Look Who’s [not] Talking
This weekend Brent and I took Lexi to a speech pathologist to find out what was going on with her lack of verbal skills. Our pediatrician had suggested we talk to someone as early as last December, when Lexi turn a year and still wasn’t saying “mama” or “dada,” however the doctor also mentioned that it didn’t yet seem like a serious issue and if we wanted to wait until 18 months she was supportive of that decision.
We waited and waited and while Lexi seemed to flourish in every way but language, we grew anxious that this could be a sign of something more serious, and after 17 months came and went with no words we decided to call the doctor for the referral. Our pediatrician decided to recommend a speech pathologist over a speech therapist because a pathologist will mainly focus on language while a therapist will apparently treat a more wide-spread issue that could be affecting speech (i.e. the pathologist could have also referred us to a therapist based on her evaluation). We set our evaluation for Saturday.
The office was apparently a very welcoming environment for Lexi; as soon as we were there she was watching the tv, climbing on chairs, peeking around doors and pointing at all the bird images. Our counselor, Kia, kept one eye on Lexi while she waited for the mother of her prior appointment to come pick him up. Once it was Lexi’s turn we followed her to an open room and took a seat while Lexi took in her new environment.
Lexi was awesome during the session. Kia would ask her to point out the eyes, nose and mouth on a stuffed bear, all of which Lexi nailed. Lexi showed off her new sign language, followed directions (press the button, bring me the bubbles, put away the toys) and started digging around in toy boxes when she was bored listening to us talk.
Once it seemed like she had all the information she needed to complete the evaluation, Kia let us know she would mail us a report of the results and asked us if we had any questions for her. Aside for a few minor ones (should we keep moving forward with the sign language? How should we respond when she just points?) we asked the biggie – is this indicative of something bigger?
I think Brent and I both felt a weight lifted when Kia responded that no, she saw nothing wrong with Lexi aside from a delayed communication. She said that Lexi was social, curious and showed cognitive skills that were equal to, if not surpassing, those expected of children her age. Kia also said that it was good that we started early; while kids Lexi’s age she would be speaking 10-15 words, by 18 months that milestone shoots up to 50 words, and the further behind she falls, the longer it will take to close that gap.
So now we wait for the official report in the mail, after which we can call to schedule weekly or bi-weekly appointments that should hopefully only last six months. A possible move is going to make the weekly commute annoying, but not as annoying as the potential bill for these private speech therapy appointments (we don’t yet know how much our insurance will cover, but even if it’s 50% it will still be a major hit). Just one of the thousands of things you don’t anticipate when deciding to have a baby, but you play the hand you’re dealt, and we wouldn’t trade our Bear-o for anything.