Speech & Language Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

Loss of speech in a 14 month old

Hello, I am new to the MedHelp and didn't realize there was a Speech Forum.  I posted this earlier on the Maternal Forum.  
My daughter at 12 months old said aprox. 10 words clearly.  She used to also mimics our inflection if she did not know the words.  She was an avid talker.  Would often say "this" if she wanted something.  She would hand you a book and say "book book!"  Aprox 2-3 weeks ago she stopped all words.  She is now 14 months old.  She babbles, grunts and screams now.  She won't say "Mama" or her favorite "Duck."  She still says Da and occasionally Dada.  She still makes sounds like "wuuuu" if she sees a dog or "muuu" for cow.  But before she used to say "Dog."  Now if she wants you to read her a book she grunts and points.  Her hearing seems fine as she turns her head if she is called and she understands basic commands.  She has been walking since 11.5 months and signs several words.  She is very happy child but not cuddly at all.  She shows affection by smiles and flirting.  Some thought on the Maternal Forum that she may be stopping language to learn a new skill.  But when she was learning to walk (which is very difficult) she was at the height of her talking.  Is just does not seem normal that she has not acquired any new words and has lost all her old words.  Thanks.
24 Responses
169942 tn?1383613300
Did this start after any unusual event, such as an illness or shock? I started speaking early, I was already saying many words by the age of 10 months, but then after a long sickness I stopped talking, and didn't start again until I was 14 months old.
Avatar universal
That is the unusual thing...nothing that we can think of has been different.  She has been healthy and happy otherwise.  She is still very bright and seems to understand a lot.
598319 tn?1282102140
If she is grunting and pointing, she is still showing intentionality and social interaction skills.  She knows what she wants, she knows she can get your attention, and she knows how to direct your attention to what she wants. I know you didn't mention it, but if you were worried about something like Autism, it wouldn't be my first (or even 2nd or 3rd) guess.  Obviously it can't be 100% ruled out unless you see a developmental pediatrician or a child psychologist, but I would look into other things first.

I have a few questions:

1.  Do you have any reason to suspect hearing loss?  Does she seem to understand you as well as before?  You may consider getting her hearing screened.  
2. Have any other areas of development regressed, like motor skills, feeding, potty training, etc?

As for #1, the funny thing about "understanding" is that many children LOOK good at understanding almost everything.  Young children are GREAT at following your eye gaze, body language, or pointing to know what you want.  They also "assume" based on the most likely scenario what you want them to do. For isntance, if the child is holding a ball and you say, "throw the ball!" they might not really know what you said, but they know they're supposed to DO something, and the most likely thing to do with a ball is throw it.  

That said, you can check your child's comprehension by giving directions like, "get the book" without looking at the book or pointing.  Or tell your child to do something different with an object they play with a lot - instead of "put the baby in bed!" say "put the baby on the table"  Use words you're pretty sure she should understand but give as few cues as possible to see if she's truly comprehending your language, or just using strategies.  Also try calling her name softly, playing music, or rattling a toy behind her and see if she turns to look.  Gradually do these things louder if she doesn't seem to hear you.  

If you find that she has some trouble understanding you when you use fewer cues, the first step is hearing testing.  The second step is being evaluated by a speech pathologist.  

If the answer to #2 is yes, I would talk to your pediatrician right away to rule out more serious problems.  

Good luck!

598319 tn?1282102140
Oh, one other thing you might try...

If her understanding seems fine and you don't suspect a hearing loss at all, and she is only USING fewer words, I would try to see if behavioral strategies help first.  She might just be realizing that grunting and pointing works just as well as speaking did, so it's not "worth it."  You can make using words more "worth it" to her by making speech more of a necessity.  When she grunts and points, say "I can't understand you, you need to use words."  If she doesn't respond, model the words for her.  Tell her "Book.  Say, 'book'" She might just be in a sort of stubborn phase where she knows she can get what she wants without using words.  

