What if a 15-month-old toddler is not yet laughing, talking, or pointing, but she is interactive in other ways?

Here, a worried mom is asking about her daughter’s behavior.

If you can relate, please share by leaving a comment.

15-month-old not laughing or talkingPin
In this article, we go through the different developmental milestones that the mom is worried about for her daughter.

Mom’s Question:
15-month-old-not laughing walking talkingPinMy baby (well, I guess Toddler is the right word) will be 15 months old in 9 days, and she is still not laughing. She smiles all the time and babbles away, but I have never heard her laugh. I tickle her, and she tenses up and gives me strange looks – wondering what on earth I am doing.

She is very interactive, so I am not worried that she has sight or hearing problems… but she is not saying any distinctive words yet either – only babble (dada, nana, etc.). She doesn’t point or wave.

She is also not walking yet either. She cruises along the furniture and can stand unsupported for about 30 seconds.. but she is not walking yet.

Should I take her to the doctor to get checked out or is she just a late developer? She is quite small for her age – she only weighs 7.5 kg.



15-Month-Old Baby Not Laughing, Pointing, Walking, Talking…

What an adorable girl you have! You ask about her development and that she isn’t walking or talking yet, doesn’t point, doesn’t laugh, and that she is underweight.

One concern is the weight of your toddler. It seems that her weight is below the normal range, and this could have serious effects on your child’s development. Has she always been small? Any signs of food intolerance?

At 15 months, a toddler should be able to walk with assistance and stand alone. Since she is cruising along furniture and standing by herself (if only for a few seconds), my guess is that she will be able to walk in the coming months.

The lack of talking does not seem very strange to me. At this age, a lot of children do not really talk but may say at least one word.

Does she appear to understand words, even if she doesn’t talk? What if you ask her where mommy is, the lamp, daddy, and so on? Does she look in the right direction? Does she respond to her name?

If she doesn’t seem to understand words at all, maybe you should bring it up with her doctor and see if they would suggest a hearing test or development screening after all.

Is she interested in reading picture books? That is one great way to have fun together and practice her language skills.

The lack of pointing is the one thing that makes me wonder a little bit. Most babies/young toddlers have quite a strong will at this age, and since they can’t really use words yet, they figure out that pointing is an efficient way to get what they want.

Lack of pointing and waving is one indication of a development problem, but not in isolation.

Children that have serious developmental problems, such as autism, usually have a number of symptoms, such as not looking at other people’s eyes, not being interactive, oversensitive to noise, and more.

The fact that she isn’t laughing… I don’t know if that would be considered an issue. I don’t think so, but I am not really an expert. I know it is considered an issue if a baby or toddler never smiles back when smiled at, but that is obviously not the case with your daughter.

If I were you, I’d probably discuss the issues at your daughter’s next health check-up. (Is one scheduled for 18 months?) If she still doesn’t walk or talk at all after the summer, then it might be wise to follow it up. And use the summer months to really have fun with her and stimulate her development.

Of course, if you are very worried, talk to her doctor already now. There is no point in walking around being worried, and your daughter will sense your stress, too.

I really hope and believe that your sweet daughter is just fine.

Warm wishes,
(Answer approved by our Medical Reference Team)

More On Young Toddlers’ Development

Find comments below.


Jul 07, 2018 see the dr.
by: Anonymous
My son is in a similar place. He is 13 1/2 months old, and I have only heard him laugh maybe ten times, and none for very long. When we tickle him, he just kind of grunts and smiles, but no giggle. He doesn’t point. He is doing okay on walking……starting to take a few steps. Anyway, the ped gave me a developmental questionnaire to fill out. He scored low on it, so he referred us to the state’s Early Intervention program. I went there, and they did an assessment of him. They said he is a little delayed in a couple of areas, and he will be receiving some therapy.
I’m not too worried about him, but it is nice to know professionals will be evaluating him to see if he is making progress or getting worse. They are REALLY nice. Anyway, one thing they said about the laughing (and also that he puts everything in his mouth and keeps his mouth open all the time) is that he may be on the opposite side of the sensory spectrum as autistic children. They are too sensitive to things, but he may not be sensitive enough…meaning he wants more stimulation or just doesn’t feel things the way most people do, like tickling. he wants to taste everything to get more information about it. So, maybe your daughter is the same way. I think it is like “sensory processing dysfunction”. I don’t know much about it yet; I’m just trying to do some research. I don’t feel worried about it. I think he will be fine, but he may be a difficult child, always pushing the limits and making messes for the fun of it, etc. Anyway, talk to your doctor. It can’t hurt.

