Last year, when Mr. Charm turned 2, we noticed that he didn’t seem to talk as much as other kids his age.
Thanks to all the crazy medical stuff that went on last summer, I couldn’t get in for his 2 year checkup until September – a full 2.5 months after he actually turned 2. I mentioned my concern about his speaking abilities to the doctor on the phone a few weeks before the appointment, and she said to write down everything he said and bring it with me to the appointment.
I did. By his appointment, he was regularly saying 72 words, and had started putting together a couple of little two word sentences. Plus, we noted, his comprehension was out of this world! He could follow three step instruction without missing a beat.
The pediatrician assured me that he was within the range of normal; on the low side of normal, but not out of bounds. Plus, as advanced as his gross and fine motor skills are, she said, often verbal skills will sort of languish in comparison. But, still, she assured me, things were fine for then.
With all the other medical issues in our lives, we said “OK”, put it on the back-burner, and moved on.
Until around Christmas. The Geek and I had sort of noticed that there didn’t seem to be a lot of verbal development beyond where he was in September, but, well, we’ve been sick as dogs off an on for the last 6 weeks so we were waiting to do anything about it.
Then my Mom told me about the 2 1/2 year olds she had on both her flight up and her flight back from visiting us. They were boys. They were singing whole Christmas Carols – and it was understandable!
So I went online to see where exactly Mr. Charm’s speech should be at this point in his development, and whether I should look into speech therapy for him. I found an article that said children develop at their own rates…BUT, that if your child is doing any ONE of the following things between 20-24 months, you should have your child evaluated.
Followed was a pretty decent list, including mispronouncing vowels and omitting consonants, but what struck me was that on this list was:
- Uses one sound or syllable to name most objects
- Doesn’t seem frustrated when you don’t understand what they want – just gives up easily or gets it for themselves
- Still says single words only, not sentences
- Uses a word once and then doesn’t use it again frequently
Those are all things Mr. Charm does.
- EVERYTHING is “Piece!” to him. If he wants you to stand somewhere, he points to the place and says “Piece!” If he wants a cracker, “Piece!”. If he wants french fries, “Piece!”
- He doesn’t get upset if we don’t ‘get’ what he’s saying. He just moves furniture, climbs counters, and/or breaks childproofing to get what he wants.
- He still rarely uses sentences. Even when he does, it’s more like two single words put together. For example, he’ll say “Baby! Up!” with definite breaks between words, but not really “Baby up!” See what I mean?
- And he’ll often say a new word – which thrills us – and then we won’t hear him say it ever again.
Oh, he has gotten new words; just over Christmas he learned “coal” because my grandmother pointed out the ‘coal’ in the train car he was holding. And he uses it.
But he won’t say “Coal Car”, or “Coal train”. It’s just “Coa!”
So, the Geek and I discussed it. The Geek was feeling really rotten that maybe he’d let his pride get in the way of getting our son the help he needs, but I pointed out that I didn’t think we’d been neglectful at all. We knew this was a potential problem back in June, we addressed it with his pediatrician, at the time, he was not in any developmental danger, so we back-burnered it in lieu of all the other major issues we had to deal with. As soon as we realized it had become a problem again, we decided to deal with it. No pride, no neglect. Just bad timing.
Furthermore, I pointed out to him, had he also noticed that when Mr. Charm is OFF the fructose, he says more words, learns more words, and even his motor skills – already so advanced – improve more?
Because now that I thought about it, I had certainly seen that to be true.
So I believe that had we caught the Fructose Malabsorption early last year, and gotten his diet under control, his verbal skills would probably have caught up all on their own. Since we didn’t, though, we now need to get his diet under control AND get him speech therapy, to make sure he doesn’t fall too far behind before the magic “3″ birthday. (I’d read that at 3 was when children’s brains stop running all synapses and start shutting down the ones they aren’t using, so before 3 is the time to really get developmental growth. That may be untrue, but I still don’t want him to fall behind.)
So, the Geek felt better, and on Monday (with tonsillitis!) last week I called his pediatrician to get a referral to Early Intervention.
The EI coordinator called back last Thursday to chat with me. She explained some of how it will work, and, due to our geographical isolation, we will probably not be blessed with in-home therapy. She asked how quickly I could come in to give them permission to test him. ”Tomorrow?” I said.
She laughed. ”I’m booked up tomorrow. How’s Monday?”
“Just fine.” I said.
So yesterday morning I was in town, handing over my insurance card and signing a stack of papers giving them permission to evaluate Mr. Charm for speech therapy. Now we just get to wait for a phone call from the therapist to schedule the evaluation, and see what happens.
I think he could benefit from therapy, but I don’t know if he’ll qualify for it. So, we’ll see.
And, of course, in the last three days that speech therapy has been on the table, he’s been using new words and even started using some sign language he picked up from the Baby Einstein videos. Because, of course!
We’ll see what happens. I’m interested in seeing what this process looks like.
Though, really – do I actually need another thing on my plate?
Anyone else have a child in speech therapy? How’s is working for you?