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Why hasn't my 2-year-old daughter started speaking?

Q: My daughter is 2 years and 4 months old. She can only speak words like mama, papa, map and bye. She responds to her name only when she feels like. She is a very happy child and loves her brother. She plays with him all the time, fights and screams with him, loves to be tickled and hugged, cuddled rocked and helps me to dress him. She feeds herself with her fingers or spoon. She loves to play with a huge assortment of toys and objects such as boxes, spoons etc. I often fear that she is autistic, as she is not speaking yet. Although her paediatrician has assured me that she is not. He thinks that she has PDD-NOS. I am frustrated because I have no idea why her speech is delayed. She suffered from a lot of ear infections as a baby, and she is aware that she has tubes. She participates in the early intervention program once a week for about 1 hour. I want to make sure that I am doing everything I can for her. I think she's bright and can be very sneaky about things. She points to everything she wants. She makes a lot of different sounds, but she doesn't open her mouth to speak. Am I doing everything right? My 4-year-old son started speaking at the age of 3. A lot of times people expect more from her because she is tall for her age. They often forget that she is only 2, even though she looks 3 or 4.

A:Your little girl is not autistic. It is amazing how the scientific approach has made us all slaves of terminology and jargon! You should go by what the child is and does, not by any label that someone attaches. A child who is happy, playful, and relates well with a brother is everyone’s idea of a dream child. Perhaps, since she is not speaking full sentences, you are concerned. This will happen. I know many instances where the child started speaking after two years and caught up easily with age mates in a few months. Children develop at different paces in different aspects of growth. Introduce children’s music and nursery rhymes. But let it be with the aim that the child enjoys it rather than with her reaching a specific goal.

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