Friday, September 9, 2011

Someone Finally Listened

Our youngest daughter was slow to begin speaking. This is not all that unusual in second children, but as it progressed we began to be concerned. At a routine appointment with our pediatrician she told us she thought she might be about 6 months behind and we should have her evaluated, and so we did.

The results of that first evaluation were that she was about 4 months behind overall and therefore did not qualify for assistance. She was making improvements at the time, and so we hoped that it was just a temporary set back. As her language capabilities increased, she was way above in putting sentences together and also in vocabulary, her pronunciation was still behind, and so we had her evaluated again when we could.

This time we were told by the evaluator that she wished all of her kids were at the stage that our daughter was. Now we know that most of the time the kids that the evaluator is dealing with are way behind where they should be, but we continually felt like our concerns were being dismissed outright. As my wife said, "that's great, but I want to be able to understand what my daughter is saying to me."

When we raise our concerns about her speech, we continually hear, "well I can understand her just fine", as if somehow it's our problem. We hear that even when we have told them that if she is talking about something and it's in context she can be understood because our minds will process something that makes sense out of what she is saying in context. The problem arises when there is no context. When she just walks up and starts talking is when we have problems.

Yesterday, she again went for another evaluation (and I had an incident in the morning in which I had to have her repeat herself 4 times for me to understand what she was asking). As it was going on and she seemed to be doing very well, I was concerned that we were again going to be told that everything was fine and that we should just basically stop being overly concerned parents.

But this time we were finally listened to. Although she knew the words, the evaluator paid attention to what she was saying and how she was saying it and said that she is behind and should be getting some assistance. She actually took the time to hear what we were saying, that it's not about her sentence structure, our how many words she knows, or if she can hear us, all of which she excels at, but instead it was that we don't often know what she is saying and we want to.

We want to understand our daughter when she talks to us all the time, not just some of them time. This time the evaluator took the time to put the entire picture into context and understood that while it's great that she knows what a pig is and can even say pig, that there were annunciation issues that in combination with other words would make it hard to interpret.

It was so nice to finally not be thought of as helicopter parents who are making a mountain out of a mole hill, but was people who had legitimate concerns about their daughter. That has not happened since we first went to the pediatrician and I am so grateful, and even more grateful that she is getting the help she needs.

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