Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What did you just say?

For some time now, I have noticed that Hunter's speech wasn't exactly the greatest. I thought, well, he's still little, the only child, and a boy. He was always very good at somehow communicating what he wanted, so there wasn't very much frustration going on when he couldn't express himself, or wasn't being understood. I told myself that I would wait to get him as assessed, hoping he would just somehow catch up. Well, that didn't happen. I knew that by the time he turned 3 years old that he could get help for free through the school district. 

Today he received his final assessment. I've been anxiously waiting for this day to come. The other night I laid awake and cried as I felt guilt, wondering if there was something more that I could have done, sadness, thinking about how this wasn't necessarily "normal" and now at 3 years old he may have to go off to school for four days a week, and fear, worrying about whether or not he would like his speech therapist and if he would dislike going. I've tried my best to just keep it together, and I think I'm doing an okay job. There might be some of you thinking, "Oh, it's just a speech delay, what's the big deal?" Well, when you're in the same situation, let's see what you say. I got some comfort when the speech therapist told me that there's not really a cause for a speech delay. She told me that it could be genetic, it's not anything that the parents did or didn't do, or he's just a late bloomer. It does not mean that your child isn't smart, or will be intellectually behind in school. 

 When I heard the words that he has a "severe" speech delay, part of me wanted to cry, and the other part of me was ready to just kick this "delays" butt and move forward. On a good note, he scored one point too high to qualify for help with his language, so now he just needs help with his articulation. So basically, he understands language pretty well, he just doesn't really want to verbalize anything. Little stinker...

Needless to say, it's been difficult. I feel like sometimes people will try and talk to him, and find it odd that he doesn't answer back, or they will tell him to say something and he will say it in a weird way, or they see that he makes more gestures, sounds, or even sings more than he talks. And the assessments and paperwork weren't peaches and cream, as they asked question after question after question. 

Moms...if your child is very verbal, please don't count out the little ones who don't talk that much or not very well. Your going to make the Mom of that child feel like the lonely Kindergartner who doesn't have any friends and just hangs out by themselves during recess time. I think the worst thing we could do is think, "Oh, they don't talk that much, so I don't want my kid playing with them because my child talks a lot...or is already crawling and walking...or has skipped a grade...or is athletic...or is musical etc. etc." Every child is special, and important. PLEASE don't forget that! 

Now it's time to brag about my sweet little guy. He is a smart little cookie. He's VERY good at observing and knowing his directions. From a very young age, he was able to tell me which way to go to get to Grandma and Grandpa's house, or if we were in the vicinity of a friends house, he would know and would start asking for that friend and pointing which way to turn to get to their house. He has an amazing tonal memory. I call him my little John Williams, as he always sings the theme songs to Jaws and Jurassic Park, (his two favorite things, sharks and dinosaurs). Also, when he was younger and not talking very much at all, he would sing the tune to the theme song of the show he wanted to watch, rather than saying a characters name or the title of the show. His imagination is pretty up to par as he makes his dinosaurs play, or transforms his hand into a shark and makes it swim and bite things. 

I want you all to know that I'm not writing this so that you aware of what is going on in Hunter's life, but I think as Mother's we try to find other's that we can relate to, or sometimes we may need some help or suggestions. So this is mainly for all you other Mom's who are in the same boat as I am. We know how it feels to think that our child is somewhat behind. 

I love my little Hunter more than I could ever express. The other night, he crawled in our bed, and although we were cramped, and didn't sleep very well, I was overcome with the feeling that Hunter knew that he was loved. He knows that if he crawls into bed with Mom and Dad, that they will love and cuddle him. Because his speech has been delayed, it has been very exciting to hear all the new words that he is learning. But my favorite words are definitely, "wuv you". He doesn't even say "I" or pronounce his "L", but that's his way of telling us that he loves us. 

It's been a long process so far, but I'm glad that we are making progress. I turned in my paperwork in the middle of July, and here it is October, and I still have one more meeting to go to before he starts getting his speech therapy. Being patient has not been fun, but I'm happy to finally get everything taken care of, and I keep telling myself that early intervention is the best thing we can do for him, and so we just move forward from here. 

I know that soon we are going to be telling him to stop talking as he talks off our  ears, and he will be able to fully express himself, and I can't wait to hear his stories, and what's going on in that crazy brain of his. We've already seen a BIG improvement with him going to preschool. His teacher cares SO much about him and has really helped him to talk more, and articulate his words. We have definitely been blessed with an amazing teacher

So, hopefully his speech therapy starts soon, and I won't have to wait, and go through any more assessments, and paperwork and what not. Although this is a bummer, I am still so grateful for his health, and his strong fun loving spirit. We have truly been blessed with an amazing little man.

Having fun at Legoland
He LOVES sharks

My big boy, all grown up!