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Children with speech delays??

Granddaughter is five. She did not say a word until she turned 3. Doctors say that there is speech delay due to her having so many ear troubles. She's had tubes put in and replaced. She's had her tonsils and adenoids out, of one which (I can't remember which) grew back, so had to be removed yet again. So, needless to say she is very difficult to understand. She has been going to speech since 3 and will continue even in Kindergarten this year.

The problem is, she has begun to get very self conscious about it. This worries me. She seems to be getting frustrated now when you can't understand her and have to ask her to repeat herself. I don't want this to upset her or make her ashamed. So, we have switched to saying, "I can't understand you" to "I didn't hear you, can you repeat what you said". We've been trying to tell her, it's not always what she says, but that she isn't loud enough for us to hear.

So, moms with this issue, is this the best way to handle it? Or is there something else we can do?


Asked by m-avi at 2:50 AM on Jun. 16, 2013 in Special Needs

Level 49 (333,910 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • Other than that you can just be as understanding as you can be. Also if she repeats the word and you still can't understand it... ask her if she can describe it in another way. That has been so helpful for my son. It has really built his vocabulary and is helping him learn to solve problems. We have also found that if we read him stories or sing him songs that he knows, he is happy to read or sing along. It helps him with the breath control too because he is having to take a deep breath to say the whole line. And he wants to because he knows the words.

    Big hugs! Good luck!

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 3:17 AM on Jun. 16, 2013

  • My youngest is in speech therapy and is also going into kindergarten. Our speech therapist suggested some breathing exercises to help build his lungs so he has enough air for each sentence. I looked up a list online and these are the activities.

    "SLPs can help individuals improve breath support and control through a variety of activities. Different breathing skills include: increasing one’s awareness of breath; taking bigger breaths; keeping a steady breath when speaking; and using a louder volume. Some activities to practice breathing are: blowing exercises —blowing a feather across a table; blowing a pinwheel; blowing bubbles; speech exercises —holding out vowel sounds (e.g., “eeee...”); singing songs (e.g., Happy Birthday ); and functional exercises —relaxing and breathing deeper (“belly” breathing); blowing a whistle; blowing up a balloon.




    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 3:14 AM on Jun. 16, 2013

  • Also praise her when she uses good breath control and when you understand what she says. Really tell her what a good job she is doing with her speech. Praise is a really good incentive for working hard.

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 3:20 AM on Jun. 16, 2013

  • I am trying to figure out what I can do for her to her. My dd also has a speech delay, and it very hard to understand her either. She will be playing with some friends of hers, but they end up leaving because they can't understand her either. And it breaks my heart to see her get so upset and doesn't understand why they left. Hell typing this comment and I start crying. Damn it..

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 3:24 AM on Jun. 16, 2013

  • I've found it very helpful to acknowledge (verbally) what's happening at those times: acknowledge how it seems frustrating/upsetting to her for me not to understand/hear. Or when the feelings are big/strong, acknowledge what's happening on my end: "I wish I could have understood you" or "I wish I knew what you were saying the first time." My twins did not have a diagnosed speech delay, but they definitely experienced frustration with 1) us not understanding and 2) having to repeat something in order to be heard or understood. There were times when I was trying my HARDEST (very focused on listening), yet I could not immediately understand. This sometimes was SO frustrating & upsetting to the little guys.
    I described the scenarios to my therapist (he's a psychologist & his wife is a SLP, lol) and he said something like "If you weren't already doing it, that's exactly what I'd suggest." He articulated the underlying dynamic as

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:28 AM on Jun. 16, 2013

  • (cont.)
    being about connection. He pointed out how all communication is about connecting, and that when I acknowledged the frustration or disappointment around NOT connecting as well/easily as they wanted, I intuitively was addressing the most painful part of the situation: feeling disconnected. Connecting over how it's hard not to feel connected helps to connect you.

    The response also helped to keep my own tension or anxiety (and frustration) from escalating. It helps, by default, to "normalize" the situation of the child experiencing frustration (or shame, self-blame) for the adult, so the adult doesn't react too intensely to the possibility that the child may FEEL those things, and respond by trying to avoid that (as if it's too awful a possibility.) Acknowledging that a child feels wrong or "defective" & joining with her in that self-doubt is more constructive than anxiety-fueled attempts to avoid the possibility of it.

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:34 AM on Jun. 16, 2013

  • My youngest has finished speech therapy, but he will still sometimes not be clear. I find if I just address it simply and not as though it's his fault or mine, it works best. I usually just say, "I didn't catch all that. Can you please repeat it for me?" If it was really bad and I'm concerned he'll do it the same way, I'll ask him to take a deep breath and then repeat it. He's reached a point now where he doesn't get irritated anymore if we don't understand him, but when he did get frustrated, I would just tell him that I knew he was annoyed that I didn't understand him and I was sorry, but we just had to keep working on it. I'd ask him to be patient with me like I was being patient with him, and we'd get through it together.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 7:53 AM on Jun. 16, 2013

  • Thank you ladies. I will pass these all on to my daughter as well.

    Comment by m-avi (original poster) at 1:09 PM on Jun. 16, 2013