This year Harrison is starting his third year on his Speech Therapy journey. I cannot express enough just how truly grateful I am for this program. Like, for real. When Harrison started speech when he was 2, he didn’t speak. He didn’t even open his mouth! He would communicate through grunts and the occasional little sound, but that was it. I was so stressed out during those months. I was worried that I wasn’t doing something right and that I’d never figure out the right way to help my sweet boy communicate with people.
But then we took a leap and got him evaluated and sure enough, and very unsurprisingly, learned he had a speech delay. Immediately we got him into therapy. From the ages two to three, a speech pathologist came to our home to work with him and he improved leaps and bounds. Years later I still get emotional about it because it was absolutely miraculous.
Once he turned three we got him into speech classes through the school district which have continued to greatly help him. This will be his final year in these particular class before he starts Kindergarten next year (gulp) and its making me feel all sentimental and just so, so, so thankful. I am very proud of Harrison. He has done amazing things. He can do anything he puts his mind to. I’m forever in awe of him and his abilities.
This year definitely looks different with face masks and face shields, but nonetheless, we are going to keep on going. Harrison is going to keep on working and making us so beyond proud.
Yesterday was H’s first day of school!! He has started at a preschool that focuses on speech delays and already I can tell that this is going to be amazing for him! I’m so excited for him and for this step in his speech journey.
Love you buddy boy. You are kind. You are smart. You are a friend. You are worth it.
If you remember, a few weeks ago I posted about H’s last speech screening – and I didn’t feel the greatest about it. I was frustrated with how it went and just felt uptight afterwards. He didn’t finish his initial screening because he 100% lost interest so we had to schedule part two of his screening. A couple weeks ago we had that screening and I am beyond excited to tell you it was completely different in the very best way.
Things went awesome. He had a different tester who he clicked with really fast and she understood him better and was just really good at getting him to speak and crack out of his shell a little after than normal. We were also in a different, less distracting room which I feel like helped a ton. He was able to finish all his testing.
I was very careful to make sure I went into this second part of testing with absolutely no expectations or ideas of how the testing would go. He still acted his age, but he was much more attentive and showed off a little more than last time. I was overjoyed.
Once the testing was completed, we were sent out to wait for a little while in a fun play room. Then I was called back for a very brief meeting while H got to stay in and play. In this meeting I was informed that H is very intelligent and bright and tests above average on everything, except speech – particularly articulation. It was a relief to hear, even though deep down I think I knew speech/articulation was the only real issue we were dealing with.
So now Wild Man and I are deciding which form of Speech Therapy we’d like him to go on to after he turns three. We have a couple different choices that we need to pick between. I’m excited to see what H can do in this new program. I’m excited that round two of testing went so much better. I’m proud of my little guy and these incredible strides he’s making!
I haven’t really kept my blog up to date on H’s speech delay and thats mostly because I thought we were kicking the speech delays trash – and we are. H is. Seriously if you could hear him when we started this process back in January to today, you’d be astonished. He’s an amazing boy.
Today (the day i’m typing this up) we had a special screening for H at the preschool he’ll likely be attending here very soon to help with his speech. We always knew it would be a long testing day and it had the possibility of being a hard day – but I didn’t expect it to turn out the way it did.
H is 5-7% intelligible – and getting that 7% put on the paper was only because I told the lady I swear he’s easier to understand than what he was showing today. 5%? I didn’t know they were going to come up with a percentage of how easy to understand he was, but if I would have had to give my own prediction of what percentage I thought he was at, I probably would have said fifty to sixty percent. Not five. I know that since I’m his mom and I am with him 24/7 I understand his funny words and sounds, but I was just feeling so confident that other people, even strangers, could understand him at least half the time.
My immediate feeling was guilt. I should be working harder with him on sounds and words. If I would have done that and been more diligent about that, he wouldn’t be at 5-7%.
Then I was just sad. How sad for H that he’s only understood so infrequently. Is he frustrated? Is he mad about this? Does he feel as misunderstood as he is? Ugh.
