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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>20 Month Old Can't Communicate
delferka 07:54 AM 05-17-2016
I have a 20 month old boy that is grumpy most of the time. He communicates only by grunting. He has no suggestions of words, no consonants or anything. Only ungh.
I have another boy here who had a similar issue and his parents were right on it early. The speech therapist comes to my house every two weeks and works with him and now he speaks very well. I spoke with the therapist about him and she said he definitely need some communication skills not just grunting. She's heard him.

My question is, how can I mention this to the parents? Do I have a right? This screaming and grunting when another child comes near him is wearing me down!
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Controlled Chaos 08:54 AM 05-17-2016
I think it's a little early too be worried. Many 20m old don't talk yet. It's a hard age while they struggle to be understood and we struggle to understand but I think it's developmentally normal.
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Unregistered 09:14 AM 05-17-2016
I have had this issue with 2 different children and have dealt with them both in the same way with great results. When they grunt or "ehhh" i just say, "no ehhh, use your words...do you need help? Say help" or whatever the issue may be. In the experience I have had with this, the parents aren't requiring the child to speak for themselves and are just doing everything for the child or responding to the grunts. Give the child words to use and don't respond to the grunts.
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Leigh 09:31 AM 05-17-2016
Originally Posted by Controlled Chaos:
I think it's a little early too be worried. Many 20m old don't talk yet. It's a hard age while they struggle to be understood and we struggle to understand but I think it's developmentally normal.
Just do what you can to encourage speech-encourage the parents to read to him and talk to him all day long, and try to do it as much as you can, too. It's not uncommon at 20 months to not have speech. My own son started using words at 5 months (just Mama, baba! when he was hungry), but he had a big vocabulary at age 12 months. When I had a foster child who wasn't speaking by 18 months, I was in a panic, and everyone I contacted assured me that he was normal.
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Unregistered 11:19 AM 05-17-2016
Are you comfortable talking to the parents about this? You can make a referral. Do you have Birth to 3 services in your area?

I worked for birth to 3 for quite some time. Typically 18 mo old children have upwards of 50 words but not much worry unless under 10-15 words.

Many times I would see children with 2-3 words at this age...then there was a concern. Children had to have a 25% delay to qualify for services.

24 months typically have upwards of 200 words but not much worry unless under 50. Should be putting two words together.

I know many little ones do take time to speak.

Does this child's receptive language ability seem developed? Meaning does he understand you and follow simple directions? Does he use gestures? Wave bye, shake head yes/no, etc.?

Does he get very frustrated with his lack of speech? Does he communicate in other ways? Sign language, pointing, pulling you to show you something, etc?
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delferka 01:28 PM 05-17-2016
Yes, there's a great program here. He has zero words. No Mama, Dada, nothing. Just grunting. Like a caveboy! He gets upset I think because he can't communicate. He's with me 5 days per week and I try to get him to say please/thank you, any words at all.
He does understand when I ask him questions such as, "can you get that for me?" or "do you want a drink?" No shaking his head yes or no. No waving bye bye..
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Heidi 07:19 AM 05-18-2016
Originally Posted by delferka:
Yes, there's a great program here. He has zero words. No Mama, Dada, nothing. Just grunting. Like a caveboy! He gets upset I think because he can't communicate. He's with me 5 days per week and I try to get him to say please/thank you, any words at all.
He does understand when I ask him questions such as, "can you get that for me?" or "do you want a drink?" No shaking his head yes or no. No waving bye bye..
In that case, I would refer him to B-3. If he had SOME expressive language, I wouldn't be as worried.

I usually start those conversations with "Have you noticed...?" It gives the authority to the parents. "Have you noticed that Sam isn't using any language yet? He is so smart, and understands just EVERYTHING. But, usually children this age have a vocabulary of 25-50 words, so I'm a little worried. What do you think?"

Wait for answer. If they seem concerned, you can give them the info. If they seem resistant, back off a little. "Well, how about we keep an eye on it? I will keep a list of words I hear his say. Can you do the same at home, and we can talk again in a few weeks?"

I do have one in my group (I'm a Head Start Home visitor now) that is just starting to grow his vocabulary. At 18 months, he had no language. At 23 months, it's grown a lot. Sometimes, though, his words are so mispronounced, they sound like grunts unless you see the context. For example, "truck" sounds like "uck", unless you see him pointing at a truck. He is in speech therapy.

Lastly, since he's frustrated, look up baby signs and teach him some sign language. That'll help a bit, and it will not slow language development.
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Ariana 10:47 AM 05-18-2016
It is most definitely not too early to be concerned. Totally agree with chatting with the parents about it and getting him referred. My friend has a little boy who is 3 and grunts. It is not good.
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Tags:speaking, speech - delayed, speech therapist
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