Every child learns how to talk at a different pace. Generally, they will start to babble at around 6 months old and will speak their first few words at around 10 – 15 months old. And at 18 months, they start to combine words to form simple sentences.
However, for some reason, some children are unable to talk at the age that they should be talking, especially when they reach 20 months old (1 year and 8 months old). Generally, when a child reaches 1 year, their vocabulary and their communication skills start to grow and can expand from 2 words (mama and papa) up to 100 words or more. There is a list of common 20-month-old spoken vocabulary that you’ll often hear from children around these ages; here are a few of them:
Some are short and simple questions, such as “Where mama?” or “Where Papa?” Some are simple words that were put together, such as “more milk” or “more cookies”. As the child age by month, he or she learns new words. However, that is not the case for children who are late talkers.
So, why a 20-month old child can’t talk? Should you be worried?
There are several reasons why a child of 20 months old or older can’t talk; and if your child isn’t talking or just using no more than a few words, there could be underlying issues that need medical intervention.
Here are the top reasons why your 20-month-old child isn’t talking:
- Delayed Speech or Delayed Language Development
One of the common reasons why there are children who are unable to talk or talks fewer than other children at the age when they should be talking more. Delayed speech or delayed language development can be caused by various reasons; these are:
- Developmental speech and language disorders where the child is having difficulties producing speech sounds or understanding what other people are saying by using their spoken language. According to medical studies, the two learning disorders are a result of the brain working differently. Fortunately, some therapies can help the child improve their speech and language development together with the support of the family.
- The auditory problem is another reason why there is delayed in speech and language development. If the child is unable to pick-up verbal cues but visuals, you must consult your child to an audiologist as soon as possible.
- Autism could be another factor why your child isn’t able to talk; in most cases, autism can affect a child’s communication, which is also considered as an early sign of autism.
- Oral impairment
Oral impairment, either with the tongue or the palate, is another reason why a child is unable to speak properly or speaks fewer than the other kids of his or her age. Thus, in this case, the child may undergo corrective surgery to help him or her to speak well.
- Environmental deprivation
Extreme speech deprivation can cause speech delay. This happens when a child is either abused or neglected or someone is speaking on his or her behalf.
What to do?
If you find your child is having difficulties following your speech encouragement or practice speech beyond 20 months old or at least when they reach 15 months, you should consult your child to a physician to identify possible speech or language development problems.