Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I've been sorting through some of the things that worry me about V and his development. The pediatrician was really pushing for speech therapy, and I know that when we go back in July he'll continue to do so. V has picked up a few more words, but he's still nowhere near where the doctor wants him. He doesn't communicate well, rather than ask for my drink he goes to grab it. Rather than tell me he's "done" at dinner, he blows raspberries and covers his face. We communicate in our own way, but it's non-verbal. I can ask him where his toys are, or let him know he can bring me a book, but whether he listens depends on how distracted he is. He will hand me things when asked, or not. He prefers to pretend he's going to hand it to me, then yank it away last second, while he runs away squealing.

V absorbs a lot more than even I realize, even if he's not communicating at the level they want. One day I sat on my computer and heard him flipping  though his book saying, "A, B, C. A, B. A, B," as he pretended to read and tried to recite bits of the alphabet. He randomly counted to 8 while sitting his high chair with cheerios. Sometimes he randomly says something, like pointing to my friend's daughter and saying, "Baby." Or when he was holding his blocks and saying, "Blue. Green." (which were the colors of the blocks). If you acknowledge this little random outbursts, to praise him, he will run off squealing with a big grin on his face. Then he probably won't do it again for a very long time. He knows how to do some things, like clap or wave, but refuses to do them when asked. Other things, like giving you a high five, he will do over and over.

I don't have a problem with him going to speech therapy if he needs it, I just don't want them jumping the gun and labeling him early on. I think a lot of my issues with this, is based on my own experience as a child. When I was younger I had to go through a lot of evaluations.

I had issues with hand dominance (right handed raised by a left hander and a double amputee), the doctor phrased it that I was confused and we had to pick a hand and make me focus. So we did, I had to focus and concentrate on only using one hand (rather than both). I am now right handed, without issue. I worry about V having this issue, as A is left handed. V favors his left, but gets confused sometimes when trying to use utensils, and just ends up shoveling everything in with his hands. It's still very early to worry about this, but it's something I consider.

I was also evaluated for autism though. They thought I may have a mild case, based on my social awkwardness. It probably didn't help that I needed a lot of things spelled out and explained. I'm not the best at picking up social ques, I'll go ahead and own up to that. I've always had a very Mr. Spock view of the world. A is like that too, and we totally miss the point sometimes. I had to go through a lot of tests, and it was confusing as a child. I've always excelled in school, but I'd rather be studying than spending time with my fellow classmates. Books I understood, but people were confusing. In the end they said I was fine, but it left a mark on me. My mom liked to bring it up as I grew older, like a running joke.

I have a slight lisp. When I was younger it was more of an unexplained accent (think British). The elementary school decided I had a problem, and sent me to speech therapy every day, or special ed. There were four of us in that class. No one explained why I was there. I was isolated from my fellow classmates, and they in turn treated me like I was ignorant (to put it nicely). The teachers acted like I was slow, and I felt like a failure. I have more than a few memories of crying my eyes out over having the wrong answer, yet again. When we finally moved away from that school, that was the end of my special classes.

I'm socially awkward, but I excelled in school. I always got good grades without even trying. In college I could spit out a 15 page paper in an hour, turn in my rough draft, and get an A. That kind of stuff comes naturally to me. When I went through that speech class though, I felt like... well, an idiot. I was constantly being told that I was wrong. That there was something defective about myself. Those years were hard on me. My upbringing didn't help things at all, my home life was... that's a long story that I don't want to get into right now. Suffice to say, I was not brought up in a stable or safe environment.

My feelings toward my childhood come out a lot whenever the doctor says that V is behind. I don't want him labeled so young, I don't want him to go through what I did. I really don't feel like he's far behind, but I also don't want him to fall behind because of my own obeisance. I know that it would be better for him to start therapy now, and if we determine that he needs it I will schedule the appointment.

Part of my hesitation also lies with the fact that there's a family history of late talkers, and opinions vary about how much they should be saying. His cousin, three months older, still isn't really talking; his pediatrician isn't concerned at all about this. According to one doctor, V may be on track. According to ours, he's behind. I am considering a second opinion, but I'm also considering the speech therapy. It certainly won't hurt to get him evaluated, I could possibly obtain better tools to help me to help him.

