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Becky is an adopted child with a history of neglect and lack of stimulation in her early years. Quite early on her adoptive parents had concerns about her speech and language. She was referred to the Speech and Language Therapy Service when she was two years old.

Her parents were delighted to get an initial speech and language assessment within a few weeks. This assessment showed that Becky had a delay of 12 months in her speech and language skills. Her mother says that ‘Becky was only using a few single words and always seemed very shy and reluctant to communicate with anyone. This worried us, especially as Becky herself was having more tantrums. We were worried how she would ever cope at nursery school if she couldn’t communicate.'

The community paediatrician carried out an Assessment which also indicated a delay of a year in speech skills. Becky was immediately referred to an early language group run by therapists as part of an Early Intervention Programme. This group targeted her understanding and production of early vocabulary and provided parental advice. Her mother says that ‘Becky certainly made a lot of progress in her language, but still didn’t seem to have confidence in speaking to other people.’

Her mother was pleased when Becky was reviewed two months after the group ended and it was found that her language skills had improved significantly - the South Tyneside Assessment of Syntactic Structures results indicated her language skills were now within normal limits.

However, there were still concerns around the clarity of her speech and her ability to communicate confidently. The South Tyneside Assessment of Phonology test showed Becky was having difficulties in using ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds and she was very reluctant to communicate for the fear of not being understood.

Her mother says that ‘Becky would normally have been offered therapy in a group for these difficulties; however we were worried about her shyness and unwillingness to speak in a group and so we dared to ask if she could have individual therapy sessions and couldn’t believe it when it happened.’

Becky received an 8 week block of individual therapy and made excellent progress. After the therapy, she was able to use the ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds consistently in her speech at the beginning, middle and ends of words. Her confidence to communicate was also greatly improved.

Her mother said, ‘It couldn’t have worked better.’ Becky can start at nursery school with clear intelligible speech that can be understood by adults and children and so her confidence has increased as a result.

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