Real and perceived speech delays are not uncommon in babies and toddlers. In fact as many of 10% of all children suffer from a voice, speech or swallowing disorder that they may later overcome. Addressing the needs of a child with speech delays early on, while challenging, is still less traumatic than facing a child who is already well on their way to full speech and suddenly stops talking.
Surprisingly, this scenario is far more common than you may imagine. We frequently get questions from parents who are startled when their little ones suddenly stop speaking both at home and in social settings.
Once the pediatrician and audiologist have excluded auditory issues, as well as other potential scenarios like autism spectrum, it may be wise to explore the possibility of selective mutism. Selective mutism is a complex and difficult-to-diagnose condition where the toddler or child only speaks in certain settings. The condition is often tied to anxiety and social phobia and appears to have a genetic element. Selective mutism may take place only at school or in social settings, and in some instances, it is associated to fear, triggered by a person within the household. To be clear, selective mutism is not the same as traumatic mutism.
If your toddler has been diagnosed with selective mutism, there are many options you can explore to help your toddler embrace speech once again. Early intervention is key.
In addition to appropriate diagnostics, your toddler may benefit from the following:
- Reduced environmental stress
- Increased engagement in zones of comfort
- Play therapy
- Alternative communication such as pointing boards or baby sign language
- Frequent socialization
- Cognitive therapy
If you have just received a diagnosis of selective mutism, we encourage you to become familiar with our baby sign language materials specifically designed for toddlers. Through music, clear real-life images, and simple directions, our resources can quickly provide a toddler facing SM an emotionally accessible tool to communicate what matters most to him.
Good day. My son was already saying some words like “daddy” (he said this very well), “leave me”, “give me”, “brother”, some sounds of the alphabet, and “Mimi”. Then, he was a year and four months. But when he got to a year and six months, he stopped talking. Now, he is two years and six months old and is still not talking. He tries to say those words, but it seems he is having some struggles in his tummy or throat. I need help. This is really bothering me. Thanks.
How is your child now? Kindly share with me your experience. I am facing the same issue. Thank you.
Hi Victory, I’m sorry to hear that about your son. As you may have read in this article, there are several factors that contribute to a child’s selective mutism. Other factors could be excessive (TV, tablet) screen time, which has shown speech delays in some children who have been studied. There may be several health and/or environmental factors causing your son’s mutism. If you can contact your child’s pediatrician (you mentioned the tummy) and/or audiologist (you mentioned the throat) to share what’s been going on, you may get the assistance and specific action plan that your child needs. Best of luck.
Our 3-y.o. son was able to speak very complex sentences, well above his age average. However, seven days ago, first he stopped talking for half a day, and when my wife somehow managed to get him to talk, he asked her if she was crying because he stopped talking. On the next day, he again stopped talking and hasn’t said a word since. For some reason he keeps his mouth shut even when he has the urge to cough, sneeze or yawn. Ears are not a problem, we checked that. He still communicates with us as before, but by pointing his finger or by saying mmmm hmm. I just hope this nightmare will end soon and he will speak again.
My 4-y.o. son just had the same experience as your son, and it’s painful for us to watch him not talking, or trying to talk but couldn’t. May I know how your son is doing? Any resources or suggestions that you might have?
Sorry to hear this, Mark. Sounds like your son is precocious, having communicated well above his age average before. Have you or your wife asked him why he prefers not to talk? Is he in some physical pain, or he is afraid of something that he believes talking will somehow trigger? Perhaps, it’s ultimately best for you to consult with your son’s pediatrician, or a child psychologist. Hope this gets resolved soon.
My daughter turned 1 y.o. March 5th this year. On March 19 ,2022 (Saturday) she got her ears pierced, then 2 days after (Monday),she had a fever of unknown cause. By Wednesday, we visited her clinic for her 1st yr. check up. Supposedly, she was to receive her 3 shots, but we rescheduled because of her fever. They got her tested for flu and COVID (nasal swab). Got negative results. She was crying so hard after. Since then, I’ve noticed that she is not talking anymore. She was so active and bubblybefore . She is a happy, smart and energetic child. After she got sick, she became so quiet, easily gets tired, is more of an attention seeker now and looks unhappy. My heart breaks seeing her like this. Hope to hear from you, too.
Rubie, I am so sorry to hear this. Have you had your daughter checked by an EENT doctor? That she stopped talking after the fever and (traumatic) swab may suggest that her hearing faculty got impaired, which might also explain why she is quieter now. Please have an ear doctor or pediatrician check her out. Best of luck.
