Sunday, January 31, 2010

DVD Review: Discovery - Pathways to Better Speech for Children with Down Syndrome

Discovery: Pathways to Better Speech for Children with Down SyndromeThis DVD was written, produced, and directed by Will Schermerhorn.
Running time: 81 minutes.

I watched this because I am concerned with Matthew's speech. He is speech delayed and watching this DVD is part of my research on the topic. I want to understand speech and language development and get ideas to help me help Matthew.

If Matthew was not speech delayed, I would still watch this. One of my long-term speech goals for him is good articulation, specifically the ability to clearly pronounce different consonant and vowel sounds for clear speech.

The film is well done and easy to follow with emphasis on factors that matter in speech and language development for kids with Down syndrome. Chapters included (as copied from the back of the DVD case):
- The Child Discovers the World
- Communication Milestones
- Hearing Issues
- Encouraging Speech
- Sign Language
- Making Speech Understandable
- Talking Begins
- Building Vocabulary & Grammar
- Text & Reading
- The World Discovers the Child

I appreciated how the film incorporated interviews with different families together with opinions from experts on the subject such as Dr. Libby Kumin, author of Comprehensive Speech and Language Treatment for Infants, Toddlers, and Children with Down Syndrome and other books, and Professor Sue Buckley. I found inspiration and comfort in listening to other families' experiences with speech and language.

There was a lot of good information presented in the film that I found myself taking notes while watching, as if I were back in school. I think that every person who watches this film will learn something. I did. I found that the following key points and information stood out to me:

- The "typical" toddler develops and takes off with speech between ages 2 and 4. A child with Down syndrome usually takes off with speech between ages 4 and 6 (but this isn't always the case. I'm sure some may develop speech sooner and maybe some later. I think they just have the age range as a general guideline).

- Speech Milestones are:
  • cooing
  • babbling
  • lalling - imitating environment sounds
  • echolalia - repeating sounds made by others
  • true speech - the first words, 2-word phrases, 3-word phrases, early sentences

- Sign language aids communication when used as a bridge to talking.

- Kids learn language best through sensory experiences.

- Keep a list of words the child understands and work on adding more. For words the child knows, work on getting him to say them.

Overall, I recommend watching this DVD. Have you seen it? What do you think?


Brandie said...

I haven't seen this, but I'm so glad you reviewed it! Its definitely on my "to watch" list now.

MaggieMae said...

It's on my watch-list when I have that much time (LOL). Meanwhile, not sure if Matthew gets PROMPT therapy but you may want to look into this methodology. It is commonly used for children with verbal apraxia and children with DS can have very apraxia-like speech patterns and difficulty, addressing the oral-motor planning (brain telling mouth what to do) difficulties you mention. It's done wonders for Brian and Michael. I just touched on PROMPT therapy yesterday on my blog and will be highlighting the methodology in an upcoming post (b/c I know so many who have not heard about it).(

Sharon said...

I actually bought this a while ago but haven't watched it yet. Thanks for the reminder - I'm going to watch it tonight!

Jennie said...

Thanks for the review, Ria. I look forward to watching the video.
And I echo Maggie's pro-PROMPT stance. Micah's SLP has been using it with him for a month and he's making great progress.

Ria said...

MaggieMae and Jennie, thanks for reminding me about PROMPT. A speech pathologist friend who works in NJ actually told me about it. I know Matthew's SLP uses a combination of methods with him but I'm not sure that PROMPT is one of them.
Enjoy the film everyone!