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If your dc had speech delay...

(35 Posts)
HoggleHoggle Thu 09-Jun-16 12:12:38

What, if anything, helped them improve?
When did they catch up to their peers?

Ds is 2.5 and has a speech delay. I'd say it's moderately bad but not severe as he does have some words and there are certain words he's happy to put together such as 'more wa' (water) and 'go in there' or 'not there' for example.

Nursery (1 day a week) are aware of my concerns and he has been assessed by NHS speech therapist. Both agree that there is a speech delay but have no concerns at all. They say there's a wide spectrum of 'normal', which I agree with, but with every month that passes the gap between ds and his peers widens. What started out as a slight difference is now massive.
There are certain things which really jump out at me:
-Ds won't say full words, so it's 'wa' for water, 'dig' for digger, 'der' for ladder. Again, I know some of this is to be expected but it's for all multi syllable words.
-He just doesn't pick up words easily at all. There are certain words he hears day in, day out, which he doesn't even attempt. Words are picked up maybe 1 new every 2-3 months.
-His pronunciation is extremely unclear.
-He won't say any names at all, apart from mum and da. Not his own, or grandma etc or any of his friends.
-He uses sounds wherever possible, so animals are always the noise rather than the name, car is 'brum'

We have a lot of peers of ds around us that we spend a lot of time with - I'd say about 15 children we see weekly/monthly - so I do feel that I have a good idea of the general level of speech at this age. They are picking new words up quickly and easily, counting, identifying colours and shapes and speaking fairly good sentences. Ds has a few words and that's it. He can count to 2 using his fingers (not words) and I think is grasping colours by matching them up (again not using words).

I don't know what else to do. I'm a SAHP so he gets a lot of my attention on this, and I am doing everything I'm recommended to - narrating his play, modelling language etc. We look at books lots, and also ones recommended for helping speech. We play together regularly.

I just want to help him as much as I can and feel that I'm getting fobbed off. I know there's a wide spectrum of 'normal' but that doesn't mean I just have to wait and assume things will improve - or does it?

From sept ds will be going to pre-school twice a week and I feel that may be a bit of a sink or swim situation. It could really help his talking or he could start feeling left out etc. He already finds it hard to integrate when groups of children are playing and talking, much better 1-1.

He is a bright boy, has a really good memory and communicates well - he uses his own sign language a lot, so he's good at getting his message across. He also understands every word I say, so it's not comprehension that's the problem, he just genuinely seems to find it hard to make the sounds. He didn't babble as a baby, which i'm assuming is relevant.

If anyone has been through similar and come through the other side, any advice or thoughts would be so welcome.

Sammysquiz Thu 09-Jun-16 12:20:51

Has he had a hearing test? My 2 year old was similar to yours in terms of his speech, and the Speech Therapist referred him for a hearing test where they found he had a lot of congestion in his middle-ear so everything sounded muffled to him. I had thought his hearing was fine, he would turn his head to the smallest sound, but it was the clarity which was the problem.

HoggleHoggle Thu 09-Jun-16 12:24:06

He had a hearing test at about 11/12 months and was fine - do you think it's worth getting it done again?

PeaceNotPieces Thu 09-Jun-16 14:22:23

Our middle DS has a language disorder. At 2.5 I'd agree your DS is in the normal spectrum like you said.

What we found is that our DS was v shy in social situations and quite difficult to engage with. Sometime he wouldn't even attempt a tricky word because he knew it would be difficult for him.

The social situations and engaging with others had been a problem form early on. Our DS realised that people / children sometimes found it hard to understand what DS was saying. This in turn really knocked his confidence and would lead him to flatly refusing to try and engage with others.

The things we found have helped....
Encouraging all forms of communicating. Not correcting him if he says a word wrong. So for example, DS used to call his socks 'cocks' blushInstead of me saying, no it's not cocks, it's socks- I'd say, that's great you've put your Socks on, well done. ....or something along them lines. Encourage speech or if for now he's happier pointing at objects, signing Mr Tumble things, ANYTHiNG that makes DS communicate-encourage it. DONT correct his efforts or ridicule any words he says that sound funny.

