My 3 year old is still not talking!

My 3 year old is still not talking!

Worried about your baby's delayed speech development? Find out what Dr Janice Wong of Thomson Paediatric Centre says about late talkers.

Question from Reader:

My 3 year old son is still not talking. He says some single words like “eat”, “no” or “TV” but otherwise he is still babbling like a baby. Does he have delayed speech development?

Answer from Dr Janice Wong:

Language development differs from child to child, however children around the age of three should be able to use simple sentences and ask questions. Studies have also shown that girls typically develop communication and social skills faster than boys, and delayed speech patterns also can run in the family. In order for a child to speak properly, he should be able to be able to listen and understand speech, as well as be aware of and understand social interactions around him so he can articulate his thoughts into words.

Sometimes delayed speech is a symptom of other issues, such as hearing problems, mouth or palate problems, general developmental lag or motor or cognitive function issues.

Early diagnosis and intervention is the best way to help a child with speech delays so it may be helpful for you to visit your family doctor who can check if there are any underlying issues and refer you to a speech pathologist if necessary.

The good news is that most children who have delayed speech usually have no problems in later life.

Answered by: Dr Janice Wong, Thomson Paediatric Centre

About Dr Janice Wong
Dr Janice Wong graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree in 1996. Her post-graduate qualification includes a Membership of The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, United Kingdom, with a distinction in paediatric medicine. She is also a Member of the Singapore Paediatric Society, Asian Oceanic Child Neurology Society and Australia/New Zealand Child Neurology Society. Dr Wong has undergone advanced training in paediatric neurology and neuro-rehabilitation. In Singapore, she is the only trained neuro-rehabilitation physician, and the first paediatrician in private practice able to perform botulinum toxin therapy for spasticity disorders in children.

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