybe he feels like he needs to be heard among all those brothers! My point is when he is ready it will happen. Good luck to you and God Bless.

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J.S.

answers from Kalamazoo on

I found this online and to me it sounds like hes doing ok and is at a normal rate at his age ..

Learning more about language

Though at this point their vocabulary probably consists of only a couple of words besides "mama" and "dada," many one-year-olds can babble short, fully inflected sentences that sound like they're speaking a foreign language.

By now, your baby may also be able to respond to simple questions and commands, especially if you give him some clues with hand gestures. For example, ask "Where's your mouth?" and point to it. Or try "Hand me the cup" and point to the object. Your baby may even answer you in his own way, using his own gestures, such as shaking his head for "no."

Take advantage of your baby's receptiveness to begin teaching him manners and how to help out. Emphasise "please" and "thank you," and make toy cleanup time fun by turning it into a game. Though he probably won't get the idea just yet, it's never too early to start.

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S.M.

answers from Detroit on

Hi S.,
One year olds don't talk much at all. Just be sure you talk with your baby and offer opportunities for him to talk. Saying the name of the object (i.e. ball) helps to build his vocabulary. You'll find he's talking up a storm in no time. If he's saying mama, dada, etc. and a couple other 'words' he's great. Even less is still no big deal at his age. You can look up info on this both in books and online. Best wishes, S.

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D.H.

answers from Detroit on

My grandson was born in Jan. 2007, and one of the girls I work with - her baby was born the day before. My grandson says mama and dada, and once in awhile something we recognize, but mostly he just babbles (quite alot sometimes - it's funny to listen to him!). My friend's baby says alot of words.
All babies develop a little different. Don't worry about it - he's doing just what he should be. When you speak to him, make sure to use smaller words, and repeat things to him, but he'll pick it up in no time. One day he'll all of a sudden start!
Don't worry!
D.

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J.C.

answers from Detroit on

Hi S.,
I talk to my 23 month old about everything..and have from very early on and as a result he talks quite a bit. Since your son's hearing seems fine and he responds to you asking him to get things, I'd say talk to him about whatever is going on around you in a given moment. You probably already do this, but I thought that it was worth mentioning because I had a friend of mine say that her son started talking up a storm after I told her that I talked to my son about just about everything through the course of a day. It gives your child a wider exposure to words. Of course if any of the suggestions from this site don't help in a month or two, definately ask your doctor at the next well baby visit. Good Luck!

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S.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

It depends on the child. My 5yo didn't say too much of anything until 18 months and even then he didn't really start to talk until 2. My 13 mo talks nonstop. It's like he's learning a new word every day. He can even repeat We Will We Will Rock You (of course, it's not legible...sounds more like webo webo bat bat). If your son seems to understand you, then he's fine. He'll talk in his own time.

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A.W.

answers from Detroit on

You are right, one is still very young. However, if you are concerned call your local intermediate school district (if you are in Macomb County, the Macomb Intermediate School District.) They handle all of the early on programs. Make an appointment for the fall (they are off in the S..) They will evaluate him for free and if he qualifies, he will receive speech therapy for free. Also, consult your pediatrician. Extra concern couldn't hurt! Good luck and God Bless!

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S.H.

answers from Detroit on

Hi S., I went through this with my second child only saying dada at a year. when I expressed my concern to my pediatrician she just smiled and told me that at 12 months they only expect children to say a few words like mama and dada and that I should not judge my second by what my first did. My first had quite a large vocab by a year. She also explained that my son might be responding to her needs so she doesn't need to use her words.(like getting her sippy cup if she reaches for it instead of letting her ask for it) So I waited a few more months and still no more words. I talked again with the doctor this time she seamed a little more concerned so she mentioned Early on so I contacted them and they came out and tested her, by the time I started working with Early on she was 21 months and still not talking they gave me lots of things to do to help her, the best thing that really helped was sign language she really took to it my son also liked helping his sister learn signs. It seamed as if a light switch went on with her as soon as she began to learn signing she started talking shortly after. We worked with a speech therapist once a week for 3 months after that once a month for 9 months and when she turned three we tested her again she hit all of her goals. I hope my story helps my advice would be to talk to your pediatrician express your concerns and listen to your gut.

