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Use of pictograms for children with severe speech disorder - speech dyspraxia.

(24 Posts)
kelda Tue 02-Apr-13 18:00:19

Does anyone have any experience of the use of pictograms for SL disorders please?

Ds (aged four and a half) has been diagnosed with verbal developmental dyspraxia. We are not in the UK - we are in Belgium - and the advice is that he goes to a special school in the next town. This would mean a lot of travel and I am keen to keep him in his current school.

His current school are happy to keep him for the time being, with the extra help he needs. His IQ is good, understanding is good, vocubularly is good, it's just that he is so hard to understand.

Any advice would be appreciated.

My DS with ASD used PECS which are small cards with pictures on. I would think that signing would be more flexible if your DS would take to it. Signing was too abstract for my DS, he preferred the more concrete PECS. They worked very well to kick start my DS's communication, but he didn't have any physical difficulty with speech and moved on to speech within 12 months.

By signing being more flexible, I mean once the sign is learnt you can use it in any situation, swimming, in bed, in the park, whereas with PECS you would need to have that particular card available.

Maybe easier to use PECS in a school setting because an advantage of PECS is that the picture has the word written under it so can be understood by anyone who can read or interpret the picture, they (teachers, peers) don't need to learn sign language.

kelda Tue 02-Apr-13 18:45:12

Thank you.

The thing is, I can understand him most of the time, and I don't feel the need for him to use signing with me. It's other people that don't understand him, but we can't expect everyone to learn signing.

Also the signing is different in Belgium to England. (in fact it even varies where you live in Belgium). So even if the belgian family learnt to understand signing, this wouldn't be muct good with the english side of the family.

I will google PECS.

kelda Tue 02-Apr-13 18:47:31

Also it will be a few months before the bureaucracy goes through and he starts to get the specific help he needs.

I just want something simple to help right now.

Ineedmorepatience Tue 02-Apr-13 18:54:37

Pecs are a great way to communicate, the pictures are pretty self explanatory so would have thought they would be ideal for bilingual families.

If your Ds could make himself understood in all settings it would be really good for his self confidence too.

Good luck smile

kelda Tue 02-Apr-13 19:05:41

Thank you.

messmonster Tue 02-Apr-13 21:36:50

Hi kelda. My DD cannot talk and uses a communication book to tell us what she wants, answer questions and sometimes comment on things.

It uses the same symbols as PECS but they're grouped together to make it easier for her to find what she wants. e.g. all the icons for things she might want to eat at breakfast are on one page, snacks/fruit on another, play activities on another, TV programmes etc.

We just make a grid of maybe 12/16 icons per page, print the sheet, laminate it and put it into her communication book which is an A5 ringbinder.

You can sign up for a free 1 month trial of this programme to have a look at the sorts of images available and see if it might help. We did that at first and found it really useful.

Also, this organisation produce a booklet on how to create a Communication Book which you may find useful.

Good luck!

kelda Wed 03-Apr-13 09:47:10

Thanks messmonster, that sounds interesting.

blueberryupsidedown Wed 03-Apr-13 19:42:58

When DS started mainstream school (he went to a nursery that had special provision for children with speech and language delay) he was given a small number of cards on a ring, which he could keep in his pocket. The cards were very simple action, such as I'm thirsty, hungry, need the toilet, he/she is hurting me, I need to say something to you, i want to play, and a few other cards. It was helpful to start off with but his teacher quickly managed to integrate him and understand him. He also had help from a teacher assistant.

We used pictures when da2 was completely non verbal, and some signing.

Now that he has speech we've dropped them as he needed to practice speaking as much as possible and he wasn't with the aids. His speech is very unclear but like your ds his iq, language skills and vocabulary are high, he's just missing a lot of sounds.

kelda Thu 04-Apr-13 12:12:20

Thank you both. I am going to make his own pictogram cards, very simple, based on what I know he usually says. It will be for use in school and with other family members.

Summer - I was under the impression that aids for speech - such as signing and pictograms - ease frustration and therefore aid communication and ultimately encourage speech. I don't want the pictograms to stop him speaking.

Fortunately ds is very chatty at the moment, even if he is not understood most of the time, if at all. His teacher has more then 20 children in the class and struggles to understand him.

