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Talking Ability of a 18-month-old

  1. #1
    OX Jess is offline Registered User
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    Talking Ability of a 18-month-old

    Hi mamas,

    I know such question has been asked for many times but it is my turn to pose this question...

    My son is 18 months old and he is not at all talking yet. He can only make ONE sound "DA". Everything is "DA" to him. He has been making this sound for about 2 months now and there is no other sound he is able to produce yet. I wasn't worried at all, until yesterday when my mum said, "I have talked to so and so about your son not talking yet, so and so suggested that you shall take him to see a specialist to check anything wrong with his tongue!" I simply told my mum not to worry saying he is only 17 months old and he is making a couple of sounds though they are not really 'words'. However, at the back of mind, my mum's words did cause an alarm to me. People say boys are normally late in talking, especially so for those, like my son, are raised in bilingual (English & Cantonese) home.

    There is nothing wrong with his hearing and all the family members talk to him pretty much on daily basis. When I'm around, my mouth is non-stop (talk to him, read to him, sing to him...) We always encourage him to repeat the word we said, and he always tries hard but it just turns out "DA". You can see he is really trying to say the word but for some reason he can only produce "DA". A week ago when he was sitting alone and playing by himself, he mumbled to himself, "ma ma ma ma ma ma ba ba ba ba ba ba"... But once you asked him to say "Ma / Ba" again, he could only produce "DA".

    Some of you may suspect if I offer him everything he wants so he doesn't need to speak. Well, not really. Whatever he wants he points to that thing. I either keep asking him, "What? What do you want? Say the word." (of course he couldn't say the word) or offer the thing to him but repeat the name of the thing 3-4 times.

    We meet a group of 10 kids of similar age every week. All the kids, except my son, can produce a few more words. Some books say an 18-month-old should produce on average 5-10 words. My son? 1, which is hardly a word but a sound.

    Have anyone been in the same situation and the kid turned out fne?
    Last edited by OX Jess; 11-18-2010 at 04:18 PM.

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    yes, i was in the same position. by the age of 2, my son could only say about 20 words. they were not "clearly understandable" unless you were with him all the time. once he started, though, it grew exponentially. from the age of 2-6/7, children learn, on average, about 10 new words/day.

    really, RELAX. your son is doing just fine. tune what everyone else says out. your son is trying to communicate. he understands you. he just needs time to develop the muscles needed for talking and the cognative ability to form the words/sounds he needs.

    also, bilingual children tend to talk later than monolingual children. unless your child isn't speaking at all by the age of 2, isn't showing any interest in communicating and isn't making eye contact....there is nothing to be concerned about.

    i remember one time when my son was playing with his friend who is exactly 2 months older than he is.... we were at the playground and she came running over to us (she was about 2.5 at the time) and said, "mummy, i've hurt my finger. I think we need to go home so that i can put a bandage on it!" i was stunned and couldn't believe my ears...i remember thinking, "oh, my son will be talking like this in just 2 more months!"... i was DEAD wrong! it took him almost a year to be able to put thoughts together in that manner. (my daughter, on the other hand was putting it all together by 20 months!) my point is that you really cannot compare your child with the other kids you see sporadically. just keep doing what you are doing, because you are doing EVERYTHING RIGHT!

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    jvn
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    Some children just do stuff at other times than others, I understand what your Mum did was probably from love and concern but it's not necessary or helpful. My brother didn't speak a single word till he was two and half and then spoke in full sentences, each to their own.

    I also find that when I ask The Boy to do something, e.g. put this there, wave goodbye, etc he finds it more difficult than if he just decided to do it on his own, so it seems normal that he can make different sounds on his own but not when you're asking him to.

    Hang in there and once he's talking I'm sure it'll be non-stop like any toddler!

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    OX Jess is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Cara & jvn. Yep.. I know I really shouldn't worry but it's just nice to learn from other mums who have been in the similar situation. Except for not being able to talk yet, my boy understands an awful lot of things we say, he can follow a 3-step instruction in one go, such as "Mummy is going to give you a bath, so now go to get your bath towel then pick your favourite toys for the bath!" He goes to his room for the bath towel, hands it to me, then goes to his toy box for his bath toys. When I repeat a word to him and ask him to look at my mouth, he would look attentively at my mouth and smile and try to copy me... I guess he finds the movement of my lips funny!!!

    Yes, my original idea is wait until he is 2. If he still only produces "DA" but nothing else by the time he reaches two, I shall think about getting a professional... Still 6 months to go. Let me wait and see!
    Last edited by OX Jess; 11-18-2010 at 05:21 PM.

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    FutureHKmom is offline Registered User
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    Ox Jess - My son who is 19.5 months old is almost exactly the same - there are three words in his vocabulary - "ba ba" for daddy, "bao bao" which is chinese for bread and "duck". I know - the duck one is kind of funny, but what can I say - he loves his rubber duckie! However, he understands pretty much everything we say to him or ask him to do both in English and Cantonese and he does communicate to us using body language, nodding/shaking his head and pointing. We've spoken to our pediatrician about this and she says that he has expressive speech delay but that we shouldn't worry as long as he is understanding what we are saying and communicating to us using other means. Our pediatrician also says that our son will be one of those kids who will speak in sentences when he starts to talk. She says that we should wait until he's 2 before we start even considering sending him to a specialist. So I wouldn't worry about it for now. I've decided myself not to worry until he is 2!

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    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by OX Jess View Post
    Yes, my original idea is wait until he is 2. If he still only produces "DA" but nothing else by the time he reaches two, I shall think about getting a professional... Still 6 months to go. Let me wait and see!
    Hi OxJess

    Mine didn't start speaking properly until he was in K1. We just got his K2 report and it says in his profile that he is talkative! We were in the same shoes and were VERY worried. But now that he talks non-stop, we almost miss those days when he didn't! Don't worry about it. He is a bilingual male child so it's quite normal. Besides, where I'm from, speech problems are also only addressed when they go for their 4 year old check up. If it makes you feel better, do so, but honestly, I'd wait until he starts formal schooling i.e. K1.

    Cheers!
    QM
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

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    Sazzy is offline Registered User
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    Definitely wait until 2yo. Has he had a hearing test? If that's ok, then there is nothing to worry about - just wait until he is ready.

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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    You know, I wouldn't start fretting about it, but I would take him to your local MCHC for a check up. Yes, they will tell you that he is a bit behind - but probably they will just want to make another appointment in 3-6 months to see how he progresses. IF he needs it, they can provide speech therapy or something like that. But like I said, I wouldn't stress about it, just be aware that there are avenues that can provide help if it is needed. And I personally have found the MCHC to be GREAT for milestone things like that. Better than private doctors even.

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