(Disclaimer, yes I have blogged about this topic before...)
My son has a speech delay. This week, he is going to Early Steps or Start or something....an Early intervention program for his speech intake assessment, and to do the initial paperwork for an IEP (Individualized Education Plan); a legally binding document listing interventions and goals for special needs children.
Whoa. Put on the brakes! It is scary for a mother to hear "IEP" and "speech delay" even though I know they are needed. I have known he needs intervention for about a year now; it takes that long to get assistance, sadly. Therefore, I am proactive, but still, just to hear those terms is, frankly, kind of frightening. Everyone wants to hear their child is 100% perfect. 100% normal...whatever that means...but we all have our own challenges and battles. I just have to come to accept his challenge.
I think, thank God I am finally getting him some help! And I think, oh the adventure, the emotions, the frustrations have barely begun.
I have attended two of the group speech classes and spoke to the age 3-5 SLP (Speech and Language Pathologist) since the one my son will see- the under 3 SLP had left early. The SLP asked if my son can say the p sound (nope) and heard him say "Daisy" (our dog) and commented how it sounds more like "say-see". She tried to get him to say certain sounds and he went super silent (of course he got super babbly, although in gibberish, after we left). She sad to practice sounds with him and I realized as I got home....how the **** do I have him practice sounds he can't make? She said to also have him speak to get things- so if he is hungry he must say "eat" or "hungry" to get food. This results in an immediate meltdown where he cries so much he hyperventilates, so I give him his snack before he starves or can't breathe or whatever.
I fear so many "he can't" "How can we...." "what if....." moments and struggles. It seems he is "stuck" at 12 months, able to say a handful of words, barely intelligible, and that is it.
It gets frustrating to have a child with a speech delay. There. I said it and now I feel wracked with guilt. I love my son more than even I can comprehend, but let me explain a case n point from yesterday.
We are in the car and he starts crying. He mumbles eh-see, whatever eh-see is. Hubby and I go through the alphabet, a-eh-see, beh-see, ceh-see, deh-see and even switch some vowels and consonants, Oh-see, ah-zee, all to no avail. Now he is thrashing and screaming, frustrated beyond belief. I hand him some cheerios and he tosses them in his cup. I hand him a fresh drink. I hand him a coloring book and a teddy bear. I rewind his in-car entertainment to his favorite part. We pull over and check his (dry) diaper. I pet his leg and tell him I love him. Still, he screams. Hubby asks him what he wants, what is wrong, but no words come out. I am stuck like I was when he was a crying newborn, guessing what is wrong.
I just want a little MORE conversation. I have friends with children born the same month as my little guy and they recount entire conversations on Facebook with their child. I feel kind of jealous. I really could not wait, from birth, to have conversations with my adorable son, to see how his mind works, to go through the "why" stage which I actually love. There are days where I just want him to tell me "I am hungry" or "give me a kiss, mommy" or even "why, mommy" and so far....nothing.
I know in speech class, he will progress. It might be exponential, hyper speed speech accumulation, or it could be a few years of baby steps. I don't know, and I know there will be frustrating moments for us both, as there already are. But with love and perseverance, one day, I hope to say "please son, you've said enough already, let's play the silent game, okay?