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February 22, 2008 | Laura | Comments 300

Why Can’t My Child Talk? Common Types of Speech and Language Disorders

There are between 3 and 6 million children in the United States with  speech or language disorders.  As a pediatric speech-language pathologist specializing in early intervention , I work with children between birth and 3 years of age.  When I evaluate a child, after confirming parents’ suspicions that there is a definitive problem, the next question is usually some version of, “Why?” Sometimes we don’t know exactly why a child isn’t talking yet at 2 or 3.  Many professionals err on the side of caution and label all children they evaluate as “delayed” when in fact they aren’t yet sure what the exact problem is.  It is often difficult to pinpoint an exact diagnosis during the first visit or two (or 10!) with a toddler, but there are many common communication difficulties in this age group.    

Below is a list of the most common diagnoses associated with pediatric speech-language problems with a basic explanation for each one.  Please remember that this is a listing of specific speech-language diagnoses and not necessarily a medical or educational label.  For example, a child diagnosed with autism may exhibit characteristics of apraxia, a child with Down Syndrome may have dysarthria, a child with dyslexia may also have an auditory processing disorder, etc… 

The speech-language diagnosis may be just a part of a condition that affects a child’s overall developmental picture, or it could be the only issue a child faces.  I have often evaluated children whose parents referred them for what they thought was a speech or language delay, when in fact their children were exhibiting delays in other developmental domains as well.  This also happens with other disciplines too.  My colleagues who are physical and occupational therapists often end up referring children for communication assessments when parents initially sought their help for what they assumed was just “late walking” or “difficulty with feeding” not realizing that their child was behind in other areas too.  Many children with developmental difficulties have issues that overlap the motor, social, cognitive, adaptive, and communication domains. 

When in doubt, get an evaluation.  Be sure to ask the professional if there are other developmental concerns as well.  You’d rather know, and the sooner, the better.  All of the current research tells us that early intervention gives a child the best chance of minimizing long-term difficulties.  Waiting until your child is school age to see if he will “outgrow” a problem puts him at a serious disadvantage, especially when it comes to communication difficulties.   


Apraxia is a neurological speech disorder that affects a child’s ability to plan, execute, and sequence the movements of the mouth necessary for intelligible speech.  Apraxia can also be referred to as developmental verbal apraxia, childhood apraxia of speech, or verbal dyspraxia.  Most SLPs use the terms interchangeably.  Characteristics of apraxia include:

  • Limited babbling is present in infancy.  These are quiet babies.  
  • Few or no words when other babies are talking by age 2
  • Poor ability to imitate sounds and words
  • Child substitutes and/or omits vowel and consonant sounds in words.  Errors with vowel sounds are not common with other speech disorders.
  • His word attempts are “off-target” and may not be understood even by parents. 
  • He may use a sound such as “da” for everything. 
  • Often his errors are inconsistent, or he may be able to say a word once and then never again.  The child understands much more than he can say.   
  • There is sometimes (but not always) a family history of communication difficulty.  (i.e.  “All the boys in our family talk late,”  or “My husband’s grandfather  still has trouble pronouncing some hard words.”)  

There has been controversy in the field of speech-language pathology in giving this diagnosis to children under 3.  However, the kinds of therapy useful for children with apraxia are often not introduced if the clinician does not suspect this as the root cause for a child’s communication difficulty.  If you suspect this as your child’s problem, initiate a conversation with your child’s pediatrician and begin speech therapy with a clinician who has experience treating children with apraxia.  If your therapist says that he/she does not believe that this can be diagnosed before age 3, look for a new therapist!

An excellent resource for parents and professionals working with children with apraxia is www.apraxia-kids.org. Another comprehensive resource for an explanation of apraxia is http://www.kidspeech.com/index.php?page=56.

Many children with apraxia also have difficulty with sensory integration, or how he processes information from all his senses including visual, auditory, tactile, and proprioceptive.  (For more information about sensory issues, go to  http://www.kid-power.org/sid.html .) 

Feeding issues are sometimes present because of the sensory issues a child exhibits such as poor awareness in his mouth so that he overstuffs to “feel” the food, or to the other extreme, he is so sensitive that he gags when new textures are introduced.    

For more answers to a parent’s questions about apraxia on this site look under Amy’s question in the comments section under Ask the SLP or go to this link http://teachmetotalk.com/2008/01/31/ask-the-slp/#comment-24.     

Phonological Disorders

A phonological disorder is difficulty with the “rules” or “patterns” for combining sounds intelligibly in speech in English.  For example, phonological process patterns include prevocalic consonant deletion (leaving off consonant sounds that precede a vowel such as “at” for hat), syllable reduction (producing only one syllable in a multisyllabic word such as “bay” for baby), or reduplication (simplifying a multisyllabic word to a duplicated pattern such as saying “bubu” for bubble or even “dog dog” for doggie).  

There are many patterns for analyzing a child’s speech according to a phonological processes model.  All of these processes are common in typically developing children as well.  It becomes a problem when most children are maturing in their patterns of production, and a child is not.  For example, final consonant deletion (leaving off ending consonant sounds in words) typically disappears between 2 1/2 to 3 years of age.  If a child is not including final consonants by this age, it would be considered “disordered” or “atypical” since most of his same-age peers are now using a more mature pattern.  

A child with only a phonological disorder exhibits typically developing language, meaning that his vocabulary and utterance length are the same as his peers, but he continues to exhibit patterns that are consistent with a younger child’s speech errors.  A child with phonological disorder needs speech therapy to learn new patterns.  The most popular approach for therapy for this disorder is the Hodson cycles approach.  A pattern is targeted in therapy for a certain number of sessions, then a new pattern is initiated.  Once all of the patterns are addressed, the cycle starts over.  Your child’s speech sounds begin to improve, even if it’s not “perfect” through the first few cycles.  This approach has lots of research to support it.  It’s generally used for highly unintelligible kids over 3.  For more information on this approach, ask your child’s SLP if it’s right for your child because even the veterans know and use this technique.                     

Articulation Disorders 

An articulation disorder is difficulty with the production or pronunciation of speech sounds.  This difficulty may be present with an isolated sound such as substituting /w/ for /r/, difficulty with blends such as “st,” or with distortion of sounds such as a lisp.  Sometimes clinicians speak of phonological disorders and articulation disorders interchangeably.  I use the term phonological disorder when there seems to be difficulty with attaining a “pattern” of sounds and the term articulation disorder when a child has difficulty with only a couple of sounds rather than an identifiable pattern.   If a child is still exhibiting errors with even a few sounds after most of his peers can correctly use the sound, he needs therapy to help him.  For a list of ages when children acquire certain sounds, try  http://www.talkingchild.com/speechchart.aspx.  

For a good discussion of articulation and phonological disorders go to  http://www.psllcnj.com/articulation_disorders.htm .                            

Auditory Processing Disorder

An auditory processing disorder is difficulty with listening to, receiving, analyzing, organizing, storing, and retrieving information. It can also be called central auditory processing disorder (CAPD).  In young children this often looks like the child cannot understand what’s been said to him, even when his hearing and language comprehension skills are within normal limits.  A child may have difficulty paying attention to what someone is saying to him or difficulty following directions in the presence of background noise or when he’s more focused on something else.  This might be the kid that won’t look away from his favorite TV program when a bomb goes off, much less when you’re calling his name. 

This is commonly included as a receptive language disorder in children under 3, with an official diagnosis of auditory processing disorder coming later in the preschool or early school-age years since there’s no tests for this condition with younger children.  Children with sensory integration differences also exhibit auditory processing disorders.  It’s very common for children with autism and other learning disabilities such as dyslexia and attention deficit disorder to exhibit these characteristics as well.  I could not find a site for information for very young children with auditory processing disorder, but this is receiving lots of attention in the field of early intervention right now, so maybe we should have a good resource soon.   


Dysarthria is a neurological speech disorder that affects a child’s muscle tone.  Weakness is noted in the muscles used for speech including his lips, tongue, soft palate, and cheeks so that his speech sounds slurred.  Dysarthria is present in kids with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, or any other condition that causes “low tone.”  Dysarthria may also affect a child’s vocal and respiratory quality so that he sounds hoarse or breathy. 

A child may also have feeding problems due to muscle tone issues such as difficulty sucking from a bottle because his tongue isn’t strong enough, keeping foods or liquids in his mouth because his lips aren’t strong, or chewing because of overall weakness in his jaws and cheeks.  A child may also drool because she can’t close her mouth consistently. 

A child with muscle tone issues may also have difficulty with gross and fine motor skills.  Physical and occupational therapy may be necessary to help meet milestones.  Low muscle tone never truly “goes away,” and there’s a difference between strength and tone.  All of us have varying degrees of muscle tone  ranging from high to low, and kids with even very low muscle tone can learn to walk and talk.  

For more information visit  http://www.stronghealth.com/services/childrens/conditions/Dysarthria.cfm

You might also try  http://www.kidspeech.com/index.php?page=75.      


Dysfluency is the more professional term for stuttering.  It is the repetition of individual speech sounds usually at the beginning of words or phrases.  Many children with typically developing language “stutter” when they move from using single words and short phrases to longer sentences and/or when they are under pressure to speak and can’t encode their words quickly enough.  Typical dysfluency can occur anywhere from age 2-4.  If it lasts for more than 6 months, seek a professional evaluation.  

Many times there’s a family history of stuttering if this is going to be a chronic challenge.  Kids who repeat individual sounds at the beginnings of words with facial grimaces or tremors, tense their muscles, blink their eyes repeatedly, or tap their feet are at greater risk for true difficulty with fluency than those who repeat whole words and who don’t seem to be phased physically by this.  

The best advice for parents when your child starts to stutter is to ignore it.  Do not tell him to slow down, stop and think, or any other comment that you feel might be helpful.  Relax his environment and do not put pressure on him to “perform” verbally including asking too many questions in a row, demanding that he answer silly questions such as, “Did you hit your sister?” when you know he did, or insist that he sing his new song from preschool for grandma, grandpa, and all of your long-lost relatives at Thanksgiving.  Don’t interrupt him when he’s talking, even when he’s struggling.  This is hard!  

Our oldest son had a terrible several month bout with stuttering while I was in grad school taking the class on dysfluency.  It was horrible for me!!  My professor’s advice was simple  - ”Ignore it and it will (probably) go away.”  Another piece of advice is to make sure his teachers at preschool, sitters, or even family members are on board with the “ignore it” method so that no one calls attention to this issue.  The unnecessary pressure will make it worse, not better, so tell all of your well-meaning friends and family that you are doing this one your way.                                   

Expressive Language Disorder 

Expressive language disorder is present when a child is not meeting milestones in the area of language usually involving vocabulary, combining words into phrases, and beginning to use the early markings of grammar.  A child with only an expressive language disorder doesn’t have difficulty pronouncing the words per se, but he has difficulty learning or retrieving new words and putting sentences together.  A child may rely on non-specific words such as “that” and “there” rather than learning specific names for objects.  She may have difficulty learning verb tenses (such as the “ing” for walking and “ed” for jumped) or have difficulty learning word classes such as prepositions or pronouns. 

An expressive language disorder can and often co-exists with a speech disorder such as apraxia.  I have treated kids like this with only expressive language delays/disorders, but more often than not, late talkers exhibit a speech AND a language disorder.  Sometimes children exhibit receptive language disorders as well, so it’s not uncommon to have several speech-language diagnoses at the same time. 

An expressive language delay would be a child who is acquiring vocabulary, combing words, and learning early grammar with the same sequence as his peers, but at a slower rate.  If there are atypical characteristics present such as your child has some skills at a higher age level but is still missing many lower age-range skills, it’s called a disorder.  Delays are typically easier to overcome, and most kids with delays eventually catch up.  A disorder is generally something a child will struggle with for a while, perhaps his entire life.    

Receptive Language Disorder

A receptive language disorder is difficulty understanding language.  This is also called an auditory comprehension disorder.  Kids who have receptive language disorders don’t follow directions and not because they’re being disobedient, but because they don’t understand what’s being said.  They seem to ignore language because words don’t mean anything to them yet.  They often hate reading books unless mommy lets them flip through the pictures because it’s all about listening to words which may not make very much sense.  

When a kid gets a little better and understands a little more, signs of a receptive language disorder may be that he repeats a question rather than answering it or gives an incorrect response.  For example, if you ask a child with a receptive language disorder who has been learning his colors, “What are you drinking,” he’s likely to respond “red” because that’s the color of his cup.  Or if you ask a question such as, “Do you want milk,” she might answer ”no,” but then she still gets upset when you don’t give her the cup because she doesn’t understand that answering “no” means she doesn’t want it. 

I have seen many kids whose parents or daycare teachers label as “difficult” or a behavior problem when really there’s a major receptive language delay that no one recognizes.  Parents often overestimate what their language delayed/disordered child truly understands.  This is so sad to me because when everyone decides to work on teaching and helping him understand language BEFORE we expect him to talk and BEFORE we expect him to “obey,” then everyone benefits;  especially the kid who doesn’t understand why in the world he’s in trouble in the first place, even when his mother “told him not to do it!” 

Make sure your child’s receptive language skills are addressed, or the other speech-language problems are not going to significantly improve.   A child who doesn’t understand much really shouldn’t be saying much either.  To expect more is simply wrong and well above what he’s able to realistically accomplish.  Most SLPs think of working on receptive language hand-in-hand with expressive language, and this is absolutely the right way to go.  When parents get on board with this approach, wonderful things happen.        

For more information on improving receptive language, see the post titled, “Help Your Toddler Listen and Obey.”                                                

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  1. My son is 26 months old. He has a limited word range. In total he will consistently use 10-15 words and sounds “hi, bye, ta, no, baa”. When should I start getting concerned about his lack of vocabulary or could he just be a late bloomer? Most websites say he should have over 50 words acquired and be starting to make two word combinations. What do you suggest?

  2. Sarah - NOW is the time to be concerned about your son. The 50 word milestone is a MINIMUM baseline for children to have by 24 months. By 26 months children with typically developing language have well over 100 words and are talking in short two and three-word phrases consistently.

    I would have him evaluated by your state’s early intervention program since he very likely would qualify for speech therapy through them. The evaluation is free, and if he is eligible, therapy is free or low cost in most states compared to what you would pay privately. You could also check into insurance coverage, but I’d go through your state program first. You can find out information about your program by searching your state name + early intervention in a search engine like google.

    In the meantime, keep working with him at home using the suggestions on this website and check out my new DVD so you can see the strategies in action.

    I want to give you a big word of caution here - Please don’t count on him catching up on his own without help from you and/or professional assistance. If language delays are addressed early, they often are nothing but a memory. If not, it could be a potential long struggle for him. Please don’t dismiss your concern and “wait and see.” Even if he is just a “late bloomer” as you say, therapy is not going to hurt him and could give him the jump start he needs. If it did turn out to be a more complicated issue, you would have started getting him help early, and you’ll feel relieved knowing you did the right thing by not waiting. Many parents who wait often feel so guilty later that they didn’t trust their instincts. This can be prevented by going ahead and having him evaluated when you first begin to be concerned.

    Good luck! Laura

  3. I have been working with a speech therapist for my 28 month old son for about a month now. He has articulation issues. We are also trying to get him to use his speech more frequently without prompting. We are currently stumped on o a couple of issues. One he has the “N” sound at the begging of words (no, noise). But when it is the middle or end he either replaces it with a d or t sound or leaves it out completely. (Bunny turns into buddy) He can do a middle N rarely just like nana (banana) or oh no. Any thoughts? The other this is with some words he replaces the first sound completely such a susic for music and shish for fish. Why would he do that. He can use both an m and f in other words.

  4. Jennifer - I can take a stab at these issues based on what info you provided, but again, you’re going to want to rely heavily on the SLP you’re seeing since she can actually SEE your son and consider other pieces of information that I couldn’t possibly know about without spending time with him.

    The errors you’re describing aren’t really uncommon for 2 year olds with speech issues. Substituting /d/ or /t/ for /n/ isn’t that unusual since ALL of those sounds are alveolar sounds - or made by elevating the tongue to the alveolar ridge (In English - touching the bumps behind your top teeth with your tongue). Actually as far as “severity” with sound substitutions, it’s not that bad since using these sounds are substitutions with a sound made in the same place in your mouth. The /n/ is probably easier for him to do at the beginning than in the middle or end of a word. Lots of children struggle with medial/middle and final/ending consonant sounds until they get closer to age 3. It’s not even a true “error” to omit a final consonant sound until after 36 months - although many typically developing children master consonant sounds in all positions in words well before this age.

    OR you could account or categorize his errors as a phonological process called “assimilation.” (For more info on this, search “phonological” on this site.) This means that he might produce a sound correctly in some words but not in others because of the other sounds in the words influencing how he pronounces the sound- not because he can’t produce the original sound. His errors with “susic” and “shish” are because in his little system, LATER consonants seem to influence his pronunciation of the first consonant. He is duplicating or repeating the later consonant sound.

    I don’t want to be more technical than this, but you can do some more reading by searching Phonological Disorders. Barbara Hodson is the SLP who did the bulk of the original writing about this. Caroline Bowen is the another SLP from Australia who writes about treating children with these kinds of issues too. You can search this info by their names and the term “phonological.”

    That being said - I would highly encourage you to prioritize SPONTANEOUS language over using correct sounds in words at this point. Many experts don’t recommend doing lots of work on specific articulation patterns/errors until after a child’s language is normal AND until he is close to/after age 3. Focus on vocabulary, phrase length, and USING his words appropriately in situations before you try lots of articulation therapy. You’ll be more successful with that when he gets closer to 3 AND once he’s a great talker, without over-relying on prompting and cues from you.

    Hope this info helps! Laura

  5. My son was born five weeks early under normal circumstances (i.e., my water broke). He will be 2 1/2 on Oct. 25th, and is talking–he has a vocabulary of about 62 words, and 11 two word phrases–but he doesn’t really communicate when asked a question. For instance, every day when I pick him up from day care, I ask him if he had a good day. He will either say “yeah” or “no” but if I ask him what he did, he either doesn’t answer or he babbles. Also, he throws fits when he wants something and can’t get his point across. I know he understands everything we say (and more, sometimes!!), but he cannot really articulate what he wants to say.

    What is really strange, though, is there have been two separate occasions where I am certain he spoke in complete, perfectly enunciated sentences. Both times he was stating a desire. The first time (before he turned 2) he said “Mama I want to play” and the other time (just a month or so ago) he said “I want to go outside.” Just like that. He even emphasized the “t.” Both times I said “what did you just say, baby?” and he just looked at me. Also, there have been times when I have been talking to my husband and have been deliberately using words my son wouldn’t understand, and he will react to something I said. It is obvious he understood, but then he acts like he didn’t (he’ll turn away and pretend he is doing something else).

    I really do not know what to think. On the one hand, I think I should have him evaluated, and on the other, I feel like I should give him more time–that he is just being stubborn. What do you think?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


  6. Hi,
    My child is 14 months old and he does not say a single word. As much as I try I cannot make him to say a single word. I am focusing on couple of words thinking that this will help him, but he cannot pronounce them. He is looking how my mouth is moving when i say the word and he tries but what comes out is a scream. He is screaming a lot - when happy or upset, and he is talking to us like Curious George - the monkey does. He like to read the books and he shows me objects on the book. If I say to him “bring that ball” he does, he is very good at sorting 3 kinds of shapes (circle, triangle and square) he is very good at imitating everything, if toys are made from different parts he tries to put them together (he cannot usually but he knows that they should be together), etc. he seems very smart and is very curious and energetic. But the biggest problem is that he cannot speak. My doctor suggested to try couple of things like read the same 2 o3 books all over again, repeat simple words and try to put him repeat after me and wait until 15 month check up. But I am so worried already, it seems to me that he is trying to say the word but he cannot. He will repeat tatatata, babababa, mamama or dadada. But that is it. What do you think? What do you suggest? I will appreciate your advise. Thank you, Maria

  7. Wendy - Based on what you’ve said, it sounds like your son could possibly have a mild expressive language delay. By 2 1/2 children with typically developing language skills are frequently using 3 and 4 word phrases and sentences to communicate and can answer simple questions. However, let me say that I cannot “see” him, so know that I am speaking in very general terms here based on the information you provided.

    He can certainly understand “everything” (his receptive language skills) and still exhibit delays in how he is able to use words to communicate (his expressive langauge skills). Actually that’s very common.

    That being said, he may not exhibit “enough” of a delay to qualify for services thru your state’s early intervention program since children have to meet eligibility requirements.

    If you continue to be concerned, you could have him evaluated thru your local early intervention program OR have his speech-language skills evaluated by a speech-language pathologist at a clinic (like Easter Seals or someone in private practice) or a children’s hospital. Your pediatrician could probably point you in the right direction.

    Now about your closing comment….I personally don’t believe that most children don’t talk because they’re being stubborn. You may want to check out the article called “Can’t vs. Won’t” for more on that. You can search for it from the home page using the search option.

    I also want to recommend the articles on answering questions in the expressive and receptive language sections. You may find some ideas in there that you’re not currently doing. Giving choices is a great way to help him begin to answer questions - such as, “What did you do at school today - paint or play in the sand?” There are other hints in the article too that I hope you will find helpful.

    Let me know how it goes! Laura

  8. Maria - It sounds like you are on the right track in teaching him to imitate you. Doing this during play making yourself as fun as possible is a way to entice him to want to imitate not only your actions, but your vocalizations as well.

    Have you tried sign language with him? This opens the door to communicating for so many children. Check out the articles in the sign language section for help in learning how to do this.

    Also check out the clips from the DVD since this may give you some additional ideas for how to prompt words and signs. If you find that your approach is much different than the clips, you may want to order the DVD to give you some additional suggestions.

    I applaud how proactive you’re being with him! 14 months is very young, and I understand your concern, but you are so far ahead of when many moms first begin to be worried. Pat yourself on the back!

  9. First, I’d like to thank you for this website — it is such a help to those of us who aren’t sure what to think!

    My daughter is almost 17 months old, and her only real words are “no” and “hi”. She doesn’t say mama; she does say “dadadadada,” but I’m not convinced she’s referring to daddy.

    She also says please, but it sounds like “ssss.” When she first started saying it (it was her first correctly-used word) she would just blow a raspberry. I have this on video; we thought it was cute/funny at first, but now it worries me.

    She sort of has three other words: for ice, she says “ssss”; for shoes, she says “ssss” or “shhh”; for bath, she says “da.” Today when I showed her a plant, she said “/t/.” This was her first attempt at a new word in at least two months.

    She can make many of the more difficult sounds (t, d, zh, /s/, sh), but rarely tries to imitate words or sounds. When she does, it almost always sounds like “da.” We can’t get her to make a /b/ sound. We’ve thought twice that she did, but she wouldn’t repeat it. Sometimes when we try to get her to say “buh-buh-buh” she will say “duh-duh-duh,” and she has that sweet proud look on her face as if she were saying it right.

    She does ‘talk’ a lot; she seems to think she’s really talking to us in long sentences with lots of inflection. Her receptive language is usually quite good, although it does sometimes seem like she doesn’t hear us. We’ve attributed this to not wanting to hear us, because we know she can hear and she does often follow directions. She also gestures quite a bit (pointing, waving hi, bye, and night-night, reaching, etc). I’ve just started using signs with her, but she hasn’t used any yet.

    Until reading articles here, I’ve tried to agree with family who said she was just stubborn (which she is) and wouldn’t talk until she wanted to, and resisted talking because we ‘bugged’ her about it.

    But my instinct has been to have her evaluated ASAP. Most people I talk to disagree, and our pediatrician suggested we wait until her 18-month checkup. Should I wait, or get it started now?

  10. Carole - I so applaud you for being concerned about her now, even if it’s against the tide of public opinion in your circle! The pediatrician may be having you wait until 18 months since this is such a benchmark age, and it may be a little easier for her to qualify for services if she’s not added anything new by then. She does have some red flags for speech-language delay, so I’d definitely have her assessed at 18 months if she’s not using at least 15 consistent words by then.

    However, as her mom, I’d still do everything I could even BEFORE you get her evaluated to help her move along. Signing is a great way for many children to build their vocabularies AND for you to know what she’s trying to say since she’s using so many sound substitutions in word attempts and lots of jargon. Check out the articles in the signing section - especially the tips to get her started. Since she uses gestures already, this should be an easy next step. Watch the DVD clips (it’s the 2nd one I think) for a brief example of teaching signs to toddlers.

    I’m glad you’re finding the site helpful, and let me know if there’s anything else you need! Laura

    Please keep using the ideas on this site since they really do work!

  11. Laura,

    thank you so much for your answer and for encouragement. I know it may be early to evaluate him, but I compare him with my first son who, at the same age, said many words. Thank you, Maria

  12. hi there,
    I am Leah from Malaysia, but currently live in Japan. My eldest son is now 34 months but still cannot make sentences and his vocabs are terrible, not fluent. I am so worried. At home we are talking in Malay language, sometimes I teach him some English vocabs. At his nursery , his teacher and the kids there all are speaking in Japanese. I wonder maybe he cannot talk because he confused with the 3 languages mixed up. Or maybe because he is watching TV too much. Can your DVD help me?
    I also not sure whether meeting the therapist here is a good idea because they are Japanese,, so maybe they will teach my kids in Japanese. I want my son to especially can talk in English and Malay. Please advice.
    Thanks in advance.

  13. Leah - The DVD can help any parent learn to teach their child language, any language. The DVD shows you how to use 6 different strategies to teach your child new vocabulary, in whatever language you are using.

    Because he is having difficulty learning language, I would try to minimize the complexity and pick one primary language so that he can solidify his ability to assign meaning to words and then use those words functionally to communicate with you. However, he is going to need to learn how to communicate with his teachers and friends in school. If you are going to be in Japan long-term, he does need to speak and understand Japanese. If this is the case, then I’d definitely go ahead and see an SLP in Japan. They likely speak at least a little English too.

    One more thing about the DVD - the DVD should work in your Japanese DVD player since Japanese players use the same operating system as USA players. BUT, if your DVD player is from Malaysia, it probably won’t play using it. In that case, you’d have to view it using your computer, provided that your computer has a DVD drive.

    If you want to order the DVD, send me your e-mail address at laura@teachmetotalk.com so I can send you an invoice through Google checkout. Google checkout will not process international orders unless I send you the invoice first with the correct shipping amount precalculated.

    Hope this info helps you! Laura

  14. hi
    i dont know whether there is a problem with my daughter or not.she has just completed 3 years old on jan 12,2009. she repeats what i say.if i ask whats ur name she says whats ur name,but after some time she answers it.i always ask him did u eat chicken in school but in our language(oriya),she answers i ate chicken(in oriya)but she says did u ate chicken in school.
    sometime she speaks clearly ,express herself very clearly.she can recognis the letters,sings rhymes very well,counts from 1 to 20 n her pick up pawer is very good.she likes to read.her memory is also sharp.

    can u help me in this.i want her to make her own sentence to answer,not repeating mine

  15. Manisha - She sounds like she’s “stuck” in the developmental phase of being able to imitate questions, but not answer spontaneously on her own.
    This usually happens with children younger than your daughter, so based on what you’ve said, it does sound like she may possibly have a mild language delay. Do you have access to a speech-language pathologist in your area? I would have her evaluated if possible. In the meantime, look at the articles about answering questions in the expressive and receptive language categories. Hope these ideas help! Laura

  16. my son is 27 months old i have been concerned about his speech for a long time
    he proberly has 3 words he uses regulary
    hello (says it correctly) hat (means pat)hes a big postman pat fan! and he says umma for mummy.
    we finally have speech therapy appointment after asking for nearly a year, my friends and family all tell me not to worry he will speak when hes ready however i do feel as his mum he does have a problem
    3 months ago he would say grandad well i knew he was saying it although it wasnt clear to others, he would call our cat by her name tigger, he would say daddy and dog dog, all of a sudden he says nothing but the above mentioned 3 words. ive been told hes just lazy!
    everything is a grunt he no longer says daddy calls him hmmm infact everything is hmmm. its frustrating for myself and partner as we can see hes frustrated trying to talk.
    ive heard baby signing is a good way to communicate although im not sure if its too late to start that with him now??

    i have speech therapy with him next week fingers crossed he will come on in leaps and bounds. im just concerned as a mother!
    any advice would be greatly recieved.

