Dear Savvy Auntie,

My niece will be two in July, and although she's had tubes put in, she's having trouble talking. What can I do to help?

Concerned Auntie

Dear Concerned Auntie,

It's great that she got the tubes. That should really help. There are two strategies I always recommend to families. The first is to give your niece choices.  For example, if she is pointing to a toy on the shelf, ask her "Do you want the blocks or the puzzle?" and then wait for her response.  Also, kids learn from models so expand what your niece is saying into a slightly more complex sentence.  If she says, "dog" you can expand by saying, "It's a soft dog," or "The dog is barking," whatever makes sense in the context that she is using the word.  Also, reward her efforts with praise and encouragement. She is lucky to have someone who is so interested in her language development. Having someone to talk with and listen to is so important.

Good Luck,

Rhonda Davis

Rhonda Davis is a speech and language pathologist with a private practice in New York City. ,

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