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My daughter spells more words than she says.....

(13 Posts)
moosesue Thu 21-Jul-11 15:15:44

My little girl is 25 months. We are in a speech program and her development is being monitored. She can spell more words than she says and those she does say are about 70% babble that only we understand. It's got to the point where I feel awkward on play dates as the other kids I know her age all seem to be way ahead. I feel caught between two extremes as she can spell words like 'dolphin' and is learning to tell the time but her communication seems very behind. Next term she starts a nursery group and I hope that goes some way towards helping. Anyone else experience similar or have any suggestions for anything more I can do to help her?

lingle Thu 21-Jul-11 17:16:09

Yes we were exactly the same. My son could spell out the name of our street at that age but couldn't really communicate.

If you search for old posts in my name (sometimes I was backtolingle and sometimes linglette) you will find lots of stuff about how we got from there to where we are now (which is basically ok at nearly 6). I was very active in late 2008, 2009 and early 2010. If you can't face that, do the following

1. buy "It Takes Two to Talk" published by Hanen but available cheaper from Winslow publications or order from your library. Follow the techniques religiously until you can do them backwards in your sleep. Show it to all members of the family/people she spends time with and encourage her to do the same. This is always the best starting point because it is clear and it is not frightening (not something I can say about most books on communication). The only thing it doesn't help on is mouth muscle problems - I don't know if she has problems forming words? probably not if she can spell them!

2. Go to the website at ignore the scary talk about milestones. Go straight to her DVD "Teach me to Listen and Obey" and buy it. I suspect your little girl doesn't yet understand language at the level of other children. There are shamefully few resources available to help parents teach the understanding of language. This is one of the few. If you think she understands all that's in there - great. If not, you've identified stuff to work on.

3. Once you've mastered both of those, start thinking more about what she sees than what she hears - start thinking hard about visual communication. This can involve various techniques, but one breakthrough for us was simply taking photos of the people and places in his life, displaying them on the wall and then taking out the apporpriate one for him to hold just before we set off to that person/place. It's nice to use photos because you don't feel you've turned your house into a speech therapy zone! but if they don't work, you can use pictograms instead - like stick-man drawings.

There are various next steps but those should keep you going for a month or so! And by that time you'll hopefully feel more confident and able to follow your own lines of enquiry. I found that becoming the expert on his problems helped me keep my head above water. bump the thread any time.

moosesue Thu 21-Jul-11 20:55:04

Thank you lingle. I did start searching back thru your threads but since ASD came up I'm going to protect myself and stop. She does have problems with glue ear, but I'm not convinced that's all there is going on. She does interact, make eye contact etc so the speech therapist and the ENT doc say it's not autism but I worry. It could be that she's very clever and to that end we've booked an IQ test for her but on the other hand it could equally be that she falls somewhere on the autism spectrum.

Would you mind telling me how you have coped with your child being different to other kids before now? I have kept much of this quiet among the mums I know. I can't bear the idea of them treating my daughter differently.

Finally, thank you for making me feel less alone. I find the whole situation very hard and your tips have given me a place to start.

mumsiepie Thu 21-Jul-11 22:39:02

25 months??? Isn't that very early to be worried?

ponyprincess Thu 21-Jul-11 22:44:38

I don't think it is that unusual for a child just turned 2 years to have speech that is mainly understood most easily by parents or whoever is spending lots of time with him. Probably is more unusual to be telling the time and spelling dolphin at that age.

madwomanintheattic Thu 21-Jul-11 22:55:33

dd2's speech was pretty unintelligible until quite recently (she's 7 and has cp) but she taught herself to read v early and is a great speller. she raced into yr r reading all sorts of books but needed 1-1 for comms. her speech is v dysarthric due to her neuro issues. we didn't have iq testing until she was 5 though, and for a different reason. intellect and academic ability isn't necessarily linked to speech or ability to speak clearly - lots of children with cp are unable to communicate verbally but would be categorised in the vs range. <shrugs> if anything, it's faintly ironic to see parents of her peer group patting her on the head and speaking in hushed 'bless' tones when she has a higher iq than their doctor. grin

is communication your main concern? dd2 used makaton for a while before she became verbal enough for us to understand her attempts at speech - she had a 1-1 in ms nursery that was makaton trained.

