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Pediatrics/My 20 month old


QUESTION: Hi, my 20 month old, had reached most of his milestones pretty early on, but one thing he won't do much of at all is talk..  he understand a lot and knows a lot as well.. But just never talks.. Sometimes he may mumble almost can hear some words in there.. But never really attempts to talk.. Are these red flags? For concern..
Something my fiancÚ and I noticed.. Is he has said mama dadda Kobe our dogs name.. And a couple words in the past but never uses them now.. He may say tree if he sees a tree and green.. But nothing more..

ANSWER: Hi, Daniel,

Most kids this age are able to say 5-10 words at least.  This highly variable, however. Does he live in a house where only English is spoken, or where another language is spoken?  This can make a huge difference in acquisition of language skills.  Is he developing normally in other respects?  Does he play somewhat with others his age?  We always worry with language developmental concerns if they are a sign of a broader condition such as autism spectrum disorder.

Good luck, Dr. Olson

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The thing that worries me is his vocabulary is maybe 5 words or so.. But not on a daily basis.. And in every other aspect he's reached most of his milestones very early on! He has an aunt that is 3 and they have weekly visits.. They do play a little, but my sister is very sassy and doesn't like to share.. He is around a 4 year old this week and they seem to get along well so far.. We've asked his doctor and he said that's not the case.. But I still have worries.. This being my first child.. I just want to be on top of everything that needs to be done.. But he makes eye contact, he understand everything I say, points to objects I ask him about, body parts as well.. He's very smart! Amazes me very much.. Just have the worry in the back of my mind due to his lack of talking.. He mumbles most of what I think is talking.. Certain words can be heard within his mumbles.. Thank you..

Hi, Daniel,

Are you a single language household?  If he makes eye contact, does proactive pointing, and engages in eye contact and is not doing ritualistic repetitive behaviors, then he most likely does not have ASD.  I have seen bright friends of mine, other doctors, who really didn't speak at all until 2-3 and they are wonderful totally normal people.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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