2 year old boy still doesn't talk- should i worry?


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My boy is turning 2 in July and his speech is far and between.
He does not even regularly say "mama" or "dada", sometimes he says "car" which happens to be his favorite toy. But that is the extent of his language and I am starting to get worried. Doctor says diagnosis may only begin at 2.5 years old, is this true? We talk to him very often and I even read books to him. He does understand a lot of things though, as when we talk or refer to certain objects, he will immediately react by getting it or at least pointing to the object.

Anyone with similar dillema? Should i be worried? Should i start talking with specialists?
I won't worry too much, just let nature take its course. Every kids is different. My brother in law didn't start talking until he was five and now he is a lawyer!
I did not speak untill i was 2.5 yrs old and now talk a lot. my parents were also worried but...it happened i guess. But as a parent i know its a matter of worry.

thank you so much everyone for sharing your thoughts and making me feel less worried. I do know and believe that each child is different but i guess when you have to deal with your child (the first especially), you can help but feel some bits of worry every now and then.

Im so happy at having found this site, it is just downright HELPFUL. I just wish i had found it earlier like even while i was pregnant. But then again, i can always catch up. :lovedface
My 22-month-old son's language development sounds very similar to your son's. I was very worried about this. I saw his doctor who didn't have many ideas. I then took matters into my own hands and had my son's hearing tested to make sure that wasn't the reason for his lack of speech. His hearing is okay. I then took my son for an assessment by a speech therapist. He's just started speech therapy once a week and I also started Omega 3 and 6 supplements last month. It may turn out that he is just a "late talker" but if there is some underlying reason for his speech delay, I wanted to start interventions earlier rather than later.

Good luck. I hope your son begins to talk soon.

I fully agree with kar that though you shouldn't worry too much, you might like to make sure that it's not his hearing that slows him down. I know a girl who didn't talk by the time she was 2 1/2. The check revealed her hearing problems. Once that was rectified, now we can hardly get her to stop talking.

My 22 mth old son is having a similar problem.


May I ask which speech therapist is helping your child? How long have you been on therapy and has it been fruitful? What may the charges be?


Zinc supplements are supposed to enhance speech. Zinc is rich in nuts such as walnuts and brazilian nuts. Also, mercury (HK's seafood is very high in mercury) is a known speech impairment.


What are obvious signs of hearing problems? I wasn't worried about this because my son seems to be ok on this front. He likes to listen to music and can even emulate sounds based on what he hears. He also responds to his name as well as to basic instructions when we talk to him. Could he be having hearing problems still despite this abilities?
I had my son's hearing tested at Adventist. The audiologist there is Joyce Tang--28350602. If you're worried about speech delays, a hearing test is the first step. You'll need to do this before you have a speech and language assessment. I believe it cost around HK$ 800.

My son sees Mandy Ng at The Speech and Language Centre in Sheung Wan. He's only had two 30 minutes sessions thus far...he's begining to "babble" a response back to us when we ask him something. I'm told that this is the first step. My daughter saw Mandy for nine sessions purely for articulation---my daughter could not pronounce some sounds. Her therapy went very quickly and she really enjoyed working with Mandy each week. As for cost, I believe it's around HK$ 420 for a 30 minute session---haven't received the invoice yet for my son's therapy so I'm relying on my memory... 28175450 www.slcentre.com

For a brief understanding of speech delays, see


I've also found the Apraxia Kids Website helpful (although I'm not suggesting that your children have apraxia)


Hope this helps.

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Sorry, Kar, would you mind elaborating some more.

How old was your daughter when she took sessions with Mandy? Did she totally took only 9 sessions and got her problems cleared up?



My daughter was 4 1/2. She couldn't say any s-blend words properly and had trouble pronouncing l, r, and th sounds. It was purely an articulation problem and she worked through it very quickly. Mandy was amazed by her progress as well. Several months later, my daughter is still doing very well although I have to occasionally correct an r or th sound.

My son has a speech delay which is quite different. He is 22 months and doesn't use any words consistently. He only says mama and dada under duress and occasionally uses another word (but then we won't hear that word again). I was very worried about this which is why I consulted the speech therapist. It's too early to tell what effect the speech therapy is having.

Hi Kar-

My son is 23 months and we are experiencing a similar situation as what you have with your son... in fact, almost exactly the same! He only says "mama" and "dada" when he is frustrated and almost crying and sometimes he will say "car", "cat" but then we never hear it again.

