March 2019: I’m worried about George’s language. He’s 16 months old and only saying Dada. He’s a boy and the doctor convinced me that his hyper verbal sister is not the best comparison. I know this. But my gut is telling me there is something going on.
July 2019: The doctor finally agrees that an early intervention speech and language evaluation is warranted. After 20 years being in the field of special education, I finally cried at an evaluation meeting. I was not expecting to hear just how delayed George’s language is both expressively and receptively. I had no idea how much I was visually cuing him. I’m devastated. I’m kicking myself for not following my instincts from the beginning. We schedule weekly speech therapy.
September 2019: I start to worry about his hearing due to frequent ear infections. We schedule a hearing screening and an ENT appointment. He’s not hearing which would account for his lack of language. Tubes are placed and he begins to hear everything clearly for the first time ever.
March 2020: The world shuts down and George loses his peer language models. His language, although improved, has a long way to go. I’m worried that without models, he’s going to fall further behind. I’m doing double duty as full time mom and full time AT Specialist. I’m balancing work and home not very successful by the amount of streaming our TV is doing. It’s all screen time all the time and I’m certain George’s already stunted language is going to take another hit.
September 2020: George is getting close to aging out of early intervention. And by all accounts, a miracle has happened. During the stay-at-home orders, George’s language has somehow blossomed. He’s is verbalizing more and becoming less frustrated. The school district sets up an evaluation to start the transfer from EI to district services. He doesn’t even qualify.
Today: George wants to play with the iPad. Mama. I want to play my animals on the green iPad. I don’t see it? Where did it go? I want to do the dinosaurs but I cannot find them. Can you help me find them? I am no longer worried about George’s language although there are a million other things I worry about for him—like the damn fevers that just won’t go away. I wrote about those HERE. He has come so far and I know that our beloved Ms. Karen and Ms. Jan had so much to do with that. He is the poster child for Early Intervention. Get therapies early to close the gap.