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my son has verbal dyspraxia, due to start mainstream school (which i dont think he should go to) and a speech therapist who has only seen him once... PLEASE HELP!!!

(15 Posts)
KimMii Tue 11-Feb-14 20:27:59

I really hope someone can give me some advice.
My son who is 3 yrs 9 months and due to start a mainstream school in September has verbal dyspraxia, he has seen many specialists who all say this is what it is but it is his speech therapist that needs to diagnose this. She is saying he is too young and will only say he has a speech disorder. My son cannot talk very much at all. He can say things like "yeah" (not yes) and no comes out as Nur, daddy is baba and apart from a few words (which aren't pronounced properly) he finds it hard to say many words at all... as for a sentence I think we are a very very long way off that. I am hoping to get him into a special school as I know no one will understand him, as his parents we find this a struggle and he gets very frustrated. He is starting to sign and we have a tutor coming to our house to teach us, which is ongoing until we don't need her anymore. This is helping him and he knows he can make himself understood by signing, he just has to learn signalong as he only knows the basics but we are very proud.
His speech therapist seems useless though and he still hasn't had any speech therapy, she has come to see him once and set him a few tasks to practice. The pre-school are totally behind us on believing a special school is best for him and are very annoyed with the speech therapist.
When I eventually managed to get through to her on the phone and discussed a special school wth a speech and language unit attached (one not so far away from us) her reply was that in reception they mostly play anyway so his speech side wouldn't really come into it. I was so disappointed by her reaction, especially as she has only met him once and that was 4 months ago. The mainstream school he is sue to go to have no one trained in signing and I can honestly say he wouldn't be able to communicate with anyone, he`d be lost. The speech therapist said he will get someone to sit with him in the mornings but did not have an answer when I asked what is he meant to do the rest of the time??

Please can someone advise me on how to go about getting him into a school more suited to his needs. I am a worried mum and feel so let down by this woman who I thought would be helping him.
Any advice is really appreciated.

nutty1966 Wed 12-Feb-14 10:07:44

Hello Kim. I'm not sure I'll be much help with your school question but do want to encourage you to follow your instincts. Our DS developed a stammer at age 3. We live in Switzerland and all the resources here told us to wait and it would (likely) go away on its own. I couldn't bear seeing DS struggle so found a programme that I could do over Skype with a SLP from Canada. It worked a treat and 14 months later the stammer was gone.

Fast forward two years and DS was diagnosed with dyslexia. The school's advise was to have him attend a special school each morning that works on a (highly respected) "drill" system to get the child's brain to assimilate words/reading. My gut instinct told me it wasn't a good fit for DS so researched other options. We had a meeting with a behavioural optometrist in Oct and it turns out DS has significant vision issues that can be corrected through exercises and the use of prism lenses. In fact, DS doesn't have dyslexia at all!!

It sounds like your gut is spot on

Part of the programme we're doing now has to do with primative reflex inhibition. It is a fascinating topic that you can learn a bit about relative to your DS's issue here . Do let me know if you're interested... I'd be happy to share what I've learned so far!

LittleBonnie Thu 13-Feb-14 18:35:36

Hmmm, he's still really young, it's probably a bit early for the specialists to tell which educational route is best for him. My son was very very similar at that age, he made many noises but very little speech. Verbal Dyspraxia/Autism were mentioned but were not diagnosed.
It was hard for him in reception but it was definitely the best way forward. His speech and understanding have improved so much by being around other, more advanced, children. I really do not think this would have happened if he'd have gone to a special school.
I was always told that if he was not coping or progressing at his mainstream school then they would consider other options but now it is clear that this definitely won't be needed (he's now 7). He can speak well and even read and add up etc, and talks fluently and in detail about the subjects he's really interested in. He's probably about a year behind the class average, not bad all things considered.
If I were you I would give reception a go, like you were told a large part of the day is play, and if your son is struggling at lesson time the school will have to make special provision to give him extra support. It will be in their interest as he will probably get frustrated and disrupt the lesson if not! I don't know many details but was another boy in my sons year at school who also had very complex speech and learning difficulties who ended up leaving to go to a special school during reception year.

