Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Speech Question

So we just finished Henry's speech therapy for the week.  First off, let me tell you that his therapist showed up thirty minutes early.  THIRTY MINUTES.  And, it isn't like we have therapy at 3pm when it might not be a big deal. Speech starts at nine thirty.  And maybe the therapist doesn't know me well, but I felt like it has been pretty clear over the last eight months that at nine thirty this family is just barely getting it's shit together enough to open the door to strangers.  Like to the point that when I opened the door to the knock at 9:03 Henry was still SOUND ASLEEP, Nick was showering with no clothes to put on in the bathroom (so you know...he had to walk around in just a towel) and  I was wearing a fantasy football tshirt with no bra and my hair was a rat's nest of a disaster all around my head.  There were clothes on the floor, toys (clearly from last night since my child is sound asleep) out in the living room, beds unmade, dishes on the counter.  I NEEDED THAT TWENTY SEVEN MINUTES TO HELP ME LOOK LIKE A GROWN UP! 

Anyway, I must have looked like a deer in headlights because she was like " I know I am early....sorry..." *looks away from the rats nest and pretends not to notice it* and I wanted to be like "WHY ARE YOU HERE SO EARLY?" but instead was like " big deal...let me just..." and walk into Henry's room and hiss "HENRY!! Get. Up. Now!"  to which he replies "Light off!" and buries his face in his pillow.  Ah, school is going to be fun with this one, right?

Anyway, none of that story is the point of this post.  That's just there to tell you how great I am at this whole "grown up" thing.  What I am really wanting to talk about is speech therapy in general.  I just cannot decide if we should be continuing with his weekly therapy.  He seems to be right on track for a two year old at this point.  He talks ALL. THE. TIME.  And although he still totally says "fuck" for truck, the therapist tells us that is perfectly normal.  It doesn't even make her laugh. Not even when it's a "biiiiig FUCK!" Now there's a grown up.

So here's the thing, I can't decide if it's selfish to think about pulling him out of therapy, because one reason I want to pull him out is to avoid more mornings like this one.  On one hand, I really don't think he needs it any longer.  I am not even sure what difference an hour a week of therapy has made for him.  It made a big difference for me mentally to feel like we were doing something about his delayed speech, but did it really help him to start talking?  I am sure it helped. It gave us direction. It told us how to work with him. Yes, I really do think it helped. But I am not sure we would be in an extremely different place at this point with or without it.  Henry decided he was ready to start talking and he did.  The boy loves to learn and he is like a sponge. He knows all his letters and numbers.  He counts items, can tell you what is the same and what is different, he is using plurals and -ing.  He is asking and answering questions.  His therapist says that she does a lot of things with him that are really for older children.  And I don't mean that to brag about him.  I am sure lots of two year olds do those things.  But that's the point.  I think he is the same as lots of two year olds.  Do we still need early intervention for him?

We have a meeting today about the early intervention pre-school that he may qualify for because he is in the First Steps program.  His therapist was telling me today that the program tests equal or better than most of the very expensive private preschools in town.  She also said she would be very surprised if Henry tested in, but that you never know.  Do we keep him in speech in hopes of allowing him to be in this (free) preschool?  Is THAT selfish of me?  Or is it selfish to take him out of the system because I want to take him to the library story time on my day off?

That isn't the only reason, or even a reason in the top ten list of reasons.  I am not sure he needs it.  I KNOW there are kids who need it more.  We are paying (be it a small amount each month) for something I don't know is helping him anymore.  But how do I say we are pulling out if it IS helping him?  We aren't planning on preschool until he is three, not matter if it's this Early Start one that would be free or one we pay for.  He isn't in daycare, does he need this, even at just an hour a week?

I asked his therapist.  She said it was up to us, that he seems really on par for his age, but she would hesitate to pull him out of the system because he will never get back in.  I just don't know what to do.  And maybe that means we stay where we are.  It might not be helping, but I am positive it's not hurting him.  So maybe that's our answer. 

This parenting stuff.  Nobody tells you that you have to make so many decisions where the answers are in the grey area.  Not clear either way what is best.  So you are left second guessing. 

