Advanced search

No word at 2 - bilingual or me being overprotective...? need to hear positive stories

(21 Posts)
eskimomama Fri 07-Oct-11 15:42:57


I've been reading threads about late talkers on MN and feeling I'm not the only one worrying smile phew!
My DD is just 2 and doesn't say a single word. Not even mummy or daddy or anything at all.
Her dad is Irish and I'm French, and we moved from the UK to France when she turned 13 months, which I think had a massive effect on her talking - she was starting to say "cat" and since then, nothing.

She babbles a lot with all possible sounds, she's a lovely little girl, great eye contact, loves peek-a-boo, pretend play etc. I got mega extra crazy worried 2 months ago when I realised she wasn't responding to her name and very rarely point to things unless they're familiar characters on a book. The GP wasn't worried at all but refered me to a child psychologist to appease me. That one also said I shouldn't be worried for ASD, although couldn't say why she isn't answering to her name at that stage.

His idea was that we've had such a fusional relationship me and her since she was born - she's never been at nursery and still breastfeeding and co-sleeping (for various reasons) and that must be why she hasn't really separated from me and learnt to use language to be understood.
Will see him again next month.

I was wondering if anyone had been in the same boat - bilingual and late talker, please tell me it's ok not to say a single word or even mummy at 2 ...
Or anyone else not bilingual yet still just as late talker and no problems later?

thanks so much - tired of worrying constantly sad

belgo Fri 07-Oct-11 15:49:12

Has her hearing been checked? The standard rule of thumb is:

one word at one (year of age)
two words together at age two
short sentences by age three.

My children were all late talkers, due to hearing problems and also being bilingual, but they all just about were within 'normal', and just about achieved the milestones above.

Is your dd making any consistent sounds that could be words?

The fact that you are breastfeeding and co-sleeping will not be causing her to have a delay in speech, don't let anyone fob you off by saying that this is why she isn't talking.

I think you are right to be concerned, saying no word at all at age two is unusual and needs to be followed up further by a paediatrician.

eskimomama Fri 07-Oct-11 15:53:40

Her hearing was checked as a newborn and I know she can hear fine, she rushes in if she hears her favourite cartoon starting in the other room, or looks in the direction of any loud/unusual noise. Or goes to the front door/tries to put on her shoes if I say "let's go", and takes us to the bathroom if we say "time for bath", for instance.

how old were your children when the hearing problem was detected?

Nansrus Fri 07-Oct-11 15:59:25

Not bilingual.My first son did not talk properly until he was 3 (just Mum and Dad) and I was worried. But was told he was ok and not to worry. Not easy.

I have to say he has made up for it ever since! Now 39, he is the chattiest of all my 3!

What gets me are the Mums and they are still the same today, who are always boasting how early their children were to do everything! Making you feel like it is your fault.

Thing is as mothers we always seem to have to worry about something, if it wasn't that it would be something else.

One thing that struck me is that she is so comfortable with all her needs being met by you, she has no need of words.

best wishes

eskimomama Fri 07-Oct-11 16:05:42

thansk nansrus that's lovely.
You are so right about the worrying for something... bl**dy maternal hormones! ;) I wasn't the most easy going woman before I became a mom and now look at me, I stress all the time.

My DD's dad was a late talker and according to his mom started talking in sentences at 3 and so was my brother - but it would be such a relief if at least she was saying mummy...

belgo Fri 07-Oct-11 16:30:22

I know you are looking here for reassurance but not having a single word at age two, and not reacting to her name at age two, is a reason to be referred to a paed, and I really think you should do this.

Having her needs totally met by you should not cause her to have a speech delay.

My dd1 was three/four years old before her hearing problem was detected, noticed by other family members, I had not noticed that there was a problem at all. Her speech improved vastly after grommets were inserted.

bunnyfrance Fri 07-Oct-11 16:51:06

Hi there,

No advice really, just to say we're in the same boat - I'm anglophone, DH is French, DS is just 2, we live in France. DS's only word is "papa"....

I'm trying not to worry and compare to other kids. He's also got a new little sister to deal with, which I don't think is helping!

Daisy1986 Fri 07-Oct-11 21:04:04

Breastfeeding and cosleeping shouldnt have any affect we do that and my DDs speech is very good nor does she go to nursery.
I think it is common for bilingual speakers to be slower to pick it up but once they do they dont stop smile

Try signing if all else is ok you could try a Tiny Talk class, Sing and sign, Something special on Cbeebies or dvds and books at least then she can expressive herself to people and may aid learning two languages. My DD started signing at 9 months and I totally think this is why her speech is very good as she could communicate. And if you don't fancy that just talk, talk, talk, hold her hand over your mouth so she can feel the sounds, read as much as you can and be patient. Try and keep in mind the wonderful gift you are giving your child being able to speak two languages.

chocjunkie Fri 07-Oct-11 21:43:03

eskimomama, DD (3.8) grows up bilingual. bilingual upbringing does NOT delay language development. I would get her referred via GP or HV to a Salt who can do a more in dept assessment or her language. also, how is your DD's understanding? how is she communicating with you? can she follow instructions? does she point? can she follow a point?

also, get her hearing checked. having passed the new born hearing screening does not guarantee fine hearing at 2!

and don't rely so much on the 'my child did not talk until 3 stories'. it happens, yes, but not having words at 2 is a concern.

I would push for a Salt assessment now. don't let GP/HV fob you off. it happened to us (oh, bilingual kids talk later and similar bullshit). DD is now 3.8. still not really talking. we only started speech therapy last month (the waiting lists can be insane, we waited more than a year) and under a paed for suspected ASD. I am not suggesting this is the case with your DD but better to get things checked out early than overlooking things.

good luck!