470168 tn?1237471245
I think you should take her to her paediatrician and raise your concerns.  There are some conditions/disorders such as autism where children can acquire some speech and then regress and lose it.  Autism can range from severe to very mild, and in some cases can be quite hard to recognise and diagnose.  I am not suggesting that that is what it is.  But I think any speech loss or regression should be investigated if only to put your mind at rest.
612876 tn?1355514495
I second the recommendation that you talk to your pediatrician about your concerns.  AND specifically ask for a hearing screening.  Some pediatricians are notorious for poo-pooing developmental "hiccups" when a simple test could have caught something early on before it snowballed.  If the hearing screening catches something, the fix could be as simple as a medicine to clear up fluid in the ear.  

Other than hearing loss, there are a number of things that can cause such a regression, autism spectrum disorders included but certainly less likely than some of the others.  The important thing to focus on is getting it checked out sooner rather than later, and if you don't think the doc is being thorough enough, get a second opinion.  Parents who follow their gut instinct often are the ones assertive enough to get the best care for their children!
Avatar universal
Since reading your concerns about your daughter, what has been the outcome of her loss of words? Have you been to anyone yet? I'm curious as to what you have found out. As a SLPA student in training, I felt that Rozy321 hit some very key points as to what you could do differently. I would definitely recommend seeing a speech therapist for an evaluation just to see if there are some tips that the SLP can give you to facilitate her speech and language development.  It's worth a shot! I hope that you are getting the answers that you need from the appropriate professionals!
Avatar universal
Thank you all for your advice.  As a result, we are seeing an Audiologist on Wednesday to have her hearing evaluated.  The pediatrician also felt this was unusual.  I have a friend who is a Speech Pathologist but doesn't work with very small children - she also suggested we talk with our Ped.  Since her language loss she has also started to do this weird thing with her tongue.  She moves her tongue around her mouth making nonsense noise - not babbling.  My friend the SP said it was something much younger children do pre-language.  It is all very strange.  I mean her Pediatrician at 1 year remarked how advanced she was for her age and now she is doing something found in 9 month olds.  This from a kid who was clearly saying words like cake, stick, up, down, change...  She won't even do what she was doing at 9 months - baby talk first syllable stuff - baba for bottle.  I'll keep you updated.  Thanks again for all your responses!!!  I really appreciate hearing from you all.  
Avatar universal
Hi Everyone, We went to a Hearing Evaluation and discovered she has great hearing.  The next step is a S&LP Evaluation.  We were referred to Early Intervention.  I'll keep you updated.
Avatar universal
I am not trying to scare you,but my Son did the same thing,at 1year he had a vocabulary of 10 words.Then He lost his words.He later got diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder.One thing that you can do is talk to her a lot,read her a lot .Hopefully She is not on Autism spectrum.Even for regular children language stimulation is good.One thing that I learnt is that working hard with your kids pays off in the end.I have two wonderful kids on the spectrum.One totally recovered and the with otherone we are working hard & hoping that He goes the same route.Another thing kids who are mild are often diagnosed late.My speech pathologist with my first son never told us that she suspected PDD(Autism).Devlopemental pediatrician also didnot diagnosed my son.It was a battle for me.(This is the story of many other parents with a Autistic child).Finally a Neuropsychologist (University of Iowa)diagnosed him with PDD-NOS(mild form of Autism).My 2nd son got diagnosed at Ann arbor(University of Michigan)Autism Center.These places usually have huge waiting list.Try to at least get appointement at one of these places.Wait time is usually 3-4 months minimum.In the mean time Atleast start Speech therapy now.Earlier the intervention better the outcomes are.If it turns out that  She is not on the spectrum,then wonderful.Speech therapy doesnot hurt anyone.I prey to God that your daughter is not on the Spectrum.But loss of words or social skill at any age is not good.
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for sharing your story.  Can you tell me if your son who lost his words did he exhibit any other signs/behaviors that were red flags.  At what age was he diagnosed?  What do you mean one son totally recovered.  What helped that process.  Thanks again.
