How many words a 17 month old baby should say?

Hi everyone!!

My baby is 15 months adjusted, and I just worry that he doesn't speak much. He says kitty, gua gua means "dog" tata, nana, and agua means "water" besides that he is doing very good! He's already walking and pretty much he does everything he supposed to do in his age. Should I be worry? Any one in the same situation?

Report post

12 replies. Join the discussion

My son is 21 actual, 18 adj and has a slight speech delay. Right now he says 'papa' 'kook'- which means cute 'mumum mmmmm' - for yummy, etc. He understands more than what he can say. I've been pretty concerned and talked to his ped about it last week at our last check-up. Basically we were told to give it till he gets to be 24 months adjusted (so another six months). It sounds like you're raising him bilingual? We're raising Japanese/English bilingual. Also boys often learn to speak slower than girls. So being a preemie, bilingual, and a boy is a pretty good recipe for even a small speech delay. As long as you don't have any concerns as far as his hearing goes, I would say he's doing just fine and you don't need to worry too much. I think the fact that he already has those 4 words you mentioned it great!

Report post

Has your child's hearing been tested? Even if he responds to sounds, if there is water in the ears, that can muffle sounds (making them less distinct) and that can cause speech delays.

Here's the government's guidelines on speech:
http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/speechandlanguage.asp#mychild

On that link, there's a little quiz for different age groups (use adjusted age of course).

Best wishes!

Report post

When they say each child develops differently, I have noticed it to be the most significant when it comes to speech. Especially if he's just learned to walk, he may not have been as interested in speech. I wouldn't worry too much yet, as long as he babbles and shows interests in talking. My girls are big talkers, but said very little at all until about 15 months adjusted - now, 6 months later, they can sing songs and talk in full sentences. But it just hit overnight. My niece and nephew didn't begin really talking in more than one or two words to identify objects until they were well over 2 years old. Keep reading together, talking together, and he should come around. And of course, talk to your pediatrician and a speech therapist if you really are concerned, but my guess is that it will just click one day. Best wishes.

Report post

I agree with mygirlsmom... development w/ language varies so much from child to child. My good friend's daughter was talking before she turned 1yr! Her son, on the other hand, didn't really talk til after he turned 2yrs. My older son (FT) didn't start talking until after he was 2yrs. He would say a few words before that. We were concerned and had gone as far as set up an appt w/ speech when he all of a sudden started talking. We never went to the appt. My preemie is 22mo (20 adjusted) and says a handful of words. I'm not too concerned b/c he has many signs and also does conversational babbling all the time. I have expressed some concern over his enunciation, but the drs/specialist have told me not to worry. (He can make individual sounds, like "d", but when he says a word he misses most consonant sounds.)

Definitely bring it up w/ your ped though. It's good to already have the concern voiced just in case when he does turn 2yrs he hasn't made any progress. I have a friend who has a daughter (36wker) who wasn't talking at 2yrs. Everyone just said she was spoiled. She was only in daycare a few days a wk, but fortunately, they noticed she should be saying more and she finally started speech therapy around 3yrs. If her ped had taken her seriously at 2yrs, she may have been able to get ST earlier. Fortunately, her daughter is 7yrs now and doing beautifully... her reading and spelling is advanced for kids her age.

Report post

My 15 month old neice is the same way...she says baba dada...uh oh...and makes the noise a monkey makes other than that its all screams lol! I wouldn't worry just yet.

Report post

If you're worried at all, ask your local Early Intervention for an evaluation. They offer free speech therapy, in home until your child is 3.

This site will have your state contact.
http://www.earlyinterventionsupport.com/resources/links/state.aspx

Zoey has a speech delay, mostly due to having a trach. We've had 2 speech therapists. They basically play and give you really good advice on what to practice with your child.

I also strongly recommend "Baby Signing Time" DVDs. The whole family can learn sign language, which helps build vocabulary and lessens tantrums.
You can find them on amazon.com - they are more expensive on the Signing Time website, but their site can tell you more. Zoey knows 200+ signs! By age 2 (adj, 20 months) she could use 100 words in sign, understood more, but could only say 5 words. My friends didn't have preemies, but taught their kids sign. They swear by it too.

The other site I love for guideline questions is: http://www.babycenter.com. They will email you weekly letters based on your child's age. The only problem is, they don't have special info for preemies.

Keep in mind preemies develop differently, because they have to use their bodies before other kids.

Hope this helps!

Report post

my full term boy is 18 months old and only says a few words "mommy, daddy, water, booby !!(he's nursing, ha ha), all done" etc.

My preemie was a slow start--I can't remember when he started talking, but I know we were worried, and were followed by speech pathologists.....

BUT I can tell you this--my preemie is now 3 1/2 and is an amazing talker--he tells stories, and has an amazing vocabulary (we read alot to our kids). its his strong point now for sure!

I think every child is different, even full termers. Do you read to your child? We have read books and books (we could open a library from our house with all our books!) every single day to our boys. I really believe it has helped tremendously with my preemies speech.

Report post

Thanks every one for answering my question!! Xander tries to sing when he watches his favorite program and talks a lot with his grandma of course in his baby language. Next moth we have an appointment with his pediatric and we're going to ask all these questions. He hasn't have another hearing test since he was in the NICU so, I don't know if his doctor can do one next time. We also have an appointment at CHOC children hospital for his 20 month observation and let's see what they say. Thank you for your support!!

Report post

My daughter is 18 months actual, 16 months corrected, and she isn't saying much that's recognisable. She does however, understand most of what I say to her, and she can follow instructions, ie; "go and pick up teddy and bring him to me".

She will say a word once, and we will encourage her, but then she doesn't say it again. So all she says that's recognisable is mummy, mama, dada.

I'm not worried, as all children, prem and full term, develop at their own pace. If she's still not talking much by the age of 2-3 years then it will need investigating.

Report post

Hi, I'm actually a Speech Language Pathologist... I have a ton of resources that I could pass along to you if you are interested?! Research, charts, ideas for working with your child at home, resources, etc. Let me know if I can help!

Report post

Hi! My son just turned 2 and he is the same way. He says a few things, but not many. Our doc says he may need speech therepy if he dosnt improve by our next check up. He was a 30 weeker and stayed in the nicu for 5 weeks. Our 5 year old was saying sentances by a year old, so we worry about our other kids not hitting her milestones. She is considered gifted though, so we cant compare them to her. Maybe he is just taking everything in? Talk to your dr about it. I think he is just fine! He may just be a quite kid. I hope this helps a bit!

Report post

Thanks again every one!! Xander was born at 30 weeks and 3 days. He had therapy before to improve his muscle tones, and he did great! He learned very fast and I was the one who teach him b/c he cried too much with his therapist. He had it for 4 months but less than 3 he was crawling and standing up and that was his goal at the time. I wasn't sure if he needed therapy he was doing great but at his 6 month observation he was very nervous and cried all the time and b/c of that he couldn't do anything the therapist ask for. Now we have to wait and for his next appt.

JNIEMI: I'll love to help him!! Yes, send me all the information you can. Thank you so much!

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Discussion topics

Preemie links and resources


Narratives from the NICU -- Read the special report

Community leaders