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Expreriences of speech therapy/referrals? (toddler DC)

(25 Posts)
larryphilanddave Wed 15-Oct-14 17:02:53

DC1 is 22mo and doesn't yet speak/regularly use words. I decided to take him to the Family Practitioner at our Children's Centre to find out about referrals for SALT as I've heard they can take quite a long time. The FP has referred him to the local SALT team and we've received a letter asking us to attend a special drop-in session in a few weeks to see a speech therapist, and then go from there. I was wondering if anyone could share their experiences of speech therapy/referrals? I don't know anyone who has taken their DC for these things and I'm just curious as to what others have done so all feedback is welcome!

I'll put some separate notes here as I found some old threads on speech and communication and people asked questions about other stuff, so I thought I'd include this below to try and save on drip feeding info smile

His development overall is seemingly fine and I think he understands things quite well. He understands when we tell him not to do things, for instance, or to come over to us, to be gentle, to get down, or if we invite him to play something, call his attention for food or a drink. He uses gestures and pointing mainly for communication (eg bringing his beaker when thirsty, his blanket when tired, pointing at the clips on the highchair or buggy to be let out) and he also shows us things by taking us by the hand or putting things in our hands and directing us as to what to do. He joins in and also anticipates gestures for when we're singing songs or reading a book, and his latest joy is bringing me a book, sitting next to me, and taking my hand to point at pictures. When I tell him what the picture/item is he gets all giggly and moves to another (I admit, I love this grin).

Speech-wise he has one main word, when he's very frustrated he will say, "No no no no no". Very occasionally if he's really desperate for something he will say, "Mum mum", or when playing calls for "Dad dad" or "Daddyyyyy", but these are rather more random. He makes a lot of noise (!) but mainly sounding out lots of different things, like 'Wuh, wa, wo, vuh, pfft, dee, guh, nuh, ba, ooh, ah'. He does a fair bit of squeaking alongside that. He doesn't sound like he's talking with it, mainly making noises, but when he wakes up in the morning or sometimes when falling asleep is when he 'talks' to himself, ie it sounds much more like a stream of words (albeit ones that don't make sense to us).

Jellyandjam Wed 15-Oct-14 17:30:09

My DS is now five and had speech therapy from being just turned four up until around April this year.
We raised concerns at his two year check but were told to wait as his understanding was good so they would not be concerned yet- so the first thing to say is it's great you are getting referred early as you say it can tak a long time.
He was a bit like your DS sounds as in he could understand and follow instructions and would 'talk' all the time but you couldn't make out any words as such. (Incidentally we now know that to him these sounds were actually words which he was just unable to articulate properly at the time- e.g. He used to say ne- ee for his blankie, we always assumed it was his name for it or something but we his now that in his mind he was actually saying blankie!)
Anyway we went back after no real improvements and he was referred at about 3.5 but not seen until just after he was four. The first sessions he had were group sessions which the parents were not allowed into so can't really say much about them other than he didn't seem to make much improvement if I'm honest!
At 4.10 he started individual therapy which was so much better but the down side to this was that he only got a five week block before having to back on the waiting list for another block! At this point we decided to go private (he had started school now and we wanted to get him as much hel as possible to catch up).
In individual sessions they worked on certain sounds he had trouble articulating (started with f as this is what his name started with) as well as clapping syllables in words. He had weekly private sessions along side his NHS blocks (three blocks of five weeks in total) from the September to April at which point the therapist said she wanted to have a break and see if sounds were generalised- they were and he was discharged.
I think the earlier you get started the better. Now in year 1 you can't tell the difference between DS and his peers.
Sorry for going on it's hard remember everything! Hope that helps a bit!

