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Problems with Ch sound in 7 1/2 year old - concerning or not?


cjzimmer1
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My 7 1/2 year old son has problems with ch sound.  If we practice things like choo choo choo over and over again he gets close but there is always a hint of s in there.  However words like church (always comes out as search), choose (comes out as shoes) are never correct.  If he concentrates chocolate chip comes up pretty close but in just casual speech he always reverts to shocolate ship. His sh sound might be slightly off but not enough that you notice unless really paying attention.  I have not noticed problems with any other sounds. So is this something I should be concerned about or is this just something that will correct itself as he gets older? 

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According to this chart most children are able to produce and use "ch" by about 5 years old.

https://childdevelopment.com.au/resources/child-development-charts/speech-sounds-developmental-chart/

A two year delay suggests speech therapy may be warranted.

Most of my children have needed speech articulation therapy. You may be able to access services through your local school district, or you can do private therapy. Health insurance may cover at least some private speech therapy, subject to pre-authorization.

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Yes, get a SLP eval. Does he have any other issues, like difficulty eating, blowing bubbles, sticking out his tongue, etc.? Is his rate of speech appropriate? 

Here's a chart from ASHA https://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/ASHA/Practice_Portal/Clinical_Topics/Late_Language_Emergence/Consonant-Acquisition-Chart.pdf  By this age, he should have the majority of his sounds and should be *intelligible* 100% to a stranger, even if he's missing the sound. If he has any issues with intelligibility or other areas of oral motor function or language showing up, move forward assertively.

My ds has moderate/severe verbal apraxia, so I'm pretty skewed. I drove 2 ½ hours each way for 9 ½ years to get all my ds' sounds, lol. But yeah, that's the data. It's never inappropriate to get the SLP eval. That way you're letting them decide.

Edited by PeterPan
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1 hour ago, cjzimmer1 said:

His sh sound might be slightly off but not enough that you notice unless really paying attention. 

I wouldn't bank on that. /sh/ is very nuanced and has multiple ways to be pronounced depending on the language, how the tongue is positioned, etc. It's also a *foundational* sound indicating jaw control and jaw stability. Honestly, I would go forward with a good private SLP eval. If he has any warning flags for apraxia, I would be looking for an apraxia specialist, someone who does PROMPT.

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1 hour ago, maize said:

According to this chart most children are able to produce and use "ch" by about 5 years old.

https://childdevelopment.com.au/resources/child-development-charts/speech-sounds-developmental-chart/

A two year delay suggests speech therapy may be warranted.

Most of my children have needed speech articulation therapy. You may be able to access services through your local school district, or you can do private therapy. Health insurance may cover at least some private speech therapy, subject to pre-authorization.

My school district is notoriously hostile to homeschoolers so if I'm able to run it through insurance that would definitely be preferable.  My insurance says they will cover up to 40 visits of speech therapy a year but it also seems to be talking about it in context with rehabilitation (which I would assume would apply to stroke/brain injury recovery) so I'm not sure.  I tried looking under covered providers and I couldn't pull up any under "speech" anything although all the major hospital groups seem to have a speech therapy department (again I'm assuming they would be in conjunction with recovery).  Would a primary doctor be likely to point me in the right direction?  I'm a bit out of my league and have no clue where to start.

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19 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Yes, get a SLP eval. Does he have any other issues, like difficulty eating, blowing bubbles, sticking out his tongue, etc.? Is his rate of speech appropriate? 

Here's a chart from ASHA https://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/ASHA/Practice_Portal/Clinical_Topics/Late_Language_Emergence/Consonant-Acquisition-Chart.pdf  By this age, he should have the majority of his sounds and should be *intelligible* 100% to a stranger, even if he's missing the sound. If he has any issues with intelligibility or other areas of oral motor function or language showing up, move forward assertively.

My ds has moderate/severe verbal apraxia, so I'm pretty skewed. I drove 2 ½ hours each way for 9 ½ years to get all my ds' sounds, lol. But yeah, that's the data. It's never inappropriate to get the SLP eval. That way you're letting them decide.

Ch is really is the one sound (from my very untrained ear) that isn't clear.  No other problems like you mentioned either.  

17 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I wouldn't bank on that. /sh/ is very nuanced and has multiple ways to be pronounced depending on the language, how the tongue is positioned, etc. It's also a *foundational* sound indicating jaw control and jaw stability. Honestly, I would go forward with a good private SLP eval. If he has any warning flags for apraxia, I would be looking for an apraxia specialist, someone who does PROMPT.

This will probably sound dumb, but what steps do I take to obtain said eval?  Do I need to see primary first?  Call insurance?  Just google SLP and my city and see what turns up? I can't seem to find a "speech" anything listed in the insurance doctors list even though speech clinics are listed.  IS there another speciality name this might be listed under? We've never really specialists for much of anything so I'm pretty clueless how to start the process especially for something in the gray area if it it's considered medical or not and obviously it would be much preferred to get insurance to pay for it.

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5 hours ago, cjzimmer1 said:

Would a primary doctor be likely to point me in the right direction? 

