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Speech help for a 3 year old

(21 Posts)
LeonardoAcropolis Tue 18-Nov-14 10:12:49

Hello everyone,

I'm after suggestions to help with my boy's speech. He has just turned three and is slow with his speech.

Little bit of background, he had only 50 words plus a few two-word sentences up until six months ago, then his speech accelerated and he now says many words and three and four-word sentences. However, his pronunciation is quite poor. He is understood about half of the time by family and pre-school staff and he has been referred to the speech therapy unit (just waiting to hear from them).

Until I can see the speech therapist, how can I encourage pronunciation? I do repeat anything he says incorrectly, he is talked to a lot, but any other little tricks/games?

His understanding is excellent and there are no other developmental concerns.

ClawHandsIfYouBelieveInFreaks Tue 18-Nov-14 10:30:12

I think it's just a case of conversing with and around him as much as possible and simplifying things as well as giving him the opportunity to make "Do you want a chocolate biscuit or do you want a custard cream?" and show him the two biscuits....if he points to one, you say "A chocolate you are" and so not asking him to repeat things but using language in a useful fashion so h
e learns that language is a tool.

Modelling the language "Here's a train coming! What is it DS? It's a train!" etc.

Stubbed Tue 18-Nov-14 10:31:52

If there are issues with pronunciation are you sure he has good hearing?
Might be worth seeing gp or HV for a referral to get his hearing checked.

LeonardoAcropolis Tue 18-Nov-14 10:38:20

Hello, thanks for your replies

His hearing is ok, as far as I know, but I will get him referred for a hearing test. He's never had an ear infection so is it possible he might still have had glue ear?

Lovethesea Tue 18-Nov-14 10:39:38

Definitely get his hearing checked for glue ear. My DS has pronunciation issues caused by glue ear. He could hear but muffled by the glue so distorted as we hear underwater.

He is now 4, had grommets put in over 18 months ago and speech therapy since. He is currently at a speech unit for his reception year to give him really intensive salt to try and get his sounds corrected.

I asked for an audiology referral to cross that off the list and was shocked when it showed his deafness was moderate due to the glue ear.

In some kids it comes and goes so their speech is fine, for DS it built up and settled permanently in both ears so his speech was hugely affected.

Lovethesea Tue 18-Nov-14 10:40:31

DS has never had an ear infection or any sign of problems with hearing at all.

LeonardoAcropolis Tue 18-Nov-14 12:31:08

Thank you Lovethesea, has your DS been making good progress?

What happens/happened in his speech therapy lessons? what sort of things did the therapist do during sessions?

I will take DS to the GP tomorrow.

Lovethesea Tue 18-Nov-14 13:06:16

In the individual sessions the therapist would play games and ask DS about some toys and note his linguistic issues. As he got older he was shown pictures and asked to name things and they noted what sounds he was using. Then they would reward with a toy again or watch and listen to him putting Mr.Potato Head together and perhaps ask him What next? Do you want the Lips or the Ears?

Those we've seen have been warm, good at working at his level and used to taking small bits of speech and creating a list to show where the issues are; ie is this just a delay and the sounds are developing as expected or delayed a bit, or are the Asounds disordered, is not following the normal patterns.

Audiology used toys and headphones to track hearing and the glue ear was measured using a pressure machine that is just a pair of earphones to wear for a moment.

DS thought of it as playing games with the salt or audiology. If he got bored or restless they changed tactics, got a new game out etc.

The speech unit now is a whole other level as they teach the reception curriculum with speech therapy woven in. Small class and lovely staff. DS finds it very tiring as he is just 4 but being younger also helps his brain relearn sounds he misheard when deaf with glue ear.

So short term hard for him but longterm fantastic for him.

Lovethesea Tue 18-Nov-14 13:11:20

Meant to say they see progress in his 1:1 sessions but it'll take time for us to hear it in his general speech.

Eg he says Locks for socks.

In the 1:1 he can now do a ssssss sound.
But it'll take a while before he can blend it to sssssss ocks.
Then time again to put it in sentences.
Then again to use it in chats with us without thinking about what he needs to do.

He has a place there for 4 terms as is standard in Norfolk.

ROARmeow Tue 18-Nov-14 13:22:11

OP, have a look here Jolly Phonics

This might help, and I know that's what they teach at primary school nowadays.

For example, if he struggles with an F sound at the start of words then emphasise that when you're telling him something. eg, "Oh look, a frog. FFFrog."

Is a bit odd at first, but can be a fun game to get him to try the FFF sound.

NunoBettencourt Tue 18-Nov-14 14:02:03

I have a soon to be 3 year old who has just been referred to SLT by preschool. It's took about a fair while to have someone consider doing this for us. Although I know there can be a big leap between 2-3yo with regards to speech.

He sounds very similar to your son OP. Understands everything, had a speech explosion 6-8 months ago but is difficult to understand. He substitutes a lot of letter sounds as there's a fair few he can't say but he really wants to get the words out. He strings lots of words together in a sentence but sometimes even with the context it's hard to figure out what he means.

We have had a hearing test done at my insistence which was fine. Got referred by HV to a 'Let's get talking' group at 2.4 but it's been preschool that have been the most helpful.

We had the early years inclusion officer come round to preschool which was really good. She's the one that's done the SLT referral and has also put in funding for a 1-1 so that there's someone at preschool to help with any exercises once SLT are involved and also because there's the concern having the other children not understand him may lead to isolation from his peer group. If he gets the funding it means there will be someone to help facilitate the interactions and encourage things.

Anyway, we've been given a booklet called Mr Tongue's House to help with tongue mobility (which we need to make all the different letter sounds) while we wait for SLT and lists of different types of exercises/games to do with his mouth and tongue (like talking like a lion or a mouse or baby or other things you can think of, making a small mouth shape and a big open one, pulling funny faces, blowing through straws, looking in the mirror while doing some of the things, singing). Have you been given anything like that?

