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Toddler Not Talking

toddler not talking

My son just turned 19 months and we are becoming concerned about his speech.  At this age, both my girls were talking almost in a sentence, however we have only been able to get our son to speak two words.  He is able to comprehend verbal one and even two step commands (ex. get the book and bring it to daddy) with great success, however he does not speak to us at all.  He's a very happy baby, laughs, coos, can point to a dozen parts of the body, etc.  What can we do to help him with verbal expression?  Should we be worried about this yet or will it "just happen" one day?

In all likelihood your son’s speech will “just happen” and your next concern will be how do we get our toddler to be quiet. However, his delay is enough that he likely needs to be evaluated. Speech delay is more common for boys and seems more common in non-first born children (if that is a term).

The main concern with speech delayed children in autism. In many regards, it does not sound like he is autistic. I am encouraged his receptive language skills and his ability to take directions. The fact that he laughs shows higher level social and cognitive development.

If children do not say at least 3 or 4 words by 18 months than I refer them for hearing and speech evaluation. Does he have any other words? Animal noises count as words.

You should take him to your regular doctor for initial evaluation and likely referrals. Keep talking, reading and singing to him. Point to pictures in books and ask questions. “What is that?” or “Where is the dog?”

Our third child was also speech delayed. We too were use to 18 month olds that talked in sentences and sang songs. Given time (and some speech therapy) he gradually improved. Today, you would never know he had a slow start!


Follow up 9 months later

He is doing very well verbally and is now 27 months old.

We took him in to be evaluated by primary doctor at initial concern, he was given a hearing screening exam and failed. We were referred to an audiologist in which he then had a more in-depth evaluation. Results came back as no physical hearing issues.

After testing, we decided to make a more conscious effort at home to surround him with language and vocabulary as much as possible. We practiced waiting and giving him a chance to ask and respond at his own rate. Being the "baby" of our three children, we also asked for help from our girls. I'm not sure what the answer to his increase in speech was, it seems like it really did "just happen" during a period of time. By the age of 22 months we noticed a significant increase of verbal expression.




Written July 2012 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician






gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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