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Later talking toddler (Reassure me)


Lawyer&Mom

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My eldest Dd was hyper verbal, even as a young toddler. At 15 months she had a 25 word vocabulary. At 16 months it was 65 words. (Pediatrician wanted us to keep track to see if her ear infections were hindering language acquisition. Uh, nope.) Younger daughter is 15 months. She says Mama. That's it.

 

I know I'm not supposed to compare my kids. I know they develop differently. My younger daughter is amazing. Alert and engaged. Smart and social. She understands so much and she's actually really funny. She's doing great, and I'm not really worried about her. I'm just kind of at a loss. My first kid was *so* different.

 

Any anecdotes about brilliant kids who didn't talk right away? Or later bloomers? Or something? Pediatrician isn't concerned as long as she has six words by eighteen months. I know three months is eons in baby development, but it's bugging me now. Help me be patient, please!

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BTDT :)

My DD was an early talker, spoke in simple sentences at 18 months and complex sentences at age 2, told entire stories and was highly verbal. 

My DS, two years younger, did not say more than a handful of words at 18 months, and said only single words at age 2.

(No wonder - he barely had occasion to talk since his sister was talking all.the.time.)

 

Once he decided to speak, somewhere between age 2 and 3, he spoke normally, without any speech impediments. Even in elementary age, he spoke eloquently, with a large vocabulary and correct grammar and semantics.. There was nothing "wrong". He just was a late talker.

 

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I spoke very, very early and had an enormous vocabulary.  I talked all the time.  My cousin was born 6 weeks before me.  He didn't speak hardly at all until he was nearly 4.  He was a straight A student, has a highly successful career and is quite verbal now.  No issues.  He just wasn't in a big hurry to work on his verbal skills.  :)

 

Different children have different skills develop at different rates.  If your younger were struggling in multiple areas and behind normal milestones I would be concern.  Sounds like that isn't true at all.  She just isn't as verbally inclined as her sister.

 

Hang in there Momma.  :)

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Similar story here.

 

My son was exceptionally verbal as a toddler, having a large vocab at 15 months & speaking in simple sentences a few months later. 

 

My daughter, on the other hand, only had "mama" and "dada" at 15 months. It seemed to take forever before we had conversations, & then she had articulation difficulties that required speech therapy for years.

 

But...she turned out equally smart as her brother (teaches at AoPS now), social, extremely visual spatial, and more than a little talkative in the end.  :)

 

Hang in there, mom!

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My three older kids were late talkers and all had some speech therapy.  The three younger ones started speaking in the nick of time at 18 months, though come to think of it, a couple of them have had a smitch of speech therapy at school too.  My most speech-challenged child, who had zero words at three years old, was severely developmentally delayed and has had his share of sensory/2e issues, is extremely bright.  Like his siblings, he attends B&M school and is doing quite well.

 

It has nothing to do with their IQ levels, if that's what you were driving at.

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My three older kids were late talkers and all had some speech therapy. The three younger ones started speaking in the nick of time at 18 months, though come to think of it, a couple of them have had a smitch of speech therapy at school too. My most speech-challenged child, who had zero words at three years old, was severely developmentally delayed and has had his share of sensory/2e issues, is extremely bright. Like his siblings, he attends B&M school and is doing quite well.

 

It has nothing to do with their IQ levels, if that's what you were driving at.

Despite my best efforts to be anxious about everything, younger Dd makes it very difficult to worry about her IQ. She's mastered the art of pointing and grunting and twitching and leaning to get what she wants. She's going to be great at Charades someday.

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Despite my best efforts to be anxious about everything, younger Dd makes it very difficult to worry about her IQ. She's mastered the art of pointing and grunting and twitching and leaning to get what she wants. She's going to be great at Charades someday.

 

Well, Lawyer&Mom, there you go.  A little warning:  my late talkers (children of two lawyers) are particularly adept at cross-examination.  Of me.

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My oldest started walking at 9 months but didn't talk until around 15 months (I remember being so relieved when he finally said his first word - "woof!"- while pointing at our dog).

 

Then my next two kids were just the opposite, they were talking up a storm early but didn't start walking until later.

 

Now, all three of them are teens who talk ALL the time.  There's absolutely no difference whatsoever in their verbal skills!

