Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Feel like a failure

Hi Everyone,

This is my first time to your site, it seems very welcoming!  My son is about 20 months and is still not talking.  He is advanced in every other way, he is in the 95th percentile for his height, he walked very early, is extremely athletic, can throw a ball farther then some 3 year olds I've seen but the talking is just not coming as naturally.  He has excellent receptive understanding.  He understands everything that I tell him and follows directions excellently.  He also points to everything he wants and takes me or his daddy's hand and pulls us to where he wants.  He shows some interest in talking, he tries to sing along with his cartoon songs, we get a few oohs, he has tried to say things like banana and mommy and daddy and babbles all day long.  The doctor has said that she feels that it is only a matter of time, so far he has shown all the appropriate signs of pre talking but just hasn't begun.  But I constantly feel like time is ticking.  Everyone even the doctor says that by 2 he should be talking and talking in 2 word sentences, if not then we have to discuss options.  Every week that goes by I get more and more sad, anxious and down on myself.  Because I'm scared of the 2nd year approaching.  I promised myself that I was just going to continue working with him this summer and kind of let it be, and let him grow naturally but I guess easier said than done.  And I feel so much like a failure because I had done everything that was suggested from a young age.  I talk to him constantly, I give everything a name, I don't talk baby talk to him, etc.  And I am a stay at home mom with him, so I would hope that I could teach him.  And of course I'm at the age where many of my friends have children and they are constantly asking me what he's saying.  They don't know my feelings because I hide them, but it hurts.  My friend yesterday e-mailed me that her 8 month old is saying daddy and I just broke down.  Now, I  know intelligently I shouldn't feel this way, he is very physically  healthy, very happy and is on his way.  But I just feel so down. 

Re: Feel like a failure

  • So so so sorry that you are going through all of this.  Have you had his hearing checked?  Even a mild loss could cause significant language delays.  I am a teacher of the deaf here in NJ and I have worked with a variety of kids. I would talk to the doctor about that possibility and maybe contact an audiologist just to see if there is a loss.  My DD recently had reoccuring ear infections and that impacted her hearing and language hugely! I would see other kids her age babbling and talking and saying words, and she seemed so far behind. Since she got tubes it has been night and day with language development.  I could be totally wrong, but everything you're describing really sounds like it could be a hearing loss. Good luck to you and your son! 
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  • I used to be a toddler teacher and I know a lot of kids (especially boys) that didn't feel the need to say anything until they were going into the other room (2 year old room).  I mean, like PP said, there could be something else going on.  Also, if it makes you feel better, my cousins son, on his 2nd birthday, was hardly saying anything.  In fact, my cousin noted that my son, who is a year and 2 months younger than him, and he were at the same level of talking.  Now the little guy just all of a sudden started talking!  He says "Mama, please."  and stuff.  He is a very smart little boy, too.  It couldn't hurt to go to a specialist or two to see if they can help.  But if not, maybe he will be like my little cousin and all of a sudden just start talking and never shut up lol.  Don't be down on yourself!  You didn't do anything.  Everyone develops differently.  Good luck!
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  • There is a big curve when it comes to language-he is showing ALL the right signs of communication -pointing, attempting to talk, showing interest in objects, comprehension.  Appears to be a matter of time as your doctor indicated.  

    If you get caught up with what others are doing---or what others think your DS should be doing (not including the doctor) then you are going to feel anxious and defeated.

    For us my boys were later than my DD (DD was early an early talker and articulate). With the twins I knew we were delivering the same level of communication, reading, 'not talking baby', DD was early and DS#1 was later. They both speak well now.

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  • My little guy had probably 4 words at 20 months but by 24 mohths is talking up a storm and saying new words every day.

    If you are really concerned, talk to your doc about having a speech eval done, other wise try and relax and know that it will come.

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  • When my sister was two years old, she wasn't talking either. My mom signed up for a free speach therapist to come to our house and work with her. It turned out that the pathway from her brain to her mouth was underdeveloped. We had to do a bunch of activities with her like blowing bubbles and touching her tongue to things outside her mouth, which ended up being a lot of fun and definite quality time together. It was just a few months before she was talking up a storm. She's 14 now, and we can't get her to shut up! :) Good luck!

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  • smerkasmerka
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
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    My older son was not talking at almost two.  We called Early Intervention and had him evaluated.  He has a speech delay and has been getting speech therapy twice a month.  It has helped a ton.  We started with sign language and it clicked for him after that.  I would ask the ped about getting his hearing tested and then about Early Intervention.  Every state has their own program.

    As far as the mommy guilt, let it go.  Don't compare your kid to other kids.  And I highly doubt an 8 month old is saying dada in context.   

  • KC_13KC_13
    10000 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its Fifth Anniversary
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    I would call early intervention and have him evaluated. They will have a team of specialists come out and give him a "test" (which is just them playing with them and evaluating what he can say/understand). They will also ask you a lot of questions on his behaviors and such. Based on those results, they can tell you if speech therapy would be beneficial.

    My son was also similar-walked really early, is way ahead on motor skill milestones. This was because talking was difficult due to an underlying issue. There are medical conditions that can affect children's ability to speak that have no impact on what they can understand. Or some kids are completely "normal" and just need a little extra push that can come from a speech therapist to really get talking.

