Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Buster’s Speech Assessment

Well, today was Busters assessment by the Speech Pathologist, to decide on his treatment plan and the way forward. I guess I’d have to say the results of the assessment were mostly good. However, it doesn’t really make me feel happy, In fact I think I need to go and have lots some chocolate!

I suppose it comes as no surprise that Buster has been categorised as having a severe speech dysfunction. Dispraxia (childhood apraxia of speech) is suspected but more tests will be required to determined this for sure, (actually I don’t really care what name they call it, I just want them to help him!). Also, not surprisingly (to me anyway), there was no sign of intellectual or cognitive delay, nor was there any evidence of Autism. Actually, I have been stopped several times by complete well meaning strangers and been asked If Buster had autism. This really annoys me, not because I’m worried that they think he has autism, it’s just none of their business!

The speech pathologist and her assistant were wonderful with Buster. They made him feel at ease, they didn’t pressure him or make him feel stupid or inadequate. Buster himself was amazing! He concentrated completely for 45 minutes. He had the speechies wound around his little finger with theatrical displays and pantomimes to illustrate the difficult (for him) words they were trying to get him to say. If it were possible for me to love Buster more than I did before, than I would love him even more after that session, I was so proud of him.

They recommend I get a referral to a ENT specialist just to rule out any structural abnormalities. They will also call Busters teachers at his pre-preschool and explain to them his speech difficulties. I hope this will help the teachers understand the reasons behind his behavior a little better.  The best part though, was that near the end of the session the speechies were able to get him to say words and sounds that he has never said before. The speechies have said this is a very promising development as it means that speech therapy should be able to work well for Buster.

Although I already knew, it was not easy to be told that your child has a serious speech problem. It seems that both he and my daughter Flash (you can read her dispraxia story here) need to be taught the elements of speech that come naturally to most children. I guess it could have been worse. I distinctly remember being told that flash may never speak fluently. So I guess today’s assessment was an improvement upon that.

Buster has a follow-up appointment for more testing on December 15. I am feeling impatient that they just can’t start giving him speech therapy NOW, especially after we have waited such a long time for him to be assessed. However I am trying to focus on the positives. I am really hoping that this is the first step in the journey of learning correct speech. I just so very dearly want for him to be understood and have all that frustration taken from him….my beautiful little boy….

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