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Nonverbal at 3 but went on to talk?

(48 Posts)
boobybum Sun 02-Dec-12 11:38:14

Just wondering if anyone has an asd child that was nonverbal at 3 but subsequently went on to talk. If so, was there anything in particular that you feel helped bring on language? I know that anyone's else experience doesn't mean the same for my child and I know that what is important is 'communication' whether verbally or through PECS/signing etc but just curious about other's experiences.

ouryve Tue 04-Dec-12 16:05:23

My nephew was nonverbal at 3 and is now an articulate, confident, wheelin' dealing' 11 year old.

No idea if my sister did anything special with him, but he learnt to read and type before he learnt to communicate with speech, so he started talking already with a firm grasp of the rules.

MummytoMog Tue 04-Dec-12 15:56:56

We have to avoid the lazy habit of talking over DDs head. She seems to have very little receptive language, but then she has now and then got really upset when hearing something that wasn't directed at her and I could swear she didn't understand. She's a mystery to me so much of the time.

perceptionreality Tue 04-Dec-12 14:59:24

My dd doesn't speak much at all and a lot of people think she doesn't understand anything because she rarely responds vocally to people's questions. But when I found out I was pregnant (she was 7 at the time), people around were discussing it before we explained it to her and she started to draw pictures of me with a small person in the stomach, so she understood that. She understands much more than people imagine.

Yes we tried it, and variations thereof. He can learn new sounds, but they then slip - we didn't get any new words from it at all (so he remains with one word - mummy) although we did get new sounds.

He's so fast and expressive with his communication aid now that we've left speech for a while. We may revisit it - especially as he seemed to quite enjoy speech work last time we did it. I can ask him now anyway - using the aid - whether he wants to work on speech or not.

PipinJo Tue 04-Dec-12 10:29:40

{{{{saintly}}}} your poor DS knew, I have found the non verbal dc have better receptive too incl my own DS.
My friends DS is very verbal but receptive very poor...
Understanding is far more important for anyone.
Have you heard of Talk .tools Saint don't know much about it but was designed for aphasia or severe dysphasia in US by ta SALT and some families are having amazing results with their non verbal Dc.

Oh and although ds1's signs are very inaccurate he must know more than I realised. In the pre-communication aid days I had to tell him a friend of his had died. I didn't really know if he would understand but sat him down and explained. He immediately made a sign that I didn't recognise, so I asked him to sign it again (and again). He did. I found an online BSL dictionary (couldn't find a Makaton one) and he had signed 'die'. He must have picked it up from school.

I wouldn't think pecs OR sign - you might want to introduce one at a time but use both.
Ds1 uses PECS (actually rarely now), sign, vocalisations, one word (mummy) and his communication aid, oh and eye gaze, and photos and whatever else is around to communicate. He may not speak but he's always commented and initiated interactions. The more methods he has at his disposal the more he can be understood.

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 04-Dec-12 08:39:01

Just want to share on this thread something the eminent ABAer Dr Pat McGreevy said at a recent lecture I attended of his.

He basically said that where a child learns to echo (or imitate) sounds and then words, he has in all his decades working with ASD kids seen only one foolproof way of turning that echoed speech into true independent speech : the AbA (or vB?) "echoic to mand transfer" protocol.

I am going to describe it badly, but here is an anecdote he told in order to illustrate how this works.

He was visiting a vvvvv rich family. They were massive PECs fans, and had bought PEcs books for every room of their mansion, every car, even one in the pool house.

As Dr Pat talked to the father, he noted out of the corner of his ear that the boy was repeating or echoing the occasional one of their words, eg "swim".

He decided to go swimming with the boy. At the side of the pool, with the boy all excited about going swimming (his major love) Dr Pat stopped him, stood in front of him and said "say swim" (but the "say" bit quieter, so as to be faded out soon). The boy echoed "swim" and they both jumped in joyously.

Then, out they got again, to the boy's disgust, but he got his reward of jumping in again when he echoed Dr Pat's "swim".

Third or fourth time, Dr P did not prompt "say swim" at poolside, but just pointed at the boy's mouth expectantly. He said "swim". His first independent mand, or request.

