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Milestones.

As parents we expect them. We wait for them. We talk about them. We obsess about them, and then without even realising we compare them too.

Oh my child is crawling.

My child is walking.

My child is talking.

My child........and the list goes on.

We're all guilty of it. That chance to brag about our child's achievements. Who can blame us, that pride has got to burst out of somewhere, right?!

But what about when they don't hit a particular milestone? What then?

For us with Caleb that has been speech. From the youngest age Caleb has talked in his own language, wonderful big stories, facial expressions and hand gestures galore. Everyone told us, he'll be an early talker.

Quite the opposite in fact.

His own personal language remains with just a handful of actual words thrown in. What has grown and developed (thankfully) is his understanding of language. That eased our initial worry massively, but as we passed the two and half year old stage I knew we wanted to seek outside help. Thanks to our lovely Health Visitor we were referred to a Speech Therapist. We were told we should expect to wait up to two months for an appointment but received an appointment pretty much straight away.

I was intrigued and nervous about the appointment. I was eager to hear if there was anything we could be doing to help Caleb, but I also had that niggling feeling of guilt. Is it down to us that Caleb's speech is delayed? Could we have been doing more?

At the appointment I was met with zero judgement, our Speech Therapist listened as I brought her up to speed, and then she sent us away with a rather simple method. She recommended that we allow Caleb to choose an activity every day and for us to play with him for about 10 minutes (anymore and they may tire of it), and whilst we do so we are to narrate the play.

At first I thought, well we do that already.

What we do, however, is make a very common mistake that most parents make that have a child with delayed speech, and that is overloading Caleb with language as we play. Instead we should only narrate the play at the level at which Caleb is speaking. So for us that is only one to two words. This is something we absolutely have not been doing, we did in the early days when Caleb was much younger, but as his understanding of language has grown, and his speech didn't in our panic we've thought we should talking more. All this is doing is overwhelming Caleb, and not giving him the chance to pick up on new words for himself.

So here we are, at the start of our journey. One that may be long and equally may not. Only time will tell, but I'm so pleased we are heading in the right direction.

Anyone else who finds themselves in our shoes, don't beat yourself up, and absolutely don't be afraid to ask for help. Every child is different and will hit their own personal milestones when they are ready, and with some of those milestones they may just need a little help.

You can totally remind me about this post when I complain that Caleb never shuts up ;)

6 comments

  1. So proud of you mama! You really do have the best perspective. It is so refreshing and your family is lucky to have you!

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    1. Oh thank you so much, lovely. We're already seeing improvements, it's so great to see. So proud of Caleb xx

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  2. Great that you've got a supportive (and quickly accessible) speech therapist. N did talk but not clearly, and we were referred because of diagnosis of tongue tie at 2.5 yo. That was the June and we didn't see a therapist until January...luckily and typically, straight after we were referred he gained confidence and his clarity and conversations increased

    I think speech therapists do a great job. They can really help build the parents' confidence as well as helping the child. I think everyone probably feels the same as you, wondering if it was something you did or didn't do.

    Hopefully he'll get on brilliantly, and it'll all of a sudden click,

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    1. Thank you, Emma. It is so good to hear of other people's experience with delayed speech. I was shocked to have the appointment come through so quick, and feel incredibly lucky. Thank you for your well wishes and I hope to continue to document the journey here xx

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  3. Congratulations sweet mommy! You guys are doing everything perfect!! Never doubt that for a minute. I remember reading a statement when I was expecting...when you are pregnant you pray for and pray for an normal healthy child....but once the baby is born normal is never enough....everyone gets caught up in the ....mine is doing this....comparison....but when you take a step back u realize the true magic that our precious little ones come equipped with....the magic that each have their own unique gifts. Your sweet Caleb has sooo many gifts....and the speech will follow in it's own time...which I'm sure will be very soon! You are so right....once that starts flowing he will have so many stories to share! Until then.....enjoy and relish language as he knows it. I am sure these little angels know more then we will ever know! :) -Julie-

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    1. Julie!!!! I just adore your words of wisdom. You're a true pleasure to have around here. Thank you so much, and I'll keep you posted how we get on with our speech therapy xx

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