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speech delay and disheartening health visitors

(31 Posts)
rocket74 Tue 27-Sep-11 22:25:14

we have started to try to get some help for our DS nearly 28 months as his language is severely delayed. only 3 -4 real words so far and the rest just babble. He understands a lot of what we tell/ask him and responds accordingly. he is a bright boy with a big character.
We had a visit from a supposed specialised speech development health visitor today whom came last week as well just as an introduction. OH was at home for this visit - and he just couldnt believe how stony faced and serious she was around DS and whilst trying to get him to play or engage with her. She was giving off no warmth or sense of fun - surely you need to be able to do this to work with toddlers/young children?
OH said 'you must see children like DS all the time' and her response with no smile was 'no, DS is quite unique'.
OH was left with a really sour taste about the whole visit and that her manner suggested that we were to blame for his language delay- she is set to come for the next six weeks. Not sure what to do - I will be there next week so might see how that goes - but if I try to call a stop to the visits do they have the power to insist on them?
The original HV we saw for his 2 year update was lovely, but the new one is so measured and cool its hard to engage etc.
Is there method to guilt the parents so much that they spend every single waking moment hot housing their child?

For the record, we talk to DS a lot, tell him simply what he is doing, love him ..... don't leave him fending for himself foraging in dustbins etc

We have another appt for SALT on Friday but not sure how this differs from the health visitor assessment and visits.

Any advice/anyone been through this?

thisisyesterday Tue 27-Sep-11 22:31:13

hmm yes, we have been through it with ds2 and I suspect we're about to embark on it again with ds3!

the HV doesn't sound great. you don't have to see her at all, you can just say you would rather she doesn't visit now as you've been referred to SALT? they can't insist she comes at all

SALT will be with a properly qualified speech and language therapist who will assess DS and see what areas they need to work on. you will, hopefully, be offered regular speech therapy sessions, although there is genereally a long waiting list for these (that might be why they send the HV out too?)

if you have the money then you might want to consider a private speech therapist simply because you can get it done now rather than waiting 6 months or so for regular sessions on the NHS.

also, is he booked for a hearing test? we thought ds2 could hear fine...but actually he had glue ear and moderate hearing loss. when that cleared up his speech came on dramatically!

Dillydaydreaming Tue 27-Sep-11 22:34:24

Hi - as a quick reply - no they cannot insist on them. I'm a HV and nobody HAS to have me - especially if I was being as stony faced as this woman sounds. She's a HV and NOT a SALT. I'd advise asking for a referral into the speech and language service rather than all this ...whatever it is she's doing.
My DS had very delayed Sp and L and we didn't have any proper convo until he was past 4. Have they done simple things like test his hearing in case he's missing/not hearing a full range of sounds.
Not dismissing the specialist HV but at the end of the day she is still a HV and not a speech therapist.

Dillydaydreaming Tue 27-Sep-11 22:35:38

OOps = missed the bit where you said you were seeing the SALT already blush

rocket74 Tue 27-Sep-11 22:39:25

We think he can hear fine too - the rustle of a biscuit wrapper/an aeroplane in the sky etc but I will get it checked.
He hasnt had any ear infections - all his colds seemed to go to his chest when he was younger.
It has taken 8+ weeks to get this first SALT appointment - I was hoping it would lead straight into a series of appointments - wishful thinking it seems.
Everyone else has been so positive - his nursery where he goes 2 days a week have assigned him a key person with skills in language development - that it was a real downer to get such a glum response today.

