Initially I started enquiries with the kinder teacher when I felt his speech was slower than that of Spencer's. At first the kinder teacher said there was nothing to worry about, but in about third term she felt it wouldn't hurt to get him assessed.
His actual speech sounded jumbled. It sounded like a sentence, but one that many couldn't understand. He used the correct intonation, but with only some words said clearly. Overall he was happy enough, yet would have terrible tantrums and storm off if he couldn't explain or understand.
We started the process and I found a local therapist and booked an assessment. It was August by this stage. Her assessment suggested he had an auditory processing disorder - not a delay. What she explained was that his speech patterns had developed irregularly, so some portions of his communication were age appropriate, but others weren't. He could label things, but not always create a grammatical sentence. With Fiona we started to work on some basic areas, but with a holiday and then Christmas, we didn't carry on any more.
This year, the boys started 4 year old kinder and I think the problem was more pronounced. The teacher didn't really understand, and with 4 sets of twins in the group was focused on them socialising, rather than any other issues. Spencer is more advanced in his speech, and as such Benji uses him as either his interpreter or takes him away from the group to play individually. Neither is helping him learn and participate but it is a difficult situation. We have continued private sessions, which cost $120/hour. She has also been out to assess him at kinder and this has really helped his relationship with the teacher as she now has a better understanding of him.
What we didn't know was there are a whole load of community services available to preschool children in different areas. We live in Monash, and within MonashLink they offer speech, OT, psychologists and other services at a greatly reduced price - try $8 per hour. Big gap in price but not in outcome. The boys were again assessed and while they are improving, there are still issues. We are going to continue for a period with the community group and switch back to private when our sessions expire.
We were referred to this by our kinder teacher, but even when we were there, they were asking about our paediatrician, and PSFO, neither of which we have. We have driven this ourselves and imagine there must be many other people like us. Benji's problem isn't huge, but it is certainly an issue. Having said that the early intervention has helped tremendously and as such we have seen great improvement over the last few weeks.
Now we are starting to think and worry about school. I know it is still a fair way off and a lot can change. Being december boys and twins at that, there are both pros and cons for sending them or holding them back. My preference would probably be for sending them- but I constantly flip flop. Most recently the speechie has said that sometimes children with disorders can benefit from the structured learning at school, as opposed to the play based learning. I don't know whether they lack maturity to deal with their language issues yet and would another year help them? I suppose I have to wait and see.....