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Speech therapy(10 Posts)
We suspect that one of our adopted toddlers, who is nearly 3 years old might be speech delayed. However, we don’t know for sure. He understands everything we say, follows instructions well and tries to communicate, but he doesn’t really put more than two or three words together when trying to form a sentence. Most of what he says is quite basic (normally just one or two words) and also difficult to understand. Comprehension is fantastic, but language seems delayed. He is the younger brother and his older brother does talk a lot (more than most children) which often leads to him listening more than talking.
I understand that the NHS offer speech and language therapy for free. As anyone used the NHS for this type of support? Also, would this sort of issue normally be covered by post-adoption support or would agencies normally refer you to the NHS?
If you have any similar experiences or tips please share!
We were in a very similar situation where little one just turned 3, understands everything we say but doesn't say much. We got a referral through the nhs as asked post adoption support and they said its nothing they deal with. Took about 12 weeks for the referral to come through but I suppose that will differ by area. We were given some hints and tips and to re-assess in 3 months and see if it's worked. Basically we went back to basics using no more than 2 to 3 words when talking to him and give choices instead of open questions. So instead of ' xxx would you like a drink of juice?' its more 'xxx want drink?' Then 'milk or juice?' Or when playing with a car for example we would say 'look the cars driving along the road' which is now just 'car, car driving.'
We were a bit dubious at first but its really working and little one has gone from about 10 words to about 50 in the last 2 months.
The other tip was not to ask questions such as 'what's this?' When showing them something, instead to just tell them what it is. Final tip was not to celebrate to much when they saying something new. If we got a new word it's normal to be really excited and over the top but to just acknowledge the new word, eg. Yes, dog. And leave it at that.
I would speak to your GP though and ask to be referred though in the mean time.
Hope that helps a bit
This would be NHS; if you can be referred to the LAC paediatrician (should be more experienced with fostered and adopted children), they could co-ordinate referrals to any other therapies. It's often worth checking hearing as well, although I see you say his understanding is good. If you think it's just speech and language that you would like assessed, your GP can refer. It can be slow, and different areas have different pathways - sometimes you have to go through group speech and language therapy before you get to the 1:1 for example.
What you describe sounds pretty normal; varied speech development is common at that age and it's a trope that they suddenly start yammering. This has been very common with (non adopted) kids I know.
That said I always think it's better to start support early and not need it (we did for a different issue). I'd be off to the GP.
There's a progress checker here that's quite helpful. And it's probably worth you knowing that speech and language therapy in the NHS is open referral - you can refer your own child without going through GP school, etc.
My son was at about the same stage at that age. Depending on your area you might be able to self refer by going to an NHS SaLT drop in. You could Google for this or ask your gp, health visitor or children's centre to see if you have it. The support they give at this age is more supporting you rather than working directly with him so don't be surprised if they just give you a lot of hand outs of tips and send you away to get on with it. These are the kind of tips mumtolittesausage talks about, which are really good and you can get started on these now. Three and a half is the age when they will do more direct intervention with the child. We got reassessed at three and a half for this reason and the therapist did say she would work with him but a couple of weeks later when we went to the first session he'd progressed enough that she said she didn't feel he needed It. In the months that followed he really accelated and at four I am not concerned at all. His language has literally exploded, albeit later than most. I do wonder the extent to which having to adjust to new parents
and home just puts their development on hold. I'd definitely get him seen though, especially since three and a half is the age they start more focussed work.
I was also persuaded by the anecdotal evidence around omega 3 and omega 6 supplements so got my son on these just after he turned 3 and he is still taking them. I can't know for sure whether they have had any effect or not but only that his accelated progress coincided with taking them. There is no scientific proof but if you Google it you will find information showing both sides. Then obviously you can make your own decision on this.
If speech is unclear a really good thing to do while also pursuing therapy is to get them to repeat sounds like "aaayyy" "emmmm" "ellll" as that helps the right muscles in their mouth to form. They usually love it, as it is 1:1 attention. I used to do it for fun with my dc, but have since found out that it is also very good as it helps with developing and strengthening all the right muscles. It is why dc who learn a second language when young can sound fluent, as the right muscles have developed. That is a very non expert way of explaining it, hope it makes sense. You can offer jelly beans as encouragement if they need it apparently.
GP or Health Visitor can refer to speech therapy, as can nursery in many areas. Some places will require the Health Visiting team or nursery to do a set assessment before they can refer. Post adoption support won't cover it as there is already provision in the NHS. You can always give the Health Visitors a ring (even if you've not seen them for ages!)
We have, they've been fantastic, and very aware of the interaction between attachment, trauma, delay, and normal-but-slow. Just ask your health visitor to refer you. SALT was dead easy to get. OT on the other hand...
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