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Thread: phonics for language delayed child

  1. #1
    My 4yo daughter (who is almost 5) was adopted internationally two years ago. She is in speech therapy because her language is very delayed and she has a great deal of difficulty making a lot of the sounds. The speech therapist is really encouraging me to teach her letters and sounds because she says that the sooner children learn their letters, the sooner their speech tends to improve. This doesn't surprise me as a couple of my other kids had some very minor speech issues not requiring therapy that corrected themselves as they began reading. While this particular daughter can understand nearly all of what we say, she just cannot produce the speech to communicate. She is making progress, and someone else on this forum encouraged me greatly with the fact that it may take her nearly five years before she is considered to be up with where she should be for her age. Nevertheless, the methods I used with my other children don't seem to be working with her. Magnetic letters, making collages with pictures of objects starting with a particular letter, string letters, glitter letters--none of it seems to really stick. We've been working on the same three letters for quite a while, and the only one she really knows is p. Some of my other kids used the Get Ready, Get Set, Go for the Code series, but I don't think they will hold her attention. She is very active with a very short attention span (although she actually likes for me to read to her--thank goodness!). Right now she is enjoying starfall.com, but otherwise I'm not quite sure which way to go. Has anyone used Happy Phonics? I understand it's very game-based and appealing to an easily distractible child. Any other suggestions?

    (By the way--we're still trying to get her to count, too. She can get to 5 on a good day.)

    The first five were so easy. . .I'm sure there must be a way to help her (and a little more prayer wouldn't hurt either )

    Thanks,
    Michelle

  2. #2
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    My oldest had a severe articulation problem and this did make learning to read more difficult. If you can't say the sound, sounding out words becomes much more difficult.


    You should ask your speech therapist about this form of therapy which I understand combines with reading and shows the child the mouth placement of letters:
    http://www.lindamoodbell.com/
    Pat
    "Of two evils, choose neither."
    Charles H. Spurgeon
    http://www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm

  3. #3
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    I was going to recommend the same program. I haven't used it, but I've heard wonderful things about it from informed parents of kids struggling with severe dyslexia.
    Beth
    TOG Year 1
    Doing TOG since 2005
    R (17), D (14), UG (9)
    Math: Singapore Primary Mathematics, Discovering Mathematics
    German, Spanish

  4. #4
    Dear Michelle,

    I used At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child by Mary Pecci with my youngest children, one of whom had speech problems. We enjoyed Mary Pecci's approach. The Super Seatwork books are fun, and we used Pathway readers & Dick and Jane for our reading material.

    Blessings,
    Susan in La
    Mom to 18yods (ToG graduate), 17yods (R), 15yodd (R), 13yodd (D)
    Redesigned 2

  5. #5
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    Michelle,

    What a houseful of blessings you have! I just want to encourage you to have patience. I admire you for the heart you have to find the key that unlocks each individual child.

    Our youngest daughter is also 4 years old and was adopted internationally. She is a happy little girl with a naturally silly personality. I'm the only one who can understand most of what she says -- even my husband and other kids don't always get it. She sings amost every waking moment to familiar tunes but all of her words are her own. Like your daughter, letters just don't seem to "stick." I've focused on just having fun with the letters and not so much on mastery this year. She knows that letters make unique sounds but she just doesn't differentiate one letter from another nor does she remember which letter makes which sound. We've decided to keep playing with letters this year, helping her make up songs, etc. and whatever sticks is great. What doesn't stick this year, we'll work on more diligently next year. It's not at all unusual for 5 and 6 year olds to be still working on and struggling with their letters.

    This is a loooong way of encouraging you not to stress too much and keep doing what you're doing and making it fun. She's still quite young so maybe she just needs a little more time for that part of her brain to develop.

    Blessings,
    Monica
    "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

  6. #6
    I have used Happy Phonics, and it is only OK. There are games, but you really could make them on your own. And it wounds as if you are doing some of that. I am currently teaching my 7th child to read and have always used a mixture of things. I guess the first thing that came to my mind after reading your post was that 7 out of 7 of mine were not ready to read at age 4. And 3 of them were not even close at age 5. Maybe she is just not ready?
    I used (parts of) Sing, Spell, Read, and Write which I do not highly recommend, but the idea of information set to music is one I think is very beneficial. Perhaps she would respond to that and perhaps you would be able to devise your own. Most reading programs are quite expensive. You may want to take a look at latintrivium.com I just saw a simple inexpensive reading program on that website.

  7. #7
    I have a little girl adopted internationally, and we dealt with the same speech issues. It ended up that she has apraxia. Apraxia is a processing issue that affects their ability to read and write as well. She is in intensive speech therapy, but we've had lots of success with SING, SPELL, READ, AND WRITE. They have a preschool kit. They teach phonics through songs and games. Its worked very well, but due to the apraxia we have to do lots of systematac review over things we've already mastered.

    To encourage you, my daughter is 7 and is exceeding their expectations. But her learning pace is much slower than my other child's. And that's okay; we homeschool to accommodate our kid's needs We also use Handwriting without Tears to help with that.

    Hope this helps.
    AnnM in Texas

  8. #8
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    My ds, who is now 14, was very delayed as well - we tried AlphaPhonics, SSRR, and finally found success with Saxon Phonics. Because Saxon come at language, letters, sounds, reading from all angles, things finally started to click for him - but it was a long process. Saxon is very thorough, yet expensive if you buy it new. But I found it worth it for us. There is so much variety that it was never boring, and because mine was a wiggly fellow, he appreciated the touchy-feely of the activities (some of which he'd do jumping or standing). Check out their website for more info! (I sound like a spokesperson don't I? )

    Four is an early age for many kids to learn English, even for those born in the US. And English is one of the hardest languages to learn. Read to her a lot, have fun, pray and God will open her eyes in His time.
    Blessings!
    Becky

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