This post is about Mitchell. Mitch is nearly two and a half at the moment and he's great fun to be around most of the time. He's very talkative, but one issue we have with him is how difficult it is to understand him sometimes. Of course, most children are somewhat unclear when learning to talk, but I had the feeling this was something a little more than average difficulties, so I took him to the drop-in speech therapy that we have at St. Marks Hospital in Maidenhead.
(In case you are wondering, the drop-in speech therapy is every Tuesday, 9am-12pm. It is a first-come, first-served basis for being seen. Which means you really have to be there before nine (the doors open at 8:45) to have a chance to see someone. We arrived last week at 8:50 and were the fourth in line. It's a great service for people in our area that's for any child from birth up to the end of reception. I would encourage people to use it if they think their child might benefit from it.)
I had been before in the spring, when I thought he was a bit behind where he should be in word acquisition. They reassured me and he did pick up quite a bit within about 6 weeks. But then at the end of December I decided to take him for the unclear speech. He makes a lot of "g" and "k" noises for the starting consonant sound in words and I just had the feeling this should be seen by someone. So you know what I'm on about, here's a video of him singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
I wouldn't expect everything to be clear at his age, but I did think he should be clearer. The therapist gave me a name for this kind of speech disorder is called "Backing". She asked if he could make the proper sounds individually rather than in a word. Mitchell can do this, and can also say some words correctly. For example, he'll say "Daddy" but he will then say "Guck" for duck. She said we should just leave it for 6 months until he's three and see how it goes, and if it would correct himself. I wasn't that happy with that answer, but I left.
Once at home and armed with a name of "backing disorder", I of course became an armchair expert on the topic from what I could find on the internet. And everything I read said that it wasn't a normal part of speech development and it required intervention to correct; it did not correct without speech therapy.
This of course, left me a little perturbed and wondering what to do. But after a few weeks of thinking about it and really listening to how Mitchell spoke, plus trying the exercises that were suggested by the therapist, I decided to take him back to the drop-in. They did say I was welcome back if I had concerns. When we went this week, they noted it had only been a couple of weeks since I had been been there before with him. I explained that I felt that the advice they had given was things I was mainly already doing and that I'm normally pretty laid-back as a mother but that I really was concerned about this; I didn't feel it was something that could be just left to see if it got better. I also explained that everything I had read said that backing would need intervention to improve. Even if their therapy program would only take children from the age of three, I know there's a 6 month waiting list for that, so I would rather get on the list now than wait 6 months until he's three and then another 6 months for an appointment.
It was a different therapist and she talked with Mitchell, got him to try a few things like making a "t" sound and blowing bubbles. She agreed to put him on a waiting list for a speech therapy play group they do, which will run probably around Easter. She also agreed to set-up a hearing test for him, just to help eliminate the possibility of something like glue ear being a cause of this (I told you I've become an expert).
So for now, it's a bit of a waiting game again, but at least I feel the wheels are in motion to do something. I'm glad I was a bit of a squeaky wheel and went in again. I certainly won't be afraid to go again if I think things aren't progressing, either in terms of his speech or support for him, but hopefully things will be resolved soon.
Not the most bubbly or exciting of posts, but that's the news from here for now.