BackforGood Wed 15-Oct-14 17:32:36

Speech Therapy provision varies considerably in different authorities across the country.
Some Children Centres have bought in their own SaLTs to get advice in early whilst children are on waiting list. Some of these SaLTs are being used, almost as a "triage" to give advice to those who may just be delayed and only refer those whose speech may be disordered, or very severe, or who have more severe communication issues, rather than "just" a speech delay.
It's therefore difficult to know which this is for you.

starlight1234 Wed 15-Oct-14 17:39:22

My DS had delayed speech. I went to drop in sessions at Childrens centre. They were really helpful. Each piece of advise I was given really helped. He did end up having a full speech therapy assessment when he failed his 2 year assessment on speech. He is now a junior and unless I told anyone no one would know he had delayed speech

larryphilanddave Wed 15-Oct-14 18:13:25

Thanks for your responses so far, it is helping me to form a picture in my mind and also prepare me for other possibilities, if it came to that smile

Back What you say sounds like what we might have here, the drop-in session we have been asked to attend is with SALTs at the main Children's Centre for an initial assessment whilst DC1's referral is in the system. I think from there they decide if he needs to be seen or prioritised or if something simpler is sufficient, so that's useful to know. I certainly wouldn't say that he has been determined to have a speech disorder as the FP openly said she is not an expert and is just there for signposting based on guidelines for milestones, so I guess we're still very early days.

starlight1234 Wed 15-Oct-14 18:49:03

Can I also add looking back. It was drummed into me keep talking to your child. I think I spoke too much and didn't give him enough space to answer.

ROARmeow Wed 15-Oct-14 18:52:03

I think it depends where in UK you live.

I'm in NI and it's been a lot quicker than I expected. Went to GP with concerns and had letter from SALT within 6 weeks.

Had initial session - just for parents at end of Sept - basically 2 hours of waffle and being told to read to/sing with/communicate with ones child.

Got a letter a week later to say DD will begin 1-1 sessions in Nov.

She turned 2 in Aug, but still only has 10 clear words, although has fan understanding.

After the GP appt I was sent a 7 page doc to complete for SALT on DDs abilities, weaknesses as I saw them, which will help the SALT assess her prior to their first session.

Jellyandjam Wed 15-Oct-14 19:08:28

Another thing to think about at this stage is has he had a hearing test? Often it's a hearing issue that is causing the speech problems.

larryphilanddave Wed 15-Oct-14 20:18:02

starlight We went to a series of activities that were run by a SALT, and she mentioned giving space to talk and also phrasing questions in a certain way so as not to put pressure on answering, so I've tried to do that, although I have no idea if it has had a particular impact!

Jelly I had considered that before but didn't know if I would just cover that with the SALT; he had the newborn hearing screening and then some basic tests for responding to sounds at the 8mo review, but that's it. I think he hears noises, as he responds to them, and responds to some words/his name, but I wouldn't know if he hears clearly. I have to see my GP soon and he's very thorough so maybe it would be an idea to book a double appointment and ask him about DC1's hearing and include the SALT walk in info so he knows where we are - good point, thank you.

larryphilanddave Wed 15-Oct-14 20:28:01

ROAR Thank you, I have been wondering if we'll first get told about singing and reading and such, which of course is important, but we do that and have already implemented tips from the SALT from the activity that we did (it was a kind of toddler music thing aimed at developing understanding). Do you mind saying how your DD's word development went? DC1 has had 'no' since about 13mo, added 'daddy/dad dad' some time around 16-18mo, and 'mum mum' around 18-20mo. He will be 2yo in December and I had thought he would just have more words by now, I thought about it on and off before but it was at 20mo that I really started to wonder where they were! I hope it all goes really well in the one to one sessions and that they're very useful smile

I realise they're all different, we seem to be surrounded mainly by friends with DC who have spoken early - knowing them well and seeing them at home a lot, staying with them etc, they don't seem to have employed any extra special techniques that we've missed! We know one with a speech delay and that was due to a medical issue that required surgery, once that was treated they suddenly started speaking a lot. So it leaves us just a bit unsure as to what is 'average' or expected.

DontWannaBeObamasElf Wed 15-Oct-14 22:57:39

Watching with interest as my daughter was referred for SALT last week. She's 23 months. I've started a few threads about her development.

