Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Speak, Ben, Speak!

Ben's 2 year old birthday is this week. I can't believe it! In many ways, he still seems like my baby: his pudgy cheeks, slobbery kisses, and lack of verbal skills.

On Monday, he and I went for a full developmental evaluation to see if he qualifies for any speech therapy. The Part C program in Florida is a last payer program that will pick up any costs one's insurance company doesn't cover. One therapist played and interacted with Ben while another asked me questions. Both women were extremely nice. We felt comfortable and listened to. At the end of the evaluation, Ben and I left the room so they could tally the scores and write up their report.

In all, his only area of concern, the one that falls below the average range, is his expressive communication. (His social-adaptive skills, like feeding, dressing, pottying, are also a bit behind but not drastic and well, he's a bit of an immature boy.) In order to qualify for aid, the child has to score a 78 or below on the test. Ben had a 76 in speech. The therapist then informed me that we qualify...to attend a parenting class (3 hours every Wednesday night for 12 weeks and its down on Michigan St.) on how to teach your child to talk. I wanted to cry.

All my irrational guilt about neglecting Ben, not reading enough to him, not paying enough one-on-one attention to him came flooding in. And I was indignant. I wanted to (calmly, of course) inform them that I was an educated educator whose four-year-old reads at a first grade level. I know what I'm doing! Right?

My mom pointed out the positive side; he's not that bad. And when GG babysat for me yesterday she told me I'm being humbled and maybe I'm just supposed to know how to teach from high schoolers down to toddlers. And that there could be someone God wants me to meet in this group of parents going through the same trials as I am.

I spent the afternoon working on Ben's book I'm making for him for Christmas. And we colored and drove cars around the floor, got through one nonverbal temper tantrum (I'm sure it was over Goldfish), did a puzzle, and had a nice evening together. I needed perspective and to enjoy my baby who is growing up and learning things and who will one day be able to tell me all about it.


Vicki Taylor said...

Each child is so different! Have you read "Leo the Late Bloomer"? I used to read it to Sam, and then one day, he bloomed! Hang in there-- there are treasures in store for you with sweet Ben.

Debby Sutton said...

I was just talking to my mom about this sort of thing yesterday. While teaching the 2yos on Sunday there was a very articulate bald-headed little girl. I asked my mom if I was a good talker, but my childhood is a blur to her. She only remembers the struggles of my brother -- he didn't talk until he was 4. And, as she reports with chagrin, "He hasn't shut up since!"

Take heart, my friend. Even this is part of God's good plan for Ben's salvation ... even the tantrum about the goldfish!

patti said...

UGH...that is so frustrating. And yes...HELLO, youre AMY FRIGGING FLEMING!!! I do believe you could teach the class that youll be going to!Im so sorry this is frustrating. We need coffee and chocolate no doubt! I love you girl! xoxo

Amy P. said...

As a special education attorney for school districts, I have sat through so many meetings with parents of (older) students with language/speech impairments, and I can honestly say, none appeared to have been as attentive to reading to their child and providing learning opportunities as you. I would feel guilty, too, but the thing is, it isn't your fault. My cousin's 3 yr. old didn't talk until after he was potty-trained, but when he started, he was talking in full sentences! All that to say, I echo the sentiments of the other folks on here - you shouldn't feel bad.

Leslie said...

I was just telling Karen Fazekas how amazed we are at how far Hannah has come in the last 2 years. She finished the first book in the Twilight series in two days, the second in four, and is a quarter of the way through the third since I purchased it yesterday. God makes our children bloom in their own time. Don't be discouraged. The show will be well worth the wait.