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Speech therapy for 3 year old...what will they do?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My doctor is encouraging me to get speech therapy for my ds since his articulation is not too good. I'm really hesitant, though. What exactly will they do for a three year old and is it something that I can do at home rather than getting a therapist? We are working on sign language and words at home.
post #2 of 15
You know, I have had a hard time getting anything pinned down WRT ST. D is non-verbal, pretty much, so that may be the issue. At school they encourage using pictures to ask for snack, etc... They also work on the give-and-take of a conversation.

At home I play sound games with him, and hold his hand to my mouth and throat when I make certain sounds.

post #3 of 15
Our ST is all games. She asks my DD to look for the duck (emphasising the word duck) and my DD finds it. The therapist then says "Yes. Duck. The duck sayd quack quack". And tries to get DD to say duck and quack too.

That's it really, for us.

P.S. DD is Deaf so I don't know if it is different for her. And we love speech but insist that we don't do mirror/hands on throat stuff, because of philosophical reasons.
post #4 of 15
Originally Posted by fairejour View Post
P.S. DD is Deaf so I don't know if it is different for her. And we love speech but insist that we don't do mirror/hands on throat stuff, because of philosophical reasons.
Why is that, if you don't mind explaining?
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Sounds like there isn't really a secret to it, it's just a lot of one on one interaction, is that right? I would much rather work on this at home, which I have been with the sign language than to go through a therapist with him. I wonder also if speech articulation is something that will get better with time b/c it already seems to be.
post #6 of 15
ARGH! I wrote a long post about our beliefs and it got erased! I'll try again

Well, we believe that because our DD is Deaf ST is a touchy subject. Deaf people for many generations have been humiliated and abused at the hands of speech therapists. But on the other hand she isn't really deaf, but hard of hearing, and with her hearing aids is brought into the "normal hearing range". In our home and at school we emphasis ASL. We believe that IF she has the capacity to learn the skill of speech, she will learn it in the same way a "typical hearing" child does, through exposure and modeling. We use ST (more accuratly auditory-verbal therapy) for this since we are an ASL home. We believe that tonuge placement, mirror work, and hands on throat stuff crosses the line. It was a hard decision to do speech at all, but we set up ahead of time our thoughts and expectations and this ONE therapist was very understanding, and we are taking things one session at a time. Most of the kids my DD goes to school with are unaided, she is the only one in her class who does any speech at all.
post #7 of 15
My 3-year old is in speech because he hardly had any consonants at 3. They mostly just play, and focus on certain sets of words to work on. So, in the beginning, they'd work on initial lip sounds - like m's, p's at the beginning of the word. Now he's working on those lip sounds in the middle and the end of words, and try to get him to not drop those consonants. They start at the lips and then work back in the mouth for the more complex consonant sounds. I don't know what all the mirror/throat talk is about....he doesn't do anything like that...just practices the words with his therapist. He LOVES her, so it works out great.
post #8 of 15
I think to myself or voice to DH about once every 10 days to 2 weeks that I'm pulling little guy out of speech therapy for whatever reason that pops into my head at the moment.... but we stick with it, After some steam blow off, I do think in the long run it is the best for him.

Our little guy has hearing loss, is aided in both ears, has swallow difficulties and they are working with feeding therapy too. We go to the center 1x a week for 1 hour and 1 day a wk for 1 hr into the school system to work with the speech teacher there. He just turned 4 and has been in the center since about 2.5 and the school when he turned 3.

One thing you could do is go in for an evaluation, have them give you a list of the sounds that are there and the ones that your child has not mastered yet so you can concentrate more so on specifics that need work. Tell them up front that you are not wanting therapy per say, that you would like to work with your son at home but you want him to be monitored with evaluations so that you have an ubiased opinion on how well he is doing and if the articulation does not progress with what you are doing that you do want him in a scheduled therapy. .... what you are trying to ask for, however you decide to word it, is an intial eval and then a 3 or 6 month eval that you can compare to see what progress has been made and decide from that if what you have been doing is working or not.

One thing that the therapist does with our guy that I would of had no idea of how to do is different mouth and face exercises that are designed to strengthen muscles, they are actual hands on type, we put our hands on his face and manipulate his face into silly positions.

When I really sit back and look at what she actually does with him during that 1 hour time, it's not much but the most important thing that she does is teaches me how to teach him. She really only introduces him to the different concepts and I'm the one taking that infomation home and really working with him to master the sounds.
post #9 of 15
Same as lightheart, our ST is more about me learning the techniques on how to work with dd's speech delay (she had glue ear which seems to be clear now, but at almost 3 she is probably at 2yr old level). We don't have regular sessions, only every few months or so to see where we're at.