My son is 35 months old; he is smart and a quick learner. He started his first words at 9 months, like naming every family member living with him, and by his first birthday, he was able to mimic animal sounds. When asked in two languages, he waves and sends kisses. When COVID came, he was only 14 months and could say close the door, eat, drink, water, no, peek a boo, and start calling everyone by their first name, so he knew my name and said it when he was angry and when he wanted something; he would just say mummy. By his 18th month, he was able to read the alphabet from A to Z and count from 1 to 10, and everything was just in order. By 24 months, he could name the colors, count from 10 to 1, and now at least the name and sound of more then 20 animals. He can name food, like pizza, broccoli, tea, cookie, cucumber, pepper, potato, tomato, apple, banana, and more, and could sing a whole lot of songs even in different languages. He could understand the meanings, and he still can do and say all this when HE WANTS TO. But by 28 months, he started pointing at things instead of saying the word, especially when he wants to eat or drink. He would take my hand and give me a glass and point at the water bottle, and when I ask him, he moves his lips with the word without saying it. I even found him trying to communicate with his dolls with words, some clear and some I couldn’t understand. That started to happen when a family member was forced to leave suddenly, and he was too close to him, and he stopped eating for a while. And for the first few weeks, he would run into the door whenever he heard key sounds, and smiled and called for him (the family member), and he’d really get disappointed when it was someone else. All that was manageable until he started school this month. At first, he was happy, and we gave him the choice between different schools; he started saying school, fun, yay, but after the first day, we started all over again. He started vomiting for no medical reason and stopped eating, would get tantrums at school, and at home (something that was absolutely rare) he would even repeat only the rhymes of his favorite songs without saying a word. He can last all day without food or water, until he started ignoring his teachers and couldn’t look at them when they called his name. He refused to play with his peers and one day at the drop off, he surprised me; he said “Mummy, no school please,” and then nothing again (he loves people and goes and tries to communicate with them, make eye contact, and have no problems with children older than him. So the school just asked us to consult for autism, and we did with the school doctor and two other pediatricians who comforted us, saying that our kid is normal and we should just give him some time to adjust. He understands everything starting from “go to your room” and “take off your clothes and shoes”. This week, he stopped crying and having tantrums and started eating a bit, but he still doesn’t talk — neither at home nor at school; he only sings and plays with puzzles, animals, and toy cars. He loves going outside especially in a farm or an open place where he can run and play ball with other kids. I’m concerned because in our country, we do not have real specialists that can help us. We asked the doctors if we will need an audiologist / phoneticist but they all said no, he can pronounce all the letters and even hard words correctly; he just can’t or doesn’t want to communicate.
My son is facing the same problem. What happened to your son? Has he started talking again?
How is your child doing now? Would like to know. Your story is absolutely the same as mine…100% same…so I would like to know. It would be of great help!
My son is facing a similar problem. Can you tell if your child started talking again?
So sorry to hear this. What stands out in your story is the impact that the specific family member’s departure has made on your son. It sounds like your son was extremely upset (perhaps traumatized) by that person leaving. Since the doctors have already told you there is nothing physically wrong with your son’s speech, it appears it is a matter of his will to speak (or lack thereof) that is your main concern. Just keep talking to your son, showering him with affection and giving him a sense of security among the family members that are still at home. He was upset once when that family member left; it may upset him if another upheaval or change happens in his family circle. In time, with the assurance of everyone’s presence, love, and support, hopefully your son will start wanting to talk again, and do so more often.
I am now in my 40s, but I experienced a similar situation during my toddlerhood. My speech development was normal until my brother was born when I was 18 months old. According to my mother, I cried and refused to speak a single word for a whole month. After that month, my speech did not catch up with that of my peers for the rest of the first decade of my life. I remember having to go to a speech therapist all through elementary school; I not only struggled with pronouncing “l” and “th” sounds, I also talked “like a baby” all that time. It seemed as if my sister had to translate for my mother every time I talked. Even though I did well academically (usually earned A’s), people thought I was l not trying at speaking. Now that I look back, I think I was slow to understand concepts. At that time, the definition of autism was narrow, and selective mutism was not yet a phenomenon. By middle school, my speech started improving, but I was still bullied for my speaking skills.
Hello. My son used to talk few words but stopped after turning 1. He is 3 years old now and still not talking. He understands us though and is starting to point at things. I just don’t know what to do at this point.
I saw this comment about your son not talking. I have the same problem with my son who could talk several words from around 10 months up to 20 months then suddenly got quiet. Now he is 30 months and we have tried to sing, read, and teach him to speak to no avail. Wanted to know if there is progress with your child. I’m really beginning to get worried.
Sorry to hear that, Kiran. As we’ve encouraged other parents before, it really is best for you to consult a pediatric audiologist to help rule out the possible causes for your son’s selective mutism. Perhaps you can also find support groups of parents and teachers, offline and online, to give you tips, leads, and helpful household communication strategies with your child – apart from consulting specialists. Best of luck.
My son regressed almost at the time his sister was born at 14 months. He used to say words we’d ask him to repeat: “papa, mama, dada, etc”. He is 20 months now and he only says words when he feels like it. “Dada, shoes, nose, sticky” (he can probably say up to 10 words, but not at one’s command). He still does gestures and some commands such as “bye, hi, blow a kiss,” etc. He plays with other kids and acknowledges people around him, but we are not ruling out a possible spectrum. He has improved dramatically in day care (1 week ago) and has no problem adapting to new environments and routine (sleeping with other toddlers, weened off pacifier in 1 day). He just had his hearing exam and he passed that.
Really wanting to know how it all worked out or if you found an answer? We’re having a similar problem even saying babbling sentences but not his normal words anymore constantly and only when he wants to. Mostly laughing, babbling a baby sentence or commanding with his finger and a lot of no’s.
My son used to say many words and phrases by the age of 20 months but after that he has slowly regression in words.he is speaking on his own way but don’t have two way communication.what might b the problem??
