Monday, May 30, 2016

Fighting the stigma of speech delay. Ridlee's story.

Ridlee will be 29 months in just over a week. While she started saying words about the normal time, they leveled off and there was a time she was not gaining many words. I am truly blessed to have a close friend who is a speech and language pathologist. She very graciously wanted to assess her around 18-20 months and we got started with speech sessions with her biweekly at that time. I was also blessed enough to have a friend who is an OT and agreed to assess her for that. Ridlee was found to be a sensory seeker, but did not meet the requirements to need any OT. At the beginning we had to have her hearing checked and an ENT to assess her need for tubes. She luckily had her ears clear at this time and didn't need them. I was sure she would, as she had repeated infections her first year. 

So here we are months later and she is doing much better but still somewhat delayed. I am guessing her word count to be around 100-150 words. We still are realizing words she has been saying all along, that we didn't realize were words. And she is not your typical delay. Part of the issue is, she absolutely refuses to mimic. She won't point to her nose or other body parts, but will randomly say "save the day" or "Mojo Jojo" after watching her favorite show Powerpuff Girls. She is very different. Compared to Heston at this age she is very behind, but he was very advanced and still is with his language. But Ridlee is very advanced in fine and gross motor skills. The child was doing a perfect somersault before 2. And she does them repeatedly now. It's part of that sensory seeking. She loves tumbling around, bouncing, tight hugs, climbing, anything that gives her that fun adrenaline rush. We may have a gymnast on our hands. Don't tell her dad that. One of the things that has helped me to not worry is realizing the fear I had mid-pregnancy when at her ultrasound I was told she was way too small for her gestation age. Repeated scans continued to say the same thing. Everything else appeared normal, but they weren't easing my mind much at the Doctors office. My midwife on the other hand did not seem as concerned. All mine are small, I am small. The placenta was working. We just did the watch and see approach. When she was born she weighed 5 lbs. 4 oz at 39 weeks 6 days. She was tiny, but healthy. All her milestones have been on par or advanced with the exception of her speech. And I am OK with that. 

Right now she is being seen weekly and we will go to twice weekly this summer. I have seen such a wide variety in normal with speech at this age. I have heard so many story's of children with speech delay's growing into highly intelligent adults. I just hate that there is such a stigma associated with speech and intelligence, when there is no truth to it at all. I myself had speech in Kindergarten and 1st grade. I also have some sensory issues, which actually helps me when working with other adults and children with them. 

My heart goes out to other parents who are dealing with this, but I do want to take some stress off of it. It really is OK, so long as you are doing what you can to help them. Early intervention is great and while it might take a few months/years or more to see a difference, every little bit helps. Every child is different, every quirk their own and interesting in their own right. They are not damaged if they do not meet a specific guideline. That's why they are guidelines in the first place. When in doubt, ask for a referral. Our Ped was OK with waiting because she was still within normal range. But I know early intervention is awesome, so I saw no harm in getting the assessment done. Some Doctors are more on the side of waiting and some are more on assessing. There is no right or wrong. But do what you feel is best for your child and family. But if an assessment is recommended please do not hesitate. It was recommended for a reason. And ignore the idea that if a delay is noted, that means something is wrong with your child. Just as if your child had a issue noted with his/her walking, you would want to get it checked out. Same thing with speech and other issues. 

I will keep updating Ridlee's story on occasion to see how far she comes. I know that for me I will want to see how and when everything plays out, because when she is grown I might not even remember this was ever an issue. 

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