Verbal Milestones

March 3, 2007 by Kailani  
Filed under family topics, my family

At Baby Bug’s last well-baby check-up, not only was the Pediatrician concerned about her appearance but she also made a comment on her lack of vocabulary skills.

She is now 15 months old and she hasn’t form a single comprehensible word. Of course, there are times when I swear she says “Mama” or “Hi” but those are few and far between. Then again I could just be imagining it.

I know they say that all children develop at their own pace and that you shouldn’t compare them, but I can’t help it. Girlie Girl knew her alphabet by the time she was 18 months. How can I not think about that?

When did your kids start talking? Any advice on how I can help develop her vocabulary? I read to her every day and try to engage her in conversation whenever I can. Who knows, maybe one day she’ll open her mouth and start talking in sentences!

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About the Author: Kailani:
Owner of An Island Life and Family Review Network. Wife, mother, and flight attendant . . . living a blessed life in Hawaii.
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29 Responses to “Verbal Milestones”
  1. 1
    Stephanie says:

    I am not sure how I can help you but I think it was very rude for the dr to say and I hope that baby bug starts talking soon! She will with time, I am sure! I babysat a 2 year old and she didn’t speak a word either, so don’t worry about it, baby bug isn’t the only one.

  2. 2
    Scone says:

    My kids were different from each other. Pirate Boy said his first few words before he was a year old, then he didn’t talk much at all until he was about 3. Punkin Boy was ready to talk when he was just a little older, and he’s made steady continuous progress. My oldest niece didn’t really talk until she was nearly 2; my friend’s daughter was talking in sentences when she was a few months old. These are every one of them very bright kids. And they are all very eloquent now and good readers, too, so I would advise that you *try* not to worry. (I know it’s hard not to compare.) With Pirate Boy in particular, he just wasn’t interested in focusing on language for a while; he was working on other skills. Odds are, Baby Bug’s doing the same.

  3. 3
    Debby says:

    I know everyone says the same thing, but she will talk when she has something to say. Every child is different. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing her to GG. She’s her own person. It’s legend in my husband’s family that he didn’t speak for the first three years of his life and he has the highest IQ I have ever heard of. He’s scary smart unlike his wife. Don’t worry. I personally find that the quiet ones are the smart ones. Just keep doing what you’re doing and one day she’ll surprise you!
    BTW shame on the Doc. She should know better!

  4. 4
    Pamela says:

    I’ve seen MANY children not talking at that age.

    Is she doing all the other things a child her age is supposed to do?

    Does Girly Girl interpret everything for her like my eldest did for my middle child?

  5. 5
    Michelle says:

    My little boy has started saying words last month at 14 months, but I have a lot of my friends who similar age children that haven’t started, I don’t think it’s anything to worry about!

  6. 6
    AuthorMomDogNut says:

    If BabyBug’s fine and gross motor skills are developing normally (and it sure seems like it from others things you’ve said about her) I wouldn’t worry about it. Does she seem to understand simple words you speak to her? Is she choosing to use sign language instead (pointing, etc.) to tell you what she wants? Then she’s comprehending.

    Some little ones actually do better with communicating with simple sign language to help get them started. Let me go find that link to that article on Baby Sign Language. I’ll be right back… Okay, here it is:

    The problem with Dr. “Growth and Development Charts” is that it leads us to believe that there’s some perfect benchmark at some perfect time that all children of that age should reach concurrently. And ya know what? All kids get there when they get there.

  7. 7
    Twyla says:

    I really wouldn’t worry about it. I have 2 girls and they are like day and night. My oldest was talking in complete sentences and saying her alphabet before her 2nd birthday. My youngest daughter on the other hand, could only say about 3 words when she was 2. But now she’s 3 and she does NOT shut up. They’ll talk when they’re ready. I also noticed that my oldest daughter did a lot of talking for her younger sister. Maybe that’s the reason she waited so long to start talking. Why bother if someone else does it for you? LOL

  8. 8
    Mary (Mert) says:

    Emma is the same way, Anna knew her abc’s , counted to 13, knew all of her shapes (including octagons), was speaking in complete sentences and could sing entire songs by 22 months. Most people though she was almost 3.

    Emma, she is a bit more laid back, doesn’t speak as clearly, knows some abc’s and numbers. She’ll be 2 next month. Since we know she is more laid back, we take a more laid back approach.

    Lack of vocabulary ( especially at only 15 months) doesn’t necessarily mean lack of intelligence or problems. Girlie Girl was ahead of the curve, so don’t feel bad about it. Some kids don’t start talking until 2. Just hang in there and keep doing the , “Can you say…” when she shows that she wants something. That’s what I did with Emma.

    I will correct Emma with a word, and she says, “Oh, baboon (balloon)… right. ” LOL!

    Sometimes they really surprise you and just start talking. Emma has never even attempted to say pizza… last night we had pizza for Anna’s birthday. Emma ran into the kitchen and shouted “pizza” clear as a bell.

