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20 month old not walking or saying words

(42 Posts)
SqidgeBum Fri 12-Jun-20 12:08:05

My DD is 20 months next week. As the title says, she isnt walking and isnt talking. She will take very wobbly steps if you hold her hand, but she has been doing this for about 2 months now and hasn't improved at all. She hasnt taken any steps unaided. She does cruise the furniture and climb but her balance is terrible.

Also, she has barely any language. She makes 'eh' sounds at everything, says 'dada', and does know some animal sounds (snake, cow, sheep). She hasnt managed a new sound or word in about 2 months. I am a teacher so I am very aware of her development. I read to her every day, dozens of books, and she loves them. I speak to her all the time, constantly. I am always pointing out animals and their sounds, colours, objects, everything. I have tried doing flashcards with her but she seems to have no attention span for them. The weird thing is her comprehension seems fantastic. She understands everything I say, even when I ask her for very specific items.

I have been saying up to now 'she will do things in her own time' but the time is really ticking by and she isnt doing anything. It doesnt help that she has a 23 month old cousin to who independently counting to 20 and has been walking since 14 months. My DHs family LOVE to compare them. I am starting to feel like I have failed her, that maybe she isnt learning because I am not doing enough.

Should I be worried?

OP’s posts: |
TheFoz Fri 12-Jun-20 12:11:25

I’m not familiar with the system in the Uk, which is where I presume you are. But are there health checks that she should be attending? What has the nurse said there about her development?

SqidgeBum Fri 12-Jun-20 12:17:33

There are no health checks, no nurses. Nothing. She saw a health worker at 12 months which my husband brought her to and it took 10 minutes and he was out the door. Thats it. I dont know if she will have another one. With the virus now I dont think she will get much attention from anyone if I try to bring her to see a doctor. She wont be a priority.

OP’s posts: |
KeyboardMash Fri 12-Jun-20 12:19:04

I have known a few kids with barely any words at 20 months. It isn't typical, but it's not necessarily anything to panic about. Not walking independently by 20 months sounds more unusual - although it sounds like she's well on the way, so it may well be that she's just not "there yet". I think, if it were me, I'd seek health visitor advice. It could be nothing, but in my head 18 months is the cut-off for just letting them get on with it for walking (I'm no expert, so please don't panic based on that!) The talking I think isn't so unusual, but I'd probably mention both if you do contact them.

It's clearly nothing you've done. You read to her and talk to her - there isn't anything else to do. Walking just happens by letting them womble about - there really isn't anything a parent can do. It's probably fine, but I'd probably check with a HV just to be sure.

KeyboardMash Fri 12-Jun-20 12:20:53

Also I think there's a developmental check at 2 years - although that may vary by area.

basketcase1 Fri 12-Jun-20 12:22:20

In terms of language "dada" is obviously a word, so are the animal sounds. And any "words" that they use consistently for something. Like if she says "deedee" for tv then that is a word. Or if a child had a big sister called Layla but they said "Laylay" then that would be a word. If you really sit and think about it she may have more than you think.

Also how is her understanding and can she follow instructions because that is all taken into account. So if you said "dd will you get mummy's bag and put it on the floor?" Would she know what to do?

Generally by the age of 2 they say about 50 words and starting to put 2 together. A lot can happen in 4 months though OP so don't worry. I don't know what the wait lists or referral times are like in the U.K. but it might be no harm to contact a health nurse or speech and language therapist if you feel it might be needed in future. But I'm sure she will be just fine!

Just keep modelling simple language and do it face to face...down at her level. Repetitive modelling works best.

basketcase1 Fri 12-Jun-20 12:23:12

In terms of walking, will she hold your hand and walk??

Glendaruel Fri 12-Jun-20 12:23:35

I don't have much in way of experience, but if it helps I never started talking til I was nearly four, then they couldn't shut me up. The theory at the time was I was just contented and didn't need words.

It's worth chatting it over with doctor, but try not to compare baby to others everyone develops at different speeds.

SunbathingDragon Fri 12-Jun-20 12:24:25

There will also be a two year check. You should be able to ring your HV office (Google it or look in your red book) and see if you can bring it forward if you prefer. Even if it is by phone or video, you can express your concerns.

Some children are later walkers or talkers than others and your child sounds like they still in the normal range, albeit later end of it. Comprehension is so important and she has that so I suspect the speech will come on very quickly over a short space of time. DD1 barely spoke at her second birthday and had passed most of her peers by her third birthday.

As for walking, the fact she is cruising is a good sign. It can take ages from standing unaided for taking those first steps or it can be very quick. Children are very unpredictable. I know of several children who only walked once they had turned two and for no reason at all.

Did you have a traumatic birth and was she well at birth? They can cause slight delays.

SqidgeBum Fri 12-Jun-20 12:30:08

She will walk very unsteadily if I hold her hand, but she does do it.

With understanding, she seems to understand everything. She will get any object I ask her for, even if it is in the other room. She knows lots of her body parts (she will point to them) and knows actions for incy wincy spider, twinkle twinkle, head shoulders knees and toes.

Her words really are limited. she doesnt make sounds for certain objects. She does call the dog (she says My for Milo) but thats it bar the 3 animal sounds. I have been really paying attention to what she says and she seems to notice syllables, so she will say 'da-da' when I say ' can you say bird?' (emphasis on the 'd' at the end) , but she will say 'da' for a one syllable word like 'spoon'.

I think I will try to get someone to see her about the walking. I think I will keep persevering with the words and hope they just appear.

