About a month ago I mentioned that we planned to have Ella's speech evaluated by a pediatric speech therapist. This past Wednesday (June 23, 2010) two therapists from Birth to 3 (an early intervention program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays) came to our house to spend some time with Ella. One of the women focused on all developmental aspects and the other solely focused on her speech.
I knew going in that Ella had to have at least a 25% delay in order to be qualified for the program and to receive an individual service plan. To be honest, I felt like the meeting was going to be a waste of time. I mean - Ella talks! What other kid can say Narley at 18 months? That's talent.
The women were very nice and welcoming, they even brought two entire bags filled with toys for Ella. Despite the bribery, I have never seen Ella so quiet. She wasn't scared, just quiet. She warmed up to them in a few minutes and played with both, but for the most part - didn't say much or make any noise really.
While she played they both asked me a million questions. Does Ella chatter often to herself? How many words are within her vocabulary? How does Ella interact with other children? etc. etc. For the most part I was able to answer the questions, but it would have been really helpful to know some of the questions ahead of time so that I could be better prepared. Example:
Q: How does Ella interact with other children?
A: Well, since Ella goes to daycare because I have to work to feed her, I don't see her interact with other kids often.
In the above case it would have been helpful to speak to her daycare teachers ahead of time so that I could answer their questions more accurately.
Nonetheless, at the end of the appointment the woman who was evaluating Ella as a whole felt she was more advanced than other children her age when it came to social, emotional and motor skills. She was able to complete tasks that were meant for children much older than her. The speech therapist felt it was very evident that Ella understands language, however actually forming words is a challenge.
So - she was qualified for the program and we are currently waiting to receive our individualized plan. I am really happy that I took the initiative to have her evaluated and grateful that she is going to receive help, but at the same time - that day was a bit sad for me too, hence the double edged sword theory.
Everyone wants their children to lead normal, happy and healthy lives. I realize that sometimes I am overprotective of Ella, but she has already been through so much in her short life that I want to protect her from as many things as I possibly can. I guess I can think of speech therapy as a way to protect her. If all goes well, she will be able to speak normally by the time she goes to school and she can avoid other little kids making fun of her. Cross your fingers!