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My 4 year old daughter is apparently 1 year 2 months behind developmentaly, What would be done in other countrys where she wouldn't be starting school until 6 or 7 ??

(28 Posts)
mummyloveslucy Sun 25-Oct-09 19:21:28

Hi, my daughter is in reception. She's 4.7. She is being assessed as she has a speech disorder and apparently the developmental age of 3 years 4 months.
She is a very happy, socialble child who loves life and is interested in everything.
I spoke to her consultant the other day, who's itallian and she basically said that if she lived in any other country, she wouldn't even be at school now. She went on to mention the new findings that say there is no benefit from starting formal teaching early ect.
I know this is right, and at the moment she is learning through play at school.
I just wondered what would happen if she did live in a different country, would they do anything about her speech problems or deveopment, or would they just let her develop on her own until 6 or 7 ?
I feel that at the moment she's being pushed with speech therapy and assessments etc and talk of extra help etc.
Part of me thinks she's still a baby though! I just want to give her the time and space she needs to develop naturally. I'm not sure what it means when they say she's about 14 months behind, don't children of this age vary considerably? she might just be a slow starter.
At home we play games, make up storys together, role play, sing, dance and have lots of fun. I read to her all the time too. I feel that I'm doing my best to give her a happy and enriched childhood. Is this enough though? Do you think she'll develop just as well in her own time, or does she really need speech therapy, extra tuition etc? I know with the way the education system is at the moment, children can fall in to the catogorys of winners and loosers. I don't want my happy, sociable little girl seing herself as a looser accademically. sad

used2bthin Sun 25-Oct-09 19:27:14

I know exactly what you mean as I'm in a similar position. My DD has apparently a six month ish speech delay but also a language one that the SALT hasnt really put a time scale to.

I swing between thinking I need to get her as much early help as possible and thinking I don't want her picking p on all this worry and that I should just leave her be.

My DD is lucky in that she is september born so won't start school till she is a couple of weeks off turning five. I'm sending her to playgroup before that though.

StinkbotsMum Sun 25-Oct-09 19:31:44

How strange. DS has a signif. speech delay; not acted on or assessed until he was in reception; no one ever put it in terms of 'X many months behind'.

DS does have a delay, which means I imagine that he would sort himself out with time. My understanding is that a speech disorder does not necessarily sort itself out, so never any harm in getting treatment for it.

mummyloveslucy Sun 25-Oct-09 19:42:45

Yes, she's had a series of six assessment sessions with two speech therapists, educational psycologyst and an occupational herapist.
They have done lots of tests with her and this is the age level she's comming out at. Some things she scored under 3 years and other scors were up to 3 years 7 months.
She has verbal dyspraxia. It was diagnosed when she was 3. She's been having speech therapy, but little or no progress is being made. She sepnt the last 12 months working on one sound, and it still dosn't come naturally to her.
The speech therapist at the assessment centre said that her understanding of speech and the language she uses is also imature and needs to be worked on. Her normal therapist has never mentioned this, in fact she says her understanding is good. hmm

They have said that it won't improve without speech therapy, but it isn't improving with it either.

nightofthewakingdead Sun 25-Oct-09 19:52:42

If she has dyspraxia surely help sooner rather than later will be best?

Just because education is not obligatory until 6 or 7 here (France) doesn't mean your child would not be learning.

DS1 started at age 3 and at the end of his first year I was told he needed to learn to hold a "writing tool" ie pen, properly!

He is now in last year of non-obligatory school and has learnt to write his name joined-up and is learning syllables to read.

Most kids start at 2.5-3 but supposedly reading doesn't start til age 7 - but lots of pre-reading activities etc.

MmeGoblindt Sun 25-Oct-09 20:01:32

As Nightofthewaking says, just because the children do not start formal schooling until 6 or 7, does not mean that they are not in a "learning environment".

My DD did not go to school until she was 6yo (last year) as we lived in Germany. She did however go to Kindergarten where they do some basic learning. She could write her name, count and do simple sums.

She had some speech therapy because of a slight problem (that has actually sorted itself out).

In Germany they are VERY keen on therapies, so your DD would have most likely been to SALT and other therapies if she had been brought up there. The yearly check ups at the paediatricians are used to see which children need some kind of assistance.

