I'm not a doctor or a specialist, just a mom who is sharing her experience with the home education of a formally speech delayed child. Parents should always consult their pediatrician if they suspect a speech delay. That being said, here is my story.
My son had a two year expressive/receptive speech delay when he was tested at age four. He went through all the recommended tests via our pediatrician's referrals to various specialists, and it was determined that he had a speech delay without any other issues. We had him in speech therapy for a while, but it wasn't anything that I could not provide for him at home. We also pursued the free therapy via the public school system, but they classified my son as retarded. The school makes their classification independently of a diagnosis. So if the pediatrician finds no mental retardation, children can still be classified for these services if they test poorly, or the evaluation team feels that the child is a very slow learner. We didn't agree with this classification, but rather than fight this label, we decided to go it on our own.
The first thing we tried was floor play(concentrated play) which was what the therapists had been doing with him once a week for an hour. I spent every day down on the floor with him goofing around while making a pointed attempt at inserting words into our play, basically helping him develop his vocabulary. After he got a little older, we graduated to computer learning and used children's cd-roms like Kindergarten Rabbit, Reader Rabbit, and free online learning games like those offered at Pbskids.com. This was good because he was listening and following instructions - learning interactively with visual clues.
He was losing interest in the computer learning, and we needed to focus on seat work to develop his writing skills. He really disliked this at first, but we started working on writing, workbooks and scissor work for five minutes at a time, increasing seat work by increments of five minutes over a long period of time.
As he got older, he was able to sit for longer periods of time. We tried several kindergarten curricula until I found one that lit a fire under him. We tried Seton kindergarten, secular resources like the Big Book of Kindergarten Learning from wallyworld, and some other secular resources. I did a lot of research for a curriculum that might have more thorough coverage, old fashioned incremental learning.
I noticed that the other resources we used went too fast, and there was a big jump between kindergarten and first grade which would have left him behind, floundering and frustrated. So I took a chance and ordered some kindergarten workbooks from Rod & Staff. They don't have an official kindergarten, so they are called preschool materials. He loved them, and finally he was looking forward to school.
I suddenly felt a great weight lift off my shoulders! Finally, some interest on his part and progress. It was no longer a herculean effort to teach and to learn. I started to believe we could really do this homeschooling thing, and that my son would learn and catch up with his speech. We had a way now. Thank you Lord.
I found the Mennonite curriculum such as Rod & Staff, Christian Light Education and Pathway Readers to progress incrementally at an even pace, and to have thorough coverage with no leaps or gaps. It's extremely integrated, and the development of vocabulary is emphasized. The flow is brilliant, a lot of thought was put into these curricula. Without these Mennonite curricula, my son would not have progressed as well in overcoming his severe speech delays. He's developed a real love of reading now, and is an advanced reader.
We used the Rod & Staff Learning to Read curriculum and the Christian Light Learning to Read Curriculum at the same time, alternating days with them. The pairing was perfect, and the coverage doubled. We also used the Climbing to Good English later on, and Pathway Readers. We used Christian Light Education readers for first grade, and their second grade science and third grade social studies. We haven't used Christian Light Education since then because my son prefers the Rod & Staff, and so do I because there is little if any doctrine which contradict our Catholic faith.
We are currently using fourth and fifth grade Rod & Staff curriculum, Climbing to Good English 4(a good summer bridge or extra practice workbook) and Pathway Readers 4. We also use Catholic resources for reading, history and religion, but Rod & Staff is our core curriculum.
Links to these homeschool curriculum providers are on my sidebar.
Part II will cover what we did in the early years, ages three through six. I'll discuss the details of concentrated play and other ideas for speech help at home.