mrshunkermunker Sun 16-Feb-14 12:26:23

Hello, I'm afraid I don't have much advice to offer since I'm struggling with a similar situation. My son is 5 and in m

mrshunkermunker Sun 16-Feb-14 12:41:30

Sorry... my son is in mainstream reception. He has been seeing a speech therapist since he was less than 2 as he did not babble. At 3 he had about 10 words, but full comprehension. At 3.5 he was talking in full sentences, but very very difficult to understand. The speech therapist has recently suggested Verbal Dyspraxia and reading up on it, it does seem to fit.
DS started re eption this september and I was dreading it. Its been better than I feared, he is happy going to school, but does find the social side difficult as the childeen don't really understand him. Recently I've been concerned he's being picked on a bit. He is also in a low reading group, even though at home he can read much better- I think it is in part because the teachers can't understand what he is saying and he is reluctant to speak. He is a bright boy (good comprehension, logic, concentration) and I'm worried this is being missed.
In hindsight I think I should have been more proactive in getting him the support he needs, so I'm not a good example, but thought id tell you my experience of mainstream reception so far.

Journey Sun 16-Feb-14 13:03:32

I have two ds with verbal dyspraxia. My ds goes to mainstream school and is doing very well. A special school would have definitely been the wrong move. My other ds is not at school at the moment but will be going to a mainstream school.

A lot can change within a short space of time with verbal dyspraxia. It is unfortunate that your ds will be attending school when he is still quite young. A deferred year would have been the best way forward in my opinion.

I worried about my ds starting school but it all worked out fine. The deferred year helped him enormously. He was even put in the top reading group at school when he first started! A year before that I would have just laughed if someone had told me that that would have happened.

Verbal dyspraxia does not affect a child's intelligence. Your ds may need help initially at school but I would question how long this help would be needed and as such would question your view on a special school for your ds.

mrshunkermunker Sun 16-Feb-14 13:36:13

Journey, what did you do in the deferred year? Did he get lots of speech therapy in that year? I considered deferring for my ds but went with the flow and didn't, mostly because I thought it would be harder trying to make friends if he started after everyone else, so interested to hear it wirked out well for your sons.

Hatice Sun 16-Feb-14 13:36:39

Hi KimMii
Firstly I am a mum to a ds with Autism who is in a mainstream secondary and step mum to a stepdd who has attended several special needs schools. I know how scary it is when you can see your child's difficulties and the worry what the future holds for him or her.

I also work as a teaching assistant in a mainstream primary school. Don't give up on mainstream schools. I and number of other ta's at the school have been trained by Elklan ( speech and language training). There is a high proportion of children who speak English as an additional language at this school and children with a range of speech difficulties. As part of my job I run speech and Language intervention groups with children with speech and language difficulties. Many staff at the school have been trained in Makaton( signing).

I guess what I am trying to say is staff can be trained in Sign language and specialist Speech and language training in addition to the support that children get from speech and language therapists. Speak to the SENCO at the school and ask what they will put in place to support your son.
I think you should consider a mainstream school as I have seen how helpful other children can be in helping children with additional needs with the right support from school staff. The school I work in works in partnership with a special needs school and children from the special school are part of the mainstream classes.
With my ds I seek help from the SENCO and other staff how best to support him.

Journey Sun 16-Feb-14 15:11:30

mrshunkermunker The amount of speech therapy he received was the same during his deferred year as it would have been if he had started school. However, during the year his speech developed further and he got a bit more socially mature so when he went to school I felt he was ready.

I found it hard knowing what support my ds needed when he started school since I was still trying to get my head around what verbal dyspraxia was. He received one to one sessions on pronouns and the tenses of words when he was at school. They also worked on expanding his vocabulary since recall can be harder for a child with verbal dyspraxia. He did group work on sentence structure. Spelling was just handled in the classroom.

