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?