In one of the groups I belong to on Facebook, a concerned parent asked: My preschooler is not talking. What should I do?

This is my recommendation.

As a teacher and an early years consultant, I will usually recommend that you see the following specialists:

  1. Pediatrician
  2. ENT Doctor
  3. Speech therapist/ Audiologist.

With speech delay, it is always better to know the root cause of the delay. Running therapy without knowing and treating the cause of the delay might still cause further damage. Therefore, a visit to the pediatrician and ENT doctor will help you know what exactly is the cause. Most likely, the doctor will do an objective hearing test to ascertain if there are problems with the ear.

Usually, it is good to ascertain if your child exhibited all the language development milestones for babies. Cooing, blabbing, even imitating your words, etc.

Another possibility is that it could be tongue-tie. It could also be an infection spreading to the eardrum or the general ear area which might result in
partial ear loss. It is treatable if it is discovered early enough.

And please don’t forget that hearing is closely related to speaking. Children absolve words at such an amazing rate. This is called the receptive aspect of language development. Children’s receptive language ability is tremendous. However, it’s those stored words that they will pick from when they want to speak. So if a child is not receiving words and storing them into her language reservoir, then her expressive language ability will be low or even delayed.

Nevertheless, the speech delay can also be just a delay and nothing really to worry about. But you can not conclude this unless the child has been properly examined by this specialist I mention.

Don’t forget to keep speaking to your child using proper expression ( I mean don’t do baby talk), sing to her, read to her and encourage her to use her words instead of nodding or giving physical clues.

In summary, please try and take action because early intervention always helps.

I wish you a quick solution.

Oluwaseun Oduola
Early Years Training Academy