Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Should you be worried about your 18 month old's language development?

Many people feel that 18 months is too young to worry about a child's communication but in actual fact, if there is a problem, the earlier you get help the better.

We know that 'normal' language guidelines are very loose so that each child is different but generally a  18 month old:
  • has a short attention span i.e. can concentrate for short periods on an activity
  • Shows some early pretend play 
  • Enjoys playing with other people 
  • Plays with a range of toys/activities 
  • Likes routines but can be flexible 
  • Follows simple commands and understands simple questions as part of an everyday routine
  • Uses babble or some words which family understand 
  • Communicates through gesture rather than words (e.g. pointing, waving)
  • Eats lumpy food with no problems

However, the following could indicate a problem and could do with investigating further:
  • Does not seem to understand what is said
  • Does not demand much attention
  • Pays attention for only a few moments
  • No pretend play
  • Reluctant to let others join in their play
  • Interested in everyday objects rather than toys. eg light switches, plug sockets, opening/ shutting doors
  • Unusually distressed if there are changes to routine
  • No babble or words

Small Talk are very happy to see young children to give advice or support you further.


  1. Why is an interest in everyday objects like light switches a problem?

  2. Obviously all little ones love cause and effect things so its normal to love to turn the lights on/off but it's when these things are more interesting than human interaction. In one of the rooms I've used to run a group over the past 8 years, is a silver door stop. I hadn't noticed it as it's a big room and always has children, families, my colourful magic caret etc in YET every child who has gone on to get a diagnosis of ASD, has spotted it and made a bee-line for it almost on first entry to the room. No others have until a lot later down the line (weeks) because of the variety of other interesting things in the room inc children and adults. I.e they found that much more interesting than the people. Normally developing children would prefer the human elements.