  9. 9
    Twisted Cinderella says:

    I am sorry that the doctor has your worried. Is there anything that the doctor wants to check her out for? I think she is absolutely adorable and I wouldn’t worry too much. The thing about growth and development charts is that our kids haven’t read them. They do things at their own schedule.

  10. 10
    Pass the Torch says:

    I think D was born talking. C wasn’t far behind. And they are chatterboxes to this day. But I really believe kids develop at different rates, and most still end up the same at the end. So I don’t think I’d worry about it yet. She’s still a baby.

  11. 11
    Ma says:

    Some of my kids started talking early and some didn’t. The late bloomers are the ones that won’t shut up now. :-P Baby K started talking about 7 months old, but my other grandchildren were very late starters. In fact I sometimes still can’t understand everything they say. Baby K at 4, speaks better than my granddaughter who is 7. Maybe Baby Bug is one of those late bloomers. She understands everything you say to her, right? She’s only a year and 3 months. Give her time and see what happens. The Dr.’s shouldn’t judge her by other kids. My grandson is 11 months and he can’t say words yet. He is trying but not quite yet.

  12. 12
    Lorri says:

    I’m with everyone else- forget about what your doctor said! One of my children was a very early and proficient talker – she was singing along to the Mulan songs before her 2nd birthday. My current baby, who is 18 months old, has about 5 words and a handful of baby signs. He is active, smart, curious and gets himself into all sorts of baby trouble – just your typical baby. When he’s ready to speak more, he will. I’ve noticed that his signs and words show up in groups, almost like a speech growth spurt. And speaking of baby signs, have you tried any with Baby Bug? Don’t bother with the kits and DVDs, the original book, called Baby Signs is all you need. I had varying success with each of my children, but having a baby be able to use signs is very helpful. It doesn’t hinder speech development, but actually encourages it.

  13. 13
    Carey says:

    My kids all started talking around the time most kids begin. My suggestion is to check into early intervention and see what they say. here in NY, kids can have a speech therapist come to the house 2 times a week, even at the early age of 2. Some times insurance will pay for it, and the other times the state will. My 2 nephews are both in it, and I hear a huge improvement, and for the one, its been a year since he has been doing it(he will be 3 in May).
    Dont worry too much yet, kids will talk when they are ready. Just a thought for you.

  14. 14
    Desert Songbird says:

    I think you know your kids best, but also bear in mind that Girlie Girl is a first-born, and first-borns generally are overachieving. Plus, as mothers, we tend to be fanatics about “working” with them to ensure a head start. Younger/youngest children tend to install a more relaxed attitude in us, and they pick up on things like that. Plus, others (especially older siblings) do more for them, thereby not allowing the younger child to do for themselves. They get lazy because everyone holds them, talks for them, etc.

    Such was the case with my two, and to this day it happens on occasion still. Bonnie Lass hovers over her little brother like a little mommy, and I have to remind her that I’m the mom, she’s the sister, and to let Little Man do it for himself!

  15. 15
    carmen says:

    Hmmm. I, being childless, have no idea how this stuff works. But I do know that I’d have smacked the doctor for having such crappy bedside manner.

  16. 16
    Renee says:

    frankly, I don’t think I like your doctor much.

    second children NEVER talk as early as the first ones do. Usually this is because the older child does all the interpreting for them and the parents are used to reading 2nd child’s grunts & signs.

    Is she hitting all her other milestones?

    I hate that your doctor is making you worry so much. I don’t think that speach therapist will even see your child until they are at least 3 anyway.

    If her lack of communication bothers you, look into a baby sign language class to take with her. You’ll both learn sign language and this will also help with her speach as when you make the signs you say the word.

  17. 17
    Holly Schwendiman says:

    Wow what incredible timing dear. While I follow the old antage of my mother that you shouldn’t borrow trouble, I would suggest that you keep a close eye on it. My younger sister has had a big learning curve with this and just learned last week what she’s dealing with. The hardest part is that everything appears completely normal for the first 18 months of life, but as communication development hits the scene things surface. Then you spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how much is normal for age characteristic, how much is acceptable/exagerated and finally what in the world is going on. Her daughter is 3 now and it’s taken over a year year to get a diagnosis that is helpful/meaningful. Her oldest is 6 and hasn’t had any of the same issues, but her baby hit the 18 month mark and during the last doctor visits the doctor suspects that she has the same thing. She told me it had been long enough since she’d raised a normal 18 month old that she hadn’t even noticed and was a little surprised at how many thing her baby should be doing and isn’t. The first 4 years are the hardest, but early detection is key.


  18. 18
    jenn says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much, even though it’s hard not to. All kids develop at different ages. I think you’re right, one day she’s going to just start going and never stop.

    my mom had an in home daycare for about 18 years and she has seen kids on all different levels. At some point they all catch up and it’s never as big a deal as the parent’s made it out to be.

