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.