Our Child's Speech Delay Story for Your Encouragement

by Raina Robinson

When my youngest son was born everything seemed fine. It wasn’t until he turned two that we began to get concerned. The pediatrician assured us that Caleb was on track and everything would be fine. Caleb had an older brother who did all of his talking for him. However, when Caleb turned three we were still very concerned at his lack of speech. His older brother could sing the alphabet on his second birthday. We were very encouraged that Caleb seemed normal other than his speech delay. We had no idea what we were up against. We would have countless trips to the pediatrician and speech therapists.

We have had many speech therapists over the years. The first one was a fruit cake. In Caleb’s first evaluation his speech therapist was trying to determine if he could follow directions. So she pushed some building blocks off the table and asked Caleb to pick them up. He looked at her and said “NO”. She wrote in her report that he could not understand or follow simple directions. In fact she went on to tell us that Caleb would never learn to talk. We left in tears. Why would we take our son to a speech therapist who didn’t believe in him? We knew that she felt it was a hopeless case. So we did the only thing we could. We fired her. We needed somebody that would teach our son and work hard to help him. The experience left us afraid to seek the help of another professional speech therapist. We were already aware of what our son could not do. We needed someone that would teach him and show us what he could learn to do.

When he was four years old we were blessed with a wonderful speech therapist who offered us hope. We held on tight to that hope and in the course of a year Caleb’s speech was much better. It still wasn’t where it should be, but we had come a long way. Frustration settled in when our health insurance would only pay for so many speech therapy sessions a year. We had set in so many speech sessions that we knew how to work with him at home. We decided to home school because we did not want our son to get categorized and placed into special education.

During the homeschooling experience Caleb has been a really good student. He is good at math and shows great understanding in other subjects. However, some people just assume that if a child can not speak correctly they must be mentally retarded. Now at the age of eight, Caleb can talk very well. We still have to work with a few sounds, but we are thankful to God that Caleb has come so far.

We want our story to be an encouragement to everyone with a child that has a speech delays. The first bit of advice would be to get a speech therapist that works well with your child. Never feel obligated to stick it out with a speech therapist that does not work well with your child. Also don’t be afraid to ‘fire’ the therapist and move on if you feel they are not giving your child a fair evaluation or not encouraging about the possibility of success. You will need to stand up for your child and find a speech therapist that is encouraging and shows real effort with your child. It is a good idea to put a lot of prayer into finding the right speech therapist for your child. And never give up hope. There is always hope.

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