  19. 19
    Christine says:

    Lindsey’s almost 13 months and really only says Mamma and Dadda, oh and NO! I remember Josh didn’t really talk very much until his diagnosis, and then he was fine. Now, he’s a chatterbox, worse than me.
    My neice just turned 2, and she’s putting whole sentences together allready I told my SIL, I was shocked. Katelyn talked pretty good, but not whole sentences, maybe 4 words together. Children are all different, like walking, when they are ready to,there is no stopping them. I’ve heard good things too,about learning to teach toddlers around the age of 18 months sign language.
    But I wouldn’t worry too much!

  20. 20
    maria says:

    my youngest did NOTHING on time. everything was late. he didn’t even walk until almost 18 months, and talking? he was close to 2, my midle guy walked at 9 months and read whole books to himself before his 4 yr old year of preschool. have no fear they all do things at their own pace, she will be fine.

  21. 21
    NtycnBoricua says:

    Wow, that’s a toughie! I wish I could offer more help, but my baby girl is only 14 months old and I also often wonder if I’m just imagining she’s saying words. I’m sure all kids are different though.

    NtycnBoricua – Mami Dearest

  22. 22
    Karen says:

    Wow, language development varies so much. And if this isn’t the FIRST child, it can delay even more! Why should baby talk, usually everyone talks for them! :) I remember the story that my mom forbid my sisters to speak to my brother. He was almost 2 and didn’t say anything because his doting sisters talked for him…”do you want your blankie?” “here is your truck, do you want it?” “look at john, he wants his…..” it was constant jabbering, but not by John! :) After the silent treatment, John started talking because he HAD to communicate somehow!

    My dd was also an early talker. By the time she was about 14 months old, she was stringing together sentences. My ds (second born) basically grunted until he was 3.

    My dh did a podcast recently addressing language development. You may be interested in taking a listen. You can find it at I’m sorry I don’t know the episode number off the top of my head. :)


  23. 23
    Mommy the Maid says:

    I did not talk until I was almost two. My mom tells me that I opened my mouth one day after I turned two and I never shut up since.

  24. 24
    Lissete says:

    Although I think that it is nothing to worry about, you might want to consider taking her to a speech therapist. Just as an early intervention type thing. I don’t know how it is there, but here in FL I think early int. is up until the age of 3 or so. It is a Federal program & I believe t is free. Doctor referral needed though. We didn’t know about this program until my brother finally decided to take my nephew in to be evaluated, but he was already 3 so he wasn’t eligible. He ended up having to pay $$$ speech therapists. If you have the same program, why not??? You have nothing to lose.

    On a side note, my brother went t speech therapy for about a year when he was about 3 or so. One day he just started yakking and would never be quiet! :)

  25. 25
    momto3cubs says:

    My oldest boy needed speech therapy. I waited too long and didn’t start until he was 2 1/2 yrs old (and only saying a few one-syllable words). But ever since he learned to talk he hasn’t shut up! My other two started talking quite a bit just after 18 months. 18-24 months is the “language explosion” time. If, at 24 months, she isn’t saying 50 words and putting two simple words together (like “go out”) I would seek help for her. But for now don’t worry too much. Just wait a few months. Is she babbling as she plays, and does she seem to understand what you are saying? If she babbles away in baby talk, that’s a good sign. If she’s always quiet, that could be a sign of trouble.

  26. 26
    Elizabeth says:

    Just wanted to drop in on the convo. I’d go with an 18 month language explosion… good luck because I’m sure that as soon as she gets talking, it won’t stop ;) That’s a good thing, I know.

  27. 27
    Southern Girl says:

    I think every kid is different and you can’t compare them. I know my little brother didn’t talk (except for four words) until he was THREE years old. He was checked from top to bottom and they found nothing wrong with him — the doctor said he’d talk when he was ready and he did. My mother is convinced he didn’t talk because he didn’t need to — I interpreted for him. He grunted and I told my parents what he wanted. *g* She’s probably right.

    Baby Bug’ll be fine!

  28. 28
    Erin says:

    I had the same sort of situation with my two daughters. My oldest started talking at 8 months and also knew her alphabet by about 18 months. My second is almost 19 months now and doesn’t say a whole lot of anything. In fact, she only started taking any interest in repeating words a couple months ago and is now starting to put words and objects/actions together. I think the younger one doesn’t feel the need to talk as much because the oldest talks enough for everyone : )

  29. 29
    Shash says:

    Each of my kids have been so different in developing. My oldest – who usually sets the stage for the following siblings — said a bunch of words by 18 months like ball, momma, baby, bob & dada but then my daughter arrived, child #2, and she didn’t say anything except Momma until she was over 2 years old. I taught her to sign and she relied on that. Then at 2 1/2 she just out of the blue started speaking in full sentences. Child #3 is a blur… I really have to dig deep in the memory banks for his childhood… Child #4 is currently 18 months and his vocabulary consists of momma, dadda and bubba. They all are so unique and learn at all sorts of different speeds. Enjoy each moment and don’t rush for the next – they all fly by so fast…


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