Avatar universal
Moving the tongue around the mouth and producing nonsensical sounds is called "groping."  It means the brain is having a hard time communicating to the tongue where to go to make the sound they want.  My son did the same thing and similar to your daughter, was not overly affectionate, but is now.  We started with a referral to Early Intervention, which was helpful more for me as far as learning coping techniques, picture boards, and sign language to bridge the gap until we could "build the bridge."  My son was diagnosed with verbal Apraxia and there is a great site called Apraxia-Kids.org which I recommend going to even just to get hints on communication techniques.  
You HAVE to do your own research, if you are not proactive and keep bringing up possiblities, the professionals will try to stear you toward audiology and psychological causes.  Listen to your intuition.  
They kept telling me it could not be Apraxia, because Oral (large motor control) and verbal (minor) go hand-in-hand and cannot be seperated.  
I kept bombarding them with my own research and finally found a great SPL at Childrens Hospital Pittsburgh (which is the center for research and treatment of Apraxia.)  
My son is now almost 5 and is talking at a 3 1/2 year level, but he IS talking and is completely understandable to peers and adults.  He will be attending mainstream kindergarten next year with NO assistance.  
You have a long road, but get a support group, listen to your intuition and be a warrior!  
Avatar universal
Most of us that talk about recovering kids from Austim are considered "wackjobs" by the media and the Medical community, but go to TACA.org.  It is talks about Autism 'could' be linked to vaccinations and the gives hope to "recover" kids by diet and therapy.  IT WILL NOT WORK FOR ALL!!  But alot of parents including myself, think it does work.  Make up your own mind.  
I do think my son's Apraxia (learning disablity) was triggered by vaccinations.  He hit every milestone early and was talking before 18 month vaccinations and then 95% or his speech evaporated after the fever went away.  
My son is also considered on the road to recovery and the SPL's are amazed with his progress, which I credit to the intervention.  His former pediatrician said right before we switched, that because of his fast language progression after starting the diet, he must have been misdiagnosed.  But she agreed with the diagnosis of Severe Apraxia and told me to prepare myself for the possibility of Special Education for the Hearing and Learning Impaired!  I REFUSED to give up, did my own research, and now he talks well enough to go to mainstream kindergarten!  
Avatar universal
Update.  My daughter was evaluated by a S&LP and an OT (through Early Intervention.)  She did not qualify for EI because aside from her loss of language she was on target or beyond in every other category.  The only areas they noted to watch and work on at home was low tone in her cheeks and a stiffness when she walked.  Otherwise they said they never had a case similar to my daughters.  I should act like she never had those words and track her over the next three months and then have her re-evaluated.  We are seeing her Pediatrician tomorrow for her 15 month well visit.  I will bring up much of what you all have suggested.  One note about immunization: after her 12 month shots she had severe diarrhea for almost two weeks - no other symptoms.  We thought is was because we switched her to milk but that was not the case.  We removed the milk and reintroduced with out incident.
Avatar universal
Please read up on severe gastrointestinal reactions, including severe diarrea, related to mitocondrial dysfunction.  It is called the gut-brain link.  If your daughter is still not talking by 22 months, insist on being re-evaluated by Early Intervention.  Until then however, try doing baby sign language to bridge the language gap.  Go to SigningTime.com, this is the same videos that are on PBS that teach sign in a fun way to kids.  
Also talk to your doctor about spacing out her vaccinations.  If they don't listen, start asking your own questions.  
470168 tn?1237471245
Although I started to notice 'differences' in my son from around 3+, I can honestly say now, (knowing what I know now)  that he was showing some autistic behaviours before his vaccinations.  He was tactile sensitive as a baby, he had sensory differences etc.
There may be a genetic link through mitrochondrial DNA, but again I think there is a range of differences in the DNA make-up.  Some children with autism have other specific DNA abnormalities, and it seems to be suggested that some children on the spectrum have some DNA differences with either mild symptoms of mitochonrial Dysfunction, or no symptoms whatsoever.
Avatar universal
Please consider when your child's last vaccinations were in regards to her behavioral changes!

