Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Hearing and Speech Delays

Question: My son is 2 1/2, he has had frequent ear infections. His hearing and speech have been evaluated. His hearing is good enough to develop speech, however he persists in saying the first part of a word and babble. He will be getting speech therapy soon, besides spending time with him reading to him and working with word/picture books is there anything else I can do to help him? - C.D.

Answer: Frequent ear infections during the first few years of life may be a cause of speech and language delay, as you mentioned. Because ear infections are usually associated with fluid in the middle ear, transmission of sound necessary for speech development is hampered.

Your son has been evaluated and will begin speech therapy. Assuming there are no other medical problems, reinforcing already learned speech, as well as adding new speech is wonderful for promoting normal speech and language.

Since there are both expressive (actual speech) and receptive (the ability to comprehend what is heard) speech, picture books are appropriate for stimulating both. He can see the pictures and tell you what he sees. (Receptive and expressive).

Positive reinforcement and building your son's self-esteem is also very important, as this will also encourage him to please you with his accomplishments. Reading with him (encourage him to sound out words, even if he reads your lips) will reinforce speech.

When speech therapy is started, remember to continuously reinforce and practice what the therapist does during sessions. Take note of how he or she uses techniques of training during sessions. Get suggestions from the therapist with regard to any other reinforcements you can do at home.

It's important to remember that it may take some time before your son catches up to his potential.

Keep up the great work!
Dr. Betti

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  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.