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My 2nd daughter is almost 17 months old, and I am concerned about her speech development.  
She seems to be good at comprehending a lot of what I say to her (eg, I can ask here where is her milk, and she will search around for her sippy cup, or I can tell her that her pacifier needs to go away and she'll take it out and go and put it in her crib), and can follow simple commands like 'sit down'.  She is VERY musical.  She sings almost ALL the time - she can 'sing' the tunes of about 6-7 songs - in tune enough that the tunes are easily recognizable to other adults, and will sing along to songs even if she doesn't have the tune.
She also babbles a lot, with a great deal of intonation and rhythm, and pretends to read books etc, but she has very few actual recognizable words - and they don't seem to be common ones.  She says 'here' (when I ask her where's her milk, she will bring it to me and say 'here'), and 'this' (she might bring me a toy and say something that sounds like 'want this?'), and 'uh oh'.  She also doesn't really point at things - sometimes she gestures towards things with her whole hand, but not with one finger.  When we look at a book and maybe ask 'where is the ball' you can see her eyes drop to where the ball is located, but she won't point at it.
We read together several times a day, we spend a lot of time pointing things out to her and naming them, but I am beginning to feel concerned that there is not more progress.  Her development in all other areas has been normal so far - she is very social, loves to smile and laugh with people, likes to play little games like chasings, building blocks, pushing her toys in a stroller etc). Is there anything else I should be doing, or red-flags  I need to look out for?  
At her 15mo checkup, our Dr said that we shouldn't be really concerned about speech development unless it is obviously delayed at 2 years, but I confess to feeling a bit nervous at out lack of progress.

Hi, Josie,

I think she sounds fine.  She has a great receptive vocabulary, indicating that she probably hears well.  Her expressive vocab is lagging behind a bit, but in my experience, she should have an explosion of speech over the next 6 months.  If not, then have her evaluated.  She clearly is social, happy and is acting appropriately.  The speech will come.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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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.

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