“My Story…” Monday: A – Just A Boy

(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler, Advocating, What He COULD Do)

 

The speech therapist had never met a child like A.

 

She was lovely, and well-educated, and we were happy to have her.  But she wasn’t really sure what was at the “root” of why our little boy didn’t talk.  Obviously, it wasn’t an articulation issue.  I mean, he wasn’t saying ANYTHING.  It didn’t seem to be an issue of oral-motor strength.  His receptive language skills were at or above age-level, so that eliminated some theories too.  She tossed around the idea of verbal apraxia for awhile (which involves oral motor planning), but, really, that wasn’t his area of struggle either.  We realized that fairly early on but it was later confirmed by a neurologist (see?  there’s a lot more to this story) who asked him to open his mouth and stick out his tongue.  He did, with no difficulties, and that right there shows oral motor planning.

 

We started out with one hour of speech therapy per week and, as A. passed the two year mark and moved toward two and a half, I inquired about more.  The therapist wrote a recommendation for two hours per week and we got it.  We all kept on plugging.

There’s not much to tell about that six month stretch.  My little guy worked, and worked hard.  He was cooperative and sweet and eager to work on whatever Sara would give him.  I asked a ton of questions and wasn’t afraid to take notes.  Our family was pretty well-liked by the therapy team because of how involved we were and, quite honestly, because we had a stable, consistent, substance-free home.  But not much changed with A.

 

Having a 2 1/2 year old boy who does not speak is an odd spot to be in.  We had people who thought our child was “slow” and would never be very bright.  We had people who just wondered all the time, “What are they going to DO with him?”  We also had people who brushed it off as, “He’s a boy- boys talk late.”

 

Not ONE of those was helpful.  Or accurate.

 

So, before I continue on with this story next week– when I’ll be telling you about a very, very difficult decision I had to make– I just want to make this point again:

 

Speech delays do not mean a child is slow or stupid or flawed.  They are also not something to brush off. Do boys talk later than girls?  Sometimes.  Maybe even often.  But there are still benchmarks that should be being met and, really, I’d much rather seek professional help and have someone tell me my concerns are unfounded than just assume he’s fine and suffer the consequences later.  That was, and is, my stance on that.

 

Next week I’ll tell you about the choice that left me sitting in the McDonald’s parking lot, sobbing, on my birthday.

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