Friday, April 25, 2014

State of Speech At Our House

We used this April Vacation to take care of appointments- a good half of our time has been spent getting checked and measured and vaccined and making plans.  I'm still processing all the new information about our family and planning out how our spring and summer will roll.  I wanted to share this for a few reasons: I like to write about things as a way to process them for myself, and I also find a lot of comfort in reading about how other families tackle different issues.  I have some speech and language resources included at the bottom, but please chime in with tips and questions.

We started with Elliott's 15-month check up.   He's on track with his percentiles and they were happy with the way we were managing his lactose intolerance, but I felt deja vu as they asked me questions about how much he was speaking and I had to admit that he mostly wasn't.  Grunting, pointing, and healthy babbling, yes.  But not complete words.  It wasn't his normal pediatrician, and the nurse practitioner started stuttering a little, trying to figure out how to suggest a speech evaluation without making me panic.  I put her out of her misery and told her we were already in the system. 

I texted Ben about the speech issue while we waited for shots and he asked me "What are we doing wrong?"  I realized with complete certainty that we're doing nothing wrong.  We read and talk to our kids, take them places and eat meals with them, and have resources that we trust whenever we think they might need a boost.  I started feeling the swirling disappointment, comparing Elliott to his younger friend who says a ton of words, mentally taking tally of all the times I only read Elliott one bedtime story to Milo's five or six.  Then I relaxed, took a deep breath, and vowed not to call for an evaluation until I was home for the summer.  In the meantime, I'm working on the signs "more" and "help" and paying a little more attention to our conversations.

On the other end of the speech therapy process, Milo had his one year evaluation this week, as well.  A year ago he tested into Early Intervention with a significantly low speech score and minorly delayed cognition scores.  At his six month review in October, his speech had improved, but his ability to follow adult directions was delayed.  Yesterday, he tested out of Early Intervention with all his scores above the normal range.  None of us on his team thought that would happen.

I am so proud at how well he did, and I love that they use the same test as last year so I could directly compare the scores for each subtest.  Still, both his therapist and I were a little worried that he might not be ready to completely drop all services.  He has a few sensory things that he could use work with, and he still struggles with adult-directed behavior.  I love this system because they used "clinical judgement" to continue his services for another 6 months, which will take him right up to his 3rd birthday.  He'll be going to a therapy group in the summer, and he'll still be tested by Leominster Public School before he turns three.  

I'm reeling a bit from all the unexpected outcomes of the week.  I also am unsure of my next steps.  Milo has made so much incredible improvement, and I am bursting with pride at my communicative, (sometimes) self-calming son.  Here is the million dollar question: what caused all this change?  His weekly therapy?  The work I did with him last summer?  Or just getting a year older?  My gut leans towards the last one.  Would all of this growth have happened without our work with sign language and doing planned activities and having someone come to house?  Elliott may be eligible for the same support this summer, so these questions are right at the surface.

I didn't even get into the details of my appointment about my slightly elevated blood pressure and blood sugar, but my health needs to be at the top of the list right now, as well.   I know that I can do a good job taking care of my family, but I'm terrible at taking care of myself.  (Note to Ashlie: "letting" yourself eat lots of ice cream and consistently skipping chores in favor of browsing Pinterest is not taking care of yourself).  So that's my challenge in the coming months.  Recognize that I'm a lucky-ass lady who has thriving kids and a toolbox to help them keep growing.  And shift a little focus to my own health, so I can keep being there for them.

When Milo was really struggling with communication last spring, I spent some time gathering resources to help me understand what was going on.  Playing With Words 365 is a website completely centered around building speech skills in everyday play, and I love their articles.  I have a Pinterest board, talk to me baby, where I keep tips/charts/ideas about development.  I also wrote about our experience here and here.  If you have other tips or expertise to share, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

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At April 25, 2014 at 10:02 AM , Blogger Becky Goerend said...

Yay for Milo's progress!! I hear ya about getting up and moving. My evenings after the kids go to bed are spent lounging. I need to get moving.

Becky @bybmg

At April 29, 2014 at 5:39 AM , Blogger ashlie said...

Thank you! I'm pretty proud of him. And the evenings after sleeping kids are no joke. NO JOKE.


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