All of my kids have needed speech at some point. With the twins it was a battle. For several years there were right on the bubble. It’s a frustrating place to be. Their speech was hard for strangers, and sometimes family to understand, but not technically enough of a delay to qualify for speech services. And I wasn’t the only one frustrated, their teachers were as well. When they finally ‘qualified’ for speech I remember how happy everyone was.
When we realized that Littlest was also falling behind in his speech I tried to be more proactive. I called the early childhood program through our school district and started the speech application process. My goal was to have everything in place before he started Kindergarten. There are long waits between every step, filling out the paperwork, having the initial meeting, doing the evaluation, meeting to go over the evaluation results, and then finally starting speech services if you qualify. I was actually dreading the final meeting because at the evaluation the speech pathologist gave me a pretty strong impression that Littlest was on the bubble and probably wouldn’t qualify for speech.
Sitting at the table with the speech pathologist, the school principal, and a representative PreK teacher, I started crying when they said he could get speech. I was so overwhelmed. Littlest has become more and more frustrated when we can’t understand him. He has also been nervous when we talk about going to Kindergarten in the fall. I thought not only will speech help him with his speech, but he will also get the experience of going to the school even if it’s only once a week. It felt like a blessing.
But then there were more delays. On the day that was supposed to be our first speech appointment I was met by an apprehensive looking receptionist who had to tell me that the speech pathologist had resigned. I left my number and they said that they would call me when they hired someone new. Weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything. I called the school trying to get an update on where things were. Finally, yesterday Littlest had his very first speech appointment.
He was a terror getting to the school. Fighting with me every step of the way. Not wanting to eat breakfast. Not wanting to get dressed. Didn’t want to stay buckled in the car. I had to carry him into the school. We met the new speech pathologist and went up to her room, a different room than where we had done his evaluation. The combination of a new room and a new person and all he wanted to do was sit in my lap.
Then she started asking him questions. It was incredible to watch him warm up to her. I was able to transition him off my lap and into the chair by himself. He sat at the table with the speech pathologist while I moved to a chair behind behind him. She knew what his favorite video game was. She recognized the characters on his t-shirt. She made an effort to connect with him. And then she played a speech game where he could also count.
Littlest is crazy for numbers. Last week at home we worked on skip counting by 10. This week we’ve been working on skip counting by 5. We talked about how our hands have 5 fingers. We gave high fives while counting by 5’s. And I wrote in the numbers 5 to 100 on our high five page (HERE). I also started an introduction to money and we talked specifically about nickels and how they are worth 5 cents. We poured out our change jar and sorted out all the nickels which we used on our nickel page (HERE). I also had him tell me all the missing 5’s from 1 to 100 (HERE). We used the nickel and high five pages to help with the fill in the blank page. It was also a chance to practice counting from 1 to 100.
I know it’s only been 1 week of speech, and there are sure to be more bumps in the road. But right now, I’m taking his first appointment as a win.