I have a question at the end for anybody who has/had a toddler in speech therapy and/or is a speech therapist with pediatric experience. So if you want to skip the story about why social services may be at my door any day, please at least read the end.
Some family stories shouldn’t exist. For example, I should not have to tell my Korean-born son that the first time we met him was when we picked him up in baggage claim at the airport. Unfortunately, that is true. I mean, he was with an escort, of course; we didn’t just grab him off one of those carousel things, but still . . .
Another story that shouldn’t exist, that I shouldn’t have had to explain with a hideously long back story at Quinn’s first speech therapy appointment this week, is Quinn’s first sentence.
Oh dear. Here is the hideously long back story:
Quinn loves the Wii Fit. LOVES it. And he doesn’t just love playing it, he also loves watching other people play it. Actually, I think he loves watching other people play it more than he loves playing it himself. So he recognizes everybody’s Wii Me (which is no small feat given the creativity employed by my children when creating their Wii Me(s), and the fact that the Wii Fit thinks McH is fat, so his Wii Me automatically reflects that).
ANYWAY . . . McH was playing the snowball fight game this past weekend, throwing virtual snowballs at every Wii Me who ran by. My Wii Me ran out from behind some barricade (I wasn’t playing, but the game uses a combination of generic Me(s) (I don’t know how to make “me” plural . . . “mes” just doesn’t do it . . . Miis? Maybe) . . . anyway, combination of generic characters and family generated Me(s), and, as I said, my Me ran out from behind a barricade and, splat. I took a snowball to the face.
So Quinn came running out to the kitchen to tell me, “Dad hit mom! Hit mom! Hit mom! Dad hit mom!”
And there you have it. My child’s first sentence, which should be no child’s first sentence.
The speech therapist just put it down on her paperwork as “noun, verb, noun usage” because she didn’t want social services banging down my door.
Bless her. She is a kind soul,a very grandmotherly sort. Quinn can’t bat an eye or raise an eyebrow without her laughing and finding great joy in it all.
But as a pediatric speech therapist? I spent an hour this morning watching her marvel over how he knew how to do a puzzle (duh, he doesn’t seem to have any cognitive delay, he is just behind in his expressive language) and play with my son in a way that seemed to totally underestimate his intelligence. The few things she did that started to draw him out enough to get him to talk to/around her (like when she got out the bubbles) she screwed up (like when she couldn’t blow any bubbles because she thought the solution seemed thick when she opened it, so she added water). So for the better part of an hour, she talked to him like he was a simpleton and he sat on my lap playing with the first two toys she got out, barely making eye contact with her and showing no desire to talk to her at all.
She said the goals she has set for him, base on her evaluation earlier this week, are to get him using more verbs, putting the –ing ending on verbs, using the w- questions (where, what, etc.), and using plurals. Interesting. I mean, those are milestones he should be hitting and hasn’t (except he does use some plurals), but . . .
He says lots of words. Lots. The problem is they are sooooo hard to understand. He frequently leaves off the first sound, the last sound, or both. She said that, as he talks more, that will clear itself up. Umm, I’m not so sure about that. There are words he has been saying for months and months and months that I still have a hard time deciphering without some context, and I told her that during the evaluation. I think she was too busy laughing at his cuteness to take much note of what I said. For example, the word “seven.” I can’t even think of a way to type it the way he says it. It sounds nothing like “seven” except that there is a short e sound in there. For months I have been working with him, telling him to put the “s” sound on the beginning, and modeling it for him (and yes, he knows what the “s” sound is). So he will stop and say, “Sssssss.” Then he will say “seven” the exact same way he has been saying it for months, completely independently of the “s” sound he just made.
So, I don’t know, I guess I kind of thought a speech therapist would have some idea of what is going on with that and try to address it.
She did hear him say the word “yellow” and observed that he can’t say the “y” sound (when she got done giggling like Mrs. Claus). So I had to tell her, again, that, yes, he can make that sound. He can make all the sounds independently. He just has a hard time putting them together. I guess that is why I was shocked that she spent today doing a puzzle, playing with happy meal toys (not making that up), doing a lift-the-flap board book, and totally screwing up my son’s opportunity to pop bubbles (I’ve been holding out at home with the bubbles, using them as his prize for going in the potty).
So if you have been or are going through speech therapy with your toddler, or if you have experience in speech therapy, how has it worked for you? I mean, what happens during speech therapy? What should be happening? What should I be looking for? Because, frankly, if this is it? We’re done. She didn’t do anything I can’t do/don’t do at home already. I’m not going to keep paying for this if it doesn’t get better.