How is her speech? Do others understand her? Can she speak in sentences? Generally I think that if several therapists/health professionals agree that she should be in therapy then it is not harming her to leave her there.

Does she enjoy the therapy?

mummyloveslucy Sun 25-Oct-09 20:07:12

I see, this sounds like what she's been doing in nursery. Now she's in reception she's learning pre-writing skills, learning through play as well but it's more formal now. They are a lot more led by the teacher.

I suppose I'm feeling a bit dispondent with speech therapy at the moment. No progress is being made and my daughter is getting a bit sick of it too.

I think it'll help when the other speech therapist works with her normal speech therapist to work ot a different approach. I think they'll need to get her interested in it again.

mummyloveslucy Sun 25-Oct-09 20:19:40

She enjoys the social side of speech therapy, as she's in a small group. She is more interested in the other children than concentrating on her sounds.

When I ask how she got on, I always get the same answer. "She's still struggeling with the sound, but she's growing in confidence/making friends" etc.

She talks in centences and talks all the time. She is very chatty. It's just very hard to make out what she's saying. Even for me sometimes. I have to pick out key words and guess the rest. It's hardest on the phone when I can't see what she's talking about and have to go just on speech.
Other people find it very difficult to understand her.
She says things that don't make sence to such as " him not like cake" or simmilar. Everyone is a him too. Even if it's a girl.

used2bthin Sun 25-Oct-09 20:25:39

Has your DD ever been to a SALT group? My DD is due to start one son and I am hoping she will benefit from it socially as well as her speech. Well she is very sociable but tends to run around screetching happily with other children!

I agree that it doesn't sound as if it is harmful having the therapies. Does she resist them at all? I know my DD is very avoidant when it comes to speech, she can spot a mile off when someone is trying to get her to do something speechwise, so the two SALTS together hopefully will come up with something that works for her.

Out of interest (my DD has muscle weakness in her jaw)can you tell me a bit more about the verbal dyspraxia? Don't worry if you can't face it, I will start a thread at some point instead. My DD is dribbling a lot still and her speech is very unclear.

MmeGoblindt Sun 25-Oct-09 20:27:55

DS was 5yo in July and is just getting to grips with personal pronouns. Still sometimes says she instead of he.

But at your DD's age it is worrying that she is not understood, even by you sometimes.

Is the therapy in a group? Never heard of that.

used2bthin Sun 25-Oct-09 20:29:20

Sorry just seen that your DD is part of a group for SALT!

TheMysticMasseuse Sun 25-Oct-09 20:41:58

i know it's terribly hard but try to see it as a positive- her speech problems were picked up early and it seems she's getting a lot of support with them, so hopefully she will be able to overcome them soon. I know nothing about SALT but i imagine it's not necessarily a linear improvement, she may suddenly get much better... or it may just take a while.

also remember that children don't see themselves the way we see them, she may not realise she's "behind", and enjoy the group for what it is, just another type of school/activity with other children. there is no reason to believe she's a "loser" or that she perceives herself that way.

hope it all works out soon!

mummyloveslucy Sun 25-Oct-09 20:54:29

Verbal dyspraxia is a co-ordination difficulty effecting the mouth, tounge, soft palett etc. There is nothing wrong with the muscles themselves, it's just difficulty in co-ordinating them in order to make the right sounds.
People with the disorder sometimes find it hard to blow/suck through a straw, puff out their cheeks, stick out their toungue etc.
Lucy's not too bad at doing all these things appart from sticking out her tounge.
At first she refused saying "I can't it's rude". grin But it turns out, she can't acctually do it.
If you google verbal dyspraxia, you can find some realy good info. Hope this helps. smile

choosyfloosy Sun 25-Oct-09 20:59:45

mummyloveslucy, it sounds as if the SLT could do with spending some time with you/writing to you, to talk more about what they think the particular therapy they are offering will do for your daughter. they ought to be able to say why they think it will help her and when they are deciding to carry on with it. have they also given you ideas of specific things to do at home with your dd? not that the stuff you are doing already isn't fantastic - you sound like an amazing mummy to a lovely dd.

