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My children hardly say any words; am I doing something wrong?
Q: My 2½-year-old boy and 1½-year-old girl are hardly saying any words, and I feel like it’s because of my parenting. I’ve thought about taking my son to a speech consultant, but my friends say "Oh Jody, my son didn't talk until he was 3; don't waste your money". I believe their hearing is fine; they respond to requests well and I know exactly what they want by having them show me. I’ll say, "What do you want? I don't understand." and they finally get their needs met after I pretend I just don't know. Can you help direct me?
A: They may well need a speech consultant eventually, but not now. What they need now is for you to talk to them frequently, to read to them, to respond when they make any effort to talk. Find time to do something with each one individually; don’t fall into the pattern of always speaking to the two of them together. Try not to frustrate them too much by demanding too often that they tell you, rather than show you, what they want.

I’m going to suggest that you check out an article I wrote for this web site a few months ago called “From Babbling to Talking.” Just search for articles under the "Language & Learning" category and you can find it. It has many good suggestions you can use to help your children learn to talk.