  17. I NEVER think a kid doesn’t talk because he’s lazy. Read my article Can’t vs. Won’t and you’ll see why.

    To only have 3 words at 27 months indicates an expressive language delay, and losing words is a red flag as well.

    Signing is an AWESOME way to help with communication as well as jump start speech, and IT’S NEVER TOO LATE! Read the articles in the sign language section for ways to implement this at home. There’s also a video clip of me using sign language in speech therapy sessions on the Teach Me To Talk DVD post.

    He’ll qualify for speech, and I hope you get good specific advice for being able to work with him yourself at home in addition to his sessions with the therapist. Children who make the most progress are the ones with committed parents!

    Hope all goes well! Laura


  18. I just wanted to make a comment to parents also that if your child is exhibiting speech problems particularly in pronunciation please also get them tested for their hearing. We were shocked to learn our son has mild to moderate hearing loss due to fluid in his ears (never had an ear ache in his life). Just wanted to alert other parents to this as I’ve noticed some speech issues for several months and had him evaluated but never thought to have his hearing tested and wish I had done it much much sooner.

  19. My son is 23 months old and just started speech therapy. He tested normal in all other areas other than communication (cognition was a little low, but adaptive, motor and social were great). He has lost some words, but still slowly gains new words (he said about 15 words at 12 months, but about 6 words today).

    My main concern is that he doesn’t seem to understand speech (doesn’t respond to his name, and doesn’t follow direction). The two items above that possibly described my son were the Rec. Lang. Disorder and the Aud. Proc. Disorder. I was curious what the prognosis is for these two disorders? Can I expect that he will, with therapy, eventually speak and understand at a conversational level? Or is it likely that he will never follow even basic directions or be able to tell me what he wants?

  20. Joyce - I’m not surprised that he tested lower in cognition since he’s having difficulty understanding language. Language and cognition go hand-in-hand for children under 3, and many of the milestones and questions on both the cognitive and receptive language sections on developmental tests are the same.

    As far as a prognosis goes, it really is individualistic. The more severe the initial problem, the harder it will be to overcome. Generally if you get started in therapy early, as you are, you’ll have a much better outcome than if you did nothing.

    As I always tell parents when I’m actually seeing their children or writing to parents here on the website, kids whose parents are very involved and faithfully work with their children, regardless of the “diagnosis,” always do better than kids with parents who leave everything to the therapists, or worse, those parents who wait until their children are school-aged to do anything.

    I’d imagine you’re not that kind of mom since you’re seeking additional information here and already have him evaluated before he’s 2, so pat yourself on the back.

    As for additional ideas, read all of the articles in the receptive language section. You may want to check out the DVDs Teach Me To Listen and Obey for other strategies and so you can SEE the techniques in action. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help you. Laura

  21. dear laura
    my daughter is 3 and 1/2 and is not yet talking. her hearing has been tested(normal) and she has been observed by SLT and has had SLT involved 4 the last yr and still no improvment. otherwise she is a well behaved very intelligent girl. she follows instuctions and is otherwise perfect. she tries at times to make sounds but finds it hard like she is using her tummy to talk. plez if u have any suggestions i need them
    thanx meena

  22. Meena - What does your SLT think? I’d talk about this with her first. If that answer doesn’t make sense to you, or even if it does and you’re still concerned (as I would be), I’d take her to a speech-language expert for another opinion since she’s not made progress after a year of therapy. It’s time for some new ideas and treatment strategies or at least an explanation for why she’s still having difficulties. Usually there’s something else going on when speech and language skills aren’t moving along by this age, especially after a year of therapy. Hope you can find some answers soon for her and for you! Laura

  23. hey laura the slt thinks her interaction with people needs 2 be better! but i think the problem is she doesnt know how to talk or finds it hard to talk. a lot of people that see her and interact with her say she is just taking her time but i feel its time now and i can see she wants to express herself also i just need the intial key steps to get her to open up. i spent time with her the other day tring to get her to say mummy and she did but it took ages of repeating and encouragement to get her there!!! plez if u have any ideas let me know,as ive kind of given up on the slt we currently have.
    thanx meena

  24. Dear Laura,

    I’ve been slightly concerned that my 17 month old son is not speaking yet. He will say “up” but that’s about it. He does the pterodactyl scream when he wants something and babbles up a storm when mimicking conversation but no real words. He’ll say mama but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know what it means. And yes, he will follow an instruction when he’s in the mood. Should I be concerned? We just changed pediatricians and his new doc doesn’t seem worried but his old one was starting to. Any advise would be wonderful. Thank you.

  25. Leslie - As I’m sure you know, by 18 months toddlers should be using about 15 words consistently and spontaneously, so it would be a concern for me. But he certainly understands that he should talk since he’s babbling and screaming when he wants something, and it’s great that he’s following some instructions, but at his age and since there is a concern with language development, I’d want to see it a lot more often than “when he’s in the mood.” Is he looking at familiar people when named? Does he follow routines such as running to the bathroom when you announce it’s time for bath? Will he retrieve his favorite toy on request? Is he waving bye-bye? If these things aren’t consistent yet, then I would go ahead and pursue an evaluation with your state early intervention program, with or without a referral from your pediatrician.

    In the meantime, at home I would place a huge emphasis on facilitating words and even signs with him right now during play and during daily routines using the strategies you can read about in articles in the expressive language section. If he doesn’t come along with you reading and implementing the ideas, then you may want to check out ordering the DVDs to help give you new ideas for working with him at home. Good luck and I hope you see big improvements right away! Laura

  26. Hello! My daughter will be 2 at the end of this month. She has a large number of single-syllable words, and groups words telegraphically, e.g. she’ll say “Mama book read” or “shoe off” but won’t use any real sentence structure. My real question is about her articulation — she fits to a tee the criteria for a Phonological Disorder as you described above. All of her one syllable words drop the last consonant sound (ree instead of read), and about 90% of her two syllable words simply repeat the same first syllable twice (”pi-pi” for pillow, etc.). She also has a number of substitutions (p’s replace f’s, y’s replace l’s). You said in your information about phonological disorders that they’re not typically diagnosed until a child is 3 — is it possible to break this pattern with a child of my daughter’s age? Usually, I just repeat the word in my response so that it doesn’t seem as if I’m correcting her; however, when I have asked her to sound out the word along with me she can repeat each syllable but reverts to her original pronunciation (pi-pi) when I use the full word.

  27. Hello, I have a 3 1/2 year old boy that does not say a single word at all. He can hear and understand things. He will come when you call him. He don’t understand when you ask him to get a sippy cup for example. Iam at a big lose on what to do. Can you help

  28. Diane - Thanks for your question. As I’m sure you’re aware, from what you’ve described at his age at 3 1/2 your son is exhibiting a pretty significant speech-language delay, not only in what he says (expressive language), but more importantly, in what he understands (receptive language). I would have him evaluated by a pediatric speech-language pathologist as quickly as possible. In the USA for children over 3, the least expensive way to have this done is to consult your local public school or Head Start program. If you have insurance coverage or can afford to pay privately, I would recommend having him evaluated at a private clinic like Easter Seals or a children’s hospital. Again, I’d urge you to do this right away since it’s unlikely time or maturity is going to help him catch up on his own.

    In the meantime, keep reading ideas here on the website. Check out the older articles where most of the real “information” is. You can do that by clicking on a category across the top menu, scroll down to the bottom of the page, then click older entries until you get back to the oldest post in each category. Begin here and then you can read forward.

    I’d also recommend that you check out the DVDs. Teach Me To Talk is to help get his expressive language going, but likely the most important information for you will be in Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1. This addresses receptive language development from the beginning and will help YOU learn how to teach him to understand words and follow directions.

    You’ve got your work cut out for you! It’s sometimes scary to have your child evaluated, but I’d so encourage you to do that for him so that you can have a professional help you learn how to help him. Laura

  29. Hi Laura,

    Does speech problems run in families or can they be hereditary?

    My mom said she was a “late talker” could, but refused to talk until she was 3 yr old. I was in speech for a while when I was in grade school and my older son was in speach from 3ys old till I can’t even remember. I don’t know what his dx was ( I was a younge mother) but I know it was mild, but I guess his progress was slow since he was in speech for so long - I had never throught too much about his speach back then, he was in “real school” b/c of the speech delays and it just became apart of schooling for him. The ST did not tell me too much and I did not ask too much, it was just away of life.

    Fast forward to now and our pedi said that if my son (15mns)has not increased his vocab by the time of his 15 month well visit, he wants a hearing test. I know Max hears well, he follows commands, but he does have a hx of ear infections. Max was slow at adapting to new textures and eating, was about 12mns before he no longer gaged on food and even now at 15 month he is just now not spitting all his food out. But again hx of ear infections and frequent colds, so I don’t know if it was just all the illness that slowed him down or if there is/could be oral motor skill problem.

    If the pedi wants the hearing test, I want to ask about speech and oral motor skill eval (although in the past 2 wks his eating has improved greatly)

    just wondering if speach issues were known to be hereditary.

    also, is there any questions I should ask the pedi, or buzz words I should throw out to him when we have our well check up.

    Thank you for your time.

  30. Jennifer - Thanks for your questions. Communication problems can definitely “run in families.” I think it’s great that your pediatrician wants to be so proactive with your baby and would want to refer him for a hearing eval and for a speech-language assessment. Tell him the same things you’ve told me - you have a family history of speech-language problems, and you’d like to have him evaluated early so that you can give him the best start possible. I applaud your commitment to find out more information for yourself so that you can be prepared for the visit. However, I don’t want you to waste time waiting on a professional assessment. Read through the website for ideas on how YOU can help him at home. Good luck!! Laura

  31. Hi Laura

    My son was 2 last week and he doesn’t understand anything I say. He says mum and dad and that is all. He doesn’t wave, clap or point and I have no communication with him whatsoever. He gets really frustrated and I fear there is something very wrong with his brain. I have seen numerous health visitors and speech people but all they do is monitor him, I am really concerned and its very upsetting as I’m not getting any answers!

    He doesn’t interact with other children and he gets upset when babies cry. He is quite a sensitive little sole. He won’t feed himself and sometimes just spits food out.

    Any suggestions?

  32. Aimee - At the very least he has a severe receptive language delay as well as an expressive language delay and likely a social communication disorder. If you were in the States, he’d likely be getting speech therapy weekly. I’d still push for that now and have them teach you how to work with him at home.

    In the meantime, please read the articles on this website, especially those in the receptie language section. He has to understand language BEFORE he can talk.

    I’d also recommend my DVD series Teach Me To Listen and Obey so that you can SEE exactly how to play with him so that he interacts with you and then learns to understand words. You can watch the DVD clips here or on youtube or Facebook.

    Parents play a KEY role in helping children with special needs. In addition to working with him yourself,
    please continue to fight for the services your child needs. You’re his best advocate!! Good luck!!


  33. My son is 40 months old and is talking but not like I think he should be. He can put together 6+ word sentences and he is using he and she but sometimes he babbles. He can’t seem to answer any questions that I ask him. If I ask him “Why” he did or wants something, he simply replies because. He cann’t tell me what he did in a day or what he ate for lunch. He can tell me what he wants but does not tell me how he feels a lot.

    When he went home for summer vacation he spent a lot of time with his 4 yr. old cousin and his vocab doubled in like six weeks. Do you think his problems will be solved by being around other children?

    He also uses words at random and says huh after everything I say. He plays well with others but does not like to play by himself AT ALL! He is set up to get an evaluation in a few weeks. He was evaluated when he was two but they decided to monitor him instead of help.

    You are so right about feeling guilty. I feel like an absolute failure and I want to help him. I give him lessons daily and he enjoys them. He has no problem paying attention but gets discouraged quickly. He knows is ABC’s, colors, can count well, and can draw a line, his shapes and a few letters.

    Perfect Example: He just finished eating some chips and he comes up to me and wiggles his fingers and says “It tickles”
    Me: What tickles?
    Him: The chips
    Me: Chips don’t tickle.
    Him: See mommy, I can’t do it.

    What on earth is the problem? Any advice on literature or anything would be greatly appreciated.

  34. Leshia - I’m so glad you’re having him evaluated. Since I can’t see him, of course I don’t know what’s going on for sure, but let me give you a couple of ideas based on what you’ve said.

    I hope your SLP takes a very close look at his ability to understand and process language since he’s having difficulty answering questions when he’s obviously a smart kid based on the pre-academic skills you report he can do.

    Receptive language problems/processing differences can certainly cause a child’s expressive language to lag as well and often presents as you’re describing your son. He can use sentences and even tell you what he wants, but he can’t answer simple questions. He’s also using words that don’t quite fit the situation indicating that he doesn’t understand what he’s saying.

    Again, since I can’t see him, I don’t know this for sure, but it is something to ask the SLP about during the assessment.

    Secondly, I never recommend that a child attend daycare in order to help him learn how to talk since I think ADULTS help kids learn to understand and use language, but it could be that a great part-time preschool program would be very beneficial to him. The time with his cousin may have been so valuable because everything was on his level and he had lots of 1:1 time doing things that made sense to him. Preschool would serve the same purpose. In the meantime I would take lots of time at home to play, play, play WITH him making sure that you’re helping fill in the gaps with things he doesn’t seem to understand or be able to express.

    Keep us updated with what the SLP says at his eval. When I know what the problem is, I’ll likely be able to give you more specific advice. You made a great decision by choosing to have him evaluated again. Good luck!! Laura

  35. Hello I have a son who just turned 3 on Saturday. He knows the alphabet, can count to 20 to 10 in spanish and can count backwards. He will follow direction, somethimes he will just sit in his room and talk sometimes I can understand sometimes not. He will see someone and say hi over and over again. If he likes something he will reapeat it over and over. He plays with me and his dad. He is also a only child with not other cousins or friends to play with, except at school. He is always happy and well disciplined, not perfect, but he knows what time out is. He is very well behaved. I am going to have hime evaluated next week, but my husband thinks that in 6 months he will get better. He loves us to read to him and has a few book memorized. He says thank you and oops sorry.

    It is hard for me to tell if he is just immature for his age and he is 39 1/2 inches tall. I wonder if that also throws people off. Like I said he just turned 3 on the 10 of Oct. I have been so depressed about this and constantly beating myself up. Because I am a stay at home mom, I should have done better.

    Do you have any advice or can you recommend any dvd’s or books so I can work more with him at home.

    Thanks for your time

  36. Isaiah’s Mom - Thanks for your question. Let me ask you a few before I give you any recommendations. Is he not talking directly to you during the day to tell you what he wants or ask and answer questions? How many other words does he say other than counting/letters or hi? Does he come up with words on his own, or is he just repeating books or what he’s heard?

    Even before you answer these questions I will say that I’m so glad you’re having him evaluated. Hopefully you’ll get some answers! More importantly the therapist should be able to teach you how to work with him at home.

    I also hope that you’ve continued to read the website for ideas. I started the site to help give parents specific recommendations for improving a child’s ability to understand and use language. If you need more direction, I’ve also have filmed a set of DVDs for parents which will SHOW you exactly how to help him learn to communicate. Be sure to check those out for new ideas too!

    Try not to be consumed with guilt over what’s happened with him. Being paralyzed by your emotions does NOTHING to help his situation, but taking action so that you do learn HOW to help now will make a huge difference. I hope the site and my DVDs will be able to help you do that! He needs you!!!! Laura

  37. Thank you so much for your response. I will provide an update once I finish the evaluation.

  38. I have a question:
    Should i be concerned that my two year old daughter says the same word twice in her speaking. For example: if she wants to jump in the bounce house she will say: jump, jump. If she wants milk she will say: milk, milk, etc.

  39. Angie - Many young children repeat a word twice because many early first words follow this pattern - Mama, Bye bye, Dada, etc… SLPs call this reduplication. It should go away on its own as she matures.

    One piece of advice- make sure you’re not repeating her to reinforce this. You could also start saying Mommy and Daddy and just “bye” if you don’t do this already. Does she have other words when she doesn’t use this repetitive pattern? Keep encouraging those! Laura

  40. My son is a twin. He is 22 months old now but when he was 3 months old he was put on an NG tube because he refused to nurse or drink from a bottle. The doctors said it was reflux but at 6 months old (after being on the NG tube for 3.5 months) we had his tongue tie clipped and he immediately took the bottle again. By then he has a severe bottle aversion but we managed to get him to overcome it. He eats a variety of table food now but refuses any fruit or veggies unless they are pureed. He has been diagnosed with low tone in his mouth and trunk. However, he has met all gross motor milestones on or ahead of time. He understands most everything I say and can follow directions. At 22 months he only has about 5 words he uses spontaneously (dada, down, uh oh, up, car which sounds like gar) and animal sounds for lion, snake, sheep and elephant). It seems like its hard for him to immitate the words I say to him. He uses the letter D in most of his imitations. I have him in ST and OT 1x a week for two hours and EI 2x a month. We are working on bilabials right now. He was not a quiet child, always babbling but with limited consonants (d,k,g). The SLP does not think she can diagnose him with something like apraxia right now but I am wondering if the NG tube and lack of oral muscle use over those 3.5 months could have caused his weak oral motor strength and contribute to his picky eating and delayed speech? Or does he have to have a diagnosis such as apraxia? I feel like he has some of the apraxic symptoms but not all. I am scared that my little boy will have a lifetime of difficulties ahead of him and never be like his peers. Will he ever talk? Will he need to be in special schools?

  41. Cara - Thanks so much for your great questions. First of all, it is waaaay too early for you to be worried about special schools and if he’ll have friends. He is only 22 months old, and from what I read, you are doing everything you can to help him get better. He’s in therapy and you are tackling the language and feeding issues head on. One thing I’d recommend is that you stop focusing on specific sounds, and just focus on adding more words to his vocabulary, regardless of what sound substitutions he uses. This takes the pressure (and in my opinion, incorrect focus) off speech and puts it on communication and language. To target specific sounds when a child is under 2 often defeats your purpose. When you become more playful and focus on WORDS, then you typically see faster results. The truth is, the more practice he gets with speech/talking, the faster those speech sound errors will clear up. If you need more help to know what specific strategies I recommend for toddlers, check out my DVDs Teach Me To Talk (for general language strategies) and Teach Me To Talk with Apraxia and Phonological Disorders (for more specific speech strategies if the language strategies aren’t as successful).

    The NG tube, feeding difficulties, and muscle tone issues could certainly all be related to the late talking, but again, it sounds like you’re doing all of the right things. Keep at it, and keep us posted on how he does. Good luck!! Laura

  42. Thanks Laura, I just purchased your teach me to talk for Apraxic children (even though we don’t have a diagnosis). I figured it can’t hurt to use these techniques, especially since I know he is having issues with oral motor skills. WE are using a powered toothbrush and NUK brush to strengthen the muscles in his mouth and I work with him on a ball and trampoline to help strengthen his trunk. His low tone is on the mild side from what the OT has told me. So I am seeing some early results in that area. I guess I just wish I knew if it was apraxia or just an expressive speech delay. For some reason the apraxia diagnosis scares me more and I can’ get in to see a developmental pediatrician for about 4-5 months from now. I hope the amount if speech and OT I am getting for him is enough right now. I know that some kids go 5 days a week. Do you think I should be advocating for more?

  43. Cara - If you are committed to working with him at home, I don’t think you necessarily need to advocate for more speech or OT sessions right now. As you know he is very, very young - not even 2 yet. I VERY RARELY increase a child’s frequency to more than once a week when they are under 3, and even when I do, honestly, I’m not sure that they do drmatically better than the kids I continue to see weekly who have very committed moms and dads who work with them everyday on their own. Now that opinion may ruffle the feathers of other SLPs who strongly feel that “more is better”, but for most 2 year olds I’ve seen, this has been the case in my practice over the last 10 years or so. I do currently have a couple of 2 year olds that I’m seeing more than once a week and they are doing great, but I’m not so sure they wouldn’t have done equally as well with once weekly. When it clicks for toddlers, it clicks, and more often than not, kids look dramatically better when turning 3 than at their 2nd birthday. Maturation, coupled with the right kinds of therapy in sessions and MORE IMPORTANTLY at home, does marvelous things!! Let us know how he continues to do, and I’d love to hear how you do with the strategies on the Apraxia DVD. Laura

  44. hi my son is 6 and a half and he still can talk proper we have great difficulty in understanding him he has speech therpy every week but shows no signs of getting better with his speech

  45. Hi– My daughter is 18mo and doesn’t talk much. She says dada and various “forms” of words but not actual words. I’ve tried to work with her, by constantly talking to her….but it is very hard to get her to pay attention. She is very busy and always on the move. At dinner she will eat and look at you, but she’s not one to try and repeat what you say. Typically when I say “mama” she smiles and says “dada”. I try to read books, but she won’t sit still for the whole book. She tries to flip that pages and if I hold he book she just gets up and gets another book she can hold. I just don’t know what to do anymore!

  46. Kara - I’m going to answer your question on the December 3 edition of my podcast Teach Me To Talk with Laura and Kate so we can give you lots of good ideas for ways to work with her at home. Listen in by clicking on the blogtalkradio icon on the right column of this page. Laura

  47. Hi Laura,
    I love your website. It has lots of great information. My question is about my 27 month old son. He tries to talk, and tries to say lots of different words, but they don’t resemble the word at all. He says them the same way each time, but I seem to be the only one who can understand him. For example, he will say “aba” for fast food places (whenever he sees one). He says “aga” for water. Some words are very clear, such as “no”, “more”, and “mom”. Do you think it is too early to start working on sounds with him? I’m not sure what my next steps should be.

  48. Sarah - Usually we want a child’s language skills to be at or near an age-appropriate level before we focus on sounds in speech therapy sessions. For a child your son’s age, that would mean that he’s frequently speaking in 2-3 word phrases.

    Many SLPs target speech sounds as a real goal before ages 2 1/2 to 3, but I really don’t UNLESS a child is soooo unintelligible that he’s frustrated that no one can understand him.

    As a rule I “work on” sounds with children this young by modeling the correct word and giving a few cues such as, “Put your lips together” for /m/ and giving sounds “names.” You can read more about these techniques here on the site in the articles in the apraxia and intelligibility categories. I also discussed speech sound issues on my podcast Teach Me To Talk with Laura and Kate in September, so look in the archives on the right-hand column for this show. If you’d like to SEE examples of cueing sounds with toddlers, check out my DVD Teach Me To Talk with Apraxia and Phonological Disorders.

    Thanks for the great question! Laura

  49. Hi-

    My son is 23 months and does not talk at all. He attemots to have conversations with me but everyhting that comes out of his mouth sounds like ah ah ah. He is in speech 2 times a week and he see’s a developmental ped in January. I am worried he has Apraxia and I need to know that some day he will talk. I upset myself thinking that he may never talk??

  50. Tiffany - There are some children with severe apraxia who don’t learn to speak, but most children, even those with speech-language delays, do eventually learn to communicate. You’re doing what you can to help him by having hin enrolled in speech therapy at such an early age, and you sound like you’re doing your part at home to help him as well. Keep reading ideas here on the site, listening to the podcast, and if you’re not sure how to work with him at home, check out my DVDs. Good luck! Laura

  51. just discovered your site…
    however, the home page comes up blank (when I click on home or the header)
    I also tried to subscribe and received the following message:
    The feed does not have subscriptions by email enabled

  52. My daughter is 13 months old and does not talk at all. She has no words, or even word approximations. All she says is “ah, ah” or she’ll point and grunt if she wants something. She also doesn’t really babble and never even babbled as a baby. She very rarely will babble in the car when we are driving, she’ll say “babababa” but this is rare. I am having her hearing tested in two weeks, but I think she can hear because she seems to understand everything we say ie. “where’s the baby?” and she will go get her baby doll for me. She claps and waves bye bye.

    She seems fine socially and has met all other milestones. She walks well, feeds herself and is affectionate. Her receptive language is excellent also. I am having her seen here in Canada for her speech, but at this point all they are offering me is parent training because of her young age. I am trying some of your tips on your website, but it has been so discouraging because she doesn’t have any sounds apart from “ah, ah”.

    I guess I am wondering if it is possible that she is a only late talker despite the fact that she never babbled. Have you ever seen or worked with a child who was only speech delayed (as opposed to apraxic)and never babbled as an infant? I am so worried about her. What are your thoughts?

  53. DK - We’re experiencing website problems. The home page seems to go down about every 48 hours, and we’re working to find a permanent fix. Thanks for the notification!

  54. Nancy - I have worked with children who seemed to skip babbling and go straight to words, but as you noted yourself, children with apraxia do this more often. Try looking at the article “Help! My Child Won’t Imitate Words” for other ideas of sounds she may be more likely to try to imitate. Some children try animal sounds more often than any other sound, and these are made up of the very same consonant and vowel sounds that words are, so try these. Also try these during fun and playful exchanges when you are just modeling the sounds yourself without lots of obvious cues for her to imitate you if she seems to “shut down” with pressure to perform. For more ideas, check out my DVD Teach Me To Talk with Apraxia and Phonological Disorder since you can SEE the techniques in action with real toddlers. Thanks for your question. Laura

  55. My grandson just turned 4 and barely speaks. Occasionally he will blurt out a word but not often. He had seizures starting at 2 months old and were finally under control at 13 months. He has been on medication and seizure free for 3 years. He is going to an early intervention pre-school where he gets speech, occupational and physical therapy once a week. He is doing remarkably well in most areas but is not talking. He knows some sign language and uses it. He understands if you tell him to get something or when I’m reading a book that he has heard repeatedly and he knows when his favorite part is coming up. He points to everyone when asked and watches wonder pets, etc. and laughs at the right places. I am concerned that he won’t talk. What is your advice.

  56. Chris - This website is FULL of advice for ways you can play with him at home and facilitate those first words. I’d highly recommend that you take a look at articles in both the receptive language section to be sure he’s UNDERSTANDING language too since you have to understand words before you talk. You should also read the articles in the expressive language section as well to give you more ideas for eliciting those first words. I’d also recommend that you check out my DVD Teach Me To Talk for 6 strategies you can implement at home to get those early words going. It’s filled with examples of real children during therapy sessions and the kinds of things SLPs do to encourage young children to learn and use words and simple phrases. Sometimes it’s not what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it, and the DVD can help you SEE that first hand. Hope this helps!! Laura

  57. My son is 3years and almost 4 months. He would say one or two words every now and then but he wont speak 3 more words. He’s not speaking in sentences. His father and older brother had ADHD. Had being that they grew out of the symptoms. They also had to see speech, behavior, and occupational therapists. My son is hyper and mostly inattention and doesn’t look me in the face when I’m talking to him. He looks me in the face when I’m singing. He learned his ABCs by the time he was 1 1/2 years old. His motor skills are fine. He’s just mumbles sometimes.

  58. Vita - Based on what you’ve said, your son does likely have an expressive language delay. By 3 children should be talking in 4 and 5 word sentences consistently. Since he’s not doing this, I’d go ahead and encourage you to have him evaluated. You want him as ready as he can be for kindergarten in a couple of years. Check with your local public school district for an evaluation. Laura

  59. Hi Laura, it’s me again (heh!).

    As I go through the symptoms you list of apraxia, Jakob did/does ALL of them. And as far as I know my husband didn’t talk until he was almost three, and I required Speech therapy to work on my r’s until the 3rd grade.

    I have decided to get Jakob referred to a private SLP and have him re-evaluated, and I want to talk to the Therapist and see if she will treat him like he DOES have apraxia, even though he has not been diagnosed.

    Does that sound like something that I should do, or should I give the ‘traditional’ speech therapy techniques done by our ECI SLP a chance?

    I just don’t see them working. They don’t work for me, do you think they might work for her? I know (because I used to teach) that kids do different things for different people, especially when that different person is NOT his mom. Could this be the case with this SLP and Jakob?

    If so, how long do we keep doing the traditional methods before I press her to try something else, more focused?

    There’s a chance I might decide to do BOTH…private and state-funded ST. Could this be harmful to Jakob?

    Also I am working with him on my own at home, but I don’t want to stress him out, and I don’t want him to feel like he doesn’t do ANYTHING right. He is in fact very adept at many other aspects of development. So what would you say is the best way to go around our day-to-day routine and work on speech, but not OVER-DO it?