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My son's first words were "the butt" (don't ask) at 13 months and that was all he said (often and LOUD) for the next five months.  He is now a sophomore in college.

 

He has dyslexia which is possibly why he was a somewhat late talker. 

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Despite my best efforts to be anxious about everything, younger Dd makes it very difficult to worry about her IQ. She's mastered the art of pointing and grunting and twitching and leaning to get what she wants. She's going to be great at Charades someday.

 

My son was like that. Actually, he still, at almost 10, sometimes will try to point and make a noise. At other times he will not shut up. I started worrying around 24 months. He started talking (aside from a handful of words) at 26m. In full complex sentences. At 4 he picked up another language. At 5 was fluently reading in both languages, with English being a secondary language and completely self-taught. I think his reason for this delay was perfectionism.

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We just covered the "emerging language" stage in my Language Assessment and Intervention class. As long as her receptive language seems good and she is making 15 communicative intentions in 10 minutes (including things like pointing, other gestures, babbling that seems directed at you, etc.) then there is nothing to worry about.

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At two years of age DS was in daycare where he made BFF with an Italian kid (parents grad student at same uni i attended) and the boys somehow communicated and really banded together even though they were not really verbal and in any event, in  two different languages (English/Italian).

We met this February in Switzerland where the boys carried on in...fluent French.

 

My DS tested verbal-gifted one time a couple of years ago, whatever the heck that means.

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We just covered the "emerging language" stage in my Language Assessment and Intervention class. As long as her receptive language seems good and she is making 15 communicative intentions in 10 minutes (including things like pointing, other gestures, babbling that seems directed at you, etc.) then there is nothing to worry about.

Ooh! I'll have to try that. She's great at the dinner table. Points and grunts for more bread, shakes her head when she doesn't want something, rips her bib off when she's all done... We could cram a lot of communication into 10 minutes.

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DS1 -- Talking in full sentences in two languages at 18 months, reading CVC words at 2.

 

DS2 -- Qualified for Early Intervention Speech Therapy at 2, then an IEP for Speech at 3. Could ride a regular Razor scooter around 15 months and a pedal bike with no training wheels at 2.5.

 

Jury is still out on IQ for both, but they are both *very* different people, with very different learning styles.

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My oldest had 0 words when he hit 18mo.  He had about 50 signs though, and understood absolutely everything said in normal conversation.  For whatever reason he had a complete and utter lack of understanding of pointing until about 2.5yo too.  You could point at the toy on the ground next to him and he'd look like up in the air, at your hand, all around...  But anyway, by his 18m well child check 2 weeks later, he had 6 words so the pedi wasn't concerned.  He hit 2yo speaking nice, long sentences.

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All 5 of my children have been precocious talkers, even DS9 who had undiagnosed congenital unilateral hearing loss. (ENT: did he have any speech delays? Us: He could say over 25 types of animals by 18 months, so...")

That said, DS6, child #3, had a very different style of speech aquisition. At his 18 month check, I asked his pediatrician about it. She dismissed my concerns ("all children developed differently, he's in the range of normal"), although she did offer a referral for EI. 

Turns out, DS6 is also ASD. Correlated? I don't know. 

 

My point in posting is to reassure you to listen to your mama instincts. They're probably good. 

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My oldest had 0 words when he hit 18mo.  He had about 50 signs though, and understood absolutely everything said in normal conversation.  For whatever reason he had a complete and utter lack of understanding of pointing until about 2.5yo too.  You could point at the toy on the ground next to him and he'd look like up in the air, at your hand, all around...  But anyway, by his 18m well child check 2 weeks later, he had 6 words so the pedi wasn't concerned.  He hit 2yo speaking nice, long sentences.

 

Signs would definitely fall under "communicative intentions". With some kids, it takes a bit longer to have the motor control necessary for speech but signing appropriately counts as language use.

 

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My eldest Dd was hyper verbal, even as a young toddler. At 15 months she had a 25 word vocabulary. At 16 months it was 65 words. (Pediatrician wanted us to keep track to see if her ear infections were hindering language acquisition. Uh, nope.) Younger daughter is 15 months. She says Mama. That's it.

