Friday, March 28, 2014

Speech Evaluation

I mentioned about a month ago that Grace was going to have a speech evaluation and I realized that I never posted a follow up.

Grace has never been much of a talker. She has a very large vocabulary but has never had much interest in using more than one or two words at a time. While her friends are talking in full sentences, she would never put more than two or three words together. We have also been concerned because she frequently only says the last syllable of a word. We know what she means, but no one else does. She says "braa" for zebra, "raffe" for giraffe, "phant" for elephant. Those are just a few of the many words that she says like that. She doesn't have any trouble with comprehension at all so we weren't concerned until recently when we noticed a gap in conversational sentences. I asked our Parents as Teachers educator Miss Hilary if we could do a speech evaluation. She agreed and had us set up a meeting with the speech pathologist in our school district.

I set up the appointment for the morning hoping that Grace would be awake and happy. The afternoons are always iffy for her mood since she doesn't nap anymore. Unfortunately I had to take Connor with us which I knew would make the appointment harder. When we arrived, the kids happily played with the toys in the waiting room. I was hopeful that everything would go well!

When we went back in to the speech pathologists office, things quickly went downhill. Grace takes a long time to get adjusted to new places and new people. Once she likes you, you're in her good graces forever and she'll talk to you. But if she's never met you, she will just cower behind me and refuse to speak. And that's exactly what she did. She screamed NO whenever we tried to get her to talk. The speech pathologist tried to play a game with her and she absolutely refused to say anything. I was embarrassed, but not shocked.

Miss Hilary came to our rescue and offered to do the rest of her 3 year old screening in another room until Grace got comfortable. Then we could try to do the speech screening again. She completed the rest of the screening almost perfectly. She drew lines and circles on command, threw balls, jumped, balanced on one foot, and counted when asked. She obviously doesn't have an issue with comprehension!

When she was completely calmed down and comfortable, we decided to try the speech screening. Miss Hilary held Connor and distracted him with cheerios while I sat with Grace. Thankfully she was more cooperative this time around and did the first part of the screening with no issue. She had to look at a picture and identify various things (house, zebra, flower, etc.) while the speech pathologist took notes. She was good until the speech pathologist asked her to put headphones on to do a hearing test. I tried my best to get her to cooperate, but she started throwing a major tantrum. We all decided that it was best just to be done. We headed home and waited for the results.

Several days later, Miss Hilary called to give us the news. The verdict was that while there are some "inconsistencies" in her speech, her scores are way too high in the other areas of the screening to qualify her for any therapy. At our next Parents as Teachers meeting, she will be giving us some tips to help us work with her on verbalizing entire words.

I have conflicting feelings about the entire thing. I am glad that she isn't that behind. But I do know there are some things that I need to work with her on. I won't lie, I do feel like I have failed her somehow. In my head, I know that all kids develop at different levels. But as a mother, it is SO hard not to compare her developmental milestones with other children the same age.

So I'm now on a mission to start working on more "educational" stuff with her. I spent some of my day yesterday making a "school" book for her (just a book of basic preschool worksheets I printed from here stuck in page protectors.) It's nothing fancy, but she is so excited about preschool that I figured it wouldn't hurt to get a head start. We started today and day one was a success. Some were a little advanced for her, but she enjoyed the challenge. We talked through each one and she asked to do some multiple times.

I know that she'll be talking our ear off soon and I know that going to preschool in the fall will help a ton. But, it's still hard not to worry!

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