Thursday, July 14, 2011

Didn't See This Coming...

This morning was Brian's speech evaluation. I went into it confident, feeling like one of those Moms who swears her child is a genius. I even thought there would be a possibility that he would not qualify for services.

I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

Two women evaluated him - one was a teacher and the other a speech therapist. They arrived along side Shelly, who was Gavin's Early Intervention case manager and a very familiar face. Both of the women tested Brian by asking him questions, observing him and getting information from me. Brian was shy, initially, but quickly warmed up when they pulled out their toys. He immediately grabbed the cell phone - probably to call his Granny, one of his favorite people to ring up.
The speech therapist showed him a book of pictures and asked him to identify things. He flew through identifying the objects...but struggled a little when she asked him to identify the action pictures. You can see what I mean in this video:

He also struggled a bit with concepts. For example, there was a page of pictures - one of which was shoes. She'd ask, "What goes on your feet?" Check out his response...

The teacher then moved on to some pretend play. Like pretending to feed the baby...

She asked me if he ever pretended "outside the box" - like pretending that a block was a cookie or that a spoon was a car. My answer was no.
Because he doesn't do that - and because he lacks the verbal ability during play - he scored low on cognition. Of all the things, I thought he was so strong cognitively. I was very surprised.

After the evaluation they scored their tests and went over the results with me. He is at an 18 month level for speech. He qualified for speech therapy and will receive it once a week. But what happened next was the shocker. As I said, he scored low on "cognition" - also scoring at an 18 month level. That qualified him for teacher services once a week. Each of these therapies are one hour.

Wondering how I feel? Mixed. The logical, positive side of me thinks - "Great! Help is always good. This is not a big deal! He's going to thrive and be even better in the long run for all of this." The irrational, emotional side of me thinks - "Great. I screwed up. I failed him somehow along the way." I have often thought that I am responsible for Brian's delays - and let me explain why.

First let me say, I'm not feeling sorry for myself or looking for anyone to write to say "You're great - don't blame yourself - you're a good Mom". I'm not seeking affirmation. When Brian was born, we were used to a child that needed us 24/7...and still does. We need to do everything for Gavin so it became natural to also do everything for Brian! We carried Gavin up the stairs - we carried Brian up the stairs. When truthfully, he could have been climbing up on his own long ago. I could go on and on with examples, but I'm sure you get my point. I did more for Brian than I probably had to - and kept him from developing independently. Even down to feeding himself. Plus, his peer model has been Gavin - a brother who is developmentally and physically delayed. It's no surprise to me that Brian walked late...and will talk late. It makes me so sad that we're "here" in this place - that we'll now add two more hours a week somewhere among all of Gavin's therapy - that I'll feel extra pressure to also add social activities for Brian somewhere in that schedule. I'm still processing all of this. It's a lot. They also suggested that I get Brian's hearing checked. We've never had a reason to think he had a hearing problem - but when child has a speech delay, it's something they recommend. I'll be setting that up as soon as possible.


Right after the evaluation, Brian and I ran away to my parent's house. I promised my Mom I'd help her sell her bedroom set so I ran over to take some photos of everything. I also needed comfort...which I always find there. Plus, I wanted to treat Brian to some Mommy and me time. Okay, it was really my treat.

Brian adores his Granny...
...and he loves his Pop, too!
We even got to see my Uncle Frank who lives right across the street! He and Brian had a fun time playing in the yard. Uncle Frank is like the Pied Piper to all of his grand-nieces and nephews.

Let's end this with something fun. Brian's new BIG BOY ROOM!!!! Last night my friend, Drew, came over to help Ed assemble Brian's new bed. Here is a tour of his new room!

The plan is to keep the crib in there and slowly transition him to the bed...starting with daytime naps.
I haven't chosen a bedding set yet and am open to any links or suggestions that the experienced shoppers out there want to send me.
Brian and I have already started laying on his bed to read books and giggle. He can climb up very easily.
The tall dresser will be bolted to the wall and Brian helped me load all of his clothes neatly in the drawers this morning.
And the night table will remain in the empty (for now) nursery next door until the crib moves out. It was a little too crowded for it now.
Brian was so happy as we were setting up the room last night. He kept hugging and kissing me randomly and was giggling all night.

This child may not be an expert communicator right now...but he sure can communicate love straight to my heart. I am so in love with this child. Both of my children.

I can't believe they are mine. And I know...I just know...that they will BOTH be fine.


  1. Lots of kids--especially boys--have speech delays. Xander did! When he was 27 months he had his 1 year re-evaluation and was too shy to say anything so he was evaluated at a lower level than he actually was. If Brian's not talking, obviously it's hard to get an accurate assessment of his cognitive level. I'm sure someday soon he'll have a breakthrough--which for Xander didn't come till just after he turned 3--and be a regular chatterbug!

  2. zealand failed cognitive too along with verbal. I think boys mostly use blocks as blocks and spoons as spoons! Men are very literal & not very chatty. Ears is an issue for Z, so now that he does talk we don't always understand him (he sounds like he is deaf)
    my cousin who is a pathologist says to just "talk talk talk" mommy is cooking lunch. Mommy is stirring meat in this pot whilei wait for the water to boil to make rice. Mommy is pouring vodka over ice and will mix it with bloody mary! It helped & my mouth was tired from talking. He still goes to speech but is progressing & maybe brian will enjoy his own therapy! He might think "why does gavin get all the ladies knocking on the door for him?" ;) call or email me if you wanna chat!

  3. Kate, please don't take me wrong, i am sure you have heard this, and i know you have your reasons not to do it, but maybe Brian would benefit from going to day care, even if it is for couple of hours a week. I have seen in other kids how day care does have a positive impact in their speech. Just a thought.

  4. I'm in agreement with the other anonymous poster. I think daycare- well really preschool- would be a great help for Brain's speech development. And since he'll still be 2 at the start of the school year, you could start him out only 2 or 3 mornings a week. My son was slow to talk as well (and an only child, i.e. no typical peers model, much like Brian) and improved his language skills by leaps and bounds with the simple exposure to other children a few days a week when he started preschool. Best of luck!

  5. Kate,
    I share your feeling that I failed my second child. She is 20 months old and has three words, barely recognizes her own body parts, etc.
    We had her evaluated at 18 months and were told to wait and have her evaluated again at 24 if she hasn't caught up. The difference in this situation is that her older sister has always been on the early end of every curve. Emily has the vocabulary of a ten year old, at three- she is expected to clean up after herself, and to understand how to behave in situations that are so far beyond the realm of a standard three year old that I occasionally check myself and realize that i just asked a three year old to accept a situation I find stressful! So, I blame myself every time my younger daughter struggles to make herself understood- or worse- doesn't bother. Grunts, screams and flails. Because, obviously, if I had spent more time teaching to her level, rather than to the older child, she would have said her first word before she was 15 months old, right?
    Or, maybe we need to stop blaming ourselves. Understand that our kids are different people with different needs and that no matter how many flash cards we hold up, they won't do what they can't, until they can. And we are the best mommies ever, because we are THEIR mommies, and we are doing the very best we can.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...