Thomas has an appointment with a speech therapist on Friday.
I know I've written about my mild concerns about his speech before, so this has been a long time coming. I am torn between feeling like I didn't push hard enough for help earlier, and cutting myself slack for doing the best I could with the information I had at the time. Still, it's all pretty frustrating, and it's just the beginning of a learning experience for me.
First of all, I am irritated with the lack of care his pediatrician expressed. I took Thomas in a for checkup back in March or so - he had a cough, and since I'd battled the Never Ending Cough of Doom for months, I didn't want to mess around when it came to Thomas. He checked out fine, and was even pretty friendly to his doctor, which was the second time he's seen him. This doctor is very good with children, and is easy to talk with, but I always get the sense from pediatricians that they don't take me very seriously. (There was the time I took Thomas as a wee tiny guy to his first pediatrician - I had my mom with me, since Beaux had just started a new job and couldn't come to doctor appointments. I swear that doctor, who I ended up liking for the most part, treated me like a teen mom. It was weird. Her demeanor totally changed when I came back months later with Beaux. I would think doctors see plenty of single moms or dads and wouldn't be judgmental about the whole issue, but not in this case...weird.) As he was leaving, I mentioned that I was concerned about Thomas' speech. He said, "Can he say the ABCs?"
Are you kidding me? Of course he could say his ABCs! We watch Sesame Street every day! This kid's whole day is all about the ABCs, practically. I said yes of course and he said, "I wouldn't worry about it until he's three."
I felt placated for a couple of days, and then fell back into my low grade worry cycle. I thought back to all my preschool kids and how much THEY talked. Most of them were pretty good conversationalists, honestly, once they got comfortable with me. Thomas definitely wasn't talking as well as any of them. Still, he would pop up with a new word now and then, and he can communicate most of desires, in one-word caveman speak. There were definitely no sentences, no expressions of feelings.
A month or so later we were in Hattiesburg, and I made a surprise drop-in visit on my Other Mother. Thomas was with me, so it was a sweet surprise. My Other Mother is a very busy and in demand speech pathologist. She is retired from the school system and now works privately, mostly dealing with kids with ADHD. She is incredibly well respected and of course I trust her opinion to the millionth degree. She didn't do a formal evalution - we were there a really short time, maybe twenty minutes, but I told her my concerns. She agreed with me, feeling a few things were off, then pulled out her big fat binder, and found the number for the speech therapist in our county.
I called that number before we left Hattiesburg, left a message, and got a return call the next day. It turned out that they couldn't see him before he was three, as their services didn't start until a child was three. Okay, so I would call back when he was three.
It still bothered me, a little. What do kids do who really have an issue, no question about it, I wondered? You know, preemies or kids on the autism spectrum? I realized there's private care, I suppose, but But it wasn't until I saw a friend from Facebook mention at home speech therapy for HER two-year-old that I realized there was an early intervention program available through the health department.
It was too little, too late. He was SO CLOSE to being three that there was no way they could see him before he was three, and then he would get handed over to the school district program anyway.
Now, I was pissed.
Seriously, though, this is a concern but it's not one that keeps me up at night. I am not worried that Thomas has major issues. If anything, I wonder if it's an articulation issue. As I said before, he CAN communicate. He definitely understands what we say, can follow instructions, comes running into the living room if he hears a theme song to a TV show he knows. Not to mention, the child has never had an ear infection in his life. If he's quiet, that's okay - we're actually a pretty quiet family. I just want someone who knows what they're talking about to evaluate him. I am just so ready for communication to take place - for him to tell me what he's thinking, feeling. All those funny observations that kids make, he just doesn't seem interested.
So, even it's just a minor deal, I was aggravated that it took me FINDING OUT ON FACEBOOK that there was early intervention available. How hard would it have been for my doctor to tell me about the health department program? And why didn't I think to Google early speech intervention + my particular county?
The only break we've received is when I got a call offering the last appointment of the summer. I was thrilled, since I had called the week of Thomas' birthday, and they said that he would be seen once he started school, maybe a couple of weeks in. I was feeling really hopeless that we were going to have to wait until September or so...so God heard my frustrated thoughts, I'm choosing to believe, and helped us out.
So, I ask you, do have experience with speech therapy and your kid(s)? Any words of advice or wisdom? I am eager to come across as a real live adult, you know, a parent who has managed to keep a kid alive for three whole years.