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Does my child have delayed speech?

Q: My son is 3 years and 2 months old. He speaks only a few words, but understands most of the sentences. Most of the times, he communicates using sign language. He also coins new words and uses them, for example he calls 'dui' for bread and makes action as if he is holding a slice of bread spreading butter on it. These days he has started talking, as if he is making sentences, but we cannot understand even a single word. In the first 2 years he had seen a lot of English programs on TV, almost 6-7 hours daily, mostly cartoons in English language. We use Hindi at home. What is the cause for his delay in speech? Should we consult some doctor?

A:I think you need to have a detailed consultation with a speech therapist and a psychologist as the symptoms reported are in the domains of Speech and Behaviour. It looks like the child has not been given adequate language stimulation at home (the reason could be various - like a nuclear family, working parents, lack of adequate knowledge, etc. - either of them or a combination). A 38 months old(normal) child becomes a chatterbox at this age. We need to find out the causative agent behind this delay in order to suggest the most suitable intervention. Hence earliest consultation with a Speech Therapist and a Psychologist is recommended.

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