Now probably that family had been misusing Pecs (though actually they were so rich that their adviser had been Pecs-creator Mr Bond himself) but I think this story just might help a few echoic kids. I got goose-bumps hearing it,

Dr Pat ended by saying his heart bleeds to think of how many ASD kids there are globally, with echoic speech, but languishing in schools which just don't know this one simple protocol.

That would have been my boy, had he stayed in his Teacch school.

PipinJo Tue 04-Dec-12 08:37:00

Ps I refused to use any method ie PECS DS found it frustrating previous to this with SALT for 4 months. The ABA done on a large gym ball helped. I made him look at my mouth to see how the mouth shape went...imitation basically whilst improving eye contact too.

PipinJo Tue 04-Dec-12 08:32:52

Boobybum just to give you some hope. DS diagnosed severe Autism and learning disability lost all 15 words when had MMR at first birthday...silence besides the screams, repetitive noises for 2yrs. DS leant to imitate via ABA and then other methods sentence building answering WH questions then asking them etc this took 6yrs all together. Now 8yrs old and for first time 1 yr ago scored with the same age yr as his peers for verbal language. Up till then his receptive language was always much further ahead which is a good sign too. Verbal language I would say is not as good as his peers but the quality is far better than quantity. Coping extremely well in academic MS with full excellent support from 1:1and school both using ABA techniques.

osospecial Mon 03-Dec-12 23:19:38

Thanks dev9aug smile

Dev9aug Mon 03-Dec-12 23:13:14

oso yup, these are the right people.

osospecial Mon 03-Dec-12 23:00:15

Just reading this thread as dd 3.3 has very limited speech. Salt have introduced pecs last week. I know a bit about it only from the Hanen more than words book. It's dd last therapy session tomorrow ( she gets an hour a week for 5 weeks block therapy) until it starts back in about 6 months so I will be left to continue with pecs by myself. After reading some of your comments I'm really interested in going on a course to make sure I'm doing it right. Just been googling and I've found Pyramid education consultants who provide the course, is this the official one you are referring to please?

DS1 was non-verbal until past four. Some vague attempts with PECS and signing but we didn't really pursue either. But nursery did use (and I think school still does too) a visual timetable and some picture cards for snack time etc. He just didn't seem very inclined to be honest. Signing even more useless since he didn't copy which seemed rather a barrier to making progress.

We tend to think that he just started talking in his own time. He had reasonable receptive language and was quite effective in terms of non-verbal communication. We spent ages labelling things for him - most notably car badges. I am still fluent in this! In the end what came first for him was numbers.

Now, at just turned 6, his language is pretty good but not conversational. He doesn't speak like a "normal" (forgive me) 6 year old and you could never ask a "why" question for example and he can't (or won't) say how he feels. But for day to day living he is fine and it made a huge difference to the quality of our family life I would say.

We actually did get some SALT support early on during diagnosis (ASD) but in fact I think this was useless and the timing was hopeless. Now he's in MS school with a TA 1-1 and they run communication sessions which do seem to be helping with understanding social interaction. I thought at one point he would never speak. And I hope that I never forget the tremendous journey he has already made to get to this point.

colditz Mon 03-Dec-12 21:22:22

Yes, ds1 did, and now talks continually. He had speech therapy, but play school did help, he wanted me to know about the toys there. He used to draw me pictures.

Ps don't be surprised if his first word isn't mummy. It's more likely to be car.

perceptionreality Mon 03-Dec-12 21:21:45

My dd was no verbal at 3. At 11 she does have some spoken language but it is not consistent and she certainly isn't conversational. The language she has is all down to ABA imo.

truevirgo Mon 03-Dec-12 21:16:15

My son was non verbal until gone 4 years old. We had a speech therapist do home visits to implement PECS and they supported him during mainstream school at 4 years old onwards. He started to make his own words for things e.g a biscuit was an "accy" eventually he stared to repeat words. At 8 he is only just forming sentences but a lot of it has come from using an ipad and watching cartoons or playing apps. He tends to repeat things on tv, computers rather than from humans. He uses phrases and sentences from programmes but in context, usually with an American accent as he is mimicking. I am just glad he is attempting to communicate verbally and correct him as I go along.

