I am writing this as a mom and not as the business owner here. Because the truth is, I don't care who you go to see. It doesn't have to be that you're one of our clients. You could live halfway around the world and the advice is the same. Sometimes when you call and you are looking for help it's easy to say "they just want our business" so it's easy to say "let's wait and see" when it comes to your kids talking, or walking, or whatever it is you're waiting on.
This is the plea of a mom who has the knowledge and the skills and still ended up in a situation where I was saying, "Thank god I didn't wait and see."
My little Luke had no words at the expected 15 month mark. Okay, no pressure here, boys are later than girls. I jumped into speech anyway because it can't hurt, right? Then 18 months came and went and still no words. We had a ghost word here or there that would come and then we never heard it again. Now I called Early Intervention to do an assessment because surely by now I would have heard words? Being a speech pathologist I was overly watchful for those words.
My son qualified for Speech, OT and Special Ed. He wasn't pointing or waving. Clapping had come and then we lost it somehow. I had it on video though so I know it happened. It was very upsetting to hear the reports come in with low low scores across the board. My child? low scores? How could that happen? We read, I gave him organic food, no sugar, breastfed... I go through the list, did I miss something? Did I not give him enough attention? Was I being a bad teacher? The thoughts race through your head. None of them are true.
As a therapist myself, I developed a whole new level of awareness in how I speak to parents. This was eye opening for me. I was given the advice to hold objects up near my mouth more. Now, I have to say I was insulted. I was a professional in the field, which they new, and gave me such basic advice. Is it good advice, sure, but for me it was a kick in the stomach. Was I being a bad SLP for my own kid? It's the equivalent of being a nurse or a doctor and you get the advice of, make sure you wash your hands to clean off the germs.
I was on a mission to get him help and if low scores were my way to help, then I was going to accept it.
We began therapy...
19 months,,,we heard "Hi dada!" Amazing!!! Thank you therapy! He was making leaps and bounds in every other area. Pointing came fast (even though it wasn't a totally isolated finger like the other kids...) and waving goodbye was here to stay.
20 months.."Hi dada" had disappeared. Extremely frustrated. And so was my son. He was problem solving and figuring things out visually though. He was communicating nonverbally like crazy! Pulling and pushing us everywhere. But still no words!
21 months,.. 22 months.... "Go!" Another word. Please stay please stay!! Why are your words disappearing? No other skills regress I had never seen this in any child I had worked with.
Then my own SLP who works for me took a look at him. She finally told me about 3 sessions in... "I think he has Apraxia" It just all came crashing down on me. This made sense. He fit every sign and symptom.
Many kids are not diagnosed with Apraxia until about 3 when they have more words. In fact, it's not recommended to diagnose this so young.
The thing is, if you have Apraxia, you need to be taught to speak a totally different way than the way we had been attempting. You need specialized and intensive treatment. The sooner we switch into the correct type of therapy, the sooner he speaks.
My son has a motor speech disorder called Apraxia. It is rare to have true Apraxia, but it is of course possible. It is something he was born with.
If you wait and see, the months of therapy he would have missed would have really set him back much further than he already is. Every month, kids gain skills rapidly. When there is a gap, that gap grows larger very fast. Right now, my son should be starting to put 2 words together and have about 50 words expressively. We have about 2 words. On a good day.
Wait and see is only good if there's no issue. Why would you wait and see? Why let the gap grow wider? In a month and a half he went from 6 month delay in skills to 4 month in everything but speech. Therapy works like magic. You can't see the change overnight but all of a sudden you take them out to a party and everyone notices a huge change in your child. And you think back to therapy and you go, but they just played? How did they do that?
It's the magic of therapy.
We don't miss a session. We don't cancel. We don't wait.
We jump in, feet first, with as much therapy as we can.
We are literally changing the way a child's brain works. That takes time, that takes frequency.... and every session, every day, brings us one step closer.
Please don't wait, and please don't cancel your therapy sessions.
Make the therapy happen. Even on days when I'm like - no way will he go for therapy today he is cranky and tired - We do it anyway. We work through challenges. It builds his character and helps him overcome problems. We make the therapy happen.
Start the magic.