 

I know I'm not supposed to compare my kids. I know they develop differently. My younger daughter is amazing. Alert and engaged. Smart and social. She understands so much and she's actually really funny. She's doing great, and I'm not really worried about her. I'm just kind of at a loss. My first kid was *so* different.

 

Any anecdotes about brilliant kids who didn't talk right away? Or later bloomers? Or something? Pediatrician isn't concerned as long as she has six words by eighteen months. I know three months is eons in baby development, but it's bugging me now. Help me be patient, please!

I have a really advanced youngest. He didn't say a word until he began speaking in sentences. One day at the dinner table, he said, plain as day, "Me have some more green beans, please." He had an older sibling who spoke for him often. He didn't have to bother. To this day, he is efficient. ;)

 

Just keep talking to her. Read constantly. Ask her opinion about stuff and if she makes any sound, respond as if it were an understandable response. Oh, and when she starts, require a response each time, even if it is an unintelligible grunt. She will do it.

 

My once silent kid is doing fantastically well on campus and is considering becoming an attorney. ;).

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My second son did not talk, babble, make sounds, etc.  He had an IEP for speech articulation and expressive language delay.  We did three years of speech and occupational therapy through the public school from 2yrs to 5 yrs old.  As a teen getting language and thoughts on paper was  a struggle and took a long time to lean how to express himself.  He is doing well at 19 in community college classes but not great.  We still see the struggle with language/vocabulary acquisition but he is capable.

 

Oldest daughter was hard to understand as speech was garbled.  She is dyslexic and tutoring her in LiPS really cleared up her speech along with intensive OG training for reading then work on her writing really helped.  She is doing college classes at 17 and is on honor roll.  

 

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My gifted adhd child did not speak until 3.5, and required speech therapy in his younger years for articulation.  He's quite brilliant but quirky.

His brother tests borderline gifted (ASD) but psych says not borderline...just no way to tell exactly how smart with his slow processing...he didn't speak until almost 3, but then spoke in full sentences that wow-ed everyone.

My oldest daughter had speech therapy starting at 18months, and still didn't talk until 3 (therapist was concerned something was really wrong, but there wasn't.)  She did attend speech therapy until 5yo for language delay.  She is now neurotypical, though still struggles with language to some extent.

 

So, yes, in my experience kids can be very smart and late talkers.  (There may, however, be some twice exceptionality.)

 

3 of my 4 children were late talkers.  We started the youngest with baby sign language, and she is my only child who did not talk late...I think it made a difference, but who knows!  It could have been many things.

 

I totally wouldn't worry about a 15mo who has said mama!  That sounds just fine to me.  I'm not even sure if my brilliant youngest was talking at that point...I know she was signing, but can't recall when she actually spoke...somewhere around there.

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All three of my gifted to highly gifted kids waited until 2 to start talking. Oldest had maybe had 10 words before two, but the other two were two before they said their first words.

 

Of course, I'm pretty sure part of that was because I didn't talk much with them! I'm not a big talker myself so we had a lot of silence punctuated by the usual toddler grunts or cries:-)

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We are dealing with this right now and keep going back and forth on whether to seek a deeper eval. I tried to schedule one but the primary care physician didn't think it was warranted yet, and in the intervening months we have gotten a lot more verbal interaction and attempts at syllables and words, just about six months delayed. This is a kid with no receptive language issues, plenty of communicative behavior and gesturing, and a developing cadre of sounds and approximations, so I'm leaning toward him just being slow on this. He was about six months delayed on his walking too, compared to our average as a family, but is running around with no issues now.

 

I was originally feeling fine about him, then thanks to some rather alarmist posts around the board started to get worried and second guess myself. Now I'm back to my original position as he is definitely progressing, just at his own pace. He still seems extremely intelligent and interactive, but just not very verbal. He just doesn't care. We can even bribe him into using words but he isn't consistent at repeating them and just laughs at us unless more chocolate chips are on the line :lol:

 

I get worried when a kid has dull eyes or no eye contact, limited expressiveness or hypersensitivity, no attempts at pointing or communicating with their own syllables even if they aren't intelligible words, or just seem 'off'. But a kid who is healthy and happy otherwise and is making some progress with their communication with a little work and time? No big deal. I will still ask for a referral at the next well baby so we can make sure we aren't missing something, but the doctor who originally suggested it was the one who seemed reluctant to actually do anything when I pressed. Apparently she didn't actually mean she was worried so much as that he was behind on that single metric, and didn't want to refer without more obvious delays than just vocab.

