Weekly Wrap Up – Syd’s Speech & Link Love


photo This week Syd’s speech therapist got to see a peek into what we deal with on a daily basis.  When finishing up his therapy session, and given the opportunity to get a toy from the chest, if he asked “may I please pick a toy?” and spoke in a “loud and proud” voice, he refused.  Because he just didn’t want to.  He sacrificed a shot at a cool new toy because he just didn’t want to have to say a few words.  Her jaw was on the floor and she admitted she had never seen an iron will on a kid so young.  Having seen this everyday for the past 6+ years, I felt vindicated and relieved that someone else got to witness it and I wasn’t just crazy.  Today, he got his toy and when I picked him up from his session he was in a happy, talkative mood, a completely different kid from the one I picked up 2 days prior.  Syd feels his feelings tremendously, always has and probably always will.  When he’s happy, he’s really happy, but when he’s low, he’s really low.  It’s hard to not know day to day how he will react to situations, but I try to stay happy and positive with the smiles and laughs he gives when he does, because they’re the best.

We started Syd in private speech therapy just over a month ago.  He’s been in speech and has had an IEP for over 2 years now, and some who know about this have asked how I knew I needed to take him to be evaluated.  More specifically, how did I know his speech was out of the “norm” of just regular kid speak.  The simple answer is, I just knew.  I knew for months and went against many people’s commentary that he spoke just fine and was just a kid.  When he was just over 3.5 years old I took him in to be evaluated through our district’s school speech therapist.  In California, you can have child evaluated through the state, for free, starting when they are as young as 2.  Since he was preschool age, I went through the school district’s therapist and she confirmed that he did qualify for therapy and his own IEP.  At the time, he was swapping letters, like g for d and viceversa, so that dog became God, and good became doog.  He had a pretty heavy lisp, and the thing that was most pronounced was his over-annunciation of words so that his speech was very slow and drawn out.  The therapist said that at 3 years old, he already knew that people couldn’t understand him, so he over-enunciated to help them along.  It was painful to listen to him try to get sentences out sometimes.

It’s important to note that at this young age, therapists make their evaluations based off of developmental cut-offs, so if I had brought Syd in at 3, he would have been released, but since 3.5 was the cut off and he should have been able to make certain sounds by that age, he slid in.  I say this because if you think your child may need therapy, the timing of evaluation and the “developmental” chart may not coincide, so he/she may clear at first, but 6 months later they would need therapy.

He continued his therapy through the school for the last 2 years, and fast forward to June of this year at his annual IEP, it was confirmed what I feared.  Syd’s speech had progressed in some of the more minor areas, but he had developed more severe issues, ones which were not so easy to fix and would in fact take at least 2+ more years to remedy.  His frontal lisp was gone, he could pronounce his “l’s” and “t’s”, but in conversational speech he still let them slide quite often.  At 6 years old, he still couldn’t say his sister’s name correctly, and he had now developed a side lisp that made “s” sound like “sh” and “ch” sound like “chhug”.  He had also reverted back to this very quiet, baby talk sort of voice where he blended a lot of his words and sounds.

Against the advice of his therapist at school who didn’t think he’d revert over summer break, I sought out professional, private therapy.  1 month in and while we aren’t’ seeing drastic results yet, and she assures us we have a lot of work to do, she leaves me feeling confident (most days), that he will get there.  Instead of working on individual sounds, like they do in therapy at school, she has him working on fixing the issues that are causing the sound distortion in the first place.  Things like strengthening the tongue and mouth muscles with interesting exercises, practicing tongue placement, and even practicing the way he chews and swallows.  Things he would have never done in school therapy.  His therapist feels, and I can’t help but agree because it makes perfect sense, is that if we fix the reason why he’s having the issues, the sounds will come on their own in a way.

Our goal is to have his speech up to speed by the end of 1st grade, so when he enters 2nd grade, he can enter confidently and with pride.  A whole year away and a whole year’s worth of work, but my stubborn guy with an iron will is willing to put in the work.  She confirms that his stubbornness drives his tenacity and spills over into his work ethic.  She admitted he’s one of the hardest working kids she’s had.

