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Will my daughter’s speech improve with the help of 'sensory integration’?

Q: My 2 years 8 months old daughter speaks only single words though she knows the names of all animals, colours and vegetables. She is unable to put 2 - 3 words together and form a sentence on her own. We had consulted a speech therapist, who told us that she has a sensory integration issue and may need occupational therapy for some time. As she progresses, they will introduce speech therapy. I would like to know more about sensory integration and whether the recommended solution is the best way to deal with my daughter’s problem.

A:Knowing the names of animals, colours, and vegetables is not the same thing as knowing the language. Language is for communication. Try and talk to the child in simple sentences in the context of everyday life. Talk to her while giving her a bath or at mealtimes, using the labels of the objects around her and referring to the actions you and she are doing. It seems as if you have bought some charts and picture books and you are using those to teach your child to talk. It may be more useful to listen to her and to speak to her. Reading children's stories would also give her a sense of how the language sounds.

Also, it would be best to stay with one language -- the mother tongue. The child needs a play setting with other children and she must experience the give and take of their games.

Perhaps you are in a hurry to get her ready for admission to a Nursery School and making her repeat things. Let her have a chance to ask for what she wants and what she likes to do.

The family does 'sensory integration' in most of the normal daily activities. Happiness and laughter and fun in the home are likely to help in many invisible ways. When the child joins a play group or Nursery School, she will surely improve spoken language.

However, since I have not seen the child, I do not wish to give more specific advice.

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