Glad they can't insist on visits!

thisisyesterday Tue 27-Sep-11 22:42:55

yeah it's def worth getting the hearing checked... if nothing else it will rule it out as a possible cause. i'm always surprised that they don't offer it as standard with speech difficulties.
ds2 was similar though... whisper the word "sweets" behind him and he would turn round! but still failed loads of hearing tests confused

thisisyesterday Thu 29-Sep-11 18:08:29

hiya rocket, how did the SALT appt go todaY?

rocket74 Thu 29-Sep-11 20:48:27

Hi, the SALT appointment is tomorrow morning - hopefully will be a more positive experience. However DS is poorly at the moment - temp and molar teething I think so not sure he will be able to 'perform' to his best abilities!
will let you know!

thisisyesterday Thu 29-Sep-11 21:11:05

oh yes! i keep thinking it's friday today d'oh

lollystix Fri 30-Sep-11 00:59:08

We see our speech therapist tomorrow too - we have had 3 appointments now for ds2 who is just 3. At 2 he only had 3-4 words. He's doing much better now but still not great (his nursery aren't concerned though) I'm hoping we'll get signed off tomorrow cos the speech therapist is frankly crap. She is a cold, stoney sort too.

At the end if our first visit she actually asked how old he was which I would have thought was the most basic question in assessing where he should be on the speech scale. She was also asking questions like 'wheres the mother?' what 2 year old understands mother? Its mummy or mum surely?

She told me there were no issues at that point then 2 weeks later (how she thought he'd progress in 2 weeks I don't know) she told me he had a significant delay.

Worse than useless but I think it is probably just her. Friends have told me i should ask for someone else.

DeWe Fri 30-Sep-11 10:01:12

8+ weeks for a SALT appointment would be very quick round here. They say allow 6-9 months, and it can be longer.

thisisyesterday Fri 30-Sep-11 13:19:23

we had a quick first assessment with the SALT, but then waited nearly a year for regular sessions. we get 5 sessions hmm

pigletmania Fri 30-Sep-11 20:50:59

I would contact your local hospital and asked to be put through to the speech and language threapy department, ask if they have a drop in (ours did) and go along to it. Your ds will be seen by a SALT. They were very good, always professional, cheerful and lovely. You don't have to continue with this HV she sounds like an absolute nightmare. Just say that you would rather see the SALT.

pigletmania Fri 30-Sep-11 20:52:24

Oh right you are seeing SALT, just contact her and say that you are seeing the SALT and do not wish to see her anymore. You don't have to see her, if the SALT is concerned they will refer your ds to a community paed (like ours did)

cat64 Fri 30-Sep-11 21:01:49

Message withdrawn

rocket74 Fri 30-Sep-11 21:15:13

hi. Had the SALT appointment this morning. Had the problem that as DS is poorly he really didn't want to be there and managed to cry and head bang for the whole 40 mins (2o mins waiting time). Sooo, the appointment was quite hard work.
However the lady was nice and we talked all the usual stuff - how many words (about 3), does he point at things(no not really), does he get frustrated (yes)etc.
I mentioned about the other cold as stone health visitor who she hadn't heard of, and she said if I wasn't happy and didn't think it was productive then I should definitely cancel it.
She has referred DS now to my local speech and language centre in a nearby school and said she will mark him as HIGH PRIORITY - and even though I probably won't get a proper speech session for at least six weeks, the speech therapist will be in touch with me before then and have an intro meeting - this would be good to get DS accustomed to someone I hope.
She will also put an evening class/group in touch with me called 'communicating together' which is meant to be a classes to help parents learn ways to communicate with the children. Sounded a bit demoralising, but she explained it was good for tips and different ways of approaching situations. I think aimed at special needs parents in the main - but then this speech thing is a special need at the moment too.
So it was a positive meeting, however mixed feelings about DS being a HIGH PRIORITY - great in one way but it is now a real worry even more. I feel like there is this huge clock ticking and we're not going anywhere fast.

