Two year old who can talk, but doesn't seem to want to.

Anyone dealt with this? My son CAN talk, he just doesn’t seem to want to. Observing him in play he is talking in full words and even different voices, if he imitates me on the phone he has a voice for me and a voice for the other side of the call.

The best way to get him to talk in fact is movies, he will repeat dialogue or if a character puts their hand on glass he says “hi”.

He poses people rather than talk, say he wants a certain food well he will get the food and a pot and take your hand and put it on the food. He does this for all kinds of stuff, he tries to put the people near what action he wants.

His pediatrician doesn’t think he is autistic, it doesn’t seem to fit either.

Complication:I can distinctly remember as a small child refusing to talk to adults, wanting to convince them I was mute. This would let me win or something, I was a very odd child.

EDIT:Forgot to add he has no other signs of autism, he likes to play with other children and he doesn’t avoid touch or cuddling.

My son at that age had a complex sign language he made up rather than talk. He would talk, enjoyed talking, but liked to talk on his terms. He had excellent receptive language and met all other milestones. By three he got over it and talked typically fom then on. A lot. :slight_smile:

Autism isn’t the only communication disorder, but I’ll assume that he’s had a full evaluation (not just an informal observation in the pediatrician’s office) and doesn’t show a neurological problem.

…which means it’s behavioral. Either he, like you, wants to “win” by manipulating the adults around him, or he’s perfectly content getting his needs met by movement cues, rather than speech.

Yes, he’ll likely grow out of it. If it bothers you, don’t respond to it when he takes your hand, but calmly tell him he has to use words. Then walk away from the ensuing meltdown, wait for him to use words and immediately give him positive attention and (within reason) what he wants.

If it doesn’t bother you, wait. Sooner or later he’ll talk, or it will bother someone, and they’ll ignore his nonverbal cues and reinforce the verbal ones.

And no, you’re not alone. My son wasn’t much of a talker until about 3. It didn’t bother me much, so I didn’t do anything to change it. He’s *still *not much of a talker, actually, (at 19) but he’s perfectly within the range of normal behavior.

One of my grandsons was very slow to start talking. He had no words at 18 months and the parents were beginning to worry. He started talking a few months later, but still his mother admonished him over and over to “use words” when he wanted something. Not only was he over it by three, but when he was four, his mother overheard him saying to a playmate, “I have a tendency [sic] to never stop talking.” It was true too. Kids just do things at their own pace.

Is there really a worry? I didn’t talk much either until I was talking in full sentences. From what I’ve been told I wanted to be able to express myself fully.

Little kids are weird. Haven’t you learned that yet?


My friend’s son was very much a grunt and point kid around most adults. He had two older brothers who did the communicating for him when they were around. At daycare, he was verbally on par with the other kids because he had to be. He is in kindergarten now and has no problems, I think he was around 3.5-4 when he started talking and communicating more.

It’s not going to hurt to bring up the subject at the next doctor appointment, but it may not be a cause for concern.

Believe it or not, kids at that age will take the lazy way out and that sometimes means not talking. Gestures are easier for them. I wouldn’t be concerned unless the same behavior is happening in a year.

I read about a three-year-old who almost never said anything beyond “Mama” and “No.”. Then one morning he sat up and told his mother, “There’s earthworms in my bed, and they run across my face at night!” She almost fainted.

(She checked, and discovered a nest of mice in the mattress.)

I didn’t talk much at that age. For a while I’d just point at things and say, “da!” (My mom called my her Little Russian.) Some of my earliest memories are of the speech therapy office. I grew up and have an excessively large vocabulary. But to this day I’m a quiet guy and I like to fully form my thoughts into sentences before I speak.

Two is pretty young yet. I wouldn’t worry too much. I’ve known 3-year-olds who barely talked but by 3-1/2 were talking in complete sentences. The important thing at this age is still comprehension. Does he follow directions? If you ask him to go get a book or his shoes, does he know what you mean? If so, he’s probably fine. He could just be shy, or weird, like you. :wink:

Eh, I wouldn’t worry. My son started that around the same age. He was fully capable of talking but just chose not to. It was the start of his whiny phase, too. I don’t know whether he was trying to assert his independence or opinion or what the heck was going on in his head, but it was really obnoxious.

