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Speech Therapy advice...

Posted by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:09 AM
  • 21 Replies

Okay, my two stepsons are enrolled in speech therapy because they weren't talking by the time they were one. They only knew a few words like "mommy" and "daddy". That apparently wasn't enough for thier mother. They have been enrolled in speech therapy for about a year now and they still do not talk much. They have started using Sign Language more to communicate. There is nothing wrong with thier hearing or anything cause that has been checked. I think they just choose to use sign language more because its easier then trying to say the word. Thier mother has said she is not very thrilled about that but continues to have them go there.

This is where i need advice. Would you stop taking the kids to speech therapy if they were relying more on hand communication then actually trying to speak? Or would you change therapist and ask that they dont use sign language and concentrate on using words and sounds to help the kids actually be able to learn and speek more??

I've discussed this with thier father and he is agreed that they should either be taken out of therapy or the therapist should stop using sign language so that they kids are encouraged more to speek and use thier voices rather then thier hands.

I am just wondering what other moms would think about this.

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:09 AM
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by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:12 AM

Personally my son was in speech therapy and he is only 17 months. But he was born at 26 weeks premature. We stoped going b/c it wasnt helping him. And he still doesnt talk, or making really any babbling at all. I think if he's going to talk its going to be on his own terms not mine.

I'm all about vaccinations, pro-choice, public schools, anti spanking, firm believer in a non-universal health care, breast-feeding, march of dimes, anti-daycare, tattoos, circumcising, and the work of unions. I'm a mother to a beautiful boy who was born at 3 months early, as well as a SHAM! And a wife to a communication worker!

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:15 AM

Well sometimes if the children are having a hard time forming words, the therapist will teach them a signal first, and then have them associate the word with the signal, but then the need to be moving on from that.  My son has been in speech therapy for a while, but he was not in that signal phase for that long.  I would tell your DH to speak with the therapist about it and find out why it is they are still using sign language.  If he's not happy w/her reasoning, I would switch therapists.  And I would be adament about it.


by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:17 AM

Speech therapy did wonders for my daughter. She is developmentally delayed and, yes, at first it did nothing but after she got a few signs down she took off! I think you should ask the speech therapist to no longer enforce signs and make the boys vocalize....they should have been doing this already anyway so maybe a whole new therapist is in order!! It does help so PLEASE be patient with them, they will talk and no, it isn't gonna be "whenever they are ready" that is BS!! 

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:23 AM

Thank you all for the input. I know speech therapy can help we are just concerned that they have been in it for so long and still haven't moved on from the signals. The only problem that i forsee is trying to get thier mother to give thier father the therapist information. She isn't very cooperative at all even though that information is something that he should have as well. Should he not like the reasoning the therapist gives him, it will be very hard for him to get her to switch or stop taking them.

I appreciate the advice from all of you. It gives us options to consider. From working in a daycare i've seen how speech therapy helps but also how it hinders in some. Personally i'm thinking a new therapist -one that will concentrate on words from now on- is in order.

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 8:01 AM

sighs... why do parents believe a child would rather sign than use words?

if the children aren't talking... they need to see a developmental pediatrician to see if they have autism.. or m.r.

and don't tell me you know they don't have those issues... you are convinced sign language is what is preventing them from talking. when infact.. it helps with the development of speech.

and... unless your a developmental ped.. you don't know.

it's the kids.. there is a problem and some of you are ignoring it.



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by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 8:49 AM

Are they twins? Does she not realize that twins often have their own language and won't be understandable to a lot of people? When they start school, they will learn. All the twins (and oddly enough, I know a lot of people with twins!) have had the same problem.

I see absollutely nothing wrong with sign lanugage. Children who learn to speak two languages do much better in life.

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 9:02 AM

I'd rather talk to my children in any form then pushing for only speech. If signing works for now, they can sign and push for speech.

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 9:53 AM

If they are responding to the sign language therapy, and they are not speaking verbally AT ALL, then there may be something developmentally wrong with the children.  My son (just turned 2 in November) has had his therapist since birth. He originally had her for feeding therapy. But, he speaks many words (in english and DH's language) and even 3 word sentences. If it wasnt for his birth defect, he wouldnt even need the service anymore.

I would maybe speak with the therapist and ask her why there is no improvement and if she feels the kids need further therapy ( the have different therapists for different issues). Has he had an re- evaluation? The Early Intervention should be doing them every 6 months. If he hasnt had one, have dad request one.  

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 10:06 AM

My goddaughter and her twin sister (preemies BTW) were in the early intervention program for speech and they were encouraged to use signs.  The speech did come but in the meantime, their frustration level was lessened as they were able to communicate.  They are now 8 yrs old and completely fine.  I also agree with a PP who said they should be screened for autism.  I would want that ruled out if possible.  If they do have autism or are somewhere on the spectrum, the earlier they can be treated, the more hope they have for becoming fully functioning adults.  It's not something anyone should put off.  My son is 17 mos and only has a handful of words he says (dog, cat, yeah, okay) and dh and I were just talking last night about how we want to make sure he is doing okay with that.  I don't want him to be like my friend's son who was 11 before he got diagnosed and had all sorts of problems leading up to that which could have been avoided.

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Using sign language as a way to reinforce verbal communication is a valid form of speech therapy.  Children this young are kinesthetic learners and the signs help them to form mental connections to the sounds they are trying to make.  My son recently went through speech therapy (from 18 mos to 24 mos) and he still uses some of the signs, but he now uses the words as well.

I agree with some of the other responses;  if they still aren't speaking they may need a more thorough developmental evaluation.

I think the first step would be to talk to the speech therapist about your concerns and find out what goals the therapist has for the children and see what progress has been made towards these goals.  You could also talk to your stepsons' pediatrician and get his/her opinion. 




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