Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Nathan's new specialist: speech therapist

I am still amazed at all I have been through with my little guy Nathan in just 20 short months. Since his birth, he has been seeing doctors at 4 different offices on a regular basis (this includes his pediatrician.) Now we get to add a fifth to the list: speech therapy.

When his ear tubes mysteriously fell out sometime around the beginning of this year, his ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor recommended he begin speech therapy as soon as possible. In fact, she wondered why he hadn't been receiving it all this time. I told her he was seeing one as part of the craniofacial team, but all she did was make sure he was drinking correctly from the bottle, and listened for sounds he was making as a baby. Because the visits were not regular, (only every 4 months) it was not really speech therapy. So we took our ENT's advice and put in the request.

His evaluation about 6 weeks ago went very well. They said he would qualify because he needs help pronouncing certain sounds correctly, and help feeding out of a cup. I was told he would need to come twice a week for therapy. And this completely overwhelmed me. I was already about to begin 9 hours a week of therapy after school for Julianna, and Nathan already had someone coming here once a week for his early start help, and not to mention all the other appointments that fill up each month for Nathan that involve driving about 30 minutes one way (we average 2-3 visits). This therapy office is another 30 minutes in the opposite direction. Could I really add in another doctor at this point?

But then I started to think about how much he would benefit from this therapy, almost more than any other thing he's doing. He would be getting regular help from a professional, and I was also interested to see how they did speech therapy. Julianna has received it in school since she was 3, and I've never really sat in a therapy session more than once or twice, so I don't know much about it. I knew that in the long run, the drive and sacrifice of time (and most likely his naps) would be worth it.

So our Utah trip delayed his therapy a bit, and finally we went for the first time yesterday, the 5th. This therapist was so animated and fun, and had him sit in a high chair, and showed him some toys, and really engaged him in his speech. I would say he learned to imitate at least 3 words in just one half hour. She would hold his mouth at certain times to help him use his lips to pronounce certain words appropriately, and she started training him on the Avent 360 sippy cup. As I watched my little boy engage with this complete stranger, I suddenly felt tears come to my eyes, thinking about how far we had come already, and that this new little journey for him would be so beneficial to him. I felt overcome with gratitude, thinking about how much I have been guided in getting him the right help since his birth, and how overwhelmingly helpful every single doctor has been so far. What would I do without these amazing people who care so much about my own child and will work hard to improve his quality of life.

This all may sound silly to say, considering he's not even 2 yet! But sitting there in that little therapy room really gave me a chance to reflect, and to realize how blessed I am with Nathan. He is doing so well, and he has the cutest personality and smile, and I just know he will go so far in life despite his little birth defect and chromosome duplication. The more doctors, the better, at this point! Yes, it's tiring and stressful to be going here and there all the time, but Nathan is worth it! I would do anything and go anywhere to help him achieve his potential. We're going to get there, one little step at a time.

1 comment:

  1. I had those same feelings as I sat with Ryan watching him get speech for the first few times.