Friday, March 8, 2013

Grant Graduates Baby Watch

You may remember in November of 2011, after concern for Grant and his lack of speech we began speech therapy and ASL instruction 2-4 times a month.  Ms. Karen was Grant's speech therapist.  Ms. Karen visited our home regularly and was a tremendous influence for good for both Grant and I.  We grew to love her.  I remember when we first began speech therapy our six month goal was to have Grant be able to speak 50 words; it was such a daunting goal.  Our short term goals each week would be something like; practice saying vowels and letter sounds, it then evolved into, practicing very small words and we were so thrilled when Grant was able to say "da" for dad, dog, duck and that.  When we began Grant was initially very shy with Karen but would warm up to her by the end of the hour.  I began to feel that every mother needed someone like Karen to come to their home, because every time she came she would tell me what a wonderful mother I was, how natural I was at helping Grant, and how lucky Grant was to have me for his mother.  It was such a boost to have a trained, child development, professional tell me I was doing a good job!   
We also began having Ms. Mindy visit our home 1-2 times a month to teach Grant and me American Sign Language.  I loved it, I have always loved ASL, I really believe that it is so beneficial for infants to learn ASL.  Ms. Mindy was also delightful to have in our home and she always came prepared with fun ideas of easy and engaging activities to do with both my boys after she left.  Grant learned ASL very quickly.
 We continued to do more testing with Grant, we became concerned that he may have moderate hearing loss and need hearing aids, then we learned that getting tubes in his ears may solve his problems, so in January of 2012 Grant had surgery to get tubes.  The surgery went beautifully and more little miracles began to happen.  I remember the first time Grant noticed birds chirping -it was so exciting for both of us.  The hearing tests after the surgery showed no hearing loss, yeah! 
As summer approached we had a FHE lesson about Philippians 4:13 and the Little Engine That Could, we each picked a challenging goal and over the summer we worked hard at them.  Brandon's goal was to learn to ride a 2 wheel bike, Grant's goal was to learn 3 new words.  He accomplished his goal and then he began to take off learning several new words each week.  I had to start keeping a list during the week because I couldn't remember them all; each week Karen came she was overjoyed at his tremendous progress.  As time passed Grant began to put words together, some of my favorites were, "tanks cak mom" (thanks cake mom), "bandin on, me on, mommy on, same" (Brandon is on (the couch), I am on, and mommy is on, we are the same" and "me win". 
 With all this progress we became more and more pleased and less concerned for Grants progress, but Grant was still so far behind.  After a few evaluations, we learned that is was very likely that Grant had a mild form of Apraxia, we faced new worries and concerns and shed a few more tears, but pressed forward with hope.  ASL continued to be very helpful during this time, giving Grant greater confidence to speak and communicate.
We worked hard on enunciation by practicing specific letter sounds and lots of repetition.  Grant progressed rapidly, By Fall we began preparing for when Grant would turn three and move out of the early intervention program into the preschool program.  However, Grant was progressing so quickly we began to wonder if he would even qualify.  If he did qualify Grant would go to preschool four days a week for 3 1/2 hours each day with children Brandon's age, which I was a bit worried about, but the idea that both of my children would be out of the house for a few hours every week did have me pretty excited.  We did a few more tests and Grant was testing in both receptive and expressive communication at a 3 1/2 - 4 year old level, so we ended this chapter in our lives and said very bitter sweet goodbyes to Ms. Karen and Ms. Mindy.  It has now been two months since they have been in our home and we miss them, mind you I do enjoy the freedom in my schedule, but I miss their friendship, motivation, encouragement and guidance with Grant.  I am so very grateful to both Karen and Mindy for their love and skill, which they so willingly shared with Grant.  I am also very grateful that Grant is fine now!  We continue to work on his vocabulary and grammar, and we will continue to make sure he is on track when kindergarten comes around, but for now we are just thrilled that we don't need to worry about Grant's hearing and speech!

This picture warms my heart and makes me choke up a bit.
Ms. Karen - speech therapist
 Ms. Mindy - ASL instructor