Grandson not talking @17months old..advice??

I’ve got the grandest little grandson who is just on 17 months old, has reached all the regular milestones for his age but isn’t talking. :frowning:

He understands much of what is said to him, so I doubt there’s a hearing disability (he’s had all the regular infant checkups anyway which would have detected an early hearing loss). He’s bright, smart and cheeky, and knows EXACTLY what I mean when I ask if he’d like a biscuit…goes straight to the cupboard and points them out. When I tell him it’s time for a shower, he runs to the bathroom door expectantly. Giving him a letter today and asking him to take it to Pa, he immediately went through the door and delivered it and so on and so forth.

He’s sociable enough for his age-level, makes eye contact but does all the shy/coy stuff that kids this age do when meeting strangers. Goes to childcare twice a week and apart from having a hissy-fit when his mum drops him off, is otherwise comfortable there. No other noticeable abberations really.

He is right up with our new chooks though…upon meeting the new bunch for the first time today and hearing them clucking away I asked him, “Zen, what do chooks say”, and he answered “Bwak bwak”. So, he speaks chook, but not much English it seems. :smiley:

Do any of you have experiences with ‘late talkers’ who are otherwise totally normal for their age?

All children move at their own pace. My daughter talked early, but walked late. She rolled, commando crawled, regular crawled and shuffled around on her knees. When she was ready though she got up and went and was very soon as confident on her feet as her peers who had walked earlier.

You could check out one of the motherhood websites to get a better feel for other kids who are/ have been in the same boat, but the quality of response will vary…

Yeah, being a mum of four myself, I’m well versed in the ‘at their own pace’ credo One And Only Wanderers. But all of mine were well and truly yabbering away by 12months…in fact one started talking at EIGHT months (the lazy bastard didn’t start walking though until he was 18 months but :D) Seventeen months seems a wee bit late for me.

I’m not going anywhere NEAR a motherhood website btw. I’m a grandma now, and no team of horses could drag me there. I’ll stick to normal people like the SDMB if that’s OK. :smiley:

I’ve got a 16 month old and Baby From Mars probably says less than 10 words, not very clearly (cat, dog, mamma, toast, dada, that, what’s that) but can clearly understand, and uses baby sign language as another way of communicating. Fast walker though, well before 12 months. so swings and roundabouts.

She’s about on par with most of the other bubs in her mums group - some can say more, and some even less. We are raising her bilingual which is probably slowing her down just a little. So I can’t say for sure that everything’s fine, but he sounds still pretty normal. How does he compare to kids he’s around his own age?

Hmmmm…nope! As you may remember, my own small not talking person turned out to be distinctly not normal for his age (while remaining, however, the most adorable three and a half year old known to man, and becoming more adorable by the minute now that we’re understanding and addressing his issues)

He must be due for his 18 month check or something, right? (does he live in Victoria normally? I don’t know how they do stuff in NSW). A good health nurse should be able to advise if they think someone should be taking a closer look at his development.

Anyway, whether he’s just a bit late and will catch up soon, or there is a deeper issue, I thought I’d pop in and recommend a book - this is the one our Speech Therapist uses with us and it’s been brilliant, we’ve gone from “only says two things, ‘no’ and ‘oh no’” back in September to “hundreds of words and uses short sentences” as of now. You don’t have to have A Specific Diagnosable Issue, it’s very broadly based and the stuff in it would be helpful for anyone wanting to encourage a kid to talk more.

Good luck! He sounds like a real cutie anyway :slight_smile:

Has he lost any milestones when he wasn’t under stress? By which I mean, have there been skills he learned (stacking cups, picking up small bits of food, running, etc.) that he has forgotten how to do - and there wasn’t something major going on in his life? Regression when a new baby is born, he or someone in the family is seriously ill, his family has moved houses or parents divorced doesn’t count.

Does he respond to his name? If he’s looking somewhere away from you and you say his name, does he turn to look at you? Is he interested in other children? Does he play with other children at all yet? (Kids this age don’t play together a lot, he’s still at the “parallel play” stage, most likely. But they will interact briefly before sitting side by side ignoring each other and doing their own thing.)

