The Art of Speaking

Last weekend I went out with my gal-pal for a quiet
dinner and drinks date. She is a mommy of a busy 2 and half year old boy. Like
all mommies we started talking about our kids and she mentioned how her Baby O has been diagnosed with speech delay and started the Early Intervention Program.

The whole episode set me thinking about how common speech delay has become, particularly in boys. We are a bunch of 4 girls who hang out together and 3 of us have kids with speech delay. I know few other kids around who have it and all of them are boys. I am not sure if there is a reason why this has become so common. Life is changing, lifestyles are changing, and there might be something which is causing this. All of the moms I have mentioned above (Except Baby O’s mom and me) are SAHM and they are extremely hands on with their kids. The kind of effort these girls put in to make their kids talk is enormous. These kids
spend time at playschools interacting with other kids and they get a lot of attention from the teachers. All of them have been enrolled in the Early Intervention program.

Whatever be the reason, it is extremely tough for a parent to deal with such situations. All kids in Bumbum and Junior’s class talk and have big stories to tell! I know that we should never compare two kids, but then when their frineds run up to me telling me what my boys did during the day at school  and my boys can just manage to tell me parts of the happening, it IS difficult for
me to think rationally. That being said; my boys are really trying extremely hard. For the tiny 3 year olds the efforts that I see them put in is enormous. They went through a rigorous early intervention program at home and school. They had DI, Speech and Occupational Therapy for almost a year. I see the fruits of it now. Bumbum won’t stop until he has made one correct sentence to explain whatever he wants to tell me. Just a couple of months back he barely had 50 words. When I work with him
he completely cooperates. He wants to learn and that is my biggest strength.

There are days when I get tired and I give up; then I hear them try and tell stories in their own little way. Just the other day he told me the story of Goldilocks. He told me that there are bears.. count .. one bear, two bear, three bear, mama bear.. baby bear… They walk ..Goddilucks enter… hot soup foo foo (like we blow into hot food 🙂 ).. chair breaks .. Goldilocks sleepy sleepy … All this while his eyes danced, his fingers pointed and his hands spoke .. he told me the best story I have ever heard with his whole body and soul.

I guess the biggest thing to help children with delays or disabilities is to be consistent, to get as much information and help as you can from the experts. In the US there is the option of getting the Early Intervention Program. Lot of
Indians attach a stigma to it, I would really encourage everyone to avail as much help as they can get. And while the therapists do their thing with the kids, the most important thing for any parent is to be on top of things. Our initial
experience with EI was not that great and the therapist spent a lot of time doing useless stuff or chatting with me. It took me time to realize what was going on and then I was not sure what I should be doing. I had no one to refer
or ask. But then I decided to speak up and I realized that how co-operative the administration can be. We got a change of team and I could have never asked for a better set of people. They worked hard training the boys and us on what should be done, and we saw results slowly. The improvement was very gradual. The boys are quite vocal now with their- “I need”-s and “I want”-s. They
speak only in English though. We can live with that 🙂

Like I keep saying .. Slowly we are getting there …


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