A little about me:

Im a 36 year old SAHM of two a very funny 4 year old girl and a very curious/adventurous 6 year old. I have been married 14 years to a fun loving,crazy,stubborn,compationate,wonderful husband.

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B.T.

answers from Saginaw on

S.,
I am a Speech Pathologist working in the schools. I have worked with some babies, however I usually work ing the 3-2nd grade leves/High School. The answer is, yes probably, your child should be naming items and actions that are highly familar and part of routine, for example words for drink/water, ball, mama, dada, or a toy/pet. It also may be that your child is doing fine and will begin talking any day now. However, just by sending this email, it is obvious that you are concerned. It is possible to get a screening and/or observation with an Early-On Speech Language-Pathologist through your local Intermediate School District depending on your county and school district. This is a service provided free of charge. If you would like me to look up the email and/or phone number and contacts, I would need your county and school district information. Please feel free to email me at to exchange this information, [email protected]____.com. I hope that all works out for you and your child. And, congratulations on being able to stay home with your child!
B.

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N.K.

answers from Detroit on

He is just fine and very normal. My pediatrician told us at out daughter's 18 month check up(now she's 20 months almost) that at 18 months they should KNOW at least 10 words, not to always repeat them day in and day out but to know them and to have said them before is where they should be to be developing normally. Also, at my daughter's 15 month check up , the doc asked is she knew 3-5 words and of course she did. You'll be surprised how one month they say hardly anything and the next month they already know and say 2-4 words. Amazing!!! He's fine and you should just sit back and wait for more to come!!!!

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L.R.

answers from Detroit on

S.,
Don't worry. My daughter just went in for her 15 month check up. They said she should be saying mama, dada, & 1 or 2 other words. Well, she says mama & dada & babbles constantly (no clue what she's saying). The dr. said not to worry, just work with her to get her more engaged. With your son at only 1 year, you're fine. Just exagerate names of objects & start working with parts of the body (nose, tummy, etc.). By 15 months they should be able to point or identify 2 body parts. My daughter doesn't so we're working on that now. All kids go at their own pace. You're son has plenty of time to work up to his development goals. Just enjoy him.

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V.G.

answers from Grand Rapids on

My youngest was a lot like this - until 2 1/2. We have a friend who is a speech patholigist for our local school system, so talked to her. We also brought Tris to her and what she told us was if it continued to be an issue at 3 then to call the school system, set up a formal evaluation with them and then we would begin speech pathology. She said that sometimes kids are just a little slower at developing that skill - especially if there is a lot of other stuff going on. We were also supposed to talk to her the same way we would an adult - don't use baby language, and don't change your tone of voice (some people get a little high pitch when talking to a baby). If we talked to her like an adult, she would understand the words better and be able to better form the words. Our daughter turned 3 in April and talks as much as her 4 1/2 year old sister. You might mention it at his next dr. appointment, but I think you'll find that he'll start to develop other words over time.

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M.C.

answers from Lansing on

S.,
I wouldn't worry too much- all kids develop differently. For me, my daughter was definitely an earlier talker than my son, so at first we were worried that he wasn't on track with his speech. After spending more time with other moms with little ones, I found out that this is totally normal. Now he is 3 and 1/2 and talks non-stop!
Also, you probably know him so well that he doesn't need to use words to communicate. Encourage him to use words to ask for things he wants. You could even "play dumb" every now and then and pretend you are not sure what he wants. Not to the point that he's horribly frustrated, but just to encourage him. Praise any attempts he makes.
I predict he will talk just fine when he's good and ready. He has the most important thing, which is a mom who loves him and cares enough to be concerned, so he is already ahead of the game!!
M.

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G.B.

answers from Detroit on

Good for you for staying home with your son! You'll always be glad you did. I wouldn't worry as long as he's hearing well. You can try to see if any of his babbling is actually attempting to make words. Sometimes we miss this. And you can name things from him and ask him questions like "are you all done now? Do you want your truck?" etc. That will help. He may be working on other skills right now, and he's still very young.

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