Tag Archives: development

18 Month Old Not Talking

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I’ve been anticipating my daughter’s 18 month check-up, not because of the shots and tears, but for the developmental check list. Last time we were at the doctor, I said she wasn’t talking like her brother was at that age. She has about 15 words now. I was assured that it was classic for the second child; her brother does all the talking for her. This is absolutely true, she can’t possibly get a word in edgewise in this house. But now she’s 18 months old and it’s time for her to be speaking more for herself.

Here’s one of those times my training comes in handy, then goes right out the window. I know the developmental milestones she should be meeting, red flags that signal a problem, and where to find more information if I need it. But when I have a concern about my kids’ development, I can’t help but fluctuate between denial and irrational hysteria. That’s why I rely on my pediatrician and these check-ups. Our decision was that I would check in again in 3 months to see how much progress she has made. She should be picking up a new word a week, so we’re going to track her words and keep reading and talking to her.

Its important to identify a Speech-language delay as early as possible because early intervention is key and because speech delay may be a sign of a developmental disorder that needs to be addressed. The trouble is that children develop differently especially in the early years, so many “slow talkers” will catch up. Unfortunately, it’s hard to determine with certainty if a child is just a slow talker or a child with a speech-language delay. So, talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language development.

Check out the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website for age guidelines.

Learn the signs of an autism spectrum disorder at Autism Speaks.

Don’t Compare Your Kids!

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. This is true for kids and adults of all ages.  And, on average, kids develop skills at different rates within the normal range. So, don’t compare your kids! See my personal revelation of hypocrisy below.

This topic is on my mind because I took my son to his third tennis lesson today and watched him struggle through one of his weaknesses: gross motor skills and coordination. He has always been a little slower at running and less coordinated than his peers, preventing him from having much success at sports. Meanwhile, this kid is really smart. He’s always been advanced, verbally.  He’s like the kind of smart that makes me worry he’s going to be embarrassed by his parents’ average intelligence. (This is a guess…I don’t actually know our IQs.)

Tennis

Then there’s our 17-month-old daughter, with seemingly opposite skills.  She can keep up with her brother like nobody’s business.  Her fine motor skills are so great, she even holds a crayon with the three-finger grip! She’s loving, clever, humorous, and empathetic. She just doesn’t speak. Alright, she babbles and says a few words, but verbally she’s way behind where her brother was at her age.

Determined to ride her brother's scooter.
Determined to ride her brother’s scooter.

Oops, I’m not supposed to compare my kids! And for good reason. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and until I find evidence that my son’s or daughter’s skills are falling outside the normal curve, I vow to step back and watch them use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. Also, I don’t want to set up a self-fulfilling prophesy for them: He’s the smart one and she’s the athlete. They’re 5 and 17 months for goodness sake! Take home message: Don’t compare your kids; let them be who they will be!