I know I shouldnt compare. I have been trying not to. But DH's family just love to point out how little she can do and how much his nephew can so it makes it hard to ignore.

OP’s posts: |
DaffodilSunshine Fri 12-Jun-20 12:31:07

Normally, not walking by 18 months would warrant looking at by health professionals so I would advise contacting your health visitor or gp to request this. It's probably nothing but worth checking out in case she needed a little input from a physio or something. You could also ask whether she would meet criteria to be seen by a speech and language therapist. Again, probably nothing but worth getting checked out if it's available. For your peace of mind if nothing else!

Littlefish Fri 12-Jun-20 12:31:35

Dd didn't really talk until about 26 months, but then caught up rapidly. I never had any concerns about her comprehension, it was just the speech. She was always very physically confident though.

It turns out that she has pretty severe ADHD (not diagnosed until ages 15). We are investigating Autism next.

I would suggest making an appointment to see your GP. 20 months is late for both not walking independently and talking (together).

SqidgeBum Fri 12-Jun-20 12:32:54

I had a pretty traumatic birth (52 hour labour, ventouse and episiotimy) but she was healthy and only a day early, so full term. She hasnt got any siblings, so doesnt see any other kids with the virus lockdown. I dont know whether that would be a factor too.

OP’s posts: |
KeyboardMash Fri 12-Jun-20 12:48:20

As others have said, the talking isn't that unusual. She has the odd word/sound and she has good comprehension. Maybe the slower end of average but not really concerning. The walking is more unusual and would warrant contacting the health visitor - and they'll probably want to know about speech just to consider all developmental things in the round. It's worth phoning them but don't panic unduly!

SqidgeBum Fri 12-Jun-20 13:19:01

I have found a link to self refer to the childrends nhs physio so I think I will fill that in and maybe give the HVs a call next week about the walking. Its better to ask, even if they say 'she sounds fine'.

OP’s posts: |
Kokeshi123 Fri 12-Jun-20 13:22:23

Has her hearing been checked?

Onceuponatimethen Fri 12-Jun-20 13:30:59

My dd was the same word wise at this age. We contacted a speech therapist privately and she said dd needed heading check as this isn’t at all typical for 20 months and should be monitored very closely.

I would suggest doing the following:

(1) contact gp and ask for referral for hearing test. It’s very hard to tell if a baby can hear because human speech is at a particular frequency but other sounds are higher and lower. Dd could hear birds and aeroplanes but not human speech. It was glue ear and 3 weeks after grommets her speech shot up!

(2) buy it takes two to talk. This is a specialist book which teaches incredibly simple strategies for encouraging language development in slow talking children and is evidence based. Produced by the famous Canadian speech therapy foundation and REALLY works. Wilmslow press is the best place to buy online - it’s very expensive on amazon

(3) ask gp for referral based on gross motor skills. Physio can really help. Poor balance can also be connected to hearing dd was similar

My dd can now speak brilliantly by the way after speech therapy and grommets and is doing well at school. She isn’t a sporting legend but can run and swim 50 m

Onceuponatimethen Fri 12-Jun-20 13:31:54

Sorry should have said the book is Hanen’s It Takes Two to Talk

Apologies for typos - trying to wrangle toddler dd and phone

Destroyedpeople Fri 12-Jun-20 13:36:14

Honestly she sounds about the same as my daughter at that age who was also a 'difficult birth'.....ventouse...being 'flat'...she was fine just a bit late doing stuff.
Please try not worry too much x

ohlookagain Fri 12-Jun-20 13:36:36

I can't comment on the walking as my older two walked pre one year (a bit of a curse if I'm honest) and youngest is only 7 months. Re the talking my eldest was definitely two before she was talking, I'd say closer to three before things really clicked into place. Now having talked to others it seems very common for first children to be well into their twos before they are saying proper words. My second was talking pre age 2 but she was learning from the eldest and from me.
The thing that would concern me is both the late walking and potential late talking together. Could be something to do with her ears if there is a balance issue too. Likely she'll be absolutely fine though op and just taking thing in her own time but even if she is delayed there's support to bring her back on tract.

Angelonia Fri 12-Jun-20 13:37:48

The talking sounds ok to me. My DS2 had hardly any words before he was 2yo - he's now 10yo and doing well at school. Agree the walking is a bit more unusual at that age. Sorry to hear that your in laws are being so insensitive flowers

Thesearmsofmine Fri 12-Jun-20 13:39:19

I think I would give the health visitor a call.
My concern would be the lack of walking independently and talking together, either alone(as she is weight bearing) I would be less concerned about. It may be nothing but it is worth having a chat and getting things checked over early if there is a reason behind it.

passmethewineplease Fri 12-Jun-20 13:41:42

My DS was similar, in my area of children aren’t walking by 18 months they’ll come out and do an ages & stages questionnaire with you. It helps them to see if there is a delay over other areas.

My DS eventually walked at 21 months. He was a heavy bugger to carry. grin

DS has been diagnosed with GDD was his delays were over more areas of his development.

Give the HV a call and explain your concerns, can’t hurt!

Thesearmsofmine Fri 12-Jun-20 13:42:01

I just want to add, please ignore your in-laws. Comparing children is awful, my youngest was born a few days before my DN and I have had the same, luckily he is my third and I have a background in the early years so was confident enough to just roll my eyes at them.

pinktaxi Fri 12-Jun-20 13:49:45

Re the talking. Has she had her hearing checked? DD2 had huge adenoids and glue ear, despite never having an infection. She understood me but even today some words are not spoken well.

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