You will probably never find a doctor who will admit to this, but vaccines ARE positively linked to Autism and behavioral disorders exactly like your daughter's!  There is treatment that is successful for some children - it's called chelation.  

I have completely stopped vaccinating my children because of the horrors I discovered once I began really researching them.  The info is out there - all over the internet.  Look it up and see if it rings a chord of similarity with your daughter's symptoms.  

Don't forget a bottom line that drug companies profit billions of dollars because of vaccines, and there are way too many conflicts of interest among high-paid drug company staff and organizations like the CDC.  There is no solid evidence that vaccines are effective anyway.

Here is a documentary on vaccines that is very educational:
Avatar universal
Thank you for your comments.  I will be googling chelation after I'm done with this.  The neurologist alluded to the fact that my daughter could have had a seizure linked to her 12 month shots that caused her loss of language.  We just had her evaluated again for S&L and the therapist did find she had low tone in her mouth which doesn't explain the loss of language but explains the difficulty in regaining the language.  She is going in for a 48 hour EEG to rule out a seizure disorder that causes aphasia.  No one really knows and we are hearing a lot of "wait and see."  
470168 tn?1237471245
Everyone has a right to their own opinion.  But Kaitka cannot state that vaccines are not effective because they are.  And Chelaton is not a recognised therapy.  
There are many different types of approaches, strategies and therapies out there.  There isn't the evidence out there that vaccines = autism, because if there was, we could all take the drug companies to court.  Some children do have adverse reactions to vaccinations, but many parents recognise that their child had autistic behaviours BEFORE vaccination.  For other parents the onset of symptoms is usually at around age 3 which is when the vaccination is administered.  That doesn't mean it caused it.  If they had delayed the vaccine the child would still show autistic behaviour.
Ask your neurologist and other professionals involved with your child about therapies, or contact a national Autistic organisation in your country and see what they have information on.
There is much more clinical evidence that sound therapy and physical movements that improve brain structure and development have much greater and permanent success.
Avatar universal
I already wrote you a private message, but was wondering if you had an update on your daughter, as my son sounds very similar?
Avatar universal
I have a 12 year old son who had similar issues as a baby.  He spoke so many words early on - book  - light - he even said "bath" when he was 9 months old.  

Around 1 year - maybe a little before - EVERYTHING became "ump". I do believe it was related to a vaccination.  There was no illness or injury that could have triggered it.  He began speech therapy at 18 months and was later diagnosed with verbal apraxia.  We had speech therapy with someone who used specific techniques for apraxia - and slowly, his speech improved.  We also learned sign language.

He still had speech therapy at school for two years - but I will tell you that now, if there is a speaking part at a school presentation - or if a teacher needs someone to read aloud to a class, he is the first one to be chosen.  It's sometimes hard to remember how difficult things were for him.  There is hope - keep going with your gut instinct and don't relent. ( I am still fighting to keep him from getting more vaccinations - as I believe that if he had an adverse reaction then, he could have some other kind of reaction now...)
Avatar universal
Thankyou for sharing your experience with your son, it does sound very similar to mine, who was saying around 10 words clearly including "cat" and "banana" at 12 month but by 14 months was just grunting and whining.  For us it didn't coincide with vaccination but happened when he became ill with hand foot and mouth disease and had high temperatures, so I wonder if that was the cause.
My son is now 16 months and language seems to be returning, however his pronunciation is not as clear as before and he doesn't have many words so I wonder if he will end up requiring speech therapy.  I am giving him until 18 months and then getting an assessment.  Thankyou so much for your uplifting story, it's great that your son has had such a positive outcome, it makes me hopeful for mine.
Avatar universal
Just wanted to update in case anyone reads this.  My son is now 2 and 7 months and has a vocabulary of thousands of words and constructs long sentences.  He doesn't stop talking and has not been diagnosed with any disorders.  By 18 months he had around 60 words.  Pronunciation is still not perfect, but is within the range of normal.
Avatar universal
I am experiencing similar problems, at the moment I am looking into the possibility of it being speech apraxia, has anyone suggested this to you??? Angela
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