Thursday, July 28, 2016

Please Stop Over-Using Programs That You Don't Need

My son, Joshua, will be 3 in June. He is mostly non-verbal. Yet he is now without speech therapy.

"Speech Issues" seem to be the "in" thing for kids to have nowadays. When Isaac and Brianna were little, I knew of, like 2 kids that had speech issues. Since Olivia and Joshua, it seems more kids have speech issues than don't.

Sadly, this is more a matter of little Suzy only says 40 words when she should be saying 50 by x age. Or little Johnny wasn't quoting Shakespeare by 2 1/2. My friends kids were referred to speech simply because they're twins that were born 3 weeks early. They were referred FROM BIRTH. They have no speech issues. Yet they took up space (two spaces actually) in the system, simply because it was assumed that they'd have issues.

Then there's a kid like Joshua. Completely normal birth circumstances. Normal development everywhere but speech. By 12 mths, he had 2 words. By 18 mths he had zero. By 24 mths he had zero. By 2.5 yrs he had 5 words (that were few and far in between).

Joshua had a speech assessment last September. It was seen that he clearly needed help. In October, Lee and I were informed that we would have to take a multi week class (to teach us how to teach him) THEN they would assess Joshua again to see if he needed individual help. The class taught us nothing that we weren't already doing with all of our kids, let alone Joshua.

In January he had another speech assessment. Clearly, he needed individual help. The worker told us that he wasn't in the group that was due to start the following month, but in the group that was due to start in May/June. However, because he would be turning 3 in June and only had 5 noises that counted as words, she would try to push him into the Feb/March group. Thankfully she succeeded.

Between the end of Feb and the beginning of April, Joshua had 7 weekly speech therapy appointments. He loved them. Sassy, his therapist was very patient with him and we got lots of new sounds out of him. We even got 2 new words! He was clearly thriving.

April 7th was our last session. We have no services until at least August when they will book an appointment for another assessment. Since we know he'll need more therapy the assessment seems like a waste of time. After the assessment, we'll be lucky to re-start therapy in October.

Our speech therapist told us that the delay was completely due to the amount of kids in their system.

Don't get me wrong! Joshua is not the only kid with speech issues. Plenty of kids DO have real speech issues. But well more than half of the kids in my town's speech system are like little Suzy above (only 40 words when she "should" have 50).

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