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To what extent SALT helps your child who has speech and language disorder?

(32 Posts)
brightbelle Tue 15-Nov-16 11:20:37

Hi all I'm wondering if anyone can share their experience here. My dd has asd and presents with quite severe speech and language disorder. She has been having SALT for almost a year and has come from non verbal to short phrases and can answer some questions now - some were taught explicitly by us (she learnt by rote) but as her vocabulary continues to expand these days she can creatively combine words. Now we are at a stage that I feel SALT is no longer that useful for her and she has recently shown she has lost interests in the activities the therapist introduced to her. It was important at the beginning as they were targeted on attention and interaction but now I think it's like we can teach her a lot more at home.

I don't know if I'm right in thinking that as her SAL issue is a 'result' of her asd that her language will develop as her attention and interaction with others develop? However, as her language remains very behind I feel like I need to continue with SALT, but to what extent she can benefit from them I'm not sure now. Should I ask the therapist to focus on articulation maybe?

I would love to hear experience from parents whose children are/have been/were in a similar situation and if they discontinue with SALT at some point.

Many thanks!

zzzzz Tue 15-Nov-16 15:53:53

Why do you think her verbal communication difficulties are as a result of her ASD?

My personal opinion is that salt is net useless for language disorder but possibly more helpful for speech difficulties.

DS is severely language disordered and has ASD. He is now 11 and communicates well given where we started from grin

SexDrugsAndSausageRoll Tue 15-Nov-16 16:27:39

In our area the waits are so long I don't know, year wait for makaton... she'd started to use words and we'd learnt a lot ourselves, another year for parent interaction therapy... wed read it, done it and moved past the basics. Asd clinic took my email 3 months ago, guess if and when she gets in contact it'll be outdated. Dd will be officially home ed soon and we've been told they only offer school based support. So all I can say is the constant referrals were a massively pointless exercise. Think first referral was at 17 months (dd also has eating issues)

SexDrugsAndSausageRoll Tue 15-Nov-16 16:28:44

She has though made excellent progress, her language at 3 was assessed as 12 months. You can converse with her at 4 and her speech is quirky with great vocab

Notonthestairs Thu 17-Nov-16 16:10:33

Our SALT has a broad focus - so things like memory games and vocab building (for example showing her a picture, telling her a short story about the picture and then asking her questions about it, how is the girl feeling? Etc etc. It definitely has made a difference and I try to replicate it at home.

MeirAya Thu 17-Nov-16 16:39:14

Could you keep the SLT slot, but use it for you asking advice?

So you'd be in the role of a trainee student speech therapist working with the child, and she'd be (like a supervisor/placement tutor) available to help with assessments, finding resources, and a sounding board for tricky bits

MeirAya Thu 17-Nov-16 16:40:24

It might be the SLT just hadn't reslised how much she's come on lately? and is wasting time on stuff she's mastered instead of jumping on to the next bit?

brightbelle Fri 18-Nov-16 09:58:26

Thanks all for your replies!

zzzzz I think it's because she has difficulties in connecting with her environment and is not interested in other people that she lacks the imitation, observation, and attention skills that are needed for speech development. Maybe 'result' is not the right word though blushI am thinking as she develops her other skills she would acquire language at the same time more naturally perhaps? It's great to hear your ds is communicating well now - did you continue SALT with him when he was younger or just taught him at home?

Meir the SALT is aware of her progress but I feel that she doesn't really see that dd has lost interests. Dd tends to leave the desk and walk around in the last few sessions and she thought it's sensory issue. While she has attentional issue I know it's more because the activities are not interesting enough and some are repeats from previous sessions. This is a private one we are going to and they were good and useful at the beginning but these days I feel we are stuck. Thanks for your advice re: making a leap and move on. I will ask the therapist next time.

Not thanks! Memory game is a good idea I will ask her to introduce that next time. For vocab games, does your therapist use books/pictures? Thanks again.

