My 3 year old isnt talking well yet.

starrshae06January 3, 2010

I have a 3 year old daughter that is not talking yet. Her vocabulary is probably about 25 words. She is potty trained and is very bright. She understands everything I tell her. She listens well but she will only resping with certain words, I am very concerned because I have a nephew that is three months younger than her and her speaks very fluently and can hold a conversation. I am not sure why she is so behind, she has an older sister that is seven and a younger sister that is nine months and they are all doing well besides this. I am not sure if i should take her to see her doctor over this or not. I also work with her trying to get her to say certain words sometimes she will say them and sometimes she wont. She does use some words together such as 'Come here' or " I get it". Do I have reason to worry?

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Not to be an alarmist, but you should make her pediatrician aware of your concern and should probably have her tested. Her vocabulary should be larger than 25 words, and she should be using simple sentences regularly. Contact your local school district about services and testing for 3 year olds. It should be free. Language acquisition and intelligence do not necessarily go together by the way. One thing that can help increase her vocabulary is reading to her. Since she has a seven year old sister I assume the older sister needs to practice reading out loud? When my older one was just learning to read and needed to practice I often had her read to her younger sibling while I was nearby cooking dinner or doing other chores. You do need to take this seriously if for no other reason than your own peace of mind.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 8:37PM
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If your daughter is bright and doesn't have a hearing problem, but not is talking maybe it is because she doesn't have to. Chances are the 7 year old does the talking for her. This often happens when there is an older sibling. Maybe you just haven't noticed because you must be a very busy mom.

To be on the safe side, I would have her checked by a doctor just in case it's more than this but I wouldn't doubt that it's just delayed talking.

Be aware and don't let the older child talk for her-- make her do the asking. Have a talk with the 7 year old and tell her you like how she is being helpful but to please let the younger child do the asking or telling, so she will learn how to talk.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 8:53PM
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I'd try to get more information first. If you bring a general 'She's not talking much' concern to your pediatrician, you're unlikely to get a response that's especially helpful. But if you can be more specific, your Dr. will have a much clearer sense whether or not *something* should be done, and a better idea of what that should next step be.

First - Take a sound inventory. Set aside some quiet time for just you and your 3 year old, and with an old children's book (Dr. Seuss would be great) that you don't mind writing in, read her a series of short sentences (one at a time) and ask her to repeat them back to you, exactly the way you read it to her. In this test, you're looking to see what sounds she can make correctly. At 3, she's not supposed to have all her sounds down, but knowing what she does will be helpful. When choosing a book for this exercise, choose one that has a variety of sounds rather than a lot of repetition. In the book, underline what she says reasonably well, and circle the sounds she misses, and write down what she does instead. It may help to tape record her and supplement your notes later. But this exercise will give you a good idea what sounds she can produce. Her articulation at 3 will NOT be perfect, but it there are many sounds she's not even close on, then tell your Dr. you have reason to believe she has problems with articulation.

Then do some simple tests of her receptive language -- what she understands. Ask her to put the ball under the table, then on top of the chair, then beside the bear. Have her show you the blue car or the small dog. Play with her and use lots of smiling to keep her engaged and having fun. Be careful NOT to use any gestures - if she often doesn't understand your words, she'll already be adept at picking up your non-verbal clues. Then try two-step directions- "Please bring me the ball and the bear." "Please close the door, then open the book." If she has a lot of trouble with this, tell your Dr. you have reason to believe she has problems with receptive language.

Then see how she uses the verbal language she does have. A lot of professionals will jump right to the "Chances are the 7 year old does the talking for her" line as a reason to wait and do nothing. You need to know before you go in whether this is true or not. Talk to your older child, and tell her you'd like her help in getting little sister to talk more. When little sister uses a single word or gesture, prompt for more verbal language. If she points to a cookie, look confused and wait. (Even though you know what it means.) If she says "cookie" (or something close) ask "Do you want a cookie? Can you say 'I want a cookie' ?" and wait to give her the cookie until she does her best to ask. Manners later - this is a speech test ;-) Try to get her to use as much language as she has. If her speech and language is developing normally, this will not be very difficult for her (mildly frustrating, perhaps). If this causes a lot of difficulty or tantrums, particularly if she just grabs your hand to get the cookie instead, tell your doctor you have concerns about her expressive language.

If you still have concerns after doing your own tests, the first steps should be a referral to an Audiologist for a hearing test, and to a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) for a speech & language evaluation. It's usually pretty quick to see an Audiologist, but often there are long waits (several months) to see good pediatric SLPs. If you have concerns, politely insist that your Dr. refer you. The last thing you want is for your pediatrician to "Let's wait and see" then a six month wait for an SLP appointment. (That's what happened to us, and my son ended up having very serious speech and language problems and was more than two years behind when he was first seen at age 3.)

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 11:20AM
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Pre-school screening is indicated. Wait until you get their assessment. They will test hearing too. Then you have some information if you need to see a doctor. It will save you at least one trip to the Dr.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 7:15PM
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My dd didn't talk much until 4. Now I can't get her to be quiet :) Lots of good suggestions here, and best of luck!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 4:57PM
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Dino Cave Kids at has great new home videos for speech (also used in schools and hospitals) for 6mo-6ys -giving kids excellent practice of speech and other early skills. The videos use multi-sensory stimulation and adorable animated dinosaurs and real life video showing kids how to make the speech sounds and using them in words and short phrases- really making a difference. They teach parents along with the kids!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dino Cave Kids

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 11:52AM
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