    Don’t worry, I’ll mellow out after I hear this answer…. :)

  60. Hi all,

    I am a 21 year old male. I have difficulty producing any words in a logical sentence and even writing logically. No words really come to my head. I was an only child and had everything done for me (spoilt in a sense) so now I walk around everyday staring at what is around me and not knowing where to go or what to do. I have resorted to finding at least one job so my girlfriend doesn’t think I am a complete bum. I don’t even know what to have for breakfeast, lunch or dinner. I am extremely absent minded and have a hard time observing what is around me. I have $8,000 in debt.

    If your child is experiencing any speech problems I would get onto it straight away or else you will risk having him end up like me. Please do it for the benefit of your children.

  61. Jana - Since you’ve graciously decided to be on the podcast, we’ll talk about all of this at length on the show! Laura

  62. Thomas - Thanks for your comment, and I hope things improve for you. There are many SLPs who work with adults, so I’d encourage you to continue with treatment, even as an adult. There are many, many techniques you can use to help you recall words and target improved written language. Ask your physician or search for community-based programs like Vocational Rehab who can refer you for continued treatment. If you need more specific ideas, email me back at Laura@teachmetotalk.com so I can help you find resources in your city. Good luck to you! Laura

  63. My Son is 3 1/2.. He has lots of problems pronoucing words. Most of the time we can figure out what he is saying and sometimes we cant. He even gets frustrated when we cant understand. He is extremly smart and understands anything you ask of him. We did take him to a speech therapist about 15 times but all he got out of it was to clearly say “mine” which discouraged my wife and I from continuing. Older brother and sister did most of the talking for him when he was younger which might be most of the problem. He started daycare at age 3 to be around kids his age and has had lots of improvement. Should we be concerned?? Thanks for any thoughts

  64. Jonathan - Let me wholeheartedly recommend speech therapy for you again. If he has intelligibility problems, if he’s becoming even more frustrated, and if maturity is not making it better, then I’d give speech therapy another whirl.

    Now, at the risk of really offending you, I’m going to tackle something you’d probably not rather I bring up. I too have worked with parents who didn’t like it when a child learned to say words they didn’t want to encourage like “mine” or “no” or even something like “candy.” However, as I’m doing now, I try to gently point out that I’d much rather have a child use an appropriate word to express a very real-life emotion, rather than the alternative, which might be screaming or even physical aggression like hitting and biting. I would choose to teach a 2 year old to say “mine” every time (being careful to model it in way that’s not “bratty”) instead of leaving him to whack his sibling when he wants a toy, or even worse, stand there helplessly when another child tries to take something from him without an appropriate way to defend himself.

    However, YOU are his parents, not me, and I certainly respect your right to parent him as you wish. I just wanted to offer this little word of advice, which is likely much easier for you to read from me than it would be for your next SLP to tell you in person.

    If you’re really unsure of trying speech again, let me at least direct you to my DVD to teach you how to work with speech intelligibility problems - Teach Me To Talk with Apraxia and Phonological Disorders. On the DVD you’ll SEE how to implement speech therapy techniques at home that will help him speak more clearly and it’ll point you and your wife in the right direction with ideas for how to work with him yourselves. It may not help you fix everything, but it would likely be better than nothing.

    Thanks for your question, and again, I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings :) Laura

  65. We have a 19 month old son (born 5 weeks early), he does not consistently say or repeat any words. From time to time he spits out a word once however you don’t hear it again (maybe max of 10 different words we have heard once or twice). We live in the States, I speak my native Australian English to him and my wife speaks her native Finnish to him. I see him in the evening and weekends, my wife is at home with him full time. He is not in any daycare and has limited interaction with other children or adults.

    He understand questions in both languages, if we ask him (in either language) if he wants milk he runs to the fridge waiting for milk, if we ask for the ball or favorite toy he will get the ball or toy. When he wants something like water her will just reach out and whine to get our attention, before giving it to him we try to encourage him to say water but he just get frustrated. Also when we try and get up close and personal to get him to repeat a word he gets very frustrated. On his own accord he mimics actions like hugging, kissing or being on the phone, however he does not respond to mimic actions under encouragement like waving hi or goodbye.

    He has no patience for learning and especially books, he can’t sit still for longer than 1-2 minutes, he just runs and runs all day long. He is not good with identifying putting shapes in the correct location in simple puzzles, he is unable to identify the difference between colors or shapes when asked which is blue or which is square.

    He has been developmentally slower across most things like walking and has reached most things with a little extra time. He seems to have very little patience and it doesn’t seem like he is catching up with the speech or identifying the commonalities in colors and shapes.

  66. Justin - Thanks for your comment. I don’t think you should worry about him not knowing colors or shapes yet since it’s still too early for that, but he should be imitating familiar words easily and often and should have an expressive vocabulary of 10-15 words by now. I also wouldn’t worry about books or a short attention span just yet either since LOTS of children (especially boys) his age, both with and without language delays, are the same way.

    But that being said, his receptive language is moving along, and research tells us that children who live in bilingual homes do speak later than those growing up hearing only one language.

    Since you are in the USA you can have him evaluated by your state’s early intervention program. Google your state’s name plus the phrase “early intervention” for contact information. If he doesn’t begin to say some words on his own consitently and certainly if he doesn’t start to imitate in the next couple of months, I’d encourage you to go ahead and pursue this assessment.

    In the meantime, read the articles here on the website for ideas. You can also check out my DVD Teach Me To Talk with easy to implement strategies that you and your wife can use to work with him at home. Sometimes SEEING someone else implement the recommendations makes it easier for you to do those things with your own child. Hope these ideas help! Laura

  67. Hi my 38 month old has maybe a 300 - 500 word knowledge. However she’s still largely babbling and talking baby talk. Often her words come out wrong. soo for shoe b,z,sh,th words come out totally wrong. Also if you talk low she won’t respond. If you talk loud you might get her attention. If you get down to her level and make her make eye contact the results are a lot better. My problem is that i can’t find a speech therapist or pediatric doctor who will listen to my concerns.
    They tried telling me that developmentally she’s 2. Now how many 2 year olds can clearly say backpack?!! Not many. She just started running and loves it! She look at me and say “I running!” and continue on. However she does trip often while running and walking. It’s gotten better but been slow.
    Recently she’s taken an interest in lacing. She does really well. Also if it’s dark she’ll look at me and go, “Horses, birdies, night-night?” asking if the birds and our neighbors horses are sleeping. I’ve been told she understands a lot like a 2 year old, but I’ve seen much much better than that. She does not like to perform for people.
    She does have a bad gag reflex and is still glued to the pacifier. We’ve been working on the latter issue, and it’s limited only to when she sleeps. She rarely makes eye contact with anyone on her own. Sometimes i worry she could have a touch of autism or md. However without a doctor listening to my worries there’s no way of knowing. What is your advice on this? One thing everyone agrees with is that something is wrong. That’s the only thing they agree with. At this point I’m very frustrated and not sure where to turn on any of it.

  68. Dorothy - How frustrating for you to KNOW something isn’t right with your daughter and not be able to find any help! Have you had her formally evaluated by a private SLP or your local public school system? If she’s functioning on a 2 year old level, she should qualify for speech therapy and the public school preschool program. Try there if you haven’t already. Based on what you’ve said about her, her delays are REAL and you need some assistance to help you learn how to work with her at home. Keep knocking on doors until you find someone who will see her for therapy and teach you things you can do with her at home to move her skills along. Thanks for your questions! Laura

  69. I have a 12 month old that has always been a “spirited” baby. I stay home with her and read to her, play with her, etc. I have watched your clips and they have taught me how to be a little more expressive, but for the most part I feel like I do those things, but she is still not said any words. She babbles all the time (with inflection) and says dada, apple, baby but is not actually referring to those people/objects. She also does not understand if I say “bring me the ball” and I’m not sure she knows I am mama. I have talked to the Early Intervention Program and they are coming out to do an Eval her this week, but told me that she is too young to have SLP. Should I be concerned?

  70. Faith - She is very, very young. Keep doing the things you’re doing, and hopefully she will begin to understand you and then finally say words. Read the ideas here on the site and work to include those in your play. If she’s still not coming along in a few months, then you might consider ordering Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 and Teach Me To Talk for more specific help. I’m glad you’re getting an eval since you’re worried, but she may not qualify for services yet. Hopefully she’ll come along and you won’t need it at all. Laura

  71. My son is 17 months old. He says things like mama, dada, O-Wow, UH-HO, baba, and thats pretty much it. But when we ask him to go find a cup, bottle, his brother, mommy, daddy, ect ect he will do these tasks. My wife and I read to him everyday. Should I be concerned ?

  72. Sean - By 18 months old he should have a minimum of about 15 words he says on his own. It’s great that he’s understanding language since children have to understand language BEFORE they can talk. There are many things you can do with him at home to work on language. Keep reading here on the website for ideas in the expressive language section. You can also take a look at my DVD Teach Me To Talk to SEE how an SLP would work with him at home to get that expressive vocabulary going. Thanks for the question! Laura

  73. My daughter is 2y and she is not talking. Her vocabulary consists of 10 words; she does not follow comands either. EI evaluated her and did not qualify based on the overall score since socially, motor skills etc…she is well within the limits; however, her vocabulary is not improving, she does not point to obj. in a book, and is just starting to name some body parts. She watched a lot of tv when little and we are a bilingual family. I stopped speaking my native language and we are speaking english only now. Sometimes i think she does not want to talk, other times i think she does not understand language. The only words she uses daily and in context are mama, come,up, hi, baby and no but she knows also nose, wow, tickle, mouth, eyes, oh oh. I insisted in a re-evaluation and now it seems that she will get some help throught ESD. repetition seems to help but witholding or signing has not worked so far. I live in a little town with only speech therapist available. Any suggestions. I also wonder if i should just speak engligh to my 8m baby boy. Thanks a lot! and enjoy listening to your show!

  74. Erika - When toddlers are having a difficult time understanding language, I do recommend that parents stick to one primary language. Kate and I are going to talk about this at length on our show next week, so tune in for that disucssion. I am very,very glad you had her re-evaluated since she does sound like she needs the help. Good luck with her! Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with. Laura

  75. Hi well my story would start with one of my twin boys who is aged is basically 3 years and 3 months old, We have been to many doctors and all is said he is a late bloomer but i will tend to disagree. He has one word for everything, and this is “MUM”, i can ask him to get me anything around the house and he will go and get it so its not a problem that he doesnt understand, he just wont or cant talk, at this age i am really getting worried because his speech is going to be so far behind even his twin brother well thats another story he just wont be quiet. Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated. I am kind of leaning towards Apraxia, thank you

  76. Bryan - I responded to your question on Facebook, but I’ll answer here as well. Has he a speech-language eval? I’d strongly encourage you to begin there. It sounds like you might be outside the USA, and this might be more difficult for you.

    As I responded on Facebook I’d start with teaching him signs to reduce his frustation level. You can find info about starting that by reading articles in the sign language section.

    I’d also encourage you to take a look at the DVDs. I always recommend that parents start with Teach Me To Talk and then progress to the Apraxia DVD once you strongly suspect that diagnosis and have implemented the basic strategies in Teach Me To Talk.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions. Otherwise - keep reading! Most of my nuts & bolts, “how to” articles for each category listed above are the oldest ones, so scroll back to the oldest articles and then read forward.

    Thanks so much for your question and let me know how I can help you! Laura

  77. Hi Laura,

    I am waiting patiently for your DVDs to arrive and am listening closely to your shows. Thank you so much. I am trying but I really want to watch your DVDs.

    My little guy has just turned 17 months.
    I am like rushing to meet the 18 month deadline.
    He is saying only ‘no no’ frequently and uses it correctly when he doesn’t want something.

    He says juice, fish and cheese of an on but not often and can go for days without saying any of the above even though we prompt constantly. Other words I think he may have said are like ma ma ma, ball, bye bye but I almost have heard him said that in a long while.

    The funny thing is that he can mimic animal sounds like dog, elephant, bird, duck. He will do it every time we say an animal sound without a problem.

    I am almost sure his receptive language is ok as I have said to him things with no visual cues and he understands and loves music and nursery rhymes and will do the twinkle twinkle or insy winsy spider or wheels on the bus.

    The main thing is that he just won’ t speak more often. Is there something to be worried. I see you mentioning that 15 to 21 months old is when toddlers start stringing 2 words and he is just working on getting one word out.

    Do you think I should be alarmed? What can I do to make him speak more often. I have tried doing the fish biscuit thing…with hold giving the fish biscuit and repeating fish multiple times prompting him to say it and it doesn’t really work.

    What do you suggest get more words out of him? Do sounds like animal sounds count as words?

    It is just sometimes discouraging working with him for a long time and not get any new word. Please tell me what I should do and if there is something I should be concern about?


  78. Sherry - The DVDs will answer lots of these questions and show you exactly how to target language during play. In oru experience over the last 2 years, international orders have sometimes taken up to 4 weeks to arrive in Asia. Today Johnny sent you an email to talk with you about this further.

    I so appreciate your concern about your little boy, and I love to work with go-getter moms like you! But I have to wonder if in your anxiousness, if you’re putting too much pressure on him AND yourself. Watch the DVDs and focus on being really, really playful, connecting with him, and having fun.

    If it’s just an expressive langauge delay,and that’s all it sounds like to me at this point, the words will come.

    Keep doing the things you’re doing. Signing is the only other thing I’d suggest you do with him. Have you looked at this section of the website? There’s a section about how to teach signs on the DVD Teach Me To Talk, so you’ll get to see that too.

    I wish I could give you a hug to reassure you! He’s very, very young, and chances are good that this will all resolve. Watch the DVDs and then get back to me if you need more help! Laura

  79. Hello,

    I have a 20 month old born at 36weeks…he says about 8 words but rarely spontaneously…I usually have to say can you say.. He has said about 30 words but most of the words I haven’t heard them said more than once. He understands everything we say..and brings things when we ask and can point to may animals and objects in a book. He says what’s dat all the time since he was 15 months old.I am getting concern but my ped says she isn’t worried yet. What is your thoughts? I tried your playfulness approach and he has added words in one day. :) I don’t want to wait to long. I hope you can give some advice thanks in advance. Nikki

  80. Ps. Although he added a word from playfulness I can’t get him to say it again. That has been my problem he will say them once and rarley again. Maybe I am putting to much pressure on him.

    Thanks! Nikki

  81. Nikki - I like your question so much that Kate and I are going to answer it today on my podcast “Teach Me To Talk with Laura and Kate” at 5 pm eastern time. You can listen live from here on the website, or better yet, call in and discuss it with us yourself. The call in # is 1-718-766-4332. If you can’t join us live, you can listen later for some ideas for you to try. Laura

  82. Thank you Laura for anwsering my question on air. I appreciate you clarifying that spontaneous words are what counts…that has helped a lot in being clear of what to say to the doc. He was saying approx. 6 words (instead of the 8 I mentioned) if mom and dad count. I was wondering while I wait for the referral and use your wonderful tips and techniques if I can ask….What qualifies as a word (that we count) per se…..some tell me if they say for example Bi for Bike its consider a word others say they have to say the full word intelligently? How often do they have to say the word to be considered using the word. The other question is My son has added several words from utilizing your techniques around 10-15words words used more often, 35 words that he has used more than once… my question he seems to have trouble with oo words….Mooo is mmmm and oops is Ops…etc… Is this something he will correct over time or should I work on getting him to say oo properly. Thanks again for having videos and a website that helps this first time mom make sense of the langauge development goals. (He is 21 months)

  83. My child is 33 months old. He has yet to put two words together other than uh-oh. He will often babble ma ma ma ma ma or say da da. We currently meet with a speech therapist once a week, but he seems totally uninterested. He will not even try to immitate simple words but is very good at following directions. He knows the names of things and is able to identify them when ask. At times he can immitate animal sounds when ask. Doctors have tested his hearing more than once and say it is fine. When he wants something, he will find an adult and physically take them to it or point while saying “uh”. He has not been diagnosed with anything other than “oh he’s fine”. Any advice.

  84. I have a son who is 7 years old, he has downsyndrome. I am really getting concerned because he still doesn’t talk at all. When he was around a year old he would say mama, and dada but when he turned 1 1/2 that all stopped. He has had speech therapy since he was born. He has had tubes put in his ears 4 times and the have done hearing test on him and say he can hear. If anyone has any advice for me on what I can do to try and get my son to even say mama or anything please help me. I just want to hear my son talk! :)

  85. Christie - How is his language comprehension? Is he signing or using some other alternative communication system? Does he vocalize at all? Does he try to imitate words? What does his SLP say?

    Some children with Down Syndrome first begin to talk as late as 8, so it’s not too late. You can still use the strategies here on the website for him. Even older children who are still functioning at a younger developmental level will benefit from these strategies in both the receptive and expressive language categories. Take a look at those articles for ideas.

    Good luck, and don’t give up! Laura

  86. I have a 15 month old boy who is playful, interactive, outgoing, and babbles almost constantly. I, however, am worried about the number of spontaneous words that he uses, and uses correctly. He says Mama, Dada, GiGi(grandma), no, and uhoh pretty regularly and seems to know what the mean (especially no). He says other words here and there and will sometimes say things for a couple days and then we never hear it again. He is responsive to his name and some commands such as stop, come here, let’s eat (runs to highchair) and let’s see if Daddy’s home (runs to door). He will say “toot toot” when playing with his train. He gestures by pointing and can clap and give a “high five” but does not wave. He has said bye bye once or twice but not consistently. He has been a late bloomer in some other aspects (crawling at 9 months, walking at 13 months) but has always fell into the normal category. He really “talks” to me a lot, with all kinds of sounds, but rarely makes words I understand, but he smiles and uses inflection like he knows just what he means. He plays purposefully throwing balls and rolling cars, it is just the speech I worry about. Should I look into speech therapy now, or wait until the 18 month mark?

  87. Melissa - Thanks for your question. How are you working with him to learn new words? Are you consistently and purposefully modeling single words so that he can learn to consistently imitate you? Is he repeating any animal sounds or other “silly” words besides “Uh-oh?” Are you using high energy play with him so that he wants to stay with you to play and repeat what you say? Have you introduced any signs? Is he pointing to any body parts and identifying any objects - Go get your ball, Bring me the book, Where are your shoes? Have you tried any signs with him? Those are things I’d work on immediately. If you’re not sure how to do all of these things, please keep reading for ideas here on the website and check out my DVDs.

    If you implement these strategies, and he doesn’t add new words, then pursue the speech eval. I will tell you that the eligiblity requirements for most state early intervention programs are set so that only children with moderate to significant delays qualify, and since he already has a few words and isn’t showing concerns in other areas, he likely would not qualify for services right now anyway.

    However, if you’re still really worried, you can pursue services privately, meaning that you pay out of pocket or use your insurance to cover the coss of therapy. If I were you, I’d probably go the “mommy therapy” route and then see how he does between 18 to 21 months. By 18 months the minimum # of words he should say spontaneously is 15, so shoot for that. Based on what you’ve said about him and how committed you are, my guess is that with some focused effort using the right strategies, you’ll get there, if not by 18,then shortly after.

    Let me know how he does and if I can help you in any other way?


  88. Hi, I just found your site a few days ago and I’ve read it top to bottom! I have a few questions for you if you don’t mind.
    Kid #1 - My son is 15.5 months old. He was a preemie and is 13.5 months old corrected age. He babbles ALL the time but has few real words. He says something that means Daddy (like dadeedee)and sometimes “num num”. Tonight he added “Duh” (duck) and quack!! He said his first word at 9 months - kitty - but he doesn’t say it anymore. He says “woof” but 95% of the time he goes “mMM!” without even opening his mouth. At this point, could his lack of expressive language be due to him being a preemie? He’s caught up in every other way. He knows 6 signs and is attempting more. He’s doing well in receptive language and can correctly respond to “Where is your foot”, “take off your hat”, etc. I’m not sure if at this point I should be looking at his actual or corrected age for development. Any thoughts?
    Kid #2 - We are adopting a little boy who has down syndrome. He will be 4 in April. I know he babbles, but doesn’t speak (if the info is correct!). We will be spending several weeks visiting him in his orphanage so we’ll have some time for therapy! Is there any advice you have for me to help facilitate his speech development before we come home? We won’t be able to bribe him with food :).
    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you!

  89. Rachel - Thanks so much for your questions!

    Kid #1 - We correct for prematurity until a child has his second birthday. It sounds like he’s making progress with language with signs and more importantly, since his receptive language is moving along. He’s also using lots of speech sounds, so that’s a great sign too. Keep reading ideas here on the website for ways to work with him at home. Many preemies are late talkers, and every thing else sounds like he’s putting the foundational pieces in place for language.

    Kid #2 - Introduce single words for whatever he’s paying attention to at the moment and work to help him build those receptive language skills in his new language through play. This will be a challenge, but I’m sure you already know that! I’d also get him in speech ASAP as well as a solid preschool program that emphasizes language. Take a look at my DVDs for more specific ways to play with him to target language.

    Good luck Rachel - you have your work cut out for you!!!

  90. Hi

    I have a question. My son has a considerable speech delay but i dont know whether its apraxia or any other disorder. Can you suggest me?

    I have a son who is 2.7 years old. AS of now he dont have speech. he jargons a lot which is not meaningful.He says papa, mama baba but not always.he tries to say one,two when hear counting song, repeat vowel sounds like a, o, e, i and ha, sh few other. He loves to be cuddled by me and my husband. We are working with speech therapist from last one month but not much improvement in speech. Therapist says he has few traits of autism like hyperactive, aggresive at times, tactile to socks and shoes, poor response. BUt he says cant say autism till 5 years. His eye contact has improved with therapy. But he tends to ignore most of people other than us. But i have seen him seeing other children from distance and seems scared to mix up with them or ignores them and play alone.
    He loves to see songs on tv, hear rhymes, see himself in mirror, loves to see books for good 30 mins, use crayons well.
    He is aware of his safety well and gets scared from some horrible cartoon or any violent scenes in songs.
    He undersatnds our gestures if we gets angry at him or we laugh or smile. HE smiles back.
    He tells his needs by taking me and pointing my hand to what he want.
    He sometimes do lining of objects, otherwise do puzzles of his age very well, play with his toys well.
    I am totally confused why his speech is not coming although he keeps talking meaningless most of times.Sometimes he repeats 3-4 words phrases behind us but on rare occasion. most of times he repeats phonics sounds behind me. I keep on telling him nose eyes by pointing or making funny sounds from nose. he pays attention grabs my nose but never try to say nose or when i ask whr is mama’s nose he wont tell.
    Can you help me what can i do to help my child?

  91. Hi Laura

    I am desperately waiting for your reply.
    I want to add few things.My son used to do head banging when he was 1 and half but then he left it by age of 2. He is an active child. He keeps on moving his body even when he is relaxing on bed but i guess how much of restlessness is normal in toddler.
    We are moving to Singapore soon. I will be looking for new school and therapist there.
    I tried showing him famils pics but even if he pays little attention to that he never tries to repeat if i m saying nani,nana or dada(grandparents in our native language) I saw him practicing words 2-3 times only in front of mirror or when he is alone.
    I have searched a lot about different disorders but i dont know exactly in which his problem falls. From symptoms of different disorders what i studied my son’s symptoms matches with few of every disorder and not completely with any one disorder.
    What should i do as parents to help him and i badly want my son to develop his communication, social interaction, speech like most of his kids do. Doesnt mean i expect him to say all genius things but atleast he can express himself, his needs,address his parents and common objects correctly.

  92. Nav - I’m glad he’s in speech therapy now. What kinds of things does your SLP recommend that you work on at home with him? It sounds like he’s making some progress too in improving how much he attends to you and with better eye contact, but I’m sure it’s not as fast as you’d like. One month is not very long to be in therapy and measure progress.

    Focusing on helping him connect with you and learning to understand your words are the first steps in helping him learn to communicate. Have you checked out my DVDs and therapy manual Teach Me To Play WITH You? Those will give you more ideas as you work with him at home in addition to what your SLP recommends.

    It’s generally not true that a child isn’t formally diagnosed with autism until age 5, but perhaps that’s what happens in your area. Are you in the US? Much of the time it’s earlier, say around age 3, when kids are diagnosed especially if their language is delayed.

    Another recommendation would be working with an occupational therapist in addition to his SLP since he does seem to have some sensory processing differences as well.

    Hope these ideas help! Laura

  93. Hi Laura

    I am really grateful for your reply.
    Actually we are in India. We consulted one occupational therapist here who diagnosed him with ADHD with tactile. He said it could be diagnosed as mild autism but at this stage we cant say. My son used to get very cranky there.I tried in 7-8 sessions but I found out Occupational therapist was not much proficient enough with his techniques to treat.
    So i switched to SLP. He said its speech delay with hyperactivity and slow response.
    He said try to make him repeat vowel sounds, and combine 2 words like papa come by looking into his eyes and showing him family photos to make him recognize his grandparents who dont live with us.
    We are soon moving to singapore so will be consulting therapist there.
    Will he be able to recover with speech and sensory issues with proper occupational therapy.

    I really value your opinion.What is your take DO you feel its towards autism or ADHD. I am totally confused what exactly is his disorder.Why it happened? When will he recover?
    Will he be able to attend normal playschools and develop speech normally.
    His attention and eye contact improved considerably with 10-15 sessions of therapy. He completes his activities like making bead necklace, board puzzles. Loves to color with crayons, can open lids of any jar, stacking tower.

    One more thing are these disorders anyway related to MMR vaccination. As I can recollect my son’s behaviour showed all these problems after this vaccination that was after 1.5 year.

  94. Hi Laura,

    My daughter just turned 3 years old at the end of January and for a while I have been wondering if she is behind in her speech. I have noticed friends of mine that have similar children her age seem to speak clearer than she can. I sometimes have thought well maybe it’s because she doesn’t have much contact with other children and is not in daycare/preschool like they are but I worry that it’s not just that. We did just enroll her in a dance program so she would have regular interaction with other children but I still am concerned it may be something else. She says a lot of things and puts words together but I still get the feeling that she’s not fully understanding me at times. I read about receptive language disorder and I felt like everything hit the nail on the head with my daughter. I was wondering if this would apply to a 3 year old? She does say some sentences and puts words together but then other times she jumbles a few of her words in her sentences but we can figure out what she means by picking out the other words. Sometimes it seems like talks too fast and can’t get her point across and gets frustrated. She can sometimes say complete sentences with words she’s familiar with but then other times she says things that we cannot understand and a few words that we can. I do plan to talk to her Dr. in March about this but I wanted to ask your opinion about this.

    Thank you!

  95. My son is four years old and has still not said a single word even Mama. Does anyone have any thoughts about this or know who I could call for help.

  96. My 27 month old boy does not talk as much as he should for his age. The few words that he say will not be complete words. For example our dog name is Dino. He calls him Dio. Instead of mommy he says magie. Daddy he says Daee. He goes to daycare and they have stated that he does some things when he wants to and not at the moment he’s told. On the other hand he takes my iPhone and can easily operate it as an adult. Sometimes better. I have him schedule for next month with a speech therapist. What can I do to help the meantime. This is very frustrating for me. Since I see other kids his age are so much advanced in speech than he is. Please help!!

  97. Tammy - I’m glad you’re getting him assessed. Some errors you’re describing are pretty common in toddlers who are newer talkers, but Maggie for Mommy is not as common an error. The SLP can help you sort all of these things out. However, I would suggest that you work on helping him learn to understand more language which is likely the reason he’s not following directions as well as he should be. I’d also work to expand his vocabulary too, helping him learn to say more words, before you worry too much about fixing his speech sound errors. Keep reading for ideas here on the website, and you may want to check out my DVD Teach Me To Talk so that you can SEE how to work with him at home. Good luck with him, and let us know how the eval goes! Laura

  98. Hi Laura could u please help me .I have a 21 months old boy who doesn’t talk. All he does is talk baby talk and sometime say mama…,and dada..and no no that it. I went for his 18 months check up doctor refered him to go get his ear test but not until April . At the mean time wat can I do to help him talk? He is perfectly normal very active kid love to play with other kids .He makes car sound when he is playing with his toy cars and train sounds when playing with train . He understand some of the things u ask him to do like for example if u ask him to throw something in the garbage he will do it . But if u ask him to go get the remote for the tv he won’t understand wat u saying to him. He will pull u to get wat he wants and copy wat u do like if u are dancing he will dance if u clap ur hand he will clap his hands etc .., but he won’t talk much I know sometimes he wants to say something but he can’t could u please help me I’m really worry . Thank you very much .

