My Toddler’s Two And A Half Year Speech Check Up
Today I brought my son in for his two and a half year old check up. When the nurse asked me what I was in here for, I was puzzled. “Isn’t this a routine two and a half year old check up?” She examined her notes more carefully. “Oh no, it says here the doctor is following up on his speech problem. Ok, she will be right with you.”
A few minutes later, my son’s pediatrician came in. Accompanying her was a younger, male doctor she was mentoring. We exchanged pleasantries and then she asked, “Is your son talking more now?” I sheepishly said, “He can say a few more words.” She continued, “Have you called the speech regional center for help yet?” I embarrassingly said no. She was livid. On a side note, this week I’ve been having one heated discussion after the other. I am not sure if it is a phase, that time of year, or if it is just me.
“I’ve been telling you and your wife to call since your son was 18 months! This is the third time I’ve had to remind you! I don’t know why parents don’t listen!”
For a moment, I thought she was pouring on the dramatics for her accompanying doctor in training. But if I were in her shoes, I would be frustrated and upset at me too. Sadly, once again, I had my blinders on. I was hoping that my son would naturally turn things around. My friend’s son who is two years older than mine had speech challenges too. He told me that he actually was filling out the application when his son snapped out of it and started talking none stop. I used his success story to justify holding off calling for help. I thought, “If it happened for my friend’s son, hopefully, it will happen for mine.”
My wife and I always take our son to visit the doctor together. We can ask her questions and also hear her advice first hand. In terms of my son’s speech problem, we were on the same page. We held off calling for help so my son could naturally speak on his own. Deep down, I think both of us were a little embarrassed and did not want our son labeled as slow. On top of that, I think there is a negative stigma attached to seeking therapy. I immaturely thought, “There is a chance you have a problem. But if you go to therapy, you confirm that you really do have a problem.” I seriously need to grow up. By coincidence, due to a schedule conflict, my wife did not make the visit with us. I felt the full brunt of the doctor’s wrath. The good news is I pulled my head out of the sand and actually listened.
“Your son is running out of time. He only has six months left. Free government assistance is cut off when he turns three. If this resource is available, why not use it? I’m not buying your excuse he is slow to speak because you two are teaching him two languages and his nanny spoke to him in a third!”
Her words finally hit home and spurred me to action. “OK Doctor. I hear you. I will call at lunch.” In fact, I called on my way to work and learned the application process. I filled out the forms and will turn it in tomorrow. After the application is processed, someone will come to our home and assess how to best help my son. It will be an anxiety filled next few months. Let’s hope my negligence did not cost my son help that he desperately needs.
For more information, visit the Lanterman Regional Center.