lingle Fri 22-Jul-11 13:27:29

"Thank you lingle. I did start searching back thru your threads but since ASD came up I'm going to protect myself and stop"

I hear you. I understand.

lingle Fri 22-Jul-11 14:28:43

Damn, I just typed a long post about coping with other mums and it got lost.

basically, in public, I allowed, even encouraged, all the remarks about being "clever" and a "future engineer" and even "your kids are too clever to talk". I was always super-positive about DS2, talking about how fun-loving and affectionate he was. I made it clear that I didn't envy their kids and though he was the best boy in the world. I used the term "language delay" freely (eg to explain why he didn't answer a question) "oh, he's got language delay, it runs in my family.". So basically I talked openly and comfortably about his communication problems using the term "language delay" but never complained about him, always made it clear that I was fundamentally optimistic about him (and rather enjoyed seeing them worried that he might end up being a dark horse and outshining their kids!). I had my armour on. No one ever raised the term "ASD" with me.

But then back home I got down to work, serious long hard work.

I commend "It Takes Two" to you (it was the best £65 I ever ever spent in my whole life and if I ever do any fundraising it will be for the charity that publishes this book) because it is optimistic, clear, has no stupid milestone charts, no talk of syndromes, disorders or pessimistic terrifying throwaway anecdotes. You can leave it lying around on a coffee table/show it to your mother in law and it won't start an awkward conversation - in fact you should show it to everyone on her "team".

Anyway, as I learnt to accept the extent and nature of DS2's problems (and thinking about ASD was an irrelevance to that by the way - a distraction from it), the way I played with him got more tailored, more expert. He started to progress fast. And that was so exciting that I no longer cared what other ignorant mothers with their dull neurotypical kids thought.

happy to talk any time. It's all about finding your individual way of coping. like you know how some people, when they are ill, need to be "in charge" and know everything about the illness, but others need to feel they can just lean on their doctor ?- and both those approaches are fine - we're all different.

pedalpants Fri 22-Jul-11 14:58:03

your DD sounds extrordinarily advanced. I can't think of any other 25 month olds who can spell or tell the time. i maybe using the word incorrectly but the word 'savant' springs to mind.

dont' be afraid of autism. I think autism has a lot to teach us about child development and the way the brain works. my DS is not autistic, and is in fact very good socially and emotionally advanced - can share, has friends, but he does have a lot of, shall we say, quirks, and I have found reading around autism has helped me understand the different ways in which children develop and how some are wired differently.

lingle Fri 22-Jul-11 15:07:28

I find that too about the reading around thing pedalpants. It used to paralyse me though! it took a long time to be able to use all the useful stuff and not be afraid.

moosesue Fri 22-Jul-11 22:57:45

I have said to people about her hearing, but nothing more. I should also say that she's learning to tell the time. She can read a digital clock but not an analog one and I don't think she understands time as a concept yet. She's as good with numbers as she is with letters. If she did all the stuff she should as well as this I would be very proud. Getting her to wave, for example, is hard. She does point but in a quirky sort of way. It's these two things and the communication that worry me. I know these are key skills. I am hoping and praying that it is just the problems with her ears.

moosesue Fri 22-Jul-11 23:19:48

No offence to you intended there lingle. I think any problems she may have can be overcome in time but no one wants to see their kids struggle with anything.

lingle Sat 23-Jul-11 16:46:13

none taken smile.

someone pointed out to me that the abilities (numbers, spelling and letter recognition) would all be there waiting for him still once his communication caught up, and it has proved to be the case.

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