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Suspected verbal dyspraxia - does anyone have any positive stories to share?

(7 Posts)
bugglemum Thu 30-Nov-17 19:59:31


My DS has had a couple of sessions with a SALT - he didn't babble and now, at 20 months, he only says "mama" and "dada" and his vocal sounds are limited to just "ma", "da", "uh" and occasionally "ba". Nothing else.

Weaning him on to solids was also a nightmare - although whether that's related to this or was a consequence of terrible reflux, we don't know. (It got better once he was on omeprazole - so I'm hoping it was all reflux related?)

He is otherwise bright and able. He keeps up with his older brother on his trike, he runs and climbs, he is amazing with a football - and his comprehension of language is super. He is very cheeky and has a lot of personality - but it's breaking my heart to watch as it becomes more and more apparent that there's a real issue with his speech and I can see it's starting to upset and frustrate him too.

I took a deep breath and asked the SALT outright whether she thought he might have verbal dyspraxia - and she sighed and said it's been on her mind since first meeting him and that she suspects that's exactly the problem. However - we cannot have a specific referral for it until he's 1) older and 2) has enough words for them to be able to truly assess his abilities.

Needless to say I have tortured myself reading everything I can online..... I am beside myself.

I wondered if anyone has any positive stories to share? With early intervention and lots and lots of hard work and practice, can we overcome this? Will he talk normally eventually - without it holding him back in other areas? Or not? What should I realistically and rationally prepare myself for?

Many, many thanks! xx

beautifulgirls Fri 01-Dec-17 19:55:20

DD is now 13, has verbal dyspraxia. It took a lot of input to get her to talk and be understood but that effort was very worth it. She can make herself understood when she talks these days but unfortunately as time went on we came to understand she had more issues than just the speech problems. She was eventually diagnosed with a genetic disorder (16p deletion) in which the majority of affected people have verbal dyspraxia. She also has ASD, APD and motor co-ordination issues and mild learning difficulties. It took a lot of effort to work through the various professionals, get the evidence between us and school of the problems to the professionals to even listen at times and it was only when she was 7 that we got the genetic testing done and everything started to come together and make sense. At this time I understand your frustration with not having all the answers and a plan to move forward but speech therapy in general is likely to be helpful for him - practice mouth exercises (licking honey off his lips, blowing through a straw, blowing out candles etc) for a first start and then help him learn to say single sounds. We found bribery worked with DD (M&Ms can work wonders one at a time!) to motivate her to join in with us.

She's a gorgeous girl, quite strict with herself (and others!) about following rules so extremely well behaved and loves to please people.

MiniMileyMoo Fri 01-Dec-17 22:10:36

Nothing very constructive to add, but I could have almost written this, my little boy is 2.8 and has zero words and some babble sounds. He’s been under a paediatrician for development delays since he was one and we know he has a chromosome disorder and some brain development issues from tests/scans but equally have no idea how he will be in the future. His receptive language and social skills are almost age appropriate, he just can’t get any words out!

We use makaton quite successfully, and some picture cards, to try and ease frustration, have you started going down that route?

kempymoo Fri 01-Dec-17 22:21:34

Hi - thanks both for sharing your stories.

Yes, MiniMileyMoo, we have been using makaton for a while and that definitely helps. And he’s actually very good at grunting and pointing and making himself understood. But i realise it’s only going to get harder as he wants to “say” more...

Ho-hum.... I guess we just have to wait and see what happens....

And beautifulgirls - I will try M&Ms, that sounds like his kind of game! ;)


abc12345 Sun 03-Dec-17 08:38:54

Hello, I could’ve written your post a year ago (ds 5.5now).
This is our experience..
The nhs speech service that we started aged 3 didn’t seem to make any difference. When he was 4 he started losing his confidence because of his voice so we decided to find a private salt, she realised he had verbal dyspraxia (which means the techniques for just normal developmental speech delay won’t work) we see her one hour a week and do home work everyday (repetition is key) and he has made astonishing progress, within 6 months most people could understand most of what he was saying and now I would say he’s well understood. We still have work to do because his grammar is a bit off but we are worlds away from the worries we had a year ago.
He also needed to build the muscles in his tongue and lips (licking Nutella off a plate/drinking through straws/blowing out candles/whistles etc). That really helped.

My advice would be to get started as early as you can because if a speech problem is still there after 5 it is more likely to turn into learning difficulties. I would’ve done it younger if I’d known.

I hope that helps.

abc12345 Sun 03-Dec-17 09:28:11

Oh and try and get your gp to refer to the Nuffield near kings cross in London. They can do a specialist assessment and can figure out what he needs to work on

MiaowTheCat Sun 03-Dec-17 19:43:19

Semi placemarking as school have raised concerns (well in one of those kind of conversations where they're trying to dodge around an elephant in the room but don't want to risk a possible label as diagnosis isn't their remit... but we had the same suspicions and line of thinking going on anyway so when I mentioned it the teacher looked incredibly relieved and agreed it was what they were suspecting) about DD2 - but more dyspraxia in a few aspects of the disorder, and I'd include the verbal area in there as well.

She's 4 1/2 - was late getting going talking but at least partly because her older sister with a close age gap is an absolute gobshite attention seeker so wouldn't let her get a word in edgeways... had 2 word phrases and that was about it by age 3 and suddenly exploded in terms of language content just after that (coinciding with sister no longer being in nursery with her) but the clarity's always been pretty terrible. It's improved a lot to the point where it's still immature - but comprehensible (unless she's whinging when it just becomes babbly again) and speech sounds are appearing but slightly behind the age curve to get them... but when you try to encourage her to say sounds correctly her tongue is bloody everywhere but where it should be and she seems to just have a mouthful of marbles! School have been amazing and do a lot of gentle speech articulation intervention with her and a few other kids - but we're up against this "we can try to refer to SALT but they're just going to bounce it back as not severe enough" all the time with no recourse to go private. I'm confident she's getting there slowly though, and she can hear phonics fine - even when it's sounds she doesn't articulate properly.

She's also got the lack of spatial awareness, gross motor skills and coordination issues going on as well as attention, fidgeting/sensory seeking and organisation aspects - but not issues with fine motor skills that are common - she cannot ever sit still, can be the kid upside down on the carpet - head on floor, arse in air - but still takes every bit of the lesson content in!

We're about to start pushing for referrals and diagnosis - I always had the verbal dyspraxia possibility in mind with how her speech was progressing, but seeing how the whole picture's progressing I'm more and more confident I'm on to something on it.

She's a hell of a chatterbox now though - and her speech is beautifully structured in terms of content - she can recount her entire day at school, in perfect chronological order, using phrasing like first, next, after that and the like - it's just still much more like how you'd expect a 2/3 year old to be speaking it. She also has absolutely no volume control at all or concept of singing in tune - but is incredibly enthusiastic about it and convinced she's amazing (watch out for her on the X-factor in a decade or so...)!

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