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can you explain something about HFA and speech delay for me please?

(11 Posts)
NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 29-Jul-13 00:33:09

My nephew is 3 and a half and being evaluated for HFA. He's very bright and has amazing skills in terms of the computer and in recognising shapes, numbers and is starting to read a little but he is very delayed in terms of conversational skills.
He is on waiting list for speech therapy

When he makes a (rare) observation, it's usually through echolalia...which he applies in a suitable he might say "Rain rain go away" if it's raining. He has about 3 or 4 stock phrases for familiar situations but otherwise no "functional" speech.

His Mum is going mad with worry about him as he can't really ask for anything...also potty training is a nightmare due to his not being able to say when he needs to go...he begins preschool soon and it's a much will speech therapy help and how quickly? Also will he eventually "get" conversation and what it's for? I look after him around 3 times a week and I try to help him by talking to him a lot but he's not very open to it. He is very social though and loves playing with other DC. I want him to have the chance to make friends in preschool but the language's such a worry...

Also some of the signs of HFA he had last year are sort of his noise sensitivity and his difficulty with textures....he's also begun to eat with utensils now...and his stims are going a bit too... could he be improving in some ways?

theWookiesWife Mon 29-Jul-13 16:37:33

Sounds like he is improving ! That's a good sign ! My nephew started school and had one to one speech therapy at school and he's chatting beautifully now ! I remember him using a simple sign language before when he was much smaller and his twin did a lot of his speaking for him - she's old enough now to let him say it for himself ! There was a time when everything just seemed to click ! Just be patient and encourage and respond to any sounds ! And it sounds odd - but try and discourage others from saying 'shut up' to others while in his earshot - as it gives the impression that speech can be bad. :-)

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 29-Jul-13 17:00:29

Oh good....that sounds encouraging. He's going to have a one to your nephew still with a one to one can I ask Wookie?

zzzzz Mon 29-Jul-13 18:47:51

Sounds very similar I'm terms of language to my ds who is now eight. Talking is great, but for a truly language disordered child with little or no functional language (as my son had at 3) you may as well be talking Russian at top speed if you are conversing normally.

General advice:

Reduce background noise
Talk more slowly and allow extra time for response
Use simple one or two word sentences
Use gesture to help
Always get down to eye level, use his name to indicate you are talking to him, touch his arm if possible to get attention.
Avoid pronouns
Nouns come first, practice useful ones, (water, Mama, biscuit, hot, cold, hurt)
Find a prize and teach the words he needs (eg two cups one full one empty, say "water", he touches it he gets a raisin)

At three ds knew numbers, colours, and shapes. No names, no nouns.

At eight he can understand and make himself understood "I want cake", "XXXX won't let me play", "where's Daddy, I need him". He makes jokes, and is a joy.

Asheth Mon 29-Jul-13 21:36:37

My DS (4) has a speech delay. Aged 3 he was fantastic at numbers, shaoes, colours, letters but no conversation. I don't think he has HFA, but at the same time I'm not ruling it 100% out.

He was fine at pre-school and they were very good with him. The pre-school took the children to the toilet regularly and there were no problems there, unlike at home! Aged 4 his language began to improve and has come on loads in the last six months. He still uses repetitive phrases, but can also think for himself what to say. He became much better at asking for what he wants and talking about his experiences. He didn't have a lot of time with a speech therapist, but the pre-school did activities suggested by the speech therapist several times a week.

He still struggles with questions and I am a bit nervous about him starting school.

