With every question I had after every pre-therapy hoop, I was told I’d have to ask the speech therapist. Almost two full months after Sophia’s qualifying evaluation for speech therapy I finally got an appointment and then the day before it was to happen I received a cancellation call. The therapist was sick, but I didn’t care. I was pissed as hell all day. All the hoops, all the forms, prior evaluations, first time consultations with occupational therapists, meetings over expectations, all we really wanted was this one therapy.
We are sure that if we could just get Sophia talking many of our other frustrations would be minimized. It took two months to get the appointment despite having good, nay awesome insurance. They couldn’t just assign a different speech therapist to come to our home or have me go to the office though they say it’s not as effective. I don’t care. Just get me into the final phase of the system!
I received a call the following Monday, the day before we were to leave for a week for Christmas in Michigan, and was asked if we could meet in two hours. Absolutely! Every first time meeting is just a head-nod getting-to-know-you session and this one was no different. I wasn’t impressed and I don’t think she likes me much either.
I got the feeling that she didn’t see Sophia as a valid case since I was beaming over new words she picked up over the week in Hawaii. She seemed to forget that I signed up for this shit two months prior and at the time Sophia had less than twenty words. All through the therapy session, the tips and pointers she gave to helping Sophia to speak were pissing me off. “Use short, simple phrases,” “Add descriptive words to the words she says.” “Ask her questions.” “Give her choices.” I’m sure there are some people that completely ignore their child all day and then wonder why the child doesn’t speak. I’m not one of those. I didn’t give any acknowledgment to the therapists suggestions. Her tone wasn’t at all condescending but the fact that those were her main tips made it sound like anyone with a two year old who doesn’t speak must be an inept parent and fucking idiot. Either that or this therapy is a joke. Seriously, if better tricks don’t come out of the bag next time I’m going to forget about the speech part of Sophia’s therapy.
The therapist began to give examples of questions I should ask Sophia as if I couldn’t come up with them on my own. Actually, she was trying to explain how to make talking fun for Sophia. “Is this blue?” She asked Sophia holding up a red Tyco Super Block (big Legos for toddlers). I had just explained to her that Sophia was using signs from her Signing Time video that she didn’t seem to understand. Red, was one of the signs. I waited to give Sophia a chance to answer. Sophia moved on with whatever was going through her toddler head without any acknowledgment that a question was even asked of her.
That form of questioning really makes my ass twitch. I have no idea what I was really like at the age of two. I do have memories from that age, but I don’t know if I was talking or how much. I told the therapist that Sophia isn’t just a lot like me, she is mini-me. Several friends have commented that her attitudes are mine exactly. I know that Sophia is only two and may not actually know the answer to the question, but in continuing to give some background in how Sophia I think, I told the therapist that when I was little I always thought people that asked that type of question were stupid. With a touch of contempt in her voice she said, “Well some kids think it’s fun.” Clearly, I hit a nerve. She continued to tell me that she wouldn’t use that sort of question with say, a seven year old. In the specific memory I have of being asked such a question I wasn’t seven. I was four. I was just trying to give her some insight into our attitude, so bite me.
Sophia started throwing a ball around the room and the therapist said the word “ball” to her. Sophia then said ball for the first time. “Wow,” I said, “I guess I’ll be adding that one to the list.” I was informed by the therapist that, “the tend pick up words spontaneously like that after they’ve reached fifty words”. Indicating that my count must me off. Including the new word of the day, she only had 37 words at the time. I’m not counting the signs she picked up from her video because she really doesn’t seem to know what they mean. For her they all are ways to tell me she wants to watch the video again and that’s it.
Sophia got to be a bit of a pest with her ball. She kept saying, “ball” and started throwing a ball AT me. I asked her not to do that and she said, “dahp et” The therapist and I both laughed, “yes,” I said, “you need to stop it.”
I told the therapist of my attempts at getting Sophia to talk including the four months (between the ages of 18 and 22 months) I didn’t give her anything (aside from scheduled meals) unless she signed or asked for it. I wasn’t responding to finger pointing or grunts anymore if I knew she had a word or a sign for a particular want. In an almost snotty tone she asked, “and how did that go for you?” I really wanted to be a smart ass and ask her if it wasn’t obvious since there is a speech therapist standing in my house, but I refrained. I’m such a big girl…sometimes. I told her it resulted in a lot of tantrums and joked, “but I can be stubborn too.”
“Well you reap what you sow.” She told me. Seriously, what a bitch! I didn’t ask what she meant by that and she didn’t offer any explanation, but I didn’t take it as anything positive. I have another appointment with her next week. I’m fuckin’ overjoyed.