Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wondering About Speech

One of my recent curiosities with Dylan and with people with Down syndrome in general, involves the issue of speech...I'm talking about general speaking skills and the pronunciation of words. Nowadays, with Early Intervention so commonly used, why is it that some people with Down syndrome still seem to struggle with speech? Why is it a challenge sometimes to understand what they are saying? Is the difficulty due to low muscle tone? I have wondered about this before, but as I was watching Daniel Drinker's videos, it got me thinking again.

For those of you who have older kids with Down syndrome, how is their speech? Do you find the Early Intervention speech therapists helpful? I know that we won't be starting the speech portion of E.I for another few months, but I'm just wondering about it...

Is there anything that I can or should be doing now or in the future to help Dylan in this aspect?

5 comments:

Lisa said...

Laurie, this is something I have wondered about a lot too. I don't have any answers, of course, but I did ask Finn's physical therapist about it and she said that it's usually a combination of low muscle tone and cognitive delays (although it's hard for me to understand how someone with cognitive delays would find it easier to grasp the concepts of sign language more easily than spoken language).

It's interesting to me, also, how EI differs from region to region. Over where you are, you guys are already working with a OT, and you mentioned that speech therapy will begin in a few months. Here, we start with straight physical therapy. OT I believe will start in several months, maybe before or around the time Finn is a year old, and my understanding is that OT covers working on fine motor skills, and feeding issues, etc. - it's kind of a "grab bag." Our PT has told me that they don't usually start speech therapy until around 18 months.

With how therapies differ from area to area, I wonder if any broad study has ever been done to determine what course of action yields the best results.

Kimberly said...

Laur, I am sure you can ask his OT and PT they might have some ideas and answers as well.

Cleo said...

Laurie, check out this article about the several stages of communication:

http://jamesdmacdonald.org/Articles/ParentQuotes/DownSyndrome.html

Jeanette said...

Great question, one I have wondered myself. My daughter is 15 months old and knows a few signs but we are nowhere close to spoken words. I studied sign language many years ago and my understanding is that sign and speaking are both using the language center of the brain and that the reason that children sign before speaking is the motor skills of hands vs. tongue. That is with typical kids. I am frankly just happy she is communicating, but look forward to hearing her speak. Oh course Mama will be the BEST thing ever to hear!

Sharon said...

I attended a workshop that discussed speech and Ds and from what I remember, the speech can be effected by having a small jaw with an average size tongue, low tone, and temporary hearing loss. I have been asking for a speech eveluation for months and am finally getting one next week (when Brennan will be 7 months old). I think the earlier we start - the better since this is a known area that he will need help. I will let you know what the speech therapist recommends. Also, did the Ds Clinic send you the Libby Kumin book - it gives some good home exercises.