The people who tested him were so sweet and patient. They gave him lots of chances to get his words out and for the most part he did a good job with that. Then he started getting sick of it. He didn’t want to cooperate anymore and I couldn’t blame him – he’d been there almost 2 hours at that point. So we ended up rescheduling the last part of his testing for a later date.
I left feeling really defeated. I felt really frustrated. I was frustrated that H didn’t perform as well as he could have or as well as he would have at home. I was frustrated that the people testing him couldn’t understand his words. I was frustrated that we had to do more testing later and that we couldn’t get it all done in one day (now i have more testing to feel anxious about). I was frustrated at myself for thinking he’d fly through this testing and nail every part of it. I was frustrated that he wasn’t into the testing so he wasn’t doing well on the other elements of testing that didn’t have to do with language – like are they going to think he has other issues we need to look at now too? I was frustrated that I was able to see the scores the testers would write down on the papers in front of them when they would ask H a question, and in his own ‘language’ he’d answer, but they didn’t speak his language so they didn’t know and they’d mark that he answered incorrectly or not at all. I was frustrated that I’m not tougher.
But I wasn’t frustrated with H. He did awesome. Thats a lot to ask of an almost three year old. He got wiggly and lost interest in it all, but he did so good. I’m proud of him. He’s amazing, patient, smart and sweet. I couldn’t ask for a better buddy. I see so much progress from him. So much. He used to ‘talk’ with this throat and never opened his mouth. Now he will pretty much repeat any word you ask him to, its just a matter of how easy he is to understand when he says it.
I need to be patient. I’m fully aware this breakdown I’m having is an overreaction. Its just because I really love my boy and I want the best for him. I want him to be able to communicate! He can understand everyone, I wish everyone could understand him! I just keep thinking about how frustrating it must feel to not be able to really talk to anyone besides your parents.
He’ll get there. It might be fast and it might be slower, but he’ll get there. This testing is going to show us as his parents and his future teachers just how to make sure that he does get there! I’m thankful that there are ways to learn about kids individual delays and ways to make an individual plan for that child so they can succeed and thrive. Most of all, I’m thankful for my H. He is awesome and he never ceases to make me proud.
I am so proud of H. He has been in Speech Therapy for a few months now and he is doing so, so well! I have seen so much progress and in the last couple of weeks he has just turned another big corner. My heart could burst! When we began this journey with our sweet Speech Pathologist I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if change would happen quickly or if it would require a lot of patience. For us, it is definitely taking time and patience, but changes are happening! H is talking with an open mouth (he used to mainly ‘talk’ through closed lips), he is trying new sounds, will mimic words and is even using very simple 2 (sometimes 3) word sentences! We still have a ways to go and more goals to accomplish, but little by little my awesome, smart H is reaching those goals and making his mom beam with pride.
I know a while ago I said I was planning on making a video and posting it about our journey and giving advice and answering questions. Well, I still haven’t done that, though I still plan on doing so. Just bear with me – sometimes I’m a procrastinator. But for now I thought I’d answer a few of the questions I’ve got from several people. If you have more questions let me know what they are – I am happy to answer them in the best way I know how. Keep in mind, I am not a professional. I’m not a Speech Therapist or Pathologist, I’m not kind of medical professional and don’t even entirely know what I’m doing. I’m just a mom with a two year old with a speech delay and this is all based off of our personal experience.
How do you tell your child has a speech problem? It all started when I realized there were toddlers much younger than H that could speak a lot more. At first I chalked it up to knowing everyone develops at different speeds, etc. But it just became more and more relevant as time went on. I read stuff online about speech delays and realized he had a lot of the qualities as children with speech delays. I never really was 100% sure if he did have a delay though because you always hear about those late-talkers or those kids that just wake up one day and are able to speak so well. I just kept waiting for that magical day where he’d wake up and call me mom. But it wasn’t happening, so I finally talked to my husband about my concerns and together we went to our pediatrician to discuss our worries and the options.