 

The two year appointment will tell in January, but I can honestly say he has progressed since his last visit and that makes my mama heart feel a lot better than it did a few months ago. There have been more words, just less than extremely verbally gifted sister who came before him. I can't even remember the older kids except that they seemed average, but a really verbally slow kid following one who could use multi word sentences at two made the contrast seem really stark, when in actuality I think she was more advanced than he is slow. Know what I mean?

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Despite my best efforts to be anxious about everything, younger Dd makes it very difficult to worry about her IQ. She's mastered the art of pointing and grunting and twitching and leaning to get what she wants. She's going to be great at Charades someday.

Yes, my son can communicate remarkably complex requests without words and is a total character. But actual words? Barely. It's frustrating but I'm not worried about brains with him either.

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" He still seems extremely intelligent and interactive, but just not very verbal. He just doesn't care."

 

This is my daughter. She just doesn't care. She laughed out loud when I admonished her older sister for playing with her food at the dinner last night. She's paying attention. She knows what's going on. She just has better things to do.

 

Pediatrician told me to read to her constantly. She won't let me! She literally shuts every book after the first page. This kid has her own priorities.

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I clicked on this thread fully prepared to urge you to schedule an evaluation for your late talker, as it can take a while in some areas. No matter how many kids suddenly start talking at a later age, I never see the harm in an evaluation.

 

But she's 15 months old, says mama, and the pediatrician isn't worried? I feel free to reassure you that you can forget about this for the next few months at least! I'm assuming your ped is satisfied with her range of babbling, and not just a wait and see type in general. 

 

I myself would start encouraging words (or reasonable facsimiles, lol) in lieu of grunting and pointing, just because that will give you more information to work with in 3 months if needed. And because grunting and pointing annoys me. With some encouragement, most babes that age can manage "ooh!" for juice, and so on. 

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My ds13 didn't say any words at 15 mo, but then soon after, he started speaking in sentences.

 

My mother (4th of 5 kids) claims that she didn't talk until she was 4, because there were plenty of other people around who talked for her. 20 years later, she was the first woman to graduate with an engineering degree from her university. She always had trouble recalling words when she was speaking, which makes me wonder if she was just more analytical than verbal. I think I'm the same way--my thoughts don't usually form in words, so I'm always a little slow to respond in conversation.

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In terms of the "call now vs. wait", the biggest issue is the toddler's receptive understanding of language. With my child who turned out to have a problem, her receptive understanding wasn't any better than her expressive use. I called EI at 20 months and I wish that I'd called sooner because it took 4 months for an eval and another 3 months to get started on therapy. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

 

If the toddler has good receptive understanding and is using an appropriate amount of "communicative intentions" (average of 1/min at 12 mos., 2/min at 18 mos.,, and 5/min at 24 mos.), then expressive language delay is less of a concern.

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My first was a precocious talker.

 

My second had maybe 1 word when we were coming up to 18 months.  I didn't even wait for the 18 month appointment for the pediatrician to express whether or not he was concerned, I went ahead and referred him to Early Intervention for speech therapy.  Good thing I did too.  We discovered right around his 3rd birthday that he had Childhood Absence Epilepsy (where he was having tiny seizures that lasted only 2 or 3 seconds and just looked like he was daydreaming, but it was happening over 100 times a day).  By that time all of the intensive speech therapy we had him in had helped his brain re-wire around the damage, and now at age 5 he talks just fine, and reads at a 2nd grade level.  But if we had not started speech therapy a year and a half before a diagnosis was possible, he would be much worse off than he is now. 

 

I read in a book (I think it was the Einstein Syndrome), that at 18 months, 75% of kids with speech delays are absolutely fine, just developing speech a little slow.  25% of kids with speech delays at 18 months have underlying causes.  And about half of that 25% would benefit HUGELY by starting speech therapy right away.  But that at 18 months, it's practically impossible to know which category your child fits in - you just have to hope you guess right.  So, if you have any doubt at all, go ahead and get an eval and some therapy.  Because if your kid is in the 75%, then it won't hurt.  But if your kid is in the minority where it really matters, like my kid was, it will make a world of difference.