It's seems to be helping DS already; he licked his top lip to get food from it yesterday for the first time ever smile

LeonardoAcropolis Tue 18-Nov-14 16:06:56

Thank you al for your replies, Lovethesea - all the best for your lad x

ROAR yes! he loves the Jolly phonics, my 6 year old ds1 demanded to listen to it a few weeks ago, and ds2 enjoyed it, and joined in with "ants on my arm". Excellent idea!

nuno Thank you, no, we haven't been given Mr Tongue, but I have found it online and will print it. Best wishes to your ds too x

DixieNormas Tue 18-Nov-14 16:18:52

My 3.8 year old sounds similar, his speech really came on just before he turned 3. Hes only just started pre school and they struggle to understand him. Their salt is coming out next month to see if he does need referring.

I was always told not to correct them but to repeat them slowely so they hear how the sentance should sound. We also have to tell him to slow his words down .

Unfortunatly me understanding and repeting him means I didnt realise untill recently just how much people dont understand what hes saying! They get the jist but when hes in full flow they struggle.

He seems to struggle with the middle of words so the begining and end are ok but the middle gets lost so
daddy is da ye
Airplane is air yane etc

I also play word games with him so words I know he struggles with ill draw pictures off and we repeat the words.

Heels99 Tue 18-Nov-14 16:23:55

You can see a speech therapist privately so you could get started right away if you are prepared to pay or If you have medical insurance it may well be covered.

Mumzy Tue 18-Nov-14 16:36:37

Apart from the obvious talking to him, sounding words back to him it's difficult to advice until you know what he's specific problem is. I'd find out how long the waiting list for initial SALT appointment is because from experience as it can be very long. If you can afford to get him diagnosed privately then you can start with some exercises while you wait for. NHS appointments. I say this as DS1 had a speech. Disorder diagnosed at 3 years and it is a crucial time to start. Therapy in terms of speech development.

LeonardoAcropolis Tue 18-Nov-14 16:54:08

hello, ghanks for the further replies

Would a private speech therapist see a child once for a diagnosis? or would they expect you to book a course of sessions?

As an aside, just this afternoon, ds2 has started to put the "ss" on the end of "mouse" and "k" on the end of "book". Good stuff!

Jellyandjam Tue 18-Nov-14 20:14:58

Hello. I haven't read all the thread so apologies if I repeat anything). My son had very poor pronouncation at three (and still at four). We always repeated /modelled correct pronouncation etc but no amount of this really helped him until we got some specific advice and help from therapists.
My son had a few issues going on. There were several sounds he was unable to pronounce and so he just missed them off. He also did something called harmonisation (only realised what this was when the ST it explained to me. Basically he would say things like pime for time, kig for pig etc. she explain that this was because p and m are made in the same part of the mouth unlike t and m so it's easier to say pime than time.
A big thing that helped us was mouth excerise. We did blowing bubbles, playing with whistles/recorders etc. we were also recommended an app called big mouth sounds which helped to show correct mouth shapes and the workout app has a series of excerices we did daily. Before this I hadn't realised DS couldn't actually put his tongue up behind his teeth (which is needed for certain sounds).
Also using a mirror so he can see his mouth shape and checking to see if it is the same as yours helped.
He had a hearing test but this came back normal.
A website which I found completely invaluable was this has specific information about articulation as well as advice and ideas you can do yourself at home.
We decided to get a private therapist as NHS blocks were only five weeks at a time before going back on a waiting list.
He saw her alongside our NHS therapist for around 8 months. He was discharged in June and the assessment stated his speech was now age appropriate. It's so lovely listening to him now.
Good luck to journey and your son.

Notonthisplanet Tue 18-Nov-14 22:09:02

Apologies to just to jump in and ask if anyone has actually found the salt sessions to not do much? My dd 3 1/2 recently had a block and all it did was get her to memorise sounds in the games which she does perfectly but never uses them in actual speech. I tried to get more out of it and explain what she does and doesn't do but it was pretty much ignored. Am finding it all frustrating would a private therapist be better? We were advised against it originally as they said it would just be the same.

Jellyandjam Tue 18-Nov-14 22:41:34

Hi, it can seem like a slow process at first but honestly she will get there. I remember having similar worries about DS not using the sounds outside of therapy and the ST reassured me. She was absolutely right and sure enough all of a sudden a sound we'd been working on would start appearing in conversation and soon it was as if there had never been an issue with it.
Basically they have to go through quite a long process when working on a new sound and the end result being use in generalised speech. The sound needs to be mastered in isolation first, then she will start bleeding with vowel sounds eg f-ah, f-oo etc. then you move onto words (but they will only be expected to use these in therapy sessions not conversations). After this is mastered, you move onto sentence level where words you've worked on are put into a sentence. Only when all of this has happened they might be expected to use the sounds in generalised speech.
It can seem like you are never going to get there but then all of a sudden it just clicks.
The website I mentioned in the post above has information about this process. Hope that's of some help.

Mumzy Thu 20-Nov-14 09:03:49

We got an initial diagnosis (£100) and then booked individual sessions on a weekly basis (£65 each) We did 10 private 1-1 sessions and practised the exercises daily once we knew what to concentrate on the progress in ds2 speech was amazing. He started full time school nursery at 3yrs and 9 months much more confident and able to communicate clearly with others and that was what we wanted.

LeonardoAcropolis Thu 20-Nov-14 11:27:26

Thank you again for your replies, very helpful.

The GP is referring him for a hearing test and we are considering private therapy, however his preschool keyworker told me today that she is very happy with his progress.

We have begun this journey!

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