Sexdrugs yea same here, forever waiting. After a long wait we were offered a block of few sessions, each 20 minutes. So we haven't gone back ...

zzzzz Fri 18-Nov-16 11:57:22

We had 1:1 salt at home preschool, but then did our own thing. I wasn't questioning your take on the language/autism interaction more curious. I have always thought ds's autism is exacerbated by his severe language disorder and that once he could talk the other difficulties would be manageable. It's intriguing to think about it the other way around smile

brightbelle Fri 18-Nov-16 23:26:41

Ah it's interesting to hear that you think the other way too smile I think mainly it's because dd is the type who doesn't see the need to communicate and prefers her own little world that has made me think that way; she has always been the 'easygoing' type since a baby. And now as she grows and develops to the stage she's more interested in the environment and other people her speech has progressed more noticeably. I just talked to a mom whose ds is awaiting ASD assessment. She told me he tries to communicate but doesn't have the words and that can lead to tantrums. If my dd is like that perhaps I would have a different thought winkanyway these are so interconnected that it's perhaps hard to distinguish 'cause and effect'!

youarenotkiddingme Sun 20-Nov-16 14:07:11

My ds has seen salt - he doesn't have a language disorder just some unusual speech sounds! They very much focussed on his need to for communication.

He's recently been referred to communication and language team who work with students who have good language skills but can't use them to communicate effectively.

I'd love to say it's highly beneficial but am yet to experience the service! But is there something similar in your area you can look into and see if it's useful for your DD?

notgivingin789 Sun 20-Nov-16 19:43:11

It depends on the SLT surely ? DS used to see a very clued up SLT who had a big interest in communication disorders, she was very good. The children, I see, who make progress with their language difficulties, were the ones whose parents took it upon themselves to research and use therapy techniques on their children (of course, depends on the child).

zzzzz Sun 20-Nov-16 21:22:03

No I really don't think it depends on the salt. I should have been clearer. I think that language development isn't moved forward by speech and language therapy in any significant way.

OP DS is very motivated by people, but I don't think it drove language development in the way you would have expect. He didn't have meltdowns in the way your friend described though I think that's because he is quite passive/compliant for someone with such severely limited language.

notgivingin789 Sun 20-Nov-16 21:45:40

Really zzzz ? I think SLT has helped DS tremendously and also finding tools that help DS to be even more motivated to communicate.

zzzzz Sun 20-Nov-16 23:00:23

Yes really.

notgivingin789 Sun 20-Nov-16 23:03:23

ok........

zzzzz Sun 20-Nov-16 23:09:55

I know lots of people fight really hard for salt input and for "early intervention". I can only report what I have seen, and that is as I said.

I believe salt is very helpful for problems with speech, but DS has always had clear (in fact beautifully so) speech. Ds's difficulty is putting word to work and fitting them together.

zzzzz Sun 20-Nov-16 23:11:30

I don't think it's that DS needed motivation to communicate, more he didn't understand what verbal communication was for.

RestingFatFace Sun 20-Nov-16 23:19:03

I would say just as DC are different so are SALT.

Our first was lovely but our second was absolutely amazing. ...to the point of nearly after a year of our last visit I felt I had to thank her.

SALT can work with paediatrician s , support workers, schools and nursery tonhelp the DC in question. It's just rather they're willing to take the 'extra step'.

Also our DC with a diagnosed language disorder came onnleaps and bounds in a matter of months. DC is a completely different DC to what they were 12'months ago.

Ask for another SALT if you feel it's not working. But SALT ime is more important that first thought

zzzzz Sun 20-Nov-16 23:42:57

DS had a fantastic salt. I think language development can be supported with language rich environment and compassion/empathy/active support. I DONT think direct therapy (i.e. An hour a day or a week of "activities")is effective at all. Any more than I think manipulating a 6 week old through crawling motions would lead to them crawling earlier.

notgivingin789 Mon 21-Nov-16 01:46:55

I DONT think direct therapy (i.e. An hour a day or a week of "activities")is effective at all.

Yes, I agree too. The parents who took on board the speech therapists techniques, build a communication support system at home/daily use e.g. Using Makaton/Pecs with the child daily, using visual aids, structured play...those children (some) seem to progress well with their language skills.