I just don't like the way they're approaching this so far. It makes me feel uneasy, and I have to stop myself from projecting my own experience onto my decision. I know that V is not me. If he's behind, we will work through it. I will do whatever I feel is best for my son, and hope that I make the right choices for him. I just worry, like any other person, about whether I'm making the best decision. About whether I'm advocating enough for him.

We don't have his appointment until mid-July, but we'll probably get the referral then. I'm still hoping for a "word explosion" (which I hear is common around 18 months). I'm continuing to work with him, reading his books, using his flashcards, and making time to just play and explore too. I'm doing the best I can, and working through my own feelings.

Tomorrow will worry about itself though, the only thing I have real power over is today- right?


Rebecca said...

Exactly. Think of today.

Celia said...

I know I have told you before, but I'll repeat it. You do not need to worry and your ped is being kind of tool-ish. James is only three months (barely)younger than him and he says Mama and OCCASIONALLY Dada. And Peter did not say SHIT until he was 23 months old. Your ped is being alarmist. I promise I would not bullshit you. Peter only had 5 words by his 18 month appointment and two didnt "count" because they were meow and moo.

Jennifer said...

Can you switch pediatricians to the same one your nephew? I'm not saying your ped is bad or anything, just that different peds have different styles. Some people would prefer a ped who jumped in for therapy at the first sign of concern; other people want someone who's more laid back. My ped is pretty laid back (no words at 15 months - no concern yet), and that works for us.

AnotherDreamer said...

Celia, thanks hun! I keep reading such varying opinions :( Our pedi is really nice, and I know others that use him, but he does seem to expect A LOT developmental-wise from him at each appointment.

Jennifer, it's a possibility. We're planning on doing his next well baby visit/vaccinations and deciding what to do after that.

Ours expected 10-15 by 15 months, which we fell short of by a lot, obviously. I think he's up to 10-15 maybe, and turning 18 months this week.

Shelby said...

Wow. 10-15 words by 15 months? That's way above anything I've ever heard. V is still so, so young. Go with your gut, Mama, wherever that takes you. It's good you're realizing the potential of projecting, but at the same time, we use our past to inform our decisions about the future. And to be counting to 8 or know a few colors (even once, which establishes the knowledge is there) at that age?? Wow. That's pretty remarkable to me. I know you'll do what's best for V, no matter what direction you choose.

St Elsewhere said...

I do not think V needs speech therapy.

Here's what you should do - get a second opinion.

Language acquisition is a function of several things.

At 17 months, my daughter seems to be more verbal than some of my colleague's slightly older kids (a 22 mo old, for example). You know the reason? She goes to daycare and that has improved her words grasping. The funny is she refers to donkeys and dogs by the same word.

I think genetics is also at play.

Look at your own experience. You had no problems as such but were forced to bear and then look stupid in those special classes.

You know your child. He is good. Give him some more time.

And you can kiss my hand. :-)

Your ped is jumping the gun, IMO.

Sadie said...

You're doing an awesome job! And also, I have next to no knowledge of child development (obviously, sadly), but your V sounds so sweet, engaged and talkative :)

Go for the second opinion and don't beat yourself up.

JEN said...

Well, very timely post. I feel like all I do is worry about the 13 month old's development. He won't take a sippy cup, isn't walking or crusing the furniture, only knows two words, and won't feel himself.


Anonymous said...

I would definitely go with a second opinion. My younger nephew didn't really talk until 2. Like V, he just had his own way of communicating. Now he's 5 and he's right on target. I really think boys take their time. But after all you went through to bring V into this world, I hate it that they've got you worrying again! :(

Morgan said...

as a teacher... (since I am not a parent yet), I would say get a 2nd opinion like all the others said. I agree that jumping the gun can do more harm than help. If you are being watchful, I would say see what someone else says and just keep an eye on his progress. To me they are always telling people not to push kids to do other things, why would this be any different. If things don't change over the next year then maybe revisit the idea of speech. But like a few others said too, boys do seem to develop a little slower than girls. He might just need a little extra time to build his confidence and be ready to show that Dr. a thing or two.