Say what?

As many of you know, Molly is not always the easiest child to understand. While she is very social and talkative, her speech isn’t crystal-clear. Or even always plastic-clear. While I’ve truly never obsessed over it, it’s something I’ve been monitoring. I don’t want to put on rose-colored glasses and shoo away what appears to be a small problem, only to have it blow up and become much worse than necessary if only I’d opened my eyes sooner. Make sense?

At Molly’s three-year-old pediatrician appointment last month, I took note when the doctor told us that strangers should be able to understand about 75% of what she says. Hmm. Depending on what she chose to talk about with these strangers, I was pretty sure we weren’t there. Not long after the appointment, and despite our lovely pediatrician telling us that Molly wasn’t yet old enough for the school district’s assistance, I checked out the school district’s website. Sure enough, they have a program to screen the development of children ages three to five. I figured, why not ask them and see what they say? They had us fill out a bunch of forms and give Molly some “tests” that required us to point to pictures of, say, a rabbit or a spoon and ask her to say the word. When she did, I would write down the phonetic version of what she said. She got most of them right, but she says, for example, “tar” instead of “car” and “yum” instead of “gum.” It was actually pretty interesting. On Monday, we had our appointment at Lapham with the early education specialists. While Molly played with one of the speech specialists, we talked with another one. I learned a lot. I learned that the hard C is often hard for kids, as is the hard G. R and L have their own difficulties. And then there are the combo sounds like SP and ST. Interestingly, I thought, Molly has her combo sounds down pretty well, but has more difficulty with the hard consonants. Anyway, apparently everything that Molly does is completely developmentally appropriate and the nice specialists didn’t seem to have any concerns at all. We were in and out in just over 45 minutes, sent on our way with worksheets to peruse and exercises to try.

At the end, part of me felt a little guilty for taking up their time when they probably have a million more needy people to help, but part of me feels ok about utilizing a resource available to us to make sure that our little one is getting her needs met. In the end, I learned a lot and I think I feel good about the whole thing.

I’ve also been reminded – AGAIN – that I just talk too fast. Slow. It. Down. Kate.

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7 Responses to “Say what?”


  1. 1 Mary Lloyd April 29, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Glad you had a good experience. With my bad ears I would love it if you would talk slower❤️

  2. 2 Jane Roe April 29, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    When we had Tim evaluated, it turned out that I was not talking enough when we got home from school. Apparently I was all talked out at the end of the day. Well I started talking the way they told me to and it seemed like in a week he was talking non-stop. I actually started to wonder if I had made a mistake by taking him because I couldn’t get him to stop talking😜

  3. 3 kateandgracie April 30, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Ha! That’s hilarious, Jane! Now that we’ve been educated (however briefly) on the trouble sounds, I notice them more and more. For example, the hard C or K. Molly will ask for her ‘zoo a lot. It took us awhile, but we figured out she’s asking her kazoo (why she has a kazoo is another story) and now I understand that it’s perfectly normal for her to drop the K sound. Last night, she asked for the “new.” I looked on the shelf she was looking at and immediately saw the PlayMobil canoe that my dad gave me years ago. When I slowed it down for her and asked her to repeat “cuh-new” she could do it. Though a minute later she was back to calling it a “new.”

  4. 4 Maggie April 30, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Lilly used to call me May-May because she couldn’t pronounce the G sound. She probably called me that until she was about 5…but that was probably because I never corrected her (I liked that nickname!). She had trouble with the other letters too, especially SP and ST, throughout 3-4 years old. We started reading her Goodnight Moon every night and having her repeat us word for word. I think it was a few weeks of doing that and she got so much better! Plus, I loved that time with her and it helped her learn to read at a pretty young age since we’d point to each word as we were reading.

  5. 5 Tammy April 30, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Good job Kate – early education services are for everyone – anyone, not just “needy” peeps. So glad you went to the right specialists! And now you know… no need to worry.

  6. 6 kateandgracie April 30, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    So nice to hear all of these perspectives! And it makes me feel even better about our decision (thanks, Tammy!). Mags, it definitely sounds (hee hee) like the SP and ST sounds are some of the hardest to master! They were very impressed with Molly’s command of STOP! (I find it kinda annoying) and concentrated much more on her troubles with the hard Cs and Gs, as well as her difficulties with Rs and Ls.

  7. 7 satcla May 1, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Well, I know very little about what sounds are challenging for children so this is incredibly enlightening!! I did however have years of speech classes in grad school and it was not nearly as fascinating. 🙂

    By the by, I talk way too fast too.


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