AgnesDiPesto Mon 29-Jul-13 23:10:37

Try getting Hanen book It Takes two to talk or More than Words (MTW is ASD version, ITTT is for language delay / disorder) - Wilmslow or Amazon have best prices.
Sometimes if children have a language disorder / delay that can present as like autism but the autism symptoms reduce when the language improves. To have autism you have to have a social deficit as well as a language deficit.
DS has ASD and his speech was (and is) very like this he will often sing a song which is in context. Its because he finds it easier to memorise songs than speech and easier to say something he knows already than to have to 'find' the right words which is really hard for him.
You can also look into PECS (picture exchange) and perhaps go on a course so can use pictures to communicate which does not stop language coming but supports it and can ease frustration of not being able to communicate.
You can make your own picture cards using a site like or free ones on sparklebox, do2learn. If he can read then put the word on as well as the picture.
Speech therapy varies by area. Here there is no direct speech therapy for under 5's with autism they only give advice to nurseries similar to what you can find yourself in the hanen book. Some areas do drop in speech therapy eg childrens centres.
Cerebra do a speech therapy voucher scheme (if its ASD or neurological) or you can find a private therapist.
She can apply for DLA to help with costs of books, materials, therapy etc (see Cerebra guide and AFASIC).
Of course should get therapy on NHS but we found it poor quality.
Can also look to see if any speech units etc around instead of mainstream. These can be a great way of accessing specialist support and then moving into mainstream later once the language has come on, or going as dual placement to a speech unit and mainstream pre school.
DS is 6.5 now and although he has lots of words and phrases we are still a long way off conversational speech and I'm not sure if he will ever 'chat', he speaks only when necessary. He can understand alot more now though but every word has to be specifically taught.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 29-Jul-13 23:40:13

Thank you to all. flowers so much advice. Agnes, he's improved a lot in that he does now make some observations and things and socially he is what I would call clumsily keen. Because of his language troubles, he can't really approach other DC well....but he loves them. He loves to interact and he loves new social shyness at all....he'll just run up to a child though and get in their face which often sets them on the back foot.

Is a socail deficit something which means the child doesn;'t like socialising or that they're not good at it? Because I get the feeling that if he DID have the language, he'd be fine. At the moment he's only equipped for the simplest of games...chasing and so on...he loves them. he shows no discomfort when kids touch him and he only gets upset if other kids argue or fight with one another.

zzzzz Mon 29-Jul-13 23:45:13

I'd be thinking about a language unit attached to ms, if there's one locally for Primary. All the assessments take ages, but the more you know about what's available the easier it is to access.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 30-Jul-13 00:18:44

I don;'t think his Mum would consider that though it has crossed my mind. She's very stuck on the local one and she'd have a hard time travelling to another....she's already been in re his start in Sept for preschool. I am not even sure if there is such a thing in the area.

zzzzz Tue 30-Jul-13 11:02:11

Language unit places are like gold dust, people move hell and high water to get in. Most only have one or two places for each year group and that is often for a huge catchment area. Children bus in. They are, for language disordered children, the equivalent of getting into grammar school. It's unlikely that she would get a place for her son unless she embraced the idea and had a very proactive team working with her to get statement in place and support the placement.

It would be helpful to point her in the direction of the MNSN board, she will get a much more focused and useful response than talking through a friend (many are rather naturally wary of that set up having been on the receiving end of well intentioned advice and subject of gossip). Empowering parents and helping them be the expert is the most helpful thing you can do for the child's future.

"I'm not even sure their is such a thing in his area". The mum needs to get up to speed with how local sn provision works. Which schools have units, groups, specialist knoledge and for whome is fundamental. NO ONE WILL VOLUNTEER THIS INFORMATION, so don't sit back and wait to be told what help is on offer.

beautifulgirls Tue 30-Jul-13 11:17:54

It would be very sensible to think about getting a statement of special educational need in place for him wherever he goes to school. Certain placements can only be accessed with a statement, but even if he was to go to a mainstream school you want to ensure that support is there. I think many people here have had a similar experience to us with speech therapy in that it is more or less non existant at school age. DD is about to start in year 4 and has had NO direct speech therapy at all from the NHS since she started school. I have finally moved her to a specialist placement where this is now provided in school for her so the NHS situation thankfully for us is no longer relevant. If however you get a statement in place from the start speech therapy can be documented in this as a need and if the NHS do not provide as they should do the local authority will be legally obliged to do this instead. It can be a big fight to get a statement and then to get the right provision in it but don't give up if he needs this level of help. It takes a minimum of 6 months to get a statement in place too so now is the time to be getting the ball rolling. Lots of advice here for how to do this and also take a look at IPSEA website.

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