I am a kindergarten teacher and have a child in my group, who appears to have SM. He speaks perfectly at home, but not at the kindergarten. Also, he doesn’t eat or use the toilet at the kindergarten. I have read a lot about Selective Mutism, in order to be able to help him feel more comfortable. What I don’t understand is, he was speaking at his old kindergarten and suddenly stopped. Could that be connected to trauma? Or is it possible that Selective Mutism appears suddenly? I’ve mainly read about it occurring when the child enters a new social environment for the first time. So, I would assume that the child wouldn’t speak at the kindergarten from the first day on, which is not the case here. The child communicates nonverbally with peers and teachers and also makes sounds. I would really appreciate your opinion and advice on this matter.
Hi Barbara, Sorry to hear about this young boy. He may have experienced a trauma at his *old* kindergarten, and the fact that the new kindergarten is a different environment may not erase the negative association (as he may still understand that the setting is similar, due to the similar set up, activities, kids and teachers, etc.). Or, is it possible that something/someone may have traumatized him at the current kindergarten? It may be best for you to approach his parent(s)/guardian(s) about this. If this isn’t SM, it could be traumatic mutism as you had also surmised. Lastly, the parent(s)/guardian(s) may consider the possibility of autism. Talk things through so you and the guardian(s) can come up with the best solution for this boy. Best of luck.
Hi. My toddler is 17 months, she is my third child (brother is 13 years and sister is 11 years old). She started saying her first words at around a year old. She would say “hello”, “am am” (for food) “no”, “Silly” (our cat’s name). She would say one word for maybe two weeks constantly, then changed to another. Now she won’t say anything; maybe if she falls and gets hurt, she will say “no no” (no idea why), but mostly she just takes my hand and puts it on whatever object she wants. If she’s hungry, she takes me to her high chair, which is where she normally eats.
The thing is, I speak to her in Slovenian, her dad in Mallorquin (a Spanish dialect), everyone else in Spanish and the TV and music is normally in English. I know she will be a late talker, but I have no idea why she stopped saying the words she already knew.
Hi I am Priyanka. My daughter is 16 months old now. When she was 10-12 month old, she used to say dada, mama, baba, but after that she stopped saying anything. I am very worried about her. She watched too much TV after, from the past two months, and then we noticed that suddenly she stopped speaking. So now, I totally stopped TV for her. I only give her cartoons while she is eating meals. I am doing it for 1 month now but she is still not saying anything. I tried to say to her mama, dada, but she never calls out to us anymore. If I tell her to give something to mama, sometimes she does, but she never gives anything to dada. She is not responding much. I am so worried 😢
Sorry to hear that. I’m here because I have the same problem as yours; my son (when he reached the age between 18 to 20 months) suddenly stopped saying the words he’d been saying before.
The only word he clearly says is NO. Please, if you have any news, get in touch. Thanks.
This is almost word for word exactly what we’re experiencing. My son at 18 months could say a variety of words most of the time (tree, cheese, kitty, done, mama) but like yours, would say one word for a week or so, then just drop it and on to the next (words like grandpa). Then one day, around 18-19 months old, he just stopped all together and will only pull our hand for what he wants. It’s been a few weeks and (also!) all he will say is “no”. It’s unsettling to say the least but comforting that I found another parent who is experiencing almost an identical situation. Has it changed at all?
This is what my son is like. He was saying around 50 words at 18 months, which was a great indicator his speech was developing normally. Then out of the blue (cannot think of a situation that would have been traumatic for him around that time – although we were preparing to move to another country when he stopped talking, so maybe he felt the situation was stressful?), he just stopped talking. He just says mommy and daddy and grabs my hand and puts it on something he wants, like a drink, snack, and to get me to reach something that is high. Now he is 32 months and just started preschool. He is about to take part in the preschool’s speech therapy program and I have booked an appointment to see our family doctor next week, too. Has anyone got any further with their kids’ speech? Have they started talking again? Were they diagnosed with anything?
Hi Masha, As you may have read in this article, there are several factors that contribute to a child’s selective mutism. Other factors could be excessive (TV, tablet) screen time, which has shown speech delays in some children who have been studied. At 17 months (actually, between 0-8 years), children are primed to pick up not just one but several languages they are naturally exposed to. It is not supposed to be an issue that your child is exposed to Slovenian, English, Mallorquin, and other Spanish dialects. Keep talking to your toddler in your preferred language, and supplement your speech with BSL, so that your child learns in two modalities. If she still does not talk as time passes, it may be best for you to consult her pediatrician and audiologist. There may be other factors causing her mutism. Best of luck.
I have a grandson who is scared to go in the water and to have his haircut. He is 5 and doesn’t talk – just a few words here and there.
My daughter is 34 months now. She started first words around one year of age but she stopped talking all together when she was 32 months. She was able to speak many words and phrases before she stopped talking. She is scared of the tree in the front yard and wants to close the curtains all the time. She is also afraid of the washer and dryer at home. Now she could only point at things with mmm sounds. She is not able to produce any vowels and consonants. Her doctor thought it could be autism because she did not make much eye contact with us. However, I heard that autism with language regression usually happened earlier than 2 years of age with fewer words, so I am wondering if this could be selective mutism related to her phobia. Any parents had similar situation please share your thoughts and experience. Thank you!
How is your daughter doing now? Pls share your thoughts..