    I am of the thinking that early childhood is such a critical time in a child's brain development and you can't be too proactive about things like that. It also takes time to get an evaluation done and services started if they're appropriate so if your child has that language explosion that might be right around the corner, you can call and cancel. If not, you can be proactive in getting the appropriate professional help your LO needs so he can begin to communicate.

    In the meantime, I would start sign language. This helped immensely with helping my LO not get frustrated because he couldn't tell me what he wanted. This site was really good and we used a lot of the flash cards.

    http://www.babysignlanguage.com/

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  • I have heard that talking just happens overnight. Your son is babbling, which is good. I wouldn't worry too much- some kids are so focused on one area (such as physical milestones) that other milestones don't develop as fast.

    If he was/is prone to ear infections, this could also cause some delay. I had really bad ear infections and didn't  talk much until I was 3.

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  • Aww, you are not a failure. I think your LO will be just fine and before you know it he will be talking up a storm. You can always call your states Early Childhood Intervention just to rule things out. I called Early Childhood Intervention for my daughter once because she wasn't crawling and she was 9 months old. They didn't pick up when I called and then I just decided to leave her be. She was crawling by 9 months and 3 weeks :) She was behind in gross motor skills until she turned 15 months. Now she's right up there with everyone else.

    LOs all have their own pace, in the end they catch up.

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  • Hello...I've gotten such great feedback from everyone...thank you!  I did check with my pediatrician and am going to get my son's hearing checked.  Can you tell me any other symptoms except for the late talking that could show he has a mild hearing loss?  Even though I of course will wait for the professionals opinion, I was just curious.  

     

    Thank you so much!

  • image KC_13:

    I would call early intervention and have him evaluated. They will have a team of specialists come out and give him a "test" (which is just them playing with them and evaluating what he can say/understand). They will also ask you a lot of questions on his behaviors and such. Based on those results, they can tell you if speech therapy would be beneficial.

    My son was also similar-walked really early, is way ahead on motor skill milestones. This was because talking was difficult due to an underlying issue. There are medical conditions that can affect children's ability to speak that have no impact on what they can understand. Or some kids are completely "normal" and just need a little extra push that can come from a speech therapist to really get talking.

    I am of the thinking that early childhood is such a critical time in a child's brain development and you can't be too proactive about things like that. It also takes time to get an evaluation done and services started if they're appropriate so if your child has that language explosion that might be right around the corner, you can call and cancel. If not, you can be proactive in getting the appropriate professional help your LO needs so he can begin to communicate.

    In the meantime, I would start sign language. This helped immensely with helping my LO not get frustrated because he couldn't tell me what he wanted. This site was really good and we used a lot of the flash cards.

    http://www.babysignlanguage.com/

    This is excellent advice!  My DD uses signs a lot.  They help her communicate her needs and wants even though she can't say all of the words she needs. 

  • I'm sorry you're feeling like a failure. My son is delayed in speech, but he does have quite a number of words now. He only had 3 words at 18 months and we were referred for a speech language assessment. At the assessment, they referred us to a language program, as well as a feeding program, and perhaps behaviour and sleep. It was a big blow to my self esteem as a mom. Did I do ANYTHING right? I felt like a failure. We are in two programs now and will be getting help to work on my son's issues. 

    Has there been any referral for an assessment? Could you do any EI? It would be worthwhile to get an evaluation so you can get some help. You're doing everything you can to help him, sometimes kids just develop differently. We were recommended to find a program where DS can interact with all sorts of different children so he can see how they talk and behave and hopefully pick some of it up. Right now, DS is in a home daycare with only 2 other boys, only one of them talks, so he doesn't have a lot of same age role models.

    Try not to be hard on yourself. He'll catch up, he might just need a little nudge is all. 

  • Our success or failure as parents absolutely does not rest in our child's abilities/inabilities. It sounds like you have been excellent in how you have handled this and so you absolutely are not a failure. If you want to do an assessment, then absolutely pursue that. It's not going to hurt anything. So please don't take what I say in my next paragraph to insinuate that I'm discouraging people from getting assessments/help for a child who isn't speaking.

    It seems like we've turned a corner in parenting with this generation. If you talk to many people of our parents age, they all have stories of kids who didn't talk until they were 3 or 4 and then suddenly they wouldn't shut up. Our generation doesn't handle that well. We all want kids to do things on the same schedule, and the fact is that each child is different in what they are motivated to do and when. We get very upset when our children are "behind" when I think a lot of times they're just doing things on their own schedule - which is perfectly healthy. There seems to be a "prescription" for parenting that everyone feels the need to stick to. Crib sleeping, no bumpers, Rear face until they're at least 2, child proof the whole house up the wazoo, whole milk at 1, carefully monitor their development and if they're off at all GET HELP NOW!. 

    If parenting that way is important to you, then don't let anyone tell you differently. But I think it's very important to follow your gut with your kids. Do YOU think something is wrong? Or do you think he's just on a different time table? 

  • My brother didn't speak until he was older than 2 I guess. My mom jokes that she thought he was going to be retarted (I know- not politically correct). He would only say "duh duh duh". My brother is literally a genius.
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  • I agree with other moms that it really does just happen over night...I was concerned about that too, that my son could only say mama, dada and nom-noms for food at like 15mo. and she said, thats talking! babbling and saying little things like banana is his own thing! Now my son is almost 21 months and he says alot of things..not all of them right but he knows the words...like he'll say 'sawy' for sorry and 'luh-ju' for love you...one day he'll just open his mouth and say something and you will be amazed! Don't feel bad, its coming soon!!
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