Monday, 27 February 2012

Daddy’s Big Fat Nose: Speech Therapy Update

“….Your Son’s speech is not adequate for preschool….”

That is the statement Busters’ speech therapist uttered about 2 or 3 times at today’s speech therapy session. Each time it felt to me like a physical blow.....(My 4 year old son, Buster is currently battling  apraxia).

I attended speech therapy this week in a very positive frame of mind because Buster has been doing so well at preschool. His preschool teacher freely agrees that he has a speech problem. But she also says that he mostly makes himself understood and has no trouble relating to the other children in the class…in fact, I have witnessed his enthusiastic, carefree and friendly interaction with the other children myself. He is a very cheeky, charismatic and outgoing child and he has gotten very adept at ‘charades’.

However, Busters speech therapist still seems to be intent upon sucking all hope away. She seems to focus on all the things that he can’t say, instead of the progress that he is making and  the things that he can say (and couldn’t say a few months ago).

She seems to be especially worried about how he will handle kindergarten next year, his first year of formal schooling. I, on the other hand, and somewhat naively,  was hoping that all the speech therapy sessions and home practice would cause a remarkable improvement in Busters speech so that he could fully participate in school!!

Her attitude, weather it is pessimistic or realistic, just makes me want to prove her wrong…actually, part way through the session I was truly thinking to my self #headdesk  #headdesk. (perhaps I need to step away from twitter…nahhh). Toady I left the session feeling very despondent…but I have a deep resolve to help Buster’s speech reach its potential. I truly believe that his speech will improve so that he can be understood.

These past couple of weeks, Buster and I have been working on the sounds found at the end of words. For some reason he seems to leave the end sounds off most of his words so that many words sound the same. For example, he will say “four” instead of  “fork” or “no” instead of  “nose”. We have been using cards that try and emphasize that the meaning of words changes with the end sound. These are some examples:




This video shows how I have been using them to help Buster recognize the sounds at he ends of words.



For the next couple of weeks, our speech therapist wants us to keep working on these end sounds. Our speech therapist has also decided to take a more functional approach to Busters speech therapy. She wants me to come up with about 50-100 words that Buster uses consistently wrong. We will then go through each of these words and teach him how to say each, individual word. I now it will be a long, drawn-out process, but for the first time, I can see this new strategy really having the potential to make a difference to Busters everyday speech.

Even though I leave each therapy session feeling ‘down in the dumps’ I am not going to give up. I am determined to do everything I can to get Busters speech ‘adequate for kindergarten’ next year. Buster has made an enormous improvement in his speech this year.  The speech therapist did actually say that today! I know that this improvement  is mostly due to his speech therapist, so for that, I am grateful to her.  The improvement Buster has made in his speech, and the way is he doing so well at preschool, is  really giving me hope for the future!…despite what his speech therapist may think!

I'm linking this post up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM for #IBOT (I blog on Tuesdays) Come over to Jess's (The Rock Star's) super cool blog and see what others are blogging about today :)


21 comments:

  1. You sound like a fabulous mom & advocate for Buster! I was sorry to read that your speech therapist left you feeling despondent, especially since that is my profession. Speech can be hard work for someone with Apraxia but it sounds like you are doing all the right things. One thing you might add to bring a little fun into the mix – have Buster catch you making errors. He could give you a thumbs up or thumbs down when you name a picture, sometimes leaving off the final consonant. My students love it when they catch me at my errors and I moan, “I can’t seem to trick you!”
    Good luck!

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    1. Thank you so much for your great advice. I have been on the lookout for different strategies to make speech practice more fun!. I will definitely be giving your suggestion a try!

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    2. You are so welcome. I think speech can be a lot of fun for kids. If you are interested, check out my website and see other speech kids in action (I call them speech stars): http://speakwellreadwell.com/SpeakWellReadWell/Home.html
      I also blog about speech & kid lit at:http://speakwellreadwell.blogspot.com/

      I wish you and Buster all the best!

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  2. Sounds like you are doing a great job with Buster and he's come a long way.
    I think though that if you're not happy with some of the less positive things the speechie is saying, you need to let her know how they're affecting you.
    Sure you need to be realistic, but you also need to focus on the positives to keep everyone moving forward.