Hi I’m Currently going through the same situation. I’m struggling to understand how my lively little boy who I was told was above average with speech all of a sudden doesn’t talk . From saying all his alphabet, colours, counting to 20, and knowing his shapes and animals to now only saying mummy, daddy, cow, tractor, and elephant. It’s so heartbreaking and confusing. I’m constantly googling to try come up with answers. He’s having stay and play sessions to try get him interacting and been referred to speech therapy and also specialist at hospital to check his ears. He also is scared of things all of a sudden: balloons and any kind of noise. I hope we both get some answers soon. Best wishes x
Hi Grace, hi Donna,
We have a 4,5 year old son, and it sounds like we are going through some of the same issues. He used to be very, very verbal, but he stopped talking altogether last year in June when he was 3.5. We have been to a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, we are going to get him tested for autism, etc. I know it is heart breaking. We were told by our psychiatrist that children can go through trauma even when there are no evident external factors. I think with the pandemic, it is understandable that some children decide to revert to an earlier stage in their lives. It is the not knowing what is going on that makes it so hard. I wish you all much strength.
Hi Donna and UGueray,
Thank you so much for sharing your heartbreaking stories. My daughter has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder recently by a psychologist. The psychologist stated that it was not selective mutism which was an anxiety related disorder. Now she is on the waiting list for speech language therapist and occupational therapist. I understand how hard it is to face the language regression for our little ones, and I hope your boys could get answers soon! With warmest wishes.
Hi, thanks for you’re reply. Just an update: we’ve been referred to an autism specialist and to speech and language therapy, also to a child psychiatrist. My son has now started to repeat words that we say, and sometimes if he hears them on TV, he says them. These are fairly big words: screwdriver, strawberry, excavator, etc. But worryingly, he’s now started to stare at a certain point on our settee, and he’s also making high-pitch noises and clapping his hands frequently, also running around in circles and pacing. I hope everyone is well and getting the help and support needed. x
Short article but with good reminders. Our kid was dx’d with autism; we don’t doubt he has it, but he was talking at his level and even showing progress beyond most kids his age. We think he went through trauma when watched by a family member (that we later discovered had hidden mental issues we didn’t comprehend back then). Also just a stressful environment at that time, and I was one of the only people trying to coax him to keep talking. He went to a small school for ASD after and unfortunately, this exposed him to worse behavior and he also started talking less (as with most schools, this one was very much about “quiet time” throughout the day with very few periods of making sounds. If they sang wrong, they were told “no” very sternly, I noticed. Etc.) Not conducive to kids with trouble adjusting. I think it was the last nail in the coffin. Now he’s 9, as we have had a better home environment and more people have been talking with him that he knows well, he’s started to talk more often and with more people but it’s still only a few words a day typically. I can’t shake the frustration of why he was so good at communicating when a toddler and how it stopped so abruptly. I’m so sad that his speech therapists have never thought to mention Selective Mutism (IDK if they know about it), he’s deemed “severe” on the spectrum yet he does many grade-level tasks, he has some possible ASD symptoms but the biggest ones – NO. (Never had issues with desiring play with other kids; just was treated poorly so naturally became “shy” but still tries to interact regularly, never had an issue with eye contact, never lined up objects….). He stims, he also was exposed from 2 years old to other children that stimmed before he started to. He never pointed and he stopped talking are the two main factors for why he was dx’d. I don’t know if it was a misdiagnosis. But I definitely am hopeful that we can help him heal from past trauma and possibly start talking regularly, with confidence if it is related to SM. I really wish there was more awareness about this in the ASD community, especially and among speech therapists.
Wow! Thanks for sharing this.
I have a son who is 31 month old now. He stopped talking when he turned 28 months
But I notice the verbal stoppage coincided the time when there was a change of the person taking care of him
Before he stopped talking, my boy was not a great talker; he’d rather make gesture and give signs. But then, he stopped the the few words altogether!
We are going through the diagnosis now. I’m not a medical partitional but I think your boy’s story is similar to mine.
I’ll try to suggest SM to his doctors if they do not say anything about it. You never know if it would help
Our child is 4.5 years old. Till 4 years of age, she was slowly speaking up. She used to tell color names when pointing at things, Numbers 1 to 20, Alphabets A to Z, and name her cartoons and toys. She even started saying Mommy and Daddy, but suddenly she stopped speaking and it’s been 6 months now. She’s not saying any word. Now if I point to something and ask her about the color, she smiles, points at the thing, but doesn’t says the word. We are helpless at the moment.
I hope you get help from a child psychologist, and that she is not misdiagnosed with autism (assuming she doesn’t show other signs of this). They can ask questions you’ve never thought of, that you can be unsure of, especially when your child isn’t answering for themselves. It’s okay to say “I don’t know” when a psychology screening happens. Definitely, remember to mention the possibility of Selective Mutism. Even if it was caused by trauma (which it may be, even if it seems atraumatic to an adult…), they need to treat the child for the traumatic event(s). I know personally it has been very difficult to open up to people about how stressful and unhealthy our home-environment was, the guilt that we possibly let our child be abused by a family member (unknowingly, though I had a feeling they were “off”…). Things like that are scary to think about in general (not that it’s in your case), to admit problems can be scary feeling you will be questioned as a parent, but the system is in place to help people. We have seen firsthand many times some people that have actually done bad things on purpose as parents because they are mentally ill and the system doesn’t punish them, it helps them and their kids get more help. Just in case there’s any level of fear in that form for anyone reading this. I hope for the best.
Sorry to hear that, Atif. There are many factors that could cause selective mutism in children — add to that, the unbelievable stress that many families throughout the world are undergoing now due to the pandemic. If you can contact your child’s pediatrician and/or audiologist to share what’s been going on, you may get the assistance and specific action plan that your child needs. Best of luck.
