My son just turned 4 and he has been in speech therapy for almost a year. We realized at around 2 that he wasn’t up to speed in talking, but figured he would catch up soon enough. At 3, we realized he would need extra help. This year’s journey with speech therapy has been a lot of hard work, but seeing the progress my son has made recently has made it all worth it!
The first few months of speech therapy, we mostly just worked on basic sounds and strengthening his core. Part of the reason he needed speech therapy was low muscle tone in his face and core. So we did a lot of mini obstacle courses, rolling, crawling, and playing at parks. It’s amazing how a year ago my son could not stand on one foot and now he’s rock climbing like a boss!
We would see progress here and there, we worked with him at home so much. He goes to speech therapy once a week for a half hour, so most of the work is at home. We get activities and drills that we need to work on during the week. Slowly, surely, he started to break out of his “introverted” shell. For a long while, even until very recently, large group social situations were very difficult for him. He would go off in a corner and get away from all the noise and people. Now he’s the life of the party and runs around and plays with all the other kids. It’s so day and night what he used to be.
We started to understand more of his words, and he began expanding his vocabulary. There would be weeks of limited progress, but we knew he was making improvement. It was hard to see it in the day after day, but our speech therapist said he was doing well. There were only a few weeks where she was disappointed with his progress, but a majority of the last 40 weeks have been finished with positive reviews.
It wasn’t until the past month where his talking has improved so much that his speech therapist was rendered speechless. I don’t think she typically sees a kid improve that fast in just one week. He turned 4, and all of the sudden he was using expressive language and answering “yes” to questions. He still has a ways to go before he’s fully caught up to others his age, but seeing that big improvement has been amazing. He’s a very smart kid, possibly even gifted in visual spatial ability. As a mom, it’s wonderful to see what he’s finally thinking and expressing his needs and wants.
It’s been such a long road. My son used to get so frustrated every day. He couldn’t express what he needed and when we couldn’t guess, he would just burst into tears. He was very drawn in, except in very small groups. He was known as the quiet kid. He’s changed so much. I’m not even sure he’s actually introverted! Last event we went to, there was another kid there a few years older than him. They played together, running around being loud and having so much fun. My kid might actually be extroverted, but he hasn’t been comfortable enough socially to show it! Now he can interact with kids and adults, play games, ask for what he wants, listen and follow directions.
The best thing about his speech therapy is the fact that his speech therapist has never once labeled him. She saw him as a person, not any sort of syndrome he “might” have. Because of this, he wasn’t put into any boxes of what he could or couldn’t do. He has absolutely thrived because there are no limits to what he can do. Like everyone in the entire world, he has quirks. He might grow out of them (I grew out of many of my quirks, but I still have plenty), he might not. But I’m just so happy that he hasn’t been labeled and called something he wasn’t. Early on, for those that didn’t know his abilities, they would think he was impaired. But I knew better. He was reading at age 2.5, writing the alphabet at age 3, and now at age 4, able to do basic arithmetic, spell out loud, and read big words. I am so thankful his speech therapist believed me when I said he could do all these things, because she eventually saw what he could do.
Note: Getting your kid help if they do have a syndrome or mental impairment is very important. I just knew my son didn’t have any cognitive delays, and I’m thankful he’s never been labeled as such. But for those who do have those delays, getting that help and support is very important. I just personally believe kids are labeled too much and too often, which makes it hard for the kids who actually have something to get help.
Now that he’s talking and potty trained (another blog post on that journey, but his speech and potty training have been connected), he has no limits. In a year, maybe less, he may be fully caught up and nothing will hinder him. He’ll continue to advance in his abilities, and show the world that he is a gifted, fun loving, energetic, loud boy.