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    1. Thanks so much Nat! I think I will have a talk with her if she keeps focusing on the negatives...I really do feel bad that whole day when I leave speech therapy.

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  3. You are doing such a great job. It's so disappointing when people in these positions insist on pulling you down and focusing on the negative. I hope you'll blow that therapist out of the water with the progress Buster makes.

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    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement Becky!! It's just what I needed to hear right now!

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  4. Poor Buster! Keep at it. He'll be soaking up your positivity and belief that he can do it. Good luck x

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  5. Thanks so much Emily! :) I just have to believe he can do it...I don't want to think about him never speaking, or never being understood :(

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  6. It is sad that she does not see the benefit in getting you all to focus on how far he HAS come - a lot of motivation comes from building on success. Sounds like you guys are doing so much to get him ready for school I hope things are in a good place next year. At 8 1/2 my daughter is about to start with an OT for food issues and I just hope she is positive so it builds my girl up (she is already so stressed about her "difference")

    Deb @ home life simplified

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    1. Thanks so much Deb! The Speech therapist is really good with buster....I think she saves all her negativity up for me!! I so hope your daughter gets the help she needs to get her confidence back. I have a 7 year-old daughter who thinks it's so important to fit in with everyone else, so I understand how stressed she feels to be different...

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  7. Wow! What a great job you're doing. I think it just makes such a difference when strengths are focussed on, and from what I can see, that's something that you are doing in abundance!
    Here's to Buster going from strength to strength x

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    1. Thank you Mandie for such a positive comment! I'm determined to stay positive too and build on Busters strengths!

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  8. My daughter has a girl in her class (year one) who can not talk well, but she is doing ok. I'm not sure exactly what is wrong, but I have trouble understanding her, and I know she state school a year later.
    I think that you will know when he is ready better than the therapist. It's good to be realistic, but you also need to be hopeful and persevering, and buster has that in you. And if this little girl can do school fine, I'm sure he can!

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    1. Thanks so much Jess. It's so interesting to hear that there is another child having trouble with speech, but is coping alright at school. It makes me feel more confident that Buster can attend a mainstream school next year!

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  9. Have you taken Buster to meet the staff at his Kindy for next year yet? They may be able to give you an idea of what their speech priorities are so you can hone in on the most important skill areas ... and if he's still not quite there (keeping in mind that it's still a LONG way away), then they can start putting the wheels in motion to give him extra support (IF he needs it). In any case, you are working so incredibly hard and you need social support to keep up the momentum so don't give that up. :)

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    1. Thanks Misha, that's a great suggestion! I'm waiting to see if he gets accepted into the school that the girls attend...hopefully once that happens I will definitely be talking to them about their priorities for speech. Thank you!

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  10. My 3 1/2 year old son has the same problem. He attends a half-day speech program and does group therapy. I'm not sure about kindergarden yet but I'm also worried about what they'll tell me when I get to that time. What we do at home is the "splitting apart" technique. If your son knows how to say the individual sounds in a word you can split apart the word and then bring it together slowly. For instance, hat would be "ha" pause and then a strong "t"- making sure they repeat all the sounds. The drill would consist of speeding up the pause time so the whole word is repeated.

    Here is an explanation of the technique at 1:39 minutes into the video..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is1oA_Ktf_8&feature=plcp&context=C37ba882UDOEgsToPDskK4bw-dU3Jm-2RzVIfIxWDv

    With this technique I got my son to say cookie and boy (bo- eee). It took persistent drilling on my part, 15 minutes here and there throughout the day for a couple of weeks but he got it... I have millions of words to go but I'm hoping something clicks in there and he takes off somehow.

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  11. Thanks you so much for your wonderful comment!! I have tried a technique with my son where I have two cards, one with the start of the word and the other at the end. I move them closer and closer together as we say the sounds closer together to make the word.

    I'm off to have a look the video now!

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  12. You have such a great attitude and are inspirational with your determination. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses

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  13. Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.
    Vancouver Chiropractor

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