Will he walk on different surfaces? Grass, sand, gravel?

I’m asking because it’s *possible *that he is autistic, even though he’s affectionate. Many autistic children are affectionate, the common idea of an autistic toddler being locked in his own head and rigidly refusing hugs is not universally accurate.

That being said, it’s a lot more likely that he’s just a late talker, as many boys tend to be, especially if he’s got a doting Grandma (or older sister - they’re notorious for it) who anticipates his needs and/or supplies his words for him. :wink:

The Kidlette wasn’t talking at all at that age. She had previously popped that indeterminate sound which becomes “baba”, “papa”, “mama” or “yaya” depending on who has heard it a few times, but otherwise and once she’d verified that her vocal chords were good for something more than “waaaaaah!”, she was content to remain silent and use gestures until after her second birthday. We weren’t particularly worried, since she had done the “abba” sounds and there was clearly nothing wrong with her hearing; she’s also shown, time and again, that she’s likely to take any developmental step later than her brother did but more completely. For example, it took her longer to try her hand at crawling, but once she did, she was able to go from “seated indian chef style” to “watch that rocket go! NO HONEY THE BIG POOL NO!” on the second try, whereas her brother had spent months frustrated by his inability to go from sitting to all-fours without trapping one leg under the other one.

By the Epiphany (at 26mo) she’d say loose words: mostly names, then once she had your attention she’d gesture.

Two weeks after, her Daddy called me because she’d been asking to speak with me, she’d been “phoning Aunt Nava” on anything which could be used to simulate a phone. She babbled a mile a minute, I didn’t understand 95% of it but as per said Daddy she was satisfied to have explained to me whatever it was she needed to explain. Judging by the phone call we had last night, she still talks about the same: my mother says that The Kid has assumed his position as Kidlette’s Interpreter and doesn’t even roll his eyes any more at grown-up’s inability to understand what’s clearly and evidently understandable to his 5yo self.

Bro-the-Uncle and I still reckon she’s got a great future in politics, based on how bossy and organized she is; he says she’s not any less understandable than your average politician.

Hey, thanks for the book recommend Aspidistra, I’ll definitely check it out, sounds like a good’un! Little Zen had a checkup a couple of weeks ago, and the MHNurseyPerson freaked that he wasn’t talking which in turn freaked my daughter out, but that in turn got her on the defensive. So now she’s not in the ‘space’ for me to suggest that anything might be amiss, but I’m a patient old crone…

I’ve got the little bloke for a couple of days anyway whilst Pippa is in Melbourne helping her bro move house. Zen is off to creche tomorrow, so I might grab the ear of one of the senior workers there to ask if THEY think that anything might be out of kilter with him.

But thanks for the ref all the same. :slight_smile:

Nope, no milestones lost, in fact he’s getting more adept every single day! His gross and fine motor skills are age-appropriate (even advanced on some levels) and he learns new stuff regularly. Today I taught him the Ancient Ritual of the Banging of the Pot Lids…only took him one Nana example and he was racing around the house creating a cacophony of sound, much to my chagrin of course. :smiley:


Yes again. Our house has a rough gravel driveway, and a really uneven grass/weed surface for the garden area. He handles both fine. In fact, today I took him -into the hen-house to look for eggs, and that is a combination of rough hay, mud and a whole lot of uneven footfalls with a couple of ledges to step over to boot. He took it all in his stride (no pun intended) :smiley:

He’s the first kid and the first grandchild (no sibs) and I’ve been super conscious of making him WORK for his supper (so to speak). So has his mum (my daughter). But at this point, it has been to no avail. He just doesn’t want to talk.

Meh, I’m guessing that at some point down the track, the little bugger is going to come out with a mouthful just to surprise us all. In the meantime, I’m just gonna keep on plugging. Maybe tomorrow I can get him to ‘WOOF’.


