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phonological awareness issues?

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Does anyone know about resources or things I can do at home regarding phonological awareness? DD3 has been in speech therapy or over a year and was tested again this week. The results came back her having apraxia-like tendencies (or mild apraxia) and phonological awareness disorder. I'm going to talk to her therapist this morning, but I figured someone here has dealt with this and has experience on what works at home.

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We get PROMPT therapy for the apraxia, and the therapist has everyone work through Earobics. 3 is a bit young to start Earobics. I think they usually say 4. Ds was shy of 4 by a bit. You end up doing the mousing for them (which is fine), but they do need to sit on your lap and receive sensory input (jiggling, etc.) to stay focused.


Does she hear rhyming? My ds is hearing rhyming more dependably now, but he didn't for a long time. What are you using to teach your oldest to read? You want to use something OG-based for your 3 yo. If you are using an OG-based method (AAS, SWR, WRTR, Barton, whatever) with your oldest, then you understand how to trickle it down to your younger. With my ds we've done some letter of the week work using MFW and AAR pre. AAR pre really isn't set up in the right order for a dc with apraxia, but the materials themselves are cute. So essentially we do the pages for the letter from the AAR pre materials, do MFW activities and books, do kinesthetic activities for the letter while saying the sounds, etc.


I teach *all* the letter sounds upfront. Some kids can handle that, some can't. He can handle 2-3 sounds but struggles if it's a letter with lots of sounds. There is a school of thought that says with kids prone to dyslexia you shouldn't teach all the sounds upfront. I wouldn't say my ds *understands* them. However he has phenomenal auditory recall, so I figure I might as well put it all in now and sort out the application stuff later. He's 4.5 now, almost 5, so we do some basic ungluing of words using SWR techniques. I LOVE using the jumbo bananagrams with him. SO many ways to use those! You can hop on them, select letters from them, build words, etc. etc.


Btw, just so you know, apraxia in girls is extremely uncommon. 90% of the kids our therapist sees (she only does apraxia and feeding disorders) are boys. There can be CAPD going on there.


Our therapist strictly warned us not to work on any sounds/letters that ds could not say accurately. You'll frustrated them AND reinforce incorrect motor control. You may need to rearrange anything you buy to work with that. You can teach the letter *sounds* and skip the letter *names* for a while. So you give her an array of 3 jumbo banangram letters and say "point to the letter that says /h/" Good! See, no one had to say /Ach/ that way. /ch/ (in the letter name for H) requires rounding and is very hard to form correctly. We've been working on /sh/, /ch/, and /j/ for 6 months now. So you can see how you need to skip letter names she can't say accurately and only reinforce things she can.


Honestly though, at age 3 phonemic awareness wasn't our biggest problem. Our biggest problem was just the basic apraxia (rounding, jaw stability, tongue protrusion, ability to go front to back, picking jaw up, things like that). They're still KIDS with a developmental timetable, kwim? There are some phonemic awareness charts online (google or find the thread here on the board with links) with age recommendations. At this point you're hoping for really basic stuff. I used to do things like our "tricking" game, where I would take the sound we were working on in ST and try to "trick" him and see if he could hear it or not. So if we were working on /m/, then I'd give him some words that start with /m/ and some that didn't. He'd reply yes or no. So there he's just listening for *1* letter, a letter he's able to say, and he's listening for it in initial position. You have initial, medial (middle) and final. Obviously the latter are harder. So you start with REALLY SIMPLE games like that. And we'd just squeeze it in here or there, while dressing, brushing teeth, loading into the car, etc. We still play the tricking game, but now it's more sophisticated, with minimal differences pairs. So we'll work on sham/sam, shoe/Sue, that sort of thing.

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Hi :)


My son had problems with phonological processing (the term they used) and articulation. He didn't have apraxia or if he did it was very mild... He did have problems moving his tongue.


I never got far "teaching" my son at home but could support his speech therapy. He heard sets of sounds as the same sound and I could not help that directly.


For him he liked story books with lots of clear pictures. I needed to read slow and clear and sometimes explain pictures. I think lots of reading to him in a patient way with explanations really helped him. It was hard to find books appropriate for him but if you can summarize pages instead of reading them, that can help.


