Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How did we get here? And where are we going?

I decided to take a quick break from the newborn series to talk about a subject that is quite personal.  Please, no attacking or questioning our decisions.  But I have wanted to write this post for quite a while since I know there are other moms out there going through the same thing or have been here before.

Everyone wants their child to be perfect.  A smart, easy, no problems child.  I had an EASY time in school.  I got through High School and College with barely any studying or hard work.  Education and learning just come easy for me.  I don't remember learning to read, or learning how to ride a bike, or any of those normal things because I did them so early.  I hoped and prayed that my kids would have the same easy time with learning.  I knew that my kids would be different than me, but like most parents, I had high hopes and dreams for them.  So as you can imagine, when I discovered that Miss A had a speech was really hard for me.  I was so scared of what it might mean.

"Every child learns at their own pace."  "Do not compare your child to other kids."  How many times have we all heard this?  And it is true.  But when your child is the one who is lagging behind in a certain area, you can't help but compare and feel that you as the parent have done something wrong.

It all started when Miss A was almost 2.  Everyone kept telling me that their kids speech just took off like a rocket around 18 months.  I kept waiting and waiting for that moment.  It didn't come.  As she approached 2 I started researching speech milestones and how to help her catch up to the "normal."  With a kid that age it is hard to sit them down and teach them something, but I bought flash cards and books and any tool I could find to help her along.  She HATED it.  She wanted to play with her toys and got so mad when I would try to work with her.  She spoke a few words, but wasn't anywhere near where she should have been for 2 years old.

At her 2 year appointment, I discussed this with our Pediatrician.  I work with him, love him, and respect him...but he totally blew me off.  He said that she would catch up on her own and if she hadn't caught up by her 3 year appointment we should consider speech therapy.  What?  A whole year?  I could not wrap my mind around it.  But thinking he knew best, I just went back to doing what I was doing...trying to work with her when I could and praying that she would just pick up on her own.

About 6 months 2 1/2 years old...she was still only speaking a few words.  So I took matters in my own hands, found a speech therapist, and got her evaluated.  They were guessing at that point she was 9-12 months behind where she should have been and recommended speech therapy.  So we started going to speech therapy once a week.  Miss A hated it.  She would go to therapy and not say one word the whole time.  She would bawl and throw a fit and it was just awful.  I felt like I was torturing her.  Our Speech Therapist was wonderful and did everything she could to play with Miss A and try to work on her words.  After a few sessions, Miss A did start to talk some at speech.  It still wasn't even close to what I knew she could do...but it was a start.  After about 8 weeks of speech, our therapist was working on a special project and had to hand off our sessions to another therapist.  At first I was rather upset...we were finally making progress!  But after just one session with another therapist...I realized that Miss A just didn't like our original therapist.  With the second one, Miss A immediately started talking, and playing, and doing quite well in therapy!  You truly do have to find the right fit for your child!  I didn't even realize that the therapist was the problem until we tried someone new!

I had Miss A in speech therapy for about 18 weeks...until my due date with Baby J was upon us!  I sat down and discussed with the speech therapist where she thought Miss A was and how she thought we should proceed.  I knew that with my due date coming quickly and then having a newborn, it was going to be near impossible to continue with speech least for a while.  Much to my surprise, the therapist was quite pleased with Miss A and said that she felt she was only about 6 months behind where she should be for almost 3 and was catching up quite well.  The therapist had no problem discharging us and letting us know that if she stopped improving we needed to have her re-evaluated.  She also felt that the birth of Baby J and changes in our household were going to force Miss A along in her speech as well!

So Baby J was born in June, Miss A turned 3 the end of June, and I can honestly say that Miss A's speech has come a LONG way even in these short three months!  I am just amazed!  She is still behind where a "normal" 3 year old would be, but she is making HUGE improvements!

But then I had to decide how to proceed with encouraging her speech.

I had never thought that I would put my 3 year old into a preschool.  I actually thought about homeschooling my kids, but hadn't gotten to that decision yet.  Miss A is 3!  She seems to young to be thinking about school.  But as July and August came around and many of my friends with 3 year olds were putting their kids into preschools, I realized that it was just what Miss A needed.  I have been trying to find opportunities for her to get the socialization she needs...and preschool would be perfect for her!  So we called many of the local preschools, went to some open houses, and found a PERFECT one for her!  The first few days were rough...but she absolutely loves preschool!  She goes two days a week for three hours each...that is six hours a week away from mommy :(.  But in just a few short weeks I have noticed a HUGE leap of improvement in her speech!!  It is absolutely amazing!!!  My little girl is growing up!

Any time your child has a problem, you immediately jump to the worst case scenario.  When we first noticed the speech delay I was very concerned that Miss A might be Autistic or have a learning disability.  While I have been reassured by my husband (who is a child Psychologist), our speech therapist, and many others that they do not feel she is Autistic... but she might still be on the Autism Spectrum or have a learning disability.  For now everything looks fine and she is catching up well...but the scary part is that we still don't know what the future holds for her.  I don't want her to have these challenges...I want things to be easy for a mom I want to keep her in a bubble and just do everything for her...but she has to do it on her own!  The good news is that we are seeing major improvement in her speech!

So for now we are just going to keep doing what we are doing.  Miss A will continue with preschool and we will see where we are at 3 1/2 and at 4.  If she needs to go back to speech therapy we will cross that bridge when we come to it.  For now preschool and the socialization with the other children seems to be helping her along tremendously!

Do you have a child with a speech delay?  Autism?  A Learning Disability?  How did you as a parent deal with that news and how is your little one doing today?

Much Love and Support,


  1. Hugs to you Laura. Beautiful post about a perfect little girl. You are an awesome momma. So far my older two are chatterboxes so I can't personally relate. However we are surrounded by numerous kids on the spectrum. I have to say they are just as 'perfect' and 'normal' as mine or any other kiddos. Its hard on the parents because we want to compare to the 'majority's. Just remember the miracle that each child is and the smile that they put on your face.

  2. I was talking to my therapist last week about something similar involving Miss J. I was trying to tell her how I have been working tirelessly to get help for her for a few years now and how I feel like it's never enough. There is only so many pull out classes or classroom supports or flash cards (the list goes on and on) that you can do before your run out of options.Then Lani (my therapist) said something that took me back. She said "Maybe you just need to accept that this is who she is". I think what she was trying to say was, don't let yourself get so tied up in trying to fix the problem that you never really learn to embrace it.
    You are an amazing Mom and Miss A is an amazing kid!! No matter what comes along the in the future, the Lord has provided you and your DH with the skills you need to help her. Remind yourself that you and DH can handle what's coming down the road. With parents like you, Miss A is going to get everything she needs no matter what the future holds. I love that sweet little face and it is the highlight of my day when you send pics. I am proud of her and proud of what you both have done as parents. Give A and J big kisses for me! - Your SIL <3