I wonder OP, if it's beneficial if your DD joins a social skills group ? So your DD will be with 3-4 children in a group and the therapist will practise turn taking of conversations, waiting, games ..

zzzzz Mon 21-Nov-16 07:32:13

All of those interventions/support are very standard offerings from salt. While some of the more "mainstream" ones like social skills groups and turn taking or simplifying language are really helpful but really are covered by fostering a small group of "friends" (i.e. Play dates small groups),nursery rhymes, and games. No different than any toddler with emerging language.

Makaton didn't work as well for us (or at all) as it added "noise" to communication rather than supporting it. Pecs were useless as DS struggled to "see" pictures and so that was just as clunky a form of communication for us. It's often the case that our children are actually expected to learn MORE language/code than average kids with each year of school or nursery adding yet another set of symbols to augment verbal communication.

I think thoughtful more focused parenting is needed but most of the interventions offered are really just copies of what you would do with any child.

Salt IS something to do though and I suspect that for some people doing something staves off panic and help parents maintain their equilibrium in a difficult and frightening time. My own opinion is that our children inevitably "grow up" slower because they receive a very garbled and limited stream of information rather than the endless backdrop of the spoken word that the rest of us experience. People who work with that rather than trying to constantly keep in step with normal development seem to my mind to be following the most likely path to success.

zzzzz Mon 21-Nov-16 11:22:47

Gosh this thread has been on my mind all morning. I had forgotten how hard it is to say that an established therapy isn't showing any benefit. Knowing when to stop and trusting your own judgement is SO much hard r when your child isn't following the normal developmental path.

DS actually made the most and happiest progress when we got on with things ourselves. I'm sure had we been engaged with therapy we would put that progress down to that therapy, and as it is I do feel that I have been instrumental in his development, but perhaps he would be at just the same stage? Who knows?
I think he is following his own path and my job is to find a happy life for him as he does so.

youarenotkiddingme Mon 21-Nov-16 18:58:58

I actually get what your saying zzzzz and personally feel a combination is needed.

A good salt can unlock the difficulties and advise on strategies and what's needed to help a child learn skills or develop other complimentary ways of communicating.

But therapy alone isn't enough. It needs to be incorporated into everyday with a focus in where are we now and what's next step to get to rather than a 'this is what a child should be doing at x years' approach.

Ds had poor language. He could t use his language skills to answer simple questions and so we focussed on that. Roll on 2 years and ds language had soared and he was above average shocksmile

But his communication hadn't moved on. So that's what we are now focussing on. Whist trying to get some people to understand just because ds has now acquired good language doesn't actually mean he can communicate effectively with it!

brightbelle Tue 22-Nov-16 09:11:53

Thanks all again for your advice and opinions! There are a lot of ideas that I will follow up and explore.

Youare I don't think dd's language is good enough to participate in communication and language team activities yet - I don't know if there's one in my area but will keep this in mind. It's great to hear about your ds's language development: you said now you are focussing on communication, is your ds doing turn taking activities like conversations? We are trying to strengthen dd's communication/interaction skills using child-led play, not necessarily language based but more to 'inspire' her to understand it can be a positive experience communicating (in whatever form) and interacting with others.

not thanks for your tips re: social skills group. I have been struggling to find one in our local area, but I know her school has been supporting her in this area. She's still quite self-absorbed at the moment and needs 1:1 to guide her to engage in group activities and sometimes simply sit down for a longer period of time. Group therapy maybe the next step for her when she can attend for a longer period of time I think, thanks!

zzzzz yea what you said about when to stop and how useful SALT is echoed what I thought, which prompted me to start this thread. My dilemma is I want to continue because we did learn useful techniques from the sessions that we can incorporate at home. Also, dd did pick up PECS very quickly and that led to verbal communication in a short period of time. The thing is, after this, and perhaps also combining with the fact that I have read books and learnt different strategies from them that the SALT sessions are not as useful. These days because of school and different stuff we have not gone to the sessions as frequently and we simply continue to provide a language rich environment for her at home, but dd's language continues to progress and develop, even at a quicker pace I think - that made me think: as you said, could it be that she is following her own path, rather than that the therapy promotes that?

That said, I am not dismissing the usefulness of SALT, especially at the beginning stage - have to admit I was ignorant of how complex speech and language development can be. Probably I may try a new therapist, or discuss with her if she can suggest new directions/activities as at the moment I can't see much coming out of the sessions.

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