Yes, you can call the dc's doctor for a referral.

 

5 hours ago, cjzimmer1 said:

We've never really specialists for much of anything so I'm pretty clueless how to start the process especially for something in the gray area if it it's considered medical or not and obviously it would be much preferred to get insurance to pay for it.

Your insurance will pay for it, sounds like. Your doctor's office can give you a referral, which will likely be to a children's hospital or local clinic. If your insurance doesn't cover that location, then start asking. Hospital services are usually excellent. Except for apraxia, haha. But that's the really unusual diagnosis, super uncommon. Most people I know who've used hospital speech services (except for apraxia) have been very happy.

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19 hours ago, cjzimmer1 said:

My school district is notoriously hostile to homeschoolers

 

28 minutes ago, EKS said:

I believe that this is illegal when it comes to evaluations of this sort.  I know it is in my state (WA), but I think it is actually a national thing as well.

Yes, it's FEDERAL LAW that they eval. But do they have opinions about what they see walking in the door? Does it piss them off if someone has let go disabilities a number of years and the homeschoolers walking in their doors are bringing in problems they let go till 10 and 12? Of course they have opinions. And when I took my ds in at 6 for an IEP (which I GOT btw, unheard of in that district) they took it very personally, like don't you TRUST us, don't you like us? Also homeschoolers aren't aware of the IEP process and the law. 

The NOLO book on the IEP process is what you want, and your library will have it.

So yes, if you're going to use the ps, it goes better if you bone up on your state and federal laws, know what they're obligated to do and not. (eval vs. writing an IEP/504 vs. providing services) But you'll almost always get more informative, thorough evals going privately, assuming the person is worth their salt. My ps evals have been bizarre at best. My ds is extremely complex, but I'm just saying ps evals are a crapshoot. I'm glad they're there, but when you can make private happen you want private. And THOROUGH.

Speech is not a thing to screw around on or be bashful about. When I was debating how to proceed with my ds, someone on the boards here said something VERY PERSUASIVE to me. She said that she had a twin and that her *twin* had received speech therapy while she had not. And years later, as an adult, she could see how her twin's speech was so much freer and easier. At the time they had said she (poster) was "fine" blah blah. But she regretted not receiving the services.

So I say speech therapy is almost always done in the contact of games or engaging methods and that you CANNOT GO WRONG with pursuing SLP services. The regret is with NOT doing it, not the other way around. I decided, on that story and the *possibility* that the stats (that many "late talkers" pan out) might not fit my ds to go forward with SLP services. I have never regretted that. He's still, at 11 turning 12, receiving 3 ½ hours a week of SLP services. And I do another 1-2 hours a day of SLP materials with him. No joke. You will NEVER regret making it easier for your dc to talk and be understood. To the untrained ear, the subtle differences and difficulties are not obvious. The person with the difficulties will be glad to have their communication be more free and easy. No regrets, just good.

Edited by PeterPan
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And just to give another perspective, our experience has been great with the school district providing services but getting private services has been more of a crapshoot for us. There are no universal experiences when it comes to these sorts of things so don't be afraid to pursue whatever avenue is necessary to get help.

If you do go the school district route, you want to talk to the Special Education coordinator for the district. Not the secretary, not a second grade teacher, not the principal or anyone else who thinks they know how to help a homeschooler who is requesting evals. You want to contact the SPED coordinator and preferably in writing. They have so many days (30? 45? something like that. Within a month or so) to respond to and do something about your request. Find out how many days that is and stay on them. In my experience in more than one school district, SPED coordinators have been extremely helpful and kind regardless of the reputation of the school district. The more need for SPED services in a district, the more secure their job is and many of them do recognize that and don't care where the SPED child is schooled and is more than happy to open a case. There are always exceptions but overall this has been the case for us.

I also agree with the others, a 7.5yo should be able to say the ch sound easily. If it really is the only sound he has problems with, it could just be a habit in which case an SLP can still help.

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My daughter had issues with a few sounds while we were living in a non-English speaking country in kind of an isolated area. A visiting American speech pathologist worked with her to help her say her /k/ and /g/ sounds by having her put a spoon on the tip of her tongue, and then she pointed me to some online resources for /sh/, /ch/ and /dj/. At this point I think my daughter was 6 1/2. I helped her see that if she started saying the /s/ sound and then slowly moved her tongue back, she could get a /sh/. So we worked a bit each day on some picture cards with the /sh/ sound and of course at first it was really exaggerated. But when she got used to the tongue placement, she moved into the more accurate sound. After that, we worked on putting a slight /t/ before the /sh/ to make the /ch/, again working with picture cards (it sounds like you could skip to that stage with your son). Finally, we added voice and made the /dj/ sound. Talking about her tongue being involved in the sounds made sense to her because of her previous experience with the spoon on her tongue for the /k/ sound. This was totally diy because of our situation, so obviously help from a professional would be a lot better! Her /r/ took another year to master, but that was within the range of developmentally normal and we didn't do any intervention. Fortunately, she was able to pronounce a French /r/ so she could make herself understood!

Best wishes as you seek the best solution for your son!

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