  99. Lisa - This whole website is dedicated to helping you know how to work with your child at home. Read the articles here in the expressive language section. You may also want to get my DVD Teach Me To Talk so that you can SEE how to work with him in play at home. Laura

  100. My grandson is 17 months old and doesn’t say anything. When he wants something, he just points and grunts. He seems to understand everything and points to his eyes, ears, etc. when I ask him to. Is there something developmentally wrong with him? Pleas help.

  101. Hi Mary! By 18 months a child should be imitating LOTS of familiar words and have 15 or so words he says on his own AT A MINIMUM, so there does seem to be a language delay going on. Have you spoken to his parents about this? Sometimes parents don’t realize a child should be talking by now, and many parents are more laid back thinking, “He’s a boy,” etc….

    All states have an early intervention program where his communication skills language can be evaluated for free, but parents must make the referral. To find out more information, you can Google your state’s name plus the phrase “Early Intervention.”

    If you’re wondering how you can help him yourself, you may want to order my DVD Teach Me To Talk. Many grandmothers have emailed me to say that watching this helped them teach their grandchildren to use more words, particularly if they see the child often. You can also read through the articles here on the website for specific ideas to use with him. Try reading articles in the expressive language category first. You can find the categories on the top of the page in the yellow menu bar. Click back to the oldest entries since those are the articles with the most “How To” information.

    Thanks for your question. I hope everything works out for all of you! He’s lucky to have a grandmother who cares about his development! Laura

  102. Hi,

    My niece’s child is 29 months old and I have never heard him say a word. He will grunt and point. Sometimes it sounds like he says “da”. He understands what you tell him. If I tell him “no”, he minds. If I tell him “put that back or come here or bring that to me”, he does. My niece has had his earing checked and all is well. There are no speech delayed issues in the family. This just does not seem like “normal” development but my niece does not seem to be concerned. Shouldn’t he be saying at least “momma” and “daddy”?


  103. Leigh - You are right. He should have hundreds of words by 2 1/2, and he should be speaking in short phrases consistently. His mom should be very concerned about him, BUT I know from first hand experience how difficult it is to talk with someone in your family about language delays and other developmental issues. Maybe the child’s grandmother can have a discussion with his mother and persuade her to have him evaluated if that’s something you’re uncomfortable doing. She can get information about her state’s early intervention program by searching with the phrase “early intervention” and your state’s name. The assessment is free, and therapy is low cost or free if it’s not covered by insurance. Good luck to you all! Laura

  104. Hi
    My son chase just turned 2 in Nov, so hes bout 28months.. We have been with Early On for almost a year now. Our doctor said for us to enroll since chase was not talking. We have even been to the hospitals developmental clinic. I get no answers for why my son dont talk or even possable reasons he may not. He makes baby noise’s. Just random sounds really. And he does say Mama, Bye bye, hi, and thanks you. But those are recent and even sound off..Kinda like he is not anunceating like caveman speak. again we see speech theripist and special education on a weekly babsis. But i really find them NO help at all. They seem to just come and play with him, then help. And chase just dont seem into it. He dont seem to care at all. Ive tried everything. Chase does let you know what he want by pointing and making noise. And he does alot on his own. Infact his motor skill are VERY high.. I can barely keep his attention and the tantrums get worse with age..I just dont know what to do???

  105. Sarah - It doesn’t sound like you’re getting very much information from your current team. You should tell them that you’ve very worried about Chase and want them to explain to you exactly what they think is going on. It could be that they are reluctant to formally diagnose him yet. It could be that they think they are providing you with helpful information, so you’re going to have to tell them that you don’t understand what the problem is or how you can help him at home.

    ALL therapy with 2 year olds should look like play, but there’s a lot more going on than that! But they need to explain it to you so that you’re move aware of what their goals are. If they are working to establish a social connection with him, and it sounds to me like that might be the primary goal right now, it will look a lot like play. The fact that “he’s not into it” makes me more concerned about Chase since two year olds should be pretty easy to engage. If he’s primarily “doing his own thing,” then I would be very concerned about his ability to UNDERSTAND language and interact with others, which has to come BEFORE he’s ready to talk. Those behaviors, along with his decreased attention and tantrums that are getting worse make me very concerned that there’s a lot more going on than late talking. You need to have a very direct conversation with your SLP and special ed therapists to ask them exactly what they think since they can see him and I can’t.

    One other thing I’d recommend is for you to take a look at my DVDs to SEE how to work with Chase at home. If you’re not learning too much from your therapists who see him, perhaps watching the DVDs where the strategies are explained to parents and then demonstrated will help you more.

    Thanks for your questions, and I hope this information helps you! Laura

  106. Hi

    I have just found this page and hope you can help. I have a five year old grandson who can say only five words. At the age of eight months, he had met all of his milestones, he crawled, stood, rolled over and walked by age eight months. He had acid reflux for about seven months before he was put on medication. He never babbled or made any sounds other than crying. He has been tested for hearing and it’s fine. He’s had genetic testing and was found to have something wrong with one of his chrosomes. He went to speech therapy for a year with no results. He had home training for about four months, with the result of being able to say up, stop, hep(help), and no. I have thought I heard him say things before when I wasn’t looking at him, but I can’t be sure. He has been in pre-school for two years and his teacher is a speech therapist. He gets along well with kids, loves puzzles, painting, riding all types of vehicles, such as razor scooter, bicycle, battery operated cars. He can bat and kick balls, anything a normal boy his age can do and better than a lot. He understands commands, can put on his clothes and shoes. He brings books to me to be read, but he keeps turning the pages and doesn’t listen. Sometimes, he just stares into space for several seconds and I think he may be having a seizure. He also is not potty trained but will urinate in the toilet if you take him there. If I try to get him to say words, he will stop looking at me and refuse to look up. I guess he has heard the same thing for so many years. The school system has not helped very much. They have him scheduled for pre-school again. Please, if anyone can help me. Is it possible that he may talk one day? He has a three year old brother who talked very early and has a great vocabulary. He has a seven year old brother who talked maybe a year later than normal, but is fine now but having trouble with reading. Their mother has a mild case of Tourette’s and I don’t know what effect this might have on them. Thank you for any help.

  107. Gean - He’s already getting services, so talk to his SLP aobut the kinds of things you all can do at home to help him. She should be able to make some recommendations since she knows him.

    Since he does have a specific diagnosis, do all you can to learn about what’s been proven to help those children with his diagnosis learn to communicate. Google it. Ask his doctor. Again, ask his therapist. You didn’t tell me what it was so I could help you locate resources, so I have no idea if talking is a realistic goal for him or not. I always encourage parents and grandparents not to give up. 5 is not too late.

    I think the reason he’s not talking is due to the genetic issue, not his mother’s Tourettes.

    My DVD Teach Me To Talk may give you more specific help about how you can work with him at home since you can SEE the kinds of play that works to help a child learn to talk. Use the code INTRO when you’re ordering it to save $10.

    Thanks for your question, and good luck with him. He’s lucky to have a grandmother who cares so much about him. Laura

  108. My daughter is 24 months old. I have seen her doctor about her language issues and he told me to give her 6 months then go back. She can say some words, Mom, Dad, bowl, back pack. In all I would say that she around 15 words that she uses regularly. She uses them in the right context and I know she hears me because she answers two part commands. There just aren’t as many words as other children her own age and I can’t say a word to her and have her repeat it. If I say a word and ask her to say it she just ignores me.

  109. My son is 18 months old and he has no words yet. he seems to understand what we are saying to him but he does not talk at all. He was a very quiet baby and is still rather quiet. He will make a few sounds but doesn’t seem to try to form words.

    We saw a Speech Language Pathologist 2 days ago and left feeling very uneasy. She said she has some concerns about his developmental communication skills but did not elaborate any further. She said it was concerning to her that he can occupy his own time and entertain himself. His sister is only a few weeks old so he was an only child til then. At daycare he doesn’t really play with teh other kids but will kind of do his own thing.

    I’m just not sure what to do from here. My husband and I know he probably isn’t where he should be with his speech but we kept getting told he will talk when he is ready…what should we do from here?

  110. My nephew is 38 months old ,I am not sure what could be the problem
    1. Still he is not able to answer basic question like “what is your name” looks like he doesn’t bother at all
    2. Though he understands his name when I try to call him with his name he responds
    3. he remembers songs played on TV even can remember ,even can sing after many days
    but when I ask him to sing particular song he never responds ,it seems as if he has not understood my question or he doesn’t bother at all
    4. If he needs something he can communicate for e.g.”I need milk,I wan’t to go out etc ”
    5. Sometimes when I ask him some questions like “do you want to go out?, do you want milk? etc”
    He responds with yes or no .but there are very few questions that he can understand for other questions he doesn’t bother
    as if he has not understood anything.
    Pls advice

  111. Jennifer - Although I haven’t seen him and don’t know any of this for sure, based on what you’ve said, it sounds like the SLP has other developmental concerns besides late talking, and it sounds like this is a surprise for you. Many times parents think that a child’s behaviors are part of his temperament or personality, but a professional might see a red flag, as in this case, it’s with his social skills. It sounds like she doesn’t think he’s interacting well with others and feels this is the root of the language delay. Social engagement is CRITICAL for language development. If this is her concern for him, it is very important that you work on this now so that you consistently engage him. Without appropriate social connectedness, even if children develop language, it’s still atypical if the words aren’t communicative. Did he follow directions for her in the assessment? If not, then you may be overestimating his receptive language skills, or he may be relying on visual cues or your routines to get himself through the day rather than understanding words. Again, this is purely speculative on my part since I haven’t seen him. If you feel the SLP was off the mark, see someone else for a 2nd opinion, but it is important that you follow up. Developmental issues hardly resolve on their own. If there’s a mild delay, it is possible for a child to catch up without therapy, but waiting for a significant language delay and/or social communication disorder to resolve on its own is often what makes a parent feel more guilty than anything they DID do. Of course that’s not what’s going on with you since you took your 18 month old for an eval, but don’t get so spooked by her initial impressions that you don’t pursue help for him. If this IS more than an expressive language delay, you’re doing such a great job by getting a jump on this so early. If not, then you’re still doing a great job by getting a jump on this so early! Pin the SLP down to find out exactly what she meant by asking lots of questions. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help you! Laura

  112. Manu - Based on what you’ve said, it does sound like he’s having some problems understanding or processing language, but of course I don’t know this for sure since I can’t see him! The thing to do would be to have him evaluated by a speech-language pathologist who works with very young children. Of course his parents will have to do this for him unless you have custody. Do you live in the USA? If so, then begin with your local public school program. The evaluation will be free, and if he qualifies, he can go to speech therapy and/or preschool to address his delays so that he’s completely ready for kindergarten. Let me know if you have other questions. Laura

  113. Hi Laura, my 26 month old daughters some speech delay,she says around 30 words.most of her words are missing end consonants . She is joining a very few two word combinations. I see that she is learning words but with great difficulty. She is at home with me until 2 years, she just started her daycare, since then she started singing bits and pieces of rhymes but not clear though. She is very active at home,but in daycare she is shy.she does sit besides other kids but she does only parallel play. She is fine with adults but little scared of other kids in the park. She wants her dad to follow her while she plays. She sometimes says hi to strangers too.

  114. Henna - Her language is behind what we’d want to see for a 26 month old. I wouldn’t worry about HOW she’s saying the words for now. Many children don’t include ending consonant sounds until they are closer to their 3rd birthdays. However, I would continue to help her learn to understand and use more words, both at home and at daycare. When her vocabulary increases, then you’ll hear more 2 word phrases. For some ideas for how to work with her at home to increase her vocabulary, check out my DVD Teach Me To Talk and continue to read the articles here on the website. Laura

  115. Thanks a lot for the response laura. One more question, do you think her shyness and the park behaviour are of a concern?

  116. Henna - Based on what you’ve said, I think the shyness is just part of her personality rather than a developmental problem. Many toddlers want their parents near them in new or overwhelming situations and actually, that’s a good sign of her attachment to you and of cognitive awareness that she’s in a new and potentially dangerous place. Saying “hi” to strangers is fine since it’s perfectly okay to greet others in the presence of your parents. She probably won’t understand “stranger danger” until she’s a little older, and again, that’s age-appropriate. Thanks for your questions! Laura

  117. my grandson is 33months old. he was born with ASD &VSD heart problems. he received open heart surgery at 3months old and this was successful. however i am very concerned as he does not speak except to answer yes or na (no). he has a very good understanding of comprehension. he is due to see a language therapist soon. he communicates via sign language and if you can’t understand what he wants he takes your hand and takes you there. he is average height and is just bordering on the bottom of the scale as underweight. his appetite is not the best and we are forever encouraging him to eat. he does enjoy eating vegetables and berries and other soft foods such as corned beef.
    i am very very worried could his earlier heart problems have anything to do with his language. i am

  118. Catherine - I’m glad he’s going to be seen by a therapist since he is exhibiting a pretty significant language delay. Many children with serious health issues have developmental delays too, so it’s important that you follow up and treat this just as you would a medical issue. Who’s to say if the cardiac issues are the “cause” for his language delay, but the priority is getting him help when it can make the most difference. Children with typically developing language at almost 3 are speaking in 4-5 word sentences all of the time not only to state their needs, but to ask and answer questions and participate in general conversation. I’m hoping the SLP can uncover what’s going on with him and help him move along quickly. Communication skills are critical to academic success. Reading and writing are built on LANGUAGE, so it’s important to address any issues so that a child is as ready for kindergarten as he can possibly be. The website is full of ideas to help you faciltiate language development at home. Check out my DVDs to get you started. I always suggested that parents and interested grandparents begin with Teach Me To Talk which outlines the basic play-based approach. Good luck to you all! Laura

  119. Hi, my son is 2years 4 months and he has been going to speech therapy for the past six months. Up till the age of two my son was only able to say one word, we have seen a lot of improvement and his vocabulary has now increased to over 75 words. However he is constantly not including the final consonant (eg: lollipop he says lollipo - cat he says ca - kiss he says ki and so on). Given that he so young what I really would like to know if this is something that he can grow out of or is something that will persist. The therapist is now working on clarity and the positive thing is that my son can repeat almost all consonants therefore I cannot understand why he is deleting the consonant at the end. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  120. Charmaine - I hope that your SLP has told you that many toddlers don’t include final consonants until closer to their 3rd birthdays. It’s a typical pattern of development or phonological process called Final Consonant Deletion and he’s really too young to work on that in therapy yet. Even if maturation doesn’t “fix” this problem, therapy to address that issue in another 9 months to a year will likely be much more successful for this than it will be now when he may not be developmentally ready for that pattern yet.

    If I were you (and her!), my focus in therapy would be having him consistently combine his words into short 2-3 word phrases which is an age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate goal. Hope this helps! Laura

  121. First of all thank you so much for your valuable time, very much appreciated! I love this website I have found the information very interesting and have learned from it too. I am definitely going to bring this up with the therapist, at the moment we are also working on clarity because my son does join words together to form a short sentence and in the right context however a lot of his words are not understandable because he always delets some part of the word mainly the consonant at the end. I am hoping that with therapy and working with him at home he will get there by time.

  122. Charmaine - I’m glad to hear that he’s using phrases. Those final consonants will be easier to facilitate as he gets closer to 3. The earliest consonants to target at the ends of words are: /p, m, n, t/ and perhaps /k/ if he can already say that sound (but sometimes /k, g/ emerge closer to 3 as well.) Early target words I use are: pop, hop, boom, mom, moon, hot, and hat… since these are words a 2 year old would likely use anyway in context and these should be easier to produce overall since even the initial consonant sounds are early to emerge. Hope these ideas help! Laura

  123. Thank you very much for your response I am so glad I came across this website

  124. i have a question about my nephew. more just so i can understand what he is going through. we’ve been told he has myelin deficiency. he thinks well and tests above average in thinking, but cannot speak much at all. he says a few words, but not very well enunciated. he has had therapy and continues to and i think he is slowly improving but my question is how long does he have until he plateaus and can he ever learn to speak normally. basically if he hasn’t learned by what age do we need to accept that this may be about all he’ll learn to speak? He now uses an ipad to speak through to suplement his speech. He’s 5 years old.

  125. Lisa - I don’t think we should ever give up on speech in a kid who’s just 5! All of your questions would be best answered by the SLP who works with him and knows him best. Anything I would say would be purely speculative. I’m so glad he has an alternative way to communicate. He’s so lucky to have caring extended family in an aunt like you! Take care! Laura

  126. My son is 20 months old and is not yet talking. He makes some sounds (buh buh, dadada, ahdoooo, and my fav is durkah) but no real words. What he does the most and pretty much all day is “nnnnnaaahhhhh”- its his sound for everything and uses it when he points to things asking me to name them. He has this closed mouth thing going on. I’ve even noticed him trying to make the “cuh” sound for car but his tounge was behind his top teeth preventing the sound from coming out. He’s been evaluated by early steps (last month) and while they said there was definitely a delay he didn’t qualify for therapy. He’s very bright and scored very high in all other areas. They just said to continue working with him at home. We also use baby signs (about 10-12 of them which help immensely) which we started around age one when I didn’t even anticipate we would have any delay at all. But I want my boy to talk! I am at my wits end and honestly contemplating paying astronomical amounts for therapy out of pocket b/c our health insurance won’t cover it. HELP!

  127. Laureen - He likely will qualify for services after he turns 2 if he’s not made some steady progress with language by then.

    I would never tell any parent not to pursue speech therapy through whatever means possible when it’s been documented that there’s a developmental delay. No words at 20 months is a bona fide problem, but not significant enough to be eligible for a program that requires a severe delay in order to provide services. Many states are in dire economic straits that they have had to modify requirements for early intervention services since they can’t afford to pay for therapy for every single child who might benefit. I would definitely have him reassessed after he turns 2 since the baseline scores will be different since he’ll be older.

    In the meantime, you’ve certainly come to the right place for advice for things you can do at home to help him! The website is FULL of ideas for you. Read through articles in the apraxia and expressive language categories. I LOVE that you’re signing with him and I’d keep that up to give him a way to communicate while you’re waiting on those words. I’d also recommend my DVDs if you haven’t done that already. You’ll be able to watch and SEE how to work with him at home so that you’re doing everything you can to jump start his language. I always recommend Teach Me To Talk first as an introduction to play-based therapy. You might also take a look at Teach Me To Talk with Apraxia and Phonological Disorders since this may be more than a language delay and that DVD talks about specifc reasons with more advanced strategies to use with toddlers with speech intelligiblity issues.

    Thanks so much for your email and good luck to you! Laura

  128. My son is 3 years old. He was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 and a half. He began speech and ot when he was 18 months old. He does not speak. He does say mommy or whats sounds like that when he wants something. He does not respond to his name or to being spoken to. He will repeat no sometimes after I say it to him. He will say apple when he sees one. Those 3 words are the only words he says consistently. Sometimes he will stare at my mouth when I am speaking to him and he will form his mouth to repeat a word but without sound. About a year ago he would learn a word or two and say them for a few days but then the words would disappear and we would not hear them again….he has not done that for several months. He is a picky eater. He does not interact with other kids unless they are older and he wants something he will grab a hand and lead them/us to what he wants. His eye contact is poor. He does not point. He does not like to be read to but he does love to look at picture books. He plays with toys appropriately. He loves to jump and climb consistently. He is very affectionate towards his immediate family. He has been in therapy for almost 2 years and recently began pre-school but still no improvement in receptive or expressive language.

  129. Is an expressive language delay the same thing as a late talker? And is speech therapy always needed in order to correct the issue? My daughter is 34 months old and has been to 2 SLPs, both said she is fine, a little behind, but that she understands language and if anything, just needs a little help with pronunciation. I see it differently. I had to actaully teach her to say ”yes” to things at 2 since she would only repeat what the last word of my question was for a yes answer. I have had to work soooo hard to get her to where she is now, but she is still not talking as well as the other kids her age. I had to really work to get her to ask questions and learn to use pronouns. I just don’t see her catching up on her own. Are the SLPs just not seeing what I am seeing?

  130. My son is 27 months he has hit all the milestones besides talking he understands everything I ask him like get your ball. But doesn’t want to say anything he is the only child and we always talked for him his doctor isn’t worried about him and says he will grow out of it. His hearing is fine. When I ask him a yes or no question he shakes his head yes and no but when he wants something say to eat or drink he takes me or my husband by the hand and takes us to want he wants instead of saying juice or milk or whatever. My husband didn’t talk until he was almost three and my dad and brother did the same thing. His doctor said there is no need for speech therapy. I’m really not to worried because he is trying to say things. Could you give me some advice on what I should do to help him? Thanks

  131. I am a single mum and moved to Italy six months ago. My son is 25 months old and has a vocabulary of only 3 words. As much as I talk, read to him he never repeats anything I say. Before we moved here from the Seychelles he started to speak. In Seychelles we speak 3 languages. this, plus the new Italian language being spoken to him here is what my friends are saying is causing the delay. But I am very concerned and in addition, I have no idea how to get him into speech therapy here. He used to get very bad ear infections almost every month and when taking him to the doctors and asking whether that is causing a delay in his speech development they would simply brush the problem aside and prescribe paracetamol for the pain. I am so worried about my son and any advice would be really really appreciated. Thanks!

  132. My 21/2 son was not learning to speak. He wouldn’t listen when called. He wouldn’t make much eye contact. He was having a lot of tantrums. We took him to the Dr. He contacted a speech therapist. She brought us a DVD called My First Signs. It’s a Disney baby einstein . .This has made a big impact on this child’s learning process. He saw the video and has learned sign language. He signed ball and went and found the ball to show us. Now he takes our hands and shows us that he wants us to sigh by placing our hands where he wants them. There is more eye contact. And there is less communication frustration. We went from no words, no response, no interaction, and no answers to now having speech therapy and early child education. Find a good Dr. and get help. It’s free and it’s so so helpful.

  133. my son is 33 months old and probably has a 25 word vocabulary and even those words are not clear. he can do nonverbal tasks and participate in activities we do at home with no problem. all he needs to do is talk. we work on a word and he tries but fails pronounce. He is suppose to be starting an early on program in the fall and spend time with a speech therapist. but my concerns are why will he not talk and how will therapy help him. he was diagnosed with expressive developmental delay.

  134. MY daughter is 18months old and does not say anything,all she does is scream or grunt for comunication,she has very poor musle tone and gt refered for thearpy when she was 9months old as she did not sit alone till 12months old and stand at 16months and git some speacial boots and now takes a few steps..she only eats food with no lumps in and gags on anything that is new too taste, i am very concern.

  135. NICOLA: Look up Fragile X and see if you think she may have it……are there any other people in your family with learning disabilities? FXS is a genetic condition, I have 4 children and 2 are affected by FXS…..I took both off of wheat and dairy and it made a huge impact on tantrums and headaches/ stomach aches….
    Actually alot of parents on here may want to look into it because speech delay is a major issue with FXS and it is very under diagnosed……alot of general practitioners don’t know a lot about it

  136. My son is 3 years and 4 months old and I would like for him to go to preschool but I’m concerned that he’s not ready because he’s hardly saying full sentences and when he does say stuff like “there it is” and “where is it” it’s very unclear sounding. If a stranger heard him speak, I do not believe they would understand him. I try to sit there and say words and phrases to try to get him to repeat it and when he tries is to distorted it sounds like he’s underwater. We had the early intervention service come when he was almost 2 and they worked with him and I saw some improvement by him saying more words but still nothing is really clear and it is impossible to hold any kind of conversation with him. he mumbles a lot and I know he’s trying to say something but he just can’t get it out. I probably should get him into one on one therapy before he heads to school. My worst fear is for him to be behind in school. He doesn’t say “yes” everything is no no no. He’s a picky eater. When I ask him a question, like “where is your toy car” he’ll just repeat “car car car” and he’ll go find it. So I know he understands sort of what I’m asking but he can’t respond with something like “it’s in my room” or wherever it may be. He hums a lot too. he’s defiantly not where he’s supposed to be!

  137. Lesa - Your assumption is correct. He definitely needs speech therapy, and based on what you’ve said, his issues are more than just intelligiblity. He’s not understanding and processing language as well as he should be for his age, and these skills are absolutely necessary for success in school. We know he likely IS having some difficulty with processing/comprehension because he’s not fully answering your question as he should be for his age since children should understand the difference in yes/no (by 2 1/2), so again, he needs speech therapy sooner rather than later. Preschool may also help him with some of these issues too, so I wouldn’t hold off on sending him just because of these problems. It’s actually the reason he should go! Thanks for your question. Laura

  138. My 17 month old won’t talk. He only babbles all day long, and he babbles a lot. Its like he’s telling you a story, he even does hand gestures.
    I checked his hearing 2 days ago and it was fine. He said bye bye a few month ago and stopped saying it after a couple of times. He doesn’t follow directions, he will only wave bye bye, hi5, and give you his hand when you say nice to meet you, and he understands No. Then he will totally ignore you if he’s doing something else. He’s a very active baby, and also very stubborn. He knows how to self-feed and will do it only with some specific foods, bread, french fries and some candy. He refuses the rest.
    He doesn’t point but will use his hands to tell you what he wants by trying to reach it
    I’m starting to worry a lot about the fact that he doesn’t follow directions. I’ve been a late talker myself, at 18 months

  139. Tyler - I’d be concerned about him too - and mostly because he’s not tuned in socially and can’t follow directions yet. I highly recommend an assessment for him based on those concerns. “Losing” words is not a part of typical development, so that’s a red flag as well. Late talking does tend to have a genetic component, but based on what you’ve said about him, his issues seem to be more than just an expressive delay, which does make it even more important that you get therapy for him now.

    He also seems to have sensory issues - especially with how you described his feeding - and with tuning out language, so he likely could benefit from an occupational therapy assessment as well. The best way to begin this process is to Google information about your state’s early intervention program. The assessment is free and therapy is low cost as compared to what you’d pay privately or may be covered by insurance. Either way, I’d recommend that you go ahead and begin the process so that you get him the help he needs to catch up and move forward. In the meantime, keep reading info here on the website, and you may want to check out my DVDs so that you can see how to work with him at home. I always recommend that parents begin with Teach Me To Talk which outlines the basic play-based approach, and for helping you target language comprehension, the strategies in Teach Me to Listen and Obey 1 and 2 are highly effective for toddlers. Good luck to you all!! Laura

  140. My son will turn two in Sept. He has 3 words, Mama, Daddy, No. I had his hearing checked today and was given all clear. He makes all kinds of animated motions and gestures to get what he needs/wants. He never calls me Mama, just repeats it if I ask him to “say Mama, Daddy.” He does say No when we ask a question. He is the youngest of 8 and we live in a very active loud house! He doesn’t seems to have any problems with food “mouth feel”. Everyone tells me he’ll grow out of it, just to wait awhile. But I feel there may be more to it. Any advice would be very appreciated. I do have one son with some speech issues and one that did not talk until he was almost 2.5.
    Thank you

  141. Misty - I’d go ahead and have him evaluated as soon as possible. The MINIMAL EXPECTATION is that a child should spontaenously say 50 different words by his second birthday, so he’s quite behind that mark. Some children who are late talkers with only expressive delays do catch up without help, but many, many do not, and then the problems persist even into school-age when not talking on time turns into not reading or writing on time which sets up a whole pattern of failure for a young child. If you’re a mom of 8 and feel that something isn’t right here, I’d trust that instinct and puruse assessment for him. If he doesn’t need it, he won’t qualify. If he does, then you’ll be glad you didn’t wait. The family history is communication difficulty makes it more likely that he will need some intervention as well.

