09 August 2012

Taking the plunge.

I have very lightly touched on the issue of Bennett's speech delay on the blog. Mainly because it's very hard to determined if a toddler is in fact "delayed". I mean, you can only compare him to the kids he hangs out with, right? And that isn't a very good way to evaluate that sort of thing. My Husband and I started noticing a little before he turned two, that he wasn't talking a whole lot. I voiced concerns here and there and most people told me to just wait it out... that it would just click and he'd start talking.
Well, months went by and I didn't really see any improvement. The thing about Bennett, is that he's a hyper-active kid. Obviously, most toddlers are hyper and have a lot of energy, but for real, my kid is INSANE. All he wants to do it run around, climb, play, run around some more, climb some more, get into trouble, rough house... etc.

But learning activities? Like coloring, puzzles, flash cards, singing songs, reading books....etc... they all last about a total of 2-3 minutes, if that. Again, most toddlers have a short attention span but my kid is no joke. It's all I can do to get him to sit still long enough to eat his oatmeal in the morning.

So back to his speech and communication, or lack there of. All of the aforementioned things are what I believed, were hindering his speech development. Those things, plus the fact that he has figured out other ways to get what he wants.

And then, there's me. I take responsibility as well. I am sure that I could have done MUCH better from the beginning in not just giving him everything he wanted when he pointed to it. Just because I KNEW what he wanted, doesn't mean he shouldn't ask for it. I get that now.

Well enough is enough. It was time for us to be proactive about it. This morning, I took him to SKIP - which is an early intervention center funded through the State of Washington. We had his initial speech evaluation. At first I was a little nervous because Bennett is like deathly afraid of the doctors office, or anything that looks legit. But when we got there, it was actually a house with all kinds of toys and things for him to do. He warmed up to the Family Resources Coordinator and the Speech Therapist fairly quickly. Thank goodness! He immeditately started playing with them, and both of the ladies noticed right off the bat, that he has an unusual amount of energy, ha ha. But they did the best they could to get him to focus and do the tasks they needed him to do (nonchalantly of course) to complete the evaluation. So throughout the session - they were busy jotting things down and giving him "scores" in various areas such as:
  • gross and fine motor skills
  • cognitive/play skills
  • language (receptive and expressive) skills
  • social skills
  • adaptive (self-help) skills
  • vision and hearing
He ranked in the "normal" range for all but two of those categories. It was determined that he has about a 25% delay in both his language & social skills. <--- seems about accurate. They also agree that because of Bennett's inability to focus or be attentive to any one task has a lot to do with why he isn't communicating very well, as far as his speech goes. It's almost impossible to get him to listen to what you're saying for long enough for him to absorb the information. ADD maybe? Gosh that is a subject for another post. Anyway, so because of this, he does qualify for the early intervention program, IFSP. (Individualized Family Service Plan)

So what does this mean for Bennett? Well it means a speech therapist will come and visit our home once a week (or every other week) to work with Bennett, and with us as parents. The therapists will help us to find ways to cope with his inattentive behavior and help develop his speech and communication skills. And once he turns 3 y/o, if we choose to continue with therapy, Bennett will be moved to a program within our school district. But one step at a time. I will keep the blog updated with Bennett's progress. I am really hopeful that this will help. I mean, it can't hurt right??

And seriously, if you have a toddler and you are at all concerned about his/her speech development, it's never too early to get an evaluation. It's intimidating and kind of brings up a mixed bag of emotions, but early intervention is KEY! And most states offer programs like the one we have here in WA. I strongly urge you to look into it!





23 comments:

Lindsay said...

I just found your blog, I'm in Washington too! My friend is kind of going through the same thing with her daughter, who is only 18 months, but the speech therapy has helped a lot. I'm so glad we have programs like this.

Lauren Alberts said...

We went through this with Ryan and luckily he started talking on his own shortly after we started the lengthy evaluation/placement process (it took us 3 months to get into a program!) so we didnt actually go through with it but he sounds a lot like bennett in the behavior/attention area. I actually called his pediatrician 2 days ago BAWLING because he was just freaking out and nothing I could do would make it stop. We are going to get behavioral help soon because we seriously cant function like this anymore :/ I am so glad you got the help you all needed! xoxo love you!