More traditional advice helped when he was older and had gotten farther in speech therapy (like age 6-7 but he was not in effective speech therapy for a little while). That is: read rhyming books and emphasize the rhymes.


If you google "phonemic awareness" pre-school programs came up. These are great for many kids but always too hard (inappropriate) for my son. If these work -- awesome. There is a book people have said Susan Barton recommends, I don't remember the name, though.


There is also a program called Lips. It uses a multi sensory approach for teaching sounds. This kind of teaching is what helped my son in speech therapy but they did not use this curriculum, just similar things. I would not do it separate from speech therapy if speech therapy is working, though.


This is very early to think about -- but this is a possible red flag for dyslexia later on. Phonemic awareness is foundational for reading and phonological awareness is foundational for that (I think). Dyslexia has to do with a weakness in phonemic awareness. So dyslexia programs are very strong in teaching phonemic awareness. If the pre-school stuff is too hard or not clicking, then that is the way to go. But having problems with phonological doesn't mean you would have problems with phonemic awareness, just something to be aware of.


In the short term though I think if you can observe speech sometimes and informally model some of the same stuff, that is good. Then I think usual language development stuff is really good. Try to be at her level for talking and talk slow and let her see your mouth, etc. For my son it took a while to get better at hearing sounds and associating them with his speech sounds, and in the meantime talking slow, a lot of reading and talking, and a lot of patience were good.


Not sure if they are similar kids, though. Some kids would hear the sounds fine and tell them apart fine, my son could not and that is what was implied when they said "phonological processes" but I don't think it has to mean that. It might not mean that for her.


Edit: if you read The Mislabelled Child they have a little checklist talking about whether it is motor control that is a problem or not hearing sounds. My son was "ding ding ding" for not hearing sounds but also had some things like motor control. But it could be much more motor control for your child -- apraxia means motor control I think. My son was more -- Not hearing some sounds and then they were not used in his speech and some he never said and then was unpromptable -- but he was not hearing them distinctly in the first place. Phonological implies there is some of that going on (to me since that is what my son had).

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Just to be clear, PROMPT is not prompting. Many therapists do prompting.


PROMPT is an acronym for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Motor Phonemic Targets. The PROMPT system is described as one which utilizes tactile cues of pressure, place, and timing to promote and enhance effective neuro-muscular innervation and coordination for the learning and integration of motor-speech behaviours (Chumpelik, (Hayden), D. A., The Prompt System: Theoretical Framework and Applications for Developmental Apraxia of Speech, 1981.)


My ds has been in PROMPT therapy since he was 2 for moderate verbal apraxia. He now has all his sounds during ST sessions and we're working to get automaticity. He may be done, totally done, with therapy when he turns 5 this fall. That's astounding and unheard of for traditional therapy. To get a PROMPT therapist you use the locator at the PROMPT Institute website.


So the idea of a sound being unpromptable isn't accurate. What that means is the therapist can't do the sensory and neuromuscular input to tell the brain HOW to do the motor control. With PROMPT they can. It's a newer technique, only been around about 10 years, which is why it's less common and harder to find. Our ST is an instructor in it now. She's speaking at OSU this week in fact. :hurray: :hurray: :hurray:


I always advise people to pursue PROMPT for apraxia. It's not only the most effective therapy out there, but it's a therapy that WANTS to teach the parents how to carry it over at home, making it ideal for homeschoolers. You typically do PROMPT therapy sessions only once a week, which is much better for your schedule.


Also it's good to pursue omega 3 and nutritional options. Fish or flax oil can make a terrific difference in speech. It's not going to eliminate the need for therapy, but it makes it easier for the dc to hit his targets during the therapy.


Btw, op, I'm not explaining all this to make you feel bad. It's about consumer choice. When you have the right labels for your problems, then you can research for yourself and decide if you've got the best therapy. Not all therapies are equally effective for this, and the therapist being a nice person won't matter a hill of beans, only results.

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I totally agree with Elizabeth. My son was later on that trajectory though -- which is fine, too.


He was doing minimal pairs when he was 6-7 and it was very hard for him.


