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Is My Baby Normal If Not Talking At 21 Months Old?

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My son has not been trying to say any words, not even mama. Is this abnormal? He’s 21 months old. I am really worried that something is wrong with him, because I think it is very late not to talk a at all at 21 months of age.

Please help,

Baby Help Line:

Baby Not Talking At 21 Months – Some Tips

I would suggest to check with your public health nurse or doctor on this, just to discard the possibility that your son has a hearing problem. You can do a quick test at home by sneaking up behind him and make a scrunching noise with paper and see if he turns to that side to find the noise.

Does your little boy make noises and respond with noises? Does he follow simple commands and understand simple questions? Does he point pictures, when named in books? If he does, you should not be concern about the fact that he is not talking yet.

Sometimes placid babies that have lived in a very quiet environment without very much interaction take a little longer to start talking. Second or third babies tend to talk a little earlier as they have a lot more interaction and stimulation from older siblings. A bilingual environment may also induce some delay in the onset of language.

Usually by about 2 years, toddlers are starting to learn about 10 – 20 new words per day and trying to repeat them. They are generally able to say few true words and phrases. However, don’t worry about what is normal, all babies are different.

Your little boy will be absorbing a lot and understanding far more that you think. Some babies just sit and watch and absorb and do very little talking or trying to talk and then suddenly start chattering away by the time they are three.

Otherwise, just encourage him, by having lots of conversations with him, make eye contact and respond when he makes noises even if they don’t sound like anything. Talk about everything you see when you are round the house, or taking him for a walk.

Make sure you talk in adult talk, not baby talk. Gooing and Gahing at a baby is fun but doesn’t teach them language. Name things when you pass them to him, play games such as where’s your tummy? Where’s your toes? That will help with language development.

I’m sure before you know it he will be asking endless “why?” questions and you will be wishing for some peace and quiet!

Wishing you Joy,
Annie Desantis
(Answer approved by our Medical Reference Team)

More About Toddler Development

Find comments below.



Mar 07, 2012

My Baby is talking limited words

by: Sheila

My 2 year is not saying much, only 15 words, he had a hearing test when he was 2 weeks old and they said he has slight problem. I didn’t go for further tests, because I knew he is fine. Now he can hear even quite noises. If I say can you get milk or ball etc…in a whisper. Because a seed has been planted I am still concerned back of my mind. I feel like going for another test but whats the point all they will do is ask him to press button if or when he can hear something. He is only 2 so he isn’t going to act what they say. I live with him 24 hours so I know he can hear and he understand everythin. I don’t what to do can someone help….has anyone been through what I have been throuh?? Please help.


Apr 15, 2012

children do develope at there own pace but 21 months is a concern

hi i can understand why you are worried! i think this is something to be concerned about as i have been through the same thing with my son…..an turned out he was Autistic….you need to look for other signs tho does he respond when you call his name or does he tend to not respond as if he doesn’t here you ….is he hypo? does he have high tolerence to pain ??? so when he does something to himself that makes you go ouch!! does he jus get up like that didn’t hurt an you just think gee my boys tough lol! does he listen when you tell him no dont touch! or hop of of that ??? cause Autistic children don’t understand the concept of thing like a normal child they understand actions more than words.. when he see’s something he likes for example a plane.. does he point an look at you as to say wow mum did you see that??? cause Autistic kids dont tend to share there experience’s…dont stress untill you have tried all these things.. some children can be delayed but i would be concerned as he is very late to talk could be his ears i would get them tested an if u have already had them done i would get a second opinion….i went to many doctors who just laughed at me an told me he was normal until he was nearly three an wasn’t talking an then they did test an discovered i wasn’t over reacting… good luck an if you need to ask me anything feel free to do so…

Aug 09, 2012

baby talking
by: Aly

This book can help you…

The Talking Baby: Simple Tricks And Techniques To Encourage Your Baby To Speak Sooner

Worked for us and other parents we know…

Mar 23, 2013


by: Anonymous

My 2 year old isn’t talking either, but when I read a book to her I ask, “What is so and so?” and she can point them out. I know she knows what I’m saying, and the objects around her.

Mar 23, 2013


by: Anonymous

My son does not talk either. He is going to be 21 months old on 26 th of this month. He says papa when asked to say mama and say ‘wahish?’ means to say ‘what is this’, and jaji for daddy sometimes..(very rare). he points at almost everything correctly. He knows almost all the part of body. It still freaks me out becuase there are no real words yet!

Sep 19, 2013

Grandson not talking – Autism?
by: dee

I am a very concerned grandma living in the UK. My kids are all grown up, but I have the most gorgeous little grandson a week and a half off his 2nd birthday who isn’t really talking.

He kind of says mummy and daddy and he calls me ma ma and he can say nanna and narna for banana but that is it.

He appears to be developing at a normal rate in all other areas. He responds when his name is called, he will bring anything you ask him to get. He answers all questions in his books by pointing and makes animal noises for all the animals, but apparently he does have days when he is very unhappy and cries and screams for ever, which drives my daughter to distraction. He has done that twice for me and there s really not a lot you can do with him when he is like that. If he wants something he always takes your hand and takes you to where the thing is that he wants and I’ve just read that that is a sign of autism.

Also he can be aggressive to other smaller children by appearing to hug them but squeezing them tighter and tighter until they cry.

He also starts of by stroking my cats, then he grins and pulls their fur and skin up in the air til he hurts them.

He is an only much loved and much wanted child. He is looked after by me and his other grandc when his parents have to work. He is heavily involved in baby groupware and play groups and has busy stimulating days. His parents lives revolve around him but he can’t talk. He has had all his hearing tests. Also he sometimes nips or smacks adults in the face. When I say don’t smack grandma’s face he smacks his own and pretends to cry.

Oct 06, 2013

To UK Grandma
by: CaliforniaGma

I too have a grandson that has a lot in common with your grandson. My J.J. is 28 months old now and has been tested for hearing and it is great, but still he can’t talk. At about a year old he could say I Love you and the cats name (Byron) and of course Ma Ma and DaDa and we heard him yell, Awsome! Once. But that was it. We are now involved with a place called Far Northern, which helps children and they are going to help us and him to learn some communication skills. But what we don’t understand is what happened? Why isn’t he talking? He seems to know what we are saying, he will grab your hand or pull or push you to go where he wants you, to get him something, but won’t or can’t talk. Makes us wonder if any of the dozen or so baby shots he got has anything to do with it? He babbles and moves his head like he is talking to us, but we can’t understand him.

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