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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Speech Delay

When Oliver was two it was noted at his Health  Visitor check up that he had delayed speech.  He was offered “group speech therapy,” which is run by Speech Therapy Assistants and had some quirky name which I can’t for the life of me remember!

From the word go he hated it. First of all, the therapy took place in the same building as his nursery, which caused him mass confusion. Secondly, the sessions were set out with small activities around the room focussing on a particular subject each week.  The children were directed to an activity and after 5 minutes were asked to leave that activity and move on to the next.  This did not go down well.  This meant that once Oliver was immersed in an activity, he didn’t want to move on! He was having fun! Why were these people stopping him from playing!? This of course lead to an emotional breakdown which lasted approximately 5 minutes and meant that he then didn’t have time to partake in the next activity as he’d spent the whole time crying.  For me the sessions were exhausting and I spent most of the time trying to coax Oliver out from under a table, whilst other parents looked on disapprovingly. 

More disapproving looks were on their way when other children realised that they could actually refuse to partake in activities too!  On the final session we ever went to Oliver lead a spectacular revolt, which resulted in all the children standing by the window alongside him and point blank refusing to join in with anything.  He may have a speech delay but that boys got some serious leadership skills!!!

We never attended again.  It was decided that Oliver was “uncooperative” and would benefit more from 1:1 with a qualified Speech Therapist.   Whilst awaiting this appointment I discovered that Oliver actually had tongue tie.  I had never been aware of this due to Oliver breastfeeding well for 2 years with no issues.  It was only one day when he opened his mouth and I could visually see a definite tongue tie that I realised this could be the issue with his speech.  I raised this with the speech therapist who did not even look in his mouth and stated that “no, this was not the reason for Oliver’s speech delay”.  Oliver just needed time to develop and he would be monitored in a few months to check for progress.

A few months passed and surprise surprise....he still had delayed speech. 

We were then passed to another therapist.  So far the conclusions have changed month by month. Firstly, Oliver’s speech delay was a cognitive impairment.  He could not process where certain sounds were supposed to go within certain words. Next, the tongue tie was addressed.  This would be examined by a “specialist” to see if Oliver could be referred to have minor surgery to have the tongue tie cut. We’re still waiting.

Before seeing the specialist another month passed and we had another speech therapy session and currently the conclusion has been changed again.  Its not the tongue tie causing the problem, it’s the fact that Oliver has a very short attention span. We’ve been backwards and forward that many times that to be quite frank; my own attention span is starting to shorten by the minute.

So we’ve been given a list of activities to do with Oliver to increase his attention span, and they are working. But where do we go from here? 2 years have passed. We’re supposed to place our trust in professionals but sometimes you’ve just got to accept the fact that children are extraordinary creatures. They can’t be moulded in to shapes they don’t want to be in. Or is that just mine? Oliver is the most stubborn, strong willed, spirited little person I have ever come across.  But at the same time he is funny, kind, empathetic, imaginative, and just an altogether awesome guy!

I guess it will take time, and time is what I will give him. In the meantime let’s hope his speech develops before someone will finally listen to a Mothers instinct and investigate the tongue tie issue, hopefully before his 18th birthday!!....

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