Well, not like Martha. Thank God.
Littlebit had her assessment with the speech therapist last week. It basically worked out how I had expected. The therapist (and a mommy group friend) doesn’t feel as though there is anything actually preventing her from speaking. She didn’t do a hearing assesment (we’ll do that elsewhere later), but didn’t feel her issues were related to hearing issues, cognitive issues, autism or muscle tone. It is a case of can not or will not, which is pretty much as we expected. In two weeks, LIttlebit will be starting once weekly speech therapy with our friend at her clinic in the hops of catching her up.
The most distressing thing that came from the meeting is that Littlebit was assessed at speaking at a 12 to 15 month old level. My friend, who knows how anxious I am and was quick to point out that she had scattered skills all the up to her actual age but it was still daunting to grasp just how far behind Littlebit is. Even though we knew.
Big Daddy and I agree with the diagnosis. It jives with what we’ve seen and experienced with her and we’re hopeful that the therapy plus her late birthdate will find her caught up by the time she starts preschool next year.
Admittedly, Littlebit IS talking a bit more. S he finally has found a name for Big Daddy that isn’t “mama”. She seems to not want to say “d” words at all and I’ve tried getting her to call him “papa”, but until this weekend it didn’t talk. Somehow she was able to link that she could call him “papa” and that would work out and in Border’s on Sunday when we left him paying for a purchase in the check out line, she gasped and called out “Papa!”, worried about him not catching up (in further cuteness, she “helped fold” clothes on Monday and would gleefully chirp out “Papa!” every time she came to something of his.
Our speech therapist friend says playing dumb and getting into a power struggle over making her speak probably won’t work at this point. I’m trying to really ramp up the positive reinforcement whenever she uses her speech to communicate in hopes that the praise and discovery how much easier life is when she just talks to us and we “get” it will encourage her to speak to us more. I delight in her sparsely spoken two words sentences. “Go, mama!” she insisted today as we got ready to leave to run and errand.
(You want to go! Yes! Let’s GO! Right NOW!)
And I harbor a little bit of guilt. I knew Littlebit was delayed. I’ve known it for a while. I bottled it up and watched her praying that, like her sister, the switch would be thrown and she’d be gaining dozens of new words a day. I convinced myself that occasional small gains were the gateway to the explosion of language the Princess underwent when she was just over two, but LIttlebit is just three months shy of three and no matter how I wish it were different, she isn’t going to gain on her own and I couldn’t shutter her into silence any longer, just to preserve myself and my nerves. I’m a total wuss about things that scare me.