Your questions answered

Question: My 18 month old only has 3 or 4 words. Do you have any tips to help his language develop?

Doctor Woolfson's Answer:

Bear in mind that your toddler understands many more words than he can say, so his understanding of spoken language is more advanced that you might expect. In addition, the average time gap between a toddler's first word and establishing a vocabulary of 10 words is around three months - that's an awful lot of repetition. No wonder you are becoming frustrated! Yet this period of apparent slow language development enables your child to build a solid basis for future language growth.

So all you need to do at this stage is give him lots of language stimulation. For example, talk to him as you and he go through your usual routine each day. Explain what you are doing, where you are taking him and describe all the things you can see. Sing to him(or use a CD of children's songs), and read him lots of stories (for instance, from a child's story book). When he does use spoken language, make a big fuss of him and let him see that you are delighted. Show him how to build the words he has into sentences, as this provides a model for him to copy. For example, if he says "doggie" when he sees a dog, you can say "yes, that's a dog". Be patient with him.