 Maybe I am a grown-up after all.  Rat's nest and all.


  1. As someone who deals with early intervention and speech therapy (only I'm on the hearing side, not the talking side), let me give you my take. Yes, it's hard to get them back in. Especially once he's over 3 or 5 depending on your state. What sucks about the education system is that it's failure based. So having a professional to keep an eye on him in the oh so important early years even if he isn't behind is really a coup. And First Years is fantastic. If he tests in, you should totally take advantage of it.

    You are probably getting much more out of therapy than you think. It's more for you than Henry. Early Intervention is designed to be an hour a week because the primary goal is to show you how to work with him, not really to give him direct therapy. This way you're incorporating what you've learned as part of his everyday activities which will be much more meaningful for him than sitting at a table doing flashcards. So you helped him get where he is, not the SLP. The SLP just showed you how to do it.

    He sounds like a smart guy, so if you think he might be on par for a 2-year old, but still could be cognitively capable of doing more it might be worth it. Keeping a therapist aroud could help him reach his congnitive potential before he even starts school. Therapy without being behind age level is unheard of once he's school aged. But if you're comfortable with how he's doing and are not concerned, that's okay too. It's your family and you do what works for you. Don't worry about the opinions of others.

    And -ing in a 2-year-old is pretty awesome. :)

  2. You are a grown up AND a great momma! And I'm convinced our moms must have had rat's nests when we were 2, we just don't remember them. :)

    For whatever it's worth, I like your idea of leaving him in since it's not hurting anything at this point. I don't think the fact that B goes to daycare has much to do with his speech progression (he's verrrrrry shy and I think was pretty much mute the first year he was there) - but it does get him out and about around people other than our family. If Henry likes her (and I think you've said he does) then maybe the interaction with another adult other during the week is beneficial for more than just speech - he's learning respect and how to communicate with someone who isn't his parent. Just my two cents... you'll make the best decision for your family, I'm sure of it! :) xo

  3. This parenting stuff IS hard. I hate to break it to you but it only gets harder. My son is 9 and I struggle with school/learing questions everyday. I personally would leave him in. School is HARD nowadays. The days of playing with playdough in Kindergarten are over. If you can give him any advantage by keeping him in the system and getting him in a great preschool (for free!) I would. I had to pay $235 a month to send my son to pre-k to get him ready for school. And it helped SO much. However I am with you on the 9:30 on your day off thing, that bites. Heck it's 2:57 and I am still in pajama pants.

  4. OK, you probably don't want assvice from a Non-American who lives in a country where preschool is free for everyone (but of course you can always choose to pay for a private school if you really want)... but I'd say - give the kid a break, he's only 2! My son has a friend who hardly talks and the kid is almost three. And I'm sure people would say our son is behind because he speaks a mix of French and Dutch, so probably his vocabulary in both languages is smaller than that of a child dealing only with one language. This whole system of getting you kid prepped from birth so they can attend Harvard makes me very uneasy. So yes, my assvice would be to stop it, but feel free to ignore it!

  5. In my teacher-opinion...I agree with the above people. First Steps is really awesome, it will be very hard to get him back in if his Kindergarten teacher thinks he needs more work in the speech department, and having all the First Steps Interventions already is place saves LIGHTYEARS of time. And the early intervention preschool is awesome as well. You wouldn't believe how many kiddos come to Kindergarten knowing no letter, no colors, no shapes, no nothing and he has clearly already surpassed that bunch. Absolutely any advantage you can give him is better than none!

  6. Okay, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon of leaving him in. I've observed lots of SLP sessions, and I agree that it is more about teaching the parent the skills, since we're with our kiddos the other 6days and 23hrs/wk. So, you've probably picked up some things that you now use with him intuitively (which is awesome!). And, once he's out, it is really hard to get him back in (you probably already know this, but First Steps only goes til 3, then he's out of luck until he starts school). So, that's my social worker/therapist $.02.

  7. Oh, and on a completely different note, I wish my son slept until 9 am! He's usually standing next to my bed somewhere between 6 am and 6:30 am...