When my son, Jaxon (JJ) was around two years old, I noticed that he wasn’t speaking like his sister was at that age. Everyone told me that it’s normal for boys who are usually a little behind or lazy and that he’d pick it up over time. I believed it plus Izzy picked up her speech quite early. But I saw no improvements with JJ over the next year or so. When other kids his age were articulating words properly, he wasn’t. He couldn’t. He couldn’t sound A LOT of things out. He found it hard to understand what people were saying but what was worse is that most people couldn’t understand a word he was saying either. As a mother, it was hard for me to see him struggle. To see your kid fall behind, it’s heartbreaking. He’d become frustrated and often break down in tears because he couldn’t understand why nobody was listening to him. We were listening to him, we just couldn’t make out a lot of what he was saying. With me being his mum, I understood him the most and often translated when people would give him a confused stare but even I struggled.
I started to look into Speech Therapy. I Googled all the best ones in Orlando that took his insurance, but wanted somewhere where everyone was speaking good English. So I become quite picky. If I’d call and the person on the phone didn’t speak properly, I wasn’t interested. Why would I send him to somewhere where they couldn’t even speak well themselves? Nah! I was that determined to find him the best one possible. And I did. We chose Orlando Speech. A good 31 miles from my house but to me it was worth it. Especially when we met his therapist Kelsey, who is not only a really lovely and bubbly person, but is also patient and kind. They hit it off right away and formed such a good bond. Not only was Kelsey a lovely person, but every member of staff there is pleasant, polite and fun to talk to. I didn’t need to look any further. This was the place.
After his first evaluation, she let me know where he would need help and what they’d be doing each week. I’ve been taking him twice a week for over a year now and still after every session, she lets me know what they did and what words to work on each week. Maybe you’re wondering why I don’t go in to the sessions with him? It’s simply because kids concentrate better without their parents hovering. So every week I sit in the waiting room for an hour and each week he comes bounding out of the door to show me what work sheet he’s been doing or what creation he’s made this time and then to let me know what new words he’d learned to say or what sounds he’d learned. He never comes out feeling bored or overwhelmed or moody. Every single session is enjoyable for him and then the next day he’s up and ready for his second session. He’s always excited to go to speech.
Going from seeing him unable to articulate and sound out so many letters and words, to getting it right first time, is unbelievable. I can understand 99% of what he’s saying now. Even if he makes a slight mistake, he knows when to correct himself which is amazing. We never have that frustration anymore where we can’t communicate. In fact, since starting speech therapy he’s become the most talkative little child ever. It’s a good thing but also bloody exhausting haha. I’ll take it though. I’ve seen such a huge change. He’s tried his absolute best but not only is he due some praise, his therapist is as well. She’s clearly amazing at what she does. At first I thought to myself “Is this ever going to work?”. Being with your child all the time, sometimes you might not notice the change right away so you’re left wondering if the therapy sessions will even work but they really do. I’m amazed.
Anyway, today he had one of his final evaluations. They came out at the end of the session and Kelsey, his therapist told me that he was caught up and on the right level for children his age and that we can now cut down our sessions to once a week. She then told me that he’s nearly finished and by the time summer is over and he starts school, he will be ready to stop sessions. I felt happy but then really sad we wouldn’t be seeing her anymore. But oh my god how amazing is that? He’s done it. He’s got to where he needs to be.
Now all we need to do is get his hearing sorted, because it isn’t the best. He’s had a few issues with his ears during his toddler years but next week he’s seeing a specialist. Then the next step is school. OH MY GOD!
I know a lot of kids have speech therapy, so in reality it might not be that big of a deal but it is to me. To see my kid go from being pretty damn far behind to catching up so fast and so willingly too, it makes me feel mighty proud. Like tight chest, trying not to cry like a baby proud. I went to my car and cried my eyes out. I’m teary eyed now. I’m such an emotional mess when it comes to that kid. I just want to scream about how proud I am of him. I can’t express it enough.I want all my kids to get the best and do their best and to know that I don’t have to worry about him as much anymore, it’s a huge relief. I love that little human more than anything.
If your child is showing signs of speech delay and you’re worried about it, take them to a speech therapist. It’s so worth it and if you’re in the US, insurance will cover it. There’s also stuff you can do with them at home. Index cards, reading every night before bed, less time on the tablet (it causes speech delays), practicing articulation at home, speaking to them more. There’s so much you can do to help them. I’m glad I looked into it. I’m glad I took him and I also appreciate other family members speaking up when they noticed something wasn’t quite right. We are almost there now. He has 3 months left. Proud, proud, proud, proud, proud! Can’t say it enough!!!
I’m going to go now because I’m that mum that cries over everything good their kid does… Yep.
Thanks for reading.