Kitties not Titties – Speech Matters

“The single biggest problem in communication is the
illusions that is has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

Communicating with a young child is a guessing game at best. “Did you poop? Are you hungry? Is that a new tooth? Are you not feeling well? Is it just gas? I don’t know, where is mommy?” The same can be said whenever you travel abroad or simple call most companies customer service line. You know the heavily accented man on the other end of the line is not, in fact, named Steve. But we play their game to get something we need or desire. In the case of our kids, that’s usually just to get them to stop crying.

As a parent, you take for granted the weird things your child says in exchange for the real word. For example, my 22 month old says “cho cho” when she wants Cheerios. Outside of my wife and I, who would know that? The good news is as kid’s speech matures, they grow out of this. They can eventually enunciate what they want if full sentences. But what if they don’t grow out of it?

Reno Moms Blog touched upon this a few weeks ago. When their blog post came out, my wife and I were on the list to get our oldest daughter tested at Child Find. What is Child Find? Per their website: “Child Find is a service of the Washoe County School District and is a federally-funded program established to help identify the un-served child. After a child has been evaluated and found eligible for services, the Child Find team works with the parents or guardians to create an appropriate program for the child.” What it really boils down to is Special Education.

Society has put this stigma on “Special Ed.” As a parent, it can be a tough pill to swallow that your child needs services above and beyond the norm. You can feel that you’ve somehow failed as a parent. But if it helps your child thrive and you DON’T make the call, then you would be failing them as a parent.

My oldest daughter just turned 4 and she’s never been at a loss for words; in fact, her mouth never stops running. As parents, we can understand the vast majority of what she is saying. If we don’t catch a word here or there, you can generally get it out of the context. It wasn’t until she started going to The Goddard School that an outside observer pointed out that, compared to her peers, she was more difficult to understand. They gave us this great chart of what letters and sounds kids should be able to make by what ages. According to that chart, we thought she was right where she was supposed to be… or were we just not wanting to acknowledge the elephant in the room?

Our daughter changed classrooms. During our parent-teacher conference, her new teacher also pointed out she was behind in her speech pathology. For example, our daughter was telling a story about two of her kitties, but she has a habit of replacing the k sounds with a t. Needless to say, the story took on a different meaning.

At home, when we can’t understand a word and can’t navigate around it by context or using the “show me” trick, she will have melt downs. In her mind, she knows what she is saying so when she screams it over and over at us, it sounds correct to her so why can’t we understand her?!?! Not being understood will frustrate the best of us, but we’re Italian, so patience is not a virtue to which we subscribe. She yells, I yell and nothing is resolved.

So I made the call. Child Find answered, took down my information and my concerns and set an appointment to be evaluated. Since our only concern was speech, I was surprised they had us block out 4 hours for the appointment. But once we were there, our daughter was evaluated by the nurse, by a regular teacher, by a special education teacher, by a psychologist and finally by a speech pathologist. They all score their tests, write their reports and go over them with us. They’re great about organizing our time. While one was giving us results, another was scoring their test, while another was working with our daughter. So neither mom or dad, or our daughter sat for hours. The small amount of downtime was filled with playing as you’re in your own room filled with toys.

Once all was said and done, their tests confirmed our concern: Our daughter needed speech therapy. We will get to do this at the Elementary school she is zoned. She’s excited to go there early since some of the neighbor girls she plays with are already there. She gets to feel like the big girl she’s becoming and soon, more adults in her life will be able to understand her complex stories which will only improve her confidence.

Bottom line: Swallow your pride as a parent, make the call and get them tested if you have any concerns. For us, it was speech. For you, it may be cognitive abilities or gross/fine motor skills or emotional intelligence. Child Find is here to help your family.

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2 Comments Add yours

    1. Luigi Iuppa says:

      Thanks for the share. Despite the silly, but appropriate, title….it’s a serious matter. Cheers!

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