20 Month Old Girl Not Talking, Only Moans With Her Mouth Closed

by Sam
(Albany, New York, United States)

Hello, my 20 month old daughter has no words. She babbles very rarely, and most of her vocalizations consist of her moaning with her mouth closed. Anytime she attempts to talk, she does so with her mouth closed. She has met most of her communication milestones, including shaking her head no, pointing to things she wants or wants to show us, pointing to multiple body parts, and following verbal commands. She understands a great deal of what we say, but we're confused as to why her expressive language skills are behind.

We have had early intervention visit twice at our doctor's recommendation. Once when she was 10 months old because she learned to sit late, and once when she was 17 months old because she was not yet walking or talking. She did not qualify for services either time. She walks now and learned to do so just after she turned 18 months old; however, she has made no progress in talking. The speech therapist gave me a little booklet of activities I can do at home to encourage speech. I do these activities every day, but I'm concerned that I'm having no effect. Some of the tips include: making sound effects like moo for a toy cow, repeating words and simple phrases, naming pictures in books and flashcards, and listening to music and singing together. She has definitely expanded her receptive language skills as a result of the activities, but while she gains understanding from them, she does not participate.

I'm concerned that the above tips work well for a child who opens his/her mouth, but maybe not as well for a child who does not. Does anyone have any ideas for how I can encourage her to open her mouth? If I continue to work with her and see no improvement, when should I seek additional help? What kind of help should I pursue?

Thank you. Any ideas and advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.


Nov 13, 2020
26 month old son
by: Christina

My 26 month old son does this same exact thing. We call it humm talking because it sounds like he’s trying to talk but with his mouth closed. Of course we talk to him normally, try to tell him the names of his toys, we explain what we’re doing, sing, dance, all of the stuff you would normally do to help them learn. We had been referred to eating therapy before because we felt we wasn’t eating how he should be at his age we got in to three Apts and than covid hit so we haven’t been able to go back yet. We’ve been referred to a speech therapist also now which we have been able to get into there for an apt. His 2nd apt will be coming up soon. Hopefully this will help our little man. I feel so bad for him because as a mother of course you do not want them to struggle in life and to have every opportunity kids their ages do. Also there’s guilt mixed in there. Could our house hold have done something differently to help? So he wouldn’t be delayed? It’s all very stressful but we have to keep positive and hope for the best outcome. I will provide updates on here because I did notice when you read these threads a lot of people have the same issue but no updates on progress and what not. Also his diagnosis was Receptive-expressive language disorder. Forgot to put that above.
Apr 28, 2020
try again
by: Early Interventionist

Early intervention services can often only begin when a child reaches a certain percentage of delay, As your child ages, if no progress is made, the percentage of delay will increase. Contact an early intervention service again. Many areas have several service providers. Easter Seals is found across the US. Hopefully a screening now will qualify your child for services.
Mar 27, 2020
Moaning communication
by: Anonymous

My daughter exactly the same as you describe, now she's 2 and we have a speech therapist trying to help but thus far not making a difference. Praying to God and taking the means. Let me know if you have any ideas.. All the best.. 

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