A Labor of Love
How We Started and Where We are Today
Johnny's story starts the same way as it does with many other kids with speech disorders and/or sensory disorders: his 18 month checkup with his pediatrician. At this appointment, most pediatricians will ask a series of questions about your child's development and if you answer "no" too many times, flags go up and intervention is recommended.
At 18 months, Johnny did not respond to his name, he did not point to objects and wasn't trying to speak. He made sounds and noises, but nothing coherent. He did not make animal noises or "pretend" sounds (vroom for a car or choo choo for a train). He was largely silent and spent the majority of his time playing independently and trying to understand how things work by closely examining his toys.
I think a lot of parents at this stage go through a variety of emotions. I didn't have any knowledge of what this all meant, what was going to happen and how I could help him. He was deferred to Early Intervention here in Illinois and after a 2-3 month wait he started services here in our living-room.
At 4 1/2 years old, Johnny has come a long way. He has been in speech therapy since 21 months old with the exception of a year where in person services were suspended for the worst of the pandemic. He is speaking in short sentences and is mostly coherent, but sometimes still hard to understand. He was eventually diagnosed with Expressive-Receptive Speech Disorder, which means he has a hard time understanding us and a hard time expressing himself. He also has an Articulation Disorder and overall "speech delay". He goes to speech therapy 2x a week in person, an additional time virtually and also has occupational therapy once a week.
He is a creative little boy, who loves people. He wants to be everyone's friend, has an intense imagination and can build robots and rockets out of Duplo blocks better than an adult. He loves Paw Patrol, digging around in sensory bins, playing "hide and seek" and going to preschool. He is very typical in every way, but struggles with speech and impulse control.
I became a stay at home mom at the start of the pandemic and joined several mom groups online. I started noticing lots of posts from parents with kids in these same scenarios and realized that I have learned a lot over the last 3 years. I am not a speech pathologist or a doctor, but a mom who has a wealth of knowledge from being on this journey for a few years now. I will share the successes and the failures because there are lessons to be learned everywhere.
My hope is that my blog provides some insight, encouragement, hope and support to parents on this same journey.