Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving day 
~A wonderful get together with the extended family~

It really is a blessing to have everyone come together. For me the highlight was watching my grandparents interact with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You could see that they loved, appreciated, and were very thankful that they could watch everyone enjoying one another.

                                                  My grandpa just turned 90! When he is in a middle of a good laugh he claps his hand together to create a joyful, contagious effect.


Friday, October 3, 2014

our journey through speech delays

~working with the speech therapist~

When our little guy turned three, his gibber gabbish talking was no longer cute. I tried to be the laid back parent and echoed others, "when he starts talking, it will be in complete sentences." 
But on the week that he turned three, it was time to make a trip to the doctors. The family doctor immediately recommend a visit to a hearing specialist and we were horrified to learn that our three year old had major hearing loss. When we were speaking- to him it sounded like we were talking under water. No wonder he wasn't speaking!
 A few weeks later tubes were put into his ears and after more testing we learned that he could hear perfectly well. We were thankful and hoped that this would be an end to his speech delay and help solve discipline problems. After all, before when we called his name and he would continue to walk away from us; it was because he couldn't hear us. Now we were sure when we called his name, he would instantly obey and come running...not so!

~in the recovery room after surgery~

After the surgery we expected great results and waited for the full sentences to tumble out of his mouth. Instead we waited and waited. The gibber gabbish continued along with pointing, yelling, and temper tantrums. He knew what he wanted but could not tell us. Our family was continually frustrated and we were loosing patience with the time that it took to guess what he wanted. 
We were able to get an assessment with a speech therapist and she relayed her concern with his speech delays. I told her that we were reaching the end of our rope, this was affecting the whole family and we would do anything to take care of this. I told her about our three year old's control issues and the screaming fits for silly things like cutting a piece of bread one way instead of another way. The speech therapist explained when a child cannot express himself he feels like he is spinning out of control. So when there is something he can control he will put all of his energy and effort into getting his way. This was exactly what we were experiencing at home.
 The waiting list to get into speech therapy was many months long. I called them repeatedly and told them that I felt like I was living with "curious George" listening to a lot of "ouh, ouh,- aah aahs." He was also getting into the same amount of trouble as curious George. His speech delay intertwined itself in every area of life. How do you toilet train when they can't tell you that they need to go to the bathroom?
After seven months on the waiting list we were able to have our first speech appointment. Our little guy would not let go of my leg when we reached the room and refused to look at the therapist. Week after week she coaxed and encouraged until she had his full attention. First we worked on the words that ended with "t." Hat, coat, mitt, goat, etc. Progress was slow and I was impatient wondering if this would ever come together.
As we headed into summer (almost a year later from when we saw our family doctor) I was able to talk to a neurodevelopment instructor. She told me that speech therapy had its place but the foundation of the problem needed to be addressed. She recommend taking him off of milk products and experimenting with that. She also recommended doing a therapy called "Auditory Integration Training" (AIT). Another name is "Filtered Sound Training" (FST).
AIT is meant to improve auditory discrimination and sound sensitivity. It improves language comprehension, speech, academic performance, and socialization skills. AIT helps children or adults who have ADD, auditory processing disorders, autism, depression, dyslexia, learning difficulties, and speech and language delay.
The instructor came to our home and taught me how to use the equipment. During the last two weeks of the summer break our now four year old would have to sit still with me for a half hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon while he listened to headphones. We broke every rule there was in order to get him to sit still during therapy. He ate, read, played, walked around, and I despaired thinking that this was time and money wasted. 

In the beginning of September we enrolled him into a Christian preschool for three afternoons a week. The speech therapist highly recommended this and it has turned out to be a good decision. He loves it there.

 God has answered our prayers.
 During the past month and a half everything has come together and we are able to understand our four year old. I am no longer translating to others what he is trying to say. We are having full conversations. He is asking the funniest questions and tries to absorb the happenings around him. He prays out loud and yesterday he threw his arms around me and told me that he loved me. What a gift! What relief! We are so thankful! 
Speech therapy may be part of his life for the next few years until he is totally caught up, but for now we will take our gabbing four year old. Pent up words are spilling out of him.

Working with the speech therapist.

It can be tiring!

For those who are reading this post and have the same struggles, I feel for you. I now realize that God was revealing my heart when I showed my impatience and frustrations.
 Looking back, I wish that I had made this more of a prayer priority instead of  my cries for help. I wish that I had totally believed that God cares for all areas of our life, even when we are struggling with a non-speaking three year old. Nothing is too small for Him. Not even speech delay. We are so thankful and stand amazed!