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speech problems

23 replies

Dakirk · 25/03/2001 12:14

My daughter is 3 years old and has been diagnosed with developmental problems mainly due to the fact that she has limited language. She uses a lot of her own words so is not silent and also repeats the last word that you say to her (I think this is called echonalia)She also has limited concentration, if you read her a book she will get bored after about 2 minutes. We are currently going through a bettery of tests with audiologists, speech therapists, opticians, health visitors etc etc.

I would love to hear from anyone with similar problems or experiences

OP posts:
Jajo · 26/03/2001 06:35

Your child probably has chronic hearing problems. My son who is now nearly 11 has had problems all his life. it took until he was four years old for the medics to realise and to tell me that there was not a lot tha could be done as it was glue ear. grommets etc may not help, speech therapy may work to some degree but not a great deal. The biggest problem for us is that the health service said "that it would not affect his education*. They are still saying it, still insisting that hearing does not affect learning My son is approximatly 3 years behind. 40-60db hearing loss is quite usual. Complications dyslexia, asphasia etc. contact the British Dyslexia Association talk to them they will help. Hope you have better luck with your Health and Education authorities than we have. all the Best.

Treaclebat · 26/03/2001 16:53

My son was late to speak also - I suspected dyslexia and was right - however he now has no speech problems (he's 9) and as a typical dyslexic his command of vocabulary is beyond that of most of his peers(if only his spelling were half as good!!!) Having said all this otitis media (or glue ear) is the commonest reason for visiting the doctors in under sixes and is most likely for speech delay - try to relax and wait and see.

Sharli · 31/03/2001 19:58

Hi, I'm a new member and I would love to hear from anyone whose child has had or has speech problems. My daughter is nearly 4 and is very bright - was able to count and knew colours at 20 months, knows all her alphabet, is writing and recognising words on a page, yet can't consistently string a sentence together. She sometimes says things back to front and has difficulty describing things when they are out of context, mumbles a lot. You almost have to teach her to say a sentence correctly, then she will pick it up and use it. I noticed her speech difficulties at around 2, she had a wide vocabulary but wasn't putting any words together.

At 2 and a half she went to nursery where they immediately expressed concern and so I took her to the Health Visitor who recommended speech therapy - she was put on an NHS waiting list and is still on it over a year later. She has been having private speech therapy and had made great progress. Has been recently assessed by a paedatrician who has said she doesn't think there's much wrong with her speech but has asked for an assessment by NHS speech therapist and will then discuss case at pre-school alert panel (she goes to school in September)

I would love to hear from anyone with similar experiences as I feel unless you have a child with these difficulties you find it hard to understand. Sometimes I think she'll be OK and it will sort itself out. Other times, my heart sinks as I hear other 3 year olds holding conversations with ease. Will she ever be normal? She is very bright, but will she reach her full potential? Who do you believe, a speech therapist or a paediatrician? My speech therapist told me she had a speech disorder and that part of her brain wasn't working properly - the paed told me 'that is rubbish'.

If anyone can offer any help, views, experiences, please let me know

Kia · 31/03/2001 22:06

Sharli have you considered having her tested (if this is possible) to see if she is a gifted child? It may be that she doesn't talk because she doesn't need to or that she's bored and anyway Mum always knows what she means. If it's not her ears or her brain, then perhaps she needs more stimulation than she's currently getting if you get my gist! My boy didn't talk for ages and they told me at nursery it was because I interpreted for him. I stopped and he started! Another friend took her child to speech therapy and was in shock when she came back because there were other mothers there with 7 year olds still in nappies who would never utter a single word, and all she had was a 3 year old who wouldn't talk! He had a few sessions over a year with a therapist and he does now - noone can shut him up!

Brightphoebus · 02/04/2001 16:39

Sharli, does your child understand and follow what you say to her, understand stories and so on? If so, the problem is that of finding words, putting them in sequence and it could be that she is dyslexic/ has a speech disorder like my child did. In my experience, the speech therapists are wonderful and really know their stuff, are always to be believed above paediatricians. I would insist on having that full developmental assessment that includes a speech therapy assessment but also an occupational and physiotherapy assessment which may show other underlying difficulties like dyspraxia ( which my son has). Children always talk if they are able to, so the fact that she has had a difficulty for so long really means something and needs to be taken seriously by the doctors.

