March 30, 2012

speech therapy

It has been well-documented on this blog that Malcolm is a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to talking.

He didn't really use words to communicate until he was about a year and a half old, and since they were so few and far between, we began using sign language to fill in the gaps. Although the signing took off and Malcolm really embraced it, words eventually found their way past his lips, too. In my last post about the subject (about two months ago), I was thrilled that our little man was talking more ... And he has only continued to add new words (and use them!) each day.

So, when we went to his "follow up" two and a half year appointment to check in on his verbal progress, I was sure that he'd impress the pediatrician.

"Does he have fifty small words?"

He easily has double that number!

"Does he link two or three words together?"

All the time!

Things were looking good ... Until she started asking him to say words he didn't routinely say.

(Darn you, "ear" and "light!")

When Malcolm is excited, frustrated, or just plain doesn't have the words to express something, he resorts to making a specific noise. It is hard to describe to someone who hasn't heard it before ... It's sort of like a little grunt combined with the sound he makes when he is tired and sucking his thumb. It's something we hear daily, but, since he is still a new talker, something that never sent up red flags or was of any real concern ... I figure he'll fill in that little noise with words one day once he is better at verbally expressing himself.

Unfortunately, upon hearing this noise, the doctor felt differently. She expressed concern that he still "wasn't there" and that we should still consult a speech therapist. Since it could take three months to get in, it would be better for him to get on the books now than to wait until after his three year appointment ...

While I'm all for helping my child and I want him to be "on track" with the other kids when he eventually is sent off to preschool or any other social situations, I have mixed emotions about speech therapy.

On one hand, it can't hurt (much like the hearing test he received when he was two) and will only help him to improve upon the skills he has been building for the past two months or so. On the other, the doctor has him pegged as being "borderline delayed" and needing assistance after seeing him a handful of times and "talking" with him for a total of five minutes ... And is the little noise he makes really that much of a concern?

I always thought it was cute (and comical).

I'm obviously going to be dealing with many more situations of this nature as Malcolm (and Pearl) grow up. Doctors, teachers, troop leaders, coaches, and countless other adults and professionals will have their opinions of my children and their abilities ... And I will have my own.

For good or for bad.

Already (only two and a half years in), I'm finding it hard to set aside my "mother bear" instinct to protect my kids, with admitting help is needed (or just plain warranted) and following through on getting it.

I guess speech therapy will be a learning experience for both of us ...

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