Friday, October 29, 2010


And with that, we're done with speech therapy.

Finn has been receiving in-home speech therapy once a week since mid-July - so three and a half months. During that time, no fewer than four sessions were skipped: once because Finn had a cardiology appointment, once because the SLP was on vacation, once because she was sick, and once because . . . well, she just never showed up. In that three and a half months, she was on time maybe three times. All the other times, she was anywhere from ten to twenty-five minutes late, and last week, she showed up fifteen minutes early (which is just as inconvenient and annoying as being late). She often brought along a student/assistant who sat here looking extremely bored each time she was here, fidgeting, sitting with her chin resting on her fist, only interacting with Finn at the SLP's specific direction, and just generally giving the impression that she was just putting in her time.

Here's what speech therapy consisted of for us: playing with toys. A variety of toys that the SLP would bring. Nothing special, though, just toys. Musical toys are a big hit with Finn, so lots of musical toys. Singing songs and doing animated hand movements with the songs.

That's it.

No oral-motor exercises of any kind. And honestly, I'm really not convinced that he'd even be receptive to oral-motor exercises at this point, so my saying this is not a complaint, just an observation.

My point is that nothing - absolutely nothing - happened during three and a half months of speech therapy that we don't already do with Finn.

On the list of positives, the SLP had a really good rapport with Finn. He liked her a lot, and would often crawl into her lap and give her his famous great big hugs.

He is most definitely using more signs now than he was three and a half months ago, and more spoken words (though they are difficult to understand, and I doubt anyone outside of his immediate family would understand the words he says), but I think it's just the natural progression for Finn. He'd be exactly where he is now without the speech therapy.

So I'm disappointed, not because it didn't yield more results, but because I just don't know what the point was. This SLP is supposedly THE BEST. She's very reputable and well known in the community among parents who have children with speech and language delays. I'm not sure, at this point, exactly what criteria makes a SLP good at what they do.

Anyway, we're done now. Her contract with us is up as of today, so this morning was our last session (she showed up twenty-five minutes late, and with her bored assistant). When we said goodbye, that was it - no ceremony or emotion. Not that I expected any.



Irina said...

did she know your blog? (I can imagine she reading this, so funny!) I love your point of view. Im from Argentina. My written english is not so good, but I always read your posts and they are amazing. No pink color posts, just real comments about real life. Hugs.

Mel said...

Sounds like no big loss. I too wonder at what exactly SLPs do. Maybe the boys don't have any real issues for the SLP to work on. Luke eats and is talking more and more, with increasing clarity. Often our SLP just notes what he is saying that's new, and makes a couple of suggestions or shows me some new signs I have requested. It's a bit of a mystery.

Amber said...

Yikes! That sounds so very much like our experience with Jesse's home ABA therapist....who I ended up firing because I found her posting about Jesse on her Facebook. Real professional!

Jesse does have 2 great speech therapists though. One private, one at the hospital. I really can't say enough about them. Good ones are out there! Jesse has a lot of oral-motor issues as well and one of the therapists uses touch cues with him and gets great results!

heidi marie said...

Sorry to hearvthings didn't work out. Henry has made huge advancements in speech do to his therapist. Her help has been invaluable to us. Are there other therapist.

Csunshinegirl said...

Honestly! I don't think it's the speech therapy it's the speech therapist. The fact that the assistant is bored tells me something. The assistant should be fully engaged and participating in the session. Part of speech therapy IS playing with toys. Have you seen the website Now this is what a speech therapist should be doing!! I would try to find another speech therapist. Of all the things our kids need it's speech therapy, because good communication skills are essential to life. I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience. Showing up late is just unprofessional - period!!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with everyone else Lisa. Speech therapy fir Cullen has been invaluable. Our first ST I got rid of 2 weeks into it. She just didn't seem to know how to engage or interact with Cullen in a way that made the sessions productive. His SEID teacher referred me to another one and the difference was amazing just in the very first session.

thara ravishanker said...

Good SLPs do more than bring toys for children to play with. Abby has a positive professional speech therapist who I love.

I would look for a new speech therapist.

Csunshinegirl Communication and talking are two very different things. And most children with additional needs DO have good communication skills.