My 2.5 year old twin has talked constantly and is very advanced for her age. She has recently stopped talking and if she does talk, it is almost like baby talk when we know she is able to actually say the words and say them well. Her twin sister has never been the vocal one and she is talking more now that her sister has stopped. Have you ever heard or seen this?
Hi Keri, I’ve personally never heard of such a case till now. Is there anything different in the environments your twins are regularly exposed to? Is the quiet twin now, for instance, more drawn to cartoons or games on a tablet than the more talkative twin? It’s also possible that each individual personality is crystalizing now that they’ve gotten older, that is, one twin could be more introverted than the other. Just keep observing your twins. And take advantage of teaching them using BSL. Cheers.
We are now experiencing this with one of my twin granddaughters they will be 3 next month. in the last week or so she suddenly is only speaking when spoken to. My son took her to the doctor yesterday and they said there is nothing physically wrong with her. We are so lost
Hi. My 3 year-old preschooler, who likes to talk at home and in Creche, suddenly stopped talking once she arrives the Creche premises. This started a month ago and I came to realize there’s a child in her class who doesn’t talk but points and nods (as she does now). What can I do to get her to talk as she’s been doing? Thank you.
Hi Hadiza, Sounds like your preschooler really identifies with that Creche mate of hers. You may need to enlist the help of the primary and assistant Creche managers who interface with your daughter and the other child. You may also need to positively reinforce that nodding and pointing to the desired object are okay — but couple that with enunciating the words as well. This may create the necessary mental connection to your daughter that it’s not an either-or situation for communication here. All modalities are welcome. Good luck.
Hi my son was saying few words when he was 18 months but at 2 years he just stopped talking, he likes to close his ears when there is a lot of noise, I am now worried please help me
Has he been tested for Autism? 30% to 40% of Autism cases are regressive where some where between 15 months and 2 to 2 1/2 years old, they regress, losing skills and speech. We have a non-verbal autistic son, that’s why I am asking.
Will you please share your experience with us? My 3.5 year old boy is normal till he turned 3 years old. now he’s stopped talking and following our commands. We need your help.
My email id is [email protected]
Hello, my 21-month old was saying words like Momma, Dada, ball, Bella (our dog’s name), and Pap for papaw at 12 months. But since turning 13 months, he only points to things and makes the “mmmm” sound. He didn’t start walking until 15 months. He shakes his head for “yes” or “no” correctly to questions asked, points to what he wants or where he wants us to go, understands when we say bedtime, naptime, bath time, etc. He can also whistle since 18 months when we ask him to; we heard him doing that one day, and he understands what we are asking him to do. But he just has stopped saying any words. Sometimes he will try to say Momma, Dada, but does not sound the exact same, as well as trying to say Pap. He mouths Pap, but there’s no sound. He also waves bye-bye when we are leaving someone’s home or they are leaving ours. Our pediatrician was sending him to a speech therapist, but insurance will not cover at this time. We are so worried about him. He does show one sign that we have read about autism and that is flapping his hands often whether he is scared, excited, or sometimes even just playing. We would love to get some answers on how to get him talking again. Thank you.
Hi Angela, Sorry to hear about this seeming regression of your son’s, as well as the lack of insurance coverage for his speech therapist. We would suggest to you what we have shared with the other parents here: please continue to try using baby sign language with your child, while articulating the most common words you had mentioned above, as well as other everyday words you would naturally use with any other child at home. Since you have mentioned the possibility of autism, I encourage you to continue reading more into this spectrum, its symptoms, as well as the kind of support that parents, siblings, and other guardians or relatives at home or in the child’s immediate environment can give. Eventually, when life normalizes around or beyond this pandemic, we’d advise you to find a way to see an audiologist for your son, in addition to autism specialists, if applicable. Take care.
Hi, my nephew was saying “mum”, “dad”, at about a year old, But then his mum had another baby and he wouldn’t go near his mum for about two months. He doesn’t interact with his sister and we are now 14 months on,but the most concerning thing is he hasn’t said a word since. He is now 29 months old.
Hi Jeff, Sorry to hear that. Sounds like your nephew may have issues of jealousy over the new baby, but there could be other reasons or factors contributing to his seeming selective mutism. Have your nephew’s parents talked to their pediatrician or son’s audiologist yet? I believe such things can be arranged now online due to the pandemic, if safety is a concern. Best of luck.
Hi Wandi, Sounds like your son is deeply bothered by the noise, and his stress response appears to be selective mutism, based on what you’ve stated. Please consult your son’s pediatrician about this as soon as possible. With the pandemic, it’s best to reach out to your doctor online. Best of luck.
Hi! My 2.5 year old son doesn’t talk to me anymore. He used to say the words brother, sister, mama, papa, but now he is not talking anymore to anyone. What to do?
Hi! My son has said more than 15 words such as “mom”, “dad”, “brother”, “sister”, “granny”, “birds”, etc. When he required water and milk from my wife, he asked for them. But now suddenly he has stopped talking. At present, he says a few words, like requesting milk and water only. Please help me to solve the problem.
Hi Suranga, Sorry to hear that. Have you seen your son’s pediatrician recently? Maybe you can consult with them even online?
