Friday, 30 December 2011

worries by the language obsessed

In what seems like a previous life, I studied linguistics. I've always been fascinated by languages and if there's one thing that I watch like a hawk, it's how my kids learn to speak.

Just that this 15 1/2 months old of mine isn't speaking.
Consequently, we've got one worried mama, who once a week trails through the internet looking at signs of language delay, language milestones and the like.
Bizarre questions form in my mind. What counts as a first word? Is "mmmm" for "moo" (i.e. cow) a word? or how about "och" for "hoch/up"? Or could we count ah-oh! for when something falls down as a word? Does that make the milestone of 3 words by 15 months? I guess there's always hiya and hallo (the latter is her word for phone methinks) which we could count for good measure. Compare that to what Cubling was able to say at 16 months... When asked to say something, I get a most definite head shake. It appears she's not keen on speaking.

Interestingly I'm full of the guilt trip, what with a very chatty preschooler who also loves to read so most talking and reading is done with her rather than baba. Plus the latter is a happy wee soul, forever exploring stuff she finds, and not particularly interested in striking up a conversation with me or other people.

She may not be speaking, but she communicates pretty effectively alright. Especially if she suspects there's chocolate in the room (my girl), or if big sis has taken a toy off her. A "no" has to be voiced ever so gently and with a loving smile, lest there be tears. There's plenty of head shaking, nodding and waving goodbye, raising hands to be picked up, pointing and demanding, refusing and begging.

Just no words. We seemed to have managed to produced the ying and yang, and it's still beyond my ken how two siblings, can be so different from one another.


Anonymous said...

I feel for you! I wasn't really worried when my son wasn't talking. But his doctor was. I finally gave in and scheduled a speech evaluation for just after his second birthday. By then, he, too, was saying things like Mmmmm and hi, but that's about it. Go figure - just a week before the evaluation, he started talking! About two new words a day. That was at the beginning of December. And he's now up to 70+ words!!! People kept telling me it would be like a switch turning on, and that was certainly true. I know as a language-lover (I teach German) it's difficult to wait for your child to start talking. I personally like to trust that my son will achieve all these milestones when he's good and ready and try not to worry too much.
One thing that did help was sign-language. He knows about 40 signs by now, and they really helped him to communicate when he wasn't talking. Even now, it helps me to know what he's saying as he learns new words!
Good luck and hang in there! Hope this was helpful to you!

Laura McIntyre said...

I have had 3 very different experience with my kids and talking ,

Eldest was barely saying a word till 3 and even then it was not clear - she had her medical issues though which made talking difficult and after surgery her speech came along but she would of been over 4 before she really started talking (even now at 6.5 she struggles a little).

Middle was the perfect example of early does not always mean best - very early talker dozen words by 6/7 months and small sentences before a year . Her speech was great in contents but has never lost is "babyness" and she struggles to get people to understand her now at 5.

My 3rd was a late talker to - only a few words pre 2 and then between about 2.5 a few more - then all of a sudden he woke up one morning with about a hundred different words then around his 3rd birthday woke up with almost perfect speech .

Not sure any of thats helpful but 15 months is still so young - i honestly would not even start to worry till around 3 . Many children concentrate on other milestones first .

cartside said...

Thanks for the feedback, really helps me relax about it all a bit. One thing I found useful too from trailing those developmental milestones was to be reminded that non verbal communication is as important, and as long as that's there, and passive understanding, there's very little to worry about. I still see her as a baby, but when I read my post on Cubling and her speech at 16 months, I suddenly heard her first words in my head and how much she vocalised which isn't happening with Snowflake. I'm sure she'll get there and would be quite keen to have that language explosion experience, it must be fantastic when it happens!

Aussie Mum said...

I have three boys and they are all so different! The first was (and still is) and avid talker and reader - the second a little delayed (probably couldn't get a word in anyway with his older brother!) and number three (well he is just starting really (at 16 months). He usually is very quiet but he is quite capable of making himself understood if he wants. I think because my first got all the one on one his language developed so much quicker where as second and third children have to compete for mums time, and with so much extra background noise it just takes a little longer but they all get there in the end!

Jen said...

I guess there are different reasons why children speak when - my second is our babbler, and still today has almost better language skills than her older brother! (They're 4 and 5 now).

Our third seems similar to your baby (they're about the same age), with few words/expressions but lots of non-verbal communication and definitely understanding lots. I completely recommend the sign language too. We only use a couple of signs, but it is such a relief to cut out some of the guesswork and know for sure that yes, she IS hungry!



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