At first, I did not think to include the topic of worry in my series of speech articles. But after further thought, about three seconds worth, there is much to write. In fact, I see parent and caretaker worries as an integral part of the speech therapy process – itself.
Initial Worry: Something’s Wrong – Help
- My son is now two and with a vocabulary of only four words,
- Our daughter stutters.
- My son’s teacher thinks he needs speech therapy.
When faced with situations as these, parents worry something’s wrong, I need help, and along with this come a new set of questions;
What do I do? Where do I turn?
In general, when I first meet parents, as they enter into the treatment process, I often feel the sense of worry which led them to me. The questions, I hear, further underlines a level of unease;
- Will my son ever speak?
- How long will this take?
- How much does this cost?
The Good News
Speech therapy is a very particular profession with highly skilled individuals wanting to help. In fact, in 2016 The Master of Arts in Speech Language Hearing Science at Temple University accepted but 30 of 500 applicants, selecting only the best.
In addition to such strict admission requirements, the work of a Speech-Language Pathologist is subject to review by employer supervision, state licensing boards, insurance companies, and ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association).
With the right program and competent therapist in place, the uneasiness of “something’s wrong” begins to ease with the realization therapy is making a difference.
My daughter said her first phrase.
My son just uttered a new sound, a new first word.
There are fewer hesitations in my child’s speech.
From here on it’s time to celebrate the small and often large advances brought about by the speech therapy process.
No more worries?
Well, not exactly, with therapy in place, the fears of the moment may ease, but the concerns of the future lay in wait.
Will my child:
- Get an “A” on that paper
- Make the travel team
- Play in the band
- Find the right school
As a speech therapist with a focus in early intervention, I came to know parents of children with a host of speech disorders. Apraxia, dyspraxia, language delay, pediatric speech delay, oral motor issues, feeding and more. I’ve experienced it all, yet, it’s interesting when looking back; I remember the parents and caretakers as much as the children I had the honor to serve. I recall the conversations in the doorway, the homemade cookies, the team meetings in the kitchen, and of course the countless phone calls. Time and time again I lay witness to the selfless advocacy and unbending commitment these parents made on behalf of their child. And in the final analysis, it was all started and driven by an initial worry.