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Help, my daughter is asking me "Why can't I talk properly, like my friends"?

(21 Posts)
mummyloveslucy Sat 18-Jul-09 19:32:52

Hello, my 4.5 year old daughter has a severe speech disorder. (verbal dyspraxia)
I've noticed that everywhere we go, children ask her or me in front of her "why does she talk funny"? I know they are only curious but I can tell it upsets my daughter. She is very sensitive and I think quite intelegent. I usually answer "she finds it very hard to talk and is having talking lessons". They seem to understand this but my daughter always looks very sad when I tell them. I often say "but she's very good at dancing".
She will be starting a new school in Januarry where no one will know her and she'll obviously get a lot of children asking "why do you talk funny"?
I'd like to give her an answer that she can use herself, instead of having to say "I don't know".
She has recently asked me herself "Mummy, why can't I talk like my friends"? or "my friends can talk properly".
I'd like to be able to explain it to her in a way she'll understand and in a way that she can explain it to people that ask.
The problem then is, even if she did try to explain, they still wouldn't understand what she was saying. sad
I'd be really greatfull for any ideas. Thanks. smile

scienceteacher Sat 18-Jul-09 19:34:49

Can you get her intensive speech therapy before she goes to her new school?

mummyloveslucy Sat 18-Jul-09 19:41:26

She's been having speech therapy once a week for 2.5 years. She's been working on one sound for 9 months now and still hasn't got it. I think she's becoming fed up of it to be honest. The therapist says she dosn't concentrate well, but at home and nursery she concentrates very well.
When she moves to her new school, she'll have a different therapist. I'll get her some private speech therapy as well.

scienceteacher Sat 18-Jul-09 19:54:07

Can you get her speech therapy over the summer, more than once a week?

mummyloveslucy Sat 18-Jul-09 20:03:56

We are looking in to it. We're waiting for a lady to get back to us at the moment.
we do a lot at home but we're making it up as we go along, as she is bored of the f sound.

gigglewitch Sat 18-Jul-09 20:11:49

I always got the "you talk funny" comments, because I have a [now fairly slight] speech impairment caused by cleft palate and so on - people tend to think I'm deaf if that makes sense or figure out how it sounds. Anyway, as far as understanding it goes, I had it explained to me from a very young age that I had needed an operation when I was little to mend the top bit of my mouth that hadn't finished building before I was born - I always remember this description because at three or four years old I was able to explain / relay it to others. I made some very good friends who would stick up for me regardless and basically protect me from the twits who just wanted to comment on my speech to be nasty.
Children who are asking the reasons for the way that she speaks aren't necessarily being rude or malicious - it took me years to realise this, probably til I was about 9ish years old. I found that being able to say that I didn't like them commenting and briefly say what the reasons were, and when a little older than this I said that I would like them to tell this to their friends too so that they wouldn't need to keep asking me, the message got through.
I still have no idea why people feel the urge to comment, my children certainly don't comment on anyone elses differences. Maybe some children just don't realise that this sort of stuff can be upsetting. I was most upset by it between about 4 and 7 - which may have been to do with the school I attended as well - but with your support she may well be able to find a way of dealing with it for many years to come, I did. Not easy, but do-able. I'll go for some linkys on support for you and/or her, will need to go to my own fave [CLAPA] to get them though. Back in a bit.

MsF Sat 18-Jul-09 20:13:46

please give her a big <HUG> from me....helpless to help...but loads of hugs to give

ohbabygivemeonemorechance Sat 18-Jul-09 20:15:13

Could she say "I understand everything but I can't get the words out yet"or
Could you write down for her "I can understand and want to chat but I can't speak clearly"

mummyloveslucy Sat 18-Jul-09 20:21:30

Thank you gigglewitch and MsF. smile Oh and Scienceteacher of corse.

It is tricky as her condition is a neurological disorder, and explaining co-ordination and auditory processing to a 4 year old is not going to be easy.

I might ask her speech therapist what she suggests too.

