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FORUMS > Down Syndrome
Replying to Topic: Getting my son to Talk
Created On 12/4/06 3:54 PM by GamZuLetovah


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GamZuLetovah
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12/4/06 3:54 PM
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Hi,

It has been pretty quiet down here lately!

Does anyone have any advise how to get my three year old tzadik to speak. He has a vocabulary of only about 10 words but seems to understand almost everything.



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ImaD
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12/5/06 3:02 AM
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Hi Gamzu. I can only tell you from our own experience. first of all, have you checked his hearing/ fluid level? Even if he is understanding,hearing loss makes it much harder to copy the sounds which are unclear.
Our son was stuck on one syllable words for what seemed like forever, and his vocab was extremely limited. We took a blank notebook and took digital pictures of items he was familiar with that were 2 syllable words. We pasted on picture on each page and printed the word on the top (both for future reading readiness and so that whoever sat with him would know exactly what word to use . it was fun, low pressure, but we sat with him regualrly. At first we read to him, then he started "reading" to us. that was a big breakthrough. then we started with modeling simple sentances - instead of saying "eat" he would have eto say "I want to eat" we modeled a lot, and used body cues (for each word in the sentance pat the table across in a line, or touch shoulder, chest and other shoulder) It took time, but it worked .
Most important is to TALK TALK TALK and ask others not to water down their speech too much. A three year old with DS can still look like ababy- make sure you dress him in a way so that people see him as alittle boy- we saw a huge differnece in how others spoke to him after his upsherin
b'hatzlacha
 
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GamZuLetovah
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12/5/06 7:53 PM
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Thanks for the advise! we will definetly give it a try.

My son had tubes inserted in his ears about a year ago and his hearing has improved but he is still not speaking much. Very frustrating.


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ImaD
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12/6/06 6:34 PM
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It sure is. Just a few thoughts--- But I often wonder if parents would take as objective a baseline as possible what the"'success rate" for tubes improving speech would be. it seems to me that
1) tubes only allow improved hearing, but don't make up for lost time, nor do they improve any of the other issues in DS that make speech difficult ( among them hypotonia and hyposensitivity in the mouth, as well as the obvious cognitive issues)
2)It is human nature to quickly adapt to any "new"norm,so when something improves incrementally, we may nor remember how it was 6 months ago, makingit hard to see if tubes "worked".

My son was super stuck for a while- but then he had other issues that took precedence. (like breathing.....)
He was only able to move forward in this area when he had the koach to do so. If your son is three, you may still be putting a lot of effort in to the physical side of things. Our kids are pretty resilient, but i find that although we always work on everything,we have to choose what our real priority is for any given period of time.We can't do it all 100%, and neither can he
Sometimes I found that leaving something for a awhile was the best recipe for improvment- we put in and put in and put in, and then just sit back and work on somethng else- and suddenly out of nowhere, that skill we "gave up on" comes "on it's own"

b'hatzlacha rabba and lots of koach and clarity

 
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bmr
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1/29/07 12:35 PM
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When our son was little (he's 17 now - yikes!! - and speech is definitely not his strong point but he certainly went thru that time of difficulty translating his receptive language and baby-like communication into verbal speech...) he too seemed stuck. He understood everything and really was communicative but he just couldn't begin using words.
We found that using signing (a specific set of gestures) for those very common words such as the type ImaD used for her communication board-type reading activity, gave him a way to transition into speech.
I don't know what today's thinking is on the use of signs for Downs kids, but it definitely gave our son a bridge to words. So he signed eat and drink and more and thank you, etc. And we'd keep saying the words with the signs - whether we signed or he did. No, it didn't get him to the place of speaking in phrases, but again he seemed stuck at just coming up with words to communicate what he wanted, so we weren't even thinking phrases and sentences at that point.
He seemed much less frustrated using his basic signs and in a short time began using the words for the signs and the signing dropped away. All that remained were some typical gestures that we all use when speaking...
Hatzlacha raba


Edited: 1/29/07 at 12:38 PM by bmr
 
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GamZuLetovah
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1/29/07 4:45 PM
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Does anyone know why they don't speak? is it stubborness, inability or a combination of both? I find that my son will make gestures and sounds and tries to show us what he wants until we figure out what he actually wants. Once we figure out he stops. This makes me think that maybe if we play dumb and make ourselves like we don't understand what he wants, maybe the frustration will force him to try harder to speak. In other words I feel it's that he is happy the way it is and his stubborness is stronger for him than the benefit of speaking. I found it that way with everything that until he saw the benefit of of the new thing (i.e. sitting, walking etc.) he was happy with status quo, but once he realized the benefit he did not turn back. Does this make any sense?


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su7kids
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1/29/07 5:29 PM
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I'm not an expert, but I'm thinking that it may be a neuropath in his brain that isn't working. I have heard of many people who have taught DS kids sign language and that way they can communicate. In fact, people are starting it with "normal" babies and they're finding that the frustration level in babies is much lower when they can "express" themselves.

I don't think you can call a DS child "lazy". I'm sure that they would want to do all they can, so maybe work on a way to facilitate that and it will lower your frustration and his.


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bmr
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1/30/07 2:26 PM
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I definitely think that many of our kids' innate stubborness - determination, let's call it! - plays a role, just as it does in their behavior, cooperation,etc. As with any kid, I guess. I do think this determination, and that Downs need for structure, has always made it harder for my son to transition to anything new, or rather let's say to break any habit. He doesn't have difficulty with new things (places, people, routines,etc.) once he's there. But breaking an old routine - in any area...feeding, bedtime routine, schedule....is always hard. When he does something once, OK that's the new routine.
As for speech, yes it's easier for our kids to find other ways to communicate and if it's working, why would they even think of trying something that's harder for them!? (In any area, I think --- if it's easier to bear walk, why bother learning to crawl!! So yeah, they'll be stubborn when we or the PT tries to encourage 'normal' crawling).
Verbalizing is harder - they have to coordinate articulation with breathing, with tongue movements, etc - and all these might be areas where they are compromised. So oral-motor difficulties or respiratory issues or weak tone all can contribute to speech difficulties. That's why I found the use of signing to help - it's a means of communication beyond grunting. And as su7 said it will decrease any child's frustration level as they learn to verbalize. Our kids need more work getting to the point of speaking in words - they have more to work on to get it together since it just doesn't physiologically come so easily. Add to that more limited cognition, difficulty with processing and sequencing sounds, apraxia, whatever other technical terms our speech therapists can provide us...it's hard to talk!!
[From an old article by Libby Kumin the speech-lang pathologist who's written a lot on DS:
Although speech is the most difficult communication system for children with Down syndrome, more than 95% of children with Down syndrome will use speech as their primary communication system. Total communication (use of sign language plus speech), communication boards or computer communication systems may be used as communication systems until the child is ready to transition to speech. (Kumin, 1994; Kumin et al., 1991; Meyers, 1994). Research has shown that children with Down syndrome will discontinue using the sign when they can say the word so that it is understandable to those around them.] By the way, mention of Meyers who's done a lot of work on enhancing speech in DS kids thru use of computers - reminds me that simple computer games helped a good deal to encourage use of speech for our son.
Meantime, remember that your son's stubborness is probably the very thing that's gotten him this far - medically, developmentally.... even as a teen, I find it's a constant balancing act to help our son use that unique midah of determination in a positive way!
Continued nachas...
 
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eagle wings
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2/7/07 5:50 PM
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It is also important, to encourage speach, to act "dumb" When he asks for something by pointing, don't rush out and give it to him. Act as if you don't understand, so that he has a REASON to talk.


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