Jul 30, 2018 To worry or not?
by: nikkobug68
Hi there,
I am a mother of two. I have an almost 5-year-old daughter and an almost 6-month-old son. As we all know, all children develop at different stages. From my experience as a parent, I would not worry about not walking or talking. A lot of toddlers are not walking and talking at 15 months.
My daughter started walking around 15-16 months. The fact that your daughter can pull herself up and move about holding on tells me that she will be getting the hang of balancing and taking those first steps soon.
Talking, well, I think since she is babbling and saying a couple of small words, she’s doing just fine there, too, as long as she responds to your voice. Can she follow your voice as you speak to her? Does she startle at loud noises? If so, she can probably hear just fine and is just in the process of learning how to say more.When it comes to laughing and pointing, that concerns me a little. My son has been laughing since a little before he turned four months old. He’s always been very smiley and giggly. He started smiling a lot just a couple of weeks old. Not just gassy smiles, but also when I’d talk to him or enter the room, things like that. I can tickle him just about anywhere, and he giggles like crazy. Maybe he started all that early, but there’s such a huge gap in their ages that it raises questions for me. Did he start smiling/laughing too soon? Should she be laughing by now? I think when it comes to this, it couldn’t hurt to ask her doctor.
Her not pointing concerns me a little, too. My son will grab at things he wants. I know that’s not pointing, but to me, it’s his way of telling me what he wants. My daughter was pointing at things before she turned one and pointing and telling what things were before 2.
Like I said, all children grow and develop differently. This is just what I have learned from my kids. I say overall, always follow your motherly instincts. If you are concerned, then ask her doctor for his advice. It will never hurt. It’s always better to ask a lot of what may seem like silly questions and seem like an overly worried mom than not to ask and find out later that something just isn’t right.Best of luck to you and your cutie,

Nov 04, 2018 Some thoughts
by: Anonymous
Children who have been born with mothers under heavy anesthesia (either in a vaginal birth or a c-section) may develop more slowly. Also, if a child is whisked away from the mother and put in an incubator/nursery for a few hours directly after birth, there is insufficient bonding time with the mother/family. Instead, their first experience in the world is people with masks on rushing around, then being placed under warm, bright lights completely alone, like you would incubate an egg…
Besides that, it may just be the personality type of that person. Personality type is determined by both genetics and influences starting immediately after birth. We all know people who may be serious-minded and don’t laugh. They come from babies that don’t laugh.

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    The comment about babies being born under “heavy anesthesia…” is not fact based at all. First, mothers are not “heavily anesthetized” before a cesarean section. Plus, once mom is put under they move very quickly to get baby out so very little anesthesia gets to the baby or the baby will also be asleep. I worked as a labor and delivery RN for many years.

    I’ve also never heard of babies that needed intervention at birth and taken to NICU develop slower. I’d love to see where this person got her information. Babies who are neglected and lay in a crib without any attention definitely develop slower. Babies left in orphanages are late walkers and talkers but that’s not what she said. (I’m not accusing anyone of doing this)

    I just hope no one is beating themselves up bc they had to have an emergency c section under anesthesia and their baby is a little behind developmentally. It has ZERO correlation. Neither does a baby that needed NICU care. My third baby was whisked to to NICU at birth and stayed there for a week. She developed exactly like her brother and sister did. In fact she’s about to graduate with her masters degree in genetic counseling.