Hayden’s Journey to Clear Speech

Meet the delightful Hayden.  He and his Mum, Melissa, came to Talk Play Grow for an assessment in 2014 when he had just turned 3 years old.  Melissa came in with a big, burning question “does my son have dyspraxia?’.  He was late to talk and was hard to understand. Fortunately, the answer was no but he did have a speech disorder.  And so began Hayden’s early intervention journey.

He started coming along to weekly sessions.  These sessions focused helping him make the sounds that were difficult for him.  They were full of play and games.  This is how children engage and learn.  They were about fun and laughter with practice weaved in.  Melissa then took home what she learnt from the sessions.  She kept the practice going and changes started happening.  When “mo” corrected “no” celebration was in order!  This was one of Hayden’s trickiest words.  He had been saying “mo” instead of “no” for 3 years and we all know how often young children say that word!  All that repetition had made it a tough pattern to break.  But with Melissa’s amazing commitment to home practice and Hayden’s persistence he got there.

Hayden reached the top of the public health speech pathology waiting list after 18 months.  His speech had improved so much that there were only a few sounds still needing work.  He took a break from private therapy and continued his sessions at his local community health centre. And Melissa continued carrying over the therapy goals to home. After a block of therapy it was back to private therapy sessions.  The only sound left to work on was the ‘r’.  One of the latest developing sounds.  A few months later he finished in speech therapy journey with age appropriate speech and language.  A massive achievement!

Like a lot of Mums, Melissa sent Hayden off to school this year worried about whether he would keep up, particularly with learning to read.  She sent us this video in June so we’ll leave you to be the judge!


Hayden’s journey shows the importance of getting therapy started early.  Without speech pathology it is likely Hayden would have started school with a speech disorder.  This is a known risk factor for literacy difficulties.  We wish there was a ‘quick fix’ for helping a child with their speech sounds but there is not.  It takes time and lots of practice.  If you’re worried about your child’s speech, please contact us or your local speech pathologist.  Together with the speech pathologist you can work out the best way forward. It may be that you can wait or it may be that you should start on the therapy journey.