ROARmeow Thu 16-Oct-14 13:09:35

OP, My DD's word development wasn't as seamless as DS's was at this stage, and I'm a bit hazy on actual dates for when it happened.

By 18 months she said "baba" (baby/doll) and "mamma" (mummy).

This progressed to animal noises - quacking, mooing, woofing etc etc. And she can say the name of 1 animal "cat".

She's now 26 months and still has never said "dadda/daddy" but calls him "yaya" sad Can't do any 'D' sounds sad

Says "yes" "no" "all gone" "gone" but apart from that nothing else.

Bit worried as there's a D in the name of everyone in this house! Hope she picks it up eventually!!

larryphilanddave Thu 16-Oct-14 16:45:44

Thanks ROAR, the input is appreciated, I'm surrounded by children saying lots of words and simple sentences before 2, it is useful to know where other children more similar to my DS are. Funnily enough the main sound he has is 'dee'! He uses it a lot, I've started wondering if it's meant to mean something in particular.

Elf I saw one of your threads before and it was interesting as there were some comparisons with my DS, I hope your SALT referral is helpful. I'll be updating once we start actually seeing people too, although I imagine progress could be sporadic to start, the initial assessment isn't for another 3 weeks and then I have no idea where it will go from there or how long it will take.

I will be booking a GP appointment for next week though for DS, to ask about his hearing. He responds to his name and noises but like above, I am starting to wonder if the noises he repeats the most are to do with what he hears, or if they are just easier for him to say, like 'no' and 'dee'. I've never heard him make 's' or 'sh' noises, come to think of it.

Jellyandjam Thu 16-Oct-14 20:05:43

Hiya again, just following your thread as this topic is of real interest to me after my experience with DS.
It turned out for us that there was no hearing issue with DS but I was glad we had got it ruled out.
S and she sounds are later ones to develop so don't worry too much about that. S was one of ds's real tough ones but he got there eventually and has no problem with it now. His sh is still sometimes a bit weak (he's five now) but his SALT said that it's perfectly normal at his age.
There is a link here to a sound development chart which might be of use to you. It shows at roughly what age different sounds are developed.

Passthebiscuitspls Thu 16-Oct-14 20:48:27

My son had a speech delay. He said his first word at 2.5yrs. He never babbled as a baby or toddler at all. He was so happy though and made up his own sign language and grunted towards what he wanted. I had him referred when he was 18months and he was put in group speech therapy sessions which happened weekly for a block of 8 weeks. These didn't help at all. I had his hearing checked at audiology but they missed his glue ear so it wasn't until he was three that we found out the reason he wasn't saying anything was because he could hardly hear anything! At the same time, just before he was 3, I'd had enough of this group speech therapy that did nothing so insisted he was assessed by a senior speech therapist. She diagnosed verbal dyspraxia which is a speech disorder. We'll never know if he did have that or not as his grommets were fitted just after that. He had additional one to one speech therapy for another year and she was utterly amazing! He came on in leaps and bounds and is now a very chatty 7 yr old. You would never know of his initial problems at all! My advice is to push everyone you can if you think there's an issue as you are his advocate. I'm certain without my pushiest my son wouldn't be speaking now. Good luck. Xx

larryphilanddave Thu 16-Oct-14 21:37:26

Jelly Thanks for that link, that's really handy. I'm thinking back to my speech as an infant (not from memory! My parents have a video of me aged 2-3), I spoke early apparently and had very good vocabulary, but I still said things like 'boon' instead of 'spoon' and had plenty of every day sounds and words I couldn't quite get the hang of until later. So it's good to remind myself that although DS may well be late in this aspect, it's not like I should be expecting perfect speech and sounds either smile

Thank you for sharing your experience Pass, I'll make sure we persevere with things, although different we've had to push sometimes in the past when we were certain of an issue so at least we're no stranger to that side of things.

