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Yesterdays' Times article re speech development at 1-2yrs has stressed me out!

(33 Posts)
Jacksmybaby Wed 24-Sep-08 08:50:38

Ok I can't find the online link to post the article on here but basically it was saying that at 20 months children should be saying about 50 words and starting to string together short sentences e.g. "where daddy?".

DS is 20 months and really only says the following words:
mama (grandma)
car/chair (sound the same!)

He has also said a few other words e.g. stair, hammer, dandan (grandad) but only a couple of times and then seems to have forgotten them.

He makes lots of sounds that aren't really words, like blowing rasberry = helicopter/motorbike noise, coughing = woof, clicking noise = tick-tock (clock) and clip-clop (horse).

He very obviously understands everything you say to him and responds, he just doesn't really speak. He also has lots of non-verbal communications like waving hello/bye bye, pointing, shaking head etc.

Should I be worried?

TheHedgeWitch Wed 24-Sep-08 08:59:35

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flowerybeanbag Wed 24-Sep-08 09:04:15

I am not worrying yet. DS is 16 mo and the only real words he says are 'mama' and 'bye', the occasional 'dada'. He does good impressions for animals, he does moo, baa, pants for a dog and imitates a donkey he has that says 'eeyore'. But not words.

He also clearly understands everything said to him and can point out body parts, household items, that kind of thing, so I'm not worried yet.

Jacksmybaby Wed 24-Sep-08 09:09:27

Thank u HW, this is what I have been telling myself, just got a bit freaked out by this article yesterday.

Oh yes and forgot to say, also having sudden guilt attack about his dummy addiction... last time I saw HV she told me off for giving him dummy (when he was screaming and refusing to stand on the scales to be weighed and I was getting all flustered and trying to calm him down with a queue of people waiting behind us...!). Anyway he does have a dummy quite a lot, because he is sometimes unmangageable without it to be frank, and the HV said to me "well that's not going to help his speech is it?". So now stressing it is my Bad Parenting that has caused a problem blush.

blueshoes Wed 24-Sep-08 09:09:41

Jacks, sounds like my dd at 20 months. Her speech started taking off at 2.5 years. But I mention to a health visitor and enquired about seeing a SALT just prior, until it was clear to me from her rapidly developing speech it was not necessary.

Once she cottoned on to imitating our speech, things really started snowballing. Ds is faster with his speech (ie textbook development) and for him, the imitating of our sounds was also the key to rapid acquisition eg if I say 'that's not nice', he follows immediately with 'das nor ice ...' with approximate inflection.

Speech is one area where there is quite a lot of normal individual variation in development. My dd's cousin was on the opposite end of the spectrum and I recall her was talking in 2-3 word sentences at 18 months with massive vocabulary whilst comparing her with dd in dismay. In most cases, it should even out, but keep an eye.

Jacksmybaby Wed 24-Sep-08 09:10:44

Oh yes you have reminded me FBB, DS says "eeyore" too!

blueshoes Wed 24-Sep-08 09:11:43

'eeyore' is a word as are animal sounds smile

TheHedgeWitch Wed 24-Sep-08 09:16:20

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cyberseraphim Wed 24-Sep-08 09:19:36

I haven't read the article but in general terms, it sounds about right - although it is an average for 20 months. Some normal children will have fewer words, while some will have many more. Hopefully the article stressed the importance of social communication though as the OP said - pointing, waving, head shaking. DS1 had no words at 20 months but everyone said not to worry - but it was the non verbal side of things that should have been picked up. DS2 had more than 50 words at 20 months but he's just normal , not any kind of infant genius.

Jacksmybaby Wed 24-Sep-08 09:23:44

here is the link to the article I was talking about.

flowerybeanbag Wed 24-Sep-08 09:27:00

Ooh do animal sounds really count blueshoes? Excellent!

DS doesn't have a dummy jacksmybaby so I don't think that makes any difference, long as he'd not got it in all the time which I'm sure he hasn't.

spudballoo Wed 24-Sep-08 09:27:15

Sounds fine to me! My DS1 said nothing at all until he ws 17mths old and then it developed very very very slowly. He's now a super chatty 3 year old!

My DS2 is 19mths and has quite a lot of words, he can say 2 together but things like 'more book' 'bye bye clip clop' and 'see DS1'. Nothing fancy!

spudballoo Wed 24-Sep-08 09:31:00

Oh and DS1 (slow talker) didn't have a dummy. DS2 (average talker) did! Makes no difference.

blueshoes Wed 24-Sep-08 09:35:59

yes, flowery, animal sounds count <says blueshoes who looked this up and included a list of all animal sounds ahead of her meeting with the HV>

Agree about the dummy. Neither dd nor ds would take a dummy. Dd slow, ds text speech development.

blueshoes Wed 24-Sep-08 09:36:15


Katw3kitts Wed 24-Sep-08 09:55:38

I think all your messages are very reassuring.

Jacksmybaby... I could have written your OP, except my LO is 21 months now and has exactly the same pattern.

