Another Step in Speech

It is so beyond crazy to me, and a little bittersweet to be honest, that Harrison is about to close a big chapter in his Speech Therapy journey. He has been in Speech since he was newly two years old. At first, a wonderful Speech Therapist would come to our home frequently to meet with him and help teach him (and me) how to even begin speaking. When we started, Harrison ‘spoke’ through a mostly closed mouth and communicated with grunts. When he did speak, it was a jumble of vowels and very, very, very few people could ever even get close to figure out what he was trying to say. Our in-home therapist taught us so much and got him started on the right foot. He made great progress fairly quickly. There were set backs, there were frustrating days, but there were also glorious triumphs and really exciting milestones met. Its been a fascinating, exhilarating journey. More than anything, its shown me how resilient, dedicated and smart my Harrison is. He’s been setting goals and crushing them for years now, and its so inspiring to me. I’m so proud of him.

Harrison right about when this whole journey began! So tiny!
Buddy with some of his sensory activities that his in-home SLP had us get to help promote speech and sound!

His early intervention place (that provided us our in-home speech therapist) only takes little ones until they turn three. So a quick year later, we got Harrison transferred over to our local school districts speech therapy program. It started with an evaluation that was maybe one of the lowest, most frustrating times of this whole journey for me. The evaluation was long. Harrison didn’t want to cooperate at all, he didn’t connect with the woman giving the screening at all.. it was a train wreck. I sobbed the whole way home and throughout much of the day. It was frustrating. I wasn’t frustrated with Harrison, just with the process. We had to reschedule him to do the entire screening over again. I was terrified and dreaded it, but knew it needed to be done. I wanted my boy to keep progressing with his speech and sounds! So we went back to the second screening and thanks heavens, it went a billion times better. He was cooperative, he connected with the new screener. It was awesome. And honestly, its been awesome ever since.

Harrison’s first day of Speech School!

We got little three year-old Harrison into his little Speech Preschool class, and we have been doing that once a week ever since. I owe the SLP’s who’ve worked with him over these years so much thanks and gratitude. I will be eternally grateful for the work they put into Harrison’s speech and success. They are heaven sent humans. These classes have been fun, educational and have got Harrison to the point where he is now. And if you knew Harrison at the beginning of his speech process, then you know just how far he has come. Its amazing.

This Fall Harrison will start Kindergarten (what???) and with that, he will be closing the chapter we have both loved so much, of Speech Preschool. It’ll close the chapter of me being with him while he does speech. Its so bittersweet. Now he will be meeting with a SLP that works in the school he’ll attend who will pull him out of class once a week. He will still be setting goals and tackling them. He’ll still be practicing and learning. But I won’t be there. Thats weird to me. It feels so grown up on his part. How is my boy going into Elementary School!? Sheesh, time flies, but thats a post for another day.

Harrison surely still will be in the speech program for several more years. He’s doing incredible, but still has a ways to go. I love knowing he’s surrounded by a wonderful support system and teachers who are dedicated to helping him do his very best when it comes to something thats been so tricky for him his whole life.

Now, I’m obviously not a SLP or a professional on any of this, but I am Harrison’s mom, and have been very invested in this for most of his life. So I know a thing or two. I’m asked pretty frequently some of the same questions. I answer them occasionally on comments or instagram DM’s, but I’ve chosen to answer my most frequently asked speech-related questions here to make it easier on all of us! If your question isn’t here, message me or comment and I promise I’ll get back to you! This is something I’m passionate about and highly support, so I will most definitely respond.

FAQ About Harrison’s Speech Journey

Do you think Speech is worth it? One trillion percent, yes. Speech has taught us tricks, tips and techniques I never would have come up with in a million years. It has given us the tools to use at home to help Harrison progress. Its held him/me accountable in working with him. Its given Harrison confidence. Its given him classroom experience. Its provided comfort and calm. Its been incredible. I can’t imagine how much more behind Harrison would be if we didn’t choose to put him into speech.

How was he diagnosed with a speech delay? I’d been panicking about him for a while. I took my concerns to our wonderful pediatrician and he gave us the information for an early intervention company nearby us. If you’re concerned about your little ones speech, I’d suggest either asking your pediatrician for a referral, or calling your local school district and asking them what your school system suggests.

Could this just be done at home without intervention? I mean, yes. But in my honest opinion, not as well. There are resources online and so many YouTube videos, etc., but I just know Harrison has learned so much better from SLP’s in person, who really know what they’re doing. Even though parents are awesome and can learn so much, I still 1,000% recommend going to a SLP.

Is Speech Therapy expensive? Not at all. We have been in this about three and a half years. Guess how much we have paid? $0. I love that they’ve truly made this accessible for everyone.

How did you know he was behind in speech? He wasn’t talking as well as kids his age, which at first didn’t concern me. But then I notice he wasn’t talking nearly as well as kids 6+ months younger than him. So then I started to be mindful of it and worry. Trust your gut though!! Testing is free, too! So if you’re worried, I say test. You’d rather know for sure instead of sitting in the scary unknown.

Memory Keeping

Since having my first child five and a half years ago, I’ve been wondering just how I would store my kids important papers/documents/keepsakes. Everyone has their own method that they’re passionate about, and I listened to so many ideas, but ultimately I (finally) landed on this, my own, method. I’ve seen this same idea all over the internet, so I’m not at all claiming it as my own. I’m just super excited about it so I’m sharing it with you in case you’re on the hunt for a good storage idea too! And believe me, if I can do it, so can you. It was super simple and very satisfying.

I ordered file folder boxes and files. The boxes I ordered came in a pack of 4, so I even have one ready for my next baby! Then I ordered a pack of files for each box – the packs I ordered came with 25 (I think) and there are several extra folders in each box, should we decide we need them for something in the kids future. I put the folders in the box and labeled them (in this order):

Baby

Toddler

Preschool

Kindergarten

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

6th Grade

7th Grade

8th Grade

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

Stats

Medical

Keepsakes

Documents

Then, with my cricut machine, I cut out their first initials in vinyl and applied them to the front and voila! Told you it was easy!

I don’t plan on keeping every single paper from school or piece of art they create (like adorable scribbles on scraps of paper, you know?) But I’m going to mindfully keep the papers that my kids worked extra hard on or are extra proud of. The papers that have a funny story behind them or are particularly adorable. The ones I think they’d be happy to see someday when they’re adults showing their own children their memories.

I have put the bracelets we wore in the hospitals for their births in the Baby folder, along with ultrasound pictures, etc. In the boys Toddler folders, I put the bag of clippings from their first haircuts. Things like that. I also knew I had to have a folder dedicated to their stats from doctors appointments. I’m obsessed with my kids stats so I wanted them readily available.

What else would you add?!

A Few Weeks In…

We have been doing home school for a few weeks now and…its going so well! I’m so pleasantly surprised! I was worried, to be honest. I was worried I’d get frazzled while making lesson plans and kind of quit trying as hard as I knew I could. I was worried the boys wouldn’t take class time as seriously as I wished they would. I was worried Flora would make teaching her big brothers nearly impossible. But all of my worries are no longer worries because we are just getting really into the swing of things and its all going so awesome. I have a flow I’m loving and the boys eagerly look forward to preschool.

They’re the cutest. When we are in our classroom, they both call me ‘teacher.’ They raise their hands. They pay attention and they actually try hard. I’m adoring this.

Now lets just hope it continues going this well the rest of the year!

Homeschool

Do you know what’s crazy? Just last week, I was 100% sure that Harrison would be going back to his brick and mortar preschool. I was training him to wear his mask for decent periods of time, I was making myself mentally ok with him being in a classroom, I was excited he’d be back around peers, I just knew I’d be sending him to school.

But then early this week I just kept thinking about homeschool. Then, when I’d try to block even the possibility of homeschool from my mind, something would cause it to pop back in. People would post on instagram about their decisions, a news article would show up on my Facebook feed, someone in the family would say something — and all these things kept bringing my mind back to homeschooling Harrison.

I feel lucky that my only kid in school is only in preschool. I feel confident that I can teach preschool level curriculum. I think this decision and these promptings would be so much more difficult if I had kids in higher grades (so lots of respect to you parents that fall in that category). So one day after homeschooling had yet again entered into my mind, I decided to let it in. I decided to toy around with the idea and see how it felt. I wasn’t committing to homeschooling, I was just feeling it out. So I read some stuff about it, got some ideas, looked on Amazon for supplies and talked to Harrison about the option of homeschool.

Guys. It felt really good. The whole time I was embracing homeschool I just felt peaceful. Not that regular school didn’t feel peaceful — but it didn’t feel like this, either. The option of homeschool just felt right and I couldn’t deny that.

Quite truthfully, I feel that whether I sent Harrison to school or kept him home to do school here, both options would be good for him. I’m not against either. But ultimately, one just felt more correct for us, and thats homeschool.

Now that I’ve committed to this path, I’ve been eagerly scouring the internet trying to find the best things for our ‘classroom.’ I’m also excited because I’ve decided to have Emmett ‘come’ to preschool too! I’m actually looking forward to making lesson plans and teaching both my boys. Its going to be a lot and will surely be overwhelming or chaotic at times, but I’m ready for it. I feel good and I feel ready for this. What a crazy time we are living in, right? Never did I think that my parenting would include homeschooling my kids because there is a global pandemic thats giving that option so freely. Just crazy.

I just want to say, that no matter what you choose – homeschool, regular school, distance learning, etc, I applaud you. These are not easy decisions. These are not easy times. We, as parents, try so dang hard to do what’s best for our own kids and that can be so trying and difficult. I know we are all ultimately doing what’s best for our own unique situations. We’ve got this! We are all amazing, no matter what we decide to go with.

With this all being said, if you, too, are choosing to do homeschool – let me know what resources you’re using!! I’d like to start school in the next couple of weeks and am trying to round up all the things I’ll need! Also if you want to bounce ideas off each other, lets do that, too!! And lastly, if you live around me and have kids somewhere around my kids age…play date?? The biggest thing I’m feeling guilt over right now is that Harrison loves socializing with kids around his age, and he won’t be getting that as much, not going to an actual school.

Have a great day! You’re all awesome, strong and wonderful!