I totally agree -- not to try to do phonemic awareness stuff with sounds that are not solid in speech therapy. (As far as hearing.). But for sounds that are solid -- a gentle start is great. There are kids who can't say a sound reliably but do hear it reliably -- I think they are fine to do phonemic awareness. My son was like that for th and v. Those he could tell apart but couldn't pronounce differently. That was the only one like that for him.


If your child is ready -- great. If not -- it is good to look ahead.


But if it is appropriate to be working in language development -- don't worry about later things.


But the phonological skills do really tie into language development -- so they know what word you are saying, lol.


For my son I say it is like a lot of words were homonyms. He could still understand -- just a little more difficult. Then when he got the sounds he could start going from homonyms to separate words.


It is okay -- it just takes time and patience.


He worked very hard in private speech when he was 6 in this -- he did one-on-one twice a week. I am not sure he had the ability to work that hard when he was younger, so I am not really sure he could have made big progress younger. But I don't know bc he did not get explicit help earlier. But I do think it is not something where he would have picked it up faster/easier at a younger age (like you so often here in general) bc I think he developed a little naturally and needed to develop naturally too, to get to a point where he could make good progress in 1st grade.


But I am glad your child is getting help early :). It just doesn't have to be a rush if she goes slow. If she goes fast -- awesome.


Also be aware of your speech therapy, if it seems to be working well and stuff. My son was in 2 years of speech with literally no progress. He just went from 1 year delay to 3 year delay. When he hit 3 years delayed he went into the private speech and was showing results in one month. Small results but it was something! He was having behavior problems from frustration by then.


But even saying that -- I doubt he could have made the progress he made when he was 6, when he was 4. But he could have made some progress instead of zero, I bet.

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/crosspost again it was k and g where my son was "not promptable" until he got into private speech. Previous speech teacher could not elicit the sounds.


I do bet be could have done that fine at a younger age. It is more the telling apart sounds I think he might not have done as well earlier.


Edit: previous speech teacher had an attitude like it was his problem he could not make them, like she was doing her part. I am older and wiser now and would not put up with her. A good thing for my younger son :)

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Edit: previous speech teacher had an attitude like it was his problem he could not make them, like she was doing her part. I am older and wiser now and would not put up with her. A good thing for my younger son :)


Wow, what a negative attitude on her part! Glad you were able to move on! And yes, the therapy IS hard work. When they're this young (age 2-4), as you say there's no volition just to sit there. She physically straps him down. They have special chairs that pin the dc in. She puts nubby cushions under his feet and bum. She'll do sensory and motion breaks after a period of sitting. She keeps a bouncy ball and will let them bounce around after they work a bit if they need to burn off steam. I take toys for them, things that are new or different and very engaging, to help too.


Just for the op, I meant to mention, our absolute favs for speech therapy at this age were the Richard Scarry games (start with Busytown) and the Curious George discovery game. We've taken Playmobil and Thomas the Train, Hexbugs, you name it. Last week I took an Usborne heroes sticker book. You can just imagine all the language in these things (place my sticker, peel my sticker, blah blah). Time before that we took the Playdough dentist set where you drill teeth, mold/pull them, etc. She loves it when we bring stuff. Gets their language right into the context of use, never isolated sounds, and allows them to integrate social skills, etc. too. With a girl, maybe try Polly Pocket or the girly Playmobil sets. Anyways, I'm always on the lookout for new things with lots of language potential to take for speech therapy sessions. Anything Melissa and Doug is good, puzzles are good. After they use it in a session, then I do it more with him at home. It helps with compliance too, because he walks into something new every time.

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We liked this curriculum, Phonemic Awareness in Young Children




Here is a link to LiPS®. We have been pleased with other programs from this publisher.




When my kids were preschool age, we had a set of cd's with environmental sounds -- one cd was animals, one was cars, trains, etc. Of course you don't need to buy cd to hear these sounds, but it was convenient.

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Thank you! I appreciate your input. I will take a look at the sites/books you've recommended this weekend.


I've read about PROMPT before, and we are lucky enough to have a woman in our general area who is PROMPT-trained. I need to call our case worker so I can get her phone number. I don't know if she's taking on new patients, but I would at least like to talk to her. I also do the fish oil (as suggested by you, OhElizabeth, several months ago in a different post). There has been improvement with that, but I admit that b/c it has to be refrigerated, that I am not as consistent with it as I should be.