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We've had an explosion of babbling in just the last day or two. She's getting super chatty. Still not words, but so much communication. I'm not worried. She's moving in the right direction, and so long as she continues to do so and hits six words by 18 months, I'll stay calm. At this rate I think she'll have six words before Thanksgiving.

 

Thank you all for your stories and insights!

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Has your younger dd had ear infections?

 

I ask because a susceptibility to ear infections can run in families--almost all of my kids have had them frequently. But--some were silent ear infections--the child gave me no sign that they were having problems. An infection would turn up at a regular well child checkup.

 

I can't imagine that is common, but would keep an eye on things.

 

With my kids, I've had a wide variation in verbal development. My current toddler is by far my most verbally precoscious, her vocabulary at 12 months was about 100 words (counting as my Dr. does, which includes animal sounds and hand signs); at 21 months she talks constantly using complex sentences and grammar. In fact in some areas she is ahead of my 4 year old, but he does have some developmental delays so isn't a fair comparison. Those delays were evident early on along with the speech difficulties. My oldest was relatively slow to pick up language but had a huge explosion around age 2 and by 3 was probably well above average. In the absence of other signs of developmental delay or any indication of hearing problems I wouldn't be worried about your dd at this point.

 

Interestingly to me, whether or not my kids have ended up needing speech therapy (several have) for enunciation seems to have no relationship to whether they were early or late talkers.

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  • 2 months later...

6 out of 8 of mine were language delayed. My oldest hardly had any word at 2. The ped. thought she had a hearing problem. None was found. When she hit 3 she talked in complete sentences! She has always been a perfectionist. :) Now she has an huge vocabulary and loves languages! For my others, I didn't worry once the hearing test

came back ok. All of my late talkers were early walkers. My brother's kids were the opposite, early talkers- late walkers.

If she will cooperate try some baby signs. Signing Time videos are great fun! We taught #8 signs and that has helped a lot! Just be prepared to repeat the signs many times everyday.

Have her listen to children's books on CDs while she is playing, coloring, eating, or sitting in the tub! Just keep talking to her too. :)

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Relish the silence!

 

Mine was a late talker because he had everyone wrapped around his finger. He never needed to talk! When he did, it was sentences almost right away. Now he will.not.stop! Long summaries of YouTube Let's Play videos. Extensive information about Minecraft mini games. Lots of Adele and Ariana Grande songs. Some days I think wistfully, "Remember when you couldn't talk....I was so worried....now I am thinking of losing it if you tell me about one more Adventure Time episode...."

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Eldest didn't talk. She knew how to tell me what she wanted quite clearly. But her only words before age 2 were drink and shoes. She wouldn't even say mama or dada. She saw no need. She was 3 before she got real sentences happening. I couldn't comprehend those talking 1 year olds. 

 

Then second came along, and was speaking full sentences at 20 months. Given the age gap, eldest and second practically learned to talk at the same time. 

 

Youngest is almost 3 and was right on average. Is currently speaking sentences theoretically but is incomprehensible most of the time. She is saying actual words, but her baby talk 'accent' is strong and it takes three or four hearings to try figure out what she is saying sometimes, especially if tired/cranky.

 

All three kids are slightly above average academically. Not highly gifted by any means, but bright enough to be bored in their age-appropriate classrooms. Eldest turned 6 two weeks ago and reads at a third grade level, middle is just moving on from CVC to 1st grade readers right now. Early or late speech seems to have made no difference. Except, eldest does struggle with memorisation, math facts, spelling, she either doesn't do well at memorising or doesn't see the point in it. I wonder if that has anything to do with late speech, just not remembering/being bothered to remember the words to say them, but recognising them just fine when heard. 

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I have friend with an extremely late talker. He was about 4 1/2 before he did much more than babble. His speech just appeared one winter and he seemed completely on par with his peers after that. He's the youngest in a very verbose and book oriented family and I sometimes wonder if he just couldn't get a word in edgewise and people were always making sure his needs were met so maybe he had no need to talk.

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My twins did speech therapy. DS had lots of ear infections and eventually tubes. DD just wanted to be like her brother I guess. They had less than 5 words at 18 months, did speech therapy from 19-21 months and totally caught up. Their preschool teacher was shocked they did speech therapy. Both are bright and probably gifted.