He is missing a lot of sounds but is also very inconsistant. The quality of his voice is very poor. I suppose a bit like a badly tuned radio.

Unfortunately teaching assistants do not exist in the same way in Belgium, and the only help he will get is a few extra hours at home and at school.

The other alternative is to send him to the school for SN but this is too far away. He is too young to travel 20km there and back every day.

MareeyaDolores Thu 04-Apr-13 20:16:09

Would teaching him to read/write very early be an option? So when really struggling to communicate with adults, he can simply bypass speech (I know he's young, but being able to write or type a few badly spelled simple words could perhaps really help)

PECS and signs are amazing when the adults can cope with them, but they're not always as motivated or flexible as one might hope.

MareeyaDolores Thu 04-Apr-13 20:26:36

'His school are happy to keep him'

They blinking well ought to be. He sounds great. And from a teachers' perspectives, it's really not the dc who can't speak well that are hard work, it's the ones who can't listen / understand / comply.

Kelda, that's exactly what they did. Ds2 was completely non verbal and very frustrated, the pictures, and later signing, allowed him to ask for stuff without having a meltdown everytime. However in our case he kept signing words he could say once he started speaking so his SALT and I felt it best to gradually phase them out and insist on him speaking.

There are still times I can't understand him (I ask ds1 to translate if he's about as he's fantastic at interpreting ds2) but he's gotten more patient about repeating himself over time. His playschool teachers have learned his missing sounds and are pretty good too. School next year may be tougher but we've applied for an SNA in the classroom with him (he has care needs ad well, the SLI alone wouldn't have gotten him 1 to 1 care)

kelda Fri 05-Apr-13 13:02:21

MareeyaDolores - I agree - his attention is fantastic. In the clinic tests, which were up to 90 mintues long, he was head down, getting on with it, barely looking up at all. Few adults can concentrate so well. I think he's got a huge amount of potential.

The problem is that the Belgium system is very exclusive. Unless you fit in, it can be very hard. There is a very narrow range of 'normal'. I'm sure the SN school is great and we would consider it if it was closer, but the thought of ds travelling so far every day is a nightmare. If we were in the UK we probably wouldn't even consider a SN school at all.

Children don't learn to read and write until age 6 here. Ds's IQ test put him about 18 months ahead - so I am sure he would be ready. BUT he finds holding a pen very difficult and finds any crafts etc in school very difficult. He can't get dressed/undressed either apart from very simple soft trousers. I assume this is related to the speech dyspraxia, but it wasn't bad enough for him to be diagnosed with DCD.

Even though he might be ready to read (in fact his SLT is teaching him the basics of reading as part of the speech dyspraxia programme)); writing would be hard at the moment and I don't want to put any extra pressure on him. It's very hard to know what to do for the best.

Summer - hope your ds gets the SNA.

MareeyaDolores Fri 05-Apr-13 13:41:17

DD who is 6 has one of these (bought it for ds1, but he's not really needing it now). We've also used stuff like this in the past

MareeyaDolores Fri 05-Apr-13 13:45:31

A little reading (with picture support as you're planning) should be plenty to allow him to whip out a suitable phrase book/ vocab list when adults are looking at him blankly. It seems ludicrous to have any suggestion of a long journey for a young child whose main current issue is articulation hmm

kelda Fri 05-Apr-13 13:46:40

Thank you. I am wondering if we could use the iPad - he is an iPad freak - will turn into a cumputer nerd just like his dad (and both granddads!). I will get dh to look into writing/communication apps.

kelda Fri 05-Apr-13 13:48:02

Yes, with the pictures I am adding the phrases that he is likely to say. In english and flemish!

MareeyaDolores Fri 05-Apr-13 13:48:57

are you Flemish or French-speaking? This looks quite good if French...

MareeyaDolores Fri 05-Apr-13 13:50:10

though it does most of the functions in any language

MareeyaDolores Fri 05-Apr-13 13:50:35

ah, cross posted. iphone freak sounds promising

kelda Fri 05-Apr-13 14:03:15

Oh life would have been so much easier for me if dh had been french speaking instead of flemish!

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