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Why doesn’t my son reply when we ask him questions?

Q: My 3 years 6 months old son’s speech has not developed completely. He started speaking his first words at the age of 2 years 4 months, which is quite late for his age. He is not interested in replying to the questions that we ask and he mostly repeats whatever is told to him. He, however, uses proper sentences when he has to convey his requirements. He knows the advertisements shown on the TV or the movie trailer that is running on the TV. He correctly answers things that his mother taught him while preparing him for his Nursery admissions. He is fully aware of different fruits, vegetables, shapes, colours and other things that a child of his age should know. We are Bengalis and were speaking in Bengali at home till now. We had admitted him to a Play School a year back (after which he spoke his first word). How do we encourage him to start speaking like any other child of his age?

A:It is good that you your son is able to communicate his wishes to his parents and to follow what is going on in TV and in real life. The mother tongue is the best to use, no question about that. I think he will pick up more words when he goes to school. Some children are slower in speaking than others. Most of them catch up as they play with friends. If 6 to 8 months later, he is still not speaking, you could consult a Speech Therapist. But as parents you could insist gently that he gives a name to the object he wants.

You can also create a Bulletin Board in your home, where the drawings of familiar animals and everyday things can be pasted. Make a game of it and ask him to name them by turn. Everything should be done playfully and without stress. Let him listen to children's songs and sing along with the records of songs for children.

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