Mandey Ejiasi said...

I called about getting my boys evaluated today! They communicate but very rarely try to mimic what I'm saying to them. They use signs and a lot of two syllable single words "mama" "dada" "nana" "bebe" type things but never two words together or anything with more than one sound.


Anywho...it's good you got answers. That's all anyone really wants, huh? And therapist coming to your house is even better, you don't have to pack up and take the kids anywhere makes it a lot more convenient!

mandy @a sorta fairytale said...

I have wondered in the past about behavioral therapy for Bennett because he went through a phase where his tantrums were OUT of control. But recently, he has actually been doing a lot better. So I will curb that for a little while. But gosh, I don't blame you for breaking down crying over it, it's not easy to deal with those situations!! Kids can be so frustrating. :(

mandy @a sorta fairytale said...

Yah sounds a lot like the way Bennett talks. Best of luck with the evaluation!! Keep me updated about it!

Olivia said...

Good for you for being proactive!! Bennett sounds like an amazing kid and the fact that you are getting him into an early intervention program is awesome. Isabelle was diagnosed with ADD when she was 6 and we have engrossed ourselves in every form of therapy we can get our hands on. It has been quite a journey but so rewarding. I think that by getting the whole family involved, you can make such a giant impact on your child's life! Best of luck!!

Corie said...

I'm in school to become a speech therapist, so I really hope you keep us updated with how his therapy is going. I definitely don't think any harm will come from early intervention. That's great that Washington has that program!

Nikki said...

So glad you got some answers and that they have a plan for you! My Husband was/is ADD and had a tough time in school. He's really smart, but has no patience and from what I gather, gave his teachers a run for their money. But he rocked it in sports with his high energy and ended up doing an apprenticeship after deciding college wasn't for him. Now he's started his own business (granted we're only 2 months in ;) and channels all his energy into his work.
The unknown is always scary, but sometimes these traits lead to wonderful things.

dany said...

hi Mandy! been following your blog for a few months now (found you through a good life blog) and just wanted to say that I'm happy for you that you've got a plan for Bennett. my daughter, ruby, is kinda the opposite (hyper verbal and social, but not yet walking and she's about 17 months). it's so hard to know what is typical or if your child is just on the far end of the spectrum, in terms of development, and that they'll just eventually come along. that's where I always get stuck. but good on you for getting help early! I hope the program works out really well for you guys.

Heather said...

Good for you for being proactive! My 3 yo has a severe speech delay (as well as Sensory processing disorder and high functioning autism). It is so hard to not blame yourself, but trust me, it isn't your fault at all. Early intervention helped us so much, and even though we are in Idaho, I know lots of people in Seattle working with them and they are great! It's all very over whelming at first because they shoot you with a ton of information but it is all worth it. Keep up the good work mama! I have a ton of speech EI stuff on my blog if you want to check it out (http://www.learning-2-laugh.blogspot.com/). I know how alone it can feel!

Joni said...

having been an early childhood educator, i applaud you for being proactive about this. i have been in a position where i have witnessed so many parents overlook these issues simply because they didn't want to believe that this could actually be something their child may be facing. its amazing how many parents get defensive and falsely assume that a speech delay means that we are telling them their kid is not smart or something. i think the greatest thing a child can have is the love and support of his family and i have no doubt he has an abundance of both. bennett seems like quite the little explorer with such an inquisitive mind. this type of behavior can sometimes be the sign of a person with above average intelligence.

Sara said...

so glad you took him in to check things out! my oldest didn't talk at all when he was 2 so i had his hearing and everything tested. everything seemed normal minus the fact that he couldn't talk. but by the time he was 3 he was talking in full sentences. all kiddos learn differently. :) I bet that program will help bennett out a lot!! good luck!

www.seeingpurplestars.com

Bea said...

It's great that you were brave it and get the help you needed. My son will be getting evaluated too. Early intervention really works. I'm sure Bennett will do amazingly well!

XSZdefineMe said...