But does she have other difficulties with learning alongside her very good abilities that you have told us about? Did you get a full report from the paediatrician, did he do a general development assessment of her cognitive abilities? Did you get a report? Or are you very confident of her play and thinking skills being all O.K? Do please reply!

Sharli · 03/04/2001 19:53

Brightphoebus, YWhen the speech problem was first diagnosed and in her recent assessment by the speech therapist at 3 and a half, it was the understanding that was far worse than the expressive language. At first she found it hard to understand more than two pieces of information in a sentence, now she has progressed to 4. She still gets the wrong end of the stick sometimes and you will ask her a question and she will give an answer completely unrelated or not quite right. I'm not sure if she always completely understands stories - she can remember them and recite them word for word - which is not the same as understanding! The paed did do a full development assessment where she was shown to have a developmental age of either 4, over 4 or over 4 and a half for all other categories and she did say that she was very bright, which every other professional, speech therapist, HV, carers at nursery all acknowledge. She doesn't seem to have any other difficulties with learning. The speech therapist is saying that, as far as she is concerned she wants to work with her so that she reaches her full potential. It would be a shame if all that brightness goes to waste because of her difficulties.

I am interested in your experiences with a speech 'disorder' - please let me know. It's such a comfort to know other people have been through the same things.

helenmc · 03/07/2002 19:20

my 5 yr dd has just been referred tofor speech therapy - her hearing is ok but she mis-pronounces words. any-one had similar experience - how long did you wait - it took almost 4 months to get a hearing test!!! is there anything I should be doing int he meantime. She's bright but finds it so frustrating when you don't understand what she wants/says.

lou33 · 03/07/2002 20:56

My 5 year old has been having speech therapy for 3 years. I think the amount of time you wait depends on where you live really like most nhs services.

You will probably be given a choice of group therapy or one to one, though they prefer to lump you altogether as it saves money to do it in a group. However if you think your daughter would be uncomfortable with this or would not benefit then do hold out for a one to one session.

The first appointment will be an assessment, checking what she can and cant pronounce , so they know what area to work on. After that you will be given work to do at home so she gets a steady input of therapy inbetween appointments. She should only be given one or two sounds at a time to work on, as otherwise it will get too confusing for her to remember having to try and pronounce/correct herself everytime.

Good luck, I hope this is helpful to you.

helenmc · 03/07/2002 22:24

Thanks lou, is your 5 yr old at school, if so does the school get involved?

lou33 · 03/07/2002 23:28

Actually helen they don't really. They are supposed to be aware of her speech problems, but I found that when she moved up from nursery to reception I had to go in and tell them all over again! They are aware now but don't really get involved. I have had to go in and see them though from time to time because her speech therapy sounds are taught in a different way to the school methods and this was causing her some confusion.

On the plus side she hasn't really had any grief from the children in her class about her speech, and if anything has been said the teachers are quick to nip it in the bud. I guess she has improved because at the age of 2 all she could say was mama and dada, whereas now she doesn't stop talking, just can't get some of her sounds right! She has trouble with "sh" and "ch" , has an excellent Jonathan Ross lisp (using "w" instead of "r" ), and has trouble with "th". She has a few other sounds that cause trouble from time to time but these are the worst ones for her.Her speech gets worse when she talks too fast or is tired as well.

sobernow · 04/07/2002 10:22

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PamT · 04/07/2002 10:40

Both DS1 and DS2 needed speech therapy when they were 4/5 years old, both had ear infections and mild hearing problems when they were younger though no real problems were ever found with their ears. In both cases their speech problems were actually found to be delays in development rather than an actual speech defect. I think we probably had to wait 3 or 4 months for our assessments and then quite some time after that for actual therapy. DS1 was simply reassessed every few months and though he was given exercises to do he never needed actual treatment. DS2 went for fortnightly sessions and played lots of games which were more listening than talking and we were encouraged to continue these games at home. DS2 is having a little more trouble with his speech at the moment but I am hoping that this is all due to his front 2 teeth being missing. DS1 has also had a period of non-fluency (stammering), though I decided not to take up the offer of treatment for this as it did mostly clear up and he didn't get upset about it himself.

lou33 · 04/07/2002 16:01

Sobernow, if it helps to put your mind at rest there would be no harm in asking your gp or hv to refer you to the local speech therapy for an assessment. At least then you would know if she needs extra help or not.

