Wednesday, February 16, 2011

they have a voice....

it's just taking them some time to figure how to get it out.

Over the past year, Louden & Keegan have been slower than average to develop their language skills.  With that, only on the expressive side, all their receptive language is right on track for their age or better.  

If you haven't experienced any delays, these terms may be new to you.  In short, the boys are having trouble figuring out how to manipulate their thoughts to form words.  They have been perfectly content with sign language,  short one-syllable words, or pointing out what they want.  We've never reached a level of frustration that most kids get when they are not able to communicate.

In January of 2010, we started with our County's Early Intervention program for evaluations for all their skills.  We were told that only Keegan would qualify for services based on the results.  I was dumbfounded that they seen Louden far enough ahead of Keegan to not consider him eligible for therapy.  I took it with a grain of salt since both boys would be home for visits, so they both would benefit.  

Months went by and I started to become very discouraged.  I asked that a Speech Language Pathologist come to the house as much as possible to help give the boys the kick-start I thought they needed.  I started to keep a daily journal of words, so I could see the improvement myself.  I did.

By the time L&K were 2 1/2, I had them BOTH evaluated again.   Mind you, neither boy was talking in a manner anywhere close to their peers.  Still, K only was eligible for services.  I should be happy, right?  Nope, I knew L needed a ton of work too.

One visit, the County's SLP mentioned apraxia for K.  Without even knowing what it was, I totally freaked out.  I excused myself and had to leave the room.  Here she was talking about my kid as if he was broken.  After I pulled myself together, I did some research online and scheduled an appointment for an evaluation with Children's hospital.

The Children's eval was what we expected.  Both boys showed an expressive delay (equal to a 20 month old) and they were 2.5 at the time.  The evaluator said they would qualify for therapy and we should get on the waiting list.  She put my mind at ease that she did not think the delay was anything to worry about, apraxia was not an issue, and the delay was mild to moderate.

Fast forward to now.....we've been in weekly speech therapy for 3 months at Children's.  BOTH boys have shown improvement, but are still not where we would like to see them.  There is such a learning curve between 18-24 months, that we have actually fallen further behind.  I will no longer allow myself to get caught up in the numbers.  I just need to know that today is better than yesterday.  BOTH SLPs at Nationwide are *fantastic*.  They are kind, helpful, caring, and show a genuine interest in L&K.  K is sweet on Miss Jessica, he tried to kiss her every week. :)  L loves the "docder" visits too.  He's very disappointed when it isn't his day to go.

Here's what I have learned:
  • a speech delay is the most common delay for all children
  • boys usually take longer to develop than girls
  • twin take longer due to "twin speak"
  • I am not at fault, nor their environment
  • they are NOT broken
  • they WILL talk, our goal is age 5
  • L&K have each other as a bad "example"
Here's our game plan:
  • Continue speech therapy at Children's
  • Get Mama in the Hanen Project class (currently on waiting list), this class teaches the parents how to encourage language beyond the typical holding their sippy hostage
  • enroll in preschool for positive peer influence (get them around 3 year old that talk well, they'll pick it up)

I have to admit, this delay has consumed me over the past year.  I have to thank my friends for being so understanding and supportive.  I feel as if I need to protect L&K and don't want to subject them to any insecurities, now or later.  I want to do everything in my power to give them the fullest advantage over life, even if we're just talking about kindergarten.  L&K are bigger than the average 3 YO, so I think people expect more of them.  I don't want others to judge them from their language and try to diagnose "what's wrong" with them.  The answer, nothing....they are perfect.

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