A member of my due date club has a little girl who is 9 months old and not babbling. Knowing a bit of my history with Shiny and Shiny’s language issues, she asked what I would do about it.
What I did and what I recommend doing are two different things. I was so overwhelmed with Shiny that a lot of things slipped by the wayside and were done later than I would consider ideal. What I recommend doing is getting her in for a hearing screen, insisting that they screen in whatever way they need to (they CAN screen with clogged ears, a bone conduction test will tell if the brain is hearing, and you can get an idea of how much hearing loss she has, if any, with the glue ear) and asking for intervention to be done sooner than later if she has demonstrable hearing loss.
Intervention #1 is to attempt to clear the ears. I would give this up to six weeks max, using antibiotics or whatever you need to do before shifting to something more invasive, like tubes. That may be all the intervention necessary if the only problem is glue ear.
Intervention #2 is to start using sign language with her RIGHT NOW. Get the Signing Time DVDs, your library may have them, or you can download them I think, also. Don’t worry if she doesn’t pay attention to them, YOU use them to learn sign vocabulary. Reinforce the major words you say to her with signs. Mama, Daddy, Eat, Milk, Sleep… etc. That gives her language reinforcement NOW, and makes sure that her language is developing by any means. Signing time makes sign language very sticky in your head.
Intervention #3, which I would consider if she gets to about 11-12 months without babbling, is to visit a speech/language pathologist. If they don’t have them for kids under a certain age, occupational therapy should be considered if it looks like she has motor planning issues for language.
We got Shiny talking with bananas, in part. We’d say, “Banana! MMMMM!” and she started going “MMM!” to get a bite.
You want to make her world rich with language. Talk to her a lot. Say things normally, repeat yourself simplifying, emphasize with sign…. Use songs, finger plays, food, whatever, to reinforce everything.
And don’t panic. There are kids who don’t say a word until age 2 or 3 and then don’t shut up, but it is very worthwhile to make sure that all systems are go before you decide she’s just not ready to bother yet.
What would YOU do or advise? Answer at the blog (jenrose.com) please!