I've become slightly more panicky just by thinking about this more (not a good idea!). DH keeps telling me to stop worrying. I've been paying attention to certain things, like how he does always respond to his name, but he doesn't really respond if I ask for his blanket or cup for example - that, or, he doesn't want to entertain my testing him grin I think I'm going to try and get back to the slightly more relaxed feeling I had prior to getting the letter for the SALT session, and just see how things go.

BackforGood Thu 16-Oct-14 21:40:14

TalkingPoint 's site is quite useful.

larryphilanddave Sun 19-Oct-14 00:44:13

Thanks for the link Back, that's very useful.

BackforGood Sun 19-Oct-14 12:23:49

You're welcome smile

larryphilanddave Wed 22-Oct-14 17:01:38

Just a short update, today after telling DS what we were up to and asking him if that sounded good (as we often do) DS gave an enthusiastic "Yeah!", whereas usually he doesn't give any response. We were so surprised that we ended up saying, "Yeah! Very good!" and we made him blush! (oops) blush He has added to his gestures (like waving if I say 'goodbye', pointing to which cup he wants to indicate juice or milk), so we'll see how things continue to develop.

Still another 2 weeks until we see the SALT team for the initial assessment.

sequeena Thu 23-Oct-14 01:25:41

Hi my son (now 3) was referred to SALT at 17 months old and was first assessed at 20 months so it took around 3 months from referral to first appointment (my son was referred early as he is globally delayed in every area of development).

Waiting for an actual SALT appointment took longer though. My son was last seen in December 2013 and is yet to have more therapy!

larryphilanddave Sat 25-Oct-14 12:02:08

Thanks sequeena, I keep hearing how long it can be confused I hope it's all going well for your DS though.

larryphilanddave Fri 07-Nov-14 14:19:45

Just thought I'd update in case anyone is still on. We saw the SALT the other day for the initial assessment, they've given us some different activities and techniques to try and support DS' language and comprehension development. They're going to send us a copy of their report and they will refer him for a hearing test just to cover all of the bases. However the therapist felt that he was still quite young and that things were okay, although he doesn't use words he is communicating with us and understanding some things. I also recently discovered that DH didn't speak until somewhere between 2 and 3yo - he insists he told me before, I didn't remember blush

I was unsure before about if it was 'okay' to use gestures, or if he should be understanding words without any form of sign along with it, however she encouraged continuing to use gestures and signs, and to feel free to create our own. She also recommended adopting some simple words that can be repeated, like 'more', 'again', 'drink' etc. We do this with some things but I've started adding more in.

She also spoke about just commenting on what he does rather than asking - we were told this before at an activity we did, but then I couldn't remember which was around it was! So saying, "You are playing with the car" rather than "Are you playing with the car?" and such.

We're waiting now for the report and the hearing test referral, but I feel much more confident now and DS has even been making new sounds and 'words' - 'dada' is more common now, as is 'mum mum', which he had before but were not often used, and he also says 'yeah' a lot more, yesterday he said 'wha da' which took us by surprise as it just sounded so much like a proper set of words.

The activity we previously went to, which is supposed to help with understanding and communication, is starting again next week so we have signed DS up to try it out again as it seemed to help last time. They only do the activity in blocks so it's not an ongoing thing.

The therapist recommended we leave about 6 months to see how we get on, and if we develop any concerns in that time or if things haven't changed then we can go back for another assessment.

larryphilanddave Fri 07-Nov-14 14:22:25

PS we also took DS to the GP who went through a series of questions regarding developmental milestones and things that he can do or regularly does, and also checked him physically for anything that might seem like an obvious issue. The GP said everything seemed fine and that most likely it is purely a speech issue, so has left us in the capable hands of the SALT team to deal with the hearing test and checking up on him where needed.

Jellyandjam Sat 08-Nov-14 07:51:15

All sounds positive.
Go with your instincts. We were told the same thing about waiting, we still had concerns after waiting and by that time it took a while to get anything done.
Sounds like you've been given some good advice and support there though, good luck.

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