Wednesday, June 3, 2015

You'll Miss it When it's Gone

Reagan started speech therapy last week.

Remember, way back, when I posted that Reagan was a late talker? And I ran into a super condescending mom that had me annoyed/worried/not worried/but yes still actually worried?

Anyway, Reagan went through an evaluation when she was two, and she didn't qualify for Birth - Three services. Her speech was low, but not low enough, and because all the other categories they evaluated were high, she didn't qualify. Had her hearing checked, had her tonsils and adenoids done, all good signs.

A year later, Reagan has a vocabulary that was light years beyond where she was at that initial evaluation. Unfortunately, a good half of it is basically gibberish to the majority of people she encounters - her articulation hasn't caught up to her brain yet. And because she is such a spunky, passionate, stick to her guns kid (cough - stubborn - cough), she hates being asked to clarify, hates being misunderstood, and will either shut down or melt down if you don't understand her the first time. Which is fun. And if you put her in a group of three year olds, you can hear that she's not quite where they are.

So off we went for a private evaluation, where she had a thorough, speech focused session. And it came back that while most of her articulation issues are still considered age appropriate and she was only slightly low on the standardized assessments, the fact that she has so many of those issues and that they were a little more intense than they expect at three years old, that they make it hard for her to communicate, and that an outside listener can only understand her about fifty percent (they expect eighty) of the time, led them to suggest speech therapy. Once a week she'll have a play based session for forty five minutes and we'll work on catching her mouth up to her brain.

The assessment was a few weeks ago, but we started today after figuring out the mess of a schedule. We've got our usual stuff going on in May, but in June, everything changes and we haven't put all the puzzle pieces together yet. Last week, because it was the first time, I was in the session with Reagan, although depending on how my presence impacts her, that may change. I tried to just observe and she barely acknowledged my existence. Before the therapist began with Reagan, she spoke to me.

I know you think you want her to speak clearly. But I need you to know that some parents have a hard time when some of the old patterns start to fade and their speech clears up. It's still cute and you will miss it. For this to be effective, you need to be ok with losing some of that baby talk.

I've written about adorable todderisms before. Both girls have had some absolutely adorable mispronunciations. Madison was "ka-sausted" and needed a "hop-si-pop" as a nice, cool summer dessert. Reagan was obsessed with "saw-cake-cake" "toomi zoomi" and her "taka mick" in the "pup-la" cup.


And those are only some of the adorable things that were there...until one day they weren't. Right now, Reagan has those great syntax errors that are just as cute. Please to help me? I need my other one shoe.

Speech is attempting to change that. Her first session, from what I could tell, was focused on getting Reagan to say all the sounds in each word - PLease instead of Peas, for example. The therapist played different games with her, all focused on slowing down and making all the sounds in each word, as well as structuring her sentences.

And after one session, I totally get why she had to talk to me - why she has to talk to most parents. Obviously, we're there because we want to get our kids caught up. But it's hard to hear her lose that baby talk. Madison spoke so clearly and so early that I didn't have much time to miss it, but this is how Reagan speaks - how she's always spoken. It's part of who she is.

Now I'm clearly not going to go sabotaging her and her efforts. By the end of her session yesterday she had grown pretty tired of repeating herself, and when I see her working hard I'm not going to stop it.

What I am going to do is record her a lot in the next few weeks. I've got a new phone with plenty of memory, I've got my OneDay app loaded, and I am going to fill that sucker up with the last of this little voice, before she graduates from speech and goes to preschool and grows up and that's the end of it.

Because you never really know to miss it until it's gone.

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