At Lil Helper we believe in supporting each other as we all navigate this parenting journey. Everyone’s journey looks different, and we all worry about our kids. We asked Lil Helper Ambassador, Jesse, to share her experience seeking support for her child in speech therapy. If you have concerns about your child, reach out to your trusted medical professional, and know you’re doing a great job looking after your little’s needs.
First Step to Speech Therapy: Realizing we needed help
My son was around 18 months old the first time someone suggested he was speech delayed. His cousins were seemingly speaking full sentences by his age, as were most of our friends children. As parents, we felt a mix of guilt and failure; had we failed to guide his early learning? Did we miss something important during his development and now he was struggling with communication because of it?
Many people assured us it was totally normal and the problem would work itself out over time. We were told boys take longer to talk, he was our first born, and that he may just be a quiet kid. Speech therapy seemed like an extreme, only for the kids who struggled the most. He was trying to communicate and used some simple words, it was easy to convince ourselves he didn’t need intervention. It became apparent, however, that he was becoming easily frustrated when he felt we didn’t understand him, and that broke our hearts and convinced us to take action.
Finding help was easier said than done. The pandemic was well under way when we started looking, and many of our local resources were calling back with a year long wait list or had closed entirely. We looked into daycare and preschool with the prospect of having to pay quite a bit but all of these programs were full due to so many parents with kids out of traditional school. After nearly a year of calling and waiting, we were connected with our local opportunity council.
The opportunity council connected us with a local elementary school with a free preschool program if he qualified, it honestly seemed too good to be true after all of the roadblocks we had run into. After a zoom assessment by a speech therapist, we officially qualified and he began attending a two day a week preschool program with a group of nine other students. The program included weekly visits with a speech therapist and regular structured preschool. We felt like we hit the jackpot but the biggest win was still on the horizon.
From Struggle to Speech Therapy to Success!
It only took a few weeks to notice a difference. He was trying new words, sounds, and means of communication. His style of play began evolving drastically, more imaginative play and lots of singing, our house is filled with renditions of “twinkle little star” and “row your boat.” At the start of this fall school year he transitioned to four days a week, and he rides the school bus. He attends twice weekly speech therapy with one of his classmates and is absolutely thriving.
Every week he comes home a little clearer and more independent. The best part is that he’s started speaking in full sentences, he can tell us his name, tells us about his day, or just tells stories about what he imagines in that clever head of his.
If you’re feeling like your little one just isn’t where they should be, trust your gut! We’ve spoken to so many parents about speech therapy since this saga began and realized so many of us are afraid to talk about it. If we as adults can’t find the courage to talk about it, we can’t expect our struggling children to find the words on their own. Today my son tells me how much he loves me and there’s just no words to describe how good that makes me feel.
About the Author
Jesse is a stay at home mother of two living in the Pacific Northwest. She is a Lil Helper ambassador and her mom is Pat, the inspiration behind “Pats Purple.”