Wednesday, July 9, 2014

slow to speak...

I'll admit, it's not easy talking about the areas in which your kid is behind.  We want to brag on our kids.  We want them to be great at everything, naturally.  It's easier to dismiss the less impressive parts of them and ignore them.  But I'm trying not to be the mom that shies away from admitting my kids' weaknesses or inabilities.  Or my OWN weaknesses and inabilities, for that matter.  We don't have it all together.  (And never will.)  I'll be the first in line to tell ya.

Thankfully God is the One who's great!, so I don't have to pretend to be.

Having a first child so extremely advanced in language from day 1 (like you saw in Caroline's hilarious post yesterday!), has made for quite the contrast with our second child, Jameson, who is now facing speech delays.

It's normal at 21 months for a child to have at least 12-15 words.

Caroline must have had 50 by this age.  That girl was reading and writing fluently at age 3.  Crazy.

Jameson, on the other hand, is falling behind what's typical.  Not just because he's a boy, but remember all those ear infections his first year?  We are now facing the effects upon his speech and having to play catch up.

It's not that he's not talking.  Oh, he's "talking."  At least, he thinks he is.  We joke and say he's speaking Creole since he's half Haitian!  It's definitely his own little language, and every now and then I *think* I can make out a phrase he's saying and it's surprising how complex it is!

It was a HUGE breakthrough over New Years when I realized that though Jameson wasn't speaking like we were, he was perfectly imitating the rhythm and intonation of what we were saying.  If I was saying "ONE, TWOOOOO, THREE!!," he was saying, "DAH, GAAAAAAAAH, GAH!!"

That has since continued.  "Who's hungry?" I'll ask.  "DAH!" Jameson will say raising his hand in the air, meaning to say the word "me!"

He knows what we're saying.  He follows directions.  He hears me, and he understands.

The language is there.  But the speech is not.

Right now he's only got "MAMA," "DADA," "uh huh," and "uh oh" as his clear words.

When I've shared my concerns about Jameson's speech, often I'll hear:  "He's a boy- naturally, they're slower at getting language."  "You're just so used to having Caroline that you don't know what normal is."  "So-and-so's kid didn't talk until they were 3."  "He'll get it, just give him time."

While those statements are probably all true, they just don't sit well with my gut instinct about Jameson.  And you know what they say- listen to your mama's gut.

At our last visit, our pediatrician recommended that we go ahead and have Jameson evaluated by a speech therapist.  "Let's nip it in the bud now instead of later," she said.  In one sense that seemed a little overkill for just a 21 month old, but nevertheless, I was eager to hear what they'd say.  Maybe they, too, would reassure me that "he's just a boy."  Maybe they'd know how to help me understand him, and help give Marc and I some ways to stimulate his speech.

At yesterday's evaluation, they determined Jameson's language was inside of him, but he could use some help getting the words to come out clearly.  The therapist explained that during all those months when there was fluid on Jameson's ears (whether they were infected or not), language would've sounded in his ear as though we were speaking at the bottom of a swimming pool.  It was a crucial time for language development, and because of that, he's now facing delays.

The encouraging part of the evaluation was that the therapist (who has 20 years of experience) thought Jameson is facing more of an articulation problem, and she believes he could get to 50 clear words in 3 months time!  My jaw dropped at the thought.  Why wouldn't I want to give my son all the help I can to help him catch up and communicate successfully?

They explained the therapy would be in our house, every other week, and.... at no charge. FREE.  Ummm, okay.  That's now a no brainer!

I want to know my son.  I'm excited at that possibility.  I want to know what he's thinking and what he's trying to tell me.  I want to quit the pretend "uh huh's" after he speaks while I ask question after question until I hear his "uh huh."  I want him to know he doesn't have to hit or scream to get what he wants.  I want to know how to help unlock all the words that are waiting to come out.

And I can't wait to get started.


  1. You explained that very well! And it makes sense. How exciting to get started and that it's so "doable"!

  2. Praying for all of you as y'all help Jameson get those words out so he can communicate like all of you do. Gooooooo Jameson!

  3. We went through speech therapy with Livie and it was amazing how quickly the words came! She absolutely loved the time she spent with her speech therapist too and we looked forward to the days that she would come. It was like having an hour of undivided play time with someone. She was in heaven! Hope you all enjoy it just as much as did! :-)