DD's therapy was bumped up to 3 weeks about two months ago, and there has been a definite improvement in some of her works, like she can say "daddy" instead of "gaga", and "mommy" instead of "mama." DH and I are working on getting her to say them consistently. We also try to get her to say words or parts of words when she asks for something. We'll say the word, and if she can't repeat it in whole, we'll start with the beginning sound. There are a few words she can say mostly correctly if you break them down, but she can't string the syllables together. She is also decent at mimicking, but if you point to a picture of what you want her to say, she'll drop syllables. A lot of times her words end up being whatever the middle vowel is.


She also has a wonderful rapport with her therapist. DD is usually an ice queen when it comes to meeting new people, but this therapist is one of a handful she has taken to immediately. I think we're lucky in that regard.


It is frustrating for us, and has to be terribly frustrating for DD. She has a lot chugging away in her head, but she can't easily communicate it. I'm sure she knows more than we realize. I catch glimpses of it when she plays jokes or tricks on us, or when she'll randomly tell us a number or color within an appropriate context.


DD absolutely LOVES playing boardgames. I will take a look at the Busytown game. Do you think the Super Why ABC game would be good? I've also had Ravensburger Things In My House game on a wishlist for a while, would it be good as well?


She also loves reading, and I must admit that I don't read to her as much as I should. ODD and school, and my 21 month old boy, take up most of my time. I need to figure out how to balance it all out. With summer coming up, I plan on setting aside time just for her to read picture books. She has a long attention span when it comes to reading, so we could spend several hours straight reading.


As for teaching reading, w/ODD, I used OPTGR and BOB books. I don't think that will work for DD3. I do have a copy of Phonics Pathways, and that seems like it would be a better fit. I also am thinking of buying her the Big Red Letter Book from a Montessori site to help her with that (she is a very tactile learner).


Thank you for your help with this.

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We also try to get her to say words or parts of words when she asks for something.


This is super good! Have to use speech for EVERYTHING. No pointing or getting out of it. Awesome job. :D


I haven't seen those particular games. Your girl seems very smart, so I think you have to go with your gut. With the way PROMPT sessions are structure, *most* of the therapy session is play like that. They can turn stacking pegs, glitter glue, car racing ramps, board games, ANYTHING into therapy. Usually within that you're looking for *repetition* to build automaticity. In the parent workshops for PROMPT they encourage you in this direction also. When I started, I thought I needed to introduce lots of vocabulary. Instead they want you to have them say a few things WELL, because then the motor control will be there to apply to new words.


So yes, you want to rearrange your speech and use shorter words with her so she can hit them. And no, it doesn't hold them back. Now my ds' speech is hilarious, with LOTS of vocabulary and interesting sentences, big words, etc. For working on motor control, simplify, simplify, simplify. So for instance, if we saw a horse, it became a PONY. Pony is easier to hit than horse. Frogs and toads become Hop. Chicken becomes Hen.


When you say something really basic like *hop* you're actually working on some challenging motor skills. To hit that they have to drop their jaw, pick it up, then get the lips and have some breath support. When they can start to get there, you work on things like Yup, again as a simplified form of Yes. It has NOTHING to do with making your kid sound dumb and everything to do with nailing motor control.


Yes, linking words is hard. She's having problems with syllables? That's a therapist issue. When you speak to her DON'T, whatever you do, pause between syllables. Slow the entire thing down evenly to keep natural linking. They are memorizing the pauses you're inadvertently putting in. It's why PROMPT is so hard to do, because the therapist has to become FAST with their fingers to give the input without unnatural breaks!


Try to develop speech routines, short sentences of 1-3 words that you say over at routine times in your day. For instance as you dress her it might be "Put it on!" or "Me do!" and you say that over for each garment. (You ask the question, she gives the target response.) That way she can practice the same speech every day and get better at it. Success with basic, consistently practiced phrases like that will build motor control. Oh my goodness, I've got this horrible memory going through my head of a time when ds had to say "yup me do" in therapy. Oh yeah, even bad grammar, all for the sake of motor control, lol. He now has awesome grammar, but we had to teach him bad grammar for a while, because we needed something he could control. Think about that, every time he wanted moo (milk), clothes on, teeth brushed, a snack, anything, he was saying "Yup me do"... Sigh, oh yeah.


