I'm taking a break from blogging about sewing to share some exciting news.
Today is a BIG day for my 5 year old. Today, she GRADUATES the Speech Program through our local school system. I have an immense amount of pride in the determination my daughter has shown over the last few years as well deep gratitude for her Speech Teacher, who truly is nothing short of amazing.
Here's our story (as condensed as I could make it ;) ):
Our journey in Speech Therapy started years ago -- I knew before 18 months that there was something amiss with our daughter's speech, or lack thereof. At age 2, our pediatrician agreed we should get our daughter evaluated by Early Intervention. At age 2, our daughter had about 5 words that were intelligible. The rest were merely sounds - most of them missing key consonants. She did, however, mimic tones and inflection surprisingly well so I began saying words with different inflections and then I would memorize her trying to mimic me. It was her own little language and we were her first students. She also made up her own signs in order to try to communicate with us. She had so much to say; she just could not get her muscles in her tongue and lips to cooperate with her brain.
Video shortly before her 2nd birthday.
It's tough to see one of your own struggle with something we seemingly take for granted. For months, I blamed myself - Was it my fault? Was it because I was induced or that she lost oxygen during her birth? Did I not read enough with her as a baby? I admit, I was somewhat jealous of those around me with kids the same age who were saying the funniest phrases or heck, could efficiently communicate basic needs and desires.. Of course, I kept it mostly to myself and would sometimes vent to my husband. Once she got evaluated, I grew optimistic, but knew it would likely be a long journey. My daughter, though, never once questioned why no one could understand her or why she talked the way she talked. She has always been my little social butterfly and didn't let a little thing like lack of communication stand in her way of making friends. Sometimes the greatest lessons are ones taught by our children.
Having not been through Early Intervention before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Within a couple months of little to no progress, I scoured the Internet in hopes of a 'miracle'. I read articles of kids taking Fish Oil Supplements and seeing noticeable results in as little as 6 weeks. Having nothing to lose, I began her on Fish Oil Supplements (under the supervision of her pediatrician) and surprisingly had a bit of a word explosion about 6 weeks later. There's no way to know, however, if she would have encountered the same results without taking the supplements, but I will always remember that is the month she actually spoke her first sentence.
"Whew, it cold outside."
|Waiting for her teachers on her first day in the school speech program.|
Within the year, she aged out of Early Intervention and transferred into the local school system. Her first day, she was so excited for "school", she didn't even look back as she walked inside with her classmates. Our school system has a very cool speech program -- the kids (usually 5 or so per class) go for 75 minutes twice a week and it mimics a typical preschool day. The main teacher is a Speech Therapist and there is also an assistant. The past two school years, my daughter was lucky to have the same Speech Teacher. Her teacher, Mrs. Barbara is exceptional -- each class, we left with a progress report for that day as well as what sounds/words to focus. I could physically see the areas in which she struggled or excelled. And my daughter enjoyed making projects with the assistants -- first Ms. Judy, and this year, Miss Sheridan.
|Starting a new school year - Fall 2012|
Her teacher had a gameplan with regards to which letters to target and it was great to see my daughter progressing through each step of the way. Last summer, at age 4, she could finally pronounce her name properly! You see, her name has an /s/ sound towards the end and previously she would omit the sound all together in the medial and final positions and would substitute the /s/ sound in the initial position. This is another day I won't forget.
|Learned about Community Helpers - Fall 2013|
Today marks yet another important day in this journey. My daughter has caught up to her peers in regards to speech and will be starting Kindergarten in the fall. I have tears of joy as I didn't know if this day would ever come. My daughter was a fighter on the day she was born and she has been a fighter ever since. She is one determined little lady and I am so proud she calls me "Mommy".
Congratulations, Miss M -- YOU DID IT!!!
|Her teachers, Miss Sheridan and Mrs. Barbara|