Does speech therapy work? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 03-04-2010, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Mine's had two sessions so far and she's doing exactly what I do: play and narrate/label. Jury's still out as to whether he can't talk or doesn't want to (he's 27 months and has about 20-25 words) but I just wanted to get a sense of whether the therapy seems to have worked for others in general.
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#2 of 15 Old 03-04-2010, 03:41 PM
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As the therapist gets to know your son more, there will be some more suggestions. Dh gets frustrated because a lot of the suggestions we've gotten recently have been "annuciate clearly the things ds says" and "continue to lable things clearly." But ds is now 3, started at 16 months (when he had zero sounds or words.) He's now being evaluated by the school system (aging out of EI) and probably won't get in because it's "just" an articulation problem at this point.

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#3 of 15 Old 03-04-2010, 03:42 PM
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YES! It works! DD1 went from only saying, "that", "dad", "no" at 24 months, to talking in paragraphs, with the verbal maturity of a 5 year old, in about 5 months. The speech therapist may look like they are doing "just what you do" which is what I thought, but in reality what they are doing is much more directed, focused, and specialized than you think. The play/narrate/lable has purpose and's not random.

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#4 of 15 Old 03-04-2010, 03:43 PM
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If it's a speech issue that responds well to therapy and you have a good therapist, then yes, speech therapy is a wonderful thing. Obviously, in the case of a misdiagnosis or someone who just isn't very skilled, like in any other medical situation, you won't get the results you're looking for.

So my answer is an unqualified "it depends."

It sounds like maybe you don't have a diagnosis yet, though?

If so, then that's what they're working on right now, and that process is going to go differently than speech therapy that's working on a known diagnosis and with a specific treatment plan in place. It took us several months of evaluations with three different places before we got a specific diagnosis. (Granted, if we had gone to the last place first, the whole thing would have gone much faster, but you can only start with the information you have at the time, you know?)

Once we had a diagnosis and they had a good sense of how to work with ds, speech went very well. Those components needed to be in place first, though.
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#5 of 15 Old 03-04-2010, 03:48 PM
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You might want to pose this question in the Special Needs board, where a lot of parents have experience with Speech Therapy.

In the first couple of sessions, a speech therapist is often getting to know the child, seeing what 'works' with the child and what they can do. And good therapy will look like play, but the therapist will have a purpose. She might be seeing if he can link the words she uses with the toys she's brought, she might be seeing if he'll imitate sounds.

That being said, if what he/she is doing isn't clear to you -- ask! They should be able to tell you what they're doing and why. After a few weeks, they should also be giving you tips for things at home. The best speech therapy is a collaboration between the therapist and the parents.

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#6 of 15 Old 03-04-2010, 06:55 PM
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My daughter's been in speech therapy since about 15 months. I think you've gotten a lot of great responses already, but I wanted to add that, like anything else I guess, there are good speech therapists and there are not-so-good ones. It makes a HUGE difference. I would have had no way of evaluating that when we were first in the process. I used the recommendations of parents I know locally who have kids who have had speech therapy to find someone while we waited for EI to start. It turned out the therapist we payed for privately was worth every penny; the one we saw through the local EI program was very inexperienced and not helpful.
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#7 of 15 Old 03-04-2010, 07:44 PM
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IDK. My DS had zero words till he was 20 months and at 22-24 months maybe a half dozen or so (mama, no, dad... thats all I remember, really). Right around 24 months his vocab exploded - seriously. Within a couple months he was in short sentences and now at nearly 3 people tell me he talks VERY well. One of his friends started speech therapy ~ 19 months and has also blossomed since then. But whether it was the therapy that helped him or whether he was just finally read, IDK. I do know that *my* son had zero words at 18-20+ months and is now completely fine and we *DIDN'T* do any therapy.
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#8 of 15 Old 03-04-2010, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, y'all. I'm a research freak so my brain's been on Worst-Case Scenario Red Alert lately. He's in therapy and I'm going to start with omega-3 supplements this weekend and his hearing screen is tomorrow so it's not like I'm not doing anything about it, but I've never done that patience thing well at all and I just want to know what's going on with him like yesterday.

The thing that worries me about the therapist he was assigned was that she's really young/inexperienced. She just graduated college in '08. I dunno. I'll give her some time. He has a total crush on her, so that's worth something, I suppose, but I'd like her to be competent too. We shall see!
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#9 of 15 Old 03-07-2010, 04:50 PM
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I would trust a speech therapist who graduated in '08. Or I wouldn't not trust them just because they just graduated! They have lots and lots of hands-on time clinic time before they graduate, and in most cases will have been exposed to recent research. I had to do two speech therapy clinics (where I was the student speech therapist) for my audiology degree, and we saw results after one semester, even from a non-speechy like me! (I was motivated to do my best, but speech therapy wasn't my passion, if that makes sense. So someone who actually wants to be a speech therapist will probably do even better!!)

