Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

My 15 month old is slightly gross motor and speech delayed

We had our son's 15 month well baby pediatric appointment yesterday. (I am starting to really hate those appointments.) Again, we discussed the developmental milestones that our son is not hitting. He started crawling about 2 weeks ago (has scooted and cruised longer) and loves to pull up to a stand, but is not steady on his feet by himself yet so he will only walk if you hold both of his hands. Also, he says "dada" all the time, as well as lots of other baby babble ("nana," sometimes "mama"). But he has no object specific words. He understands what we say to him, though. He does not nod or shake his head or point.

So I am feeling totally rotten and like a bad parent. Apparently, I am supposed to be stimulating and challenging him more.

Anyone have any insight or advice for me?

Thank you.

Re: My 15 month old is slightly gross motor and speech delayed

  • My son didn't talk until he was almost 2.  Not a word- not EVEN Mama or Dada.  Nothing at all except baby babbles.  He pointed but did not nod / shake.  He was very, very social, so autism was never a concern-- just speech.

    He was referred for EI.  He qualified, but by the time it all went through (takes a couple months), he was chattering up a storm.  He pretty much hasn't stopped talking since and is almost 4. 

     

     

     

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  • Thanks, Heather R. I am glad your son is doing so well.
  • There are tons of reasons a child might have motor or speech delays that have nothing to do with how much they are being stimulated.  Don't beat yourself up.

    Getting an EI referral and having someone come to evaluate him would not be a bad thing.  They are there to help and can do wonderful things for children who are a bit behind.  Most kids who take advantage of these services at a young age are able to graduate out and go on to be perfectly typical kids.  

    If I were in your shoes, I would be the most comfortable waiting until my child was 18 months old before deciding that anything was "wrong".  I know of several of kids who didn't start walking or talking until that age or even older.  I would not wait much after 18 months, though, because getting a referral and having someone come out to evaluate could take a month or two.


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  • My DD is 2 months younger than your son, and is the same (except she's been crawling since about 9 mo).  I'm concerned that I don't challenge 'stimulate' her enough too.  I keep telling myself that every baby develops differently and walking / talking still have a lot more time to develop.  I have thought about putting her in daycare 2 ish days a week - but I doubt she'd really get anything from it (could be wrong though).
  • Did the doctor suggest EI? I would get a referral and see what they say. DD2 turned out to be delayed 5-6 months in most areas, far worse than we thought. She sees a PT, a special ed teacher, and an occupational therapist. It's totally free in NY, but I've heard that it's different in other states. 
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  • Not a bad parent!  I agree with some of the PPs, if you are unsure you can always get an EI evaluation to see if you qualify for services.  If it is a concern for you I wouldn't wait, it can take a month or two to get one.  We see a PT for one of my twins and he has improved a lot since starting.  I understand, though, why it can be hard and how it can feel like you are not doing your job, but thats not true.  Delays can happen for a million reasons; for some kids it takes a bit longer for the lightbulb to go off but once it does they speed along.
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  • Based on our 15 month appointment with the developmental ped, I would consider getting a referral based on the gross motor delays and I wouldn't be concerned with the speech.

    At our 15 month she wasn't walking but started crawling at 9 months, was cruising, knee walking and could take a few independent steps if prompted. We were originally referred because she didn't roll from her back until 12 months. Since she was rolling the ped was not concerned and wouldn't be concerned about the walking until 2. She was diagnosed as slightly hypotonic, and it is possible that your son is also - basically low muscle tone and they might recommend PT.

    For speech, she had no real words at 15 months, but she didn't qualify for services because her receptive language was so high.

    The one thing that I loved about going to the dev ped was that (unlike my regular ped) he assured me that it was not my fault. He said that the speech and gross motor delays are neurologically linked and they don't know what causes it, but this manifests in all different ways. He said that as long as I wasn't keeping LO locked in a dark room and not talking to her, it was not my fault.

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  • Please know that you are not a bad parent.  Motor delays can be from anyone of a myriad of factors, and having a developmentally delayed child is in no way reflective of your parenting skills.  I agree with the pp about seeking an EI referral.  They maybe able to give you idea's about what you can do to encourage your LO's development, but also they may just help you to see all the wonderful things that you are already doing to promote your babes growth and development.  GL
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  • Please know that this is not your parenting.  If it would make you feel better get the EI evaluation.  I got two done for my DD.  She was late with her gross motor skills.  She never crawled, only scooted.  And the pulling up to stand and rolling over didnt happen until way after her first birthday.  She walked holding our hands at 16 months and walked finally on her own at 19 months.  We had the EI evaluations and she didn't qualifiy.  I was kind of dissapointed but relieved.  Your LO will catch up.  Don't worry.
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  • That is how the dr. explained it to you?  That you weren't stimulating him enough?  That is ridiculous and I would find a new Dr.

    If he is concerned I don't know why he didn't offer you information on some services that might be available.

     I don't get some of these dr.'s  they are sooo negative instead of being proactive and giving the parents a plan.

    This is the third post I have seen in two days about a Dr. making a Mom feel bad for something that obviously is not her fault.

    Don't feel bad and it sounds like he is progressing to me.  I would find out if he thinks that services would be available or what the plan is...instead of him just finding blame in the situation...geez.  My almost 14 month old only says Dada and only just started walking in the past week. 

  • image amykins1283:

    There are tons of reasons a child might have motor or speech delays that have nothing to do with how much they are being stimulated.  Don't beat yourself up.

    Getting an EI referral and having someone come to evaluate him would not be a bad thing.  They are there to help and can do wonderful things for children who are a bit behind.  Most kids who take advantage of these services at a young age are able to graduate out and go on to be perfectly typical kids.  

    This cannot be said enough! Kids' developmental milestones have little-to-nothing to do with how "stimulating" their parents are! 

    We had DS1 evaluated for speech delays when he was 24 months, and he ended up doing speech therapy for six months. He caught up quickly, and didn't need it after that. I definitely don't regret seeking therapy - it's very low-intervention in the scheme of things. hth and be gentle on yourself - and also think about finding a new doctor if they're making you feel that bad about your parenting.

    ETA: exactly what rosesandpetals said, too!! 

    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • There is a kid in my LO's daycare room is experiencing the same thing as your son (he is one month older than DD).  Definitely get an EI eval, I think it will help and they can give you some ideas of things you can do to work with him to aid his development. You are NOT a failure as a mom!!!!  He'll catch up. 
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