Childrearing

Speech Therapy Has Changed My Daughter’s Life For The Better

By  | 

speechtherapyAt the end of June, I shared my story about how many people misunderstand my daughter Alicia because she’s introverted. It was amazing hearing from many other parents, some whose children were introverted like mine, and some whose children had been in need of early intervention for a variety of reasons. A common thread in these comments, and something I had already been thinking about, was the possibility of speech therapy. At the time, many of Alicia’s speech sounds weren’t right – “gwocks” instead of “blocks”, “pour” instead of “four.” And it seemed to me that this was making her harder to understand than many other three-year-olds.

I couldn’t judge by the example of her older brother, who is among the most verbal kids around. (Sometimes that’s a blessing, sometimes that’s a curse!) Ben always wants to tell everyone about everything all the time – and how do you talk about Skylanders or dragons or pirates if the people around you can’t understand what you’re saying? At Alicia’s age, Ben was talking like some five year olds; he was NOT the example to use of typical language development.

Meanwhile, Alicia’s talk was almost all self-directed. She would tell incredible stories – but only to herself, which meant there was never a need for her to clarify what she was saying. I kept wondering if her mispronunciations were the result of a lack of practice, or if there was something else going on. So I was pleased that a referral for a speech evaluation came out of her screening, even if I anticipated a lengthy wait before we’d get the phone call.

The first step was an audiology appointment to ensure her hearing was normal. As I had expected, that all checked out. And then, to my great surprise, I got a call from the local speech program – with people away over the summer, we had the opportunity to come in for an evaluation in mid-July. Was I interested? You bet! And I am so glad we were able to accept.

Pages: 1 2 3

39 Comments

  1. Lilly

    September 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I am glad that you are having a positive experience.
    I have cleft palate so have done speech therapy for a lot of my childhood. I always had positive memories of it and the results that come from it; people understanding what I was trying to say better, but it also brought about more confidence as I felt more comfortable speaking in public.

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks! Alicia’s speech issues aren’t nearly that complex, so they suspect it will be a pretty short process for her. I’m glad that it left you with such a positive feeling too 🙂

    • Rachel David

      September 17, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      @JLH1986:disqus Nora. I agree that Francisco`s rep0rt is something… yesterday I got a brand new Toyota after having made $5410 this past 4 weeks and would you believe, ten k lass-month. without a doubt it is the coolest job Ive ever done. I began this seven months/ago and straight away got minimum $79.. per-hour. I use this website,..&nbsphtt&#x70://CASHC&#79&#78&#86&#69&#82T&#x32&#48&#x31&#52UNLIMITED…

  2. alice

    September 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    aww this story made me emotional. 🙂

    how do parents end up with early intervention and things like speech therapy? i never looked into this. is it thru your pediatrician? school?

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      In my province, kids get an early childhood assessment, either through public health or through their family doctor; that’s where Alicia got her referral. Schools will provide recommendations as well if they notice that a child has speech issues that are unusual for their age. But you can also always ask your doctor about it.

      In my case, because the appointment came through a referral, there’s no cost to us (yay, Canadian health care!) but that sometimes takes a really long time – I was astounded to get an appointment so quickly. If you end up going privately, it’s more expensive, although some health insurers cover it. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s the way you have to go to get an appointment in a reasonable time.

    • Rose

      September 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      ‘Murica answer: to receive early intervention services, you need to be proactive or be referred by your kid’s pedi. BUT because EI ends at 3, and most pedis are in the “wait and see” school of thought, if you believe your kid has a language delay, you gotta speak up for them (har har). In Illinois, services are provided on a sliding scale and CAN be free. Once the child turns 3, they are turned over to their home school district, and services are free, paid for by tax dollars.
      My son had NO words by 18m. I went to a free screening held by the state, and they referred me to EI. He had speech therapy until 3 and made amazing strides, but by then, his delay was so low, we opted to take a break from therapy for a bit.
      Early intervention works!

    • Heather

      September 17, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      Just to add onto that, after you age out of EI you can also receive outpatient services in addition to or instead of school-based therapy. Same deal, you should speak up about your concerns with your pediatrician in order to get a referral. You can get these services for fine motor delays (occupational therapy), gross motor delays (physical therapy), and/or speech.

    • Joye77

      September 17, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      My son was recommended for speech therapy by his teacher. He went once a week for half on the year. they contacted me regarding the recommendation. I didn’t have to do anything (I am in Florida)

    • Meg13

      September 18, 2014 at 8:13 am

      You can request an evaluation, it doesn’t need to go through your pedi. Just google Early Intervention for your county and call them up. My twins have been in speech therapy for a year (nearly three and just now starting to use words), and we’re transitioning from early intervention to the school program. My advice is to be proactive. I had them evaluated at one year old and they didn’t qualify. When the were approaching two and I still had the same concerns I had them re-tested and they both qualified for speech.

