Does anyone else have a non-verbal 4 year old?


Does anyone else have a non-verbal 4 year old?

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Susie70
Susie70
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I am sorry to post things that have been discussed before but I really need to get your opinions on my personal situation. There have been lots of postings about non-verbal children but these always seem to be about the 2-3 year old child.

My DS is 4 years and two months and he is still non-verbal. I am worried sick. It’s like I can’t really get to know my gorgeous boy properly if I don’t ever hear his voice. He can say some words – bye, ta, set, go but these are all prompted. He does occasionally say a spontaneous word – said “Tigger” the other day when I was holding a dvd. But then we never hear the word again.

I just don’t know what else to do. We are having weekly speech and have been for two years. We have done and are still doing ABA. We have purchased the Baby Bumblebee DVDs although DS does not like them and leaves the room when I put them on. He shows some positive signs and does not seem to be the kind of child who you would imagine would never speak (if you can excuse that stereotype). But these positive signs have been going on for 18 months.

I just don’t know what else to do – I sing, I tickle, I say rhymes and pause, I just about turn myself inside out to get him to talk.

I read back through my notes from a seminar I went to in the early days, and found the stat “50% of children with ASD will not develop functional language”. Will he be one? I don’t want to give up hope but will it make life just a little easier if I prepare myself that there is a possibility that this may happen.

My ST says that she does not believe the research around “if a child does not speak before X he will not speak”. She thinks that it can happen at any time.

What do you think? Does anyone else have a non-verbal 4 year old?

shazza
shazza
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Are you using com/pic or PECS? Or any other communication aid?

Sharon, mum to DD 21 (NT) DD 9 (Aspie) DS 5 (HFA)Hehe



http://sharon-theawfultruth.blogspot.com
Edited
10/02/2011 by shazza
Susie70
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Hi Shazza,

It's a good question, thanks.

We have dabbled in PECS but it didn't really seem to help either. DS can certainly communicate his needs (by dragging us by the hand or going straight to the source and getting it out of the fridge and handing it to us). It seemed pointless to add in that extra step to have him go and get a card when the cards are not always accessible.

Does that make sense?

shazza
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I understand the hesitation as we had a similar conversation with our therapist this morning. BUt after talking to her some more about it I could see the value. Harri is verbal so for us it seems pointless at times, his issue is more about echolalia, but she did a demonstration to show how the com/pic works to teach words and communication which motivated me to keep on with it. The fact your son knows to go to you for help is a good sign. Our therapist has provided us with hundreds of images for com/pic and as our kids are so amazing visually they can pick it up quickly. Yours should have access to the same files. Perhaps have another chat with your therapist about this. PECS etc  was invented specifically for non verbal kids so it might be worth persevering?

Otherwise I have no ideas. Tongue

Sharon, mum to DD 21 (NT) DD 9 (Aspie) DS 5 (HFA)Hehe



http://sharon-theawfultruth.blogspot.com

SueBooklover
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PECS are a great idea, but the other thing I would encourage you to try is Key Word Signing - my son's vocab was still very limited at 4yo and we were still using signing with him. It gradually faded out over the next 12-18months as he began to be able to communicate verbally. He didn't have an ASD Dx then, so PECS weren't offered to us as an option.

You can get "Baby Sign" DVDs which would give you a place to start and your son might like to watch them too (we had a signing video and it was our DS's favourite thing for a while).

Key Word Sign Australia (formerly Makaton) run regular workshops. If you are interested I might be able to find out a contact person for you in your state as I work with the SA one. Link with general info below.

http://www.newcastle.edu.au/research-centre/special-education/key-word-sign-australia/

Sue from SA

Wife to an amazing DH & Mum of a 13yo DS Dx HFA(dx early 2010)and 11yo DS NT Smile

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Hi Susie70,



I am in the same boat as you. My son turned 4 a week ago and is still non-verbal. He probably has 10 words but he doesn't use it consistently. We also have dabbled in PECS and a bit of sign language but he doesn't seem to pick it up so we gave that up. We also have the Baby Bumblebee dvd but he doesn't like them. He's lately been interested in Playhouse Disney & Toy Story movies so I put that on.

He communicates what he wants by also dragging our hand and putting it to what he wants. He does not point. Lately, he seems to be getting the "ingredients" for what he wants to eat and he would get us to make it. I find though that he says words when he gets frustrated. For instance, when he wants milk I sometimes pretend I don't understand and after a few minutes he'd say mik. It probably is bad parenting but his therapist seem to think that if we hold off some things from him for a couple of minutes then he would attempt to say theword.



