January 21, 2010

Speech Frustration

We've been watching Hunter closely with regard to his speech for years now, always worrying that he is not where he should be in terms of articulation. Now that we are discussing it again, I am swirling in frustration all over again, anticipating round two of hitting walls and getting nowhere.

Back in Oregon we addressed the concern with his pediatrician who agreed that it was a definite problem. She referred us to the early intervention group there in our town for an assessment. They came and said that he wasn't delayed enough to need regular help. Our doctor disagreed, but said to wait it out for the follow up evaluation. At the follow up they said the same thing, but recommended we get his hearing checked. We did the whole hearing center thing and found no problems there. Hearing was above average.

So after being told twice that we shouldn't be concerned and that his speech would naturally come around, we let it go. Our doctor maintained concern, but not being a speech pathologist herself, and having guided us to every available resource in town, she had done all she could do. We got on the 5 month long waiting list to be assessed by the private group, but moved out of state before his name ever came up.

Now Mr. Hunter is about to turn four and he still has a handful of sounds that he cannot make. K, J, G, and R. From my reading, I am finding that K and G are among the hardest to teach and the R isn't a concern until roughly age 8. I don't want him to be stuck hanging out with mom because I'm the only one who can understand him. I want him to get help sooner rather than later. But how? Friends in the field say it should be a concern, but the people who are sent to assess him say he's fine. Ultimate frustration!!!

I have signed up for some continuing ed clinics for school speech therapists (which I am not, but am enrolling in anyway) to get a feel for what might could be done for him if he could ever get through the assessment phase of early intervention programming, and so I can work with him myself if he doesn't get through. While I am generally an I can do it myself kind of mom, I wouldn't want to blow it with this one. I want him to get what he needs from someone who knows what they are doing.

It seems as though the only kids who qualify for these early aid programs are the kids who have multiple issues holding them back. A little boy with a good vocabulary and the ability to perform simple arithmetic problems doesn't qualify just because no one can understand him when he talks. Where are the people who help with speech delays regardless of great skill in other areas. His ability to add counting bears isn't going to help him have a conversation with a friend. Ugh!!!

For now, I am waiting for a call back from a professor and researcher on campus at USU who will evaluate him herself when schedule allows. I'm hitting the world wide web trying to make an expert out of myself and figure out how to help him on my own. There are specific tricks and levels of patience that I have not previously accessed within myself that will be required for sticking this out. I am at wits end and desperate. ired of making phone calls and getting nowhere.

But venting a little just released a some pressure. So, thanks!

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