Speech and Language, It’s Not a Quick Fix
Well, I’m not sure about you, but normally if there is a problem I try to fix it. If I can’t fix it, then I hire the expert who can fix it. And my expectations are, that it will be fixed right away. Maybe not that exact day, depending on the problem, but in a respectable 1-2 week timeframe.
Unfortunately, dealing with Thea’s speech and language delay has left me frustrated and discouraged because I have quickly realized that this problem is not going to be solved in 1-2 weeks. It is a slow process, with no foreseen end date. It has required me to be incredibly patient and has left me in tears on more then a few occasions.
That being said, once I readjusted my expectations on what success looked like with Thea’s speech and language improvements, I began to feel more positive about the whole process. My expectations went from her being able to form whole sentences and talk like the other kids in her preschool class, to celebrating the fact that she can now use “she” and “he” more often than not when speaking about others.
I think that is the biggest thing that I have had to learn about speech and language therapy. There isn’t one magical solution that will help every child in a few weeks learn to speak. It takes a lot, and I mean A LOT, of repetition in order for them to slowly start to understand and use their new language skills. This has been quite overwhelming for me, because for Thea, she needs help in a lot of areas, and it’s like where do you start? and even though you may have your child in speech therapy, whether it be private or public, I have found it really comes down to me and my husband (the parents) to work with Thea everyday on her goals. There is only so much a speech therapist can do in an hour once a week.
Most of you who may be reading this don’t know me, but I am determined and don’t give up easily. But, having three kids all under the age of 4, life tends to get in the way of working on Thea’s speech. How exactly do you work on speech when you have two other little kids running around wanting your attention, no more like demanding you attention (“mom, mom, mooooommmmmy look at meeeee!). Not to mention the fact, that half the time Thea doesn’t want to work on he speech, no no no, she wants to join her siblings who are running around having fun.
Well, I have decided that if you don’t try or start somewhere, nothing will ever be accomplished. It is the small victories that you need to celebrate, or else you will get too overwhelmed and loose hope of ever helping your child succeed.
So, here is where I have started. The first goal is for her to understand and communicate when an object is in “front”, “behind”, “under”, “beside”, “in” and on “top” of something. So, to accomplish this, I have chosen right after dinner, while the kids are still sitting at the table, to bring out a big jar of candy. I place a candy of her choice in front of the jar and get her to tell me where the candy is. Then, I place the candy under the jar and get her to tell me where it is. I continue to do this until we have gone through all of them. Her brother also gets a turn, which helps reinforce it for Thea and also gets her brother involved.
After about three days of doing this, it just seemed like she was not getting it. But, like I said before it takes patience and A LOT of repetition. Tonight (this has now been about a week) was the first night she got all of them on the first go. She still mixed up a few after we did it a few times, but again we have to celebrate the small victories!!
Anyways, if you are in the same boat as me, I want to encourage you to NOT GIVE UP! Pick one small goal that you know your child needs to work on and find different ways (whatever works best for him/her) to help your child learn it.
It’s not easy, but when your child all of a sudden starts to say something that you have been working on with them, nothing feels better than that. Knowing that what you have done, has influenced and helped your child. All the struggles, and worries somehow disappear at that moment, and it makes it all worthwhile 🙂