I have two boys and a girl, and the girl was completely verbal by 15 months and singing entire songs, while neither boy said much at all until almost 3. My nephew is the same way. I was really concerned when my older son didn’t talk, also in addition to my daughter, I had vast experience with my younger sisters, who were born when I was a teenager. They also talked very early. So, in my family at least it seems to be a boy/girl thing.

My now-6-year-old “talked” a ton when he was 2 to 3 … we just never understood a word. He jabbered very earnestly and in sentence-sounding groups, which I assumed was some language that only he spoke. Eventually actual words began to replace the Portuguese, which is what my mother called it. :smiley:

I have 3 boys and none talked at 17 months. The older ones (8 and 4 now) are fine and haven’t stopped yappin’ since they started. My youngest is just 2 and he’s slowly coming around.

Gnat didn’t start talking until 19 months. No talking, just babbling. By 22 months he was up from 'Mama" to three-to-five word sentences. My nephew didn’t stat talking until 2 1/2, and then talked in full sentences. No problems with either of them, and now they never ever shut up. :smiley:

My Bella didn’t really talk until she was almost three. She echoed and counted to a hundred before she could use a three word sentence. This was after about a year of speech therapy and OT.

I can’t stress enough the importance of getting children tested early. It does not hurt them; just the opposite they often find it fun. Don’t worry about a stigma being attached. After three years there’s still no label on my daughter’s condition, but she’s made such remarkable improvement with the extra help she receives. Right now they just call it a mixed receptive/expressive speech delay but they’ve gone ahead and started retesting for autism. When she was much younger the dx was just barely above borderline so they wanted to give her a chance to develop more and check again. I’m thinking she probably has a mild case because she’s quite smart, she just has a few social and sensory issues besides the 2 year delay in language development.

The thing is, it may be nothing. Or it may be something that if caught early won’t hold him back much. 17 months is a little old for not at least having ten or so recognizable words in his vocabulary though so maybe professional advice from a speech pathologist would be best? Even if he’s just going at his own pace there are games and toys a therapist could suggest to avoid frustration he may start feeling when his thoughts become more advanced than his language might allow.

I might have found the problem – I barely recognize this as English myself. :slight_smile:

I did not start to speak in a useful way until I was almost 4. Then I started and as Mom is fond of saying, I haven’t shut up. :slight_smile:

Sounds like your kid is gonna be just fine.


Lower your standards.

The kid was not born a larva (The Fly) and the head does not rotate all the way around while flinging puke (the Exorcist) and the kid does not have the ability to wish people into the corn field (It’s a Good Life, Twilight Zone) and does not excrete an enzyme the 456 are addicted to (Torchwood; Children of Earth).

So relax.


Could be normal, could be abnormal. If it’s normal and you get it checked out, well, you’ve wasted a little time and effort. If it’s abnormal and you don’t get it checked out, you are going to lose valuable time during which you could start treatment/therapy/etc.

IMO with a potential speech delay you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by having it evaluated by a professional ASAP.

All this is very reassuring, although of course we can’t diagnose anything online. My bet is on “normal, just a slow talker,” and I expect he’s going to surprise you with a full sentence when he’s ready. One of my friend’s boys was like that. His first “word” was, “Squirrels *are *silly, you know, but I like to watch them jump.” :smiley:

Of course, a meeting with a speech therapist would be a good idea, but from what you’ve posted here, there’s nothing telling me to urge you to push the idea on your daughter immediately.

I have a cunning plan to trick him into talking:

“Zen, what do chooks say?”
Bwak bwak.

“What do dogs say?”
Woof woof

“What do cats say?”
Meow meow

“What does grandma say?”

My nephew was like this. Wouldn’t talk (at least english - he kind of had his own grunt language that my brother and his wife understood, with a lot of pointing and 20-questions). He understood everything you said to him, could shake his head yes or no, but just wouldn’t speak.

Around age 2, he started speaking in full sentences out of the blue. Now (at 4) the kid won’t shut up.

I say enjoy it while it lasts…