 

My oldest was speaking in full grammatically correct sentences by 18 months.

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How is she with her gross motor skills? You know what they say - early walker, late talker. It rhymes, so it has to be true :) And I bet if you check the Ages and Stages checklist for this age you'll be reassured.

 

With that said, if you're at all concerned, get her evaluated for EI anyway. Almost certainly the evaluation will come up "Kid's fine, mom's a worrier", but at least you'll know. And if something is wrong, you won't have wasted any precious time going "Maybe I should get this checked out. Maybe I should get this checked out."

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How is she with her gross motor skills? You know what they say - early walker, late talker. It rhymes, so it has to be true :) And I bet if you check the Ages and Stages checklist for this age you'll be reassured.

 

With that said, if you're at all concerned, get her evaluated for EI anyway. Almost certainly the evaluation will come up "Kid's fine, mom's a worrier", but at least you'll know. And if something is wrong, you won't have wasted any precious time going "Maybe I should get this checked out. Maybe I should get this checked out."

I agree with this. It's a free service and will either ease your mind or get the ball rolling. On the off chance she needs therapy, the earlier the better.

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How is she with her gross motor skills? You know what they say - early walker, late talker. It rhymes, so it has to be true :) And I bet if you check the Ages and Stages checklist for this age you'll be reassured.

 

With that said, if you're at all concerned, get her evaluated for EI anyway. Almost certainly the evaluation will come up "Kid's fine, mom's a worrier", but at least you'll know. And if something is wrong, you won't have wasted any precious time going "Maybe I should get this checked out. Maybe I should get this checked out."

But not always true. My DS didn't walk until 17.5 months and was evaluated for speech between age 2.5 (waiting list for 6mo) for being a late talker.

 

That said, when the books discussed making towers of blocks and was saying that a child might make a tower of 2 or 3 blocks my son was making towers of 7 or 8 blocks... So he was picking a totally different skill to work on....

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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The goal was 6 words by 18 months. She had said 6 different words by 17 months, but she wasn't really using them very much, and I was still concerned. In the last week or so, just in time for her 18 month checkup, she now has six words she consistently uses: Mama, ball, shoe, foot, milk, block. She has another handful of words she uses occasionally or when prompted. Her receptive language is still great. Her charades game is still strong. The new target is 50 words by 24 months. We'll she how she does!

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First kid, 10 words by 18 months.  Very verbal now, probably gifted.

 

Second kid, 8 words at 24 months--would have qualified for services.  Taught himself to read before Kindergarten.

 

That said...... The lack of verbal with the second kid may have been partly an autism spectrum thing, or an independence thing or both.  But regarding the independence--he'd go and get his own orange juice from the fridge at 18 months, so he never needed to ask parents for anything.  The independence is still a  problem--it's taken him a while to develop the parental bonding, and he's been a "teenager" since he was 4.    He doesn't openly talk to us about problems at school or with other kids or about medical issues--he once went a week with a festering wound trying to self treat.  I found out about it when I walked in on him getting a bandaid from my bathroom.  I think that should be as much a concern to you, if not more, than the kid's intelligence.

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I called EI for my oldest at 15 months. Her receptive language was fine, but what alarmed me were the number of words she had said once (light, elevator) and never again. Turned out she had oral motor issues. Was caught up by 2.5. It might have been a lot harder had we waited.

 

But, it was the dropping words, not that she couldn't say words at all that got me, you know?

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My eldest, perfectionist, hadn't spoke much until he learnt to read fluently at about 2.5yo. Then he suddenly began speaking in full complex sentences. Apparently he didn't want to say words without knowing how they were written.

 

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I called EI for my oldest at 15 months. Her receptive language was fine, but what alarmed me were the number of words she had said once (light, elevator) and never again. Turned out she had oral motor issues. Was caught up by 2.5. It might have been a lot harder had we waited.

 

But, it was the dropping words, not that she couldn't say words at all that got me, you know?

This is fascinating. She has said certain words perfectly like once, and then all I'll get is a very very loose approximation. Most of her words are only approximations. Sometimes I think I she says a whole sentence, but I can't be sure because each word was slurred. Thank you for sharing this!

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