PROMPT has a hierarchy of motor control. They're going to be a lot less concerned about what words she has as opposed to what motor control she's demonstrating when she says the words. Sometimes kids have to go BACK and build that motor control foundation. The safest way, I think, to gauge your progress with your current therapist is to be very, very particular. When the thing is said correctly, it should sound CORRECT. Don't elicit or practice anything day to do she can't say correctly (because that only serves to reinforce and ingrain poor motor control). It's ok for the *dc* to try to say something he doesn't yet have the ability to control and say correctly, but you want to get right back to saying things he can say accurately. Don't accept anything as done on the therapist's end that is not sounding correct. I think there's a sort of discrimination of low expectations sometimes with apraxia therapy. But enough of that. :)


Did that help on the games? I haven't played those particular ones. My ds is dominantly a kinesthetic learner on the testing. It's why PROMPT, a very hands-on method, would be an extra good fit for him, when you think about it. Anyways, our SLP tends to use games that have a lot of vocabulary, some form of motion to deal with his energy, a simple routine that involves turn-taking, and as you say usually some typical preschool skills. That particular game (Super Why ABC) has a lot of skills, wow. My ds couldn't have played that at 3. Actually, I'm not sure if he could play that now. And of course you're looking for things that allow them to practice the scripts you're working on. Remember I said we had, for at least the first year, very tight scripts of what we were trying to practice over and over. So if the target words were "put it on top" then you could be sure that I would pick games or activities where you could say that, over and over. Later he added /sh/ so maybe the phrase was shake it up, and we'd play yahtzee and every turn we would say "shake it up!" See? Short phrases to target our skills, then activities that allow us to use those phrases.


Right now our big thing is /sh/ vs. /s/. I spend half my day weaving /sh/ words into conversation or noticing them and giving the prompt, hahaha... (Not really half my day, but you kwim! A boy who likes to strip naked and get wet when playing will say SHIRT a lot! :) ) She said these sounds take a long time to become automatic... So you can see, I'm not really worried about vocab at all. His vocab is awesome, very high scores there. Even with the weirdo scripting, he was getting hearing everything around him. What I have to do is focus on the targets and work them as I can. The better I feel and the more I take care of myself, the more that happens. With your little one even younger, that's a challenge. Take care of yourself. :)

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Btw, PROMPT's emphasis on getting the kids right into speaking sentences ASAP is very intentional. It's VERY possible to end up with a dc who can say syllables or sounds but not string them into sentences. So PROMPT, from the very beginning, gets syllables then words then right into sentences as absolutely quickly as possible. The sentences are *simple* but they're sentences.


PS. Try putting on audiobooks while they play. No human can do everything. :)

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She sounds very smart to me, too.


I agree, too. If she needs some language simple, make it simple for her. If she can understand other things, then do them at the level she can do them, not the level of her speech.


Speech is only one thing. It is huge -- but it is not the only thing. It can seem that way when you are doing therapy for it several times a week, or you see it as an issue in front of you all the time. But I think a little bit it is good to say -- there is more than speech and we are doing those things too.


It is just very visible and it is hard when your child is getting bigger and it gets more obvious when you are out.


I think if it is appropriate you can have a phrase you tell people to let them know she is not delayed outside of speech or just a hint for something they can say to her or do with her. I have a phrase that I say directly to children and one I say to adults -- but a short phrase directly to kids is useful for a time they want to play and could but just need encouragement. Not that it always "works" but it works sometimes and I think at least prevents awkwardness.


She really sounds like a great kid!

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Thank you for your help and encouragement. :) I really do appreciate it. We think she's a smart, but very mischievous, little girl. She just can't really verbally share anything.


Lecka - what do you say to children/adults? I usually just say she can't talk. It's not accurate, but I haven't had any trouble with it yet. DD just started taking gymnastics (I think her motor skills are compensating for her lack of speech), and she's doing well in the group setting - better than I thought she would. And since there's very little talking involved, it's easier for her.

