Yesterday afternoon, Hubby and I took Billy for a speech evaluation. I had discussed his speech with his pediatrician at his 4-yr check-up. She gave us a referral, but I came away thinking she'd suggested we wait until he started school and then it would be free. As he continued to improve in his speaking, we decided to not have him evaluated. Big mistake. The pediatrician came down hard on me at his 5-yr evaluation stating that waiting would mean he'd be put in special classes and be held back from where he should be. She gave us another referral. Hubby made an appointment and we went last night.
He doesn't have any speech impediments, other than a slight lisp that the speech language pathologist didn't seem worried about. She does see a language delay. She sees that he's not using language properly, that he doesn't understand the forms of language.
He couldn’t answer a lot of her questions (when she asked what one word describes this group of things in the picture, he’d list the things), didn’t complete sentences properly (when she said john is a boy, chris is a boy, they are both , and he’d say something like friends) and couldn’t re-tell a story about a picture she just told him but went off on his own wacky tangents among other things. She gave him a vocab test and he seemed to do pretty well. She said he probably just needs to have the building blocks spelled out for him. She suggested we call the school district and ask if they will evaluate and provide services before he’s enrolled. I think I’ll wait for her report to arrive in about a week. It will have the official diagnosis (or whatever you call it) along with recommendations for treatment (in case she's not providing the therapy).
I do realize now that he doesn't talk like a lot of kids his age. He doesn't talk about his day. He doesn't ask us a lot of questions about why and how that you usually hear. He doesn't stay engaged in a conversation. He makes things up (he got stung by a bee once, which isn't true), but doesn't really tell stories. He's totally non sequitor boy during the children's message at church.
The SLP gave me the sense that it's a very workable problem. And, strangely, Hubby hasn't freaked out at all. I was fine last night. I talked with my parents (they have some experience with this since one of my sisters had some serious speech impediments, they had to teach how to say the r sound as well as some others, and some reading delays) and did express soem of my underlying concerns about what this means for his learning abilities and whether or not it could go back to his birth (14 hours of episodes of dropping heartbeat and not breathing well on his own which resolved pretty quickly). I did tell the SLP about his early history with ear infections and she felt that was valuable information. Perhaps he just needs help catching up from a slow start. I don't know how far behind he is (maybe that will be in the report).
The problem is, I googled. I know, I shouldn't have. Now, I'm worried about underlying disabilities and future learning issues as well as chastising myself for being a bad parent for not recognizing sooner that he does have a real problem and for obviously doing something wrong so that my kid's not perfect.
I had a little breakdown, e-mailed my sister for some help, had a big, unhealthy lunch and chatted with a work friend who's also a mom. I feel better. E-mailing my sister helps. She's taken some education classes and she's just really grounded (it's because she's a hippie). She helped me find my rational mind and I wrote this:
I agree that too often we try to have kids be homogenous and label and box people to ridiculous levels. And it’s possible he’s just not going to be a chatty person (there’s some of that in the family). But, it was disconcerting to see him not be able to know what she was asking for and not be able to answer the questions. He’s very big on things being boring lately (he told me this morning that last night he didn’t sleep well because sleep is boring [in response to my sister's suggestion that maybe he didn't want to answer some of the questions]). Maybe he is just different and people will have to learn to deal with that. I just want to make sure he’s got all the tools he’s going to need to be whatever it is he wants to be.
I think that's all any parent should try to do, give their kids the tools to be successful in the life the kid chooses (that part's really important).
One other thing I learned, I need to eat more bacon cheeseburgers and chocolate. That's my idea of comfort food!