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Worried about 20 month old DS' development

(10 Posts)
Rebelcountycailin Thu 23-Jun-11 13:03:32

Ok, I am an anxious mum - I hold my hands up to that! But I can't stop myself worrying.

My DS is 20 months old. He is not walking by himself. He cruises and, in the last 2 weeks, is letting go and standing by himself for a very wobbly few seconds. But mainly he "knee walks". My GP thinks he is fine but wants to review him next month. I am also worried about his speech. It seems to have regressed. Mostly it's baby-ish gobbledygook. Occasionally he will suddenly repeat a word exactly (for example 'yoghurt') but won't say it again. He understands a lot and responds to simple requests like shut the door, take off your socks etc. He is also starting to know body parts like feet and knees and understands "raise your arms" etc.

Back story is he got a new brother at 15 months but at the same time my husband lost his job, things were difficult at home as we had no income, husband at home all day every day. DS2 was born then and about 2 weeks later my husband got a new job abroad and worked there during the week while I stayed behind. I had help from my MIL but it was a very difficult time. We subsequently moved abroad completely and set up a new home. This was 6-7 weeks ago. I feel so guilty as I know i have kind of neglected him while trying to sort out our new life so he's spent a lot of time playing very independently. I try to read with him every day and have started going to a baby/toddler group. I have got him crayons etc but he has no interest in drawing with them. He is highly independent anyway.

I can't stop panicking that he is developing too slowly and that I have basically failed him. I don't know who to ask or what to do. If I check about 20 month development on the Internet I panic that he doesn't have 5 new words a day and that he doesn't seem to do what it says he should be. I spend all my time talking to him, showing him stuff, explaining things, repeating words. My husband thinks he'll just suddenly take us by surprise but I don't know. I feel so guilty, I feel I have let my baby down and I'm now terrified the same for DS2.

Thanks for reading.

lingle Thu 23-Jun-11 13:21:44

don't know about walking. As to language the consensus among professionals seems to be that you have to really really neglect a child for that to stop their language developing. They see children in pretty pathetic circumstances whose siblings are chattering merrily away despite neglect. I think it's important to let that one go completely (if you can).

How does he show you what he wants if he can't talk yet?

neolara Thu 23-Jun-11 13:31:28

My dd is very nearly 22 months. Until about 2 weeks ago she could only say about 10 words and these were very unclear and included mama, dada and her sister's name. She is now on the cusp of the language spurt and is addding a couple of new words a day. It's happened incredibly quickly. At 20 months there is absolutely no way she would have copied "yoghurt", in fact I think she'd struggle to do that now. My ds was similar and at age 4 has an excellent vocabulary and is extremely articulate.

I know it's hard not to worry, but I think as far as the language development goes, you really shouldn't get concerned yet.

ragged Thu 23-Jun-11 13:42:32

He sounds within the normal spectrum, OP.
DC have a 2nd cousin who didn't walk until 22 months (no problems, just not bothered!).
DC were terrible talkers -- later than yours. Not turned into a big issue either.

Rebelcountycailin Thu 23-Jun-11 15:33:44

Hi lingle thank you very much for your reply. If he wants something he normally tries to get it himself and, if he can't, he gets very frustrated and either wails or makes a whining noise until we can sort it out for him.

If he's thirsty and his cup is empty he will just bring it to me.

He is fiercely independent and always has been. But then he loves to bring me a book for me to read it to him. He's not quiet by any means - he is very loud a lot of the time, but it just happens to be gobbledygook. I notice he's copying the baby's noises a lot and responds to the baby with a repeat of his noises. Could it just be some form of regression due to the baby?

tigana Thu 23-Jun-11 15:43:42

I think I am with your husband on this, I reckon in a few days/couple of weeks he'll suddenly 'pick it up' and there'll be no stopping him.
iirc it's fairly common for speech to get 'worse' just before it gets better? something about the brain filling up with all the info and 'how to do it' and taking some time to rationalise it all, then, wumph, there it is!!

Rebelcountycailin Thu 23-Jun-11 15:44:06

Thank you all for your replies. I think I am very anxious. I'm sure he's just doing things in his own time too. I know he understands an awful lot. Unfortunately I let slip with the "s" word last week and he immediately copied that but hasn't said it since, thank goodness blush.

I spend all the time talking to them, showing them things, putting the name to the object etc. This morning I put on nursery rhymes and jumped around the place and he loved that. I wonder what daily activities do people do with their LOs. I'm feeling guilty as I've had to spend time sorting out stuff since we moved but I always try to take time out with them and I always involve DS1 with activities in the house too (he loves helping to empty the dishwasher for eg).

Sorry for writing reams.

tigana Thu 23-Jun-11 15:45:27

oh and you have not neglected him. Not even 'kind of'.

lexxity Thu 23-Jun-11 15:59:43

Don't worry. My DS1 said about 3 words, Dada, Mama and Bob (rather randomly) until he was 2. He's now 5.8 and never shuts up! He is so incredibly verbose as to be commented on by everyone! I actually asked for a speech referral I was so worried about him when he was younger!

You're not neglecting him by the way. The world doesn't revolve around them, a bit of independent play will do him no harm what so ever.

lingle Thu 23-Jun-11 18:08:05

from what I remember... (hoping an expert will come along and put this better)

there's a phase with language where're you're imitating (like he imitates the baby and copies you saying s... LOL) and that's fine and good and very important and a vital foundation.

but what you're looking for next (I think at about his age really) is more purposeful precise communication - not necessarily with words - like being able to bring you that cup rather than just crying till you figure out he wanted the drink. is he maybe still crossing that bridge to the more specific/purposeful stuff?

the five words a day thing is the "language explosion" that many kids have at 18 months. Many kids don't have this. So that's a bit of a red herring right now.

Test his understanding by changing the context of what you say to him. Ask him to take off his hat (or another clothes word he knows) at a time when you would usually ask him to take off his socks. See if he takes off the hat - or at least looks surprised - or does the usual sock-taking-off-thing.

You said that you spend all your time on this. I did too and it was time well spent. Given that's how you spend your life right now, you should do it as well as you possibly can. First step: buy "It Takes Two to Talk", published by Hanen for lots of money at but available more cheaply for £32.50 from Winslow publications. Extremely well-written, positive, jargon-free, non-guilt-inducing, and guaranteed not scary. Can be shown to your husband without irritating him or starting a row. I am not on commission but this the gold standard description of the basic techiques that make a difference when you are not sure whether this is just a mummy-guilt thing or a genuinely slow bit of development.

good luck! I found getting busy with the It Takes Two book channelled my anxiety in a positive way that worked for the whole family.

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