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Well I like your "can't talk" answer. The one problem is if it opens you up to the person's opinion on speech therapy and they start to lecture you. Of course you're gonna get that from both ends for about the next 5-10 years. Everybody has an opinion. You do therapy, oh but people rush into therapy. Don't do therapy, well I have a disaster story for you. So just put on your self-confident thing and say something that looks like you're not worried or interested in their opinion. Once we had the term, I just said the truth: "He's in speech therapy for verbal apraxia. It's an uncommon motor control problem, where if he doesn't receive speech therapy he may never learn to speak. He has no developmental delays."


To me, that thing about the no developmental delays is the biggest thing, because people assume things. After we had been in therapy about a year, year and a half, I no longer had to make excuses for him in public. At that point, even though he had issues, what he said was intelligible enough that they just took it to be within the realm of normal child development. So at that point you just sit back and are happy that he's talking and they're not gawking. But that took a while to get there. You still have to rescue from social situations. Awana was a total, utter bust. He loved it socially, but he couldn't keep up with the language. I'm not sure how he'd do now. He sort of digs in his heels if he doesn't want to say stuff. We never force words with /th/, /l/, or /r/, because those sounds are still formative for him and not things I can help him hit at home (the prompts are VERY hard). A lot of Bible verses have those sounds in the words (in THe beginning God cReated THe heavens and THe eaRTH). Yup, from day one it's a bust. Once he gets those automatic, she says we get a break, sigh... Singing is hard too. We're working on it. You have to get the motor control to make the words, know the words to the song, get the tempo, and then oh yeah try for melody. His voice goes up and down sometimes now, but there's no melody yet. It's very hard work singing! But we keep trying...


Boy, I must have just wanted to talk, sorry. That's great on the gymnastics btw. If she's low tone, that will be extra good for her.

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I think "can't talk" is fine for adults who think she is being shy and trying to draw her out. Said in a nice way. I preferred something like "Ha ha, we are working on this in speech therapy, ask him to give you five/look at his shirt/point to the sticker he has/make a funny face/pretend to be a cat" that was what he was into and I thought he would respond/interact.


Though truly in his hearing I would not say "can't talk" b/c I got warnings that if he got criticized or over-expected to talk, he could shut down and quit trying. He was older and showing behavior issues at that time though -- when he was younger, no biggie. He ended up having a 60 point difference in his articulation and overall language ability, and he was always just in regular pre-school speech --- until 1st grade.


For kids -- I bypass and say "He is your age, he can still play with you, he likes to play X." I have also heard "he is still learning to talk." I have said (with my younger son) "he doesn't always answer but he can still play with you." He has autism so his not-answering is more like -- he is ignoring you and it does seem odd to some kids who are trying to talk to him. My older son always did resond if not with understandable verbal language. My younger son is improving a lot right now, though.


But if possible -- I like to skip the "he can'ts/he's in therapies" and just go straight to "do this." But it is not always possible.


i don't mind therapy advice -- I am always interested. It doesn't usually last long -- I don't go into details of what I am doing and why we are not doing what they recommend.


Edit: I look for very loosely structured, or very highly structured activities ---- they are easiest (or were for my older son). The half-and-half ones like Awanas were the worst ----- a lot of talking, a lot of little changes, still a lot of highish expectations for behavior and ability.


Total free play (but non-chaos) and a regular pre-school with a schedule and known expectations were both much better for him.



Not that I am pushing pre-school. Just to say -- don't go by how they do at once-a-week borderline structured activities. For my son he was (and honestly still is) much worse at those b/c he never quite knows what is going on. But he is fine at school and at the park. (Fine socially and behaviorally at school.)


And I agree gymnastics sounds great!

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Now that DD is getting older, people ask her her name. When they do, she hangs her head b/c she can't say it. She can't say the "L" sound, and that's half of her name. This is generally where my "she can't talk" response comes in.


She loves the gymnastics so far. We did a month of "mommy and me" classes, but she seemed ready to do it her own. Last week was her first time doing the class on her own, and she did great! I also have her in swim lessons. And this fall, she'll start at a Montessori preschool at one of our local churches. They only had space for her to go 2x per week, but they're thinking of adding a second 5 day-a-week session since so many families wanted that option. I think she'll do really well in it since it's so hands on.

