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Has anyone else found speech therapy a bit rubbish and patronising?

(23 Posts)
YoJesse Wed 09-Mar-16 07:47:59

Ds is 3 and has a speech delay. We had a course of speech therapy play sessions where the therapists basically just accused us all of not playing enough with our kids and implied we are all just parking them in front of the iPad all day.

We attended every week and I've tried the techniques they suggested. He's progressing but no more than before. It seems to me that they are adopting a 'one size fits all' approach to the classes and that actually there must be multiple reasons for a speech delay.

Has anyone else found this and what did they do? I can't afford private therapy right now.

lljkk Wed 09-Mar-16 08:23:00

Did you not get an individual assessment? What is wrong with his speech that you can hear? Are you doing daily homework?

Mag314s Wed 09-Mar-16 08:34:37

YES. Torture. I found it all torture. My son didn't speak til he was three and a half. No words at all at three and a half, but he understood everything although they kept telling me that there wasn't usuallly a big gap between receptive communication and expressive communication but I knew he understood EVERY word I said to him but they were encouraging me to do sign language Then between three and four he started to catch up. I went to so many appointments. I did the hannon course, learned all the acronyms, filmed myself prompting him to speak, it prompted very little tbh. I was asking him in sign language if he wanted milk or juice and he just helped himself. all so much extra work and stress for ME.

FWIW, and I know this is only one child, but my son is now ten. We were watching the big bang theory the other day on netflix and Sheldon could hear imaginary voices from a Star Trek Spock Toy. My son said to me ''Spock is a metaphor for Sheldon's conscience''. I laughed and agreed, and he said, ''sorry for patronising you mum'' and I did think to myself ''this is the boy who was in speech therapy at three and a half''. He has also recently told me that something had a very ''anti-climactic'' ending. I'm not dissing speech therapy but I went to so many appointments and yes he was late to speak, but find me an adult who can't speak. My son has some issues (regulating his emotions) but he's a great kid.

OnePlanOnHouzz Wed 09-Mar-16 08:43:14

I soooo hear what you are saying ! I lost my speech for four and a half years and they sent me to speech therapy and she treated me like I was retarded !!!
Thankfully it's back now - but I have no faith in speech therapists what so ever !!!!

VulcanWoman Wed 09-Mar-16 08:59:06

Years ago went to speech therapy for my sons stammer, made us feel inadequate, that we might not be helping matters.

Fuzz01 Wed 09-Mar-16 09:04:35

I went to speech therapy as a kid but had individual sessions. I would look into one and one to one basis rather than group work. I would hate to be part of group and would of found that extremely embrassing as im sure most children would. As a child is its extremely frustrating and embrassing speech therapists should be more sympathic. I knew what i wanted to say in my head was getting it out.

Gutterflower Wed 09-Mar-16 09:07:39

My DS now 6 was supposed to go to a block of those play sessions, we went to the first 2 and found it completely useless - no structure, no control and far too many children. We could see right from the word go that he wasn't going to get anything from them do we didn't continue with them. He does now however have one to one sessions weekly in school and the progress he has made is amazing.

PandasRock Wed 09-Mar-16 09:10:28

The typical SALT approach and service for young children with speech delay is certainly generic. A very wish washy overview, which is often (ime with 3 different children, and SALT services in 3 different counties) delivered in a patronising way.

My youngest had his SALT assessment yesterday. He initially (at 20 months) had a speech delay, but quickly caught up. He is now rather advanced wrt speech/language. He also has ASD, and has significant issues with communication - he finds it impossible to even contemplate talking to people outside the family, and can hardly bear it if they talk to him. Clearly not a good state to start school in.

So, despite the therapist yesterday knowing he now has no technical speech issues (I managed to coax him into saying enough to prove his), she still spent the hours assessment testing him to chart where his language skills are - off the scale, age-wise, as I am well aware - rather than probing his actual issues, and giving me advice to pass on to school (he starts in September) to help him out.

No possibility of a group therapy session to help with his social skills, as he is too high functioning speech-wise (never mind he can't use his skills!)

And so he has been signed off. My third child to be signed off from SALT services before school age, without anything ever being done.

My eldest had (and has) a severe language disorder - she had no functional language at all at age 3, when she was signed off from services because her problems were 'too complex', so it's not even as though you get help if needs are more severe!

OP, I would say that the most valuable things you can do to help your ds right now are to get hold of copies of the Hanen books 'More than Words' and 'It takes two to talk'. Hey are pricey, so maybe get your library to order them in? They are great resources to help you help your child. Because let's face it, not much is going to happen unless you do it.

VulcanWoman Wed 09-Mar-16 09:12:31

These group sessions sound like a cost cutting exercise.

PandasRock Wed 09-Mar-16 09:18:03

It depends.

They probably are, but if they were properly run, and attended by children who need a group session, then there is no reason for them to not work.

As I outlined above, my ds needs intervention to get him comfortable with talking in a social setting. He doesn't need help with speech (has a slight lisp but it should be ok) or language.

A group session to learn to be comfortable with semi-strangers talking to him and expecting him to answer is exactly what he needs. 1:1 sessions would be pointless, as he is ok in that situation.

But yes, groups as they are currently run are probably a cost-cutting waste of time.

SansaClegane Wed 09-Mar-16 09:18:49

confused My son has his first appointment tomorrow.... This all sounds very disheartening.
That said, my health visitor got me to look at some websites for "helpful tips" before referring him for SALT, and it was stuff like "read books with your child" and "look at your child when you talk to them", which I found rather off-putting...surely everyone does that already!
My son has very good receptive language - he understands everything I say and follows instructions - but he has next to no words, and what he does say is very unclear. We've had his hearing checked and it is slightly impaired, possibly due to glue ear or just a massive build up of ear wax, so I'm trying to clear the ear wax for now until he has his next hearing test.
I was (am?) really hoping the SALT will be helpful and get him to make some progress!