Also try and get others to take a little time to try and understand him rather than just dismissing what he said if they don't understand(other kids / strangers in the street)

Speech therapy . Although I have to say the first batch was a waste of time in hindsight. I don't think he was 'ready' but it gave me some good exercises to do at home as our DS had and has quite weak muscles at the front of his mouth and tongue/lips.

Get more hours in at nursery if you can. With our DS being diagnosed as having a language disorder quite early on (around 2.5) he was allowed the 2 year funding for nursery. This helped him to get used to me not being there translating for him and it helped his confidence.

Could your DS maybe buddy up with a cousin or friend more regularly to help with his confidence? If he had a close friend that may help.

Our DS is nearly 5. It was v hard to understand him at times. We moved a long way from where we were and one of the reasons was so that our DS could go to a smaller school where he wouldn't feel so overwhelmed at the social situation/ big groups etc. Best thing we've ever done. He has come on so much. He's a real chatterbox now with lots of lovely friends. He still has speech delay but you have to put the foundations down and build his confidence, repeat mouth and tongue exercises in a fun way and don't give up.

Every so often we find something just clicks with our DS and sounds he couldn't say before he starts to say.

Persevere and try not to worry too much. His speech will improve

PeaceNotPieces Thu 09-Jun-16 14:27:14

Encourage the sounds he's making too-the moo, woof etc literally any communication is good communication and it's something to build on.

Captainladder Thu 09-Jun-16 14:37:04

our DS was diagnosed as being 9 months behind in his speech at 2. He didnt really say many words until he hit 3, but could clearly understand (the diagnosis at age 2 said he was ahead for his age in terms of understanding). We went to speach therapy and the best thing they could advise was little bursts of modeling playing... so for 5 mins you would completely focus on playing with your child all the while talking about what they were doing. They also said it wasnt unusal and that by age 5/6 most children were of a similar stage in speach development. DS is now 7 and doesnt have a problem talking. Once he did start (around 3 1/2) he seemed to pick it up quite fast. Hope that helps.

SteadyHand Thu 09-Jun-16 14:41:22

I'm watching this with interest. My Ds is 23 months and has barely any words. All fruit is a nana for example. He knows that a dog goes woof, a cat says miaow and a duck says quack, and that's it for animal noises...

unlucky83 Thu 09-Jun-16 14:52:00

My DD2 had speech delay - started preschool at 2.5 hardly saying a word. Didn't speak (at all!) to an adult at preschool until she was 3. The HV knew and said it was ok.
At Nursery (so 3.5) she got SLT - she was trying to talk then but was often misunderstood. By then I was told the biggest problem she had was a better than average vocabulary and also she was putting together complex sentences -but because she was late starting to talk she hadn't have enough practice. Basically she was trying to talk like a 4-5 yo with the speech development/pronunciation of a 2yo which made her hard to understand.
She had SLT up to age 6 - just to speed things up. She learned to read etc fine and now at 9 is one of the best readers in her class. She will talk to anyone - strangers etc - and she is happy to get up on stage at an assembly etc and speak in front of people. You wouldn't know she had ever had a 'problem'
I think the biggest concern is loss of confidence ...and frustration. If I couldn't understand a word I would say I couldn't and then tell her to describe it to me - so for eg squirrel - she'd tell me an animal - I'd ask what colour, where does it live? etc until I could guess and then I'd say oh do you mean squirrel? You are so good at describing things.
And we used to joke about it too - not a mean way - just to show it wasn't a big deal....we knew she'd get there eventually - so when she couldn't say F we would get her to try and say five funny fish fingers ...and then we'd try and say it like she did etc.
And she had (and has ) lots of friends - it didn't harm the social part of her development - they could mostly understand her.
The only time she got upset was when they were talking about something in class and she said if she had a black cat she'd call it Lucky - she couldn't say L so it sounded like 'yucky' and the (supply) teacher who didn't know about her speech said that was a funny name for a cat, DD tried to correct the teacher and she said I know Yucky sad
Also her speech got much worse just before her SLT finished - she was told it would be finishing and she was sad (liked the therapist) so pretended to regress grin

