My 2 yo doesn't really speak in sentences yet. And the words he speaks are usually pronounced in unique ways. He says "Nine" for mine, or I, or me. He says "Dinks" for Thank you. He says "Ottog" for hot dog, one of his favorite words. He says "Woof" for the dog. He has his own variation of each of our names, only saying Mom and Dad clearly. Baby V is "Gee Gee" (hard g sound).
Yet, he has his own communication style. From the time he was one, he developed his own sign language. If he wanted something, he'd have his thumbs touch his finger tips, so his hands were closed and looked like tear drops from the side. Then he'd touch the finger tips of one hand to the finger tips of the other hand. He knew that we place things in his hands when we give them to him, so he used his hands to show us he wanted something.
As he got older, when he wanted something, he'd point into the palm of his hand with his other hand's index finger.
When he wanted food, a drink, or his pacifier, he'd point to his mouth. He still does this for his pacifier sometimes. (Now he says "BUP" when he wants his cup.)
If something was lost, he'd put his hands in the air and shrug his shoulders. If he wanted his pacifier, he'd point to his mouth, then do the hands-in-air shrug.
When he is hungry now, he pats his tummy, usually while sticking it WAY out so we'll really see it. Of course, now he also says "BOOOOD" (food) in a long exaggerated way while sticking out his tummy and patting it. Hunger is apparently a strong feeling for him.
When he was younger and wanted held, he'd hold up his hands, as many children do.
When he is sad he sags his shoulders, hunches forward, hangs his head, and walks away. He did that, crying, the other day when I told him no. He didn't just cry ... he used his whole body to express his sadness.
Yesterday, he came to me, and he just looked so tired. He walked into my bedroom with the same saggy walk with his arms hanging way down that he used when he was crying. He was just so tired he looked like he couldn't walk any further. I picked him up, and he gave a huge yawn.
Of course, some of the words he says are ones we wish he didn't. "Poop" and "Pee" seem to be favorite words of his, and he pronounces them perfectly. Of course, it usually goes like this. "Poop! ha ha! Poop!" Yes, he is a boy. He also says, "Toot! ha ha! Toot!" whenever anyone passes gas near him.
His favorite movie is Cars, and he calls it "Arr Arr" (car engine sound). His second favorite movie is anything Thomas the Tank Engine, and he calls it "Woo Woo" (train whistle). Then there are movies like Madagascar with animals in them that he calls "ARRR" like an animal roar. And the Dinosaur Train tv show which is "ARRR WooWoo".
Yes, he definitely communicates. But he doesn't look at you and say, "I want a cookie, please." Instead, he points at his hand or mouth, or more likely his tummy, and says "ookie".
I know he'll catch up in the speech department, and I'm not worried that it's a sign of autism or anything. His ability to communicate and interact with others is very clear. He just doesn't feel a strong need to use words yet, though he is improving a lot. He imitates more and more words that we say to him. Or at least attempts to.
I love my little boy, even if he won't speak in sentences. I suspect he's going to be a very kinesthetic learner, though. I know he understands everything we say to him, and he follows directions really well. He just needs more time and encouragement to speak better.