The Results

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 8 Comments A+ a-

The summary of Hudson’s assessment from the school district came today. It essentially said exactly what we thought it would say.

First, the highlights.

Hudson readily sat in a chair when asked and and willingly completed tasks presented to him. He was motivated to finish each of the tasks. (Paraphrasing here.) He was able to sort bears by colors, match pictures and shapes, identified big and little objects, identified colors, and recognized many numbers. (Quoting again.) Hudson demonstrated good focus and attention throughout the assessment and exhibited a cute sense of humor. When looking at a book, he was able to share what was happening on each page, using 3-4 word responses… answering a variety of “wh” questions (who, what, where).

Second, the lowlights.

His connected speech was intelligible 60% of the time with context and more without context. He relied on eye contact, smiles, and laughter to engage, especially when he was uncertain of the vocabulary. The Structured Photographic Assessment Test 11 was administered to evaluate sound production. He obtained a… score of 68. This placed him in the 5th percentile. Hudson demonstrated difficulty producing all consonant clusters (/s/ and /l/ blends). He omitted syllables from 3 syllable words.


Hudson is an engaging and happy 41 month old boy who comes from a loving and supportive family. His early learning and social skills are within age expectations. His understanding and use of language is within developmental expectations. Hudson’s intelligibility of speech is significantly impacted by multiple sound errors.

Our thoughts.

We’re not surprised. We have no question that his learning skills, development skills, motor skills, and social skills are all on target, that was never a concern of ours. We never doubted that he understood what we were saying to him, nor did we question that he knew what he wanted to say. It was simply that we had a hard time understanding him. So, really there are no surprises here.

Our next appointment is next Friday with the Speech Language Pathologist and Special Education Teacher to discuss their suggestions how to best handle Hudson’s speech delays. I’m determined to go into the meeting with an open mind, and hopefully they’ll have more than one suggestion because if the only option is preschool, 4 days a week, 4 hours a day, then I’m afraid we’ll be declining that option. Our reasoning is that at 3 years old, Hudson does not need to be attending “school” an hour longer every week than his older sister. This is simply what’s best for our son, at this age; in our opinion, its just too much, too early.

On the other hand, coming in the 5th percentile for speech intelligibility does not sit well with me, and I’d love for any other options to start addressing it now. In my mind, an ideal solution would be at allow Hudson to attend the preschool two days a week, or work individually with a speech therapist once a week. However, if it comes down to the all vs. nothing option, then we’re perfectly content to wait until next spring to have Hudson assessed again at 4 years of age and if they still find his speech intelligibility lacking, then we’ll enroll him in the 4-day-a-week preschool at that time. We’re especially encouraged since Hudson’s speech has grown by leaps and bounds during these past 2 months; we can only imagine what it would be like a year from now.

But I am curious and I am asking for your thoughts and opinions on the subject. If you were in our shoes, how would you handle this situation? Would preschool be the option for you? Would you wait a year before having him assessed again? Or would you go another route all together? I truly would love to hear what you have to say about it. All I ask is that its kept civil and respectful, especially if you think we’re making a mistake. But please feel free to share.

As for next Friday’s meeting, prayers would be greatly appreciated and I’ll be more than happy to share our final decision.

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.


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8:40 PM delete

I'll give you my teacher opinion (and remember, I'm not a speech/language pathologist!). I totally understand not wanting a 3 year old in school 4 hrs a day, 4 days a week. That's a lot for a 3 year old. If it was an all or nothing situation, I would recommend doing private tuturing with a speech teacher at your home or whatever, a couple days a week. You would have to pay for it, that is the downside. However, I have had first graders who have been pretty much unintelligible and it's probably going to be something they'll have to work on for years to come. (I'm not trying to scare you, but some kids just need help getting their mouth to form words.) I've also seen amazing growth with kids who have worked with private tutors and with the school to correct problems, and you couldn't even tell they ever had any trouble. So I would definitey want to address it sooner, especially before other kids start to notice that he talks different.

Something I had to learn as a teacher was this: As much as possible, make him say the whole sentence. (This might be more realistic as he gets older.) For example, if a 1st grader says to me, "Go bathroom?" I prompt them to say the whole sentence. They say, "May I please go to the bathroom?" I wasn't always very good at this. If a kid was struggling to form a question and I knew what he was trying to say I would often just answer him. The speech teacher would frown on that.

Hudson will do great! I will pray for a solution that works for you, that won't cost you extra money! And by the way, worst case scenario, if he doesn't see anyone until he's 4, he will still be fine!

