Grayson is not a kid I would ever describe as quiet- ever. He always squealing and laughing and making all kinds of noise. But words? Well, not so much. He says Mama, Dada, Right There, Please and This on a regular consistent basis. Other than that- well, there isn't really much more. At his 18 month visit we mentioned it to the doctor, and I asked if we should consider Early Intervention. The doctor said it couldn't hurt to call, but he didn't think Grayson would qualify for services since he really is so smart. This kid understands everything you say...even when you spell words...its frightening. But he said it couldn't hurt to get a second opinion.
So I made the call and was connected to the most wonderful service coordinator who came out to do an interview and set up an evaluation with a speech therapist and an occupational therapist. She said he needed to show a 25% delay to qualify for services, and she was glad I was doing it now before we hit the terrible twos and Grayson wouldn't be able to communicate. That would only lead to more frustration, which is never a good thing.
Me? I was just thrilled to bits she didn't say I was overreacting, wrong, or crazy. It seems like most everyone else told me he'd catch up, he's fine, or he's smart and stubborn. Here was someone who listened and took my concerns and didn't dismiss them (ahem, Mr. Pediatrician can sometimes do that...and its annoying). She scheduled the evaluation and we signed some papers and a few days later we all came together to test Grayson.
Overall it was a very easy process. They asked ALOT of questions, but they also really interacted with him. They played games with shapes, colors and objects. They hid blocks under cups and blankets, identified body parts and identified letters. They talked to Grayson and played for about an hour. Then they set him free to do the scoring and paperwork.
In some aspects he was off the charts high- like when he identified all of the letters upper and lower case and organized all of the shapes without being asked. In other parts he was average- which is great too. But in expressive language, he was way low. In the end, he qualified for services with that deficiency. Now as I look back on it, I have some mixed feelings.
On one hand, I'm super happy that he'll be able to work with a speech therapist to get his expressive language caught up to his cognitive abilities. On the other I cant help thinking what I didn't do or could have done so he wouldn't be in this place to begin with. Everyone at the meeting assured me that had I not called, he would have caught up just fine on his own- it just would have taken him a bit longer. They said it was great, because they could see his visible frustrations and now he can work on getting his words so he's not so frustrated- which will make the terrible twos a bit easier. So on that side, Im glad. On the other, I still feel like I could have done more as a Mommy to get him talking better. Cue the dreaded Mom Guilt. Even after the speech therapist watched us interact for two hours and told me that we're doing everything right, it's still there. She thinks we're going to have to basically trick Grayson into saying and doing what she wants, because he's so smart he knows what she's up too and he isn't about to give in. He doesn't have his Mama's gift for gab, but he got my stubborn streak for sure.
So I don't know. I know the words will come, and we have a plan and we're working towards it. Even after a few sessions he's already trying to create more sounds and form more words, which is amazing. I'm not ashamed that he needs help, in fact I'm glad that it's out there to help families and I give these therapists all the credit in the world for doing what they do. With each session as he works on verbal skills and strengthening the muscles in his mouth to form more words a little bit more of that Mommy guilt fades and I realize that it's not something I did or didn't do. He's smart, he's funny and he's on his way to being a talker...which of course once he is, I'll wonder why I ever wanted him to start talking in the first place.