First Words

My 15 month old son is not saying many words yet. He says mama and dada all day long but not necessarily to grab our attention.

He does repeat words occasionally. If I say, "say bus," he says "ba." Does that count as a word? He will also say "wa" for water and "ma" for "milk."

Anyway, our pediatrician informed us that those approximations don't count as real words and that our son should have 5 solid words. He recommended an evaluation.

Any advice? Should I schedule an evaluation?


Nov 23, 2013
I would wait and see
by: Bridget @ Speech Therapy Talk

GREAT QUESTION!! I get asked this ALL the time!!

I would wait and see if I were you. First of all, word approximations do count as real words. Your child is leaving off the last syllable of words which has to do with speech development or more specifically a phonological process. Final syllable deletion at this age is totally normal. "Wa" for "water" is your son's word for water!

Also, I'm happy your child can repeat words. This is an excellent first step in the language development process.

Five words at 18 months is normal still. I would monitor his progress for the next few months. See if he is consistently saying more words each month. Check out our Read, Talk, Play Tips! on the left in the meantime for some effective strategies to encourage language development!

Let us know if you have any more questions!