Sunday, December 27, 2009

Going Private

Not the blog - just speech therapy. :)

We finished a two part evaluation with a speech language pathologist (SLP) about 35 minutes from home and so far, I really like her. Carver is excited to go, cooperates as well as could be expected. The first visit was really great as far as behavior goes. I was so impressed with how well he sat and said words for her. :) But he's starting to learn where the toys are and is anxious to try them all. She gave us a detailed evaluation that I'll try to include details from later. But the long and short of it is that she recommended talking to the school about upping his therapy time there and probably going to twice weekly therapy with her. It seems on track to me because he certainly needs the time and practice. A couple of the interesting things I learned so far:

Carver has the physical capability to make the sounds for words, just not the muscle control to plan and execute them on demand. All the age appropriate sounds are there. Even L.

He can move his tongue up and make a clicking sound on the roof of his mouth, but if you ask him to touch his tongue to his top teeth, even with a mirror and example - he can't do it. It's a perfect example of his lack of motor planning ability.

He has a hard time with words that switch position in the mouth. "Muddy" ends up sounding like "Muu-ee" or "munny." "Gate" or "Kite" are tricky because it shifts from the throat to the teeth.

Making sounds in a row on purpose is hard. Sequencing is a challenge for sure.

I'm encouraged. I'll be able to listen to books on tape to and from speech... :) Okay, maybe not. It's a great time to practice conversations with Carver. So far, I need to leave Grace at home. Hopefully we'll be able to work up to taking her with me. I don't want to use all my babysitting swaps in one place!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wake-up call

Lately, I've faced a lot of reality. I exchanged emails with Carver's preschool teacher and SLP -a speech language pathologist, formerly known as a "speech therapist." :) It turns out Carver's not speaking much at school. I had figured that his IEPs and progress reports reflected his ability to perform in structured, formal testing situations and didn't worry too much about the low age equivalencies given. But I wanted to be sure. I was really surprised to find out that he's NOT talking at school. Strings of 3 words at BEST. Mostly single-word utterances. WHAT?! He's talking volumes at home. Granted, articulation is a major hurdle. But he's not letting that stop him. He speaks in paragraphs at home, disjointed sentences strung together with semi-colons or ellipses. So this is a major discrepancy. And it has me concerned for MANY reasons:

1. How can speech therapy be effective at school if he's not talking?

2. Why isn't he comfortable enough at school to talk? He used to talk up a storm at school - last year, different classroom, different teacher and therapist. What's happened?

3. I can't count on the school system. I've been coasting and it's time to get back in the driver's seat.

4. The clock is ticking and we're just under 2 years away from kindergarten. I'm kicking myself for wasting so much time.

SO... I'm diving into the search for a private speech therapist. I'd been on a waiting list and didn't know what else to do. Now we've been accepted to the local therapy center, but I'm not just taking whoever I get. Next Monday we meet with the first recommendation from my pediatrician. (HELLO?! Why didn't I ask him sooner? He's fabulous and knows an awful lot more than I realize.) I'm willing to drive about 30 minutes for therapy, the local place is 15 minutes. I'm hoping we're looking at every week. I've resisted the cost ($25 co-pay each visit), but how can I NOT do it?

But more importantly, it's good for me to have these moments where I get myself back on track at being Carver's #1 advocate. It's exhausting to worry all the time about him, to be constantly teaching and coaching him. I have 3 other kids, laundry, dishes, meals, church responsibilities, a husband and so many more parts to my life. It's a sticky balance between feeling guilty that I'm NOT doing more for Carver and letting myself relax to the point that I'm not doing much at all.

Whew. Add to all that the fact that I keep looking at my sweet 4 year old and wondering when he'll use the toilet and I want to throw in the towel completely!