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Is my 3-year-old granddaughter's development delayed?
Q: My granddaughter is 3 years old. She has a very limited vocabulary, only speaks one word at a time, and never uses complete sentences. She shows very little emotion. She's always around adults and rarely plays with other children. Her parents are not married, don't get along, and neither one spends much time with her. I believe they're having financial difficulties and using the child as a pawn. I do buy her learning toys and my TV is hooked up to Nick Jr., but I need some advice on how I can help her development.
Harriet Naugatuck
A: I’m sorry to make you worry, but it is not normal for a 3-year-old to speak one word at time, never use sentences and show very little emotion. You need to have your granddaughter examined by a child psychologist in order to determine what is interfering with her development. Deprivation and neglect can cause a child to communicate in a limited manner and show little emotion, and she does sound like a child who is not being loved and nurtured. It is also possible that she may have a problem with processing language and/or a hearing problem; therefore, your granddaughter’s hearing should be checked as soon as possible. In the meantime, I suggest you do everything possible to expose your granddaughter to other children she can play with. And of course, try to spend as much time as you can with her so she can experience your love and caring.

Your granddaughter is exposed to parents who are not getting along; they are using her as a pawn, and they are not spending much time with her. It must be breaking your heart, and it is most certainly not helping your granddaughter. I think you have a serious situation on your hands and you need to make every effort to wake up her parents about getting help.