You are at a playdate with a friend, and you realize that your 18-month-old is not talking or babbling as much as your friend’s child. Do not worry – you are not alone! It is so important to remember that all children develop at different rates. Just because your child is not exhibiting a certain skill now, does not mean they will not achieve the milestone later. Speech and language pathologists can frequently evaluate and treat early communicators, helping to support you along the way.
At 18-months-old (or within the 12-24 month range) your child should be able to hear and understand the following:
Each child develops speech and language skills at their own pace, so these milestones are approximate and will look different for each child. At 18-months-old (or within the 12-24 month range) your child should be able to use the following expressive language skills:
Wondering how to get an 18-month-old to talk? These are some of NAPA’s speech therapist’s favorite strategies to create a language rich environment for your child and motivate them to use their voice!
Parallel-talk and self-talk are both quick and easy ways to expose your child to more language
Refers to withholding motivating materials and/or activities to support initiation of expressive language, such as waiting for your child to use a word or word approximation to request before rolling the ball back to them
Repeating something your child says with more detailed or grammatically correct language.
Sing or speak a familiar verbal routine or song and intentionally pause; the pause provides your child the opportunity to “fill in the blank” with verbal approximations or words. You can do this with a variety of repetitive routines:
A way to prompt for communication without doing anything! The absence of verbal or gestural prompting gives your child the time to initiate and communicate when they are ready
Again, each child develops speech and language skills at their own pace, so these milestones are approximate and will look different for each child.
For a more individualized understanding on 18-month-old’s not talking or only babbling, schedule a speech and language evaluation or consult with a speech language pathologist for further assistance!
Tate Strack is a paediatric speech language pathologist at NAPA Centre Boston. When she’s not in a speech session, you can find her working out, binge watching a wide variety of TV series or eating dessert for dinner.