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Is anyone else worried about their four-year-old with SAL problems?

(11 Posts)
ChocolateGirl Wed 16-Feb-05 21:36:58

Our DS1 is in Reception and we have had a couple of his friends round to play this week. I am amazed at how good their speech, how much they say and the words they know, and am a bit worried about the gap between my son's ability and theirs. At the last parents' evening (Nov), his teacher said he was sociable, happy, confident, so I wasn't too worried. But I feel more concerned now, mainly because one day this week he chose not to play with some old friends, just ignored them really and played by himself, and I was really suprised.

Does anyone else have similar worries? We are making slow but steady progress with an excellent SALT, by the way.

ThomCat Wed 16-Feb-05 21:50:24

SAL is a constant concern CG with us too. Do you play with sound cards and stuff CG? Tell me a bit about what you do with regards to SAL and perhaps we can all swap ideas on things we all do to progress and help our children with their speech .

MandM Thu 17-Feb-05 10:05:48

This is something that we are really focusing on with dd at the moment too. We have got a fantastic SALT who goes into nursery once a week to see her and she sends home a detailed report of new activities, progress, ideas for family games/adult interventions etc. So if, as TC suggested we could swap some ideas on different things to do to develop SAL I'll try and list as much of the advice we have already been given as possible.
It is good advice by the way (IMO!), as dd's SAL has improved dramatically since starting nursery school last September. I don't mean that she is talking in sentences or anything like that at the moment but she is using so many new words, with different ones cropping up weekly, what she says is much much clearer for people outside of close family and friends to understand and once or twice she has strung 2/3 words together!
And funniest of all she has re-christened herself... we have been trying for ages to get her to respond appropriately to questions instead of just automatically saying 'yes' or 'no' as the mood dictates! We have been practising with the question 'what is your name?' and got various unfathomable responses for several months, but just afer Christmas she answered 'Arley'. her name is actually Marley but her version sounds so sweet, especially when she grins and claps at herself for being such a big clever girl!

ChocolateGirl Thu 17-Feb-05 13:28:34

Thank you both for responding. What you say about your dd reminds me so much of what Jamie was like last year, MandM. The school and the SALT both use Jolly Phonics - is that what you mean by soundcards, TC? We are presently drilling the "f" sound and combining it with a syllable (so "f" and "oo" make "foo"). It is slow work and there are lots of other letters to get through but we need to make him more intelligble... he is getting better and has new words and more complicated and longer sentences all the time, so we are getting there. He has found it difficult to understand that he needs to close the "gap" between "f" and "oo" - but with aid of Jack & The Beanstalk (Fi Fo Fi Fum) he is now getting the hang of it. Also, he is four and we have encouraged him say "F" and "Oar" (instead of "door") which he is now doing quite consistently, so in many ways he is coming on well at the moment.

ThomCat Thu 17-Feb-05 19:45:04

Yes, we use a different version but it's basically jolly phonics, ours is more tailor made esp for children with DS that's all. It sounds like you're doing all you can and that he's doing okay.

roisin Thu 17-Feb-05 20:00:41

ChocolateGirl my son is now 7.5, his speech still sometimes sounds a little 'odd', but he is almost always intelligible, even to complete strangers.

We recently saw some video footage of him at age 2.5, and both dh and I were in hysterics because we could hardly understand a word he was saying. But the "us" on the screen were 'textbook-fashion' echoing back correctly his sentences to him:
Him:"Dah wah day da-doo oo mee faw eppin dada may da lun"
Me:"Do I want to say thank you to you for helping daddy make the lunch? Thank you ds1 for helping daddy make the lunch!"

I knew how bad his articulation was at this age, and tbh it didn't start to improve at all until he was 4, but I was really shocked to actually hear the footage.

This is meant to be an encouragement to you: I hope it is. Regular SALT with a good therapist has done wonders for ds1.

ImuststopdrinkingBlossomhill Thu 17-Feb-05 20:02:35

How are you roisin?

ChocolateGirl Fri 18-Feb-05 20:50:07

Roisin, that is an encouragement to me! Because that is very much how our ds speaks! Not all the time, sometimes he is a lot clearer than that, but a lot of the time.

At 2.5 he only had single words so we have come a long way already.

He has had some sessions with a different SALT therapist who has told us that she thinks he is going to need SALT for years (that's fine!) but that he will continue to improve. So that's good & we plod on...

But yes, I do feel encouraged. Thank you for posting.

Can I ask if your ds had problems with learning to read and write? They have been doing phonics and the alphabet in our son's class and I know he's doing ok but if he tries to say "c" it sometimes comes out as "g" - and a stranger wouldn't know this. So I'm not sure what his teacher thinks.

roisin Fri 18-Feb-05 20:58:55

Chocolategirl - I've just posted on a different thread about it

DS1 had no problems at all learning to read and write. Quite the opposite - he's very bright and always top of the class.

He is not yet discharged from SALT though, but they only "keep an eye on him" now.

If at any stage you have a teacher who you think can cope with a 'fairly academic' book, I would recommend the following: Wendy Rinaldi: Language Difficulties in an Educational Context

Lots of teachers know very little about language difficulties at all. So make sure you do keep them informed. I remember at 4 ds1 was assessed at school, and they said he knew 12 out of 26 letters, which was utter rubbish. At the time he was already reading quite fluently. But he was unable to produce the actual sounds, and that was the only way they had of testing. If they had done the test 'the other way around' he would have scored 26!
But I didn't say anything at the time I would do now though!

roisin Fri 18-Feb-05 21:05:54

You need to make sure his teacher 'cuts him some slack' and assesses his reading not his speaking. Blends are tricky for many children, but they need to be aware of what they are assessing.

If your ds can't say 's' 'c' or 'r' (mine couldn't at this age) then obviously there is no way he can 'sound out' or correctly produce the word 'scratch' for instance. But when he gets to this stage of 'blending' you need to ensure that whoever is 'assessing' his reading does not automatically correct him for reading 'scr' as 'd', if that's all he can say. Instead they need to check his comprehension of the word he is reading, and - to an extent - ignore his pronunciation, and leave that to the SALT.

Is this making any sense?

ChocolateGirl Sat 19-Feb-05 22:25:01

Yes, loads of sense. I saw your other post about reading too.

I will read that book and have a chat with his teacher. I know exactly what you mean. He had an IEP which said something about them wanting him to say "in front of" and I pointed out that he wouldn't be able to do that yet as he is only at the rung of the ladder where he can produce "f" and "oo" together - syllable not a word. I think it will be the same with the reading and your "scratch" is a good example.

I think he failed a baseline literacy assessment when he entered Reception because they asked him to name/identify/say four letters (I think) and he got them wrong. Only maybe he got them right but just pronounced them wrongly, ifswim, so they thought he got them wrong. He is meant to be getting literacy help but I don't think it is happening.

I don't think I'm that bothered as I'm sure it is SAL help that he needs not literacy. I work at home with him a lot on his speech and will start doing more literacy work.

Thanks again for your posts, look forward to keeping in touch with you.

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