Hi Nadia, Thanks for stopping by. As we advised the other parents here, please feel free to use BSL with your son while also consulting his pediatrician and audiologist about his speaking hesitation. Best of luck!
Hi, My baby talked at a very early age of 5 mos., then when he was 13 mos. old, he just stopped! He is now 16 mos., and I am very stressed and worried. I have tried to get an appointment with his doctor, but due to COVID, he will not see him. Please help, I don’t know what to do!
Haven’t slept properly in weeks, feel so stressed.
Hi, Lilly. How was your son? What did his doctor say? I have same problem like your son with my baby; can you tell me what did they say, please? Thank you.
Sorry to hear about the stress of it all. As we advised the other parents here, please feel free to use BSL with your son while also consulting his pediatrician and audiologist about his speaking hesitation. If your doctor refuses to have a visit in person, try to negotiate a virtual consultation: Face Time, Viber, Zoom, or Skype should do the trick. Of course, it’s best if your son is with you on cam. Best of luck!
My son is 2 1/2 years old. He was very talkative before, but after a recent comeback from a trip, he has suddenly stopped talking; he doesn’t even ask for water. He used to watch a lot of TV back in the US, though now we have completely stopped that. Is this a reason for worry?
Same with me ..is your child speaking now ??
Please share your experience.
My 3.5 year child stop talking after 3 months using too much screen.
My email id is [email protected]
Have you had a look at the following article (its curable with no screen time and more social time)?
He also used to say if he wanted to drink water, but know he just grabs my hand and lets me follow him to the refrigerator, and then I gave him water. Now he just doesn’t talk but screams if he is happy or tries to talk, but till now he can’t talk.
My kid is also doing the same. He was talking till 9 months and doesn’t say anything now. Either he screams or will only say A and C.
I am 72 and I had been told that I had been talking as a baby but then for a year stopped talking and just pointed to what I wanted (assume this is age 1ish to 2ish). My mother said when I started talking again I called my father Dick, his name, instead off Daddy or whatever I had used before. It sounds like what you are describing as selective mutism. That 1st year of my life we moved from Miami where I was born, to Staten Island, to Baltimore, to Hopkinsville for a few weeks, and then to Seattle where we lived 5 years. (My father was in the service). Would the moving have triggered it? I don’t remember being traumatized, and I have recall of events as a baby (getting a bath in the kitchen sink and looking out the kitchen window laughing).
Hi Navilda, It sounds like the trip to (or back from) the US impacted your son somehow. As we’ve advised other parents here, it’s probably best to consult your pediatrician, as your son’s quiet turn involves losing interest in drinking water. You need to have this addressed right away as it may involve your toddler’s physical, not just emotional, well-being.
Hi. My toddler is 33 months old. In the last 2 weeks, he’s been more quiet and does not respond when I call him. He responds only when it’s something that interests him, for example: “Do you want to run with Mum?” He says, “Yeah,” with joy. But if I say, “Do you want to eat?” he does not respond, and he wasn’t like this before. He was so happy and wanted to talk to me all the time. Now it’s not the case. I also have a 4-month-old baby, and these last 4 months, we placed him in front of the TV a lot, and now that I’ve stopped him from watching TV, I do not now how to win his interest again.
Hi, I had posted this as reply to another comment here. Do go through the article. Behavior is curable with more social time, no screen time at all.
Hi Altina, It sounds like you have two problems here. For your 2-year old, it’s probably best to consult your pediatrician, as your son’s quiet turn involves losing interest in eating, not just certain activities. You need to have this addressed right away as it may involve your toddler’s physical as well as psycho-emotional well-being. As for your 4-month old, it’s not too late to get him interested in toys that require a lot of manipulation, or that are very colorful or make music or other sounds. It is also best to keep him away from TV and games on gadgets — as such devices provide over-stimulation of the senses and not enough physical activity. When it comes to your children’s development, the “old school” way is still best: get them active with exercise, educational toys, and play time with Mum and Dad. Of course, if you can make the time to read stories to your boys, that’s an excellent bonding activity, too.
My daughter (14 months) has learned to say a little over ten words.(mom,dad,outside,please etc) a lot of which are surprising. For the last two days she has not said anyone of them. When I ask if she can repeat after me all she says is “bababababab”. Nothing else.
Hi Carolina, I wouldn’t worry if it’s just a two-day hiatus from speaking. Keep observing your daughter in the following days/weeks. Use our BSL and try to make teaching your daughter the signs fun along with enunciating the old words she already knows, along with new words. Keep using BSL but also see your daughter’s pediatrician about this issue if it persists. The doctor may then recommend an audiologist for your daughter. Best of luck.
My daughter’s case is similar with Allison’s daughters case. She’s 2 and half and she just stopped talking all of a sudden.
My daughter is 2 1/2 and was speaking just fine to our family, neighbors and all of her friends and teachers at daycare. It’s like a switch flipped about 2-3 weeks ago for no apparent reason, and will only talk to our immediate family. She will no longer speak to our friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. and just looks away/pouts any time someone tries to talk to her. Is this normal? Is it just a toddler phase? Do we need to reach out to her doctor regarding this issue?
Sorry to hear that, Allison. Please schedule a checkup with your daughter’s pediatrician, who can recommend an audiologist for her. Also, talk to your daughter’s daycare specialist. While things appear okay on the surface, there may be details and interactions you aren’t privy to. Your daughter may have witnessed or experienced something at daycare, which has led to this reticence outside the family circle.
