First Day of School!

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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.

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Avengers Assemble for a Birthday Party!

We had another successful, fun birthday party! Yesterday H turned three and we had such a nice day. During the day we got breakfast at Kneaders, ran a few errands and made a special stop at Costco – the birthday boys request!

His birthday party was held in our house with family and it was an Avengers theme! It was a great party with lots of chatting, kids playing, getting super excited about presents, yummy food and delicious cake and ice cream. A day perfect for our big three year old!

I’m so grateful for how loved my kids are. Seeing people gather together for their birthday is really special. H is very lucky to be surrounded by such incredible, loving family.

Happy Birthday buddy!!

Happy Birthday H!

I want to start this post by saying this:

THREE? WHAT THE HECK? HOW DO I HAVE A THREE YEAR OLD???

Ok. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Now on to the post.

HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BUDDY!

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H is three today. Three years ago today this little ball of love, energy and sweetness made me a mother. I’m forever grateful for him and his sweet spirit. H is kind. He is young, but he genuinely cares for others and I feel like he can sense how other people are feeling. He is energetic and is always moving (even in his sleep)! He has crazy hair that never stays in place and handsome blue eyes. He is brave, but cautious. He is a do-gooder, but is slowly trying out the more rebellious side and isn’t quite sure how he feels about it. He’s a good eater, a great sleeper and is an Avenger most hours of the day (his favorites currently are Hulk and Spider-Man). H is happy and easy. He is learning more words and sounds every day and is so stinkin’ smart! He is patient, a great, caring big brother, friendly, shy but social all at the same time and loves to be where others are. He is a rule follower (usually) and loves to talk about animals, Disney, letters, activities and holidays. He is an absolute joy. He is happiness and positivity. Happy Birthday, dude! I love you to infinity and beyond!

Speech Screening Wrap Up

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!

Speech Delay Update

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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.

 

Another Trip to Disneyland!

Last week I took my boys and together with my mom, the four of us went to Disneyland. It was exhausting, magical, exciting and tiring all at the same time – and it was very special and different. Leaving behind my family and Wild Man was weird, and they were all very missed, but we still had an amazing time. We decided to go at H’s speed. We did what he wanted, when he wanted to. We were pretty slow moving and sort of all over the place, but it was perfect for H. E was just happy to tag along and take in all the sights and sounds – seriously he was an angel baby, an absolute dream.

This trip was saying goodbye to A Bugs Land and hello to Pixar Fest. Bugs Land closes sometime in late summer and we aren’t 100% sure we’ll be back by then, so just in case I made sure we spent some quality time with our bug friends so if that was our last time I can rest assured that we gave it a good farewell. My mom had already seen Pixar Fest, but I hadn’t yet and I was especially excited about seeing all the Pixar themed goodness in both Disneyland and California Adventure and lets not forget all the special food! It was incredible. I’m actually planning on doing a couple posts with a little more detail about Pixar Fest in the future, so if you care, keep an eye out for those.

Some of my highlights from this magical getaway were:

  • Fantasmic, as usual. I will never tire of that show. Seeing it through H’s eyes has made it even more incredible and adds a whole new layer of magic.
  • The Pixar Play Parade in Disneyland was great. I loved the added floats. Its a water parade now and shoots water kind of unexpectedly throughout the parade. Unfortunately the first float to go by drenched my mom and E and he was heartbroken about it – but thankfully he’s a happy kid and perked back up fairly quickly and went back to enjoying the show.
  • H in the Disney Junior Show was the best. He is turning out to be a very shy little guy, but you can tell he so, so wants to be brave. In this show there is a lot of dancing and moving encouraged by little ones. I really didn’t think H would participate and would just hide in my lap but he totally got involved and danced his little heart out, pulling moves out I’ve never seen before! #magic We also got to sit in VIP seating!
  • We had a lot of awesome Cast Member interactions this trip. When a Cast Member makes my children feel special, there is nothing else like it.
  • H was map obsessed. He memorized where most his favorite rides were and he learned so many new words from the map that he’ll actually use frequently now! I should have known that Disneyland Resort would be a great form of speech therapy!
  • My boys were great. There were so many opportunities for them to be difficult, but they were phenomenal and I’m so proud of them. They make my heart happy.

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Speech Update and Q&A

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.

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H working with his sensory box – one of the several activities we have to help him use words and grow his vocabulary.

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!

Theres nothing this little guy can’t do.