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Does my child need professional help or is she doing fine?

Q: My daughter, 3 years and 3 months old, seems to be the slowest in school. She knows a lot of words and can follow most of the simple instruction (like - go keep this bottle in the fridge) and can also speak a few words. But she is unable to put words together and form sentences, even short ones. She is also very cranky and does not listen to us. When she wants chocolates, she has to be yielded to. Otherwise, she will yell and cry uncontrollably. While she seems to be slow compared to other children, I don't know whether we need expert help on her speech and behaviour?

A:Children do develop at different rates and every delay is not necessarily a problem. But since slow speech and some problem behaviour occur together, it might be a good idea to get professional advice. I do not know where you live, so I cannot make a specific suggestion. However, it has been my experience that doctors, even pediatricians are so busy treating disease that they have very little time or information about developmental delays etc. If you can locate a good Child Psychologist or Counsellor, do ask for advice. Sometimes Special Educators are also able to diagnose and suggest treatments. In the meantime, reducing TV watching hours and the use of aerated drinks is advised. Listening to good music, classical, not film and children music which can be joined in by her should be tried out. Read out her favourite stories every day and let her get familiar with the way words sound. Letting her play with children her age or even older (under adult supervision) may also improve her tendency to communicate. But do it gently and without putting pressure on her. All the best.

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