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Development at 21 months - concerns?

Sorry, this is a long one! As you may know, my lo is 21 months. I am wondering whether I should be concerned about his develpment.

Although he seems to understand everything I say, and can follow simple commands (go and get your monkey, come into the kicthen and sit in your chair etc), he doesn't seem to be developing at the same rate as lots of my friends' children and I think every other lo I read about on Toddler.

He doesn't say proper words. He has never actually said mama or mum or anything resembling that. I don't think he can pronounce m, actually. He makes an effort to copy the words we say, and has a go, but his words are limited to dad, no, ssss (he means yes), iya (he means hiya), nut nut (he means night night), bye bye, ap ap (he means nappy), and woops. He makes lots of other noises, and tries to do the animal noises, but he doesn't say other recognisable words. He used to sign to communicate (milk, drink, food, open, door, window, home, animals etc), but he has stopped doing that now.

He is only just starting to learn how to do his shape sorter (he takes the easy option, and just does the circles as they're simpler!), but he absolutely loves books, and we read and play all the time with toys like his garage and rocket, role play, movement, singing and actions etc. He does join in, but nothing like as much as other children of his age.

I took a year's maternity leave and stayed at home until he had turned a year. In that time, we did every class imaginable - monkey music, baby sensory, sing and sign, swimming etc. Now I am back at work part time, we have a nanny, who talks to him constantly. And me and oh are very chatty, talking to lo all the time, pointing things out to him, reading books, going places etc. I take him swimming with other children and to soft play on my days out, and we are always out with mummy and baby friends.

He is an absolute angel, sleeping and eating well, and he is just so sweet and loving. He is such a lovely little boy.

Would you be concerned if he was yours? I don't want to igmore a problem and not get help if lo needs it. And I don't want to be in denial either. But then again, I don't want to be neurotic - I am always the first to say to others that children all develop at different rates and some start earlier than others and catch up and sometimes do better later on, that boys are generally slower than girls, and that every child is different etc.

Help! xx

[Modified by: Rhian2 on 21 October 2009 14:47:54 ]

[Modified by: Rhian2 on 21 October 2009 14:59:41 ]


  • Hi rhian2
    as you say all children develop at different rates but if you are concerned then you should ask your health visitor or GP. maybe they would recommend speech therapy? maybe wait until he is 2 because they have a speech explosion around about this time

  • Floyd is 22months and says alot of words well but also says alot of words that he doesnt pronounce properly,he says most peoples names not always right ie for lauren he says lau and lewis is lews he also calls my friend sara arse lmao, he also doesnt now how to do a shape sorter, but can do puzzles, count to 5 and is very good at drawing, he is also learning colours at the mo. he will look at books on his own for hours and pretend to read or point out all the things he can see,

    I would not worry at all he sounds as if he is trying, if he wasnt doing anything then there would be a problem but he tries to say words and is learning to do his shape sorter, speak to health visitor for advice on what you could do to help or just to put your mind at ease xx
  • Thanks very much for the reassurance. I will keep encouraging him in his learning. Its had though as I seem to be surrounded by children the same age as lo who are so much more advanced in their speech, understanding, co-ordination etc than him. I am really looking forward to us doing those things together as he grows x
  • I was also told to take my daughter to speech therapy. When I mentioned thisto the doctor the other day she asked why? She said after two itsok if they only say a few words.

    So I wouldnt worry if I were you. I think you are doing so much for your son. If you continue to have concerns just mention it at a clinic near you. Maybe there are classes your nanny can take him to? But dont worry! My daughter is now 18months and she still hasnt really looked atme and said mum or mama. She also says iya...and she understands when I speak to her.

    Good luck!
  • Hi Rhian,
    I think Daniel sounds fine, he is trying which is great but I think that he is making himself understood and is probably very happy with the way things are ticking along at the moment.

    I do think they all do things at slightly different rates - Neve can walk perfectly but wants to be carried everywhere and is the only one of her little friends that does this (she also can't do shape sorters yet lol!) but she is happy and fine in other areas so I guess its just a phase. Why don't you give your HV a ring and ask her what she thinks - even if its just to put your mind at rest.

    By the way, I want you to remember this post when Daniel has been following you around the house for two hours asking you why the sky is blue, why the grass is green, why dogs

  • I think it sounds fine but if you want to have a check of what they 'should' be able to do then have a look here:
    and check out their age range - you will see the that age ranges overlap a LOT which means that there is a wide range of time that you can expect a lo to do things - use it as a referenece and comfor thtat things are fine rather than a worry tool!

    HTH! image
  • i wouldnt worry,daniel is 2 1/2 and hes only just started putting 2 words together and it took him agers to say mama or daddy,hes always been late in doing stuff but hes got there

  • my sons 22 months and he barely says anything and what he does say is hard to distinguish. However like your lo he takes everything in and understands everything.
    My way of looking on it is that if he needs something he knows how to get it without having to say a word! thats pretty smart communication!
    Your lo has a love of books and rhymes and play and has a close relationship with you so I wouldn't worry but if you continue to be concerned mention it your hv.
    best wishes x
  • Hi Rhian, it sounds like your little boy is doing really well and like all the other mummies have said, every child develops at a different rate. My lo is also 21 months and she talks away like there is no tomorrow which is great but if I compare her to my friends little boy at her age she is no where near as physical as he was. He could kick a ball and catch and jump and get down steps by himself all very confidently and Isabelle is no where near close to doing those things. So I think as hard as it is sometimes not to compare we just have to appreciate our lo's for who they are and let them develop at their own pace.
    Remember he will be getting his 2 year check up in January which isn't far away, so if you are still concerned I am sure you could talk to your HV then.

  • Thank you all for yur replies. I am only just now back on-line to eb able to reply. I am really encouraged by your stories about your children and I am much more relaxed now, so thanks very much.

    We had a lovely day together yesterday, and he actually said mamamamamamamama for the first time! Just the once though! And we played and played and had such fun. My mum and dad are staying with us this week and looking after lo whilst I am in work so he is absolutely loving the attention, and all the new toys that they brought lol!

    Swizzle, Thanks for telling me about the 2 year check - I had forgotten all about it. My lo is quite phyical, but let me tell you, any time spent in the garden or the park leaves me with my heart in my mouth as lo just jumps and falls from a height and ends up covered in bruises and scrapes!

    Lottie&Neve, Thanks sweetheart. I am sure I will rememebr this! Just like when lo was only crawling backwards for months and I thought he had a problem then lol.

    Tashy1, Lo goes to so many classes with me and his nanny now, I woder if he is doing too much! He does Talking Tots, Tumble Tots, Monkey Music and swimming. As he is an only child and always looked after by a sole carere (me or nanny) in the week, I want him to mix with other children as much as possible, so I really encourage people bringing their children to us and have ade lots of new mummy friends, which has been lovely.

    ~2Aries~, I will wait until his second birthday and see how he is progressing then. The second birthday does seem to be a milestone, and I didn't realise that.

    Thanks everyone. I really appreciate your replies x
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