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Shouldn't my son be talking more at 17 months?

5 answers
My 17 month old son babbles all the time, but the only actual word he says is 'dada'. The doctors have me concerned that something is wrong with him, but they said to wait until he goes back for his 18 month check up to see if he starts saying more. I make sure I point everything out to him and repeat my self acouple times, but he doesn't pick up on it. He follows simple commands so I don't think there is anything wrong with his hearing. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get him to start talking more?

answers (5)

Chances are that nothing is wrong with your son. How is his physical development? If it's on track or if he's meeting his milestones early, he may just be more focused on his physical abilities.My daughter is the same way. She hit her physical milestones early, started talking a little bit, but then stopped. She's 28 months old now and she's better, but she has trouble with consonants. She has always followed commands and knows what everything is called. She decided that nonverbal communication was a little easier so her talking has taken longer to develop.If your pediatrician is concerned and offers speech therapy go ahead and do it. It won't hurt and it may help. But don't worry too much, he's probably just fine.
i bet he's fine. at 17 months my oldest daughter wasnt talking much but could tell you what sound a certain animal makes; moo for cow, etc. we got the "Your Baby Can Read" program and within two months she was talking a lot more. the program is a little expensive, but in my opinion definitely worth it. it doesn't really teach them to read, but it teaches them to memorize words and how words are spoken. if you dont want to use this program i would just try to find ways to implement spoken and written words throughout his day - some baby einstein dvds do this (show a word on the screen, a picture of the word, then say the word). also being around older kids who talk a lot will work wonders. and talking to him about everything, like you are doing. my oldest is 3 now and, while she says many words and sentences, her speech seems messy to me - but i think it is just being a 3 year old. try not to worry, though i understand its hard not to.
My mother didn't actually talk until she was over 3. She said the necessary things like mama and dada, but she didn't use nearly the amount of words she was supposed to use and the town doctor at the time had my grandmother convinced that my mother had a learning disability and would never speak well or do well in school. However, once my mother started talking, all those words started flowing out and they couldn't get her to stop talking. My grandmother used to joke that they used to worry my mother would never talk, and now they worry she'll never stop hahaha! In all seriousness though, go with your gut. Sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry and if you and the pediatrician really feel something is not quite right, maybe they should refer him to a specialist when the time is right.
My daughter didn't start talking conversationally until she was about 3, when her baby brother arrived and she *needed* to talk.  One thing that REALLY helped her is a show called Oobi on Nick Jr.  It's on at 2AM EST but you can TiVo or DVR it, I think we have about 17 episodes, lol.  There are also videos on  It's adorable and it breaks language down into small, understandable segments while showing the action that the characters (hand puppets) are talking about.  My daughter's vocab exploded when she started watcing Oobi.One other thing that really helped her is learning the alphabet, she was able to recite the entire alphabet and numbers 1-10 before she started talking! 
As an Autism Specialist I work with children with delayed speech everyday.  Here are some simple techniques; Hold a desired object in front of your son(baba, bubbles) say the word and wait for some sort of babble.  Don't give him it until a sound is made.  Give tons of verbal praise, and immediatly give him the object when a sound is made, even if it sounds no where close to what you said. Also, when he wants up say "uuuuppp" and look at him.  Don't pick him up until he maks a babble. Another great thing is sign language.  My daughter (16 mo) has been doing this since she was 8 mo old.  Say the word you want signed, "more" and fully promt him, doing the sign for him.  Then, immediatly give him what he wants more of (chip, cracker)  Have him sign for every piece and I bet  he will be signing by the end of the day!  Just make sure to fade your promt back so he is doing it by himself quickly.  Other great signs are please, food, all done etc.  Good luck! 

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