A friend’s child is approaching 3 years of age. He doesn't even say single words and we don't get any attention from him when we call him or try to play with him. That means there is no response from him. He is just interested in playing with toys. For example, when other kids are around, he doesn't think of playing with them, he just focuses on toys.

We observed that in the early days he watched TV cartoons extensively and was watching TV almost all the time. We wonder if that could have had an effect on the kid's mental development, and have caused the above described behavior.

What should we do? Any good suggestion would be helpful.

  • 11
    Has his hearing been checked? The fact that he doesn't respond when talked to may indicate he cannot hear well.
    – Acire
    Jan 3, 2015 at 2:03
  • 3
    Get the child to a good pediatrician and have both his hearing and mental development checked. This is not within the "normal" range of development IMHO.
    – Stephie
    Jan 3, 2015 at 15:15
  • If you live in the United States, it's likely that your local school district must provide speech therapy, including assesments. First, though do as Erica and Stephie suggest and have his hearing and development checked by a doctor.
    – Marc
    Jan 5, 2015 at 2:51
  • Perform a check for autism. Likely there is a BCBA company nearby that can do this. The earlier it is addressed usually the better the outcomes. There is a range of autism, and for example children with aspergers can still function more or less normally in life. But therapy when they are young is usually very important. Sep 12, 2018 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


Our son did not use whole sentences till the age of two. He said only the last syllable of particular word. We noticed that he is lagging behind in speaking as soon as he was one year old. I took him to speaking games and the therapist there advised me to speak with his pediatrician. At first, the pediatrician didn't take me seriously but when he was two she referred him to a speech therapist. The speech therapist's first question was: "Did you check his hearing?" Yes, we did. First time we did it, he was just one month old and they observed his eye movement when different sounds started. His hearing was afterwards checked every year.

The speech therapist also ruled out any potential disabilities and conditions, like autism. If she had any doubt he would be referred to a child development specialist.

At the age of three he had a regular appointment with a psychologist (all children at the age of three have it). At that time he was still lagging behind and we continued with speech therapies.

I have to say that nothing that speech therapist said or did we didn't already do ourselves. We spoke to him a lot, read to him a lot, played with him (games like memory, actually everything that we could buy and was age appropriate).

When he was four he already caught up with others and had a vocabulary of a six-year-old or so the test results said.

To sum it up: First consult his pediatrician, check his hearing, go to a speech therapist and see if any further referral is necessary.

Any irregularities in speech development should be taken very seriously.


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