    In the meantime please read for ideas here on the website. You can even elicit help from all of those siblings! You may also want to check out my DVD so you can SEE how to work with him at home. Good luck to you all!! Laura

  142. My cousin turned 3 in April. He spends a lot of time at my house, because my grandma (who lives with us) is his primary baby sitter. I see him usually about 5 days a week and I’ve only heard him say about 15 different words. He was never like other kids who would repeat every word you said to him. And as far as speaking in short 2 or 3 word phrases, that’s almost non existent. Also, I dont know if this has anything to do with a speech problem, but his voice is very deep for a 3 year old. My question is how do I break this news to his mother? I dont feel like she wants to believe its a serious problem. Which is understandable, but he still needs help.

  143. My son just turned 2 yesterday and I am very worried about his communication skills - he probably knows about 20 words but uses them sporadically - he says ball, mami, papi, grampy, daisy (our dogs name), oh oh, wawa (combination of water and agua) - He is getting 2 languages Spanish and English. He doesn’t pretend play except for picking up a phone and putting it on his ear…..he plays side by side with other kids but otherwise doesn’t interact much with them unless he is chasing them (and doesn’t do it consistently), he doesn’t wave and sometimes points - mostly while we are reading. when he is concentrating on something like a movie (baby einstein) or playing with a toy that makes nosie it is really hard to get his attention….
    He is going for his 2 year appointment with his pediatrician and I have also contacted early intervention….

  144. Hi, My son is 2.10 yrs but not able to speak sentences, He speaks A-Z, 1-10 etc in very small voice, does he requires special attention or it will be normal as days progress. Your advice is valuable to us

  145. Hi Laura, My grandson is 31 months old and has been seeing a speech pathologist for 4 or 5 months. She recently told my daughter-on-law that she is stumped as to why he is not responding well to the therapy. He says about 10 words (that I know of) and doesn’t seem the least bit interested in talking to us. He also babbles a lot, even sounding as though he thinks he’s communicating something. I don’t want to be an interfering grandmother but his parents also don’t know where to turn (they’re both 21 years old). His speech pathologist didn’t offer any further suggestions for other strategies or options. An audiologist reported that his hearing was fine so we’re baffled.

    Thanks for any guidance you’d be willing to provide for us.

  146. My daughter is 2yrs and 8mo and has been seeing a speech pathologist for about 7mos and can clearly say about 2 words and about 5 that aren’t very clear but we recognize what she’s meaning. She attempts to repeat others but when they come out it sounds nothing like what she was told. And she won’t speak on her own someone has to initiate the conversation and then she’ll only say one or two words and they are only one of the 5 words that she uses that she heard being used in the conversation. But she won’t use more than one word at a time. Like if you try to get her to say “snack please” she’ll pick one of the words but not both. There are also a lot of times when she disappears into her own world and its so hard to get her out of it. She can be looking directly at you and you can see in her face that she’s just gone. I’ve taken her to see about 5 different doctors and no one can tell me what’s going on. I started taking her when I first noticed she wasn’t reaching some of her milestones and they didn’t have any explainations for me and to this day they don’t. It really bothers me cause it feels like I should be doing more for her and I don’t know what I need to be doing. Please help if you can. Any and all advice is welcome :) thank you

  147. HI Laura,
    I’m so pleased that I found your website. It offers a lot of very helpful information I have not seen elsewhere. My question is about my godson, who I watch a couple of days a week. I’ve been providing daycare for him for over a year now and have seen very little progress with his speech. he is now 30 months and probably has only 15 words that I’ve heard him use spontaneously. He mimics most words very well, but I don’t believe that he understands those words, but is only parroting them back. If I ask him any simple yes/no question he is at a loss to respond. If I give him a choice of two items, he’ll just repeat back the last thing I say. (I.e. - If I ask,” Would you like milk or juice?” He’ll say “juice”, but if I switch it and say “Would you like juice or milk.” He’ll say “milk.”). He says virtually nothing if I don’t engage him in “conversation”, but honestly he’s hardly talking at all. It’s very troubling to me, since my own two sons were extremely verbal at a young age (they’re 3 1/2 and 6 now) so I’m not sure how to get him past this hump. I believe his parents are in denial that there is a language delay, though I have tried to subtly hint at it. They seem to think it’s completely normal for him to speak so little…and I also feel Ike they are mistakenly considering babble and pointing regular communication for a 2 1/2 year old.

    Do you have any advice as to how to approach the subject of speech delay with parents who aren’t convinced that there is a problem? I’m really struggling with how to bring this up without making them feel like I’m judging them, or being overly critical of the child. They are close friends so I’m concerned with how to approach it, and also am hoping to get them help, knowing that it will be harder the longer they wait.

    Thanks so much!

  148. Hi Maria - that’s such a tough situation for you to be in, and I’ve been there as well! What you’ll need to do is keep gently reminding them that most 2 1/2 year olds are quite conversational and consistently speak in short phrases. He should also certainly be understanding much more language - and that may be the angle you should take. You could say something like, “I’m starting to be concerned with how he processes language since he’s not yet answering simple questions.” Then you could give your examples and say that those kinds of things indicate that he’s not truly understanding as he should be. Again - it’s a touchy subject, but you’re doing the right thing by being concerned. When he’s under your care, be sure you’re doing everything you can to help him make more connections with language, especially with simple directions and familiar routines. If he can’t follow a 2 step command, this is also an example where you can be specific about what he can/can’t do with his parents without sounding judgmental. It’s a balancing act, but I’m sure you’ll figure out a way to do it, since you do have his best interest at heart. The truth is probably that his parents don’t realize that he’s behind, or they’d be more concerned, so keep pointing out specific things he’s not doing, and they’ll likely come around. Thanks for the great question! Laura

  149. Hi Tina. First of all, keep building her single word voabulary before you expect her to do phrases. Most toddlers use about 50 words on their own consistently BEFORE they use phrases, so keep helping her understand more words and use them to label, request, and respond, then the phrases will come. Based on what you’ve said about her, I would be concerned too! I’m glad she’s in speech therapy, so keep it up and keep working with her at home to help maximize her progress. Have you taken a look at my DVD Teach Me To Talk? It outlines the basic play-based approach that’s most effective to help toddlers engage and learn to link meanings to words BEFORE they begin to talk. Hang in there! Laura

  150. Hi Laura,
    My daughter is 3 and a half and I have concerns about her ability to answer questions. She normally responds to questions with yes/no answer only or with “I don’t like…” or “I like…” In addition, she can clearly state her wants/needs throughout the course of the day, she knows the alphabet, colors, numbers 1-12, can do puzzles easily, knows her name, etc. She sings/babbles to herself frequently and knows the lyrics to many songs. My main concern is that she does not use spontaneous speech enough when playing or answering questions. It’s almost as if she understands what others are saying and she understands a question, but she just can’t get the words to come out right. Other times she just ignores the questions altogether. Oftentimes during play, her sentences come out jumbled and she repeats numerous phrases that she has heard before. Sometimes she interjects random phrases into our conversation that are out of context. She asks questions such as “Who is this?” or “What is that?” She also points out objects regularly. However, she cannot answer “Why?” questions at all nor does she ask these types of questions. I often find her repeating to herself in a whisper the phrase or question someone just said. It’s almost as if she is repeating it to confirm what she’s heard. Any advice as to what her issues may be? Receptive, Expressive delays/disorders or maybe a little of both? Thanks for your advice! Definitely need some!!

  151. Hi Kathryn. Although I don’t know for sure what she’s doing or why she’s doing it since I haven’t see her, what you’re describing sounds like echolalia. Have you researched that term? I have a couple of articles here on the website about echolalia that may be helpful for you.

    Many times parents don’t recognize that a child is using echolalia until they begin to carefully analyze the kinds of language the child is using, and it sounds like you’re doing that now. Don’t confuse the ability to repeat what she’s heard back to you verbatim as understanding language.

    You’ll have to look for other ways to confirm that she really knows what you’re talking about. How does she follow multiple step or novel directions? For example, “Go to your room and get the book “_________,” and then go sit on my bed so we can read together.” Or “First put your puzzle on the kitchen table, and then go brush your teeth.” If she can’t follow new directions that aren’t related to your daily routines, then you know she’s struggling with processing language and it’s more of a receptive issue than an expressive one.

    Anytime a child is “lifting” pieces of previous conversations or repeating information they’ve heard in another context that doesn’t quite “fit,” you must question their ability to accurately process incoming language.

    The “rehearsing” means that she’s either trying to make sense of what she’s heard, or her only real strategy for learning language is to repeat what she’s heard. This works for her when you’re teaching her information you expect her to repeat (learning song lyrics or other rote tasks like the alphabet and counting), but it doesn’t work when she has to generate her own novel response to a question.

    For the positives, I love that she is clearly stating her wants and needs throughout the day. This tells you that she has “unlocked the code” for making requests. Some children learn to do this because moms consistently model requests for their children, “Tell me, I want more milk please” before giving a child what she wants and this technique has worked to teach the child how to request. It’s also great that she labels objects and can answer very concrete question forms like yes/no. It sounds like she’s struggling with higher level language skills.

    I would go ahead and have her evaluated in the next few months by a speech-language pathologist who specializes in treating auditory processing. Typically a child isn’t formally diagnosed with these issues until she is school age, but from what you’re describing, this is her area of concern.

    When you read about echolalia, much of the information points to an autism diagnosis. If she is social and is routinely engaged with others, this diagnosis won’t apply. BUT if there are concerns in this area or if she’s displaying other “quirks” as parents often describe repetitive movements or fascinations with objects that may be just odd enough to make you think twice about it, then you’ll certainly want to explore this as a possibility for her. Again, I’m speaking in generalizations. I haven’t seen your daughter and am only using the information you’re providing to make suggestions which may or may not apply to your situation. You won’t know for sure what’s going on until you have her assessed by a pediatric SLP.

    Thanks for a great question. Good luck to you! Laura

  152. My child was born 6 weeks early. During my pregnancy, I found out that I have a RH factor problem, that is why she was born 6 weeks early.

    My child is now 32 months, and has very little speech. She will say some short one words such as drink, eat, food, etc. She will talk around me and my husband, but not around other people.

    What do you think?

  153. Melissa - You didn’t say if she’s in speech therapy, and she certainly should be. Your state early intervention program will end at 36 months, so you may only be able to take advantage of these services for a few months, but some is better than none!! You also may want to see someone in private practice as well, but please don’t wait on services. Delays due to prematurity should be “corrected” by 24 months, and she’s 8 months beyond this point, so you’re likely looking at another speech-language issue besides prematurity. Have you taken a look at my DVD Teach Me To Talk? I highly recommend this to teach you how to work with her at home, but she needs to be in therapy too. Good luck with her! Laura

  154. I have a 5 year old neice. She cant speak, well all she could say is like eat,hungry,stop,little words. But I know that she gets irritated that we cant understand her. Now we belive that maybe she might be traumatize because her parents would figh around her when she was little verbal & physical. She goes to one of the special schools an shes learning colors but it takes her along time to learn words. She also started to walk around 2 or 3 years old and the same with the diaper.Is there any way that you can give me information about how we can help her or if she has a problem what would it be called? I really hope you can help me out so we can help her out..

  155. hello, my 27 month old brother is extremely smart (e.g. when ever i ask my mum where something is he gives to me before mum answers) but instead of skipping the last letter he only says the last syllable which does not fit into any of the disorders (e.g. instead of open blinds he says blinds) however if we ignore him he says it correctly, he also has a tendency of saying stuff we never say (e.g. when i drink water he says “now its my turn” in Gujarati [our language])since my grandma and grandpa live with us we never sent him to childcare since they could take care of him but we are now considering putting him there so he can interact with other babies more often. since i have to go to school (i am only 12) i cant observe him for long periods of time so i am not completely sure but whenever we sing him nursery rhymes from our language he does sing it with us and when we say the line except for the last word he completes the line for us. when he occasionally does talk in sentences he has perfect tone, body language and stuff but he is very mischievous so he only listens to us when he just woke up but then he goes hyper (not quite literally and but close). when ever he sees someone new he goes really quiet and doesn’t say a word and sits still. i am quite confused because you said that laziness is not the reason for not talking but in his case it is because he only talks maturely when you ignore him and he is forced to say it properly . thanks i know its long i wrote it in a rush so dont mind any mistakes

  156. sorry but he also refuses to say 2 words together (e.g. when i tell him to say “open door” he says either door or open but not together and after we ask him a lot of times he defiantly says “no”

  157. My newly 3 year old was a bit of a late talker, meeting all her language milestones on the later end of normal. At 3 she talks in full sentences but the word order is often incorrect and it seems like she is struggling with finding her words. For example: ”daddy, we went to the mall and I see Santa because because I see him and me and Jake played with the kids because they in the boat.” So altough its a lengthy sentence, the structure is poor and only I knew what she was talking about. She does this often. Is this age appropriate?

  158. My son is 19 months old and doesn’t say any words. He doesn’t point or grunt or wave. When I ask him to bring me a certain toy or show me something, he either doesn’t pay attention or just looks at me. Does this mean he could be autistic?

  159. My brother is 11 years old and he speaks incorrectly. He has trouble expressing himself and can’t understand if you speak to him fluently. He has help with speech but it seems to make no difference. He is currently enrolled in special ed but what is really what he has? Nobody knows and doctors give their opinion. Why a 11 year old speak like a 2 year old?

  160. my son is 22 months and does not speak. he would try to say bye, thank you, i love you, and five, but wouldnt say them well and now he rarely even says them at all. he doesnt respond to my questions. if i tell him to “put the toys away” he doesnt seem to understand what i am tellng him. i am very concerned. will this mean he will have a hard time speaking or learning when he’s older? how can this be solved?

  161. Linda - Losing words is not a part of typical development, and his lack of responsiveness is a red flag as well. If you’re in the USA, you can request a developmental assessment from your state’s early intervention program. The eval is free and speech therapy is low cost or free in some cases. You can find information about your state’s program by searching your state’s name + the phrase “early intervention.”

    He should not only be saying more by his age, but he should be following directions, especially those related to your daily routines. Please follow up and have him assessed so that you can find ways to help him learn language.

    You can also take a look at the articles here on the website in the receptive language category for ideas for how to work with him yourself. You may also want to check out my DVDs - especially Teach Me To Talk ad Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 & 2 so you can SEE how to work with him at home. Good luck to you all! Laura

  162. Jessi - There could be any number of reasons for his developmental delays. Without seeing him I have no way of knowing. Have you spoken with your mom about this? Surely the teachers and doctors have given her more information. Laura

  163. hello, my 27 month old brother is extremely smart (e.g. when ever i ask my mum where something is he gives to me before mum answers) but instead of skipping the last letter he only says the last syllable which does not fit into any of the disorders (e.g. instead of open blinds he says blinds) however if we ignore him he says it correctly, he also has a tendency of saying stuff we never say (e.g. when i drink water he says “now its my turn” in Gujarati [our language])since my grandma and grandpa live with us we never sent him to childcare since they could take care of him but we are now considering putting him there so he can interact with other babies more often. since i have to go to school (i am only 12) i cant observe him for long periods of time so i am not completely sure but whenever we sing him nursery rhymes from our language he does sing it with us and when we say the line except for the last word he completes the line for us. when he occasionally does talk in sentences he has perfect tone, body language and stuff but he is very mischievous so he only listens to us when he just woke up but then he goes hyper (not quite literally and but close). when ever he sees someone new he goes really quiet and doesn’t say a word and sits still. i am quite confused because you said that laziness is not the reason for not talking but in his case it is because he only talks maturely when you ignore him and he is forced to say it properly . thanks i know its long i wrote it in a rush so dont mind any mistakes he also refuses to say 2 words together (e.g. when i tell him to say “open door” he says either door or open but not together and after we ask him a lot of times he defiantly says “no”

  164. My 4 year old daughter is using the “t” sound in just about every word. She doesn’t say the first sound in words that start with s. Her l is w. She is in Pre-K and she has been tested for Speech but it is taking a really long time to start the program. She gets really upset when we can’t understand what she is saying. I am really concerned about her self-esteem. Please any advice would be greatly appreciate.


  165. Hi,
    my 3 yr old son dosent speak he only say few words like mom,abbu (dad),cak (car),toter(water) n few more.rather than using words he was making its sounds like for car he was saying (dhroom dhroom)n for cat (miyon miyon )but from few days hes not doing dat i am seeing a difference in him .n he doenst eat by himself i have to make him eat like if i have to give him chicken i have to shred it then give otherwise he will spit it.if he need anythng he dosnt say it he just point it.wen i ask him to say ‘give me “then he says.he can count numbers 1-10 but always skips number ‘3′.he sings 3 rhymes but we can understand by its tune he only says its first word .he is very happy to meet people but he says something dat nobody understand even me n my husband. he dosnt know who is he ? ,what is his name?,what is this?.we daignosed his hearing theres no problem ,doctor asked us for his delayed speach test.he recognises nose ,teeth,stomach,hair.today morning he woke up n his nose was running he came to me n told me “mom nose”.n took bath happyly before now he used to cry a lot.n before six months he doesnt sit on rides bcoz of d fear but now hes improved even he sat on horse by watching his elder brother (6 yrs old).he also watch few cartoon n say their name like dora ,diego ,n george.i think he is intelligent bcoz wen i i open laundry basket he understand dat i need to wash clothes he just goes n open d machines door n gives me detergent.wen we bring grocery he remebers it n he goes behind the car n wait to open d trunk.even wen he needs to urine he says chichi aya (getting urine) n wen he gets motion he jsut search d daiper n wants o wear n do in dat .if i ask him to keep something in d kitechen he follows my instructions.he will join nursery from this week do u think he will improve or we have to do his speach test.how wud he benefit from dat? i am so worried people have started making comments on him in my family becoz his cousins are way far from him if they compare .we live in other country .but yearly meet them.plz can u advice me.

  166. Fatty - I’d ask the doctor to go ahead and help you pursue a speech eval now so that you can determine the cause of his language delay and more importantly, learn strategies to help you work with him at home. He does have some nice strengths to build on, but his skills are quite delayed. Please get him some professional help. Laura

  167. Hi Nicole. Getting services started in the school system sometimes feels like it takes forever! There are specific time guidelines they must meet, but again, the school’s calendar is always pretty full so the guidelines are generous in allowing the maximum amount of time to accomplish all of the initial evaluations and meetings. What you may want to do if you have resources is pursue a private evaluation. Services happen much sooner without those time restrictions. If you can make it happen, work it out for both of your sakes. Laura

  168. hai, my son is 26 Months old and does not say much, he used to say mama though it was always at his own time. he cant understand any instruction either and he is very active. my main worry is he cant chew anything at all even a very soft banana. at first I was told he had a tongue tie and it was cut though with no improvement. He has no hearing problems as he can work up from his sleep when he hears Mickey Mouse songs. I dont know what to do at this point, please help.

  169. My 31 month old son is not talking yet. I speak english with him as well as my native language. He says certain stuff whenever he feels like it. He will stir you in the eyes sometimes and will not respond when you ask him a question or ask him to do something. He says daddy and even tries to call his father by his first name sometimes. He calls me by my first name and also tries to call his cousins. He plays really well with his cousins and not his daycare friends. He loves music and will dance to every song he hears. He talks baby talk all the time “ballahah something ah” and will point his finger at you after he is done. Please advise.

  170. my son is 26 months old and has no words at all he does babble and makes the sounds mama and dada, he doesnt seem to understand a lot of what we say to him, we are in Ireland and i am having real difficulty getting help for him. because the waiting list here are so long we have taken him privatly, however i was told that he cant really be accessed properly because he is too young and because his play is also delayed, what can i do to help him?, i have started him in a playgroup in the hope that it might help but i feel so fustrated, surley there is something i could be doing to help him. its hard because he cant understand a lot of what i say so i dont know how to communicate with him.

  171. My son just turned five. He has been working with a slp for the past year and a half. However there doesn’t seem to be any inprovement in his speech. He leaves the beginnings off of all his words example dad becomes ad, and mom is om. He does this on every word making it really difficult to understand him. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do at home to be able to help him?

  172. Laura, Can you please answer my question that was asked December 28? You answered everyone else but me. Need help with my 19 month old not speaking.

  173. Hi Lenny. Without seeing a child I can’t say for sure what’s going on with him. The things you noted are red flags for delays in receptive and expressive language regardless of whether or not a child is on the autism spectrum. Speak with your child’s pediatrician about these concerns and/or call your state’s early intervention program to set up an evaluation. Laura

  174. Hi Laura,
    I’m a speech pathologist working with a 30 month old for the last 6 months or so. When I first started working with her, she would produce “guh” for everything. I have suspected some motor planning difficulties from the beginning. Now she is able to produce all consonants and most vowels (minus a couple dips) in isolation and CV combinations. She has more difficulty with CV1CV2 and C1V1C2V2 combinations. She is also leaving off all final consonants. Her language has improved greatly and she is now up to 3-4 word utterances, however very unintelligible. Her imitation skills are pretty good, when she is attending.

    I’ve been leary to make a diagnosis since she is still young. I feel like I have worked with other children in the past where I suspected CAS and then later it presented more like a phonological disorder. Do you have any tips for differentiating the two, especially at a young age?

    I’d really appreciate your help! Apraxia is my “weaker” treatment.

  175. Dear Laura,

    I’m a speech pathologist working with a 30 month old young girl over the last 7 months. Initially, everything she produced was “guh”. I suspected some oral motor planning difficulties since the beginning. Now she can produce all the consonants and most vowels (except some dips) in isolation and in CV combinations. She struggles with CV1CV2 and C1V1C2C2 combinations. She also leaves off all final consonants. Her language has really grown over the last few months and she is now speaking in 3-4 word utterances, however speech is very unintelligible.
    I’ve been leery about giving her a diagnosis since she is still so young. I feel like I have worked with other children in the past where I thought they had CAS and then later they presented more with phonological disorder characteristics. Do you have any tips for differentiating between the two at such a young age? At what age do you give a diagnosis?

    I would great appreciate your opinion. I feel that my apraxia treatment is a bit “weaker” than it should.

  176. Hi Laura my son is 17 months old. He hasn’t spoken any words, he want point, or wave bye bye and he not walking. He’s had Hearing test, MRI’s and evaluations wit his PCP and Therpist. He was very behind on his motor skills but has improved alot since he’s begin recieving his PT, OT, and ST. However he’s been through alot the first year of his life and was diagnosed with Tracheomalacia and Laryngomalacia and has had surgery to improve his breathing on both of those conditions. He has a G-tube and takes nothing by mouth and now he’s chewing on everything. He’s very social and loves children when his cousins or anyone he knows walk into the room he gets really excited and cant wait to play. He loves to hugs and kisses. If i ask him for a hug he’ll hug me if i ask him for kiss he’ll kiss me, he claps and play pattycake and loves for me to sing to him,but i’ve been working with him to repeat after me but he’ll just try to clap my hands and then about 20 seconds later he’ll start clapping his own hands. I try to get him to say simple words like mama or dada, but he wont say a thing he’ll just look directly at my lips and touch my mouth. He loves watching TV and laughs when he thinks something is funny. He goes to a developmental school and plays well with the children and even sometimes gives them hugs and kisses. He sometimes also does things that get my attention like he claps his feet together and if he’s laying on the bed he’ll continously back hand his hand on the mattress or hit his head on my chest when im holding him and sometimes rock back and forth which is a red flag for Austim. I Love his Occ and Speech Therpist and they’re doing a wonderful job, but think his delays are just sensory auditory disorders because he’s social. Im lost should i get a second opinion

  177. my son is three and is yet to talk. we dont know why ? ( we have seen every specialest possible with 3 ’second opinion’ he grunts, babbels, points, and communicates with some sign. hes very intellegent though. autism etc has been ruled out, his developmental test scored age 4 to 5 in all other area ( he only just turned three too!) but can only say three words, most of the time he makes ‘ugh ugh, ahh’ sounds. hes at nursery and loves mixing. infact other children seem to understand him really well. i cant say im not worried because i would love to here him talk, but al i can do is talk to him and try and get him to copy me. we recently had improvement he said yes! and is trying to mimic car noises and animals, its definaly a step in the right direction. many specialests we have seen says they cant find any reason why at all. and it seems genrally ’serve delayed’ with no apparent cause as of yet.

  178. Hi Lucy. Thank you so much for your comment. Working with a little guy who’s had this many medical and physical issues will be a huge, huge challenge. It may still be a long while before you hear any words. He does have some nice strenths to build on in that he is very social, but it sounds like he also has delays in receptive language. I’d focus on helping him understand more words and developing cognition through play skills. Does he understand object permanence, cause & effect, and simple problem solving? If not, use play to teach him those things. If his fine motor skills are delayed as well, these things may be very hard for him to demonstrate, but you should still be seeing growing evidence everyday that he’s understanding more and learning more, even if he’s not able to talk for a while yet. He also likely has muscle tone differences which are going to make it even more difficult for him to learn how to talk, so speech is probably more of a long term goal for him instead of something that will resolve overnight. HOWEVER, I have not seen him, so I could be completely off with my comments. Talk with your team about what they realistically feel he will be able to accomplish in the new few months. Adjusting your expectations and focusing on all of the prerequisite skills may be what would be more helpful than anything at this point. Thanks again for your question. Laura

  179. To Lucy - *strengths

  180. Becca - I read that you’ve seen specialists, but you didn’t mention that he’s in speech therapy. I hope that he is. If not, then enroll him without delay. The SLP should be able to help you pinpoint what’s going on. If his cognitive skills are as you describe, he should also be able to learn to use technology to communicate. Finding a way for him to tell you what he needs, even without words, would be my #1 priority for a 3 year old. Are you outside the USA? Laura

  181. Dear Laura,
    I just stumbled across this website and think it is amazing! It has so much information. My son will be 21 months old on Feb 3rd. He says bye bye and “uh oh” on a regular basis. On occasion he will say mama and dada but thats it. He waves bye bye and seems to understand most of what we tell him he just wont talk. Everyone tells me not to worry that he will talk when he is ready. At each well check up we mention to his pediatrition that he is not talking. The doctor also reasure us that nothing is wrong and he will talk when ready. Everything I read online says he should be saying a lot more words around 50 I believe. I have been working with him regarding knowing his body parts, colors, and shapes. We have been focusing on head, eye, nose, ears, mouth and belly. The only ones he gets correct when asked to point to them on a regular basis is nose and belly. He wont pick out any colors and very rarely can show me what a circle is. That is the only shape he ever gets right out of the circle triangle and square we have been going over. On the other hand he can put his shape puzzle together in under a min. He can catch a ball and climb up a slide. When I give him a piece of bark from a tree in the yard he can point to which tree it came from. He can stack blocks and make a tower. If you tell him its time to scrubbie (take a bath) he will run to the bathroom and get the bath plug.

  182. Hi Angela. Forgive my bluntness here, but you’re working on the wrong stuff! He doesn’t need words like circle or square or to know his colors right now - those are things he’ll be learning a full year from now! Right now work on words that he can use to get his needs met - milk, cookie, shoe, truck, etc… I love that you’re playing receptive language games, but change your focus and ask him to bring you his ball, a car, or a book. When you’re reading or looking at books, name the pictures with great enthusiasm and then ask him, “Where’s the cat?” If he doesn’t point to the right picture, then help him find it. Sometimes actions help rather than pointing too such as, “Kiss the kitty” or “Tickle the doggy.” After he shows you, ask him what the cat says and then you yourself should meow loudly to keep him interested in learning to imitate you. You may also want to check out my DVD Teach Me To Talk for other ideas to work with him at home. If you change his focus to words he really needs and to concepts that are developmentally appropriate, I think you’ll see a big jump in progress. If he’s not able to link meanings with words and isn’t following simple directions like those I mentioned before or things like, “Put your cup in the sink” then he is really struggling to learn what words mean. The DVD Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 and 2 will help you know how to work on those things. If he’s not really improved by 2, then you should INSIST on a referral. Hope these ideas help! Laura

  183. Dear Laura,
    Thanks for your advice! I will definatly be ordering your DVD Teach Me To Talk probably next paycheck. Im going to take your advice and not focus so much on colors or shapes. Instead Im going to focus on words he would use now like milk. In order to try and get him to talk currently I name everything. For example when we get dressed I say now we are putting on your pants. Put one leg in then another. See here are your shoes etc. I ask him if he wants milk and point to the cup. When I ask him to bring me his cup or toy he doesnt listen. I think that may be more his age than anything else. I think changing my focus will help. Thanks again.

