Speech Therapy

“No language at all?  Not even sounds that don’t really sound like words but he uses the same one for the same situations?”

I racked my brain trying to think of something, anything, my son could do that would qualify as him trying to communicate with me.  He would cry, he would make noises but nothing that was consistent.

I hadn’t really thought that it was all that out of the ordinary.  Everyone said boys talk later, and that second and third children talked even later than that.  One of the classic stories of my own childhood was how my worried mother stood in a similar office with myself at age two and change, worried that I hadn’t yet started to talk.  “When you finally did start, at nearly three, you didn’t just say a word.  You said a whole sentence,” my mother had told me many times of my own childhood.  So I had been rationalizing Michael’s lack of speech away over the months, worrying for a moment, then talking myself out of it, then getting busy with something else and not remembering it again for a day, or a week, as he happily played on with his favorite few toys.

“No, nothing,” I said quietly.  “What could that mean?”  I asked worriedly.

“It’s probably nothing,” the doctor said in a singsong voice, allowing Michael to find the toy bear in her white coat pocket.  “But it is a real concern now that he’s two; most children do find their words between eighteen months and two years.  This will definitely put you at the top of the waiting list for speech therapy.”

Speech therapy.  As a teacher, I remembered that kids would sometimes get pulled out of class for speech help, but I’d never sat in on a session.  I had no idea what kinds of things would be done in such a setting.  And for a child with no words at all?  I couldn’t imagine what that would be like.

“If there is a problem, what could it be?” I asked, knowing this would be the question that R would ask me later when I recounted the visit, as would my father and both of his parents.

“Like I said, it’s probably nothing, especially since he is the third child.  Kids with older siblings tend to let the others do the talking for them.  Lots and lots of kids have speech delays, and they nearly always work themselves out with some therapy and sometimes other interventions.”

This sounded to me like the reassuring doctor talk they always give to nervous parents because they can’t handle something possibly being wrong with their son. “Right, but what could it be if it isn’t just a simple speech delay?  What else could cause a kid not to talk this late?”  I thought back to every cup of coffee I’d drunk during my pregnancy, the few sips of wine I’d had, the lackadaisical attitude I’d had with my third child, thinking that no matter what, I was good at birthing healthy babies.

“Let’s not worry until we have something to worry about.  Your son’s development physically is fine, which is great news.  Let’s get him into therapy and get him talking, ok?”

I wanted to believe her, that nothing really terrible could be going on with my son.  I wanted that hope, and not the guilt that was washing over me in waves.  So I nodded and smiled.

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One Response

  1. We have to take care of the children when they are unable top speak

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