What I do is engage her in play and repeat the word and rephrase it in a sentence over and over and she often will now attempt it - it's got to be fun, and she needs to be into it at the time for her to want to attempt it though have noticed. Like the duck example given above. I just need to remember to do that more frequently rather than just talking at a higher level of speech, and really need to simplify my language and words so she is more likely to grasp what I'm saying.

THere was a website someone posted on the speech delay thread in the tribe forum (ages back), so will see if I can find it and I think it has a lot of ST type things to do which are what we do. I felt they weren't relevant to me at the time since dd couldn't hear so I didn't see progress, but now she can and just has a lot of catching up and retraining of herself to speak since she can yet is still in the habit of whining or screaming for something.
post #10 of 15
When ST was working on articulation with DS, she tried to identify patterns to his issues (apparently he was unusually difficult to pin down in this regard) so she could focus on those sounds/combinations of sounds.

She also provided ideas of "games" that would help. For example, sucking thick things like yogurt threw a straw, blowing cotton balls around through a straw, etc.

She also gave us suggestions like putting together a picture book of target words to read to DS.

Overall, I thought it was helpful for us.
post #11 of 15
My DS2 is in ST. His seems to be a bit more structured than what a lot of these people are saying. In the first couple of months it was a lot more play, as the ST got to know him and he got to know her.

But now it is go in the room, sit in his chair. He gets to pick out a "toy" as his reward. (We will using the fishing game from FP for this example.) As ST takes the game pieces out, she gets him to say the name of the item or the color (ie boat, blue or even blue boat), if he tries it gets put on the chair/desk next to him. After they are all out, she dumps the fish on the floor. She has a box of cards (for instance one card is a banana - she shows him the card, right n ow they are working on getting him to say "nana", or a picture of a horse neying, and trying to get him to say "ney ney", a picture of grandpa and say "paw paw"). She shows him two pictures and let's him pick out which picture he wants to try to say. Then she works on getting him to try to say it right. They start with not always the correct sounds but a simulation of the word, like nana for banana, then work forward till they get the full banana; and paw paw for papa and ma ma for mama).

There are a lot of cues the ST teaches them in the early days that are continued forward as therapy goes on, including new cues being learned.

We go 1x/wk for 30 minutes to one on one ST and he is also in an early intervention toddler group program with a one on one once a month with a different st.
post #12 of 15
I think it really depends on where your child is, developmentally. They really seem to be trying for the 'next step' in communication, in general.
post #13 of 15
It absolutely depends on what sounds your child is having trouble articulating and whether there are any other communication issues. While it may look like they're just "playing" at speech therapy, the SLP will have planned very carefully what materials they use and how she plans to use them to elicit helpful speech productions in your DS. While good language input at home is very important, speech therapy will help him develop sounds that he doesn't have or is producing incorrectly, something that is very difficult to recognize and target if you don't have a background in the area. At the very least you should consider getting him evaluated so you'll have a more detailed idea of what his specific communication difficulties are. Then you can think about it and decide from there. PM me if you need any more info, I have a background in this area and am happy to help if you need anything!
post #14 of 15
First a disclaimer:

There are good speech therapists and there are lousy speech therapists, just like in any other profession. And while a large number of children are helped by speech therapy, not everyone is.

That being said, I would at least try speech therapy.

As the pp said, speech therapists have specialized knowledge about language, developmental patterns and activities that can help a child improve speech. They should also give you things to work on at home.

Let's say, for example, that your child is hard to understand because s/he never adds any consonants on to the ends of words. That's very common for kids under 2 or 2 1/2. But for a 4-5 year old, that's not. A speech therapist can assess which sounds/sound combinations are missing and the begin to target those. So, in my hypothetical example they would probably start by seeing if they could get the child to add any consontants, and then work on sounds like 'n' or 't', and leave sounds like 's' for later.

It might be that they seem like their playing games, but if you look at the games they are targeted to specific sounds or constructions. So, they may blow bubbles to get a child to strengthen mouth muscles. Or they may play games where the child has to ask questions in order to work on question formation. For adults, they might actually 'drill' sounds, but for a child that's not going to be effective since children don't learn that way. So, instead they'll play 'games' where the child is asked to use/try sounds (or constructions) they are having trouble with.

Ideally, the ST and the family work as a team, with the ST explaining what they're working on and giving the family suggestions of things to work. An hour or two a week alone isn't going to give a child everything they need. But a good ST can coordinate and map out the next steps or goals.
post #15 of 15
We have had very positive experiences with speech therapy. Our oldest started at age 3 and, at age 5, is about to "graduate." It has worked WONDERS for him. I concur w/ pp's who say they play games, etc. We even have homework.

Child #2 just started speech at age 3, and we are already seeing many changes. I can't say enough good things about it!

If you want to look into options other than private, look at your school system. We have had great success through our school system and get speech for free!
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