Imparting Hope (guest post)

It is Better Hearing & Speech Month and I have invited parents to tell about their experiences with speech-language therapy.  I am excited to get to share these guest posts with you throughout the month!  The goal is to raise public awareness and educate about what all "speech therapy" can mean (it is such a diverse field)! Today, I am thrilled to share with you a guest post written by a mom to a 5-year-old.  Here is her story:



I still have a list on my phone of my son's words as of September 2013 when he was 2 years old.  We had been working with a speech therapist for 6 months and were laboring away at building his basic vocab and the elusive 'two-word phrases' most kids his age seemed to come to easily.  Ball, book, more, mama, eyes, bird, baby...  and then finally 'all done' and 'love you'.  I remember sitting with my wife at the end of the day and counting the words, deciding whether or not 'da' counted or not as 'that' and how regularly we needed to hear a word to add it to the list.  I remember wondering if he would ever catch up to his peers and wondered how worried I should be about my little boy.

Looking back on the last 4 years I don't know where my family would be without the support and guidance of all the wonderful speech therapists we've worked with.  The early interventionists who patiently played games with our son to encourage his speech, the school-based SLPs [speech-language pathologists] who sit with him and help coach him to use speech [and language] to invite others to play, and the private speech therapists (Casey!) who have taken the abstract task of 'having conversations' and broken it down into achievable tasks.

While I appreciate what all our SLPs have provided in terms of hands-on instruction with my son- what I appreciate most is the optimism and hope they've imparted to me as a parent.  I have cried many times with many SLPs- after comparing my son to his peers, worrying that he can't tell me when and where he hurts, frustrated that he can't tell me about his day at school- and every SLP has sat with me and understood my fears- but let me know he would be ok.  And he is ok- and has more and more speech [language] all the time.  At a friend's house the other day he told a little boy that he stayed at a hotel in Disneyland and then asked his friend, "Did you ever stay in a hotel?"  It was a long wait to get to that back-and-forth conversation goal- but it happened.  And I know the SLPs in our lives will celebrate that success right along with us.


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