Mixed feedback from speech therapists. — Scope | Disability forum
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Mixed feedback from speech therapists.

Zenyarae Community member Posts: 1 Listener
edited October 2021 in Sensory impairments
Hello my 2 year old daughter doesn't talk at all. She makes some noises, but no words. She doesn't seem to understand anything when we talk to her. She doesn't gesture. Caring for her is similar to caring for an infant, she cries and we do our best to guess. She is currently under assessment with the pediatrician who has suggested autism or learning difficulties. 
She has had two hearing tests one just after an ear infection  which wasn't the best and one 6 months later which was fine. 
She saw a speech therapist and she suggested we try and work on gestures, my daughter made very little improvement, she does now gesture to be picked up but not to communicate a need. She said makaton or any signing wouldn't be much use as my daughter doesn't make much eye contact. 
We then moved house and area which gave us a new speech therapist. She suggested we use makaton and had the opposite to say about it. I expected differences in approach and obviously we would try anything we can to help her communicate with us. 
She shows no sign of signing herself and doesn't seem to understand my signs backed up with words. If I sign ball while we play with a ball she may give me the ball or another toy, she sees this sign as give me the toy you are holding, I've now paid to go on a makaton course incase it's me signing wrong. I'm trying my hardest and feel I'm getting nowhere. She is generally a happy girl but I long for the day she says mummy, I'm actually more hung up on that than I realise as it makes me tearful just thinking about it. Any advice would be wonderful. Any parents started makaton at this age? Was it helpful? How long did it take for your child to understand your signs or to sign back. Many many thanks.


  • Geoark
    Geoark Community member Posts: 1,455 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Zenyarae and welcome to the community.

    As with any form of communication it does take time and practice. The workshop would certainly help you.

    The system I am more used to is the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) which tend to be used for non verbal autistic children/young people.

    I would not automatically suggest this for your daughter though as one of the things you don't want to do is keep swapping communication systems which will probably end up causing more confusion. But mentioned it to open your options if needed and so you can discuss it with the speach therapist if you keep struggling with Makaton with your daughter.

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  • NicolaLatheySLT
    NicolaLatheySLT Community member Posts: 40 Courageous
    Dear Zenyarae,

    I'm so sorry to hear you are worried but what a lucky girl she is to have you as her mummy who is trying out everything you have been advised to do to help.  

    As speech and language therapists, we tend to opt for a 'Total Communication' Approach.  This means using a combination of words, signs, symbols, pictures  and gestures to help.  So, for children who can't understand or don't respond to spoken words, we need to sign with them to back up our language and for children who can't say words, pictures might them to get their needs and wants met.  

    Signing does take a while to 'click' with most children so you could try 'hand over hand' signing (where you physically move her hands into the positions to sign).  Keep going if you can, because it will help your child to understand what you are saying.  

    Please feel free to ask more questions if you need to.

    Best wishes,

    Nicola x
    Nicola Lathey
    Speech And Language Advisor
    Phone: 01242 571883
    Email: [email protected]


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