WellTidy Wed 09-Mar-16 09:21:40

Yes. DS3yo has a severe speech and language delay, and has been under SALT for 2 years. He has also recently been diagnosed with ASD.

The state provision of SALT for him has been woefully inadequate. three half-hour sessions a year is all that he was entitled to. And two hour-long group sessions, for adults only, about using visual support like signing, now and next boards,. visual timetables (none of which DS can understand).

We paid privately for help and put PECS (using photographs not symbols) in place, which has been incredible for DS. He picked up on it ever so quickly, it was like he had been waiting for someone/something to allow him to express his needs and observations.

I recounted this to the (state) SALT and was told very disapprovingly that we shouldn't be using PECS - it was to eb used as a last resort. DS had so spoken language whatsoever at this stage, and was incredibly frustrated. I ask you. If we weren't in last resort territory, where were we?

RatOnnaStick Wed 09-Mar-16 09:24:14

I found my son's therapy brilliant but he had 6 one-on-one sessions aged 3 followed by 3-monthly reviews for a couple of years. It consisted of him playing on the floor with whatever toy he chose and the therapist sat and talked to him for the half hour commenting on his play and showing new ways of describing stuff. He really enjoyed 'going to play with Alison.' That's what he saw it as.

Later on, towards the end of the review sessions, she would sit him at the little table and go through flip books full of various assessment pictures which he also enjoyed.

I think if its done right, on an individual approach basis, it can be very successful indeed.

NoCapes Wed 09-Mar-16 09:32:43

DD is in speech therapy but has individual sessions, group sessions sound odd and a bit counter productive - how are you supposed to hear each child and really focus on their language and pronunciation with a load of other kids running around??
We've never been offered group sessions and don't pay, could you ask if it possible to have 1:1 sessions?

YoJesse Wed 09-Mar-16 12:42:06

Glad to here it's not just me!

Yes, we had an individual assessment where they pinpointed (on that tree) that is was probably a problem with his understanding.

How did those of you who got free one to ones manage it?

Sorry SANSA i hope you have a more positive experience.

RatOnnaStick Wed 09-Mar-16 13:20:37

We were just put on the waiting list for one-to-one after the initial assessment. It took 9 months to arrive though.

fusionconfusion Wed 09-Mar-16 13:32:33

There may well be loads of shite speech therapists, but unfortunately when it comes to this:

"find me an adult who can't speak"

there are a sizeable amount of adults who are nonverbal.

There are even adults who have completely normal nonverbal intelligence who find it harder to talk than the average toddler... so not everyone can just walk away from speech therapy when it's a bit crap.

I worked as an assistant in a school language provision where a child came at 8 who had only 8 words. He left school at 16 with qualifications, able to speak in simple sentences. When it's done right, it can be life changing.

insan1tyscartching Wed 09-Mar-16 13:37:11

Had brilliant speech therapy with ds because we had a SALT who specialised in ASD and communication disorders. She would spend the first half of every visit observing ds and he second half sorting resources and teaching me.She did very little direct therapy tbh because she said he needed input constantly and so I needed to know how to do it.
With dd my experience was much the same as pandas a generic SALT who had no idea,constant assessment and reassessment (dd had a wide vocab,perfect grammar and pronunciation she just didn't communicate) and then no therapy. I used at home what I'd been taught by ds's SALT and asked for dd to be discharged because it was a waste of time.
I was pissed off with her from the beginning tbh when she first told me I was neurotic dd didn't have ASD (diagnosed 6 weeks later) and that I should limit her dummy (she'd never had one)

Hlordy Wed 09-Mar-16 13:43:08

My son had 3 sets of 6 weekly appointments with speech therapy. Just recently signed off. He is 3.5 now. I thought they were amazing and never felt patronised at all. I also thought that all the science that goes into it was fascinating. I did feel that he would get there with or without the extra help and I'm not actually sure how much he improved because of the therapy and how much was just due to starting school etc. these were all one to one sessions however, no group sessions.

Gobbolino6 Wed 09-Mar-16 13:46:49

My son has recently had a short course. It's been brilliant, couldn't fault it.

Whotookmyruler Wed 09-Mar-16 20:27:33

I think it depends on the speech therapist. Have seen both excellent and very poor (and patronising)

Racheyg Wed 09-Mar-16 21:26:16

This thread is an interesting read. DS1 2.8 is under going group SALT sessions at present. Its only a four week course and there are 6 children in the group. DS1 is the youngest by at least 6 months and most have a little speech. I really like the therapist but I dont see it working for my ds1 he needs 1 on 1 as he lacks concentration and gets bored waiting his turn so he has lost interest by the time it gets to him.

He will get re-assessed in 4 months time to see whether he will need more sessions.

SansaClegane Thu 10-Mar-16 15:47:37

Well, that was a disaster, but not in the way I had expected!

So today was the big day. I picked DS up early from pre-school so we can get to his appointment in time as it's a 20 minute drive.
Managed to find the children's centre, ring the bell, and a lady opens and asks if I'm there for the SALT? She then proceeds to tell me the therapist called in sick today and all the appointments have been cancelled confused This lady only worked at the children's centre and had nothing to do with the SALT, so I had to hold back my anger and leave.
On my way back (15 minutes after the scheduled appointment time!) I get a phone call from SALT, apologising for the cancellation and that they will ring me back when the therapist is back in. What kind of a shitty service is that?! Couldn't they have rung or texted me before the appointment (it was an afternoon one after all); and now I have to wait again just for a new appointment to be scheduled again? Grrrr.
I really hope it's worth it if when we do get to see someone and not some shite patronising group session angry

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