Speech {Nicholas at 18 Months}

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It’s been a while since I did an update on Nicholas and since we have some big things coming up for our little guy, I thought now would be a great time to paint you a little portrait of Nicholas at 18 months.

speech delay 18 months

But first, let me tell you about the issue at hand. Nicholas has a significant speech delay at 18 months and we just started Early Intervention with him. At this age he should have at least 6 words. He really only has 1 though: ‘dara’. He calls me and my husband ‘dara’. Occasionally he will say “dada” clearly, but most of the time it’s ‘dara’. Sometimes he’ll say ‘eeeee-uuuuh’ when he wants Gia and he just started saying “woah!” and “yay!” this week. But mostly he points and grunts to get what he wants. He babbles, but he doesn’t imitate us, no matter how hard we try.  He knows many animal sounds and he tries to say them when we ask but everything sounds the same. Try to say “moo” without moving your mouth and you’ll get an idea of what he sounds like when he tries to say moo.

So, as soon as he turned 18 months we had him evaluated through New York State’s Early Intervention program and the results were just as we suspected.  The speech therapist and special education teacher both agreed that he is extremely bright. He tested at a 22 month old level pretty consistently, except with expressive language (aka speech). In that area he’s like a 12 month old.

Hearing that your child truly has a delay is not an easy thing. In this case, it was bit of a double edged sword for us. Of course we don’t want to hear that Nicholas is anything but right on track or ahead for his age, but the fact that professionals recognized what we thought we were seeing was validating. And the fact that he can get help right away is a huge relief. There is no doubt in my mind that, with a little help, Nicholas will catch up in no time. (As we begin therapy I’ll keep you all updated on his progress!)

The other good news is that Nicholas’s receptive language is very strong. So, he understands everything we say to him –which we knew based on our day to day interactions with him. He follows two step commands already (go get your shoes and put them on; go get a ball and bring it to me, etc) and he constantly keeps us on our toes because he is always listening to what we’re saying. One night a few months ago I told Gia she could have an ice pop after Nicholas went to bed. He ran over to the freezer and pointed and jumped up and down until I gave in and let them both have ice pops. And, if he hears me tell Jon I have to go to work, he runs to the front door and starts to wave. Aside from being so cute, it makes me feel so much better to know that he understands.


Speech Delay 18 months

Until we have a speech update, here are some things our little troublemaker can do really, really well.

  • Nicholas has a big personality. He’s funny, silly and loves to laugh. He loves music and loves to dance and jump around like a silly guy. He loves showing off his tricks. He knows all the body parts, several animal sounds and he knows 4 signs (We’re teaching him American Sign Language so he can communicate with us and it’s awesome.) He can sign more, all done, help, and thank you. The signs have helped so much with his frustration level. Instead of screaming to get out of his high chair he signs ‘all done’.
  • He wants to be a big kid so badly. He follows Gia everywhere and just wants to do everything she does. If she has a juice box, he wants one. If she has a snack, he steals it. She’s pretty patient with him most of the time and he keeps up pretty well for a little guy! He also loves brushing his teeth, feeding himself with a fork and a spoon, pretending to talk on the phone, taking off his socks and shoes, putting sunglasses on himself, and just generally getting into everything.
  • He absolutely loves being outside. He likes to roam around our backyard, jump on the trampoline, swing on the swings and climb all over the slide. He asks to go outside the minute he wakes up in the morning and he makes a beeline for the yard any time we’re on our way to the car.
  • Speaking of the car, Nicholas is in that lovely stage where he will not sit down so I can buckle him in his car seat. He likes the car and loves going places, but he will not sit without a fight. The only way to get him in is to have food handy. I distract him with it and then buckle him in really quickly.
  • Nicholas is very agile and coordinated. He climbs anything and everything, he knows how to blow bubbles, he jumps and gets both feet off the ground. He loves watching Gia do handstands and cartwheels and the thinks he can do them too. In reality he bends at the waist, puts his hands on the ground, and then falls and rolls. It’s very funny.
  • He loves to play. He engages in pretend play very well and loves to feed dolls and push them in a baby stroller. He can still keep himself busy for a while if he’s interested in a toy. He also loves cars, blocks, things that have buttons, and things that let him practice fine motor skills (the fishing game, sorting games, etc).
  • He’s becoming less shy and more willing to move away from me when people he isn’t familiar with are around.
  • He is so affectionate and it melts my heart. He puckers his little lips and gives the sweetest kisses. And if he’s not in the mood to give you a hug when you ask, he leans his head in just to not leave you hanging.

