Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Speech delay and no gestures 18m

Hi moms I’m hoping someone can help as I’m feeling like a crappy mom right now. Any other babies not talking or gestures yet? 

My son doesn’t talk yet. He babbles and interacts with us and others. He doesn’t use gestures (I have realized I don’t use much gestures at all so have been really working on this). I went for his check up for 18 months with the dr and since he’s not talking or gesturing they are sending him to get eval for autism. I was a little off guard as he’s been home with me his whole life so social has been lacking with covid. It’s a long wait to get evaluated. I feel horrible I didn’t focus on certain set backs. I am signed up for speech therapy and we had out evaluation today which she told us ways to help him. My main concerns are no imitation play, no speech and no gestures. Everything else he does good

Re: Speech delay and no gestures 18m

  • Hey! I have a 17 month old with limited speech (ball, da, boon for balloon) and he has been isolated during Covid, too. I don’t have any great insight, I just think there are MANY children who have had limited social interactions who may have some delays early on. My pediatrician has been very reassuring about that limited socialization. It’s great you’re getting the evaluations, it is always helpful to get early intervention started and the professionals will be able to give you some thoughts/recommendations no matter what the evaluations show. 

    You’re not a crappy mom. You’re doing what you need to do to support your son. Big hug to you! 
  • edited January 2022
    I couldn't agree more with Rachel. My daughter is 21 months old, and at her 18 months checkup, i told the doctor that she hasn't been talking much (at that point it was only hi and not even mama and dada). But she told since she is a COVID baby, and because of that we have limited exposure to social life (she doesn't go daycare either), so her language learning curve is different. But if your son understands what you are asking for and reacts, then that's a good sign. Rest assure i had the same mindset as you, thinking we're bad parents, not exposing her enough, etc. But now at almost, she started picking up out of the blue near Christmas and learned quite a lot (and some words in my mother tongue which is in another language). Even though she is pretty much still following what we say, it's still a positive note. You are definitely doing your best, just keep reading and talking to him. 
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  • I was going to say much the same as others. My baby is now 20 months and went from basically no works at 18 months to two words sentences now so try not to worry. 

    Also in terms of the assessment I would still do it. I have a friend who’s cold is on the spectrum and it’s so hard to get help their doctor kept telling them to wait and see. Earl intervention has shown to help so it was very frustrating for them. So if the slim off change your child is on the spectrum how great that you have a Doc who knows to get the help early. 
  • The truth is all children develop at their own pace. As a stay at home mom I trust my instincts. It's very common for Doctors to rush to an autism diagnosis. Do your own research and you'll find that theres multiple factors that qualify an autism diagnosis. If your child only has one or two, challenge your doctor on it. Ask about other possible causes for speech delay, because theres many. My children had speech delays with no other issues of comprehension. Yes indeed covid has caused interruption in a lot of childrens social interactions. They caught up on their own in due time. I also had a speech evaluation and was told that they had speech delays and recc speech therapy. I was told that my kids were developing speech normally but for their age were behind compared to their peers. Im not however comparing my children to others. If my son starts preschool at 5 instead of 4 the sky will not fall and he will not be "behind" in life.  I began challenging my kids to ask for things. Engaging them as much as possible, working on letters and words. Got them in gymboree and started being intentional about exposing them to social situations. You have to be able to use your judgement since you're around them the most. Theres not always an underlying issue. Some kids develop slower than others and that's okay. Overall I chose to go with my gut. If I had went with what the doctor was saying, I'd be convinced there was some serious problem with my kids. The one size fits all approach is nonsense although it's how barometers are set, it just doesn't apply to everyone! 
  • Sorry I'm a bit late to respond - hope you are progressing! Mine also had basically no words at 18 months (and is in daycare), so we started early intervention. I would definitely recommend it, even if autism isn't diagnosed. They are currently revising all of the milestones for all ages, which was happening before Covid. I think before they gave 75th percentile targets or something like that, when it should really be 50th. Add covid, a potentially shy or perfectionist baby, and you may find that there's no reason to worry. Good luck!
  • I’m experiencing something similar with my little girl. At her 15 month appointment, she only has about 3 words. Her doctor mentioned that she really would suggest a speech evaluation at 18 months but we could get the process started at 15 months. So I started but we decided to give her some more time. She understands everything we ask her to do, she’s in daycare full time since she was 15 weeks. We haven’t noticed any other concerns. I have been talking with many other parents that are experiment this same thing where in this age group the kids aren’t talking much yet. I spoke with my director who ran a toddler program for years and she’s concerned that the masks that teachers and parents have been wearing for the past 2 years could be effecting speech/language development in children. We have been seeing a big difference in our kindergartners this year. So she’s 17 months now and I do have an appointment schedule for an evaluation at 18 months just to give her more time to see how things go. Early intervention is key!

    You’re not a bad mother! Your concern shows you’re an awesome mom that is trying to find the best way to support her baby. Hang in there!
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