Dear Jacqui, My son is 3 years old and has difficulties speaking clearly or saying many words. Is this normal, and will he outgrow it?

I would want to ascertain why your son is having difficulties speaking clearly, and this seems to be limiting his expressive vocabulary as well. Has he had a hearing test? Has he had frequent colds or ear infections? Has he had any eating or drinking difficulties i.e. difficulty chewing meat? Is he a clumsy child? How much does he understand? Is he pointing or using gestures to help make himself understood? Is he getting frustrated with his difficulty communicating? Is he mumbling or are there particular sounds that he says or does not say? The answers to these questions will help clarify what underlying factors are at work. I recommend that your child is seen by a Speech and Language therapist for an assessment as these early years for speech and language development are crucial for later literacy and academic success. I would not recommend taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. I treat children who are 2 or 3 years old who are having specific problems, through a play therapy and parent directed approach, and they make excellent progress. Occasionally a child may ‘outgrow’ a problem if it is developmental in nature, however it is better to find out by seeing a Speech and Language therapist. Early intervention if possible is far better than leaving it until the school years.