Posted by: Peta | 2012/07/25


The way forward with speech?

Hi Dr
My son suffers from delayed speech as a result of being tube fed and not making use of muscles of mouth as much as he should. He will be four in September and currently has the speech capacity of about a 2yr old. He has met all his milestones within the allocated time and has normal brain functioning / developmentally etc

The speech therapist has said that although he is very bright and knows exactly what he wants to say, he is having trouble with the articulation of the actual words. Tay had grommets put in (again –  3rd set) in April 2012 and for a week or two after that, his speech improved dramatically and we were astounded.

Now, he is making little progress and in fact regressing. His speech therapist is questioning whether the grommets are perhaps not working. Tay has been to the paed 5 times in last month and each time I am told that the grommets are in place as they should be. My question is this –  if they are in place, how do you know that they ARE they working or is there another test that is done to ascertain this?

With his history and severe aversion to hospital and doctors, I don’ t want to put him through any unnecessary tests or procedures but do in fact want to be able to ascertain if they are working or not. He is getting extremely frustrated and distressed that we are not able to understand what he is trying to tell us and he has taken to biting his clothes (and even his own hand for the first time last night), because we do not understand what he wants. We ask him to show us if we don’ t understand and sometimes that works but not always.

How do I know what if those grommets are working? I have had hearing tests done and they show his hearing is normal, even a bit sensitive.

Thank you

Expert's Reply



I was going to suggest that Tay have audiology testing until I came to the part where you mention that his hearing is perfect. This means that his eardrums are moving normally in response to soundwaves and the grommets have drained all fluid that was previously present in his middle ears behind the eardrums.
If the audiology tests were done more than 6 months ago then these should be repeated.
Otherwise it is up to the speech therapist to advise you. She may want to get a second opinion or discuss Tay's speech problem with her colleagues.

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