Help! My 18 Month Old Doesn't Talk
Our son, John-Paul is 18 months old and he still cannot talk. When he wants something, he simply grunts like a caveman until he gets it. Our identifying the object as a "banana" or "more" for him will only elicit a beautiful smile or yet another grunt. He has said "Mama" and "Dada", but it appears to be more babbling than references to either of us. He likes to be read to, but doesn't repeat the "Mooos", or "Baas" or any other word we try to emphasize in his baby board-books. He's a fourth child, and up until now, we have pretty much chalked up his disinterest in actual words to the fact that he has three adoring siblings who will pick up his sippy-cup or fallen cheerio at the first cry or caveman grunt he gives. Also, I have a good friend who once told me that as child, she did not speak until she was three years old. When she finally did speak, she spoke in full sentences. Her family doctor attributed her delayed speech to the fact that her siblings did all the "talking" for her. Armed with this anecdotal story and the relaxed parenting style of a couple awaiting their fifth, we noted the difference and compared his delay in the same way we compared the varying ages our children began walking. Yeah, one started at nine months and another at 13 months, but their all walking and running fine now. And to John-Paul's credit, he can follow directions quite well. I can tell him to go upstairs and throw a pair of socks in the laundry basket or give a certain toy to a specific sibling and he will accomplish his "mission" with amazing accuracy. Nonetheless, I have to admit that had John-Paul been our first, we probably would have trucked him into a specialist months ago. As it is, he is our fourth and we are only now beginning to ask ourselves if this is normal. Today I googled "when should baby speak" and found an interactive checklist where I could answer a few questions to see if he is meeting appropriate language milestones. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/speechandlanguage.asp. Let's just say that John-Paul is not. We've decided to go ahead and schedule a meeting with a speech specialist this week. My instinct tells me that he is ok. and that this will not be a story he'll be recounting on a therapists couch thirty years from now. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to the end of the caveman era and to better communication with our darling son.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.