DoctorGilbertson Fri 07-Oct-11 23:36:05

Interesting thread

We are a bilingual family. Lots of DS's friends in the same situation. In general I would say that the bilingual kids spoke later than the non-bilingual ones (I know that this isn't what other people say). DS got the bilingual thing very well at about 2y6m and started talking in one language or the other correctly depending on the situation and now at 3 he speaks OK in both languages, although still at quite a basic level when I think about some of his peers.

And at 3+ some of his bilingual friends are still sorting out the two language thing and have either one, or the other, or a mix of both still.

However, the rule of thumb that I was given for a minimum was 5 words at 18 months and 50 words at 2, and DS just about hit that (his 50 words at 2 including TV characters, and some words in either languages).

So, yes, language can be quite slow and even at 3+ still not brilliant but no, no words at 2 is a worry I think. Sorry.

DoctorGilbertson Fri 07-Oct-11 23:40:49

PS my name comes from postman pat, not because I actually have any real knowledge here

jayyamela Sat 08-Oct-11 00:41:30

at age of Two, I would not worry about it, my son did not utter a word until 2.5 @ 6.5 I have to ask him to stop talking so we can watch the news.

ButterflySally Sat 08-Oct-11 19:04:45


There are some children who are late to start talking but do quite easily catch up with their peers.

There is another cohort of children, however, who are late to start talking because they have a language and/or communication disorder. These children require input from a Speech and Language Therapist.

In addition to hearing being checked, I think your child would benefit from evaluation by a Speech Therapist. I believe they are called 'orthophonists' in French. Even if they are not too concerned about your child's language, they can still give valuable advice that you can implement to help develop her language. If your child does have difficulty with language, she really needs early intervention to maximise her opportunities and minimise her language difficulty.

It is common for bilingual children to have a mild delay in their acquisition of both languages but not saying any single words at 2yrs is a concern that needs further investigation, I'm afraid to say.

I think what the psychologist said about it being because of co-sleeping and breastfeeding inaccurate and does not reflect current understanding of language development. Children don't just start talking to get their needs met (although it helps with that), they also talk to share things, point things out to others and to participate socially at a verbal level.


DrinkFeckArseGirls Sat 08-Oct-11 20:05:14

Not as professional advice as above bur DD is 10 1/2 months and she says one word (in my language which isn't English). She's been teaching to her name for at least 2 months (can't remember exactly). Personally I would probably be anxious about lack of talking but would consider the fact that she doesn't respond to her name) a much bigger issue. Definitely press the GPs, consultants, whoever you have there. Doesn't mean there's anything really to worry, it's just good to be informed.

DrinkFeckArseGirls Sat 08-Oct-11 20:07:17

bur - but
teaching - responding
Plus sorry for the stray bracket. Typing on my phone.

MangoMonster Sat 08-Oct-11 20:09:53

I would bring it up with your gp, it is quite unusual and you should do the standard hearing checks etc. I don't see the point in taking a wait and see approach, might as well be proactive.

discrete Sat 08-Oct-11 20:21:19

Ds1 had not a word by age 2. The ILs went loopy, but his understanding was very good so I was not worried.

He is now almost 5, bilingual (although strongly dominant english, by design) and with a very wide vocabulary (in english, much more limited in his second language).

He didn't say mummy (or even mamma) until well after he could say many words.

Thing is, I can't remember exactly when (sometime around 2y 4m?), but he did pretty much overnight start speaking quite a lot and in sentences. Definitely by the time he was 2.6 he was speaking in fairly complex sentences.

Does she communicate effectively in non-verbal ways? A psychologist I know with wide experience of children with communication/language issues told me the reason she knew there was nothing wrong with ds1 was that you were never in any doubt as to what he was trying to say - he just didn't use words (yet).

Francagoestohollywood Sat 08-Oct-11 20:30:37

My ds started to talk at 2.
Me and his father are Italian, spoke Italian at home, but we lived in the UK, where ds started to attend nursery at about 14 months (twice a week).

I have to say that there were a few words he said before 2, like Mamma, Papà, nonna (grandma), and a few words he said in English too.

But he started to "talk" at 2, when we were in Italy on holiday. Therefore he started to talk when he was exposed to just one language. When we went back to England he started being more "fluent" in English too.

ilovemydogandMrObama Sat 08-Oct-11 20:33:46

My (ex) bil's son had a mother who spoke Danish to him, father spoke English and they lived in Germany where he went to nursery school. He didn't speak until he was about 3, but when he did, managed to figure out all the different languages and didn't get them confused.

I really wouldn't worry too much. She makes sounds.

BelleEnd Sat 08-Oct-11 20:35:23

We are bilingual too.
DS2 had a few words by two, but only a few. However, he clicked suddenly about a week after his birthday, and now (just a few weeks later!) he's found his voice! "Poo" and "wee" being the favourites, along with their Welsh counterparts... grin

MissMississippi Sat 08-Oct-11 21:46:56

My DS is bilingual. But he spoke very early (first word at 11 months - "car" not "mama"), and before all his peers. So, I am sorry to say that I disagree that being bilingual delays speech.

However on a positive note (from my experience)... His peers have learnt to speak at different rates. Some at the 'expected' age, and others later. The ones who spoke later, seemed to not speak at all, then one day the words began tumbling out. 10 words one day, then 20 new ones the next day. Sometimes in 2-3 words 'sentences'.

FWIW - I think a 'fusional' relationship is not a reason for a child not to talk. My son and I are extremely close and he doesn't go to nursery. He talks all day (he's 2.4), and if he doesn't know the word he makes one up or babbles or mumbles it, if he isn't sure.

I would keep on at the GP/doctor for specialist help. It can't do any harm if she is simply a bit late in talking, but if help is required, the earlier the intervention the better.

Good luck.x

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: