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First appointment with speech therapist. What to expect, please?

(12 Posts)
DrSeuss Fri 03-Jan-14 11:31:09

DD (2.6), has her long awaited appointment next week. She clearly understands everything we say, can follow complex instructions and understands others emotions. She does talk, just not that much, not that distinctly and only when she feels like it, never on command! She is also unlikely to talk to a stranger. DH suggested videoing her talking or responding to a question, eg "Where is Peppa?" while looking at a page of characters or "What do ducks say?", both of which she can do. Would they even be willing to look at that? Her minder is not at all worried about her, says she will talk when she wants to. However, she starts nursery in May and is obviously behind her peers. He gross and fine motor skills are above average, so I am told, everything else is normal to slightly in advance. Is she just to busy with the other stuff to talk?! DS lacked the advanced motor skills but was talking fluently at this age.
Any thoughts, please?

HollyMadison Fri 03-Jan-14 11:43:53

In my experience (seeing a speech therapist for my DS), the first session was a detailed consultation in which I was asked a lot of information from pregnancy, birth issues, early feeding to current behaviour and his interests. She relied on what I had said about his speech, initially at least.

She then gave us some exercises to do with him in which he had an incentive to speak eg he likes balls so we would play with a toy involving balls and when he said "more" he got to have another ball. Although when I say "speak", at first the games were to make him make eye contact, then some other physical movement and then next step was getting him to say a word an then he gets his payoff.

nurseysarah1981 Sat 04-Jan-14 13:48:02

Hi, very similar experience to Holly. Mine is 28 months and doesn't say any words. Understanding is pretty good and she sings tunes almost constantly but no words.
We saw a speech therapist at 21 months who assessed her and asked loads of questions. Sent us off with lots of exercises (getting dd to make choices, sound out the start of words, constantly tell dd what everything is and pause for her to copy) and we saw her again at 25 months. Still no words and she was concerned a bit about her play not being imaginative enough so referred her for a developmental assessment with a paediatrician. We have that coming up on 16th Jan. We think she's slowly making progress but it is slow (although her play is much more involved).
Bottom line is though that I think she will get there, some kids just talk sooner than others. I have a friend who's a GP with lots of paeds experience and she says late speech in isolation is no indicator of cognitive delay, in fact it's often delayed in children who have very finely tuned skills in other areas. My brother said hardly anything until he was almost 3, he's now a headmaster and has a phd!

Good luck with appt, do let us know how it goes.

DrSeuss Sat 04-Jan-14 20:19:39

Thank you both for your responses. So kind and so helpful. The speech really is the only thing. As I say, her motor skills are above what my son's were at this age. A friend who is a mother of five and a music teacher commented on them, saying how advanced they were. She does talk, she comes out with new words regularly but it is so slow. She refuses to talk when asked or to repeat a word but will then suddenly say a longish word such as strawberries all by herself. My concern is that she will sit in an appointment completely mute. We wondered if some video of her saying what she can, following instructions or identifying pictures would show she is not entirely thick!

nurseysarah1981 Sun 05-Jan-14 08:17:51

The speech therapists are fantastic at playing with the children and putting them at their ease. My dd never wants to leave appts as having too much fun!

ShoeWhore Sun 05-Jan-14 08:22:38

Same kind of experience here. I too worried that Ds wouldn't say anything but she got him so interested in playing her games that it took the pressure off him I think.

Has her hearing been tested?

Curlyfrizzball Sun 05-Jan-14 08:38:57

Hi. I am a speech therapist. I have had a couple of parents bring a video to an initial assessment session and have found it very useful, if the child was very shy. I have to say that it is rare that I can't get a child to engage with me and play at all, but it does happen occasionally obviously, especially if they've just woken up or something. Keep the video short, but I would find that useful. If you don't need it, all well and good! HollyMadison is right though that a lot of the appointment will be talking to you and just listening to what you have it say about your DD, as you are the person who knows her best.

Don't worry too much that she won't repeat things if you ask her to - it's not a very motivating thing for a child to do, so children often won't, especially if they're finding speech a bit more difficult. I'm sure the speech therapist will give you more advice but often it can help not to ask too many questions (I know it's a natural thing to do as you are desperate for her to talk!). Instead try to just get alongside her while she is playing and comment on what she is doing with single words/short phrases eg teddy.... Oh, Teddy's sleeping.... Wake up!... Pause lots to give her a chance to talk if she wants to. Hope that helps a bit.

Good luck - hope the appointment goes well.

99redbafoons Sun 05-Jan-14 08:41:30

My DS is 31 months and says about 80 words but a lot of them are mispronounced.

He initially saw SALT at 2 years and she did an initial assessment on him (at that point he wasn't really saying any words) and we haven't seen her since! His nursery has since pushed things forward because he doesn't really say a lot there, we saw the HV last week and she completed an assessment on him which scored him on all areas including verbal communication. I believe DS thinks he is talking to the required level, he isn't frustrated at all by it.

Her advice was to carry on doing the things we're already doing and to try and chill out about it. She said good understanding is a good indicator at this stage and chances are he will catch up but she has pushed for SALT to see him again ASAP.

Things we have been doing (some recommended by SALT) are to keep language quite simple, not over complicate things - hard because he does understand things.

Keep pushing his vocabulary, so progress on from "Where's Peppa?" to "What's Peppa doing? That's right (even if they just make a sound) she's running. Peppa's running!" or "What's that?" and try and get them to respond.

Repeat, repeat, repeat....if DS says "Bus" I say "that's right, a bus, well done! It's a blue bus. It's going fast. The bus." Exhausting at times...confused

If they mispronounce, don't correct just repeat correctly.

Minimal TV time.

Get on the floor and play with them. I'm sure everyone does this but I find it really helps his concentration and interaction if I'm on his level.

Lots of stories and books.

Point everything out, all the time. Constantly...hard I know!

Good luck everyone, it's incredibly hard when all the other children are talking and yours aren't. I suppose they all must talk at some point!

99redbafoons Sun 05-Jan-14 08:44:07

Also, the HV scored him only borderline as a concern for communication and a really good point she made is communication is made up of lots of areas not just verbal to encourage them to communicate in any way!

hazeyjane Sun 05-Jan-14 08:44:22

I take videos of ds to all his therapy sessions (speech, physio, ot) because he finds clinical environments very stressful, and is often completely unwilling to engage with the therapists (who have mostly been fantastic with him).

I think it would be a useful thing to have.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sun 05-Jan-14 08:54:21

I had late talkers too- my daughter was 3 and a half before she said her first word and my son was 3 ( he is now the current president of his secondary school's debating society)

DrSeuss Sun 05-Jan-14 10:06:39

Thank you all for your help and encouragement.

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