The other day I was going through my draft posts (of which I have nearly 30, many of which I never got round to, some of which just weren’t very good!) and I found a small piece I wrote back in December 2014.
Oscar was referred for speech and language therapy in May 2014. We had our preliminary meeting with his paediatrician in September and in December I was asked to attend a Parent Empowerment Class by the SALT department. Anyone who’s been referred to SALT will have been sent on one of these. It’s a rather clumsy and slightly patronising way of weeding out the neurotic parents. Even the speech therapists I met on the day apologised and said due to Oscar’s ongoing Autism investigations, I really shouldn’t have had to attend. It was bloody awful and while I was waiting to be seen at the end of the ‘class’ I wrote this:
So after waiting what feels like a millennia I finally got some movement on the speech therapy front. Only the system where we live includes a trip, without my boy, to a local children’s centre to sit in a room with 20 other parents, to listen to how children’s speech should be developing.
Because as a concerned parent I haven’t already been looking at this for nearly a year already?
We were ‘invited’ to tell the room what our concerns with our children were and while I would never put any parents concerns down “can’t say their S’s at the age of three” was the most popular problem. Well woopeee. You poor, poor dears. How awwwwwful for you? How will Tarquin say ‘Santa’ this Christmas? Can you tell I am pissed off I have to be here at all? My boy has issues way beyond the ‘normal’ (bleugh) development. He still has no single word for me. And while the nouns are coming up (last week he completely unprompted identified a ‘box’ a ‘bag’ and ‘eyes’) they don’t always hang around and they don’t really get ‘used’. His main communication still remains grunting, gesturing and lately, squealing. So frickin loudly!!!
Can you tell I’m tired. I’m so very very tired. I started to well up when I had to listen to the other parents. I’d pay money for Oscar’s only speech issue to be mispronunciation. But it’s not.
Someone asked the other day in Twitter what everyone wanted for Christmas. I answered the only gift I really wanted was for O to call me mama. Consistently. Or if we’re wishing for stuff, for him to say I love you.
Merry Christmas and all that.
Reading this made me so sad. Remembering how awful (and angry) I felt on that day also made me sad. So much frustration and fear and confusion. And yet….
Just over a year on, Oscar’s speech is coming. His communication is 100 times better and his use of language, while still not perfect, is 1000 times better than it was then. He DOES call me mummy (or Mum. Either way my heart bursts every time I hear it!). And recently I taught him the words I LOVE YOU. We’re yet to get a completely spontaneous ‘I love you’, but it’s coming. I know it is.
Maybe the past year has taught me a little more patience, maybe my expectations have changed now we are more aware of how things work for him, or maybe I’m just so in awe of the progress he has made (and have faith that he will continue to make), that I just don’t feel that same frustration or sadness about his speech delay any more. We celebrate every language achievement, whether it hangs around or not (and things are much more likely to than not these days) and focus much less on the words he doesn’t use.
Sometimes I want to go back and put my arm around that scared mama’s shoulders. I want to tell her it’s going to be OK and that help is on the way.
Largely in the shape of a little boy, who will soon call her ‘mummy’.