My 3 year old son started talking and could count numbers but he just stopped talking and point at things he wants
Same story. My son is 3 and he just stopped talking. It’s been 3 weeks. I’m very worried.
Sorry to hear that. Have you seen your son’s pediatrician recently? Maybe you can consult with them even online?
Hi Faith, Thanks for stopping by. As we advised the other parents here, please feel free to use BSL with your son while also consulting his pediatrician and audiologist about his speaking hesitation. Best of luck!
Hi. My daughter was saying a few words, then recently she stopped; she is not learning or saying the words she knew before. She is 2 years old now.
My son was talking and counting numbers, but he suddenly stopped. He is now 3 years old. Help me please with what I can do about it?
Hi James, Sorry to hear that. As we advised the other parents here, please feel free to use BSL with your son while also consulting his pediatrician and audiologist about his sudden speaking hesitation. You will likely be asked about any changes in your son’s environment, daily routine, and/or regular people he interacts with that may have contributed somehow to this situation. Best of luck.
My daughter is worried about her little girl; she’s five years old and she just stopped talking. Her mom’s very worried about her. Please tell me what to do.
Hi Ann, Sorry to hear that. As we advised the other parents here, please feel free to encourage your daughter to use BSL with your granddaughter — in addition to consulting her pediatrician and audiologist about her sudden speaking hesitation. You/Your daughter will likely be asked about any changes in your granddaughter’s environment, daily routine, and/or regular people she interacts with that may have contributed somehow to this situation. Best of luck.
Hi Lilian, Sorry to hear that. Try our baby sign language with her. At the same time, you may want to consult with your daughter’s pediatrician about this, who may then recommend a good audiologist.
My son had been saying words like “thank you, you’re welcome, daddy, ” and even sibling names and a few other things from before 1 year old. At 23 mths old he travelled with my husband and his siblings to join me in the UK. It was a very traumatic flight as their flight was cancelled for 2 days consecutively and his routine (eating, sleep) was thrown off balance. He’s just been humming since he arrived, won’t answer his name alot, says gibberish and whispers occasionally. He’s very good with phones and tablets and plays with his siblings but gets upset easily. It’s been 2 months now…..
My daughter is exactly the same
My daughter at 8 months knew few words like “papa, mama, brother, nana.” But when she went to Norway for 4 months and I visited her there, she only says mama now and stopped responding to her name. She is very attached to me but doesn’t say papa anymore which was her first word. Any advice?
Children need constant exposure to the sounds of words that they learn, as well as the people and objects these words represent. So if she hadn’t seen you for 4 months straight, it’s little surprise that she stopped saying “papa” and other words. If you are still apart from her now, you can initiate video calls through her mother, so she can continue to see and hear you as she grows older. Through the call, you can have her repeat “papa” to you. Also, keep saying her name so that she relates to both the sound of her name and the association to you.
My grandson started saying Dada and Mama when he was about 9 months. He stopped soon after that. I’m convinced his mother’s neglect and abuse had something to do with it. She was caught choking him by my son and he now has full custody. I just don’t know how to help him. He’s three now and he’s so smart. He just doesn’t speak. I don’t know how to help him.
Linden, I’m so sorry to hear about your grandson’s trauma. Clearly, aside from the love and protection given to him by your son and you, he needs professional help. Please have your son schedule checkups with your grandson’s pediatrician and audiologist, if this isn’t being done already.
Thank you so much for putting this up here.
I have been so worried about my 27-month-old son. He started saying a few words at about 20 months and all of a sudden, he wouldn’t say those words anymore. When he speaks, he whispers. He is not learning new words and not using the ones that he already knows. I know he started talking late, but I wasn’t concerned because his siblings started speaking around the same age, and picked up very quickly.
Nothing has changed in his routine. He was born in Canada and started pre-school at 17 months. He seems happy at his daycare and plays with other kids. He has 2 older siblings and plays with them at home, but instead of speaking when he needs things, he points and cries.
Sorry to hear that, Onayimi. Please schedule a checkup with your son’s pediatrician, who can recommend an audiologist for your son. Also, talk to your son’s daycare specialist. While things appear okay on the surface, there may be details and interactions you aren’t privy to. Your son may be mirroring the pointing and crying of other kids in his daycare, particularly if he has developed an attachment to said kids.
My son started going to school back in Nigeria at 1 year and 2 months then started saying some few words. But we relocated to the United States and stopped talking. Says cartoon only occasionally. He’s 2 years and 1 month now.
I’m sorry to hear that. From your description, it sounds like the relocation was the major stressor that induced selective mutism in your son. Please do try baby sign language with him. At the same time, please consult his pediatrician and audiologist, if you haven’t already done so. Best of luck.
My son is 3years 5 months now, has been to the audiologist and cleared to be fine with his ears. He still won’t say anything but take you to what he wants. He’s seeing a speech therapist and other therapist our district recommended. I pray he talks soon.
My daughter just turned 1 last week. She would speak a few words starting at 9 months of age. But she has suddenly stopped speaking; she speaks the words she knows already sometimes, but she is quiet most of the time and just points at things or talks to us with “ugghh”, and only speaks words she knows rarely. Not learning new words, either. Is it a sign to worry about?
Hi M, If your daughter is still uttering a few words (though rarely, as you had said), just keep encouraging her some more. Keep uttering the most common words in her daily routine, as well as teaching her baby sign language. If she stops talking altogether, it may be best for you to seek the advice of her pediatrician and audiologist.