mariammama Mon 03-Dec-12 21:08:01

idly wonders if eating a lot of marshmallows in your ds's presence might make him want them... and eventually reinforce the mm sound.. and simultaneously make sure he connects the mm-sound with mummy (am a big fan of marshmallows though, could eat them indefinitely even without pursuit of a therapeutic goal grin)

willowthecat Mon 03-Dec-12 18:14:42

I think it is very much a case of finding out what works for your child but unfortunately consultants and experts and professionals and so on tend to specialise in one form of communication therapy and often see every child with communication difficulties as being ideally suited to what they know about and may have had success with in the past with other children. I still think that some think I am in some form of denial by not using more in the way of PECs or signing but in reality, we don't really have much choice other than to go with limited verbal speech as ds1 has shown so little interest in either PECs or signing - He still can't even wave goodbye so I really can't see him taking to Makaton.

MummytoMog Mon 03-Dec-12 14:15:54

DD and I both hated the 'official' PECS folder she was given. I made her the equivalent of a fabric book with some nylon loop fabric and swapped out all the velcro on her pictures for hook velcro rather than loop, and now she has a lovely fabric book with her pictures and sentence strip in. Am making one tonight for her to take to Nursery with just a few pictures in (drink, potty, cheese, raisins etc). So if you've done the course, you don't need to spend a fortune on stuff, just get some sticky back velcro and a laminator and add bits as you need it. There are lots of free PECS pics available too.

Jinglegirl Mon 03-Dec-12 14:15:04

Non-verbal at 3 here also and then speech suddenly came of its own accordhmm. Dx much later of Aspergers.

Dev9aug Mon 03-Dec-12 13:43:59

Yes that too, we tried signing but wasn't for us. on the other hand, we have seen some positive results with PECS so giving that a go.

Saying all that, the only reason I have decided to go down the route of PECS is because he has some echoic speech and we know that he can speak hence the priorities have shifted a little as we can use PECS to develop his speech once he can see the value in communicating.

Hopefully we won't need to get to the book stuff, but if we need to, then so be it.

It's tricky isn't it. All these decisions, ultimately it's not one size fits all, you just have to see what works for you, make a decision, work your socks off and hope for the best.

My consultant seems to have a rather opposite approach in that for PECS you need to have a book and all that stuff with you to communicate, whereas with signing it can be done anywhere anytime! I am willing to continue to give imitation/signing a go for now, but PECS in reserve if needed!

Dev9aug Mon 03-Dec-12 13:14:12

thedudesmummy we were pushed to go along with signing by our consultant as well which is why we didn't go to the PECS course earlier and I am kicking myself for it.

Different consultants have different agendas and systems. Our first provider was not so keen on PECS and the second one isn't keen either but he is wiling to give it a go. We are at a point where I thought it was important for ds1 to have a system of communication rather than being verbal as the main priority.

I saw another ABA provider last week and the way he explained it was that start work on vocals first and if no success, then move on to PECS as signing is very limited as it relies on the other person to know what the sign means in order to understand, but with PECs, everybody understands pictures, so communication is that bit easier.

MummytoMog Mon 03-Dec-12 12:56:40

We found that PECS was pushed on us as well - I was VERY unkeen, in fact I refused to do it, and it was only because I turned up to a therapy session and they basically sprung it on us that we did it. Now having said that, DD is obviously happier being able to ask for specific things using her PECS symbols, like cheese or apple or potty (not that she used it, but baby steps, baby steps). She can say all these words already, so I don't know why PECS has made it easier for her to use them, but it has. She has limited receptive language (so far as we can tell) and we're pretty sure she doesn't 'get' language at all. I'm not convinced that PECS is helping her understand language but it is at least getting her what she wants without screaming. We're looking at a private Floortime therapist at the moment, to see if we can develop some play based communication therapies to encourage the leap between labelling things and communicating for DD.

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