I am also very worried he may never talk but at this point I have to choose to believe his therapist that he will talk soon otherwise I will go crazy.
ricky
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Hi Woridmum, in reading your post, if holding off for a few minutes creates a word, then do it often (on certain things).  Perhaps on certain things like "milk", try to always hold off. 

Hi Susie, I don't believe that there is a limit on what age a child can speak.  I know a 6 year old that is just beginning to speak now.  Some of the savant ASD & HFA children have spoken after 8yrs of age.

The research suggests that the use of sign langauge, and PECS, encourages communication and can benefit talking in the future.  But I guess it depends on which research you read, or which presenter you listen to.

Hopefully his speech will come and in the meantime try to establish other forms of communication.

Mum to 3 girls, 8 & 11 yrs NT, and 6yrs ASD - the little whirlwind!

shaz74
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Hey Susie

I know what you mean about wanting the speech to happen. My DS was non-verbal, wouldn't show me anything, point to anything, lacked eye contact etc. He would however say "oo" "oo" if he saw a train (particularly Thomas the Tank), that was it. He started speech therapy at 2.5 years of age with PECS. I was amazed at how he would find a card and give it to me. I was really happy with this progress, just that initial communication. This is where I would say the word e.g. drink. At first I would get the drink for him just because he would hand me the card.

The next step was to wait for him to try and say a sound with the card before I got the item. e.g. if he said "d" for drink. Then it progressed to him having to say the word (as best as he could) e.g. "dink" for drink.

Eventually we added the other cards on the velcro strip. The "I want" card when in front of the "drink" card. After a while he had to learn "I want drink". etc. This went on for a long time but the PECS cards definately worked for my DS.

It's a very visual thing with the cards and prompts the use of words along with getting the end result the child is requesting.

Is your DS starting 4 year old kindergarten this year (in Vic) or equivalent in your state?  This should also help with the language development, e.g. when the group have songs to sing etc.

Shaz, mum to DS 10yr old (ASD) and DD 8yr old (NT) Smile

shaz74
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...

Shaz, mum to DS 10yr old (ASD) and DD 8yr old (NT) Smile
Edited
10/02/2011 by shaz74
allycat
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Dear Susie70, My eldest son was non-verbal from practically the age of two years (he only said three words, mum, dad, dog). I went through some pretty dark times all the while not really getting much help from professionals. I had the: 'oh he's got cerebral palsy' because he had one stiff leg and one floppy leg; I had 'he may never speak' from others; I had 'he might have a PDD' and nobody bothered to inform me what the hell a PDD was; and I even had after not one but three failed hearing tests that he was profoundly deaf. And it was only after putting him and us through the trauma of having an audio brainstem response test (ABR) under dratted General Anaesthetic in our Royal Children's Hospital that we were told over the phone that his hearing was 100% normal.



My eldest son went through more years of being non-verbal - two years of kindy (ECDU in Qld), then grade 1, then grade 2 and finally a breakthrough in grade 3 last year he started to my astonishment (and a whole heap of work from his special school teachers) uttering three word phrases, then five words, then of late he is up to nine word phrases in grade 4. About to plan his next IEP goals.



So you see my eldest son had actually been non-verbal up until a year ago and he will be 9yrs old soon.



I know all about the feeling of turning yourself inside out to get your child to speak.



I'll just trot out some of the things that were in my brain from that time that seemed to help.



A neurotypical child need only hear a word 100 times before it's automatically a part of their vocabulary; whereas a child with autism has to hear a word 500 times. That alone gives you an idea of how much repetition and work is needed.



If you think your child is not listening or taking in as much as their senses will allow - you are wrong. I used to always describe what we were doing in the third person, e.g. '...child's name... is having a bath'.



Read to your child at least 10 minutes of every day.



Keep a keen eye on what seems to light him up or interest him. Use this information to your advantage.



Things that we did that helped:-



PECS

Makaton

VTech learning keyboards

Furby

BabyBumbleBee Vocabulary Builders 1-4

DVDs (yes ... Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends!)



That's what I can think of for now. Getting a bit late. Best wishes.


Mum to DS12yrs, II ASD and DS9yrs, HF.ASD,ADD,GDD.
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