Captainladder Thu 09-Jun-16 16:51:27

Also we did lots of signing with Ds to help reduce any frustration due to lack of communication

HoggleHoggle Thu 09-Jun-16 18:20:51

Thank you so much all, it's all so useful. Interestingly there are different bits from your dc that I recognise in ds. He is a mix of introvert/extrovert and speech definitely comes under the introvert. Sometimes I think he's plotting it all inside, working it out, and one day it will come out all at once. Other times I think that's not it at all and he needs even more help than he's getting.

Like someone said, although it hasn't been confirmed professionally, I do feel that his comprehension is better than expected at this age. So perhaps that isn't helping with the language side of things.

The poster who mentioned mouth exercises - is there anywhere I could find details of that online? (Sorry can't remember who said this, on phone!)

The SLT was utterly useless and hasn't given me any feedback really. He's meant to be doing some group sessions but I haven't heard anything in the last 3 months. Need to chase that up.

HoggleHoggle Thu 09-Jun-16 18:21:47

Ps - if we overtly encourage ds to say certain words etc then he will noticeably withdraw, so we're going very gently with everything and being as careful as possible not to discourage him.

PeaceNotPieces Thu 09-Jun-16 18:44:50

It sounds like you're doing the right things, some Dc just take a little longer, like mine.

Imo I wouldn't try and get your DS to say a particular word but concentrate on sounds to start with.

One game our slt did was the pop up pirate game. Set it all up. Asked DS which colour swords he'd like.Then got my DS to say a sound five times as best he could. A, b, c etc but the sound of the letter. Only maybe concentrating on five different letters / sounds per game so it was practising and not overwhelming. Once DS had tried five times he got a sword to put into the barrel. Made it a really fun game. Slt did the sounds first to demonstrate what was expected of my DS, then she got a sword. Then DS had a turn.

It's just about practice, practice , practice and making it fun.

The exercises were fun things like getting a pot of bubbles and encouraging DS to try and blow bubbles...he couldn't at first as his muscles were too weak, but he can now.

Another one was smearing Nutella into an egg cup or a blob on his top lip /nose and encouraging DS to lick all the Nutella out/off - this again strengthened his tongue and lip muscles. He dipped his finger in first...but just persevere again and make it fun rather than work.

The tongue exercises were a thing called Mr Tongue. You might find it online to print off. We tried to do some of the exercises every day, put stickers on it, colour it in-again just make it casual and fun. Or just try the exercises if you don't have use of a printer.

But with the encouraging language, I wish I knew earlier to practice the sounds of each individual letter. Then slowly make two sounds like-th , ms, oo, ks, am,

DS was a very reluctant speaker at first and didn't pronounce many sounds apart from b, g, and the vowels really. Now he only struggles with I think 3 sounds. And he can say the sounds he just isn't using them in conversation yet.

Persevere my lovely and try not to worry. It sounds like you're trying your best.

Also, I put off putting our DS into full time pre school as I thought he wasn't ready and thought he'd be completely overwhelmed by the big groups/strangers/lack of confidence/ lack of social interaction-I based this on the fact DS is a summer baby and has a language disorder.

In hindsight I wish I'd put him in part time as I think he would have benefited from it. The schools after all are a profession and they are used to dealing with dc with slt and other needs and your DS may get more 1-1 support at preschool. I found our DS was sometimes reluctant to do the exercises and sounds with me but loved doing them with the slt or preschool staff....something to bear in mind.

HoggleHoggle Thu 09-Jun-16 19:22:56

Thank you so much peace, that is so amazingly helpful. The sounds game sounds really good and something I hadn't thought of. I'll definitely do that.

Interestingly ds is also a fan of the 'b' sound and far and away has most of his words starting with that.

