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How do we help our grandson speak?

Q: My grandson is 4 years old but cannot speak. He was examined by the doctor who said that intellectually and physically he is all right but vocabulary-wise he is very small. He was born abroad and was there for more than 3.5 years. His mother is Russian. He does not even talk Russian. He has been put in a nursery but because of lack of speech he finds himself out of place and keeps running here and there and does not sit quietly. The matter is becoming quite serious. Please help.

A:Sometimes, children who hear more than two or three languages tend to be slow at speaking; they hear different words for the same thing or action and get confused about which term to use. Your grandson will speak the language he hears all the time. The parents should make a decision on which language they would like him to know first and use that in all their dealings. If he were in India now, it would be sensible to speak an Indian language to him, which is used in the school and the region. Once he communicates easily in one language, a second one could be introduced. The teachers in his school should be told about his mother’s language and asked to be a little patient with him. He should have attractive toys to play with and children’s music or Indian music to listen to. He has only been back for 6 months and his parents should understand his hesitation to speak.

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