Would you recommend seeing a speech therapist already?

I guess I have a different opinion. If he is 2 and he still only has 1 or 2 words I would worry. There is typically a huge jump in vocabulary between 18- 24 months. A hearing test is pretty simple to do and usually if you end up going to a speech pathologist they like to have that done to rule out only hearing problems. Look at this website, it has a checklist to look at to see if you should be concerned. It is from the toronto preschool speech and language department


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thanks Capital!

extremely helpful site. i have discussed with hubby and we have agreed to go for a check. Early intervention is always best. If my son's test comes back negative, then at least i don't have to spend everyday worried now.


I think you've made the right decision. Hopefully your son is just a "late talker" and there are no other issues. I was really worried about my son and just getting everything checked out has made me feel better. I'm not longer worrying about him late at night, etc. I'll have to wait and see to see if the speech therapy was actually necessary. However, if I didn't go ahead with it and later found out that he had a problem, I would feel really bad about the situation.

Its been great to read this topic! My son is nearly 22 months old and only says mum and very occasionaly dada. I got quite upset when i went to the govt clinic last month as the nurses implied I wasn't stimulating him enough. But I know deep down that he's ok, because his language comprehension is good. He understands alot and likes to read books. I agree that a hearing check is a good idea. But I also note we mostly have boys, and most people seem to be of the opinion that they begin to talk later.
BTW, close monitor of diet is also necessary as mercury (plentiful in HK seafood because of contaminated water) is a known speech impairment. The nutritionist tested my son high on mercury. In fact, it is a common reason + working moms are why HK kids are later talkers than kids in western countries.

My son's comprehension is also good. But must say I am guilty of not sufficient speech stimulation. Leaving him with maids and nannies are just not good enough, despite playgroups etc. Mommy is always the best teacher but I only get to see him 2 hours a day and most of the time I am so tired that I am not trying my very best to stimulate him.


Our paediatrician in HK examined my son for 5 minutes and ask me and hubby a couple of question then gave this diagnosis: Mild Autism. She then went to recommend therapy to help him with his condition.

I was of course, both shocked and confused. How can we have a diagnosis that easily? She based it mostly on the inability to have language facilities at the age of 2 and the fact that my child was not responding to her during the consultation. (she was wearing a face mask at that time which could explain why my son was ignoring her)

This prompted me to research about the condition and the more I read, the more I am convinced to go for a full evaluation in the hopes of having a more accurate diagnosis. I am not denying that my son could be having language and developmental problems but i want clarity as to what it really is and what level he's in so that I can seek for the best possible help.

Has anyone had this experience? We are seeing the following this Friday/Saturday:

1) Audiologist - Joyce Tang from Adventist
2) Speech/Occupational Therapist - Rainy Chan also from Adventist
3) Clinical Psychologist - Dr. Tommy Chan

Hopefully, after these 3 experts see my son, I will have more clarity on the situation and will be able to respond more as to what my son really needs.

Let me know if anyone also had experience working with abovementioned people and tips to make my consultation more productive. I am preparing lost of basic questionnaire types of documents which i am able to download from the web to help ensure a thorough discussion with these practitioners.

My son's language development is very slow as well. My family has been speaking with him in English since he was born. He only watched English TV, English music and books. He attended English playgroup. However, when we (i mean, family, friends) talked with each other, we used Cantonese. (now, I realized that even though we never talk to him in Cantonese, he pick up our conversations and words by hearing it; he understands, everything is inside his brain, but we didn't realize until recently).

He started to pronounce some simple words such as 'car, cow, boy' right after his 2 yrs old birthday.
When we asked his name during 27 months, he would say 'mark' (his name is Marcus.
When he started nursery school, it's getting better. In his nursery last year, it's 1 1/2 hr English, 1 1/2 hr Mandarin. I never speak Mandarin with him at home.

I can say that his language development started to mature after his 3 yrs old birthday. He started to speak up and it's very very funny now.

Since he is old enough to understand different languages now (3 yrs 7 months), he started to learn Japanese & French few months ago. Really surprise, he pick up these two languages faster than me.

During X'mas holiday, I spent lots of time with him at home. I explained to him that Mommy also knew Mandarin. I tested and found that he knew lots of words and understood my Mandarin conversation.