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."

Verbal Skills

Question: My daughter is five years old and her motor skills are on target but her comprehension and verbal skills are lagging. I've consulted an ear nose and throat doctor who told us that she "just didn't want to talk." He also told us that she has severe dry wax which builds up in her ear. Our Lunsford said that this would not cause her to have a speech problem. I've had her evaluated at a local school but they said since she's not aware of her stuttering they can't do anything for her. I'm very frustrated and don't know exactly what the next step is. - Jenifer

Answer: Dear Jenifer,
It sounds like you are FRUSTRATED! By the age of five, most children are fluent in speaking and have the vocabulary skills to match their age.

Wax buildup is sometimes seen, however it is not a common cause of speech delay or problems unless it is a severe case that has been ongoing.

You mentioned stuttering. Stuttering can occur as a part of normal speech development and is sometimes seen as a variant in the rapid progression of normal speech. In other words, it is acceptable to see some form of stuttering between the age of 18 months and 6 years when children are acquiring language at a rapid pace. Other causes of stuttering and associated speech delay occur with problems other than what I mentioned. These need to be addressed with your pediatrician and or speech pathologist.

I'm assuming that your daughter has had a complete hearing and speech evaluation. If she has not, this may be in order. You did not mention any family history of language problems or a history of frequent ear infections, etc. These things are also very important in determining the cause of your daughter's speech delay. Please consult with your pediatrician. He or she will be in the best position to help and direct you.

Dr. Betti

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    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.