Q&A with speech and language therapist Fiona Barry - ANSWERS BACK

(87 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 11-Sep-13 12:05:48

We're running a Q&A this week with Speech and Language therapist, Fiona Barry. Fiona will be answering any of your questions relating to children's speech, language and communication. If your child doesn't say much, mispronounces words, has a stammer, or you just want to boost their confidence and chatting skills, Fiona can provide practical advice on what to do at home. Post your questions to Fiona before midday on Wednesday 18th September and we'll post up her answers on 25th September.

Fiona has worked for the NHS with children who have speech language and communication needs. She also set up TalkingTipsForKids, a website and free app and Android app which helps parents boost their child's communication skills.

Fiona has developed a series of short films that give practical tips for parents worried about their child's communication skills, as well as for those who aren't but want to give their child the best start in life. The films are divided into age categories giving specifically geared advice for all stages of communication development. Starting with the baby in the womb and going right through to the 5 year old school child, Fiona shows how easy it is to fit language boosting tips into everyday routines. Each video also includes ideas for simple but fun games you can play with your child to help with their talking and listening skills. For more information see www.talkingtipsforkids.com

This Q&A is sponsored by talkingtipsforkids

OP’s posts: |
gazzalw Wed 11-Sep-13 16:47:45

Our DS is 12. He gabbles and doesn't enunciate at all clearly - it almost seems as if he's got too much saliva in his mouth - does that make sense? We've just enrolled him in LAMDA classes run thro' his school (at some cost!), in the hope that this teaches him to slow down and speak more clearly. Do you think this is the right approach? is there anything else we could be doing with him at home to help him?

u2rmysunshine Wed 11-Sep-13 18:43:03

Hi Fiona, our Ds is 4.3 and struggles with the r sound in words like bread and broken, for which he says bled and bloken. He pronounces words with an initial r correctly. He has always mispronounced them and I have hardly ever corrected him, but if I ask him to say it properly he can. I am just wondering if it is something that will sort itself out in time? We can still understand him, just with him starting school now I am wondering if others might tease as he gets a bit older. Thank you.

birdybear Wed 11-Sep-13 18:55:54

My ds is 2 and a half and only has a vocabulary of about 60 words. He cannot speak in sentences. He can put two words together like mummy go or shop now and very occasionally three words like go car park but no joining words or anything resembling a sentence. Am very conscious that my dd at this age was chattering away quite happily.

I was told the health wouldn't refer him until later, but this seems quite late to me . What should i do and ask for? And who should i ask?!

EleanorRugby Wed 11-Sep-13 19:01:21

Hi Fiona my dd was 3 in April and has been very slow to start talking. We have been really worried about her. Since she turned 3 she has really improved and is now talking in sentences but there are still lots of sounds she cannot pronounce, some sounds she seems to be able to say if it is in the middle of a word but not if it is at the beginning.
She cannot say the following sounds:
c, f, j, r, s, t, v, w, z. She mostly substitutes these sounds with d or h. So "come on" is "dum on". "Sophie" is hohee".
With c and g she seems to be able to say them if they are in the middle of the word, can say "mango" but not "go" on its own. She can say "bike" but not "cake".
I would like to know if this is still age appropriate for her. She has done really well and made lots of progress but as she will start school next year I want to continue to help her as much as possible.

birdybear Wed 11-Sep-13 19:25:54

I forgot to say two things. One, when i say 60 words, i mean, i can understand that many, (i made a list!) but others wouldnt. For example, ee ar means police car, wa waa means amelia, bu means bus .

The other thing is before he says anything he says mama three times. And i mean EVERY single time he says ANYTHING, mama mama mama is said. Kind of like a stutter ?


SummerRain Wed 11-Sep-13 20:00:26

My ds is very speech delayed, didn't speak at all or make any consonant sounds other than d and m til he was almost 3. He's 4.7 now and chatters away, his language skills are in the higher ranges for his age but he's still missing a lot of sounds. K g z v th l r ch sh are all missing, s and f he'll use at the end of sounds but we're struggling to get them at the front. He's attending salt but may have to attend a special language class in a school 45 mins away next year. I really want to avoid this.

He's attending resource classes for 3 and a half hours a week in school and his resource teacher is happy to spend them exclusively on salt work. However this teacher is not a speech and language teacher and has only had one session observing ds' salt working with him.

Can you suggest some activities he could do with ds or resources I could point him to? He's very eager and has a fantastic attitude, he just needs ideas to fill the sessions and keep ds interested!



MacNCheese Wed 11-Sep-13 20:20:30

My dd adds sounds on to the beginning of words. So open becomes popen. it becomes tit. She normally matches the sounds later in the middle or end of the word. This only happens on words begging with vowels. Her speech in general isn't great. She was over 2 before she could say h but she is getting tons better.
Any suggestions why she's doing this.

Background info-
She started talking at 14/15 months
Her language is great now 10+ word sentences
She is 2.5
She has no behavioural or other issues

Thaleia Wed 11-Sep-13 20:28:41

As a non-native speaker,does it make sense/ is it the right thing to speak English at home? I think I am pretty good but there are words I wouldn't know and some I just can't pronounce correctly.

hedgerooni Wed 11-Sep-13 20:47:48

Hi Fiona. My ds, 3.2 is outgoing, confident and chatty with an impressive vocab etc.. Two weeks ago he started stammering which has become progressively worse since. At its worst each word at the start of a sentence takes over ten attempts. The latter part of sentences come out fine, as does any singing or reciting stories from books. It feels that this has come out of the blue. What should we be doing to help him? Many thanks.

queenebay Wed 11-Sep-13 20:54:01

My 9 year old lisps. Is it too late to do anything about it

mawbroon Wed 11-Sep-13 21:25:45

Hi Fiona, how much do you know about tongue tie?

Could you spot a posterior tie?

Ohcrapwhathaveidone Wed 11-Sep-13 21:27:17

My situation is similar to hedgeroo's my DD 2.5 is a great speaker, loads of vocab, full sentences etc. but recently has started stuttering at the beginning of a sentence. Again like hedgeroo's once the first word is out she can finish the sentence without a problem. I am just wondering if this is something I should worry about? Or if there is something I should be doing to help her?

Thank you

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 11-Sep-13 22:31:52

Hi Fiona....I am asking about my nephew who I sit for a lot. He is 3 and a half and is currently being assessed for High Functioning Autism. He's very bright and can count and recognise numbers to 30 and is starting to read but his functional language is behind...he can't ask for a drink or to join in a game....he has no real grasp of "under" or "on"....he loves people though and is sociable.

How can we help him to begin communicating his needs more? And to learn how to approach other children....currently he will just play close to other kids or if they leave, he might grab them. sad this doesn't help him when it comes to making friends.

Suddengeekgirl Wed 11-Sep-13 22:42:41

My ds is 4.5yo and had a lot of missing sounds 6 months ago he couldn't do c/ g/ z/ s which had a massive effect on his speech and how people could understand him.

We have found that unless your child isn't talking then its very hard to see a SLT before 4yo. I eventually have up waiting for the SLT and had a crack myself. By the time SLT would see him we had cracked them! smile

Why do you have to wait till dc are 4yo? Is it simple due to a lack of SLT out there? Is that due to government funding or a shortage of qualified therapists?

halfwayupthehill Wed 11-Sep-13 22:44:55

Ds2.2 had a few words at around sixteen months, then stopped talking except for mama. He was eventually diagnosed with glue ear in the spring. This cleared up by the start of this month but he has never recovered the words he had and only says me or mummy. He has no consonents except for mmm and bbb. He does not copy eg. Animal sounds.
His passive understanding is fine and he seems to hear ok.
I am very worried.

Minimimimi Wed 11-Sep-13 23:02:25

My DS is 2y2m. He is able to understand a wide range of vocabulary but is able to speak only a handful of words in English. (approx 25)
He has a tendency to invent vocabulary even when he knows its not the word. Eg. He calls aeroplanes eet eet, ducks quack quack ect. How can this be corrected? We always say aeroplanes and ducks but he seems to ignore us.
His obsessed with cars and have been saying cars for a few months, however recently his been calling cars, car b (have no idea why)

He does have difficulties pronouncing words, as when he wants a treat i would always get him to repeat please/ thank you- which he attempts but he doesn't pronounce it correctly.

We read a great deal at home and I limit the use of tv and iPads, even though my mil is convinced that every word which he has learnt were from those devices. Am I correct to limit the use tv and iPad?

My husband speaks English to him and I speak Cantonese with him during the day with a 30 minute mandarin session. He watches 20 minutes of CBeebies and 15 minutes of mandarin cartoon each day.

Should I be concerned over his lack of communication? Am I confusing him with the multiple languages?

Many thanks

hazeyjane Thu 12-Sep-13 09:56:38

My ds is 3.2, he has sn - gdd, hypotonia, severe reflux, swallowing problems (he aspirates causing frequent lung problems) etc. He is part of a study into a genetic condition called Kleefstra Syndrome - which he has a lot of genetic markers for.

He has a severe speech delay, which is consistent with kleefstra syndrome (where some children develop to be completely non verbal). He has no words, no babbling apart from a monotone 'unh' sound. His mouth is always open and his tongue protrudes, he has poor oro motor skills and drools (which is controlled by medication).

His understanding, whilst delayed, is much better than his expressive language. I have been signing makaton with him since he was 10 months old, and he now has quite a few signs. He was issued with a Go Talk communication device, as he is so good at using the ipad, that his SALT thought that AAC may be a good way forward if he remains non verbal.

I feel that ds has been sorely let down by the speech and language service. I don't feel he has ever had a thorough assessment, and apart from a videofluoroscopy, his oro motor skills have never really been dealt with.

He has now not seen a SALT since March when his GoTalk was issued, a lot of our provision has been to hand me a pile of signs and picture symbols and just get on with it.

After many phonecalls and letters, we are finally meeting a new SALT next week. So the questions I would like to ask you, are in light of this.

What should I be expecting in terms of support for ds?
How much SALT should be done by 1-1 at preschool?
Is there some sort of programme we should be following with the GoTalk (because frankly we are floundering!)
And finally - why do you think NHS SALT is letting down a child who has such severe needs in the area of speech and language?


Beckyandboys Thu 12-Sep-13 11:10:39

Hi, my son is nearly 7 and has been seen by a SALT for the last 2 years ( with much persuasion on my part for him to be seen). They have managed to get him to produce his 'K & G' sound but I've noticed him having trouble with his 'R' sound too, mainly sounding like a 'w', any advice on how to correct this without the constant battle and months of waiting for NHS SALT assessment would be greatly appreciated.

blueberryupsidedown Thu 12-Sep-13 14:15:56

What would be good 'follow up' activities for a 6 year old child who has been receiving speech therapy for Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (Nuffield method) and is now doing well, but still pronounces some vowels a bit loosely? It doesn't 'get better' on its own, but we are not getting any therapy because he has been discharged - his speech is much better, and we understand all of what he says - but still behind when compared with chidren his age. Thank you.

Kewcumber Thu 12-Sep-13 14:23:29

Another lisp question DS is nearly 8 and lisps "S" in all situations, he has other articulation problems (eg pronounces "bowl" as "boule") but we seem to slowly working on that between he and I.

I'm almost certain its not a physical issue as he pronounced S's in his first 6 months of speech then lost it.

He was delayed in speaking (about 3) for a variety of reasons - very premature (26 weeks) changed languages at 12 months from Russian to English and adopted from an institution (speech delays common in institutionalised children)

School have agreed for two years running that he should probably be assessed but still no referral. He no problem with general communication and is graded significantly above national average in "speech" of Speech and Literacy.

What exercises can we do at home for him - he is terribly self conscious about his lisp.

To complicate matters his front teeth have recently fallen out!

zzzzz Thu 12-Sep-13 18:35:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tusty Thu 12-Sep-13 20:48:23

My 2 1/2yo has tongue tongue, and doctor has referred him to speech therapist although that could take a while.

He's a real chatterbox and although his language isn't the clearest, most people can understand him. Although some words he seems lazy with. Nappy is 'bappy' unless I ask him slowly to copy me and he can say it properly.

Unless the clarity doesn't improve by his next ENT Dr's appointment in 6 month's time when they say is the time (just after he's 3) that they'd be able to tell if he's behind, it's unlikely he'll need to have his tongue snipped. So just wondering if there are any exercises I can do with him (he mostly refuses to copy me), or that I can encourage nursery to help him with while we await an appt for assessment.


Keznel Thu 12-Sep-13 21:40:58

My DD is 17months and does not talk yet. She has always babbled making mama, dada and ba sounds, lately her babbling is mainly centred round the 'g' sound she'll say what sounds like ging, gig, gung etc. My main worry is should I be seeking intervention at this early stage? I talk to her constantly in play and repeat words to her when she wants something, if she is gesturing for her cup for example. I also read to her a lot and she gets the same 2 stories for bed every night. She will also make a lot of sounds with her mouth closed (if that makes sense) while she's busy playing, like sing song humming. Should I be concerned or carry on as we are?

Dysgu Thu 12-Sep-13 22:17:25

My eldest daughter has just turned 7. For the past year or so, she has mispronounced the /f/ sound. She can pronounce this sound - her name begins with an F! However, she would count: one, two, three, thour, thive, six, seven..." She is an excellent reader - just started Y2 and reading at level 2A but will make this mispronunciation when reading too. I do point it out to her when this happens; she does not mind me doing this and will then say the word again, usually correctly but sometimes this takes a couple of tries. What, if anything, should we be doing? All other aspects of her speech seem fine.

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