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Shy and not talking

Hi my son is 21 months old. He is very smart, responds to name, points, conveys his message very well. However, he is not talking. Rarely says any words. He has had ear infections in the past but responds when I say “get your shoes”, “point to the...”. So I know he hears me. He is very slow to warm up to strangers but runs to grandparents etc. I often take him to play dates and he does well with children. He knows a handful of signs and uses them appropriately. I have had two pediatricians tell me he isn’t autistic, and early intervention as well. They start services soon with him. I’m very concerned. I haven't slept or ate a decent meal in months.. full of fear. Any thoughts? 


  • Could someone respond ? Very worried... any moms with ASDdiagnosis , can you relate? I don’t know what to think lately. 
  • I think as long as he's signing, pointing, waving etc then it doesn't sound like ASD. 
    My daughter is 21 months and only says dada, doesn't sign because she won't copy anything and doesn't point either. I know exactly how you're feeling though, I've not slept right or eaten right for months because I'm worried. 
    Maybe your son is just lacking in confidence, you could also get his ears checked just to be sure he doesn't have glue ear or something. 

    I do think it sounds unlikely to be ASD though, I heard boys sometime talk later although I'm not sure if that's just a myth. 
  • Thanks for your response , my pediatrician keeps saying how sorry she feels for my generation because we are so concerned with ASD. I told her I can’t enjoy my son because I’m at the point where I “examine and study” what he does.. and children do weird things lol! Appreciate your response!!!! 
  • Hi,

    Not all toddlers are talking by 21 months and some are just shy.  My own boy was 2 before he started saying more than "no"! He's nearly 3 now, and doesn't stop talking. But I obviously can't say if your son may or may not be autustic, or if there is something else going on.

    It sounds like you are very concerned. Is there something else making you worry?

    It might help you if you spoke to the pediatricians who said there was nothing to worry about, and ask them why they said this. It might put your mind at ease.

    If you are still concerned, I don't know who is the best person to speak to. Hopefully someone on here can tell you. If you are worried, you are right to get advice. X 
  • Thanks for your response! I appreciAte it. I just notice other children younger then him with more to say, makes me panic. I went to school for special education but high school level, don’t know much about young ones but google doesn’t help—makes me sick! Everything is a red flag. Just looking for some personal experience. Thanks!
  • Oh, theres always something to worry about, so you are not alone there. 

    Your boy sounds very bright, from what you've written. I have a 2 month old and I'm trying to sign with him. I meant to do it with my other boy, but never remembered! Must come in handy if they can tell you they want milk, etc. Can you recommend anyany g websites for baby signs?
  • Thank you, I taught him the basics. “More, help, eat, open,” after seeking help from early intervention they suggested adding more signs. So he’s learned water and bird this week. I just google image the sign. I know there’s books etc.
  • Oh and “all done!”, this is so helpful when he’s shy, or eating dinner. Or recently we introduced it at the park for transition purposes. He nails the signs. Always appropriate when he uses them. I just think he’s reliant on them but speech pathologists say keep introducing more to build his language. 
  • @C2488I did not encounter this, but before pregnancy I read a lot of literature on the development of the child and I remembered a few tips from there, it may be useful to you:
    - say to the child all your actions: “now I will bathe you, I will carefully lower you into the bath and I will hold tightly. What a warm water! My son is swimming. We wash the legs, wash the hands, tummy, back. Aw, what a nice little water! ” etc. Out of habit, this seems strange, but gradually such communication will become part of your life;
    - tell your child tales and poems. Long works of children's (and not only) poets.
    - It’s good when other people talk to the child. Expand your social circle, go out to people, invite guests, at least sometimes.
    - Take an interest in what the child is doing, what he did on a walk with dad, what he saw, what he liked.
    Ask your child questions that will encourage them to use pronouns. "Who built the pyramid?" - "I AM". "Whose car is this?" - "My", etc.
    Reading is a dialogue. Dialogue with a book, with characters, a child with you. Start with the simplest books, preferably with picture books. In your own words and rather emotionally tell the child what you see in the images. If the baby does not want to listen at all and leaves, then just open the book and read for five to ten minutes. Gradually, the baby will join in reading and become an avid book lover.
    Try it is not at all difficult and can be useful.
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