  3. Jen TheTit Whisperer

    September 17, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    My brother stuttered growing up. 6 months with a speech pathologist changed his life! He’s far more confident now than he ever was growing up because he was so self-conscious of his speech.

  4. TrudyML

    September 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I am a lefty. I also had speech issues. Through the school I was in therapy from 1st-4th grade. Don’t even have a Boston accent now! 🙂

  5. Kheldarson

    September 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    I think my mom would be commiserating with you right now. My middle brother and I (the most introverted of the four kids) both did speech therapy through our respective schools to great success (supposedly. I don’t even recall my lessons!).

    I will add, though, re: introducing herself that probably the best thing my mom did for all of us was sit and teach/enforce proper social behavior. Such as small talk and the like. I still don’t necessarily like it, but knowing how to do it definitely helps in the adult world and workplace!

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 17, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Yep, we’ve been making a big deal of saying hello, but actually LOOKING at the person you’re greeting! She’s not shy, but she wants to close people out so she can keep her introvert bubble 🙂

  6. Henrysmama

    September 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I just got a referral for my 2.5 year old today and the timing of this post couldn’t be better. 🙂

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 17, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      I hope you have as much success as we did! It really makes a remarkable difference for the kids who need it.

  7. guest

    September 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I remember in Elementary school I got pulled from class to go play a game with my friend in her speech therapy as a reward for finishing whatever they had been working on. Left me thinking it was great, obviously worked very well for her, and I wouldn’t hesitate to put my kid in if I felt it was needed. Also, what a cool job that would be- to be an *Erin! 🙂

  8. NotTakenNotAvailable

    September 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I was wondering what had happened with your daughter after that! I’m glad it all worked out well and that you’ll likely be getting an end to the autism questions–I can assure you that there about zero occasions in which I would ever just randomly introduce myself to a complete stranger, so yay for someone being able to overcome social awkwardness early!

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Yep, she’s doing great! She started preschool last week and even – gasp! – sat down for circle time on the second day. Even her highly-social brother wouldn’t do that until about a month in 🙂

      I think she’s always going to puzzle people with her desire to be selectively social (thanks to wmdkitty for that great phrase!), but as long as she can express herself well when she’s ready to, I’ll be happy. Of course, with her new confidence has come a new willingness to yell, “NO, MOMMY, I DON’T WANT THAT!”, so there are downsides to everything 😉

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      September 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      It might suck for you right now, but that confidence is going to help you not worry about her as much when she’s off in the real world! Being able to use a few well-placed words (only some obscene!) has definitely helped me out.

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Hey, her previous “no” phase actually involved yelling, “Stop it, stop it! Help me!” at the top of her lungs in busy stores. Considering she’s blond as can be and I’m a brunette, I consider it a miracle no one ever stopped us to make sure I wasn’t abducting her!

  9. Kapibara-san

    September 17, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    I’m glad speech therapy has helped your daughter 🙂 I also went to speech therapy for many years as a kid, but for me it didn’t help unfortunately. I felt so embarrassed about it and resisted doing the exercises. I finally learned how to pronounce “r” properly when I was about 14 by myself… Got bullied a lot before that though.

  10. K2

    September 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I was a very shy kid, and happen to be an introvert. I didn’t go to speech therapy, though, but it wasn’t really sounds I had problems with. I just didn’t want to talk most of the time. In nursery I didn’t talk for the entire first semester. After that I guess I sort of knew the people, so started to chat a bit. It took me until I was about 16, 17, and a good older friend, to really ‘come out of my shell’. (But I DID talk all the years before that, and the shyness gradually left as I grew.. it’s just that age 16, 17, my social skills went up in a huge leap!)

  11. melena gasper

    September 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    I would really like to see some articles written by actual special needs parents on Mommyish.

    • Mushu

      September 17, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      You can say “parents of autistic kids” now, you know. 😛

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 18, 2014 at 5:18 am

      I know the experience of a parent with special needs would have been quite different! Hopefully someone who is having that experience will pitch to Kate and we can get that perspective as well.

  12. Mushu

    September 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I was in speech therapy when I was a kid. My issue was “th” “sh” and “r” sounds, as well as talking ridiculously fast (I blame my dad and his Canadian East Coast accent). I remember the board games (land on a square, and say what the picture was), looking at a mirror while moving your mouth/tongue, repeating words. It’s also where I discovered I had chicken pox. Fun times.

    I can say “th” and “sh” fine now, but I still have trouble with words like “colour” or “four,” and still talk super fast unless I consciously add in a lilt to slow it down, and have kind-of a British accent. That week when I was allowed to read morning announcements at high school was interesting, to say the least. 😛

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 18, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Yeah, us East Coasters like to talk fast 😉

    • Mushu

      September 18, 2014 at 11:13 am

      The funny thing is is that my dad isn’t even from the East Coast. He was born and raised in Toronto, and learned to talk from the Newfoundlander family next-door.

      My grandpa on my mom’s side IS from Nova Scotia, though, with only a slight accent.