also, have they suggested contacting any organisations, e.g. the Dyspraxia Foundation? i say this because i thought this sheet might be useful, although if your dd is still being assessed, i'm not clear if she officially has the diagnosis. anyway, you may already have this - don't know if it's any use. HTH.

choosyfloosy Sun 25-Oct-09 21:02:07

sorry mummyloveslucy, of course you have all this information already sorry blush hope things go well for you and your dd

mummyloveslucy Sun 25-Oct-09 21:07:37

Thanks MysticMasseuse. smile She does realise her speech dosn't sound the same as the other childrens in her class. All the children are very good with her though. They've all been together since they were two, so they've got to know her and acctually understand her better that me sometimes. blush
She has said to me before "Is my speech broken or poorley?" and she's said "My friends can speek properly".
I feel really sad when she comes out with things like this, but try to boost her confidence by saying how well she's doing and that she's the best in the class at P.E.

It is good she's getting extra help as long as it's not so challenging that she feels she isn't sucseeding, because then she'll just give up. This has been the problem with speech therapy so far.

used2bthin Sun 25-Oct-09 21:15:33

Thank you , part of DDs speech therapy work is things like drinking through a straw and sticking out her tongue in the hope that it makes her speech more clear so will have a look in case anything else relates to it. Our SALT is very cautious about saying what she thinks. We've got a special straw to help strengthen those muscles.

Its hard isn't it. I feel that I am not doing enough and then at other times that I am doing too much!

Chooseyfloosey thanks for that link-it is very interesting and so much of it relates to DD including the stuff the SALT is getting me to do at home with her. Also very interested in the second opinion that the institute seems to offer.

mummyloveslucy Sun 25-Oct-09 21:20:17

aww thanks choosyfloosy. smile

All the SALT has said to do at home is to carry on with these work sheets, which Lucy finds easy and keep reminding her to use the "f" sound every time she says "wis" for example I should say "Is that a wis, or a fish?" usually she gets cross at this and say in a whining tone "wis". If I say "Do your bunny teeth to make the F sound, she will then say "f...wis" The ... is a pause btw. It is such a palaver though every time. It causes her stress and it disrupts the flow of communication.
I guess it'd be like us having a chat with another adult and them stopping you mid sentence to correct your speech. I think we'd find it some what annoying. wink

mummyloveslucy Sun 25-Oct-09 21:30:33

Now she's at school full time, I just really want to enjoy every minute with her when she's home. I want her to relax and enjoy just being with her family. I don't want owr precious time together to be stressful.

beautifulgirls Sun 25-Oct-09 21:31:30

My daughter also has verbal dyspraxia ( and other motor skill issues) - SALT has seen her since she was 2yrs old, with a big effort to her therapy since she was 3yrs old and a bit more able to understand what was being asked. She has just started reception too and thankfully is making a lot of positive progress and enjoying school.

Two things spring to mind when I read your posts about your DD - firstly has her hearing been checked? If not please do get it done, as we had no idea our DD had hearing issues too - fixed eventually with grommets in her ears. Secondly have the speech therapists had you in with the sessions with her at all? It sounds from your posts like they take the group in then return them to the parents afterwards? With my DD in both group and individual therapy I have been with her all the time - I have been learning from what they teach her, and I have been able to see what she responds well to and what does not work so well. I also can then work at home with her - we have done this a lot since she was 3. It really sounds to me like the therapists need to help you to help her. Do you do lots of oral exercises with her - not just sound production, but blowing whistles, licking chocolate spread off her lips/chin etc

Do you have the means to see a private therapist at all if you are unable to access all the help you think she needs from the NHS. I know in this area the NHS help has been extremely limited and I think this is a common issue. We have been lucky enough to have the help of a private therapist too, and I truely believe that the ongoing constant nature of her input has made a big difference to my DD. I do appreciate that this does not come cheap though.

Personally I have "pushed" - (through lots of play) my DD to improve her speech because I think getting things sorted as much as possible as early as possible is only going to help her. I am not however the pushy parent who expects her children to be two steps ahead of her peers but I do think that her ability to hopefully keep up with her peers at school has only benefitted from the work we have put in so far - and is ongoing.