Good for you! And Bennett is so lucky to have such wonderful parents to help him get an early start. Far too often kids have a hard time with development because parents are to embarrassed to ask if there might be something "wrong" with their child. When in fact there's never ever anything "wrong" with a child there are just things that need to be encouraged to bloom! Good luck! I constantly worry about Xavier (just turned 3) not having social skills because he NEVER gets to play with kids his own age especially boys that can keep up with his energy! Maybe we could have a park play date! Anyway great job and pat on the back for being a proactive mommy

Megan Landmeier said...

My daughter has received early intervention from birth. (She has Down syndrome.) I also teach Special Education, and I LOVE when kids start stuff like speech early! So much better to catch a speech delay and address it when they're little, and can cut down on tantrums, too!

Jaclyn Armstrong said...

Such great pictures of an adorable boy! I'm sure it wasn't easy to be proactive in this situation, but you are doing a great thing for your little boy. I'll remember your advice for the future!


http://www.everydaywaiting.com

Megan said...

Really, I would just keep an eye on things but I wouldn't worry at all. Caleb is just a little older than Bennett and was soooo slow when it came to talking. A friend has a little girl just three weeks older than Caleb and she was already doing full sentences when we could barely get him to say "bye-bye". Then one day, when he was about 27 months, he just opened his mouth and started jabbering away. Apparently, he was of the mindset of why waste time talking when we communicated just fine without it, but he knew how the whole time and just simply didn't want to talk.

We started asking him full sentence questions and when he would respond, we would say a full sentence answer and encourage him to repeat it. Now he mimics every new word that he discovers, knows the name of most every object (and food!) in the house, and is putting together three-to-five word sentences. All this within a matter of a couple of months.

Every kid has their own pace, and I know from talking to other moms and consultants that stay-at-home kids usually are a little slower in the speech department, especially boys, because they only talk to parents or babies all day. Keep encouraging him, take him to play days, and watch, wait, and pray. One day, he'll start talking and you'll never get him to stop!

To Those Who Wait said...

I'm glad you are able to get him an early start! We went through this with my half brother years ago and he did so well after even just a few weeks in speech therapy! He learned great tools that I think helped him even later in school. He ended up going to a preschool specialized for kids with speech delays and now goes to the regular public school and has since kindergarten. His delays were greater then youve stated, but I figured an early intervention success story is always good!

I bet once everyone learns a few tools, Bennett will be talking up a storm!

Good luck!

mindy said...

i've been the occasional reader, but have never commented. did you go to the skip in kent? my son recieved services there as well & we just loved the staff so much. we were sad when we were done, but my son has a great program at his preschool in auburn. so glad that you took it upon yourself to get him evaluated. thankfully out pediatrician noticed something at 18 months as we didn't notice anything off about our son expect that he didn't have any real words. early intervention is key!!

amber said...

I'm so very glad you had an evaluation. I am certain you will see significant changes.

Jennifer said...

I just wanted to thank you for sharing this story. My 2 year old son just recently started speech therapy after we noticed how far behind he seemed around other kids his age. I haven't been to happy with the center he has been going to or his therapist. And then I stumbled upon your post. I had no idea there was even an option for him to receive therapy in our home! Long story short, I researched it and found our state funded program which provides this service and he is having his evaluation next week. Thank you thank you for being open about your experience!

laura said...

longtime follower, first time commenter. my son, benjamin, is two months younger than bennett and he was referred to our county's early intervention program around his first birthday (we live in north carolina). he was 7 weeks premature and making no babbling sounds, no pointing, no waving. he was deemed "significantly delayed" in communication and we were immediately put into weekly speech/play therapy in our home. it has been a wonderful experience! we have seen such tremendous growth in his speech. and despite the fact that he still qualifies for early intervention until he turns three next march, he "graduated" from the program a few weeks ago. our therapists cried happy tears as he sang them songs and told them all about his day, practically in complete sentences. you will be so pleased with early intervention! all the best to you and your boys!

http://magidbaby.blogspot.com

Ashlee said...

I just want to say THANK YOU so much for sharing. After months of worry this post got me to get help for my son.

http://ashlee-parkinson.blogspot.com/2013/06/struggles.html?m=1