Q&A: 18 Month Old Only Babbles and Does Not Talk

blockquote_bgMy son will be 18 months next week. He doesn’t talk solid words but babbles on and off. He rarely answers to his name. When it comes to mealtime, he only likes eating something sweet or baby food. We had him eating meatballs and chicken nuggets with ketchup (the only way to get him to eat), but now he hardly wants anything to do with it. He will feed himself crunchy snacks and occasionally fruit, but nothing else. He does not play well with others. I know he is still a baby. Am I looking too far into this?

By 18 months, I would expect for your son to have at least 5-10 single words and be attempting to imitate new words and sounds in play on a daily basis. He should be using gestures (pointing to things he wants) and vocalizing to get his wants and needs across to you. He should be turning to his name (unless he is engaged in play or distracted) and following simple commands such as “get your shoes” and “give the cup to mommy”, etc. You can review speech milestones for age 18 months at this link.

It sounds like you have some concerns about his feeding skills and the variety of foods he eats as well. This link talks about typical feeding skills at 18 months and to the right side of the page shows red flags that might mean a child has a feeding concern.

Children of this age do not yet typically play “well” with others (as in cooperatively), they tend to play by themselves when in a group and do not yet share and often take toys from other kids or sometimes use aggression to get attention or a toy from another child-which is typical at this age. Since as his Mom you know your son best and it sounds like several things are concerning you, I would definitely seek an early intervention evaluation to determine if your son is showing any delays currently, so that he can begin receiving help now. It is important to start early rather than wait until he is 2 or 3, so I am glad you contacted us. These are some early intervention resources in your area.