  13. Psych Student

    September 17, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    I had speech therapy when I was little. I didn’t talk until I was about 4 (I think). I would just point at things and make whiney noises when I wanted something (still do, occasionally, hehehe). I remember speech therapy. We played games, it was fun. Now I speak well (enough, I do have some dyslexia problems). It was a great experience. I don’t recall having any problems with it. I’m glad to hear you and your daughter had a good experience as well.

    • C.J.

      September 17, 2014 at 11:45 pm

      I just read this and it so reminded me of my god-daughter. She has speech problems. She started speech therapy when she was 2. It is easy to understand her now at almost 7 but she still sounds like she is from Boston. We live in Southern Ontario. Her mother has suspected she is dyslexic for a while. She is finally old enough to be tested and has the referral, just waiting for the appointment now.

  14. Joye77

    September 17, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    My son was recommended for speech therapy in 1st grade. His teacher wanted him to go because he wasn’t pronouncing some consonant sounds properly. He went once a week and he loved it. He did well. Honestly, I didn’t notice his problem. I think it was because he had so many ear infections in the first couple years of his life, I don’t think he was hearing anything properly to develop proper speech from the get go.

  15. AP

    September 17, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    I’m actually surprised by the number of people who mentioned their speech pathologist worked to get rid of their accent. My sister’s studying to be a speech pathologist, and she was telling me that speech pathologists are required to learn appropriate regional accents for their clients and aid them in the correct pronunciation for their accent. Accent-erasing is only for consenting adults doing it on purpose.

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 18, 2014 at 5:12 am

      In the past, erasing an accent was considered a perk of speech therapy – part of the assimilation ideal. I’m sure that’s long since out of the profession’s regular goals, though!

  16. Rachel

    September 18, 2014 at 4:42 am

    I had to go through speech therapy but sense I never had real speech issues,only pronouncing Shh like Sss some of the time as a kid it never really helped me and sort of hated going to it. Thus kinda feel that I would have been better off if my parents worked with me instead. I also was introverted but it wasn’t because of my speech more because of bullying.

  17. CrushLily

    September 18, 2014 at 5:26 am

    My son is a little over 3 and he attends weekly speech therapy. The therapist thinks he has a condition called Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Its a gross motor issue which means while he understands everything we say, he can’t get his mouth to say the words. Its been a long road to this point. We had a ST from 18 months who took the ‘wait and see’ approach. It was only when he was approaching 3 that I told her that I’ve waited long enough and its about time some words came out of his mouth. That was when I realised I needed to be his advocate, rather than wait for a professional to get him to talk. We then found a wonderful therapist who got more out of him in one session than I had ever heard before. I was in tears – I had never heard his voice before. It will be awhile before we are having conversations, but for every word he says I can feel something that was wound up very very tight inside me gradually loosen. What a relief!

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 18, 2014 at 7:27 am

      I’m so happy for you! I know someone whose granddaughter has Childhood Apraxia of Speech, and I know it can be a tremendously frustrating condition for both kid and parents. While it’s not specifically about apraxia, you might want to check out the book “Willow’s Whispers” (http://www.amightygirl.com/willow-s-whispers) which has a great message about kids struggling to find their voices.

  18. Shannon

    September 18, 2014 at 9:50 am

    My son was in speech for about 5 months. His preschool teachers told me they had some trouble understanding him and he was getting frustrated when other kids didn’t know what he was trying to say. I called a former coworker who was now a private practice SLP, and we started going once a week. He LOVED it. He couldn’t wait to go, got mad when the office was closed for holidays, and when he was discharged from therapy, he cried and cried. Now he’s in OT because of some sensory and fine motor issues, and he’s just as excited. I definitely encourage anyone with doubts about whether their child’s development is normal to get them evaluated. If private therapy is not feasible, local school districts do evaluations and provide early intervention therapy.

  19. E N

    September 21, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    My son had a fairly similar experience. We started having concerns about his annunciation. At 3.5 he was still very difficult to understand, especially for people outside of the immediate family. When he started preschool that year we were hoping just the greater exposure to other kids would help set him on track. But by the next month, his teacher was recommending him for speech therapy. Since it was through the public school district, he actually didn’t start working with a speech therapist til January. He was also a lot like your daughter. He would talk up a storm at home but most times he would play intricate and imaginative games by himself, especially if there were other kids around. You could really see the impact his low intelligibility was having on his social skills. He worked with his therapist for the rest of the school year, once a week for about half an hour. We saw some improvements, but he had a long way to go. The next year, on top of his weekly visits with the speech therapist, he started going to a phonology class twice a week for an hour. That is when we saw HUGE improvements, not only in his speech, but also in his confidence and social willingness. Now he is in kindergarten and seeing a speech pathologist 3 times a week for only 10 min a day. Last year he went from 49% intelligibility to 75%. It can be hard to keep him motivated and interested in the practicing, but well worth it!

  20. Pingback: What I Learned About Autism From My Daughter's Diagnosis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *