Should I be worried my 12-month-old is not talking?

As parents we worry. It is part of the job description.

As humans we compare. Also, part of the job description.

But truthfully, when a parent asks me about their 12-month-old and how much they should be concerned about… the speech pathologist in me goes straight to… let’s not worry too much about what your little one is doing right now, but let’s look at how you are showing up to build their language.

At 12 months there is a huge range.

However, language does develop predictably.

So, at 12 months you would expect to see a little one keen to interact and understanding a little of the world around them.

Some will be using words (understood and jargon), others gestures and some nothing.  

All are normal.

Some may just use a sound, and when they use the same sound every time with intention.

Then that is a word.

“mmmmmm” “mmmm” “mmmmmmm” whilst pointing to their bottle / cup / your breast every time would be seen as ‘milk’ or ‘drink’.  

I ask these questions….

  • How is their attention?
  • What do they like to do?
  • How intentional are they?
  • Do they show you things?
  • How do they get their message across?
  • What do they do to communicate?
  • How do they play?
  • What do they like to play with?
  • Do they share things with you, just for the fun of it? For example, will they point to the puppy to show you that they see the puppy or will they only communicate with you when they want something to eat.

Then I would say to you…

  1. Follow their lead – get down to their level and copy them.
  2. Copy their play
  3. Copy their actions
  4. Add words to that
  5. Encourage gesture and sign
  6. Be face to face
  7. Say the word – “Milk.. milk… you want milk.”

And then don’t be concerned.

See the thing about language is it does change and if it does not – then seek help.

If you are worried at 12 months and there is no change by 18 months then please see your local GP, Pediatrician or Speech Pathologist.  Hopefully, before the 18-month mark.

But if you are worried at 12 months and you show up and build their language in the everyday moments, and you see progress and change then even if it is not the same as their sibling / cousin / friend/ playgroup buddy – but it is growing and changing then you can make some decisions – some informed ones.

If you would like some strategies  that build language in the everyday moments that you can implement easily and effortlessly then the Toddler Talk Kit has you covered.

This is the constellation of 26 years of speech pathology and 20 years of parenting.

It will help you feel calm knowing you are helping your toddler learn to talk.

And it will give you peace of mind knowing when to seek help.

It is not rocket science.

It does build language

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