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#10 of 15 Old 03-07-2010, 04:57 PM
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Uhhh what? I would hope speech therapy works, or I wouldn't be doing what I do! I'm a speech therapist and see lots of kids and they do improve. We base our approaches on evidenced based practices and proven scientific methods and try to fit our therapy sessions to the child. The fact that DS is crushing on the SLP is great, that means she'll be able to get him to do things that are challenging. Good luck!!
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#11 of 15 Old 03-07-2010, 06:44 PM
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I agree that when it's needed, it works.

I do also believe that a LOT of kids who are getting speech therapy don't really need it. Parents will do it because they're worried and because it certainly won't harm the kids, but like mamadelbosque says, there are SO many kids out there who blossom on their own just fine, just on a later schedule than what is bandied about as 'normal'.

Personally, I think that it's not the kids that are "late", it's that the idea of "normal" is mis-represented. The guidelines for how many words at what age, etc.

There ARE cases where there is a legitimate speech development issue that needs assistance, but if you think about it, would it make sense (say, evolutionarily speaking), that such a large percentage of human children would need professional help in learning how to talk?

There needs to be assessment done, for sure, to identify the legitimate issues, but it needs to be MUCH more than just "how many words by what age". My impression has been that there's a lot of kids in speech therapy at 20, 18, 15 months old for no other reason other than their parents have friends with a kid the same age who talks a lot more than their kid, or because some doctor looked at some chart and said "if she doesn't have 12 words by next month we're getting her into speech therapy".

And there are ladies like dutchgal who are therapists who are sincerely trying to help the kids who need it. I'm assuming that they also tell parents who are just paranoid or misled, that their child is fine and doesn't need any therapy. I'm also sure that there are therapists who will take on any child whose parents ask for therapy, whether or not they need it -- because 1) it doesn't hurt the child and 2) the therapist needs the work, after all. So this could, perhaps, artificially inflate the apparent number of kids who 'need' it... because the child will develop their words, the parents will be satisfied, and it will go on the records as another child 'helped' by speech therapy.

Honestly, I think this is unfair to the kids who actually DO need and benefit from therapy.

Anyway, I don't have the research and numbers to back this up, this is all just my impression, what I've seen from anecdotal stories... "Oh, my child started therapy at 20mo with only 6 words and by 24mo she was speaking in full sentences!" Yah, well, that's a pretty common thing to happen without therapy too. So I'd actually be very curious to see what the evidence-based research shows, as to the actual difference between kids who get speech therapy and those who don't, among a normal population. How many of the kids in speech therapy these days honestly need it, and how many are there from misconceptions of what is 'normal'?

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#12 of 15 Old 03-07-2010, 08:20 PM
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I hope so! Wyatt's speech therapist starts tomorrow morning. But I'm expecting my own influence to be more important than that of the speech therapist. I highly recommend a book called Communicating Partners. If you read it and follow its advice, it will empower you but also make you relax and have fun with the whole late talker thing. Having fun exchanges back and forth with your kid as much as possible is the best way to build a foundation for speech. That's because conversation is much more than just words. It's connectedness, turn taking and reading nonverbal cues. It's feeling motivated to be with people. Words are important, but they need a strong foundation, and then they will come.

Jennifer - mother to Wyatt (Feb 2008)
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#13 of 15 Old 03-07-2010, 08:26 PM
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.Glad to read this thread. It's not like I ever thought speech therapy doesn't work, but I have this fear that maybe with my particular DS, it will take a really long time to see much difference, or yeah, he'll forever be hard to understand. Maybe that's a normal concern, even if it is unjustified.

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#14 of 15 Old 03-07-2010, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bluejaunte View Post
Mine's had two sessions so far and she's doing exactly what I do: play and narrate/label. Jury's still out as to whether he can't talk or doesn't want to (he's 27 months and has about 20-25 words) but I just wanted to get a sense of whether the therapy seems to have worked for others in general.
I have no idea. DD is on her 3rd or 4th visit and there has been no change. The therapist does exactly what I do with her all day. I'm really trying to see how it would increase her verbal abilities when the therapist does it, but not me. I don't really like her therapist though and she's repeatedly said this is her last year and she's not doing some things the way the agency wants her too...

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#15 of 15 Old 03-08-2010, 12:33 AM
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Speech therapy takes time, just like all other therapies. You also need a good therapist, just like all other therapies! Think about OT or PT. How much result do you expect after a few visits?

The first visit is usually an evaluation, not an actual therapy session. Depending on the child an evaluation may take multiple sessions. And speech therapy can be speech as well as language, two very different things.

Talk to your therapist. Ask her what she is doing in the sessions. What is the goal? How can you help your child at home? Is there anything else she recommends? Does he need to be seen more often?
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