10:30 PM delete

I don't think 3 year olds need preschool. In my opinion, they are going to learn more from their momma in the home and learn the values that YOU find important and want to instill in him before you send him off into the cruel world. If you are worried about his speech, see if you can just have him see a speech pathologist to help.

How does one have their child assessed? I would love to have Cody assessed?

10:37 PM delete

Your situation sounds a lot like Julia, except she was in the second percentile. We were very happy with the option of two times a week of individual speech therapy last Spring (she was almost 3 1/2 at the time). She'll go to preschool twice a week and speech twice a week but the speech sessions are only twenty minutes long. They are good at what they do and in a one on one situation Julia soaked up the attention. They play the whole time, but it's purposeful at the same time.

It is much better to start early. We are anticipating that it's going to take 1-2 school years to get the correct sounds, but it'll be worth it I think. I pray that the school will provide the best option for your situation! It's never easy to hear that our kids need help, but it makes you a GREAT mom for recognizing his needs and doing what is best for him. Hang in there Jenn!

Amy Silver
6:25 AM delete

Looks like you are already getting some great advice, so I won't write a novel here. However, this situation is so much like my younger brother's. He was born 6 weeks premature and had a lot of developmental issues. First, they thought he might be deaf, so my parents hired a speech therapist to come to our home every week to work with him and us on learning sign language. Later, it was discovered that he was not deaf, but had some MAJOR speach hurdles. I cannot tell you how much that therapist helped.. him and us! It was amazing.. I have never really put much stock in preschool, but some people really enjoy it. Who knows.. I just feel that if you CAN provide that one on one attention with a professional, and not overwhelm the poor child either (don't forget every kid is different and some really just develop slower) that it's a much happier situation for you and him. Just my thoughts..

11:24 AM delete

We have dealt with speech issues with Isaiah and are in the process of having Susannah tested. It was different for us because we started before he turned 3 and that puts you in the infant and toddler program not the school districts. We had a speech therapist come to our house once a week for a hour until Isaiah turned 3. It made a huge difference but he still needs some more work. He is going to what he calls school each morning while I work. It is more of a day care than a preschool so lots of playing and crafts. His personality is such that he LOVES going each day and it has helped with his socialization skills and some with language development. We saw a lot more improvement with a speech therapist over just going to preschool each day. I know once the new baby comes he won't be going to 'school' every day.

I know you can get some insurance companies to cover therapy sessions if the doctor diagnoses the speech issue correctly for the insurance company.

Our only option for Isaiah once he turned 3 was to drive him 45 minutes one way for a 30 minute group therapy session. I was not about to do that. I was given a lots of exercises to use at home with him to strengthen his mouth and tongue muscles to help with speech. Maybe you can have a couple sessions with a therapist and do some work on your own too.

I am going to see what the school district can do for Isaiah now since we are in a different county now. He still needs some more help.

Sorry I got really long winded there, i hope you can understand my rambling. I'll be praying you find a solution that works for your family.

7:54 PM delete

I say that it's crazy for a 3 year old to go to school for that many days for that long of a time.

Maybe for saving money there are things that you could buy from a website or something that would help or you could make flash card pictures with pictures of words that start with the words that he is having a harder time with like a lot to do with consonant clusters.

You said that he has improved a lot in the past two months though. If I were in your shoes I would probably try doing the flash card idea since it does save money and wait a year to have him assessed again.

I pray that things go well with whatever you and your husband decide. Good luck!

8:08 AM delete

Our experience: According to the specialists, Owen was 6-9 mos behind at age 3. He made up his own words, used 2-3 word sentences, and rarely did anyone understand what he was saying. They wanted intensive, long-term speech therapy.
We did speech therapy about 1-2x per month for a year. (It started aggressive, and then tapered off.) At the end of that, they did a huge report saying that if we didn't continue he would develop more issues, like stuttering.
My gut said no. I sure do like my gut.
Owen started preschool at CPS 2 days a week for 2.5 hours each day. His language skills sky rocketed. We never had him re-analyzed. There's no need. By age 5 he may not have the same skills as the bulk of 5 year olds, but every day he's taking leaps. I can have long conversations with him, and I understand every word.
His biggest struggle seems to be slowing down when he's excited or stressed--that's when his words trip him up. I can totally relate. ;)
We're homeschooling for kindergarten, but making sure he has weekly interactions with other kids to improve his language development. Since we are aware of where he struggles, we can also work closely with him to overcome his obstacles.
His little sister is quickly catching up to him, and he seems bound & determined to stay ahead of her. :) That helps too.

9:29 PM delete

No advice, I just want to say that I love Hudson, and I know you will do what you think is best for him. He will be fine. I think it's great that you took the initiative to have him assessed in the first place.