Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Language Explosion = Speech Intelligibility Issues

As I mentioned, almost in passing, Ava was discharged from speech therapy at the end of the school year. I was fine with that. She had achieved all of her goals working on specific age-appropriate sound targets. We finally got the /k/ and /g/ sounds even at the conversational level and the only sounds she makes errors with at the word level aren't eligible for therapy until she's much older. Besides, we were beginning homeschooling, and as a SLP myself, I'd rather do therapy here at home from here on out.

I've taken a more laid back approach with Ava at home. Once she started making progress and her intelligibility was no longer an issue, I decided to let structured therapy happen with her therapists and let her time at home with Mama just be Mama time. And it has been fine. She's doing so well. Most people can understand her most of the time. You would no longer pick her out from a crowd of her peers and notice her speech. All of these things are wonderful and amazing and facts I wish I could have known about two or three years ago. It would have saved me so much worry.

However... She's 4. She has so much to say. Her language skills are perfectly normal and so her sentence length and grammatical complexity are shooting up. She want to tell stories and participate in active conversations and is competing with an extremely verbal older brother. And we're starting to have trouble understanding her again. It certainly isn't all the time, but several times a week she'll say something and we won't have any idea what a couple of key words are. We'll ask her to repeat herself, and that doesn't help. I'm finding myself asking questions like, "Can you tell me something else about it?", or "What does it do?" in order to try to figure out what she's trying to tell me.

Some of that is specific sound errors. She has a consistent /v/ for voiced /th/ and /f/ for voiceless /th/ substitution. /w/ and /r/ are weak. But some of it is the mild apraxia rearing it's head as utterance length and complexity increases. Soon it will be time to incorporate some structured speech therapy into our homeschooling routine. If it weren't affecting her intelligibility, I would wait. But it is. So, soon...

1 comment:

  1. I'm an SLP too who has a daughter about to turn four in October with CAS. I can relate to finding that happy medium between just being her mama and being a portable SLP walking around with her all day. I'm worried about 'r.' At the CASANA conference, one of the speakers mentioned they are finding that we should probably start targeting that sound earlier instead of waiting around 8 when it is then considered delayed. Older adults talk about an apraxia accent...do you think they are hearing a lack of the 'r' or a distorted 'r?'

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