February 17, 2011

On my mind

Our family has been through a lot of changes over the last 1.5 years. Major life changes. Like moving away from our families, my husband starting Law School, the twins turning two, getting the boys into a speech therapy program.
It's been 6 months now, that they have been in this program and I finally feel like I can share what's been on my mind through this process. It's been a long lonely road to get to this point and we aren't through yet but I can now see the sun shining again which makes all the difference in the world.

Several months after the boys turned two we went to their regular well-baby check up at the pediatrician's office. While going over the list of age appropriate developments, the Dr. asked if my husband and I were concerned about the boys speech development. I had been concerned for a little while that they weren't exactly where they needed to be but not overly so. Really, still being new to the whole "mommy" role I wasn't sure where they needed to be and what was normal to expect. The pediatrician suggested an organization that provides services for children who may have delays and offers speech therapy. We decided to go ahead with the process and get them started in this program.

Right from the start I had a bad experience with the boy's "case" worker. She didn't seem to have intelligent answers to my questions and for polite reasons we'll just say she was rude. I immediately called the pediatrician with these concerns to which she responded that unfortunately the "case" workers aren't always the nicest from this organization but the speech therapists are nothing like this. She said she has referred patients to them many times and more often than not they tell her that the therapists are wonderful. She herself has used this group to get her son therapy. So, I stuck with it.
There were hearing tests, 3 hour long evaluations and lots of criticism from these "professionals". I heard so many labels and comments about my boys that I'd never heard in reference with them that it was difficult to process and discard the useless information being presented. There was a week were I cried just about everyday simply from the overload of information, most of which was irrelevant to our situation.
We received results back from a few of the tests saying that they needed further evaluations for autism. If you've ever met B & F you would know they don't have autism. The worry of such possibilities, even if they were from someone who hadn't spent more that an hour with the twins, can be tormenting. I was terrified to search the Internet for more information because of my already overloaded mind trying to filter the information already present. After weeks, more meetings and a couple chats with the pediatrician, it was decided that there must have been a mistake in the evaluation for no further testing for autism was needed. I felt some relief.
We finally made it to the part where we met the speech therapist who would be working with the boys. The boys took to her being at the house quickly and we start moving along. After months of therapy, with plenty of progress and regression we have come to the end of Part 1. Tomorrow is their last day working with this therapist and they will move into a different program with the school system.
This has been some kind of year. Many tears, worried hearts, more tears and one step at a time we made it to this point. Although the boys still need some help learning how to communicate using words and phases, we've come a long way. They both sign "please" now, they're saying more words than they did before, and overall are making progress.
As a parent, I've learned so much from this experience. As hard as it has been, I genuinely think it was worth it in the end. Do I think everything was necessary to learn these lessons, no, but then again we never know. We can only take what we can from the situation, learn from it, grow, adapt, change. It's a process.

After several meetings/evaluations with the school system I can tell you Part 2 is already very different from Part 1. It's still a little frightening to hear my kids referred to as being "special needs" but really that's what they need. They need extra encouragement to do things that usually come naturally. There's nothing wrong with this, they are still smart, sweet, wonderful boys. We will make it through this part with flying colors. Eventually they are going to carry on conversations with me. People joke that once they start talking I'm going to want them to stop, but my heart has been longing for this for too long to ever want them to be quiet.

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