Dear Jacqui, My daughter is 2 ½ years old and says about 10 words, which are not clear. She learns new words very slowly but she is pointing to make herself understood. She is agile physically. I am wondering if her speech will catch-up to her peers? Sometimes I am not sure if she is hearing me or just ignoring me?

Firstly, I would like to know if your daughter has had a hearing test? Has she had frequent colds or ear infections? If there is any hearing difficulty, including recurrent ear infections, this will affect learning new words. Were there any eating or drinking difficulties? How much does she understand? She is pointing to make herself understood, so it appears she is communicating with you. I recommend that your child is seen by a Speech and Language therapist for an assessment to ascertain any underlying difficulties, and to have a hearing test if this hasn’t been done. You will need specific advice. Occasionally a child may ‘outgrow’ a problem if it is developmental in nature, however it is better to be pro-active supporting speech and language development in the early years as required. As a general strategy, if your daughter points to a toy i.e. doll, go down to her eye level, hold the doll by the side of your mouth/face and say ‘doll’. As she ‘looks and listens’, wait a couple of seconds to see if she will make any attempt at the word before handing over the toy.