  184. Hello, my son is 17 months. He is not talking. He says “no” to every and all questions you ask him. He can say ball, and nanna ( banana). I am actively teaching Him sign language, he’s not really picking it as much. He know how to sign dog, sleep, cat and can say bye bye. He seems to understand what I am telling him but he can’t communicate back. When i ask him to do a sign or try to talk to him he mainly screams and me. He doesnt always do the sign… The only one he ever does when asked is “sleep”… I also have a 30 month old girl. She know over 100 words in sign language. Can speak some words in Spanish. And can speak her own mind like a little adult, she is very advance. My son’s Dr said he is being lazy cuz his older sister is speaking for him… I thought at first it was the case, now I dont feel that way! I am very concern but I dont know what to do…
    My son had surgery for a tongue tie in November. I am concern he may have a real problem and the issue was not the tongue tie. Please help!!

  185. Hi Sara - I’d certainly be concerned too that there’s more going on than the tongue tie. I don’t think it’s that your daughter talks for him or that he’s lazy, so I’m glad you’re pursuing other advice! Late talking is a skill deficit - not a personality trait or bad behavior. I hate it when doctors say that because they are WRONG!!

    How is he following directions for you? Can he get items you ask for on request? Does he clearly link meanings with words? If not, then this should be your focus - not necessarily getting him to say the word. He must understand words BEFORE he uses those words or signs to talk.

    I’d recommend you take a look at my DVD Teach Me To Talk with ways to target language at home during play. If he’s having trouble understanding language too, take a look at Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 & 2. He may not respond to the same things your daughter did to learn language and may need for you to change your approach. The DVDs will teach you how to do that and work with him at home.

    If he’s still not picking up words by 2 (or sooner if you don’t see any progress), then have him evaluated by your state’s early intervention program. You can get info on that program by searching your state name plus the phrase “early intervention.” Good luck to you all!! Laura

  186. I have the same issue right now with my 2-year-old boy. He has called my husband and me dadda for a while now, although he first used to call me mama. Now he call us both mama. He says eesh instead of fish. He says chu-chu for train, no and sometimes repeats words. But that’s all. Otherwise he understands us all, we speak to him in 3 different languages, my husband in english, me in bulgarian, and my in-laws in french. Is this confusing him and delaying his speech?

  187. Hello Laura. I am worried about my 25 month old son (Jackson)He can not say a single word. Around 14-16 months he was saying dadada but now nothing at all. If he wants something he will grab me and take me their or he will bring me what he wants i.e water cup if he wants more water,dvd if he wants to watch something or a book if he wants me to read it to him. when we call him he completely ignores us but the moment I sing a line from his favourite song he will stop what he’s doing and run over and sit with me. We are having his ears checked but that is inconclusive at the moment as to whether he has hearing problems. We are in the middle of referring him to speech therapy but that’s taking forever. My partner is fearing the worst please help !

  188. Hello laura, we are a little worried that our son who is 22 months is not really talking much. He used to say mama but now I too am dada! Hiya is hello and goodbye. Fish is sssss, flowers are ssss, infact anything with the sound sh on the end is ssss :)
    I have noticed he prefers to make the sound rather than try to say the word. For example when pointing at a car he will go brrrr, he will pant if he see’s a dog, blow air if he see’s a plane and says ‘mmmmmmm’ when he is hungry!
    He used to try and pronouce cat but its like he is bored of trying now! Just wondering if we should sit tight and wait for a few months or perhaps visit someone.
    All in all he is loads of fun, has a bit of a hot temper (like me) but physically is coming along leaps and bounds. Just his speech has us a bit concerned. All advice appreciated :) x

  189. Hi my son is 2yrs, 6 months. He has down syndrome but seems to be even behind his little friends with the same condition. He was very quiet and did not babble properly dadada etc. even now all he does is sat aghhh! Loudly and when he is ‘talking’ to me he make quiet, barking like noises. It’s like he want to talk to me but has no idea how to. He has never said any words at all although daddy thinks he tried to say apple”. I know children with ds are delayed but I’m really worries..his net says he has enough hearing for speech so I am at a loss..will he eventually learn? In other areas is is doing really well..he was walking at 14 months. He doc said we may need to think about autism but that doesn’t ring with me or his early years teacher as he is very social and has none of the repetitive behaviours or issues with routine..so any other ideas?

  190. Hi Tara. I have worked with lots of children with Down Syndrome. Is he getting speech therapy yet? He should be! If that service is not offered through Early Years, then pursue services privately for him.

    Many kids with Down Syndrome don’t talk until between 3 to 5, but I’ve seen lots of kids with Down Syndrome who are verbal at 2 1/2, so I would be concerned too. Is he signing yet? That’s certainly something yous hould be doing.

    How are his receptive language skills? Is he following directions? Can he identify some pics when you ask. “Where’s the ___?” If those skills aren’t moving along, then I’d be even more worried about him.

    My DVD Teach Me To Talk will be very helpful for you as the strategies are applicable to any toddler with language delays. If he’s not learning to understand words, then you’ll need to double your efforts with that focus too. Teach Me To Listen and Obey will give you ideas for that. I hope your Early Years teacher has discussed and worked on that with you! (If not, then think about getting a new teacher who will give you some new ideas and better focus while you’re adding a speech pathologist to his team.) Good luck to you guys!! Laura

  191. Hello, Laura. I am one frustrated momma. My son is 26 months and doesn’t use many words at all. He uses around 10 consistently and has said about 20 total. I got him evaluated by a early intervention group here in Alabama called Todd’s friends. His speech therapist is nice, but we have been meeting for about 4 months now and I see no real improvement and it doesn’t seem like she is doing much to help. She comes to my house twice a month and play for about an hour with him. Seems to get frustrated when he won’t play with her, and then offers me very vague comments. Should I get someone new? My son seems to understand me pretty well, but he gets lost in his own world a lot. He has no trouble showing me what he wants, for example, he will push me to the couch and when I sit down he will bring me the remote and climb on the couch beside me. He just absolutely refuses to talk. He smiles and hugs but does arm flapping and tip-toe walking. I am so frustrated and worried I have no idea where to begin and am having a hard time getting any help. Any advice would be appreciated.


  192. Hi Chelsea. I think you should follow your gut instincts here and make a switch if that seems to be right for you. It is CRITICAL that you get someone who does everything she can to connect with your son and with you and who communicates with you in a way that’s not “vague.”

    Based on what you’ve said, I would be very concerned about him as you are. You want to make the most of his therapy time right now since services during the birth to 3 timeframe are extremely important for him. You want someone who can “give it to you straight” and who knows what to do when kids who aren’t as participatory as we would like.

    In the meantime, I hope that you’re doing everything you can to work with him at home too. Have you checked out my DVDs? These may show you better how you can play with him at home to target your language goals.

    Good luck to you all!! Laura

  193. My son is 3 years 8 months. He can understand anything I say, but has trouble with communicating. He started speech therapy around his 2nd birthday & is still receiving therapy. He has improved a lot since he started speech therapy. He can say most single words, but has trouble stringing sentences together. He can put 2 words together ok, and sometimes 3. His comprehension is great, he just can’t form sentences. I think he knows what he wants to say & he tries, it just doesn’t come out like he wants it. Any suggestions? His speech therapist believes he has apraxia of speech. His pediatrician always says he is fine, just has a speech delay. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  194. Hi Samantha. Heads up - go with what the SLP who has seen your son and specializes in speech-language disorders says over the doctor every single time!!! Do you know how much training pediatricians get with communication milestones or speech disorders in medical school? It’s usually little to none! A wonderful pediatrician told me when I was seeing her son for speech therapy that they had an hour lecture and it was OPTIONAL! Several years ago I was seeing the child of a pediatric neurologist. During a session his wife’s father was in town for a visit and asked him during our speech therapy session in their home what was going on with his child. The neurologist said, “You’d better ask Laura. She’s the speech therapist and knows much more about that than I do.” BELIEVE YOUR SLP!!!!

    Based on what you’ve said about him, I would totally agree. Of course I can’t see him to know for sure, but if his comprehension is great and he still can’t string together phrases consistently at nearly 4 years old after having speech therapy for almost two years, he is very likely apraxic.

    What methods are you using to treat him? If you provide that info, I may be able to help you more. Laura

  195. Hi,
    My nephew is turning 4 years in june. He speaks words only with lips like m, n,p,ph, b etc. but does not speak other words. he started talking when he was aout 3 years old. he understands everything, follow instructions and all the time able to express what he wants in his own language by using sounds with lips and nose eg if he wants ‘papaya’ he will say ‘papa-a’ and if he points toward ‘rupee’(indian currency) he will say ‘upee’. Infact he performed in his preschool the nursery rhyme ‘eenie, meenie, mieno moh….’

    Probably he has no problem related to muscles as he never had problem sucking the feeder bottles and chewing and eating food. He has a twin sister and she talkative and speaks clearly. Though both of them had Breath Holding Spells when they were 1-2 years old.
    can anyone please guess where can be the problem? and what could be the solution or possible way to make improvements.
    Thanks. Jyoti

  196. Jyoti - Without seeing him, I have no idea what’s going on with him, but if he understands language, then his issues are likely expressive language delay and a speech delay/disorder. Have his parents spoken with his pediatrician or with his teachers if he goes to preschool? He likely needs to be evaluated by a apseech-language pathologist to determine not only what’s going on with him, but more importantly, to help him learn to use language and be understood by others. I wish I could be of more help. Laura

  197. Hi Laura, my son is 3 1/2 years of age he is not saying any words at this time except for up and happy. he used to say bubble and book, but thats about it.He seems to understand somewhat well, its just the expressive language is not where it should be. we had him in with a speech therapist, but I he wasn’t willing to sit with her unless we gave him snacks. so after 4months of having snack and a lack of availible appointment time session, we stopped seeing her. However my son is in the early education preschool, with a speech therapists that we see once a week. I have purchased you Teach me to talk DVD 1 and 2, and I am interested in the New release Teach me to talk for signs to sounds to words. any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

  198. hi my s0n hes almost 3 yrs old and he cant speak sentence, he can speak word for word like, mama,dada,bird,fish jst like 1 words, and if he wants something he will just grab my hand and point it, sometimes he will says words but i dont knw whats hes talking about, sometimes i called him he doesnt listen he just ignore me. i am so worried about him, i know there is something going on there an i want to figure it as early as possible my husband hes so disappoint, i was thinking maybe he was confused maybe coz changed enviroment we lived in the philippines almost a year and now we are here back in the states, and in the philippines i used English to communicate to my son, but my family cant avoid they do speak Cebuano our language and even my son speak Cebuano to and he can understand the thing now, were back here and he cant speak sentence in English and i dont know what to do i felt to down and terrible. please help me.

  199. Hi,

    I am very worried in here.. i know my son is still young.. but please help ease my worries.. my son is almost 14 month.. he does not have a single word.. he does babble but not all the time like other children.. every mean in a while he babbles saying dadadadada.. that’s all he is usually a quite baby.. i know his hearing is ok.. because he understands me very well.. he picks his ball when i ask him to.. he waves bye bye.. he blows kisses when asked he sticks his tongue out when asked where is your tongue.. he knows mother and father and grandma.. when you ask him where is daddy he turns his head to look.. i know he has a very good receptive language.. but no expressive at all.. i am very worried.. i was also worried about autism… but he does make a very good eye contact.. and responds to his name but not all the time … he claps .. points.. smiles and loves to be cuddled.. cries when i leave the room.. doesn’t like to be alone at all.. initiates peek a boo and hide and seek.. i am talking to him all the time.. he looks at my mouth but does not even try to utter the words or the sounds… he loves to see me sing to him.. to sum up he is a quite baby.. NOW what’s next?

  200. can someone please help me as my son is 22 months old and does not speak. he says mama, dada, baba, nana but not as if he is calling us. he just babbles. he does not eat solid foods and will point to everything. he understands what we say and when we instruct him to do something he does it.

    everyone tells us he was born 1 month early, hes a boy so he will catch up. Im scared. please help.

  201. My daughter is five years old. Since she was born she has had physical and motor delays.. She didnt sit,crawl, walk, or talk when she was suposed to.. She didnt sit up by herseld till right at a year, and it was after she was one when she crawled. she didnt walk till she was right at 3 yrs. And she just started really talking around four years old, but there are times when she still babbles like a baby.. She has had what just recently a doctor told me was a “tick”, which I have always called them spasm, since she was probally around one. She moves her arms and hands in a tightening up kinda way.. which is the best way I can explain it to.. Its looks to me that as much as she does it everyday that she should have cramps or pains in her arms, but it doesnt seem to bother her. She has these constantly and daily. She has tantrums over nothing worth tantruming about. Her attitude changes so fast from being just fine to angry to crying in just the matter of seconds. She repeats things over and over that shes said. She’ll ask me a question, and tell her the answer and she’ll repeat it over and over and over as will I with the answer.. And she has just recently started pulling her hair out. She’s starting to get bald spots from where she pulls out like chunks of her hair at a time. Which doesnt seem to bother her either. I want to know why she is the way she is.. I know there has to be some reason why she is the way that she is.. I have to other kids who are “normal” should I say. They have done everything on time so far. Well I know my nine year old has. And at five she was not at all like her sister is now. And I have a 13 month old boy who is so far doing everything as he should.. Sitting, crawling, standing and walking. Any advice is greatly appreciated. I need answers..

  202. Hi Jeannette. Of course since I can’t see your daughter, I have no way of knowing what’s going on with her. What have her doctors told you about her? What does her SLP say are her issues? Has she seen occupational and physical therapists too? If she hasn’t had therapy services consistently, she certainly could benefit, and if she has, I’d really rely on the information they have given you since they have seen her and know her history.

    Is she in school yet? If she’s not in kindergarten yet, she certainly would qualify for a public preschool program due to her delays. I’d highly recommend you pursue as much programming for her as you can. Good luck to you. Laura

  203. Orchid - What have his therapists told you about him? Does he have a diagnosis? I’d really push for one beyond severely delayed expressive language since he’s over 3 and still not talking. What did his private SLP think? How has he responded to the strategies you put in place at home after watching the first DVDs? Is he signing? How is he expressing his wants and needs? Those are questions you’ll need to answer before I can point you in the right direction. I am glad he’s in therapy, and I’d pursue as much as you can for him now while he is still pretty young. As far as not being able to sit for therapy, find a therapist who uses play-based activities like you saw in the DVD. If he can’t participate with those at 3, then you’re probably looking at a much more serious and significant developmental problem beyond expressive language delay. I’d pursue additional testing for that as well if there are other signs that he’s not attending and learning like he should be. What do his teachers say about him? Are they having any successes at school? That’s the kind of information you’ll need to uncover so that you can make sure you know everything that’s going on with him and can provide all the help he needs. Laura

  204. Malou - If you’re in the USA now you can call your state’s early intervention program to have him evaluated for speech-language delays. For contact information for that program, Google your state name plus the phrase “early intervention.” The eval will be free and therapy will be low cost until he’s 3. After 3 he’ll likely be eligible for free public preschool. Call you local public school’s district office to find information about assessment. You’ll need to get help from someone who can see the both of you and sort out what’s going on with him. Good luck to you! Laura

  205. Nancy - He is still very, very young, and I love the things he can do which are all very important prerequisites. Does he try to imitate any words? If not, then you may need to begin with play sounds - animal noises, car noises, etc… -so that he learns to repeat you. If he can’t do that, then you may have to back up another step and look at how he imitates gestures. I believe you said he’s waving and clapping, so those are great indicators that he understands how to imitate, and that’s a huge step toward learning language. My new book that’s coming out in March will address these things step by step. Keep an eye on the website for that release because it will be very, very helpful.

    Have you introduced any sign language to him? Those early signs often jump start speech-language in toddlers.

    You may also want to take a look at my DVD Teach Me To Talk so you can see how to work with him. Sometimes watching someone else do it really gives you more of an idea of how play-based activities to address language should look.

    Hope these ideas help! Laura

  206. Jimmy - I love to hear from concerned dads. It’s great that he’s understanding language so well. That’s a great foundational skill he’ll need to be able to use words.

    Since he is using a few words, you know that he has the ability to talk and to link meanings with words, so while there’s still reason to be concerned, based on what you’ve reported, it sounds like his expressive language is delayed and it’s not a global developmental problem.

    Usually if children are going to catch up on their own, it’s by 24 months. That’s the point when we stop correcting a child’s age for prematurity. What have his doctors said about him? Have you had evaluated? If not, if you’re in the USA, you can call your state’s early intervention program and request a free assessment of his developmental skills. If he qualifies for services, the cost is usually lower than what it would be if you pursued services on your own. Therapists should also teach you how to work on language with him at home.

    In the meantime, there’s LOTS of good information here on the website to get you started with him at home. Take a look at my DVD Teach Me To Talk for the basic play-based approach to teach him to imitate words. Good luck to you all! He’s lucky to have such a concerned father! Laura

  207. Hi Laura,

    my 31 months old has had a tough start. She has hypotonia and hypermobility. She has been flagged as global developmental delay at 26 months, but she has been delayed all her life. We are in the Uk and the help from the system is very slow (6-8 months to get 5 weeks of 1 to 1 speech therapy).

    Until 24 months she had no more than 20 words, at that time also her gross and fine motor skills were poor. She has made great progress in the last 6 months and now her motor skills are much better (about on target or 6 months delay). The speech is slow. She knows sign language which we started in october last year, that actually really helped her. She has now about 200-250 words, but they are all truncated to the first or max second syllable. She can say all vowels, but only M,N,P,D,T,H, B and mostly at the beginning or middle of the word (like Bubble, will be a complete word for her, as well as apple, but CAR will be DA, CAT will be DAT). She has started very recently to say 2 word combo “maal do” for small dog, or “lo yu” for love you.
    While waiting for the SLP from early intervention of course we are killing ourselves trying to help her.
    We are using some of the Kaufman method for sound production and combinations, that works some.
    We are also doing a lot of oral motor stuff, chew a lot, suck with straws, bubbles, whistles and electric tooth brush, I personal think this is helping, she basically doesn’t drool anymore and her tongue dexterity is much better.

    I guess I am writing a poem, I wanted fundametally to ask you if this whole delay and difficulty can be due to the hypotonia and jaw extramobility rather than apraxia or other neurological issues.

    The local SLP seems to have no idea of the impact of hypotonia on speech and what techniques to use.
    My child doesn’t have sensory or texture issues, she had a decent sucking when an infant too.

    I am improvising therapist and doing this together with her nanny all day long, labeling, sequencing all the play, sign language and then the kaufman. So we are trying to give her bricks to build upon: words, sounds, movement. Unfortunatelly we are not professionals and we are applying what the nanny used for her kids with speech delays and worked.

    I just don’t have a good sense on how quickly we should see results and if this is too slow for all we are doing.

    What do you think from what I wrote? Am I on the right track? what is the typical progression for hypotonia? we don’t really have any slurred speech either, more getting stuck and groping on words.
    Thanks so much!

  208. Hi Julia. What an intuitive mom you are! It sounds like you are right on track with what I would recommend for her at home. Based on what you’ve said about being “stuck” and groping does sound more like apraxia than dysarthria (which is the speech diagnosis due to hypotonia), but it is possible for a child to have both issues.

    I would definitely focus on phrases with her, even if they’re not perfect yet. You want to keep building her language so she has something to talk about as her speech improves. Model combined words from her core vocabulary for new phrase patterns. Keep cueing those fo rher to imitate, but you want those to become spontaneous too. If you need more direction for that or aren’t sure what to work on next, check out my book Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual.

    How many of her 250 words are spontaneous now? I’d keep working on that too if she’s not using all of those on her own. You should be hearing more phrase attempts with a vocabulary of that size, so I’d make sure she really “owns” all of those words. Of course motor planning issues will impact a child’s ability to sequence words into phrases. Dysarthria can also affect this since talking talks much more effort and for kids with low tone, sometimes phrases and sentences are even more difficult! I’ll address that more in a later paragraph, but it’s something you should continue to think about as you work with her.

    I didn’t see very much reference to her receptive language, but I may have missed it. Is she following directions well for you? Can she do multiple step directions? I’d definitely work on that too.

    As far as speech goes, it sounds like she may need to work on improving her breath support too which is really, really common in kids with low tone. When you’re doing her whistles or horns, try to get her to lengthen the time she can blow or activate the toy. If you need some additional ideas for activities, look at the Horn Hierarchy from Talk Tools. With toddlers I also work on this by helping them elongate and lengthen a vowel like ‘oooooooooooooh’ or even ‘mmmmmmmm’ as if you’re singing or humming. Singing simple songs are another thing you can do to help her from both a motor planning perspective AND with increasing her utterance length. Sing very, very slowly to give her a chance to keep up. Instead of trying lots of new different words, have her fill in the last word or two in the phrase. Or modify a song and sing only one or two words. My new book coming out in March will have some specific ideas for this.

    I love Nancy Kaufman’s treatment strategies, so keep going with her program. You may also want to check out Pamela Marshella’s info for parents on oral motor treatment since her hypotonia is likely playing a role in her speech acquisition. She has a website and sells her own stuff, but I’m not sure of the name, so Google her and I’m sure you can find it.

    Does she continue to receive physical and or occupational therapy? ANY gross motor work or work to her core will also ultimately improve her speech production since it will help her physically. Due to her low muscle tone, she has a much harder time talking than a child with no muscle tone challenges. The GOOD news is, you have taken this very seriously and are diligently working with her. She is so lucky to have you for a mommy and it sounds like your nanny is a big help too. Good luck to you all!! Laura

  209. Hi Laura you are wonderful!
    Sorry i did not elaborate on her understanding. We are bilingual and she can completely understand Italian and English, she can follow directions easily too, this has never been a problem, she is also very social and happy, however she has been pulling hair and pushing when she gets frustrated that she cannot talk. She instead has been very slow learning colors and shapes and I am thinking this has nothing to do with her understanding at all.
    we are doing physiotherapy exercises at home and she is followed privately for progress every 2 months, we are also doing swimming once a week.
    We are doing play dough and lots of gripping, drawing for OT.
    All these services should be provided by the NHS but we are still waiting for an evaluation.
    We have the horn therapy kit! Every morning we do one horn (the easier ones) but as you are saying she has trouble is holding the sound for longer than a little whistle. I try harder then and use your suggestions.
    We do a lot of singing, I noticed she learns words and signs faster with a song.
    the 250 words are not all spontaneous, we need to ask and/or cue for them. I would say 100 are and some are very favorite, while others are random.

    Thanks for your reply and I am going to check out the resources you suggested

  210. My nephew is 24 months old and can only say “Dada” and he has to work hard to say that. He tries to say other things but they mostly come out as “ba-ba”, he doesn’t make animal sounds. He mostly grunts. He understands most everything and can point to things well and responds with a head nod or shake when needed. His parents are not concerned, should they be? What can I do?

  211. HI Virginia. Based on what you’ve reported your nephew has an expressive speech-language delay/disorder. His parents should be concerned, and it’s more of a concern that his pediatrician does not provide appropriate developmental information during his well-baby visits. However, his parents are the only people who can make a referral for assessment by a speech-language pathologist, and without them realizing there’s a problem, it’s highly unlikely that will happen. These issues are often very difficult to bring up with parents, but I’d at least try to point out that most 2 year olds are talking at 2. You might want to share the developmental norms: 90% of all children (both boys AND girls) turning 2 use at least 50 words and combines those into short phrases, so a little boy who is not using this many words falls into the bottom 10% percentile with expressive language development. The AVERAGE child who is turning 2 knows and says 200-300 words. Many parents don’t know the norms and do become concerned when the norms are presented in that way. Hopefully when they are armed with better information, they’ll make a different decision. Good luck to you! Laura

  212. my son is 3 years old. and im not sure what he has. he has been seeing a speech therapist for a couple months now and she has asked me to contact my sons pediatrician to see what his options are. she said shes never seen a case like him. my son speaks only with his mouth closed. he hums and oos and aaahs. and im not sure whats wrong. hes been tested for hearing and its normal. im just not sure what to do anymore speech isn’t helping him. im scared because i also have a 1 year old who says already 10 words.

  213. WOAH! That kind of made my heart sink about the averages for 2 year olds. I obviously came across this site as I’m interested in how to help my 20 month old (1 month preemie) learn more words. She has a really small rotation of several words (but some of those she has only said once or twice). She doesn’t like repeating them unless its appropriate and her latest one was a two word phrase, All done! But she only said it once. She signs a couple dozen words, brings items I ask for, uses sounds appropriately (uh oh!, oh no!(garbled), aww, and her big one Wh-eh-ooh (where are you?”).

    I’m in Canada so I’m not sure what community resources there are. We see a nurse for immunizations (over due and going next week). I’ll have to write a note on my forehead. I have the feeling they might be a good place to start looking for help.

  214. Hi Shannon. I’m glad you recognize the significance of your little boy’s communication problem. When you say “He talks with his mouth closed” do you mean that when he’s trying to imitate you he keeps his mouth closed, or that he hums and makes other vowel sounds/babbling with his mouth closed? Does he have any markers for other diagnoses such as autism? How is his social engagement? Does he follow directions for you? Does he understand language? Answer those questions and then I’ll hopefully be able to point you in the right direction. It’s very distressing that your SLP said she’s never seen a kid like this before; is that because she’s young or inexperienced? Again, answer those questions so I can give you more info. Laura

  215. Hi Natissa. There are early intervention programs in Canada. A couple of weeks ago a mom sent me a link for information, and I don’t have time to track that down right now, but I will look for it and post it for you. You will want someone to take a look at her and evaluate her speech-language development. All “catch up growth” for delays due to prematurity is accomplished by 24 months - which is the point where we stop correcting a child’s age when they’ve been born early. If a preemie is still having delays after that point, he or she likely will need professional intervention to catch up.

    Not to be picky - but “all done” is really still a single word rather than a phrase. She’s learned it all as one word. Words aren’t counted as phrases unless a child is using each word as a single word or in combinations with other new words. The other examples you gave such as “Where are you?” are holistic phrases since she’s learned that too as a whole word. She won’t receive credit for using phrases until she combines words like “bye bye” into several combinations such as “bye bye Daddy” or “bye bye Mommy.”

    When you’re talking with the nurse or therapist, you also should ONLY count the words she says routinely in her rotation as her words, not things she’s said or imitated once and then never again. Counting those words will significantly inflate her vocabulary, and she may not qualify for an evaluation or services based on your overestimation of her words. Keep a word journal for what she says unprompted or ON HER OWN (not in imitation) for several days, and those are her true words.

    While you’re waiting on the eval and therapy, you may also want to check out my DVDs. We ship to parents and professionals in Canada every day!

    I love that she understands language and is beginning to be vocal. She has some nice strengths to build on!! Keep up your work with her - it will pay off!!

    I will post the link for Early Intervention info in Canada when I have time to look for it. Take care! Laura

  216. Hi Laura,

    I am so glad I found your website. My son was 3 yrs old when he was diagnosed with with expressive language delay (his level was that of 2-2.5 y/o). His receptive language was that of a 3 y/o and cognitive/problem solving skills was that of a 4-5 y/o. We had him see a speech therapist but we were very disappointed because she kept cancelling sessions (4 out of 5 cancelled sessions without make-up ones) so we decided to stop. He was only able to attend 1 session. He can follow instructions (but not all the time). Which among your product would you suggest? I really want him to improve and will try to do it at home while i’m still looking for another therapis. He’s almost 3 1/2 y/o now. thank you very much!

  217. Hi Stel. I recommend that every parent of a child with expressive concerns start with Teach Me To Talk the DVD. It outlines the basic play based approach. Even though your little boy is older than the kids in that DVD, the strategies and overall approach will still be effective and applicable (except for the sign language section since your guy is talking!)

    If you’re committed and ready to dig in and do lots of work at home, I’d also recommend Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual. That book was really written for therapists and has philosophical chapters, BUT many moms report that the expressive chapter with outlined goals and activity suggestions was super helpful for them as they looked to implement more structured therapy time at home and needed more specific ideas to try rather than come up with things on their own.

    After you get those and watch and/or read, feel free to email me with any questions while you’re waiting on someone to see him directly. Laura

  218. Hi Laura, my son is 3.5 years old and has a receptive and expressive language delay. He definitely understands much more than what he can say. He knows lots and lots of words and is able to use 3 word phrases in english and spanish (we are bilingual).

