What can we do to help our almost 2-year-old daughter learn to speak?
Q: My daughter is turning 2 years next month and she is not speaking like her age kids should speak by now. She understands everything very well but doesn't speak and don't want to learn saying words most of the time. She says only 8 to 10 words by now. I have already contacted speech therapy people and I've attended one workshop so far.
A: You're doing the right thing by bringing the professionals on board, but it's not time to panic. Many children are simply late talkers, but their comprehension is fine. That's the thing that the speech therapy people will be assessing -- comprehension problems are more serious than simple speech delays. Multiple languages can also cause a slight delay in speech -- but over time, bilingual kids have BETTER language skills.
You can help by praising your daughter when she uses her speech, and making sure YOU use lots of expressive, descriptive words to explain everyday things to her. You can also try using some common signs that can help her express her needs -- signs like "more", "milk", "please", "Mommy" etc help her communicate and won't hold back her speech development. You can look up these signs online or at the library.
Answered by Dr. Heather Wittenberg