Good luck with your DD - it can be so frustrating I know smile

cory Sun 25-Oct-09 22:18:41

My nephew who lives in Sweden had speecth therapy long before he started school. Most children there go to nursery, either full time or part time- not in any way compulsory, but most women work, and because so many kids are at nursery it's harder to find playmates if you stay at home. So any speech problems would get picked up at nursery.

asdx2 Mon 26-Oct-09 05:51:32

My dd Lucy at two had a developmental age of between six and twelve moonths and obviously no speech at all. Lucy has autism so a dofferent sort of difficulty but at 18 months I put in place an early intervention programme of 30 hours per week.
It was hard work and a pretty unnatural environment for a toddler who had learning targets and therapy for five hours a day. But it was an investment in her future and one that paid off.Lucy entered nursery at the bottom end of the ability range but the intervention continued after nursery at home. By the time Lucy entered reception she was academically the most able in her year with no delays anywhere.The intervention and therapy has stopped now although I might put in an hour or two occasionally just to reinforce a new skill or concept and we have a pretty normal family life now with dance classes and playdates and all the things that were put to one side whilst the intervention was in place.
For us we don't regret a minute of the time we spent and don't believe that Lucy ever realised her home life was different and it was pretty fun for Lucy to have an adult "playing" with her all day every day.
To me it sounds as if Lucy isn't getting the quantity or the quality of the speech therapy she needs.It should be fun and varied so as to get her interest and I can't imagine that it will be as effective with a group of children when she is more interested in the children than the therapist.
Would private speech therapy be an option? Cerebra will fund £500 worth of private SALT in some circumastances have a google and see if dd would qualify.
I think you and Lucy are feeling disheartened because of a lack of progress but that doesn't mean that the therapy won't work it just means that you haven't accessed the right therapy yet. Look around and see what is available incidentally I changed Lucy's SALT because some are better than others and you want the best for your dd too. Good luck.

irisha Mon 26-Oct-09 15:46:34

Just because school doesn't start until 6 or 7 in some other countries, it doesn't mean there isn't intervention if there is a developmental delay.

From what I see in the UK, the problem is the quantity and intensity of support/intervention.

In my country they have special kindergartnes for kids with speech disorders/delays - it's full time. Plus withing that setting the child would be working with a speech therapist one-on-one at least every other day.

In less serious cases, the child wouldn't go to a specialized kindergarten but would see a speechtherapist at least 3 times a week for 1 hour a session with expectations that parents do exercises in a structured way several times a day (15-20 min a time, depending on age)between sessions.

In the UK, one often sees a speech therapist once a week (or less frequently!) or in a group setting. In that case, there certainly won't be any progress or very minimal one. That's the problem, but generally speaking for certain problems you can't just hope the kids will grow out of it.

When my daughter needed speech therapy here, I just funded it privately for 7 months and the progress was very good, but she wouldn't get nearly enough on NHS since they didn't even think it was serious enough (mispronounciation of a few sounds).

MaggieBruja Mon 26-Oct-09 15:51:53

I am holding my son back til he's five and a half. I'm so relieved that I can do this (in Ireland). We used to live in England. I miss the NHS, and I miss free school books and I miss lots of things grin, but on this issue I am in favour of the slightly later starts here (4+2months is the minimum age) and parents have the final say, not the councils. I really believe that starting my son at 4 would have been a disaster for him and devasting for me to have to watch him struggle. The council wouldn't have cared either way of course.

MaggieBruja Mon 26-Oct-09 16:02:58


I feel your frustration with the SALT not seeming to do anything. I went on the Hannen course, I learnt PECs, I learnt Lamh (sign language).... I was on my own because my son was never really on board with any of it. He has started to speak now. But like you say, speaking isn't easy, it doesn't roll off the tongue. He had a speech disorder, not verbal dyspraxia (although he was queried for dyspraxia at one point - long obsessions about whether he could jump or not!)....

I knew at the time that all the speech therapists suggestions had to be worked at, but it was exhausting at times, especially as for about two years I felt like it was making NO difference.

He literally started to speak at 3 years and 6 months. Any efforts and interventions prior to that point were painful and fruitless because he just wasn't ready!!!

My son was having ABA, which can be used for a number of things, not just autism, he has come on loads as a result. He had other issues besides the SAL though.


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