I’m a parent so familiar with speech and language therapy that I expected the next post I write on the subject to be an update on Chase and his VOCA (or as I explain to most people, his computer that allows him to talk a bit like Stephen Hawkin’s used to use – but with an upgraded voice). Instead I’m writing this post because I’m about to start the speech and language journey again but this time with my youngest daughter, Harper.
I noticed early on that Harper was quieter and less vocal than her older sister Brooke had been at the same age. Brooke was also very slightly speech delayed and a possibility of referral was discussed when she started nursery but it was so mild that after a phone consultation it was decided that it was completely unnecessary.
The 2 year check
At Harper’s 2 year health check the scores for both physical movement and speech were on the low side. Physical development delay I was expecting because of Harper’s several months of treatment for hip dysplasia, but I wasn’t aware of just how low she scored on her speech and language.
From our two year check we were told that we wouldn’t be signed off and the health visitor would check Harper’s progress in a few months time
The Health Visitor Check
This brings us up to a few weeks ago when Harper had her health visitor check. We’re so lucky to have had a lovely health visitor for Harper who played with her and carried out a development questionnaire at the appointment at home. It was clear that Harper needed to be referred on to speech and language to ensure there is nothing underling to cause her delay in speech and language
My Feelings as a parent
If i’m honest I’ve found it frustrating that I’m having to start the speech and language journey again with another child, however because of my previous experience in dealing with a severe speech and language problem I’m sure that I will cope well with the challenges it presents. I can tell that Harper gets frustrated sometimes at not being able to clearly put across her message. I’ve tried using picture books and sign language as tools to help her communicate but at times she struggles with these too. The positives I have found with Harper though are that her comprehension skills are much better than her spoken ability. This makes me feel a lot more relaxed about the whole situation.
My Own Action Plan
My plan moving forward whilst I await our full assessment from the speech and language team is to just model and simplify my own language around Harper and try and increase the number of books I read with her. I’ve wondered if because her older sister Brooke talks non stop that Harper has never felt the need to use her voice as much as Brooke is doing the talking for her. Now that Brooke has recently started school this gives me the ideal chance to encourage Harper to find her own voice and use it.
I’ll be updating the blog as our speech and language journey continues. I’d love to hear your own speech and language stories about your own children in the comments below.