You are here:

Pediatrics/Speech Issue


QUESTION: My 4 year duaghter does not speak properly. Though she is very active and speaks words that matter like want food, want water and other very basic things. However, she is not able to speak proper sentences (even basic ones)
Dr's say that its a normal thing and she will start speaking soon. But she has even started school last year and still she is not at par with other children who seem to speak with consumate ease.
I just want to know that if there is anything we can do to help her speak properly rather than keep waiting for her to start.
We have started to engage her in many activaities like poems, verbal talks, picture books to make her speak but at times she seems rather uninterested to talk more that what is required for her to get attention.
Pls help

ANSWER: Hi, Pawan,

First, be sure, by a good test, that she hears well.  Just your idea that she does hear well based on your observations is probably not enough.  If she hears well, than an evaluation by a pediatric oriented speech therapist may be of help.

Good luck, Dr. Olson

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thank you very much for your valuable inputs. However, please note that this test already has been done few months back and speech therapist has confirmed that nothing is wrong with her hearing. She responds to all instructions from us. She even tries to sing basic poems and songs from TV / school.
The problem, i repeat, is only that she does not seem interested to speak more than what is required.
Just want to know is there any procedure which helps to speed up this speaking issue

Hi, Pawan,

She seems to have selective mutism, a common condition where kids just decide that they do not wish to speak at certain times.  This is something that is more a personality trait.  Speak to her in a usual manner and don't bug her about it.  You can't actively get her to speak more.  Pay close and loving attention to every word she says to be sure she is fully rewarded for speech.  You might tend to ignore her a bit when she is not speaking.  This positive/negative reinforcement is something that very well may help.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

©2016 All rights reserved.