Thursday, 15 December 2011

Enough With The Testing…Some Speech Therapy Now Please!

Well, after first seeking speech therapy for my 4 year old son Buster at the beginning of this year, he has just today, had his second appointment. As I sit writing this, many  words come to mind to describe how I feel…. frustrated, deflated, helpless, worried, impatient….

Was hoping the dark clouds would be blowing away soon

Today Buster was subjected to a further 2 hours of testing…actually the same test three times over, to determine if he made the same errors each time!!!  Because Buster makes ‘unusual errors’ the therapist seems convinced that he has a structural abnormality in his mouth or nose. About 30min of sticking torches and mirrors up there didn’t reveal anything unusual…except for his gigantic tonsils…..

I tried to respectfully point out our family history of dispraxia, I tried to tell her that my older daughter also had a similar way of speaking, often making the same errors. At the end of the session she says to  me

“…you know what…I think he may be dispraxic……”

In my head, all I could think was  "....well, Doh!! Halleluiah!.....”

Still, she seems determined, almost in a belligerent way, that Buster has a structural issue. I am happy to see a ENT specialist. I have a referral and an appointment (our GP, who has seen my daughters battles, also doubts there is a structural problem). However, the earliest appointment I can get is next March…NEXT MARCH??? Although she didn’t say it outright, I am concerned she will not give Buster any meaningful speech therapy until I have the structural abnormalities issue ruled out.

I just feel so sad for my poor little boy. I can see him trying so hard to be understood, but his mouth just doesn’t seem to do what he wants it to….he was given another appointment in exactly 1 months time…for further testing...........(FFS!)

One thing that I have learned through my experiences with Buster and my daughters speech difficulties is tolerance and compassion. Truly, unless you walk in somebody else’s shoes you really have no idea what the parent and child is actually dealing with or going through.

Just yesterday a mother bought her daughter to Busters class, from another class, for a make-up lesson. The little girl didn’t receive Christmas cards from the other children and had an absolute meltdown. The poor mother was also dealing with 2 other children. The little girl was fighting and screaming not to get in the car, the other mothers drove away as quickly as they could. Although I was worried that I would embarrass her or make her feel awkward or uncomfortable,  I decided to go an see if she needed any help.

What she really needed it seems, was to tell someone that her daughter had been diagnosed with Aspergers  and a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  We ended up speaking and connecting for 10 minutes and I think we both left the preschool feeling much happier and more contented.

I also feel this way when I connect with people online that are going through similar things with dispraxia. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that others have been through what you are going through and can understand that it can be so hard!

I fully realise that there are people dealing with much bigger problems than dispraxia. Although my son hasn’t been diagnosed with autism many of the #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf hash tag comments on twitter ring true for me and I feel like I am part of a wider community of people that are caring for children with special needs.

From my personal experiences and everything I have learned online,  I have made a pact with myself not to judge, or make assumptions of  parents or children when I catch a glimpse of them in the supermarket, playground or car park. If the situation warrants it, I will do my best to offer assistance and  empathy (even if is turned down) to others instead of  just walking away. By doing this I hope that I can become a better parent for my children and become a better person myself.


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