    When we make him repeat longer sentences, he manages to say very clearly the first and last words, but he has trouble with the middles ones.

    How can we help him say longer phrases?


  219. Hi Ana - This may not be an articulation or intelligibility problem, although that’s what you’d naturally assume. Make sure that he is using all of those “extra” or “new” words you’re teaching as single words and in short phrases first BEFORE you expect him to insert them into longer sentences. If his receptive language skills do not support more complex words and longer strings of information, he won’t be able to say them. For example, if he doesn’t routinely include pronouns such as “I” or “My” or “you,” in shorter phrases, he won’t do it in longer sentences. If he’s not using articles “a” or “the” in short phrases like “the ball” he’s not likely to say, “I want the ball now please.” So your job is to figure out what the new words he’s not saying are and teach them in shorter phrases. I would try this approach first before you look at anything with intelligibility. If you need more ideas for these activities, consult my book Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual. Although it’s written for therapists, some moms have said that it helped them tremendously at home to provide specific ideas for working with their children on structured goals.

    If it’s truly an intelligibility problem due to phonological or sound substitutions, you’d also hear those same errors in shorter phrases. If you’ve not noticed a problem with sequencing sounds until now, that’s likely not really the problem either, especially sense the ends of the utterance are clear. Without seeing him I have no way of knowing, BUT my hunch is that the problem is due to the reasons I talked about in the first paragraph. Start there.

    Thanks for your questions. Laura

  220. Thanks, Laura! That is good to know. I was a bit confused on how words are counted but was reading elsewhere (after reading this) that vocabulary is words that are regularly used. So, she has a 3 word vocabulary at the moment. “Mama” general pronoun or noun (me, dad, brother, or object),”no” (mostly appropriate in use), and “D” for letters or multiples of objects like her collection of magnetic letters. Do words have to be intelligible to be counted? Like when she says “Where are you?” I understand her but it isn’t very clear like the words are clipped.

    I was getting a bit of extra worry that her progress seems to be a bit “all over the place.” So it was making less and less sense to me how she is trying to repeat phrases. Now, we are trying to speak when we play with her how we would expect her to speak which she really likes and elicts a ton of, “Uh huh! Uh huh!”

    Your advice here is so helpful! Thanks for putting all the hard work into such an informative site! We’ve only been using your tips for one day and she is very excited by our efforts. The tips all made sense after I read them too. She tries to say “Where are you all?” the time because thats a game we play everyday, and I use a sing song voice. My daughter is very interested in singing and picks up a melody where I left off. Which excites me more about this and your tips, is that I plan on reading all her favourite books in a completely different way now, “Dog, dog, dog, dog, …” Hopefully, this helps prompt her more as she doesn’t like repeating words she says unless its appropriate.

    I think I’m trying to say that after my initial shock and concern. The information here has me excited and hopeful that we really can help her! Thanks again.

  221. Laura,

    My son is almost 2. He will be 2 on April 12. I started noticing that he was having trouble speaking several months ago. I cannot remember the month exactly.

    When he was younger he said ma-ma, da-da, bye-bye and other simple expression. He no longer does that and hasn’t since probably about 15-18 months. Now when he tries to say words, he says the beginning sound, such as ba- in ball, but leaves off the ending sounds.

    He gets very frustrated when trying to communicate with me, because I do not understand what he wants or is trying to do. Since about 1 year, when he gets frustrated like this, he starts banging his head on whatever is nearby, whether that is the floor, wall, or some other extremely hard object.

    He was late in using his hands to gesture. Only in the past few months did he start to do that.

    He has had multiple ear infections. It seemed like every time he got a cold, he also got an ear infection.

    I am very concerned with all of this. I have him the Early Intervention program, but I am afraid that he may have something more going on other than just not being able to make the sounds necessary to communicate what he is wanting. I was wondering if based on the things that I have listed, if you could give me an idea of what else needs to be done or if you might possibly know what the problem is.

    Thank you so much.

  222. Hi i wondered if you could point me in the right direction. My nephew is 3 years old. he was born with a clef pallet, and is slow in talking. he understands what things are (you ask him to pick it up or point to it) but he gets stuck on words. he can only say car, come, mum, grandma, yes. he has said other words like apple, lemon, tractor, bee but only once and then is unable to say it again. From reading your web site i believe he has Apraxia. however when i have searched for this for a uk therapist it dosnt appear, is it called something different in the uk?

    His mother is waiting for a speech therapist form the NHS, but it is taking some time. Please help by pointing me to resources, would also like to find a private tutor. do you know where i can start my search in the UK?

  223. Hi Laura, we were adviced that our son should get extra speech therapy aside the one he gets at school. We’ve been looking for therapy in our area but there aren’t many choices. We live in Katy, Tx and some of the places we have visited are already booked. We are now looking at the possiblity of home therapy. Do you know any therapy place that we can go to or that could come to our house?
    Are there any important things we should ask about if we find someone who could come to our home?

    And one other question, what is the difference between a pediatric speech pathologist and a regular one? Is there any extra training for pediatric?


  224. Hi Laura,
    My son was born prematurely( 26 weeks and 6 days), and they did a wonderful job in the hospital where he stayed. He has been in the program birth to three and his therapist was happy with the results. He has good motor skills and the difficulty we have with him is he does not want to speak with us. He is bilingual and goes to daycare. He is saying many things, however they make very little sense, usually cartoon dialogues or things he picks up elsewhere. We cut down on the tv and cartoons, but it has little effect so far. He will turn four by the end of this month. His pediatrician referred us to a speech pathologist, who sees no major issues and suggests to have him around kids more often, organize play days and prepare him for everything he is about to experience before hand, because he does not like surprizes. He responds to his mom better than anybody else, however i still worry that he is falling behind. Please suggest smth you think could help us

  225. Anonymous - Pardon my bluntness, but you clearly need a second opinion from an SLP who specializes in pediatrics and will look at his pragmatic skills. Any child who is not regularly and routinely talking with other people at nearly age 4 is at extreme risk. That’s a red flag for autism. If he is quoting cartoons and previous conversations rather than generating his own sentence-length utterances, that’s called echolalia, and that’s another flag for autism. Of course I haven’t seen your child and don’t know what’s going on with him, but based on what you’ve said about him, I’d be concerned and not blow off your very valid concerns. Please, please take him to someone else and specifically report the things you’ve said here. Laura

  226. Hi Adriana - I never recommend any practice that I don’t personally know, and I’ve never lived in Texas, so I can’t give you any direction there. Call your pediatrician. Ask some other parents. Keep digging until you find someone wonderful!! All SLPs generally receive the same very broad training in both adults and children. There’s no special distinction between pediatric and geriatric SLPs, BUT you want a therapist who declares that her specialty is pediatrics based on her experience, interests, and clinical forte. Good luck to you all! Laura

  227. Hi Samsang. I don’t know much about your system in the UK, but keep pushing for services. Apraxia can also be called motor planning difficulties, dyspraxia, verbal dyspraxia, oral/verbal apraxia, childhood apraxia of speech, childhood dyspraxia, etc…. While there can be some distinctions between these, most professionals use these terms interchangeably, so don’t get caught up in that. I would be very, very concerned about the child based on what you’ve reported. I hope that you can find an SLT as they’re called there. If not, please check out my products. We ship to the UK almost every day! Laura

  228. Hi Megan - Leaving off the sounds on the ends of words does not concern me for a child who is just turning two, but his lack of more words and his other sensory issues would be red flags. Regression is always, always, always something to worry about since losing skills is not a part of typical development.

    Is he receiving OT to address those sensory needs/head banging? If not, then definitely request an OT eval.

    You’ll just have to have a frank discussion with your child’s therapists in order to know what they’re thinking about him. Do you think they’re concerned about autism? Again, they may be waiting to hear you ask for their opinions before they have this difficult conversation. I’d go ahead and pursue this conversation sooner rather than later. It may be heartbreaking for you to hear, but again, until you know, you won’t be able to take any further action. Good luck to you! Laura

  229. Hi Laura,
    My son Zachary is 22 months old. He will turn 2 on May 3. We have been diligently working with him using the techniques you suggest in the “Teach Me To Talk” dvd. He now signs for “more” “milk” and “eat” consistantly. From what we can tell he has met all his other developmental milestones except for talking. He is very smart. Currently he still only says “uh oh” and “bye bye” consistently. On occasion he will attempt to say something else but it is always fleating and never consistant. I appriciate any advise you have. His pediatrition has suggested we wait and see as of the last apointment. Family thinks he is just a stubborn child and doesnt want to talk.


  230. Hi Laura! I found your website when I was looking for information regarding my son who has a severe receptive/expressive language delay(he is also considered to be at risk to develop autism). I have been listening to your pod casts and they have been great! So thank you so much for them!
    My question is actually about my younger son. He is 12 months old and I am beginning to wonder if he is going to have some sort of speech delay. He says mama, dada, baba, nana and a few other babble sounds but he does not use those words(other than nonsense baby babble). He also does not appear to understand us when we are talking. I ask him to go get a toy and he just goes off and does his own thing, I am not concerned about his hearing because he wakes up at the drop of a pin and has always been that way. Another concern of mine, although not related to speech, is that he has never clapped his hands and does not wave bye bye. He does know how to bang two toys together but never claps. I am not sure if those two are related or if either one is a concern. It is so tough since I do not have anything to compare him to. I am not sure if I am on edge due to my older son or this is a legitimate thing to be concerned about. I did ask his pediatrician and she wanted to do the wait and see method until his next appt (3 months from now). We did that with my older son and it only hurt him so I am cautious to do that again. If you have any insights that would be very helpful! I am sorry this is so long! Thanks again!

  231. Hi Christine. Based on what you’ve said, I would be concerned about your 12 month old. Not understanding language or using early gestures does indicate both receptive/expressive language delays, so he could also be following the same path of development as your older son. I know that’s hard to hear, but I’m sure you’ve thought about it since you’re also looking for information. I would push for an eval. If he doesn’t qualify, at least you’ve tried, and if he does qualify, then you’ll be glad you started as early as possible.

    In the meantime I’d highly recommend that you begin to work with your 12 month old at home to help him meet those early milestones he’s missing. For specific examples and directions, keep listening to the show, reading here on the website, and take a look at my DVDs Teach Me to Talk and Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1. If you’re more of a reader, both therapy manuals will be helpful for you as you look for specific activities to work on at home.

    You didn’t mention how old your oldest son is. If he’s still a preschooler, chances are the strategies in both the DVD and manuals will be appropriate for him too, so it’s more bang for your buck! Take care and good luck!! Laura

  232. Thank you very much for the quick reply! My older son is 2 years and 5 months. I have been thinking about buying the manual but to be honest we have just started speech therapy with him so I am still in the overwhelmed stage. I am quickly getting through it and will probably end up buying your DVD or book! Thank you again for all you do!

  233. Hi Angela - I’m glad he’s learning signs. Since he’s smart, it’s not that he won’t talk as your family believes, he likely CAN’T talk. Have you read this article? Take a look at it so you can debunk that myth with your family members.


    Waiting is rarely a profitable exercise for any toddler who is struggling to learn to communicate, but perhaps your dr. thinks he’ll have his language explosion in the next couple of months. If he doesn’t have a minimum of 50 words by that 2nd birthday, he will be functioning in the bottom 10th percentile of all kids turning to with regard to expressive language. That’s a developmental fact. Insist that he get the eval at that point, or you may need to also shop for a new dr. who takes your concerns more seriously.

    In the meantime, keep working with him at home. You’ve done great teaching him new signs. Keep going! He needs you!!! Write me back with any other questions and good luck. Laura

  234. Hi Laura,

    My niece is 21 months old. I meet her almost once every week. I think her speech is limited compared to her peers. From my observations, the only words I could make out from her are ‘mama’, ‘dada’ and ’sit’. I voiced my concerns to her mom but she brushed it off saying that her older daughter also did not talk much until she was two and she’s confident that this one will talk when she is two as well. I am not sure if I should discuss this with her dad as well. Other than this, she is a happy, affectionate child. She hit other milestones pretty early (walked at 11 months) so I don’t know if I am just being over cautious here and she will catch up in a couple of months. Please advise. Thanks for your help!

  235. Hi,

    I was hoping you could help me please.

    My son is 2 and a half years old and is saying no words at all. He babbles to himself but that’s it. He’s going to speech therapy for 6 months now and has started making a difference. If he wants anything, he’ll give it my hand, which hedidn’t do before. He listens to intructions and can follow most of them. My main concern is, will he ever talk? Speech therapist thinks he might have autism. I just wanted your opinion please. Many thanks.

  236. Dear Laura,
    I just wanted to let you know that Zachary now 23 months says “Hi” pretty much on a consistant basis. I know it is not a lot but we are extremely excited about this new word. His first in about 6 months. He now says “bye bye, uh oh, and hi”. He is still using his signs to comunicate and is getting good at those. Im excited to see what new word he learns next.

    Angela Carswell

  237. Yay Angela! I’m celebrating your successes! Laura

  238. Hi Yasmin. Of course I can’t see him, but based on what your SLP says, I think you should consider that he is likely on the spectrum. Many children with autism do become verbal. I would also recommend checking out my DVDs and therapy manuals. Working with him at home is critical for his progress. You’re his best shot! Good luck to you both! Laura

  239. Hello, I have a 3 1/2 year old girl, who since birth has never closed her mouth. She has never been fed orally, and when she laughs ther is no change in her facial expression. She had a tracheosstomy for 3 years, and it’s been removed. I suffer form Myashtenia Gravis, however she was diagnosed not to have it. She only says sounds like nananana and dadadada, hahaha. I’m afraid she’ll never talk or eat, I don’t know if there is muscle or nerve damage or if her jaw needs reconstruction. Doctors only gave her a couple months to live at birth, and now she’s almost four. I don’t know wht to do.

  240. Hello, I have a little concern over my little daughter’s speaking ability. She is now 1 year and 4 months old. Now she has started speaking a lot of things. But our concern is that we could not understand any of the words. Actually none of the words are familiar. She seems to have her own words.

    I doubt is it because we talk to her in two or three different languages. So is it that she could not pick any specific words. Or this is a phase she has to go through before start speaking clear words.

    Otherwise she speaks a lot, even argue with us for longer times. Any answers will be appreciated.

  241. Hi,
    I have some concerns about my 18 month old daughter. She doesnt say many recognizable words, right now she only says Yah, dada. Everything else is “da” , “de” “shashasha” lots of “ts”, bababa”, she also babbles alot in a conversation form however i cant understand anything.. We had her evaluated and she was at 8 months for receptive and expressive language. She used to say alot of words but once her sister was born 8 weeks ago she completely stopped and just says the dada and yah.. She also wont imitate words or facial expressions. This has me super worried.. She does respond to things like “give me your hand” “come here” “no”, when you call her name she consistently looks at you.. oh and i forgot to include that we are a bilingual household. she responds to albanian better than english. I am trying to do everything within my power to get her to speak but she wont, i am so sick with worry. Can you give me any advice? anything else i could be doing besides the therapy that she is getting from EI?
    *sorry for the post being all over the place*

  242. My daughter will be 3 in September, she has had a bit of a rough start. She was born with Laryngomalacia and had surgery to correct this when she was 6 and a half months old. She also has low tone, didn’t start crawling until 17 months and walking until18 months. She has been in speech and physical therapy since she was 10months. Now at 2 1/2 she still has not said one word. The speech therapist is now suggesting that she has apraxia. What is the best thing I can do for her to have minimum lasting effects. Will she ever be completely “normal”.
    Thank you, Lorelei

  243. My 16 month grand daughter does not speak. No DA DA or anything. She started to try to speak about 4 months ago but not since. She understands no and yes and looks when we say her name other than that she just grunts. She has an older sister who is 4 and a half who is fine.
    Please can you help

  244. Iba - Do you have my DVDs? Those can help you see the kinds of play you should be doing with her to address her language issues at home, and I hope her EI therapist is also teaching you how to play with her and target language in your daily routines. If that’s not been helpful for you, then you’ll definitely want to get the DVD! Start with Teach Me To Talk and then go from there. She’s very young and you’ve done the right thing by having her in therapy now. Hang in there! Laura

  245. Lorelei - Without seeing your little girl, I can’t confirm what’s going on with her, but I’d definitely trust the instincts of your SLP since she does know her. You didn’t mention her receptive language. How is she following directions for you? How socially engaged is she with you? Without knowing these things I can’t really point you in a different direction for treatment. Have you seen my DVD for Apraxia? It’s loaded with good tips, but you do want to make sure you’re treating ALL of her issues with language - not just the expressive or talking piece. Laura

  246. Chris - Are her parents concerned yet? If they are worried as well, they should call their state’s early intervention program for an assessment. However, at 16 months, she may not qualify for services since she’s still very very young without any other issues, unless there are other milestones she’s missing and you didn’t mention that.You could also take her to an SLP at a clinic or in private practice for an eval to rule out any serious issue and get some initial pointers for working with her at home.

    In the meantime, the website is FULL of ideas for working with her at home. Have you seen my line of DVDs? You can watch and SEE how to play with her to help teach her to talk. My first DVD Teach Me To Talk is the one I recommend initially for nearly everyone so you can learn the basic play-based approach to teaching late talkers. Good luck to you! Laura

  247. I have been caring for her whilst her parents are at work and have noticed she gets frustrated if she does not get what she is after ( ie; throws her dummy away,) which results in her banging her head on the floor and then crying or she pulls her hair very hard.

  248. Hi I take care of my friend’s son. I have him 4 days a week and have had him since he was 6 months old. He is now almost 15 months old. I am concerned with some signs I am seeing such as excessive drooling, this has been going on for months I have to change his shirt three times because he is soaked. Also he chokes constantly on food to the point wear he vomits it back up at times. He does not say any words, not mama, dada nothing just makes funny noises not babbling. I have a son the same age he does not drool, or choke, and is talking alot. I know babies all develop different but I feel something else is going on and I am afraid to tell her because what if it is nothing. She does notice he doesn’t talk at all but feels it is ok because her older child didn’t speak until about 18 months. Am I just worrying for nothing do I say anything or just keep quiet and let her worry when and if there is even anything wrong….

  249. Hi there,

    Hoping for some insight into this…My daughter is 19.5 months old, born spontaneously at 36w6d, after an uncomplicated pregancy. She was diagnosed with very mild hypotonia of the legs and a tiny bit in her arms back in December 2011. She received PT for this and they caughter up her gross motor skills significantly, now you could barely tell her apart from her peers. She is now however lagging behind slightly in language.

    She had an evaluation recently and has had two sessions with the Speech language therapist. I must note, that she has said many, many words at this point (well over 50), the problem however, is that it’s never consistent. She has for instance, said the word “Fish” at one point in time, but never again since.

    She saw a developmental pediatrician also back in December who said that is normal, as words are “imprinted” even if they don’t say it consistently at this age. So this is conflicting with what I’m being told by the therapist who says that it sounds like regression/lost words. Who is correct in a case like this? If a child has once or twice said a word, moved on, acquired new words, so on and so forth, is it a loss of words, or simply moving on to acquire new ones?

    She rarely uses her words to indicate her needs/wants also, that is the main reason we went to have her speech evaluated. She tantrums, frequently. She scored very, very high on the receptive portion of her evaluation both by the therapists and the developmental pediatrician, but slightly below avg. on expressive. She can point out all of the letters in the alphabet, and she can count up to 10, and can say a huge number of the letters also. The issue is consistency and teaching her to use her words vs. tantruming and/or pointing. She was never interested in working on signing the multiple times we have tried…

    I am with her almost constantly, she has very little interaction with other children (where we live there just isn’t that type of community dynamic or any programs available for infants/toddlers) although I take her out a lot (daily), she spends a huge amount of time outdoors.

    Since I have worked with the therapists many times (much of these activities were done w/her PT also), I do know what steps to take to work on the language at home. Most everything they told me to do, I had been doing right along (labeling everything, using simple and clear phrases, talking to her constantly, pointing things out, singing, reading everyday, exposing her to new experiences, etc).

    What am I doing wrong here, and what can I expect from my child? The Therapist went so far as to say have her evaluated for autism simply because of the language delay, but this sounded a bit over the top to me (no other doctors have ever indicated it sounded necessary). Please lend me your insight as I’m torn between several medical professionals and just don’t know what is going on at this point or what the next step is…Thank you for your time!

  250. Hi Tanya - The problem is that she never “owned” those words. You don’t count a word as a true part of a child’s vocabulary until the child says the word on their own (meaning not imitated) and consistently (meaning more than once or twice). That’s also not “language regression.” Language regression is losing words a child said often and on their own, which according to what you’ve said, is not what’s happened with your daughter.

    So how many words does she use on her own on a daily basis? Less than 20? 10? Less than 5? That’s her true vocabulary count. When you tell a professional that she has a 50 word vocabulary, they may not hear you beyond that number and are not getting an accurate picture of her skills and needs.

    Children with muscle tone issues and gross motor delays do tend to speak later than other children with no issues. Combine this with her sensory processing differences, and it’s no wonder she’s a late talker. Have you seen an OT to help you tease out those sensory issues? That’s something I would highly, highly recommend.

    I think the reason the SLP suggested an autism eval may also be due to her strengths as well as her weaknesses. Pointing out letters to the alphabet and counting this early indicate that she is a visual learner. Some professionals might call this “hyperlexia” at this point (I don’t use this term unless a toddler is already reading), and it is associated with children with high functioning autism.

    HOWEVER, if her receptive skills are within normal limits, I’d not worry too much about autism UNLESS there are other red flags with her receptive language. Some children with high functioning autism with visual strengths actually look and perform better on a highly structured assessment with an adult than they look in real life. If she’s frequently ignoring you or tuning out language, then autism may still be a remote possibility. Of course since I can’t see her, I have no idea what’s going on with her…

    I don’t know that there’s anything you’re doing wrong as her mom. Unfortunately, many times we don’t know the cause for a developmental delay. AND although parents can make a huge difference in helping a child acquire any late milestones, a parenting problem (with the exception of extreme neglect, abuse, or drug exposure) is not the sole reason for a delay. Even children in terrible homes have skills within normal limits. The converse is true too. Exceptional parents can also have a child who struggles developmentally. Her issues are likely due to the way she’s wired or how she came into this world and ARE NOT YOUR FAULT! You sound like a fantastic, committed Mommy, so focus your energy on finding ways to help her. Does that make sense to you?

    I would focus now on helping her learn to consistently imitate words. I have a very detailed outline of how to do that in my new book Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers. I would recommend that and my DVD Teach Me To Talk to start.

    Good luck to you both!!

  251. My granddaughter has periventricular leukomalacia leading to CP. She will be 3 in September, 2012. She has NO speech. They are medicaid and apparently, this pays so poorly that no one here accepts it, at least not for long. She was making progress, until last speech therapist quit. I know that the brain is plastic and will rewire somewhat with practice and stimulation. I am tired of waiting for speech therapy that is not going to happen. We are running out of time but cannot afford much private therapy. I am a teacher myself (high school English) and am determined to work with her extensively this summer. Suggestions for book, website, games, programs, etc. would be MOSt helpful.
    She seems to understand everything, and is trying to talk. I KNOW she said I love you once, although it came out like “ayeuuuuuhhhhhoooooo.” One speech therapist reported she said “put cow in” when playing puzzle. She has begun to sign “more” but uses it only when she REALLY wants something.
    Any crash course in speech therapy of this nature would be helpful. As it looks like the Republicans in Louisiana will shut down the Early Steps program, the teensy bit of therapy she is getting will likely be eliminated.
    She also has always, since early infant, responded to music. No music therapist in area either.
    Please help me. She is a beautiful little girl, so vulnerable without speech, and we are running out of time. I hope I have given you enough info to go on in order to give us some suggestions.

  252. Hi there

    My son is nearly 21months old and does not speak overly clearly. He has a few words that sound like words ie star, bear, daddy, bottle, no-no,quack,mmm for moo, but they don’t sound as clear as what they should be, he has had his hearing tested which is completely normal, and i am being told wait another few months to get him referred for speech therapy which I’m not happy about, but unfortunately can’t afford private speech therapy. He has also had a developmental appointment which went well but again was told he wouldn’t get reviewed again for speech til he is 2. I am getting frustrated as my son gets frustrated at times obviously because he understands but can’t express his words. any advice would be appreciated.

  253. Hi Debbie - I so admire your dedication to your granddaughter. I have lots of resources that I can recommend for you to help you learn how to work with her. Have you seen any of my DVDs? I always recommend that parents/grandparents begin with Teach Me To Talk because it outlines the basic play-based approach.

    You haven’t mentioned her receptive language meaning how she understands words. Does she follow directions? Can she point to body parts or pictures /objects when asked, “Where’s the ___?” Can she physically point? If not, then you’ll definitely need a therapist to figure out what movements she CAN use to help you know that she understands what you ask her. ALL children, regardless of their diagnosis, must UNDERSTAND words before they use them to talk. You’ll need to be sure her receptive skills are moving along before using language is a realistic goal. If you need help with that, check out my DVD Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 & 2. There are therapy clips with great ideas for teaching children to understand language.

    If her receptive skills are moving along, then the other resource I’d recommend is my new book Building Verbal Imitation Skills in Toddlers. This is a step by step process for helping her learn to imitate.

    Let me be sure that someone has told you that children who have muscle tone issues like cerebral palsy almost always have difficulty learning to talk. It will take much more effort for her to learn to control all of the complex processes necessary to talk. Speaking may be a realistic long term goal for her, but it may take lots and lots of work.

    She should qualify for speech therapy in your local public school system as she turns 3. Please make sure her parents are pursuing transition for her from Early Steps into that program. School speech therapy will be free, and it will be much, much better than no therapy at all.

    Lastly, I’d like to encourage you to follow up with her current SLP about any AAC (alternative/augmentative communication) system for her. Even low tech options can provide a way for her to communicate to reduce her frustration level. If her SLP is not skilled in this area, ask her service coordinator to refer you to someone who is while you still have time in the Early Steps program.

    I hope I’ve given you some new ideas here. Please feel free to reply with any other questions. I love to help grandmothers!!!!! Laura

  254. Hi Joanne - The website is FULL of ideas for working with him at home. Keep reading!

    Have you seen my DVD Teach Me To Talk? It will show you how to jumpstart his language at home while you’re waiting on the eval.

    I hate that he has to wait until 2 for therapy! Hopefully you can get him moving along before then! laura

  255. Hi Laura, my son is 25 months old and has been in EI since he was18 months old. He is a fun, loving and energetic boy!! He wasn’t talking much and didn’t start walking until 17 months. Recently, his language has exploded and repeats almost every word I ask. Although, he doesn’t really say too much on his own and usually only repeats. He does have about 40 words he uses on his own but only uses it when he wants. I’m not sure why one day is great and another day is not. He was flagged early (18 months) for possible autism and developmental delays so we went to a neurologist at 24 months. He hasn’t fallen back on anything but is defenitely developing at a slower pace. The neurologist thinks we should give him more time. His receptive is still slow but is definitely understanding more. Sometimes he will cry if he wants something or i ask him to do something- like get your shoes. He signs simple commands but only when he wants. He listens very well and plays so great with other kids. I just feel lost sometimes and don’t know what to do?!?! He babbles a lot in his own language. Sometimes I think he talks to himself. He is an only child and I work from home. The only real interaction he has is at his little gym or when I see family. Can you give me any advice? He’s still in early intervention but I’m wondering if I should have a SLP look at him?

  256. Hello… I have been having concerns ever since my daughter started talking. Her first words were daddy and mama. After that she started saying a lot of things.. althought they all start with a “g” sound.. instead of cat she says gat .. ball is gall, brush is gush, bird is gat, egg is gat, elmo is go, milk is galk, duck is gak, a duck says, gak gak.. some words start with a d sound like eat is deat, and so on.. plane is nane, no is go.. as you can see just about every word she says is all the same.. for the most part is is gak.. if she can’t pronounce it at all she just sys gaaa. She does say a few words like daddy, mama, nana for banana, she says ninnie for minnie mouse, and she can say daisy too. It seems like the only sounds she can put at the beginning of a word are g,d, m, or n. Also like 95% of “her” words are only one syllable. She is now 25 months old and has been talking this way since she was a little over 12 months. I can tell she knows a lot of things.. she just can’t pronounce them. What should I do??