KMG · 04/07/2002 18:17

helenmc - do you pick her up on mispronunciations? My ds was referred to speech therapist when he was 3, and is still going (He's 5 next week). His language is fantastic - far advanced vocab for age, and reads fluently, but has never spoken very clearly. At 3 he had a whole raft of sounds completely missing. He started regular speech therapy when he was nearly 4, and within a couple of months made major progress, starting to say f, s, v, sh, and others which he had never said before. (But then the progress slowed down and he still can't say ch, th, c, or g.)

Anyway, until he was referred I had never really made an issue of his language (we could understand him - no-one else could). But s.t. encouraged us to do so much more, rather than just repeating back correctly to him. And this simple process, and explaining to him how to make the sounds, had the fairly dramatic immediate results outlined above. But don't push it, you don't want to put her off before she even starts.

What sounds does she struggle with?

mollipops · 08/07/2002 09:30

sobernow, leaving the ends off words at this age is fine and fairly standard. As long as she has a vocabulary in place, don't worry too much about the sentences yet. You might not think she is trying to put words together, but her little mind is busy working on it quietly while you aren't looking! She is just a "thinker" and observer, and that isn't a bad way to be...comprehension is more important at this age as pronunciation or vocabulary. Give her 6 months or so and she will be probably be talking your ear off!

mollipops · 08/07/2002 09:45

helenmc, I think it's best not to "correct" her mispronunciation so much as to repeat it clearly the right way after she says it (in context), and make sure she is looking at you.

Other ideas:
Sit face to face and ask her to watch how your mouth and tongue move to make the sounds, and have her put her hand on your face while you do it. Be silly and have fun with it, so she doesn't feel pressured to be able to do it perfectly. Make up games using words on cards, rhyming games or hide and seek, memory etc.; words which contain sounds she finds difficult. Do it when she is as alert as possible (ie not after school).

And don't tell her to "slow down" when she is going too fast, as it will only upset and frustrate her more! Good luck, hope you don't have too long to wait.

helenmc · 14/08/2002 18:36

just an update - we had a speech assesment today, and apparently dd hasn't got a problem worth speech therapy, and if I'm still worrried in a year to ask for another referral. So very very confused how can the teacher and the school nurse be so sure she has a problem? the therapist today made me feel very silly and neurotic and fussy. Yet I do have times when I just can't understand what dd is saying. And it hasn't got better in the 6 months since I first went to the doctors.

robinw · 14/08/2002 21:26

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PamT · 14/08/2002 21:36

Our speech therapist made DS2 stick his tongue out as far as possible and wiggle it in every direction - eg touch your nose, touch your chin, to the left, to the right etc. She even had a story with pictures to go with the exercise. Apparently tongue flexibility - or lack of, is often a cause of poor speech and may also be seen in a reluctance to chew food. Our course of speech therapy was based on listening rather than speaking which I found strange but DS did volunteer to say the sounds as he was playing the listening games.

helenmc · 14/08/2002 21:58

Robinw - thanks for the web site will defintiely look and try them. I don't think her speech has improved, at the end of term her teacher asked if I had got anywhere with the hearing/speech. Her hearing is fine and we don't seem to have had ear infections or lots of colds. I remember my poor neice was almost totally deaf from glue ear, and I just couldn't understand a word she said even a year after she had grommits. She did the stick the tongue out tests, and she's fines. Perhaps she will just 'grow out of it ' I'm worrying that a little problem now will become so entrenched that a year or 2 on, it will be even harder to sort out.

bluebear · 14/08/2002 22:10

PamT - you've brought back some memories for me. I had speech therapy when I was 3/4 as I was incomprehensible. I can remember sticking my tongue out, and the therapist bringing my Mum in to show her that my tongue was (and is) very short and explaining that this was the reason for my difficulties.
Luckily the exercises (I remember mainly poems and rhymes) helped and I could be understood by the time I went to school - although can still find talking difficult if I'm tired.

robinw · 15/08/2002 07:48

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helenmc · 13/09/2002 13:04

Quick update - the report came back very quickly saying dd has a mild speach development delay, but what I did notice was an article in the paper saying the a local special needs school couldn't get speech therapists becuase of shortages. This seems to confirm my suspisious mind as to why we weren't offer any help.

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