Saturday, May 23, 2009

Speech Woes

Speech is such an ugly word in this house. It has been mentioned many times how badly we want to communicate with our child. It has been a source of contention many times between me and others. Its hard to explain what happens.

Tyler signs many words and usually we (meaning me and his dad) can understand what he wants. We got him to finally sign dad after he USE to say it. He now will only sign it. We have a handful of other signs/gestures that we know mean certain things. Once we explain them to others they can understand him.

When we started school we thought that being around other kids would help with his speech problem. That it would encourage him to be more vocal. While we heard more sounds and a little bit of animal sounds no words came out of his mouth.

We increased his speech and did private and are still doing private therapy. I take him once a week for an hour. Because of his need for being around mom we have transitioned him to being with just his speech teacher.

In February when we got his shunt replaced I called to talk to his teachers and therapists at school wondering why no one noticed he acted off there. For the first time in six months we found out that he was not making any sounds or making any progress with his speech teacher at school.

This was when the speech teacher mentioned he was snotty and wouldn't participate. I kinda of laughed and said " He is three. What do you expect." But I got mad. I sent a notebook every day and rarely got back any kind of feedback. I assumed he was doing fine. Communication came only when I asked questions. So this information was new to me.

I immediately sat down and went through books, puzzles, toys, anything that generated some sort of response from Tyler. I wrote out a long letter explaining noises, sounds, gestures and anything that he did when looking at certain objects.

The first day after that I got a response from his teacher. She said "Wow, we had no idea he would be this verbal." I thought for six months you got nothing and it didn't dawn on you to come and talk to me or call. I would have come in and helped you.

I was furious. But that hasn't really increased our speaking. When we got a failed hearing test everyone ( meaning teachers and therapist at school) thought this was the answer to his speech problem. Me and his dad rolled our eyes thinking that this kid can hear just fine. And sure enough we were right. Nothing was wrong with his hearing. He had his ABR done and not one bit of hearing loss at all.

This is were I started hearing from people " oh that is how my kid was/is" or " have you tried this" or my favorite " I am sure he says more than you think." Um nope. He really doesn't. In fact he makes more noises and sounds for me than he does for any one else. Not kidding. None of those things are comforting when you are dealing with a almost 4 year old. At some point communication is crucial. Speaking is needed to get your point across and to eliminate some kind of frustration.

We have been working on getting the beginning syllables out of his mouth. His private speech lady is trying so hard to get ba ba and da da out. All day long we have done something with speech. Him touching our mouths. Him feeling our throats. Me repeating and repeating ba ba ba.

After his bath tonight a most glorious sound. Ba ba

Cheers and clapping and excitement came. He did it again and again. Looking for praise. Clapping and cheering continued.

This speech thing is exhausting. It is a lonely world. Not just for me. But I can't imagine the loneliness he is feeling not being able to express himself and have us understand.



One word


Melissa said...

Nancy, I left a comment on your personal blog, so I won't go into it here, but I know how you feel, if that helps in any small way~!

tiptoe mama said...

HOORAY for "ba ba" One small step for the rest of the world, one giant leap for Tyler.
I can empathize in different ways. I've worried and worried about M.K. and her speech. It broke my heart when she tried so hard to tell me what she wanted, and burst into tears of frustration because I couldn't understand her. It can be so hard to be a Mom when you can't communicate with your child. It can be so hard to be patient when you wonder if it will ever even happen. Hang in there. I am so excited for your one small (huge) triumph.

Nancy Brown said...

Thanks girls. I figure I had been MIA so I just copy and pasted... Thanks for the support as always. ..