ScummyMummy Sat 18-Jul-09 20:23:07

She sounds like a sweetie, mll. Can you say that everyone finds some things harder than others and she finds talking hard right now but is getting better every day? And maybe also tell her that it's because it's harder for her to get the muscles in her mouth and tongue to work together, if that's not too complex for a 4 year old. I honestly think "I don't know" change of subject is a pretty good answer for her to give herself! It's short, to the point and truthful. You're right that she's a cleverskins, I reckon. You know, she may get quite a few questions initially but soon she and the other kids will settle in and just get on with things, I'm sure.

mummyloveslucy Sat 18-Jul-09 20:25:19

Good idea, but most of the children that ask are between 3 and 5, so they couldn't read it.
My daughter loves playing with children aged between one and three, or much older children as they don't comment on her speech.

gigglewitch Sat 18-Jul-09 20:29:26

The org that I have had most to do with from a speech / support pov is AFASIC, well worth hunting out someone in your area. Ironically I've been a speaker at local meetings to give parents of small children a clue how life can pan out. grin I'm a teacher. Probably because of my speech. You can either get trodden down by it all or stick two fingers up imho wink

I think that there will be a simple explanation that you can either write or teach your dd, so that she can understand it for herself to some degree and say what she wants to say to other people. I had to do similar explaining to ds1 who is dyslexic - and in some ways was unable to understand his difficulty, until it was explained in clear terms that he understood - he understands that he has a 'clever brain' but reading and writing stuff are a bit tricky smile You don't have to go for detail or rocket science, something simple that she can get a grip of herself will be the best thing. And keep posting on here, plenty of support for your own sanity.

mummyloveslucy Sat 18-Jul-09 20:32:32

Thanks scrummymummy, She is. smile Her speech dosn't seem to hold her back at all. She recently started Stagecoach, and has done her first play. She spoke loudly and confidently while looking at the audience. No one understood a word of it no doubt, but She loved being on stage and is a little show girl deep down. grin She has made three good friends who tend to baby her a bit, but she loves the attention.
They really care for her which is fantastic. smile

mummyloveslucy Sat 18-Jul-09 20:40:57

that's fantastic gigglewitch, I'm sure she'll learn to stick two fingers up to it too. (not literally I hope) grin

She has endless love and support from all her family and becouse of that, she is a strong charactor and won't let it defeat her.
I just hope and pray that she will never will.

Merrylegs Sat 18-Jul-09 20:44:46

Does her teacher know? S/he will be useful in deflecting/explaining to the rest of the class.

Honestly after the initial curiosity I don't think the kids will be that bothered.

My nephew has a severe speech impediment but he is super-popular in his reception class because he is jolly and enthusiastic and just a fab little chap.

When he was asked why he couldn't talk properly he simply said "I not tellin ooo!" (I'm not telling you)

Actually, the other kids were very accepting of this!

ScummyMummy Sat 18-Jul-09 20:49:25

"I not tellin ooo!" is a great answer, ml!

mummyloveslucy Sat 18-Jul-09 20:53:32

that's so sweet Merrylegs, my daughter is very friendly too. She makes friends within minutes. smile
The nursery know of her difficulties and her new school are aware of them too. At her new school, there will be a lot of other children with simillar difficulties as it is an inclusive school with a special needs unit. I hope they'll be understanding and make the effort with her.

mummyloveslucy Sat 18-Jul-09 20:55:19

My daughter would say "I not taywin woo". grin

mummyloveslucy Sat 18-Jul-09 20:58:01

I'm off to work now. [fed up imoticon]
But I'll check in the morning to see if anyone else has posted.

Thank you everyone, don't know what I'd do without Mumsnet. smile

DesperateHousewifeToo Sat 18-Jul-09 21:16:44

I would probably say something like or get Lucy to say something like:

''my mouth muscles don't work properly yet''

''some sounds are hard for me''

''talking is tricky for me''

''my mouth gets tired''

''I can understand everything''

Telling others that she is good at dancing is a great idea. Stagecoach will hopefully help her to keep her confidence too.

What is the special needs unit for? Do they specialise in specific speech and language difficulties?

gigglewitch Sat 18-Jul-09 21:36:26

"I not taywin woo" is the best answer ever grin

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