I’m telling you all this because a few friends, and even a couple of readers, wonder if they should seek out a professional evaluation.  My answer is always always YES!  And some have even asked themselves if it’s really that big of a deal.  On the scale of 1-10 in childhood issues/disabilities/complications your child could have, it’s pretty minor I suppose.  My boy is healthy and for that I’m grateful.  But on a scale of 1-10 in building childhood confidence, I’d rate it pretty high up there, at least a 9.  Navigating the rocky roads of growing up is hard enough to do, why make it harder by adding speech complications along with it, especially if they’re ones that can be fixed?  If  you think your child may have some speech problems, please consider having them evaluated because you really have nothing to lose.

In the Fall, we will continue with our private sessions in addition to school therapy, and I’m so thankful that our health insurance covers speech therapy sessions.  They go against our deductible, but at least it’s something.  And I am very grateful for our awesome speech therapist at our school and I don’t mean to discredit he techniques or methods.  She has state guidelines she has to follow, and is working with 3-4 kids at a time, whereas our private sessions are just with Syd, and she can use whichever methods she sees fit.    Our school therapist is doing the best she can with what she has to work with.

I hadn’t intended this to be so long, but once I started going, I felt I couldn’t give the full up-to-date story without giving some history.  If any of you out there have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Or conversely, if you’ve had a child go through speech therapy, I’d love to hear your experience and would appreciate any advice or perspective.

Link Love:
It was a busy week catching up on work, so I admittedly didn’t read a lot out there in the internet that I can share, but I can tell you that birds of a feather do flock together, specifically referring to my comment on this post.

I always knew California was the most beautifulest!  Wes SIIIIDE!!!

I finished The Fault In Our Stars this week, and can’t recommend it enough. LOVED it!

Don’t forget to enter the HUGE EPIC giveaway!

My Writing Elsewhere:
I tried my hand at cooking clean without Gwynnie and made a healthy jambalaya.
And a few friends have asked for a list of kitchen clean eating staples to have on hand at all times. Here’s the first 20 I would buy, and I can probably give you another 10-20 next week 😉

At Disney I shared a huge milestone we’ve finally reached (or Hayden has rather)!
We are in love with these new Star Wars books!

Did you read anything else online this week, worth sharing?
Have a great weekend everyone!

Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • My son had speech delays as well. I noticed them as early as age 2. His daycare teacher tormented him over it and he began to act out and have some serious behavior problems. Imagine at age 2 knowing you do not fit in. It was awful. Finally at 3.5 we got him into speech therapy through the school system. I would have done private but insurance doesn’t pay for it and we couldn’t afford it out of pocket. He’s 8.5 now and exited the IEP program last school year. I still faintly hear a little something with some blends but other than that he’s doing great!I can’t tell you how much he’s changed. For years no one could understand anything he said. He would cry and cry and throw fits. It was so heartbreaking. Of course everything thinks they are an expert so I got a ton of advice that I’d rather not have had. I also had people questioning if I was doing anything to help him. It’s not an overnight process. Finally, we started embracing the small victories and praising him for any improvement and his behavior and self confidence has a complete turnaround. It was a very rough time but I can say it does get better!

  • Rena says:

    Yes! I love this post and I’m so glad you wrote it. As a speech therapist myself, I’ve been thinking of writing a similar post because I listen to some of my friends’ children’s speech and want to explain the importance of correct speech, but don’t want to seem pushy or “know-it-all-ish”. I’m so glad Syd is getting therapy and that you as his mom are pushing him lovingly. 🙂

  • arly says:

    You know I LOVE this post! Thank you for sharing…
    Connor started speech at 2 1/2 and we have been going for a little over a year…for us..in the beginning it was so much more about delayed speech…and at 3 1/2 it is crazy how MUCH he talks…now it is more about the pronunciation….Connor also does that quiet blending talk too..he kind of looks down and quietly says a whole sentence but it is a like a whisper…I am trying to say “Loud and Proud” to him all the time..LOVE THAT! I know the fact that he is shy around new faces doesn’t help the cause, lol. C
    Anyway…love this post…and your honesty and advice…Syd is adorable!!! Love this shot of you too:) C

  • My younger sister is a speech language pathologist. She works in LAUSD but it starting to think about one day opening a private practice [she does some one-on-one’s now] one day for exactly these reasons.

    Good for you for standing up for your kid!

  • Como muestra de ello, les presentamos las quince películas de terror
    que no pueden perderse en este dos mil quince.

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