What are some ways you’re helping H speak? I make sure he is hearing language all the time. I am constantly talking to him. I’m repeating words he is working on. He has a sensory box that encourages tons of language, we name colors, shapes, animals, people, etc all day long. He has game called ‘Pow’ (i’ll cover this in more depth in a video someday) that has really helped him. I encourage mimicking of my actions and words and he picks up on that really well. I praise him when he tries new words and sounds. And I pray. A lot.
How did you go about get H screened? It started with our pediatrician. We scheduled an appointment with him to talk about our concerns about H’s speaking – or lack there of. He referred us to a local company that screens kids under three for developmental delays. They came to our home and did the screening and decided he could benefit from speech therapy. If you are wanting to get your child screened – talk to your pediatrician!
Whats your main piece of advice for parents of a child with a speech delay? Be patient. Your little one is going to figure this out, but its a lot and isn’t going to change overnight. Be patient and encouraging – trust the process.
Did H being a binky baby have anything to do with this delay? According to our Speech Pathologist, no. So I also say no. Think of all the kids who took binks when they were younger and speak just fine…
Is H frustrated he isn’t speaking at the same rate as kids his age? I’ve never been able to recognize that he is frustrated. He may not speak great yet, but he communicates really well so I don’t think he’s ever really felt like he’s not being understood. However I do know that some kids do get very frustrated when no one can understand their own little language and their body language (because our speech pathologist told me).
Like I said, if you have any more questions let me know! But thats the scoop as of now. H is awesome. He’s doing so well and has come so far!
I have all the feelings and emotions and my heart is so full.
A couple days ago I posted about our little H and his newly diagnosed Speech Delay. (link to that post here) The response I have got to that post has blown my mind. I really hoped it would be a post that was helpful even to one other parent out there, but this post reached so many more people than I anticipated.
I have received more messages and private comments on that post than I ever have before. So many parents have reached out to me and have told me about their experience with their own child/children with speech delays. I was given so many words of encouragement, advice and well wishes. You have no idea how much it means to me. Honestly, I’m not that stressed out or concerned about H’s speech delay. This is a common ‘issue’ and I know we have taken the correct steps in helping him catch up on his speech. I feel really good about where we are at and I feel so much peace still since getting him screened and finding out he would benefit from speech therapy.
Not only have I got a lot of comments from parents who have been through this, but I have got even more comments from parents who have been where I so recently was. I have had so, so many moms reach out to me telling me how they’ve been concerned that their child has a developmental delay. Lots of wonderful, stressed out mommas have sent me messages saying they have been suspicious for however long that their child has a speech delay. I’ve been thanked for posting about our experience and helping instill some confidence and bravery into other parents so they will reach out to their pediatrician about their concerns.
I have also been asked for a lot of advice. I’ve tried to answer everyone, but in case I missed you – I will post more advice. But it will be later. We are still at the beginning of this journey. We have only barely began speech therapy and I’m still pretty clueless. But I know how it feels to feel alone and stressed out, so I promise you that as we gain experience and knowledge, I will share more advice with you. For those of you sweet women who asked me if I’d start doing videos about H’s speech therapy – yes, I will. I have actually been dabbling with the idea of starting a YouTube channel (is that embarrassing?) for a while and I think this is kind of my big push that will get me to really start it. Again, it likely won’t be for a little bit though. So stay tuned.
So thanks you guys. Thanks for the kind words and advice. Thanks for the encouragement. Thanks for telling me that post helped you. Thanks for being brave and putting your child first and planning to talk to your pediatrician if there are things about your child that worry you. Thanks for loving H and giving him your best wishes. You guys are amazing.
It was a few months ago that I really started to realize that H wasn’t talking as much as other kids his age. He wasn’t even talking as much as kids several months younger than him. You hear all the time about kids who just start speaking later than ‘normal,’ and I just assumed that was what H would do. Just to get some help/ideas to assist him in maybe even trying to speak a little more, I talked to a friend who is a speech pathologist and got some advice from her. She gave me great advice that I immediately started implementing into our daily life. I didn’t tell anyone about my suspicions that he was a little behind in language. Not even Wild Man. I’m so quick to worry and blow things out of proportion and I was sure that was what I was doing so I didn’t want to drag anyone down with me. I used the advice my friend had given me and hoped and prayed I was just overreacting. I kept waiting for that thing you hear moms say all the time, “one day he just started talking like crazy!” I waited and waited..
As time went on and I kept on worrying I did something I very much regret. I went to the internet and went down a rabbit hole. A terrible, evil rabbit hole. I started doing research on toddlers with speech delays and how to identify if they do in fact have one. This ‘research’ led me to several hundred other articles (not exaggerating here) that sent me into a scary downward spiral. I was reading articles about how a speech delay is also a sign of several other much bigger issues. So then of course I start reading about those other issues/delays and next thing I know, I’m 100% convinced that not only does he have some kind of speech disorder, but he also has this, this and this. It was the crappiest, scariest feeling. I physically and emotionally was hurting like I never have before. It was such an alien feeling. The thing was, I knew nothing would change if I did find out he had a delay or two – I would still love him and my opinion and attitude of him would not change. I just hated not knowing for sure. I still kept it quiet for several more weeks. I was probably overreacting. Thats what I kept telling myself over and over again. But I could never shake the aching feeling.
Finally, I decided to be brave enough to talk to Wild Man about this. One morning I just sent him a text addressing my concern. Come to find out, he was just beginning to be slightly suspicious that he was a little behind with speech. But then his crazy wife texted him and he too went down the dangerous rabbit hole – also becoming terribly stressed out and worried – stuck in this yucky rut of feeling completely helpless and confused.
It felt so good to not be the only one worried anymore, but I also felt bad for dragging Wild Man down with me. It wasn’t a fun place to be. So we quickly decided we wanted to talk to our pediatrician about our many concerns about H. Our little E had his two month check-up coming up the following week. I texted our pediatrician (he’s a family friend) and asked him if he’d have time to talk about these concerns or if we should schedule a separate appointment. Thankfully he was able to make time during E’s appointment to address our questions. The day of the appointment came and I was so anxious! Our doctor told us he didn’t really think we had anything to worry about. Boys apparently statistically speak a little later than girls and since H wasn’t even two and a half yet he said it wasn’t really anything to stress about. Except he knows us and he saw it in our faces and actions – we were stressed. So he gave us the information of a highly rated company in our area that screens children three and under for speech delays (and other developmental delays). We weren’t even out of the parking lot and I’d already logged onto their website on my phone and was filling out the form to talk to someone about getting H screened as soon as possible.They would even screen him for some of the bigger delays we’d worried ourselves about – not just speech. Our doctor didn’t think he necessarily needed those particular screenings but he knew it would give us peace of mind. We just needed answers.
We had the screenings. We said 8 billion prayers. Our testimonies of prayer and faith grew incredibly. A few days ago the answers came back. H has a speech delay. Thats it. (I hope you’re learning from my mistakes – don’t let the internet diagnose your child. Talk to professionals – they know way more than you/the internet. Also if something is worrying you, don’t keep it private for months. Its toxic and painful.)
We have just begun Speech Therapy. Right now I really have no idea what the future holds. I don’t know how fast H will catch up on his language and communication. I don’t know if it will be pretty simple, I don’t know if it will be hard, frustrating and stressful, I don’t know if it will be somewhere in the middle. We are just at the beginning. You know, maybe he is just a late talker – turns out Wild Man didn’t really start talking until he was three. H could just be following in his dads footsteps. Maybe one day he will wake up and be a chatterbox. There is no way to tell. What I do know is I’m grateful I talked to Wild Man and we talked to our pediatrician then talked with the company that is helping us with Speech Therapy. I feel good about the decisions we made once I finally opened up. I feel good about the help he is getting and I am so confident in H. He is smart, attentive, curious and a good, good boy. He’s going to rock speech therapy. I’m already so proud of him and the progress he has made. He has a family that loves him unconditionally and is very supportive. We are his greatest cheerleaders.