Read about part 2 of our speech journey HERE

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  • Reply Mandy

    your little boy is adorable! It sounds like you are doing everything possible to be loving and supporting parents – fingers crossed he continues to make progress!

    5-22-15 at 7:48 am
    • Reply Krista

      Thank you Mandy!

      5-24-15 at 9:20 am
  • Reply Lindsey Smallwood

    Your little guy is so cute. Our son has a mild speech delay too and it was hard for me initially, wondering if I did something wrong, not talking to him enough or reading enough. But he’s doing great and I’m realizing everyone has their own timeline. Good luck in the process!

    5-22-15 at 12:25 pm
    • Reply Krista

      Lindsey–I can totally relate. I always thought that if you just talked to your child they’d speak back with no problems. My daughter was the opposite too, so dealing with a delay has been different. She was speaking in sentences at 18months and I didn’t do anything different with my son. But different kid, different time line!

      5-24-15 at 9:22 am
  • Reply Shann Eva

    He sounds like a very bright, active boy! And so cute! I have twins, and they were born very early. They are now three, and they talk A LOT, but it is very hard to understand them. We will be getting them evaluated for speech at their next exam. I’m nervous, but confident in the services, like you. I look forward to reading about your experiences.

    5-22-15 at 3:12 pm
    • Reply Krista

      Shann my daughter was a bit like that. She started speaking very early and was speaking in sentences at 18 months but it was a little tough to understand her. They older they get the more clear they get!

      5-24-15 at 9:24 am
  • Reply Keri

    He reminds me so much of our middle child! We started early intervention with him at 2 and I wish we had started it earlier. He is talking so much now. Now we are trying to get him to complete sounds. He just says CV not CVC. But he has come so far! And he was/is the same way where he totally understands but just cannot always express it verbally. So glad you are doing intervention! It is so so worth it!

    5-23-15 at 7:32 am
    • Reply Krista

      Keri that makes me so happy to hear!! I really cant wait to see where we are in 6 months! The therapists have some awesome goals for Nicholas and I’m excited for him to finally be able to express himself.

      5-24-15 at 9:25 am
  • Reply K. Elizabeth (YUMMommy)

    Early intervention is definitely the key! My little guy does speech therapy twice week and we’ve seen tremendous progress after a year and a half of therapy. Also, there are lots of Pinterest boards with activities that we as parents can do to help our kids with their speech delay as well.

    5-23-15 at 12:50 pm
    • Reply Krista

      That is so awesome to hear! And thank you so much for the Pinterest recommendation. I will definitely check it out!

      5-24-15 at 9:25 am
  • Reply shelah@mosswoodconnections.com

    Nicholas sounds like an amazing boy! He may be speech delayed but he has many other strengths. Its fabulous that you got him help early on. Early Intervention really works!

    5-23-15 at 9:14 pm
    • Reply Krista

      Thanks Shelah! He’s a total sweetheart and you’re right–the speech is just 1 part of it 🙂

      5-24-15 at 9:26 am
  • Reply Kirsti

    My son was diagnosed with Apraxia at 15 months. He had speech twice a week until he was 4. He tested out and you would never know. Early intervention and we worked on it all the time at home. Devastating news, but therapy is amazing!

    5-23-15 at 9:18 pm
    • Reply Krista

      Kirsti –wow that is awesome to hear! That is my hope–that eventially Nicholas tests out of services! So far they therapists aren’t sure what Nicholas’s problem might be. They don’t think it’s apraxia, but aren’t ruling it out either.

      5-24-15 at 9:28 am
  • Reply Lauren White

    He’s so lucky to have you as a mommy! As a mom to an almost-9-month-old, I’m super paranoid about areas of development. In fact, last week I made a comment to my husband about her no longer babbling or saying “dada” and “mama” and then the next day, she started saying “mama” with meaning as well as “baba” (what we call her bottle). It’s amazing how much information is out there on the internet about development, but it’s scary! It’s almost like TOO much information is out there! But luckily, mama’s like us have that gut feeling when we know something is wrong! I’m looking forward to hearing an update! Fingers crossed for you guys!

    5-25-15 at 3:30 pm
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