My husband and I are a bit perplexed about our daughter right now. At 17 months, she has become primarily non-verbal. She had been "talking," as much as toddlers this age do. Her vocabulary was slowly and steadily growing. She said all the usual stuff. She even tried to say words like "elephant."
Now, all she does is point to things and say something that sounds a little bit like "that." Best I can figure out, she is saying "that" as a way of asking us to identify the object. She does it all day long. She points to things, says whatever the strange word is, and looks at us, waiting for us to tell her what it is. But she doesn't try to say it herself. She just moves on and points to something else.
I've been using sign language with my daughter since she was about four months old. And she's been signing since she was around 10 months old. It's been a great way for us to communicate. Her vocabulary of signs was growing along with her verbal abilities. She understands about 20-30 signs and had been using around seven. One day we noticed that she was no longer making any signs. She still occasionally signs, "I want," but not as often as she used to, and nothing else.
Despite her sudden "silence," her comprehension level amazes us. She understands everything we say. Follows all verbal commands. You don't even have to give her a simple command for her to respond appropriately. Tell her it is time to go to class (at the baby gym), and she goes to get her shoes and walks to the door that leads to the garage. Ask if she has gone potty and she gets a clean diaper and some wipes and brings them to you.
She can also identify all the letters of the alphabet. At first, we thought that was a fluke. We figured she had memorized the order of the letters in her favorite book, The Super Readers. (After all, we only read it to her about 100 times a day. As I believe I have mentioned, my daughter loves books.) Then she started to pull the letters of her name off the refrigerator.
We have the alphabet magnets in our kitchen. And she began to pull off just the letters of her name. After this happened three days in a row, I decided to test her. I made sure I jumbled the letters up well that night, and waited to see what happened the next morning. She went to the fridge, studied the letters, and pulled off the five that make up her name. She does this repeatedly, and sometimes she even lines them up in the correct order. Other times she wants me to line them up and will bring them to me.
I bought an educational toy designed to teach kids letters and numbers. Pulled it out of the box and she correctly identified every letter of the alphabet. Repeatedly. The game is organized differently than her book, so the letters do not appear in the same format. She actually, it would seem, recognizes the individual letters.
She has become obsessed with letters, actually. Any time she sees them she gets excited and wants to examine them. Signs. T-shirts. Product packaging. Books, obviously. She loves books right now like The A to Z Book, which lists the letters of the alphabet individually. She touches letters wherever she sees them and looks to us to say them out loud. It is currently her favorite activity.
So, as I said in the beginning, we are perplexed. In a, "Hmm, that's interesting" kind of way. I would not say we are concerned. Our daughter is a very happy, social, active and seemingly normal child. (The word "precocious" is used often when people describe her.) We just find it odd. We definitely plan to discuss it with her pediatrician at her 18 month check-up.
Parents, have you experienced anything like this? How much did your child(ren) speak, and when? Did you notice regression at certain times? I do not believe in comparing my child to others. She is an individual, and will develop at her own pace. But I do find it interesting and helpful to hear about other parents' experiences. So please share!