Meh, he’s fine for now. My two boys didn’t talk at all until they were 3 or so. My oldest boy only used one word for everything. He would just point and say “Ba!” or “Ba! Ba!” I used to affectionately call him BamBam. He’s fine now and just finished first grade in French with all A’s and Bs.
My 4-year old won’t speak much when prompted either. Boys are typically slower with language, especially single and/or eldest siblings.

My 2 year old daughter on the other hand is going on 13.

My son is 20 months old and isn’t trying that hard to talk either. I’m not particularly worried as I apparently didn’t start talking until I was three, and was in full sentences. My niece is similar.

I encourage him to use words because I’m tired of hearing “acchi” (Japanese for “there”) all the time, but otherwise I’m not worried.

I didn’t talk past two. I mean, I said about 5 words, and that was it. I guess that was particularly unusal for a girl, so my parents had me evaluated (I assume for for developmental delays and hearing) but I came up normal by all measures available in 1977. “Doesn’t feel like talking” was the diagnosis.

When I began to speak, well into my second year, I spoke in full, grammatical sentences. Apparently I refused to muddle through speaking or be bad at it. Once I felt I had a handle on it, I spoke, and was in fact a verbal, chatty child and an early reader (ie, no social or linguistic delays were associated with my nondesire to speak).

However, has his hearing been tested? My (deaf) sign language teachers all tell stories of their parents realizing they couldn’t hear sometime in their second year.

My cousin, Chris, didn’t start really talking till he was 4. His mom (my aunt) was an educator (a High School English teacher at the time), and was FREAKING OUT!!!11! She brought him to specialist after specialist for a couple years and the verdict was always the same: “He’s fine/normal. He just doesn’t talk much.”

They were right. He’s a grown man now, and completely normal, slightly-above-average intelligence, articulate, and an incredible athelete. Being a ‘late bloomer’ in the talking department didn’t hurt him a bit. Ever.

My twin sons were reluctant talkers. When they were two, I was concerned enough about it to have them evaluated by Early Intervention. They qualified for speech services until they tested out at five years old, first at our home and later at their preschool. They are seven and a half now and absolutely thriving, won’t stop talking, and doing great at school.

Our first speech teacher told us to insist that the boys use words to make a request, no pointing for what they wanted. We only had about to insist on words for a request maybe twice before it was automatic.

There’s a reason we are all pretty familiar with the request ‘Use your words.’ As speech is going to be an important communication tool for him as he gets older, he’s going to figure out he needs to do that to get what he wants. Better he figures that out with you, at home, than later.

Also, there’s a certain mental connection that needs to be made regarding talking, and it hits kids later or sooner, depending. First they mimic, then at some point they realize they can make up their own words, then they realize other people’s words mean things, and that they can say those words, too.

Sounds like he’ll get there, just encourage him to ‘use his words’ more often.

You’re probably fully reassured at this point, but this is one of my favorite kid stories:

Our second child, who had a very talkative and rather assertive (read: bossy) older sister, didn’t say much more than single words by the time she was two. We tried to get her to use her words, but there was always that big sister right there, translating for her before anyone else could get a word in edgewise. We were starting to get a little worried about her when, one day, she rushed into the room in tears, her sister following close behind, and gasped, “Lissy throwed mine bear into mine crib!” (Her sister promptly retorted, “I did not!”)

We always joke that we knew she was terribly advanced because her first words were a complete sentence and tattling.

I’d also say you should treasure these days. Once she started talking, she pretty much didn’t stop, and now Mr. Legend has to live with three women who just will not shut up.

Thanks for writing my post for me, except my cousin’s name is Rick and his mother was a copy editor (so all about words. Words, words, words!). He is older than I am so I wasn’t there to hear him make the transition from not talking to talking. My mother describes it this way, “It was like he wanted to wait until he knew he was good at it to talk in front of people.”