  257. dear laura,
    my son is 23months yet he doesn’t pronounce any word nor does he answer his name. he also won’t respond when spoken to. what could be wrong?

  258. Hi Laura,
    My daughter is actually a bit older, she 33 months and turns 3 in Sept. She is severely delayed in her speech and the speech therapist she saw though the NHS said they couldn’t fit her in for speech therapy until Sept - she will be 3 by then! She says NO words at all, she just babbles. Her hearing is fine. Her receptive skills are not great but she does understand, e.g. she knows where to go and get a packet of crisps from (in the pantry) and she will bring them to me to open them for her. She reaches for water if she is thirsty, we have managed to teacjh her to do to “high-five” and she starts doing a wheel turning movement when we sign “the wheels on the bus”… but if I ask her to come over or give me a hug, she doesn’t seem to understand at all. We are playing games at home to develop her speech - like drinking from her play cups and being narrative, we are also using some of the techniques (being very narrative) that the therapist has advised. I am so worried I can’t sleep at night, what could be wrong and how can I help her to develop better? Any advice you give is so much appreciated! Thanks

  259. Hi Again Laura,
    I’ve just bee reading previous posts and noticed that you already have an “Angela” on here. So I’ve re-named myself to Angela2 to avoid confusion! Hope to hear from you soon.

  260. Maze - Without seeing your son and hearing more about him, I have no way of knowing what is going on with him. However, we do know this: his communication skills are delayed. Please take him for a speech-language evaluation as soon as you can so he can get the help he needs to make progress and catch up. Addressing these kinds of problems early give a child his best shot at reaching his potential. Kids who get therapy are always better off than if they had no services, so please, get him help. In the meantime, take a look at the resources here on the website to help you. The articles and podcasts provide lots of ideas for both parents and professionals. My DVDs are also a tremendous resource for parents. I always recommend that parents begin with Teach Me To Talk the DVD because it outlines the basic play-based approach. Since he’s not understanding and responding to language, I’d also recommend Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 & 2 to address his comprehension/receptive language issues. Good luck to you! Laura

  261. Angela2 - Please don’t kid yourself. Based on what you’ve said, her skills are far behind where she should be for a child who is beyond 2 1/2. The kinds of receptive skills you’re describing are more consistent with where we’d want a 12-15 month old child to be, and even then, she’s not doing everything typically developing kids of that age can do. Simply talking to her narratively is probably not going to be the ONLY fix for her because you’ve surely talked to her since birth. You’re going to have to be very, very specific and purposeful to make sure she links meanings with words. She must learn to understand words BEFORE she’s going to use those words to talk. You also don’t say much about her play skills; she needs to be imitating what you’re doing and playing interactively with you too. If that’s not happening, her social engagement is disordered, and you’ll need to address those things immediately. I would highly recommend my DVD Teach Me To Talk to get you started and then the receptive language DVDs Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 & 2. If she’s not imitating words, you’ll want to take a look at my book Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers to get that going. It’s a step by step approach that’s outlined in a way for parents to use with their children at home in conjunction to speech therapy, or in your case, before you begin therapy since you don’t want to waste any more precious time. You have quite an uphill battle ahead of you, but making sure that you’re doing everything you can at home to help her will pay off. Good luck to you! Please reply with any other questions. Laura

  262. Hi Laura,

    Just came across your website. I am the father of an almost (about a week short) 17 month old boy. He seems to play, interact with others, and do everything you’d expect a boy of that age to do, but he’s not talking much. He will say “no” and push things away, and occasionally “Uh Oh” or “Oh no” when he drops something, etc. He’ll also wave and say “bye” (or a close approx. of it) when leaving. But that’s pretty much it. I’ve tried and tried and tried to get him to say daddy (or mommy) but he’s really not close to it. Sometimes he does point to things and say something like “dat” as if he is asking what it is, and he may have started to say “ball” but i’m not sure if he has attached meaning to it yet or not.
    I’m an admitted worrier, but is this all normal for his age? My wife believes nothing is wrong, but I don’t want to wait too long if something is delaying what is normal. Any advice is appreciated.

  263. Ray - At a MINIMUM he should have at least 15 consistent words by 18 months. Children with average language skills have 50 words by 18 months, so you’re not being excessively cautious or too worried. While it IS true that all children develop at their own pace, the normal range of development for 18 months are 15 to 50 words, so he is behind that measure. I’d encourage you to keep reading for ideas here on the website for ways you can elicit words attempts at home. I’d also highly recommend my DVD Teach Me To Talk so you can see how to use play based activities to target language. It’s not too early for these kinds of things and you may be able to head off a potential developmental delay. He’s lucky to have such a concerned Daddy. Good luck to you - Laura

  264. dear laura
    my son is 3 year old. he has a very good word base and knows many words but he just makes conversation in just few words, doesnt form sentences. he hardly pays interest while i’m teaching him, but repeats it later. should i be worried about about his behaviour. he doesnt play with children of his age. not that he doesn’t interact but he doesn’t prefer playing with them. do advice. thanx in advance

  265. Preti - Without seeing him I have no way of knowing what’s going on, BUT he should be talking in sentences at 3 years old. If you have access to therapy services, I’d get him evaluated by a speech-language pathologist. If not, talk with the doctor to see what’s available for him. It’s not to early to be concerned, but you’ll need some professional guidance. Good luck to you! Laura

  266. HI Laura,

    My son is 28 months and really hasn’t said (confidently) 5 words. He will make sounds but with his mouth closed, and make silly sounds using his lips but has just no interest saying words.

    He sees a speech therapist 1-2 times a week and even she has said that she hasn’t seen a situation like this where the lips don’t move.

    His motor skills are fine, and he takes direction well. He is now getting very emotional, probably cause he isn’t talking, and we do try to make him talk by asking ‘what is this?’ or by other tactics recommended by the therapist.

    I have concerns with some of his other behaviors; he’s very, very shy, throws bad tantrums when things don’t go his way, and does get ‘bullied’ by his cousin who is the same age.

    It seems that we aren’t making progress and need to find new solutions, do you have any recommendations or suggestions?

  267. Scott - When a child tries to talk with his mouth closed, motor planning is nearly always the problem. I have seen this many, many times, so it’s not actually that uncommon in children who are language delayed due to apraxia.

    You’ll need to start at a lower level than imitating words to help him build the skills he needs AND my guess is that it needs to be a whole lot more fun than he’s having in therapy or working with you at home. No offense intended there :) Check out my DVD Teach Me To Talk and my book Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers for a better way to work with him! Laura

  268. dear laura
    my chid is 2 and half year old and listen properly and understand most of our instuction but he is not speaking properly and sometime get hyper too.we had consult ENT specalist and his BERA test reports are ok i.e. he can listen
    please suggest what to do?

  269. Hi Amit. If you have access to a speech-language pathologist, I’d recommend taking him for an assessment. If you’re in the USA, call your state’s early intervention program. The eval is free. In the meantime, I’d highly recommend my DVD Teach Me To Talk so that you can watch and SEE how to work with him at home to facilitate language during play and daily routines. The website is also full of other ideas for you. If you like to read and are serious about working with him at home, I’d also recommend my book Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers. It has a step by step plan to teach him how to imitate. Good luck to you! Laura

  270. Hi laura, My daughter is 22 months old and understands most of the things we talk to her and even follows our intructions to a large extent. She is able to point out animals/birds and other objects in her book when asked for e.g ‘where is the dog?’, however cannot answer the same question when asked’what is this?. I am now worried. I stay in India and my pediatrician has asked me not to worry about it. Is there anything I can do?

  271. Dear Laura,

    I am so glad I found your website. my 3.7 daughter just starting talking in phrases. We have been seeing a SLP one a week for 2 years.
    I notice my daughter copies sentences or phrases from her cartoon shows and use them for everyday situations e.g. Dora said “open please, open!” my use it when we are about to open a door and she’s getting impatient. another e.g is if she’s stuck or her bike is, she will say “icecream truck is in trouble”. She understands everything and follow directions really well. She wants to make friends but doesnt know how to have a conversation. She will say and hi and bye to kids, but while playing she will look how they are playing and enjoy it or go on by herself.
    I feel like she learning language but very slow. She request and have words and things that she would want e.g. her toy or foods. how can i help her build it faster?
    Please email me “patel.sarfaraz@ymail.com”


  272. Dear Laura,
    I have a 27 months old son, he can say around 50 words now, but the problem is that he is saying these words mostly when we say them, so he is just like repeating them, not saying them from himself. if he wants something,like drink or watch TV, he usually just take my hand or point to the thing, he doesn’t want to say the words. What do you think i should do? could he be austis? I have him evaluated once, and they say his is likely to have adhd,which i think it is not the case, because he is not hyperactive or hypersensitive. i’m in indonesia, so we do not have early intervention program, and very limited expert about this. please help.

  273. Dear Laura,

    My son is almost 3 and has been working with a Speech and Occ therapist for over a year. he has progressed very well and is a virtual human tape recorder although some of the words he repeats back is not crisp as we would like. He can count to 100, read letters from books, and identify shapes/colors. But he has trouble with forming sentences. The ones he does form — he does use the appropriately, but seems more like a habit rather than it meaning anything to him. i.e. When he is on my lap and he wants to get down he will say “Down please” — we have recently added I want to that — but he rarely intitiates the sentence without being asked to do so. I don’t want to label him but was wonder what this osunded like to you so i could ensure the therapy is addressing some of the root issues.



  274. Hi Laura,
    I have found your website to be the best resource out there for kids with speech delays- so thank you! My daughter just turned 2 years old and is using about 7 words daily in the right context (No, please, up, more, mumma, two, out). She’ll use an occasional (down, dadda - which I believe was her first utterance, one, three, open, hi, thank you). She has said many more words in the past even several months ago, but she is notorious for using a word for a day/week and then she won’t use it again. eg) She would repeat the word “purple” at about 15 months old for about a week, now she won’t say it and hasn’t said it in the past 9 months. She seems to be (at times) very proficient with her receptive skills when it comes to following commands. She will respond to “Go get the phone off the table and give it to your mom.” On the other hand, she struggles to identify/single out items in a group: she won’t identify body parts or point to the “apple” in the book. She will copy my sounds when I make it “funny”: I will say “ba-ba-ba…” very quickly and she will copy. I have done this with several basic sounds and she doesn’t seem to have problems mimicking the sounds, but she will NOT repeat words after me: Say “baby” and she just stares blankly. We have done a lot of work together: flashcards, games to help her produce different sounds, lots of reading, singing (she’ll sing with me often, but never to the right melody or with any accurate lyrics). She just started speech therapy last week, but I was hoping to hear if you had any insight. Thank you in advance and please continue the good work.

  275. Laura,
    Our son will be three in a little over a month and we are becoming worried about his speech development. Friends of ours have children who are just turning two who are easier to understand than he is. They are putting complete sentences together and are able to have conversations with us while our son just began putting two to three word phrases together a couple of months ago. He has a large vocabulary but also refuses to listen to direction until about the fifth time we tell him something. I’m unsure if that is him being a defiant three year old or if it is an area of concern with his speech. He likes to add/subtract/change around consonant sounds in a lot of words he says. For example T.B. instead of TV, heaby instead of heavy, suck instead of stuck, or downt instead of just down. We are trying to figure out whether this will come around with time or if you advise he seek out some type of special treatment. Thank you.

  276. Hi Laura,
    My son is 2 and 1/2. He has been receiving speech therapy weekly for 4 - 5 months through Early Intervention. I am considering terminating the sessions. He has lots of words (easily over 100), speaks in sentences up to 7 words or so, sings lots of nursery songs, most of his speech is intelligible, counts to 10, usually follows simple verbal commands, primarily parallel plays but does engage with close friends. He is cautious and primarily speaks around family and his care givers although he tries to get away with not speaking (i.e. pointing and saying “uh”) when he is perfectly able to use words he knows.

    He doesn’t demonstrate much of what he can do to the therapist. She regularly tells me that he will need services for years, that he has all-over low muscle tone, and needs deep pressure for a sensory issue. I dread every time she comes because she always tells me something else she thinks is “wrong” with him after the session. I have worked with young special needs children for 12 years. He doesn’t have sensory issues or low muscle tone. In fact, I am the one who referred him for speech therapy. However, he shuts down when she comes because of the intense pressure and very specific ways that her toys must be played with. She is kind and firm with him and extremely bubbly and animated. He says she’s fun after she leaves each week. I feel badly that she’s putting out all this effort. I have asked for a re-eval but she said to wait until Oct. when he turns 3. I don’t know if the anxiety level she creates in me, and possibly my son, is worth it. I am also not sure what a speech therapy session should look like. She does not give me anything to work on with him during the week. I don’t know if there is another SLP in the area employed by Early Intervention. I’m not sure where to turn to find someone else or a second opinion.

  277. Hi.
    I have had some concerns about my 30 month year old son. The doctor did not seemed concerned but I am. He has only said “no” on a regular basis and every once and a while I will hear him say “dada”. He did not crawl but scooted and he did not walk until he was 21 months old. I can give him instruction to throw something away or take something to his room and he does exactly what I ask. He points and grunts when he wants something. I have tried doing flashcards and using “your baby can read videos” to spark some interest in language but I have not seen results. What do I do? Who do I contact? Thank you for your help

  278. Na Tosha - Your doctor should be very concerned about him, and because the doctor isn’t concerned, I’d probably make a switch to a pediatrician who DOES take development much more seriously than yours apparently does.

    You can get information about your state’s early intervention program by Googling your state name plus the phrase “early intervention.” You’ll get an eval for free and therapy in most states can be billed to your insurance or it’s cheaper than it would be on your own (although that is changing more and more with budget crises!) If you’d rather go to through a private program, look for a speech pathologist who specializes in treating very young children. (If you’re close to me in Kentucky, I’d love for you to come see me!)

    Thirdly, the way to jump start language is with targeting language during play. You can see great examples of how to do this on my DVD Teach Me To Talk. There are also great articles that explain that here on the website. Keep reading!!

    I’m glad you’re concerned about him. He should be saying hundreds of words by 2 1/2 and using short phrases routinely to communicate with you. It is never, ever okay for a child not be talking at 2 1/2 and I am very surprised that a pediatrician would not tell you that.

    Good luck to you! Laura

  279. Hi my fourth son who is 23 months old. He does not talk at
    all. He only says one word that is mama to everything.
    He has global developmental delay. He cannot walk or do
    anything at all. He also have lack of oxygen to his left side
    of the brain . He has been failing his hearing test since birth.
    Does failing hearing test cause speech delay? Please help

  280. Sat - A child with a hearing problem is sure to have difficulty learning language. Is he a candidate for hearing aids?

    The lack of oxygen to his brain is the cause of all of his developmental delays - not walking, not talking, etc… Please talk with your doctor about these issues. He needs to be in intensive physical and speech therapy. Good luck to you. Laura

  281. My son is 22 months old and I am starting to worry a little about his speech. He omits consonants, particularly at the end of words or in the middle. Eg - home is “ho” and daddy is “da-y”. He used the be able to say duck and truck clearly and now he is leaving off the “ck” sound. He tends to only say one syllable in a word, eg - “ple” for apple and “bay” for baby. I model the correct way to say it, varying pitch and making it sound melodic as he LOVES music and we use flash cards, books, go around pointing and naming things but I am not having much luck.
    Any suggestions????? Thanks, Emma.

  282. Hi, could anyone offer advice on my 20-month-old son? he had a very bad start in life due to undiagnosed severe reflux disease but after diagnosis/meds at 8 months, came on very well. However, he still has NO recognisable words, never even said mama, baba etc. He babbled little as a baby - now babbles a lot but all nonsense, often makes hand gestures while doing so (as if reciting on stage). His eye contact is variable - he will play a game with me and hold contact, but when held in your arms he looks anywhere to avoid your gaze. He is affectionate and likes cuddles. Interacts and plays with his older sister but not with other children. By 16 months he had never waved, pointed, done patacake, high five etc - he will very occasionally do it now - and he rarely responds to his name or to you calling him. He never asks for anything other than to occasionally stand at the kitchen door and squawk when thirsty. His hearing seems fine. He can get extremely distressed by odd things - confined spaces and certain musical toys, for example - then be fine two seconds later. He walks normally, is strong and fit, eats a good varied diet. However he doesn’t seem to open his mouth too well when spoon-fed and has never been seen to put his tongue out past the gum line. He often over-fills his mouth. He refuses some foods simply by touch - if he doesn’t like the feel on his hand, he won’t even try it. He doesn’t strike people as odd at first - but when they see him alongside a ‘normal’ child the same age, it is markedly obvious he’s different. Any thoughts? (We live in the UK). Thanks! xx

  283. Hi - I just started taking care of my friends daughter full time, she is 2 1/2 and doesn’t talk. My friends boyfriend was responsible for caring for her during the day and didn’t do anything with her…just let her play alone. She only babbles and if you take her picture and say “say cheese” she’ll repeat and say what sort of sounds like “cheese” and can also say “tickle” and “at”. She can also kind of hum the tune to a song perfectly and will take your hand and pull you to what she wants. Doesn’t really look at you all the time…I’ll call her name and she won’t really respond. I know she can hear though. What are your thoughts? Should we try therapy? Are there exercises I can do with her when I’m with her? Thank you so much - Rachel

  284. Hi Laura,

    I have a 24 month old son, who is smart as a whip & for all intence & purposes, seems to be not willing to talk. I know that this isn’t normally the case & there are usually other reasons besides “will”. He is very social, very communicative nonverbally & even verbally in the aspect of whining, grunting, etc. He points for everything & what he can’t point to he’ll lead you where he needs you to go. I have always fostered speech from him & followed every rule & all advice given. I am a part time working mom & I’m very much at home with him much of the time. He only seems to be delayed in the language area. His physical skills are advanced. His understanding is great. I can ask him to do complex tasks & he has no problem attempting & completing them. ex: Myles, can you please take this bowl & put it in the dishwasher? He will & also put it in the rack correctly, push the rack back in & shut the door. So I know that he understands lanugage. The doctor has also said his frenulum is fine. We have been referred to EI, but I want to do whatever I can for him to work at home. I understand a lot of this is repetition & such. When I ask him to say a word like ball or something, he shakes his head no. I’ve read on the activities to do with him, but I want to know if there is anything extra I can do. We have already begun to sign. Thank you in advance. —Alexis

  285. Hi my son is 2 1/2 next month I am getting worried about him he can say about 25 to 50 words is this normal or should he be talking more? He understands everything like you say get me the green block and he will give it to me. I also noticed that he will point to something and I will say tree and then he will say it and you tell him good job and repeate it again and he will say ga….his favorite word is ga he says it for everything and he babbles all the time but nothing understandable. The words he says you can understand like baby he will say baby but if you ask him to say cat he wiIll just make the meow sounds and won’t say cat…..should he get evaluated I’m really worried about him

  286. Alexis - Get my DVD Teach Me To Talk and implement those ideas. He has so many nice strengths to work with! I love that you’re already signing. Is he imitating and using signs with you? If not, then you’ll need to up the ante so that those become communicative for him.

    The other product I’d recommend is my new book Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers since it outlines a step by step therapy plan for you to follow at home. Order it in the Late Talker set and you’ll save some $$.

    I’m glad you’re getting EI services, and you’ll get more ideas from them too.

    Sometimes seeing the techniques on the DVD makes all of the difference in the world for you.

    Good luck to you! Laura

  287. Yes Ann - Children with typically developing language are using hundreds of words at 2 1/2. The minimum # of words we want a 24 month to be using is 50, so I’d be concerned too. Pursue the assessment as you’re planning to do. While you’re waiting to get those services going, check out my DVD Teach Me To Talk so that you can SEE how to work with him at home. Good luck to you! Laura

  288. My son is 21 months old. I speak in Hindi (Indian language) with him while my husband speaks in Bengali (another Indian language) with him. We live in a joint family so my in laws speak with him in Bengali as well. My son, who I belive is language confused has started to blabber in his own language.he points to things for whatever he wants even to the point where he will hold my hand and take me to the object he is referrring to. He does say words like mama, dada….but i do not think he knows that mama is his mom and dada is his dad. When I ask him to say tata, he says ta (tata means bye in hindi) and waves his hand and if i ask for flying kiss he gives one too. If you say light, he points to ceiling or where the switch is, same thing goes for bubbles, egg but he is not able to verbalize these words. may be its because there are two versions for each word (bengali and hindi). on top of this, he is watching sesame street, super why etc. in english. He can refer to only a few words…I would say 5-10 words..if i teach him words, he does not repeat them back..should i be concerned or is it common for bilingual families? what should i do to help him develop his speech? I am very concerned. My son’s pediatrician told me to wait until he is two.

  289. Hi Anita - The research does say that children raised in bilingual homes may have a slight delay in expressive language, BUT the research also tells us that if there’s a true language deficit, problems will emerge in all languages. By 21 months he should be following a variety of directions in his dominant language at least, so if he’s not doing that, then proceed with the evaluation.

    The other thing I’d recommend is to be sure you’re simplifying language enough for him to understand. Use lots of single words and shot phrases rather than speaking in long sentences. Use visual cues to supplement what you’re saying - pointing, gestures, etc… If he doesn’t follow through with what you’ve asked him to do, then provide physical assistance. This is the “Tell him, show him, help him” model and it works to help kids understand more language and follow more commands. You can see these strategies in action in Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 & 2. I highly recommend those DVDs for you.

    I also recommend Teach Me To Talk the DVD since it outlines the basic play-based approach. You’ll save some $$ by ordering the 3 DVD set. Use the PayPal link and it’ll will save you some $$ on shipping too.

    One final piece of advice - the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 watch no TV with little exposure to TV after 2. MANY children become much more engaged and their play and interaction improves SIGNIFICANTLY after parents decide to restrict TV. Google that for more information.

    I hope these recommendations help! Good luck to you! Laura

  290. Hi, my son is almost three and a half. He can only say a few words and those are not clear at all for example, ma for mama, gah or da for daddy, buh for bubba, Kee for kitty, peas for please (thats his most clear word) mur for milk, kees for cheese, ect. He doesnt put two words together at all (with the exception of bye bye…but even the there is a drawn out space in between them). He has been to an audiologist twice and he hears within normal limits. Sometimes its as if he doesnt understand us. He gets so frustrated he screams. When there are loud background noises or even just a lot of background noises, he grabs my face and seems to try to “read” my face to understand me. He also does that when he is upset regardless of background noises. But then on the flip side, he can sit in my car and play his MEE game (mickey) or is WEE game (woody -Toy Story-) and following along. Both the games are interactive. Example: Mickey says do you wanna play and he responds (even tho he says no) or Woody says shake to continue and he shakes the IPAD. We have been to the local schools, we started at the beginning of the summer, and they just now did his eval. No results yet. I went ahead and made an appointment with a seperate speech pathologist but his appointment isnt for another week. The school this whole summer has been alluding to the fact that he would require Special Education, though I am not really sure why, as far as I know, speech is his only delay. He does everything else normally or above average, that we can tell. The only other thing is that he doesnt really play with kids he parallel plays still unless its like chase or soemthing like that. Also he spins ropes or strings or anything that he can resemble to a rope. Its not as if he NEEDS to spin ropes to go through the day, but if there is a rope, he will spin it. What are your thoughts? Also, he has an older brother that started taking after 2. (he is 6 now). And both my kids have been in daycare since 6 weeks.

  291. OAN, I have this last week started minimal signing(I dont know alot) but he will sign milk and more and please. He learned all that in like a day. Also, he will watch TV (I minimize it greatly just a little at bedtime), whether the volume is on or off. He loves music, he also can naturally run up and down scales on a piano (versus banging that my older child did at his age)

  292. my son is 3 and is working with a speech thereapist. He is still not talking. I think its because he has no front teeth due to his oral surgery. could this be why?

  293. My daughter is 24 months. She speaks very little “mama dada papa no pez (please) wa (water) din (food)” she knows things to do ie put toys away throw trash in the trash gets in bed for nap and bed time. She know all her main body parts if asked where they are. Do you think she has a problem? I have 2 other children who are older 10year old boy and 5 year old girl. Both growing up just fine no issues.

  294. hi I was wondering if you could give me some advice about me son. he will be 3 next month and still doesnt talk like he should for his age. his doctor said at his next appontment if he hasnt made progress then we will try speech therapy but ive been looking on websites trying to see if I could find out wat is exactly he has. his only problem is his speech. he has always been right on with all his milestones. he hears great and he always understands what we tell him and he copies EVERYTHING. if we say a word he tries to say it but it dont it never comes out clear so he is very vocal and VERY smart. if we say a sentence he tries to say it and we can hear like hes tryin to say it but the words are not clear at all. its like he only says half of the word and usually he only says the vowel part. for example daddy comes out as dee and ice he only says “i” but he does say mom, ball, bye clear. I try saying the aphabet with him and a couple letters he says good like a and b and m and of course all the vowels. when he first began using words he said “e” for everything. he tries to tell me what he wants but I cant understand him and then he gets mad cuz I dont knw what he wants so I tell him to show me and he will. like the other day I tried to get him to say hotdog and he leaves off the t and g but if I make the t sound separate he will say it but he wont put it at the end of the word. it seems like he doesnt know how to move his tongue or something to pronounce words to make them come out clear or at least so we can understand them. I hope you can help me understand what is going on so I can get him the right kind of help he needs.

  295. Hi,
    my daughter Aleena is 32 m old. She’s not talking (yet). We went to the SLP and she thought that she is a normal and healthy child (any kind of autism) has been excluded. There have been a few words, even sentences, but not repeating. Now her words are mam, dad, car, hello, sleep. All of them are quite well understandable. She also understands everything. I am confused, as we have tried to make her speak, even to ignorr if she is asking for something untill she says the WORD (i.e. once she said “cream”; the next day I wanted her to use the word again, but she just said no). In a few days we will visit an other SLP and ask for one more opinion.
    Thanks a lot

  296. My son is 20 months old and all he says is mama and dada and once in a while he will say a word but then he refuses to repeat it. he has said up to 10 words total but he just keeps babbling and squealing and saying mama dada and such. I am getting worried. He is my only child and i know that boys tend to learn a little slower than girls but still. This is a kid who can unlock my android phone go to his kid apps and open them and start playing by the time he was 16 moths old but he wont talk to me. I worry about autism but he walks heel to toe and he looks me right in the eye and he smiles at me and is cuddly and everything EXCEPT he just isnt talking. and he still tries to eat crayons so I have to watch him like a hawk when he tries to scribble. what do I do should i be worried?

  297. Hello,

    I need some advice:

    I have a three year old daughter who was born with tongue-tie. A few weeks ago, I finally mustered up the courage to have her tongue tie removed as she does not speak very well. She cannot pronounce most letters of the alphabet. For example, she will use G instead of D, and K instead of T. I have tried to recently sit down with her and try to improve her vocab and pronunciation, but she gets extemely frustrated and runs away from me. I am surrently living in Iraq, and there are no facilities that accomadate for speech and language therapy here. I was wondering if there was something I could do to help my daughter and lessen her frustration of learning.

  298. 28month old son speaks rely well with even 4-5 word sentenences,very sociable and engaging happy child.concern is he sometimes talks jibberish and cant understand a word he says..is this normal at this age,i thought at 28months he would have outgrown this. thank you.

  299. I have a grandson who is 9 yrs. old who was born with Spinal Bifida and is still having problems with his speech. There are some words we can understand but his speech is not real clear. He is now getting frustrated because we can’t understand what he’s saying and just started stuttering also. Is there anything we as his family can do to help him? With all the other struggles he goes through on a daily bases if we could help him to communicate would be a great blessing..Thanks for any advice.

  300. Dear,
    hi my son is 46 months old and he does not speak he just says the fort worlds like for dada he says da for mango he says ma but calls me daddy and for mom mama , he like to dance remembers everything even if he see a toy in the toy store we won’t get it for him he will make it sure that he gets it next time and remembers where its located in the shop we got his Neurological evaluations done last year and they said its normal we even go to the local speech therapist but its not helping us a at all i am very much disturbed and don’t know what to do can you please help us out and tell us what to do

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