I do worry sometimes about him too, its very hard not to compare ... but I'm confident he knows what the words mean. So for now, I'll just keep my eye on it.

Piffle Wed 24-Sep-08 10:06:22

dd non verbal til age 3
Now 6 she is of advanced language and literacy skills

trixymalixy Wed 24-Sep-08 10:21:43

My DS is about 20 months as well.

He doesn't really have a huge vocabulary.

The only sentences he says are "oh dear" and "all done", but he doesn't enunciate the words very clearly it's more the

He chats non stop though in his own little language.

We do baby signing as well so he communicates very effectively that way. My Dad wonders if that has slowed his speech development, but I'm not so sure.

He also has a dummy.

I'm not worried as you can say something to him like "where are your shoes?" and he obviously understand as he'll go and get them and do the sign for where.

So I don't think you should be worried either as your DS sounds at the same stage as mine.

hettie Wed 24-Sep-08 10:43:00

there are 3 'strategies' toddlers use to aquire language- one of them is called wait and see (very original labelling by that developemtnal psychologist!). The wait and see's oftern worry their parents as they don't say much for ages- but don't worry they ahve been listening all along..... they ususaly start up at about 20 monthish with lots of words and then string them together and aquire them rapidly. My ds is an 'expressive' so we get whole sentences of babble with intonation, rythmn and patterns (but of course all nonsense) he has a few words (at 19 months) but mostly it's all about the 'conversation'.... in short don't worry they are all different it'll come soon enough (and then you won't be able to shut them up!) grin

TheHedgeWitch Wed 24-Sep-08 12:28:43

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xSalx Wed 24-Sep-08 14:23:03

I am worried, I have to be honest, my mum read that article and now has me paraniod that my DD is Autistic (sp)? she is 2 years 3 months and has about 10 ish words

Haa Oooo
woof (dog)
Bam (dont know)

about 6 month ago she said

But has not mentioned them again, I am going crazy with worry now, I just would love her to say mummy! She absolutely understands everything, oh and I also should mention that Daddy is German and only speaks german to her. My eldest had the same obsticles but was talking in sentences at 18months!! Oh and apparently I didnt talk properly until I was 3, so I suppose it runs in the family, but I dont feel any better.

Thanks for reading,

cyberseraphim Wed 24-Sep-08 15:05:47

I don't think you should focus on the number of words at this stage even if they are fewer than the average. I think another MN poster 'MannyMoe..' once put in a very precise way - that speech is the icing on the cake - but you need to have the cake first - gestures, pointing,waving, normal eye contact. My friend's DD was brought up bilingual in German and she was very slow to speak but is fine now.

hettie Wed 24-Sep-08 16:18:44

actualy there is some research that in some cases bilinguilism (initialy at least) can slow things down a bit..... good news being that in teh long run that it is a very good thing indeed (even more IQ points I seem to remeber but don't quote me on that grin)

campion Wed 24-Sep-08 16:53:45

There's no need to be stressed out by the Times article, Jacks. It didn't take language skills in isolation as the mother described other features of her son's development which jumped off the page for me (and seemed to for Dr. Tanya too) as being an indicator of autistic spectrum disorder. Being told to ' wait and see' isn't always helpful nor the ( IMO) favourite generalisation about boys being slower. It can waste precious time and cause everyone more misery than needed. I know because I've been there.

And I wouldn't wory about the dummy, either. It saved my sanity I reckon - even though I wasn't the one sucking it!

asteamedpoater Wed 24-Sep-08 17:17:24

I HATE articles stating what children "should" be doing at a particular age. If you were worried before you read it, that's one thing, but if the only thing that worried you is the article then the chances are there is absolutely nothing wrong with your child. I mean, have the so-called experts really gone round every child in the country, listening to their every sound and creating a special scale to register what sounds count as proper words and which ones are complete gibberish, and then counting every "word" every child says at a particular age? And do we as parents really understand what the experts would count as proper words and what they wouldn't (eg must they be totally properly pronounced, or just consistently used)? No, I don't think so - it's more likely based on limited samples of children, and what parents think they can or can't say. And then set out in "averages" - discounting the unusually early and unusually late children, regardless of their later normality. These articles may satisfy the majority and provoke the minority who are already worried into doing something about it, but a very large proportion of people will just be unnecessarily worried by them and no longer confident in trusting their own instincts as to the normality or otherwise of their children.

So long as your child seems to understand fairly well what you say (by far the most important thing), doesn't have an apparent hearing problem, is otherwise communicative, healthy, happy and interested in his environment, what are the chances of his having a major problem with speech? Incredibly low, I would have thought.

Both my children were late talking. My eldest child, however (not talking until nearly 3) could read at age 3 and when he did start talking it was in complete, grammatical sentences. My younger child developed along similar lines, but got there a bit earlier than his older brother, and neither of them bothered with individual words particularly. And my younger son is completely normal (my elder son is unusual in many ways, but becoming more normal as he gets older!).

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