Hi my grandson is 20 months old. He was saying Daddy and Mama, but stopped talking. Now he points and says ‘uhuh’.
My son is 2. He started talking at around 17 months. He used to have conversations with me and his siblings, but now he is 27 months and
has stopped talking. I’m very worried. Any advice, please?
Hi, my son is 15 months old. He used to say mamma, pappa, baby shark, dog, coco, and few more words and use to show eyes, nose, mouth, ears, but suddenly he stopped saying all these words and stop showing “Where are your eyes,” whenever asked…
I am too worried about him. I don’t know what happened that he stop talking. Kindly help me. Is it a sign to worry about.
Hi Sufia, Thanks for stopping by. As we’ve advised the other parents here, please feel free to use BSL with your son while also consulting his pediatrician and audiologist about his speaking hesitation. Best of luck!
Manou, we’re sorry to hear that. It’s really best for you to see a pediatric specialist or speech pathologist in this case. It is not easy to detect the cause(s) of selective mutism in children, as some of them just snap out of this phase, while other children need a bit more professional help. Keep teaching him baby sign language in the meantime. But do see a specialist. Hope your soon starts speaking again soon.
Hi, I’m sorry to hear that. We encourage you to keep using Baby Sign Language with your grandson while enunciating the words. If you still cannot get to the bottom of his selective mutism, just continue to show him patience and love as you keep signing to him (and consulting his pediatrician and speech specialist at the same time). Hopefully, he’ll come around to both signing and speaking back again. Cheers.
My grandson (18 mo) just speaking mama, dada, tuna (dog), bubba, Bentley, Nanny and then he just stopped. Now he will not say anything..nothing. We were watching Pororo at the end there is a little song and he did sing along lalala (?). That was the first sound that I’ve heard in awhile. I’m getting worried! Pls no name thanks.
ADMIN – Hello, Have you consulted with your grandson’s pediatrician and/or audiologist? Hopefully, there is nothing wrong with him. Sometimes, it is simply a matter of the toddler’s temporary preference to switch repetition modalities. The fact that he sang along with Pororo is a good sign. Keep teaching him Baby Sign Language in the meantime. If his specialists don’t detect anything wrong, just give your grandson the space to explore speaking with his hands before he resumes talking.
My 4 year old Granddaughter stopped speaking at home last September, about 4 months ago, she talks at playschool, sometimes for a while when she comes home but usually stops after about an hour in,she hasn’t spoken all over Christmas much to the distress of her parents, it’s a very unusual situation as most select mutism happens outside of the home, where a child may be anxious or nervous, the only trigger we can think of is her sister left playschool and started primary school, so they were separated for those few hours daily, she also has a brother 15 months old, her home life is extremely happy, both parents are loving and caring, my biggest fear is that it could be a sign of Autism, any advice would be welcome.
ADMIN – Hi Martina,
This behavior should be escalated to her pediatrician ASAP
I have a personal story. I prefer to remain anonymous for the sake of privacy. When I was a child I was developing normally. However, when I was about 2 years old, all of a sudden I stopped talking. Moreover, I showed symptoms as mania for collecting objects, hiding under the curtain, avoiding eye contact, screaming in the night etc… I recall a strong fear of being abandoned. I was diagnosed with full-blown autism and advised to start psychotherapy and musicotherapy. I followed this advice and 6 months later I regained my speech abilities (I re-started singing a song) and I gradually lost the symptoms of autism. The psychiatrists defined this recovery “miraculous” and maintained that my “illness” had been “autism-type regression. I’ve always had serious problems at the kindergarten, but from primary school on I’ve never had troubles in learning and I did not need a support teacher. Now I graduated in Economics and started my first paid internship. There are still some “trraces” of my past condition: in fact, I still have serious problem in interpersonal interactions, sometimes I fail to understand the context I am acting in, I have a strong tendency for anxiety and I struggle in building long-term friendships. However, I do have friends, I can speak normally, I do not avoid hugging, I can be self-deprecating and so on. To conclude, I can have a quasi-ordinary life, which seemed almost impossible at the moment of the diagnosis. There is always hope!
My niece is 3yrs, she was having full conversations and even started reading. And about a week ago she stop talking all of sudden. Only says is mama & papa, now.
ADMIN – Hi Mario,
Consult with the pediatrician right away. Early intervention is essential.
My son was saying small words like amma, mama & also he repeats whatever we say… Then he suddenly stopped talking and social interations at the age of 2… He was not listening and not delating the words with the mind… He’ll be alright?… Will he recover soon?… Please give some advise…
ADMIN – Hi Vidhya,
Kindly consult with your pediatrician. Without deeper familiarity with your situation we can’t give you clarification or guidance.
My son is 31 months old; when he was 10 months, he started to say appa (dada), amma,Tata, atte, and the like, but he stopped saying these from 28 months onward. Any advice?
Sorry to hear that, Shobha. As advised to other parents in the same boat, try our baby sign language with your son. At the same time, you may want to consult with your son’s pediatrician about this, who may then recommend a good audiologist.
My grandson was saying small words that mommy,yes ,no ,you ,ball and all of a sudden he just stopped now he won’t speak it off can someone give me some advice.
ADMIN – Hi Rebecca,
I would encourage you to reach out to a language professional.