Thanks again!

ceara Fri 10-Jun-16 10:56:06

My DS is a similar age to yours ,OP. He too has a speech delay which only affects expressive language - his understanding is on track/ahead. To give you hope that things can change, my son learned precisely 5 words and animal noises between birth and 26 months. In the last 6 weeks he's added 150+ words and is now saying 3-4 word combinations. It can happen.

Some children are "just" late talkers and will not have a long term problem.

ceara Fri 10-Jun-16 11:09:31

Posted too soon.

There's unfortunately no way to tell if your child will spontaneously improve, or need more help, other than hindsight, so I would push for as much help as you can get, early.

The Hanen Centre website is good on early intervention and if you can, try to get hold of their book "It Takes Two to Talk". At this age, speech therapy would be mostly about teaching you the optimum way to communicate with your son to help his speech (exercises come later) and the techniques you'd learn from a SLT are explained in that book, so if NHS aren't providing support and you can't access private SLT, it's a good port of call.

Key things are speaking in simple sentences, repeating key words multiple times, narrating what you and DS do as it happens, modelling what he might say for him, encouraging back and forth interactions even if they're not speech, and not asking questions to "test" him, or pushing for words.

Makaton is great for late talkers, and gives a means of communication to ease the frustration until the words come. All the research says that it won't delay speech - and could help, because back and forth interaction is a key building block.

My understanding is that for late talkers, it's the interactions at home that are the most important thing - it's a bit of a myth that being around peers will bring on speech where it's delayed. Preschool/nursery, though great for many things including social developmemt, is a noisy environment. I can't always here myself think in those big rooms with sound bouncing off all the hard surfaces. The time he spends one-to-one with an adult, in a quiet space with no distractions, is going to do far more for his speech right now, so you are his best helper!

JuliannalovesCliveBixby Fri 10-Jun-16 11:17:55

Both my sons have had speech delay. The oldest is 11 now and has no problems with speech or school or anything (he's actually a talented theatre actor now ha). The youngest is the same as his oldest brother. I am certain the reason they were delayed is because they didn't need to speak because I am/was at home with them all the time. As soon as the youngest was away from me, he had to be understood by others, so he started speaking. The youngest will be the same. I'm tempted to send him to a childminder purely so he'll pull his finger out and talk.

unlucky83 Fri 10-Jun-16 11:23:39

ceara anecdotally admittedly but I am not sure about signing
I was told speech delay was more common in younger siblings as their elder siblings tend to talk for them.
The incentive to learn to talk is to be understood, be able to communicate - a certain amount of frustration might be a good thing, give them drive.
DD2 didn't do signing as such (although she did do baby signing classes - I just didn't keep it up) but I was very good at understanding what she wanted and she was mainly at home with me. Her main word was 'bah' which meant more. She'd point at a milk cup and say bah. I'd say do you want more milk and she'd nod or say no if she said no I'd say do you water? and she'd nod. I stopped doing that as much and instead said do you want milk or water? Which encouraged her say one. She started using more words when I did that and practising speaking. But if she got frustrated I'd revert to letting her answer yes or no...

ceara Fri 10-Jun-16 11:56:21

I have to disagree about the signing. We stopped between 18 months and 2 years, on HV advice for precisely the reasons you say. Both the independent SLT and NHS SLTs we have seen since, have been appalled that this advice was given as it doesn't reflect current research or thinking. We resumed modelling Makaton on their advvice at age 2 (in the meantime DS had developed his own signs in order to communicate). Speech came 4 months later. Makaton is supportive signing, used alongside the spoken word so doesn't replace speech. He now uses signs and words together and is slowly dropping the signs.

We did use the "limited choice" technique you mention, and also a version of that where you limit resources so the child has to ask for more. But like you say, I think it's important that you don't push it to the frustration (or starvation!) point. We just allowed a short pause, praised any answer even if it was pointing/signing, and then modelled the words (Eg "water. you want more water.")