AnxiousElephant Fri 30-Sep-11 21:17:06

I'm absolutely appalled at your HV's behaviour shock. I am one and you are absolutely right that in order to engage him to speak, especially on the first visit when children are often shy, she needed to play, smile and have fun with him. If he doesn't develop trust in her then he will not be likely to speak in her presence. I would complain to the practice manager if she is based in a GP surgery, she will need to apologise and discuss it with you. It could be that she had a bad day, felt unwell but that should never get in the way of doing your best for each family.
SALT are very different and are well trained to get children to speak so don't worry about that. If you think the HV isn't helping you can refuse her visits unless there is a CP or child in need plan ongoing smile.
SALT will probably give you ways to engage him, parroting, praising any attempt at speech and giving words to everything he points at etc. Eye contact, using his favourite TV characters or toys to talk is another good way.

rocket74 Fri 30-Sep-11 21:20:56

Have decided will cancel the HV this weekend if possible. There is singing and dance group that I am going to take DS to instead called music for aardvarks and other animals that sounds like a lot more fun and engaging way to spend a morning. He loves dancing - I hope the singing will come in time!

rocket74 Fri 30-Sep-11 21:26:20

The speech HV when I met her did tell me what she was going to do with DS - so I have been doing that anyway. She did some bubbles with him but really thats not enough.
When my DH was here with her - he asked her some questions as he wasnt sure where he should be, in the room etc and she didnt answer him?! repeatedly. He can talk alot but only out of concern and wanting to do the right thing and is naturally really welcoming, but he was left feeling really quite odd by the whole thing.
I was going to try and speak to my main HV today but it was quite a full on day when I got to work so didnt have a chance.

AnxiousElephant Fri 30-Sep-11 21:31:59

rocket the singing is a great idea. Lots of children can actually chant rhymes before they speak! My dd2 hardly said anything at 2 but could sing grin and hasn't stopped since grin Rhyming books are good too, such as Hairy McClarey collection, Dr Zeus. Thats not my lion, dolly, robot, asking where is the mouse on each page gets them pointing and if he doesn't know then you show him. I am sure you probably do most of this anyway smile Just keep plodding x

pigletmania Fri 30-Sep-11 21:34:27

Just cancel her rocket there is no need for her at all, and if you are not happy you don't have to see her. We went on the Hanen course last year, for dd 4.5 with social communication difficultie, its for parents to help them to communicate, sounds much like the course that you have been recommended to go on. It was fantastic, it helped us so much as a result dd speech and language is much better and she is less frustrated as she can express herself in a much better way. We are a lot calmer as a result as we have models in which to use.

TIDDLYMUM Fri 30-Sep-11 21:43:55

My son had very delayed speech and at age five /six was diagnosed with auditory memory syndrome. Saw salt for regular review though there is no treatment as such. Coping methods were taught and school did some games and work which helped hugely. Age 13 now doing great at grammar school with wide vocab though does still get some of his speech arse about face.

Remain insistent and press politely for earliest referral I was quoted ninety six weeks initially (shock) but was seen much earlier.

Would urge you not to be too doom laden yet , your boy is still just a baby really and sometimes these things just right themselves. Good luck xxx

chocjunkie Fri 30-Sep-11 21:52:09

rocket, did your DS have a hearing test yet? if not then get him referred via -HV-- GP to an audiologist.

I would probably also talk to GP to get him referred to a developmental paedriatrician just to make sure there is no other underlying issue.

good luck!

AnxiousElephant Fri 30-Sep-11 21:56:08

Definately choc, as even though the AABR might have been fine he could have glue ear and might require grommits. Have you seen the GP / do you think he can hear you? Some children can tell what you say but it is like listening to someone under the water. Its difficult for them to know how to form the words.

rocket74 Fri 30-Sep-11 22:02:04

Tried to get an appointment yesterday but will try again. The receptionist thought it was an odd request - ie something the HV should do, but they haven't offered it - apart from the one a few weeks after birth which was fine.

Any books I should get to help me/us with DS? Learn to talk? sure I've read it on this board somewhere but can't find it?

DS loves books and we read to him every night. this time last year he was never without the gruffalo and would open the 'Oh.. but who is this creature...' page with great dramatic effect many times a day with great joy. He understood then what was happening in the story. I never thought I'd be here now!

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