I write this hoping that a year from now I can look back on it and say I was worried about nothing.
My son, even though he was born 4 weeks early, has been developing ahead of schedule physically. He was rolling from tummy to back by 6 weeks old and full rolls by 3 months. He crawled right about on time but only did that briefly. He was walking alone for a few steps and around the house with assistance by 8 months. Just after 10 months he was a completely independent walker. Now he runs and climbs, dances and twirls.
One thing he hasn't developed are words. He babbles but most of his communication is done via gestures and grunts. He understands a lot - we can tell him to do a lot of things and he completely understands and does them. We ask him if he wants something and he'll nod his head enthusiastically when he does want it. He makes a loud grunt like a bark when referring to our dog or his stuffed dog or a picture of a dog. He points to trucks and says "ugk." He used to say something that sounded like "dad" but has stopped that. Now he is on a "mom" kick but it often doesn't seem to refer to me. Today we thought he said something sounding a lot like "milk" when we asked him if he wanted some.
My sister has a boy just about a year older than my son, and she seems shocked that my son isn't saying more words. I keep trying to remember her son at Christmas time, was he saying words or not? I can't remember--I was preoccupied with my new baby at the time and just don't remember much other than changing diapers and finding a place to breast feed him.
The parenting emails I receive do seem to indicate that he should have a vocabulary though, and I just don't think he does have much of one. Maybe a couple of sounds that are close to words, but that's it.
His grandparents watched a lot of TV when he was over there, they still do but have cut back. I have read several articles on how that can have a huge negative impact on the development of speech in children in my son's age group. He also walks around a lot with his tong sticking out and I wonder if it's too big for his mouth-Craig had that problem. He also pulls and rubs his ears a lot and had a lot of congestion that first year, so I wonder if something isn't right with his hearing. He's young and it could be any of these or something different or he just doesn't want to talk yet.
Plenty of people say not to worry. He isn't exhibiting any other signs that could indicate autism, so we should be ok there. Some children just don't say much and then one day you can't shut them up, or so I've been told. But I can't help but wonder why he's been so good at physical development but slow at verbal.