OP, I meant to say that after our son's NHS assessment they offered 1-2-1 speech therapy. He's still waiting for the appointments which it's looking as though we won't actually need now, but the point is the help was offered. Your DS sounds quite similar so I'm surprised you haven't been given more support - the postcode lottery?

ceara Fri 10-Jun-16 11:59:29

*3 months later

lljkk Fri 10-Jun-16 12:11:02

Mine only had speech delay, not language disorder.

DC2: got better almost overnight when they did phonics at school (reception autumn term).
DC3 & DC4: needed SLT, which they got while in reception, and lots of SLT homework with me which went perfectly with DC3 but DC4 resisted and refused.

The early salt was all listening skills, so hearing the difference between K/T and D/G.

Captainladder Fri 10-Jun-16 14:13:47

with regards to signing... its important to use the words and the signs together. The area of the brain that is responsible for signing apparently lies next to the speech area and so using signing and speach together can help to improve speech faster. It does not delay speach. I agree that some level of frustration is good for development but possibly when it comes to speech and communication I would take a more gentle approach as I cant imagine anything worse than feeling like you cant communicate or are not being understood as a little child.

unlucky83 Fri 10-Jun-16 14:37:37

captain I agree the frustration thing is a fine line but I really think I (or even we as in her family) were actually too good at knowing what she wanted -she didn't have to speak (even without signing). And she is by nature quite laid back/easy going -so even at preschool it wasn't a real problem for her.

HoggleHoggle Fri 10-Jun-16 15:36:46

Thanks so much all.

Ceara, I know, I do feel that SLT have been a bit crap. I think they just have such limited resources that ds isn't a priority. And to be totally honest I'm not sure how good the individual therapist was. I spoke to her about ds avoiding names, including his own, and asked for her opinion on when typically children said their own name. She didn't know, which I thought strange. I wouldn't have thought it was a particularly unusual fact for the SLT to have known or at least have made an educated guess at.

Ds is pretty good at his own sign language so as yet I haven't felt the need to go down the makaton route.

I agree with pp that I do feel often that me being at home all the time hasn't helped, ie I anticipate his needs, we run along together really well with a mixture of the words and signs he has. His key worker at nursery had advised me to stress words a bit more - eg when he says 'wa' I shouldn't just model 'water' back, I should really try to get him to say it. But i don't agree, I think this discourages him. Although I'd like him to say words properly, i think more important at this stage is just the range of sounds he can make. Which is very few!

I keep hoping it will all be ok and but then get disheartened. This thread was promoted by a hairdresser yesterday saying that if she were me, she'd be worried about ds's speech. Of course I am, but someone very outside of our family saying something shook me a bit. Luckily ds himself is happy as anything, so that's the main thing.

PeaceNotPieces Fri 10-Jun-16 16:08:48

It always amazes me when people think it's necessary to say something negative about someone else's child. There's ways of saying things constructively and clearly she's opinionated not informed. Let it go over your head.

I personally would agree with getting the sounds out first, like you said. Because it will build his confidence. At this stage the foundations need to be made and if he's confidant he can do and try sounds and get positive reactions or feedback, he's more likely to keep doing it.

If agree with the not correcting the words he doesn't pronounce right as it may knock his confidence. I'd say , course you can have some water,....something along them lines. Not,... Say water little hoggle, because it's difficult for him to do.

Remember he is your DS and you are trying your best. All the posters on here have had experience in speech delay at all different ages/circumstances and severity. You know how your DS is and ultimately its down to you to do what you feel is right, which I'm sure you'll do.

Good luck X

lljkk Fri 10-Jun-16 16:17:26

You don't correct what they say but you do model back to them the correct way to say it.

So child says "I 'ee tat!" And you say "Oh, do you see a cat? I see the cat, too. Do you think the cat can see you and me?" Speak a bit slower than usual so that the child really hears the sounds they may be missing. Ideally make eye contact when you speak to them, so they can see how your mouth is shaped to make the sounds (correctly).

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