Years ago, I got well-acquainted with the local Speech and Language Therapy service through NB, a little one I fostered who had no speech as he turned two, and not much more a year later, despite my best efforts. My memory of that experience is that it involved a lot of homework for me, and repeat visits to a group therapy session where NB steadfastly refused to say anything at all. We made some progress, but eventually he was adopted and it was out of our hands.
Our most recent visit has been for OB's benefit. I asked for the referral myself, partly because OB has turned six now and is still having trouble with 'r', 'w', 'l' and 'th', and also because he has developed a strange habit of stammering at the ends of his words. Since OB isn't at school I felt aware that nobody else was going to pick up on any potential problems except me, so I made the call.
We got off to an unpromising start. On the way there in the car, I was reminding OB of who we were going to see and why. I explained that the therapist was going to help us with some of the sounds he finds hard to say, like 'r'.
"Oh," he said, "Like this . . . 'r'?"
He said it perfectly. In the car. On the way to the Speech Therapist. Cue a load of eye rolling from me.
It is perhaps not surprising then that the Speech Therapist found no concerns with his sound production. In fact she said she wouldn't be concerned about those particular sounds until he reached seven anyway, and even then, they might decide not to take any action.
His stammer, though, was another story. Of course (of course!) he didn't replicate it at all in front of her (despite giving me two fine examples in the car on the way home) so she was having to go purely off what I was saying, but it seems as though this is an actual 'thing'. I'd assumed it was probably some sort of 'place-holding' noise he was making while he worked out what he was going to say next, and she did say it could be that, but then she threw around words like 'palilalia' and 'anxiety' and 'sensory feedback'.
We have an appointment pending to see an Occupational Therapist for a Sensory Integration Assessment, so the Speech Therapist advised us to bring it up there and see if anything comes of it.
In the meantime, I'm just going to have to get used to being regularly called "Mummy..ee..ee..ee..ee..ee..ee..ee" and hearing random words in the middle of sentences being repeated over and over again. Apparently, I'm supposed to stay calm and ignore it, which will be no easy task for a person that needs all her mental strength to avoid finishing the sentences of slow-talkers for them!
Oh, and a little postscript . . .
During the lengthy process of asking OB questions and making notes about the way he pronounced his answers, the therapist saw fit to ask him about the best thing that had ever happened to him and . . . wait for it . . . the WORST thing that had ever happened to him!
Thankfully, OB came up with a memory about falling over at a friend's house and skinning his knee, but be aware professionals, don't ask a child a question like that unless you are fully prepared for the range of possible answers you may receive!