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If you have a deaf school near you, they may have integrated hearing/apraxia/deaf classes where all the kids sign. That's the ideal school environment for these kids. There's one in our state that has therapists now who were trained in PROMPT by our therapist. So the dc goes and gets PROMPT speech therapy and sign and a more understanding social environment. Our SLP discouraged us from putting him in a regular day case/preschool, said he would shut down from the social pressure. And whether they do or not, if you get PROMPT you're going to want her at home so you can implement it. Just something to think about. I send ds to his grandma's (for a break for US!), so I totally get wanting to send them out. :)

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Honestly I wonder if you can give her an approximation or nickname she could say sometimes? Or have a possibility of saying?


I really would not stand next to her and say "she can't talk" while she hangs her head.


It is not something you can do long term as she is getting older -- she will hear you say it and it will not give older kids a positive view of her.


If she was shy -- you would just give her name, I think.


Also you are modeling how the teachers will interact with her and the other kids.


Having them all say "she can't talk" is not going to make them talk to her more. If there are some things she can say reliably, set up others to have her say them.


Also -- bc my son went in the head-hanging acting-out direction -- it is just not going to help her socially.


If she has normal social desires she needs to not hang her head. Unless it is only for her name and she is not like that other times.


I think if you act like she is doing great when she gives her approximation adults (with a hint) will too, and hopefully the kids will follow that lead.


It is a lot of helping and hinting, but hanging her head is not the way to go.


Does your speech therapist work with older kids (not just little kids in EI)? If so she might have some advice. She has probably seen behavior issues develop and kids who get self-conscious and hang their heads even in speech therapy.


I mean -- hopefully she makes progress so this is not an issue, but when she is getting to be 5 and 6 she may be getting self-conscious and other kids will do better if she is modeled as a kid who has trouble saying some words but who can do x, y, and z. It seems like it would be obvious but it is not to kids. But if they get a hint many do well.


It is just my first thought to make up a nickname she can say or whatever -- I would ask the speech therapist though. I would describe this to the speech therapist and ask how she would handle it. Maybe she has got some tips that would work well for your daughter.


Sometimes people working with little kids I think are less aware but I think people working with older kids are very familiar with behavior or getting self-conscious etc.


It would be great if you could get advice on this from the Montessori pre-school, too. I would honestly call the director and/or head teacher and ask them how they will handle it and what you can do in your side. If you don't like what they say, if you can come back with "actually my child's speech therapist thinks x would be great" would probably work well.


It is depressing but the truth is that you probably need to be a little advocate-y here bc other people a) don't know the ins and outs B) don't know how your daughter acts in other environments c) need a little help to be intentional.


Edit: maybe she could smile and wave? I think anything she can do is better than hanging her head.


Unless that is the only situation that is happening in, and then, probably not a big deal. But I do think it is not really a nice thing compared to what else she can say.


I worry she will just hear it repeated about her over and over -- and then it will not make her eager to talk there (as it might get paired) and also people might not try to talk to her, where they might try if there was an appropriate way.


Even "she uses sign language sometimes" I think would come across better. If she could do that reliably or sometimes.


If she can give a high five that might be something. We get a lot out of that with my younger son, bc it is something he will do.


Edit: my younger son does not have normal social desires quite yet, he is not really sensitive or observant.


My older son -- when he was 4 he started noticing all too clearly and he has turned out to be sensitive, and it would be painful by the time he was 5. If she is self-aware enough to hang her head she might already be sensitive enough to be very aware that you are saying "she can't talk" and it might make it a weird environment for her to talk in, even while she might like it and do very well. But in the future you will want her to talk there, lol.

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I'm with Lecka. /l/, /r/, /th/, any of the hard letters are going to take a long time to come. If they're in her name, I would give her a cute nickname and PRONTO. Make it something she can say right now that reinforces good motor control. Babby (bab-bE) would be cute. I have no clue what her name is, but just find a cute nickname and run with in. Maybe a princess name or something? I'm out of the loop on what's popular.

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