While lots of kids big and small are headed back to school soon, our son is still a year away from starting preschool. We have been so blessed with his progress. We were informed when our son came seven weeks early that we should be aware that there might be delays, whether they be developmental- or speech-related. I remember telling myself to keep an optimistic view on the matter, while the reality was quite unsettling. How was I going to tell if there were delays? I’m no expert. This is our first child. What am I supposed to look for?
I don’t think a night has gone by that I haven’t prayed about seeing noticeable improvement in a number of areas. My son has a stubborn streak about him and, for the sake of getting over hurdles, it has predominantly benefited him. Milestones such as rolling over, crawling, pulling himself up, and walking we’re pretty much right on schedule. As a matter of fact Jayden began walking over Father’s day weekend last year, a gift which as a I found priceless. It wasn’t until a few months ago that we noticed that we might be dealing with speech delays. His ability to comprehend what we are saying has always been pretty good, but he currently says 5-10 words. The initial concern was brought to our attention by our daycare provider. After making some adjustments to our routine to see if that would help Jayden get over the hump, it became clear that we needed to have him evaluated.
After a couple of rounds of evaluations, we were informed Jayden was considered at the developmental level of a 12-13 month old. With Jayden just turning 2, I had a hard time accepting that news. I had made up in my mind that we would hear he was anywhere from 15-18 months developmentally and we would move ahead with some sort of plan. To hear it was worse than we thought? I was heartbroken. I was facing a bigger hurdle than expected. I spent the first few hours feeling sorry for myself.
I was fortunate to speak with some people who had been there, who understood how I felt. One person in particular offered some sound perspective. She said “The fact he qualifies for therapy is a good thing. The last thing you want is for your son to shine during an evaluation and, in turn, they don’t move ahead with therapy. Now he will receive the help he really needs.” Wow. The thought hadn’t crossed my mind.
I quickly transitioned from “Why me?” to “What can I do to help?” Jayden has since had a handful of Speech and Developmental Therapy sessions. Things such as improved focus, ability to engage in activities, and quicker imitation response have all been encouraging signs as we forge ahead. I am confident that with the great team of therapists we will put Jayden in a position to succeed early on. For updates on my perspective on EI and my son’s progress, please visit Papas Of Preemies.