Speech Therapy Issues?

Amber - posted on 11/16/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )

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I have a 28 month old son that was a 9 week preemie, only child, that stays at home with me. So his being slightly speech delayed didn't quite surprise me. He has always done things at his own pace from smiling to crawling to walking late, too. I thought that I should put him in Speech Therapy regardless as it could do nothing but help him in the long run.



Three weeks into therapy she conveyed that his speech patterns were "disconcerting" and his refusal to mimic her with sounds of letters or words was concerning. He speaks 50-70 words very well and has a few "phrases" but none of the words are interchangeable (IE "want wa-wa" but doesn't want anything else, "here you go" but cars don't go, trucks don't go..ect). He says new words all the time and I thought therapy was going quite well before she brought that up. When I asked where the type of issue he was having was usually seen (apraxia, APD, ect) she said "in the autism spectrum" and that he learns word with one meaning and stays very rigid with them and that is "atypical".



I contacted some college friends that specialized in the disorder and my child doesn't have ANY of the red flags for autism (eye contact fine, imaginative play, no stimming, very affectionate, no markers on the CHAT assessment) that would be worrisome aside from the language delay that is obviously, in some way, unique. I am at a loss! I figured he was just a late bloomer that needed a little help and now I am in a full blown panic that he has some type of learning disability that even the speech pathologist can't identify-and she came with the highest recommendation in a very large city, the best of the best-and I am losing sleep over it.



I wouldn't mind if he did or didn't, I just want to get him the best help possible and am just very worried. Has anyone else been through this? Or has any idea of what it could be?



Thank you for your time, I know this was long.

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Melany - posted on 11/30/2012

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Glad to hear that you talked to your speech therapist. As a mother with a high functioning autistic son, I just want to recommend that you take your son to see a developmental pediatrician and your local public education building for assessment. At his age, they can actually diagnose if he has it or not. It will settle the thought in your head and also if he happens to be diagnosed with a form of autism than you will be seeking treatment early and it would be a blessing. Most kids, especially that are high functioning wont be diagnosed until they are in 4th or 5th grade and change is difficult..so as a mother is who has a 4 year old boy who is extremely intelligent but diagnosed as high functioning autistic...I truly recommend testing him and I wish you the best. Contact me anytime if you have any questions.

[deleted account]

Well I wouldn't say I know a lot about it, but I do have a 4 year old in speech therapy. Since the speech was the only problem she's ever had I asked the therapist why she thought it might have happened, and what she told me is there are theories but no sure way to tell. Maybe we didn't talk around her much, or maybe it's just because she's our first, and since I'm dyslexic we thought that might be why, but she has none of the other indicators for dyslexia. Bottom line I think you should try hard not to worry too much. He's only 28 months and perfect speech isn't a requirement yet, plus you're doing the best thing you can already. It's possible it's just a quirk that has come about because of his delay, and perhaps over time it will disappear. I'm sure she's an excellent therapist, but it's possible she's not 100% sure what the issue is, so unless she has suggestions for working on it, I think a professional in the field of autism is going to understand it better. Good luck to you and your son, try to be patient and hang in there and not worry yourself too badly. You're doing great!

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Sophia - posted on 01/19/2013

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This is out of love... family and friends are the last people to ask about red flags. It may not be autism . lets agree he has some delays.... get a good assessment of him over all. put him in a daycare for children with delays. my husband never saw anything wrong with our son and my family and friends told me not to worry. thank god I did worry. he start to talk really well at 4 years old. still gets speech ,ot and pt. speech is now more for social skills he miss out on due to speech delays. doing well in school.. really well. god bless

Sarah - posted on 12/04/2012

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My son was 4 weeks preemie. He is my first and is also in speech therapy. He was not late on anything else. Rolled over at 3 weeks, sat up at about 3-4 months, crawled by 6 months and walked by 10 months. He was moving forward fast, except for his speech. He has been in speech for 6 months now. He is almost 2 and a half. He only had about 15 words when he started at about 20 months old. He did not have a double meaning for words as you were saying about your son. He now has a whole array of words. He also now has double meanings for words. He is also trying to make 3 and 4 word phrases. He is at the point that it is the articulation part of speech that he needs the therapy for. So we are now changing gear with his therapist to start the articulation. Don't worry so much about what the therapist said. I am glad you were able to have a calm conversation with her and really understand what was being said. I bet your son will be talking up a storm in no time.

Kimberly - posted on 12/01/2012

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My daughter was 8 weeks preemie and went to speech therapy too. Like your son, my daughter also took her time with things. I know it's very stressful, but seriously, give him some time. They say by age 3, 9-8 week preemies are close to catching up or have caught up to other kids their actual age. My daughter is 3 1/2 and is talking better than her cousin who is the same age and was full term. I know 3 years old seems like so far away, but give him some time. You know him better than anyone else. Trust your insticts. If your instincts say something is wrong, get a second opinion, if your instincts say he's fine, then he probably is. Also, more play dates and day care really helped my daughter learn to communicate a lot faster, just more interaction with young kids in general.

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Glad to hear that you're more settled in your situation, it is very stressful when you don't know what's wrong. Good luck with everything, I'm sure he will do great with all the help and the hard work you're putting in.

Amber - posted on 11/20/2012

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Thank you so much ladies, for the words of encouragement. I had a much calmer talk with her and there is specific rigidity to his speech that denotes Semantic Pragmatic Language Disorder. This can mean he has Semantic Pragmatic Disorder which is very high functioning autism (some do not even think it is in the spectrum since the autistic features are so mild) and he does have markers for it but as they are so different from "classic autism" and he is my first child, I just never saw them. For now we are just chugging along in speech and now that I know what it is (the language disorder not an overall diagnosis) I am working with him differently and using pictures and heavy repetition and positive reinforcement since they memorize as opposed to "learning" new words! It really has been helping!

Seija - posted on 11/19/2012

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All respect to your speech therapist, but autism isn't diagnosed on speech alone. The other symptoms are quite important. If you are concerned about it, see an autism specialist. There are plenty of children with ASD that did not have any speech delays. If he has none of the other markers, I don't think that you would get a diagnosis. It may just be that he has a speech delay. Good luck.

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