Not Talking- When to worry?

L is 16 months old now and still doesn't talk. She babbles, and will say Dadadadada, mumumum, and Nananan, but she says these whilst playing and not directed towards us, or to get our attention. Other children around her age can say things like "Apple, their name, oh no, mummy, mama, dad, daddy, nana, nanny, where mumma" that kind of thing. I'm starting to worry about her speech. We talk to her a lot, and point things out, car, ball, ect ect. She is and always has been a walker, and i know they tend to say that babies are either a walker or a talker.

I think i'm just looking for some reassurance?


  • My son is nearly 23 months and has only really started talking in the past month. He's still not saying much - probably about 20 "words" but now I can hear him trying to copy even though a lot of the time it doesn't sound anything like the word. I know he has understood me for a long time so I wasn't too worried. To be honest I wouldn't worry. My daughter was opposite and was talking lots more than her brother... She won't stop now so to be honest I'm enjoying the quiet while it lasts!!

  • Thank you, I think it's just because I see other little ones talking. I know I shouldn't compare but I'm a natural born worried! My younger brother also had speech problems growing up so think that maybe I'm a bit more aware. Thank you for your reassurance!

  • I didn't start speaking till I was three and have no hearing problems etc. I worried my parents sick, was monitored for deafness etc. I think sometimes children are just preoccupied with other things! It's hard not to follow 'textbook' ages but I bet really a lot of parents worry unnecessarily because of them.

  • Thank you Pepperoni! Her hearing test was fine when she was born, I guess it's hard because she gets so frustrated with us not being able to tell us what she wants, or even call for us so just screams.

  • Poca, my son was a slow talker. He wasn't 'a lazy boy' like the HV liked to call him, but he was incredibly shy (with his speech) and waited until he was able to really chatter. Once he started it totally took off but proper talking wasn't until nearly 2, but when he went to primary school at 4 he scored highest in his intake, so it certainly didn't hinder him, it was just part of his personality. He would also 'ignore' words he wasn't comfortable with, so counting to ten he would miss the word 'seven' for months, just left it out but could point to it and knew how to count. I, like you, worried and I was on the verge of seeking specialist help but it all just fell in to place :)

  • O, who is my third child, isn't really a talker. He is 23 months. His comprehension is there as he totally understands and responds to what you are saying /requesting. He has the odd word now but isn't putting words together yet. Both his siblings were talking by this stage. I am not worried though. O has most definitely told and showed us he does everything in his own time.

  • They all get there in their own time and the fact she can make speech sounds, to me, doesn't indicate many problems. C was very early talking and was talking in 3 word sentences by 16 months, but also didn't walk until that time. S has already been walking for a while, but at 14 months her speech isn't anywhere near as good as her sister's was. She has very recently started to sign and say words more clearly, but only because we've been holding off giving her things until she signs or says it instead of making a horrible ah, ah, ah noise and pointing. Have you tried signing with her? I'm sure it's down to those classes that C spoke so early and now S is catching up. Some friends' children didn't speak at all until they were 2 and they went straight to talking in sentences. You could always mention it to you HV if you are worried, but chances are, in the next few months you'll find her chattering away.

  • O only really started saying words other than mama, dada etc around 18 months, now at 21 months we have new words all the time (about 5 yesterday alone) and he is strongly together short phrases (here he is, night night Daddy, see you soon etc). He too has been a walker having been walking well since 10 months. It'll come, don't stress it, soon you won't be able to keep her quiet! ;-))

  • Thank you all so much for putting my mind at ease a bit, it's horrible to see her so frustrated sometimes :-(

    I haven't tried sign, I really don't think she would be able to understand it, she doesn't say or really understand even ta, and only just really understands no. I have a friend who does Makaton so I'll ask her about some basic signs. I think i'll phone the health visitor aswell. Thanks all!

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