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anyone used talk tools successfully

(12 Posts)
helenlove Thu 02-Jun-16 22:15:44

DS is 2.5 and his speech is delayed. We have just seen a private SLT who has said he has low muscle tone in his jaw and tongue and has recommend a talk tools programme to strengthen his muscles. He can only really say vowels and no fricatives. He is very frustrated but NHS salt won't touch him until he is 3. Just waiting on a hearing test.

Anyone have experience of using talk tools? Am finding it hard to get my head around it - can blowing bubbles and biting on bars be the answer to his difficulties?

thefamilyvonstrop Fri 03-Jun-16 14:42:46

We are using talk tools and its definitely helping. My 2.6 year old son has verbal dyspraxia with oral sensory issues and simply couldn't imitate even basic sounds he was hearing (e.g. can't say mama/mummy). The talk tools programme is helping him learn how to shape his mouth to create individual sounds and how to detach the individual parts of his mouth e.g. currently if you try and get him to bite with his molars, he tries to turn his whole head and body at the same time.
I've been really thrilled at how it's helped - we have been doing the programme for 2 months and he now can do "ooh", "ah" ,"mmm", "puh" and "buh" sounds. He is also gaining confidence to attempt sounds - so is attempting animal noises although only I would know what animal they are from!
The blowing bubbles has been really useful - previously he had very little control over his blowing - the visual cue of the bubbles has helped him slow it down and use control rather than just blasting spit everywhere. We've a long road ahead but it was a great investment for us.

kelda Fri 03-Jun-16 14:45:35

My ds is older now, also with verbal dyspraxia as well as other things. We used the speech dyspraxia programme and cued articulation. Also makaton.

Blowing bubbles is good. As is holding a pencil between upper lip and nose and sucking up spaghetti- you can turn these into games.

SpoonintheBin Fri 03-Jun-16 16:11:11

Maybe I am wrong here but leading experts are stating that verbal dyspraxia Is very difficult to diagnose in children under the age of three and I would be sceptical of a diagnosis between ages of two and three. Leading experts in the uk will not diagnose under the age of three.

We have consulted different private speech therapists over the years but the only ones that made a significant difference were nhs therapists and the Nuffield hopital www.uclh.nhs.uk/OurServices/ServiceA-Z/ENTS/NUFF/Pages/psdc.aspx.

I am not saying that private speech therapists should not be trusted, I am saying that every time we saw one I was feeling like they were trying to sell something, not treat.

There are many exercises you can do such as get toy musical instrument to blow into, use a straw to blow into a cup or push a small ball, blow raspberries, fill up cheeks with air and rushing the air out, but with an under two year old it's all a question of cooperation! First try to get your ds to copy you when you make a special sound action (such as hitting a pot with a wooden spoon) and progress to try to immigrate you when you 'scream' in the rhyme row row row your boat. Try to get him to imitate any simple sounds like car sound or airplane sound. And praise any babbling or efforts to make sounds, listening carefully when he does.

kelda Fri 03-Jun-16 16:18:34

There is no suggestion at the moment that helenlove's son has verbal dyspraxia
It is actually a very rare condition, 1 in 1000-3000. My ds had a provisional diagnosis at age 4 and confirmed at age 7. It is not a disorder of muscle tone (that is dysarthria), dyspraxia is a co-ordination disorder.

There are many other possibilities of a diagnosis but first it's important to follow the advice of the SLT.

helenlove Fri 03-Jun-16 17:55:43

Thanks for the replies. We don't have any sort of official diagnosis at the moment other than the low muscle tone in his jaw. She is doing a programme that includes bubbles, bite blocks, a straw and a blowy thing. Will update in 6 months with any progress!

SpoonintheBin Sat 04-Jun-16 11:00:57

The point I was trying to make - not very well- is that in my experience (ds also has verbal dyspraxia, diagnosed at Nuffield hospital when he was 4) PRIVATE speech therapists work very differently from nhs and every time we worked with private SALTs I felt as if they were trying to sell us solutions and tools. Whereas nhs therapists and specialist schools were a lot more cautious about a diagnosis and focuses on a daily proven programme (we followed same programmes as your son, Kelda). Leading experts in the uk state quite clearly that it is very difficult to diagnose DVD before the age of three yet Thefamilyvonstrop's ds was diagnosed before he was 2.5 if I am reading the post correctly. I am sceptical about this, that's all.

kelda Sat 04-Jun-16 13:12:39

Sorry I hadn't picked up on the posit about the 2.6 year old with verbal dyspraxia. Yes that is too early for a formal diagnosis.

It was a long process to get my ds formally diagnosed. SLT from the age of three (you can't ven get SLT before this age where I live), assessments by a group of professionals including a neurologist at the age of four and a provisional diagnosis of verbal dyspraxia given. This was only confirmed at the age of 7. I would be wary of any SLT (especially if they are working alone) who says they can diagnose any earlier.

SpoonintheBin Sat 04-Jun-16 15:27:34

I agree. Ds went to a specialist speech unit for nursery at 3 and they have very good SALTs who didn't feel 'expert' enough to diagnose so refered him to Nuffield where he was diagnosed at 4, then treated under their 'umbrella' until he was 7. The Nuffield also carried out various tests and he was seen by neurologist. He was discharged at 8 years old and is now doing extremely well. We are still working with him at home but he doesn't have any speech therapy anymore. How old is your ds Kelda? How is he now?

kelda Sat 04-Jun-16 17:07:23

He is nearly 8. At an SN school specifically for communication disorders but even there it's a struggle for him.

Not to scare you helenlove! Most children do catch up on their own or with a bit of help. Not many are like my ds.

HairyMaclary Sat 04-Jun-16 17:11:39

Yes - we useful very effectively with ds1, now 11.

In our case it was to reduce dribbling and improve clarity. It Ido both with great success and was one therapy that DS loved (complicated diagnosis, lots of medics/therapists involved).

I've seen it work very successfully with a boy with Down's syndrome too.

sunniest Wed 08-Jun-16 21:28:05

Talk Tools are quite a controversial approach among speech therapists. There is very little research to suggest that doing non-speech oro-motor exercises such as blowing/sucking has any impact on the movements needed for speech (and therefore any impact on intelligibility) and an awful lot of research to suggest it doesn't. Our local NHS SaLT only use Talk Tools for feeding/drooling and wont offer it as an intervention for speech because of this. If you want to improve speech you need to work on speech.

Lots of links to research papers if you google non speech OME

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