Like you I wondered if I was doing enough and whether I should of been more proactive. The reality was I didn't know how best to support my ds when he started school. It was all new to me - the school system as well as the verbal dyspraxia.

I spent a lot of my time networking with the other parents in my ds' class when he started school. Whether this stopped any bullying or not I don't really know but it was something I could independently do to help my ds settle into school.

SarahPatricia Tue 18-Feb-14 16:43:43

I'm a nursery nurse with special needs experience. I've worked with babies born at 21 Weeks, autistic children, elective mutes and children with "general educational and developmental problems".
One option which many parents don't realise they have is to employ a nursery nurse or other such profession to go into the school with your child and act as I private one to one worker for your child. This is expensive but is a great way to try main steam in a controlled way.
Also you could try a private speech and language therapist and our an occupational therapist- they usually have more time for you and get metre results than stressed un interested nhs ones.
unfortunately those options are expensive .
Its easier to start in main stream then move to special schools than the other way around.
However special schools will have more support for you all as a family than mainstream where your child could end up pushed to the back without any support. It depends on the main stream school - if you want that option then pick carefully as the are some great ones out there but equally there are some awful ones.

nennypops Wed 19-Feb-14 20:39:19

OP, has your son got a statement? If not, you really need go start the process off now, because there is no chance of the LA funding a specialist place without one. You need to ask for statutory assessment - look on the IPSEA website for further information and precedents.

Bilberry Thu 27-Feb-14 23:10:11

NHS salt can be pretty much non-existent or can be quite good - we have the former. Have you considered private salt? It does cost (£40 to £120 per hour) but is often the only way to get any a decent amount of salt.

Have you started a formal assessment process? Speech units are generally not easy to get into and applications need to be made well in advance often supported by a statement. Also, have you looked round the ss yet? That would give you a better idea of 'fit'.

neolara Thu 27-Feb-14 23:26:44

You need to start the statutory assessment process. Is your do in nursery? Staff should be able to help with the application. Alternatively, you could contact your local parent partnership and they will help you to get the ball rolling.

RiversideMum Sun 09-Mar-14 07:52:15

One of our local primaries has a S&L unit, but the children need to be statemented to be admitted. I really would recommend that you shout loudly, jump up and down or do whatever is needed to get this process underway. It is very disillusioning for us teachers, but it really does seem to be that the more pushy parents are those that are most likely to get statements, certainly where I live.

coconut0 Thu 22-May-14 14:49:39

Hi KimMii
I wish I'd seen this thread sooner and hope you will be checking back & see this message. My daughter was diagnosed with dvd (developmental verbal dyspraxia) at 2 years 9 months & started weekly speech therapy sessions so your son is not too young to be diagnosed at all. She only had two sounds, b & g, & no other consonants & no vowels at all. She was taught using the Nuffield scheme, was predicted to be having S&LT for 2 & 1/2 years but was 'age appropriate' a year sooner. Now, at 7, she talks non-stop & I still feel proud when people say 'You'd never know.' I am not saying this to show off, but want to show you there is a way forward & it is sortoutable. A book which I found to be of great help was The Late Talker
I treated articulation & communication as 2 separate things & I taught her to be a great conversationalist, even though no one could understand her except me. I would encourage (make) her talk to shop keepers, community police etc & ask them things which I would repeat & they would answer her. I wanted it to be that when she could speak intelligibly she had something to say. If you're not already doing this, then you can do this without the speech therapist.
I haven't read everyone's responses but you MUST see a good S&LT by any means possible. If he's still pre-school ask for another referral by your health visitor & say you want to see someone different without going in to detail so you don't discredit the one you are seeing.
The Nuffield scheme takes a sound, eg b & vowel like oo & you say b oo b oo b oo boo but even prior to that he might need to do tongue stretching & blowing exercises. Can he lick all around his lips? If not, put sherbet round the outside of his lips to encourage those muscles to work. Also, hard raw veg to strengthen his jaws.
Is there a teacher training college near you where he could be someone's case study who wants to work in that area & they could help him for free?
I do hope you get to read this & that I've been of some help & not overwhelmed you. xx

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