Dear Eva,

At 20 months old and soon turning two, you’re growing so fast, and Daddy and Mommy has been closely observing your speech development. We noticed some concerns, so we decided to track your progress more formally.

Noticing Your Speech Development

When you were 17 months old, Mommy wondered if you might be experiencing speech development issues. Unlike your elder brother Ethan, who was quite the talker at your age, you were a bit quieter. But we gave you and ourselves some time, hoping to see your natural progress.

Doctor’s Visit and Speech Therapy

Time flies, and amid the usual family chaos, you turned 19 months old. During a visit to the Polyclinic for your vaccinations, we spoke to the doctor about our concerns. With only 5 to 6 words in your vocabulary, the doctor suggested speech therapy for a closer look at your development.
We visited the Child Development Unit (CDU) at Keat Hong, where Dr. Pravin Anand reassured us that you’re doing well, but might just need a bit more time. He asked us detailed questions about your development and suggested we involve your preschool teachers for a complete understanding.

Dr. Pravin offered us valuable tips to encourage your speech:

  1. Get down to your level during conversations for better interaction.
  2. Don’t correct your speech; instead, emphasize the correct pronunciation in our responses.
  3. Engage in pretend play with you, letting you lead the activity.
  4. Make educated guesses when we don’t understand what you’re saying and try to imitate your words.
  5. Ask you choice questions to encourage you to use words.
  6. Turn daily routines into communication opportunities.
  7. Use gestures alongside words to help you learn.
  8. Expand your single words into full sentences to provide you with more context and language learning.

Helping You Move Away from the Pacifier

We also talked with ChatGPT about your pacifier use. While Dr. Pravin didn’t think it was a major concern, we learned that prolonged use could affect speech development. We’ve started to wean you off the pacifier, using it only at night and offering comfort alternatives like your soft blanket.
Here’s what we tried:

  1. Gradually trimming the pacifier to make it less satisfying.
  2. Using positive reinforcement and rewards when you manage without the pacifier.

Our First Week of Efforts

This week, we focused on several activities:

  1. A speech therapy session.
  2. Cognitive tests at NUH.

Most importantly, you’ve successfully stopped using your pacifiers, and I’m so proud of you! Even though it was a bit tough at first, you’re adjusting well.

You’re also starting to use more words, thanks to our consistent efforts and help from your big brother, Ethan.

We’re learning new strategies through speech therapy and ensuring nothing else is affecting your speech with cognitive tests.


Our Second Week of Efforts

Slowly but surely, we saw some good progress in the number of words that you can vocalize and use in suitable context. We visited Dr Pravin again who reviewed your SparkleTot Playgroup teachers’ inputs as well as the tests done in the previous week. Dr Pravin told Daddy that you did pretty well in the Mullen Test thus there is no big concern. At the same session, you also went through the speech therapy session where Mommy learnt more strategies that we can work with you back home. A few days later, we visited NUH medical centre to get your ears checked. The Audiologist performed ear infection checks, ear drum checks and also played a few sounds to get your attention, the initial results shows you have no hearing related problems that might have any impact to your speech development journey. Daddy and Mommy heaved a big sign of relief, but there’s surely more to work on next!