I am inspired by Capital Mom’s recent post about speech to share a more personal story. When my son was about 2 I knew something wasn’t quite right. He spoke quite early and using 2-3 words sentences almost immediately. We figured he was our child we wouldn’t have to worry about in terms of language. But then it happened. Overnight. He suddenly wasn’t able to get simple words out of his mouth. He’d break down and cry. He’d have days where he was lucky to get one word out of his mouth. It was heartbreaking to hear him. I quickly starting asking people about stuttering and googling everything I could find.
Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken. He repeated (li-li-like this), prolonged (lllllike this), or just stopped mid-sentence. The information was so confusing but from what I could pull out of the reliable information we were right to be worried. He is a boy. There is family history, though not directly, but family history none the less. 2 out of 5 risk factors that he wasn’t going to outgrow it. I tried not to worry too much and figured as everyone told me that he would outgrow it.
Then the teasing started. His friends made fun of him which made it worse since then he got upset and found it even harder to talk. But the worst was when some adults made fun of him. I had to control my mama bear instincts and tried to explain to them that we were sure he had a stutter and then he just needed some time to get things out. I went home that night crying for him. It was at that point that we went to the family doctor to get him referred to speech therapy. Everything I read said we needed to get him in early but it was frustrating as I was told that 2.5 was quite young and that it would be at least 6 months wait if not more.
Shortly after this I was listening to CBC and they had a topic related to fast talking. Specifically how technology is making us fast talkers. If anyone has met my husband you likely know he talks VERY quickly! A co-worker of mine is also a fast talker and we were recently at a social event where she and my husband were chatting and another person was trying to follow. It was then that I realized just how fast he does speak. So as we waited for our assessment we tried very hard to slow things down. We would repeat sentences for him and try to pronunciate every. word. very. slowly.
We were then called to a ‘learning about stuttering’ session and really I think it’s a course they should offer to all parents. I never really knew about what our kids language truly is supposed to sounds like. We stress as parents everyday that our kids aren’t hitting the milestones etc but we don’t even really understand what they are. Parents fret so much about their kids sitting, crawling, standing and push to have them walk and then we tend to back off all proud of ourselves. After the session we now know that he has a couple things with his speech. They are quite subtle and most people think he’s just being goofy when he does them. After 6 months he was finally assessed and what our gut was telling us was right. So January we started speech therapy. Once a week for an hour and he loved it! He loved playing with the toys the most but he’d come back so proud of himself when he’d figure out a new sound. As homework we tried to slow down our stories at night. Try doing this and tell me it’s not a challenge! We made a point to really emphasize every part of the word and though it sounds unnatural to me, he actually sat and took it all in.
It was coming slowly at first and then by the 5th session it just clicked with him. At our 6th session it was like magic and the therapist said she was going to end the sessions. For him he needed the sounds – now that he knows that he’s saying what he wants to he’s had impeccable speech. Every so often I still hear the stutter but I can also hear him work through it. So instead of happy ending I say happy progress since i know it’s something we’ll likely be working on for a while but I finally have my happy go lucky little guy who loves to talk back!