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20 month old not speaking - is it too early to worry?

(5 Posts)
MrsOscarPistorius Thu 01-Nov-12 11:23:55

My 20 month old DD only says 2-3 words "Hiya" and "Bye", plus "Mumma" (which seems to mean "I want" rather than Mummy).

She communicates by taking you by the hand to where she wants to go and pointing to things she wants, (including her nappy if she has pooed), nodding and shaking her head.

She babbles a lot although only since she was ? about a year old.

She will go and fetch objects like her shoes and doll if asked, and will also put rubbish in the bin (!) so seems to understand a lot.

I have two older children who started to speak between 12-14 months and had no problems at all with language acquisition.

I am not sure whether it is too early to worry or whether it is a case of the sooner the better to go to the doctor and get "in the system" in case there is a problem. Just wondered what others experiences were, if you had a child with a speech problem when did you notice it and seek help?

gourd Thu 01-Nov-12 11:45:28

MN is full of these posts, mine included. If LO is otherwise on "target" and communicates with you well, clearly expressing what they want etc and understands and obeys your instructions etc and does not have any physical blockage to speech, then it is unlikely there is a real problem. Some children do not "speak" words that non-carers can understand till they are 2+. This is also normal. It is not becasue they are lazy. It may be that they lack confidence though, ours certainly does, she has laways been very cautious about her own abilities, physically and otherwise. If you are worried please vist GP or health visitor, but kids vary so much at this age that is it nearly impossible to have a "standard".

Our LO (2.1 YO) is miles ahead in everything else, according to the early years foundation stage framework, and communicates non-verbally or with limited words and actions and sounds extremely well, possibly too well, this may be why she doesn't talk a lot. She doesn't speak in sentances either but this is also normal.

She is, according to CM who had 20 years experience and five of her own children, extremely bright and capable, has good attention span, enjoys books tremendously, and understands and responds emotionally to storylines, is able to play coopertaively with others, can put on trousers and coat, hat and scraf, button up clothes and do up zips, as well as enjoying lacing cards and threading beads, recognises numbers (i draw groups of dots on paper and she points to which is three, two, five etc) and shapes, enjoys jigsaws, is very affectionate to those she knows and loves, makes herself understoiod, and clearly understands more or less everything adults say, so we are not too worried about her using only a few words herself.

She does actually add new words quite regularly and we will be taken by surprise, but she will then not use the word again (in our hearing) till she is totally confident with it. We hear her in bed saying words to herslf in the dark as if she is practicing them(!!) before she will say them aloud to us!!

scoobydooisawimp Thu 01-Nov-12 12:39:20

My ds didn't babble even at 20 months, he only made grunting sounds. He didn't turn his head when called and although he could understand simple orders like get your coat, we had to get his full attention before saying it as he would 'stay in his own bubble' and not listen to us at all.

So when we saw the GP for the first time about his speech he was 20 months old, but he did have other issues. It turned out that he had glue ear, and also now he has a speech disorder (he is 5). I would say that at 20 months, it's worth talking about it to you GP or HV and read about language development (the I Can website is a good place to startwww.ican.org.uk ) . Your GP might suggest to refer for hearing test, and it is good to eliminate the possiblity of a hearing problem early on.

sazale Thu 01-Nov-12 14:07:00

I agree with scooby.

My DS now age 11 wasn't speaking by 2 but made lots of noises to communicate. By 2.3 years he was speaking in fluent sentances and we'd gone from people asking if we were concerned about his lack of speech to commenting on what wonderful speech he had literally over night!

My DS now 5 wasn't speaking by 2 and I wasn't worried due to my son and other late talkers in our family (although my dd was speaking b4 1). He then developed his own sign language to communicate with us so I thought his speech is delayed because of using sign and being the youngest (other 2 talked for him). He made some attempt at the age of 3 but was very unclear and it gradually got better. He was seen by a speech therapist at just 4 and he has a phonological speech delay and disorder. He also has low muscle tone which probably meant he was physically unable to speak which is why he created the sign language. I'd not realised that him being a quiet baby was a big sign.

Things are improving for him but I wish I'd referred him earlier. Things are prob ok and your DD will prob be fine but having experienced both outcomes I would rather suggest that someone refers to speech therapy and it be unnecessary than think its going to be ok and miss out on input.

NeedingALieIn Fri 02-Nov-12 20:42:14

I just replied to someone else asking the same thing. Sounds about normal to me, don't worry about it. Gourd's first sentence or two above sums up my approach - if they are understanding you a bit, and able to make themselves understood in other ways (pointing, grunting, handing you the thing they want you do manipulate), they're sure to be fine.

K.

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