Monday, January 21, 2008

More Than Words

For the past seven months, Adam has been receiving speech therapy every Wednesday morning in our home. In June he could say about five words and made no attempts to learn or say anything else. "Uh, uh, uh" while quickly signing an array of signs was the way he communicated with us. We got good at figuring out his needs, but we had no other clue what was going on in his head, no idea what he thought about day in and day out because for the most part he was silent.

When the pediatrician suggested the early intervention program at his two year appointment, I smiled politely and buried the number deep in a pocket in my purse. I put off calling for months because I was busy dealing with Jacob's issues, I was busy being pregnant, I was busy birthing a baby, and then I was busy dealing with a newborn. In my mind Adam would start speaking any day and it would all be a waste of time so why bother so I was a little put out when the husband came home one afternoon and let me know that he had arranged for someone to come in and evaluate my speechless baby. I didn't want strange people in my home judging my child, judging me. My kid would speak when he was ready dammit!

But three weeks later, he still wasn't speaking.

So the strange people came.

Four women showed up at my door with toys and cards and tests out the wazoo. In that time Adam said only one word: sissy. So with that, they arranged for another strange lady to come work with him once a week. I wasn't completely thrilled with that, mostly because it meant I would have make sure the toys were picked up and the floors were clean every Tuesday night. I just had a baby for cripes sake! When was I going to mop the floor?

So Miss Janet started coming the next week. I guess I really didn't want to like her because that would mean I had to agree my son had a problem. I guess I didn't want her to teach him to talk because then that would mean I had failed in doing it myself. I had just had a baby, remember? I was pretty hormonal. On her first day here, she just played with Adam. He would bring toys and she would talk, talk, talk about them and for an hour they just played. Shoot, I could do that. What the hell was he supposed to be learning with her anyway? But you know what? He said write and car and go that day and continued saying those words well after she had left. In one hour he'd pretty much doubled his expressive vocabulary. You can't argue with those odds. Every week was pretty much the same thing. Adam and Miss Janet would play, play, play and talk, talk, talk with sometimes some flashcards, books and games thrown in here and there. Every week he would say some new words and I would write them in the baby book until one day I could no longer keep up. Miss Janet was succeeding in teaching my baby to talk.

Seven months later, Adam can talk.

In fact he talks so well now he does not qualify for speech services through the school system. No more speech for Adam.

Now, Adam loves Miss Janet. He just knows when it's Wednesday. He knows when it's time for her to pull up in the driveway. He likes to watch for her at the window and then run and hide from her when she comes in the door. Yes, Wednesday morning speech helped my child to communicate, but more than that, Wednesday morning was Adam time. Poor middle child had one whole hour every week of complete and undivided attention. As much as he got from the "therapy" I think he got tenfold in the attention. Miss Janet really helped bridge that gap from baby to brother for Adam.

Today was Miss Janet's last day. He ages out of the early intervention on Wednesday when he turns three. She came on Monday since she can't on Wednesday. She came on her day off to play, play, play and talk, talk, talk with my smart little dude one last time. When Miss Janet left on her first day, Adam said "uh, uh, go" to her. Today he said, "Miss you, Janet. Love you, Janet. Bye" and I know she was proud as she drove away.

Because of Janet, my son sat with me and told me he was sad and mad and didn't want to be three because three meant no more Janet. Because of Janet, I now know what my son is thinking and feeling. He's no longer silent.

We will miss Miss Janet.....even if she did go to Pitt.


Sadie said...

Early Intervention is a wonderful thing!

I'm so glad it was so completely successful for you!! I'm emailing you now...I'd love for you to guest post on my blog about your success with EI!!

Sadie said...

Okay, I'm blind or stupid and can't find your email *giggle* Email me sadiecass(at)gmail(dot)com if you're interested!!

kelly jeanie said...

That's so sweet! I'm so glad Adam is talking so well now. Wow, 3, I can't believe it.

Colleen said...

Oh, I'm all teary-eyed now. So wonderful that the speech therapy was a success... and so sad that you will all miss Miss. Janet!

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

That was such a wonderful post. I hope you share it with Janet!

In all honesty, it made me really sad, though, to read about your successes. I have a nephew who is clearly in need of early intervention and his parents are still living along the River De Nile. He's going to be four soon and I can't help but feel every day is precious to getting him on track. Little guy needs a Janet of his own.

Elizabeth said...

WOW! Powerful post, hats off to you for allowing Janet into your lives, to Adam for working so hard and to Janet for loving her job and Adam enough to come on her day off.

Congrats to all of you :)

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

What a great ode to my favorite profession!

That is great news that Adam is talking!!!

Michelle said...

We felt like that with Kayla's PT the most (although she also had an OT and ST) ... her PT just made such an impression and connection with all of us. It was hard when she aged out of EI too and we didn't see her anymore (and then she had the nerve to move anyway!)

So glad to hear it was a wonderful experience for him w/this ST and that he's doing so well with his speech now!

BethGo said...

*SIGH* I know just how you feel.
Riley will also have to say goodbye to his beloved Teacher Laurie in May when he turns three and ages out of Early Intervention. And they have been together since he was nine months old.
I get teary just thinking about it.
It is so hard to say goodbye.

Becky said...

My big son did several years in EI, both ST and OT. It did amazing wonders for us all. Like you, I figured he would talk when he was ready (as talking endlessly seems to be no problems for his mother), and he never did. Not until EI began. It was like a switch in his brain flipped to the 'On' position and never turned itself back off.

I'm glad that your little guy had the same awesome results.

Sadie said...

What a great post! I'm so glad for you that it was so successful, and sad that Janet has to go away now.

But I laughed out loud at that last line.

OneHungMan said...

Congrats to the little boy. YoungHung is still in speach. He has his good days and he has his bad days. While he has shown marked improvement, he's very stubborn and quite lazy with words...OneHung doesn't expect he'll ever talk like other kids (though when he said "Goddammit" last night it was perfectly clear and totally in context with the situation).

Lynsey said...

*sniff sniff* such a great post! You know, I meant to comment on the post regarding his birthday, when you mentioned he said "No Diego cake, Shrek cake." Awhile after I read that I thought, wow- he must be saying lots of words now! Hooray for Adam!

Nikki said...

This was just what I needed to read tonight as our state's version of EI people are coming to our home next week and I'm in that first stage you mentioned - feeling guilty that I must be doing something wrong if he's not speaking as many words as he should right now. So thanks for giving me hope :)

SydneyDawn said...

I'm glad your little one can tell you what he's thinking and feeling now, and I'm glad there are people in the world like Miss Janet.