Nov 5, 2008

this is serious - you were warned

So I was going to post about our new President, but it's already all over the place, and I really hate doing serious things here. It's so much easier to pretend that I don't care about stuff like politics (but in case you wondered if it was all about frivolities and M&M's here - it's not.)

So then I was going to put together this post full of pictures of ME. Because everyone has been begging and BEGGING to see pictures of me at any age (child, nerd-stage, my college hotness.) Ok, they really weren't, but that's ok because I'm not going to do that either. You can probably look forward to it sometime this month though, because I think it's only appropriate to get a good long picture post in during National Blog Posting Month, don't you?

And now if you're wondering what I'm really going to write about, since I've just wasted all of your time with what I'm not writing about. I want to talk about Phonemic Awareness and it's correlation to speech articulation.

Ok, so this is going to be a serious one after all.

My children have a Developmental Phonological Disorder. Ok, so I just looked that up while I was looking at Phonemic stuff and decided that's what they have, because it totally makes sense.

All of our kids, for some genetically unanswered reason have been developmentally delayed. Each one of the kids have had different specific challenges but they have all seemed to include low muscle tone (with related delay in motor skills) and major speech delays.

We've seen Geneticists, Developmental Pediatric Specialists, other types of Specialists and countless therapists. And we always get the same answer, "Your kids seem to be 'fine' but something about the mixture of your genes produces slow developing kids." Seriously, it's frustrating.

It would make sense if this type of stuff ran in our families or something. But Husband and I have always been smart-ish people. Husband has a Master's Degree (which I know you don't have to be a genius for, but still.) And apparently IQ's can go down as you age, because I was so smart in Kindergarten that they tested my IQ and man was I a smarty (although, not so much now...)

And so, if you have made it this far into my serious and not at all entertaining post about stuff you really don't want to read about (thank you, because you obviously care) this was all brought on by Curly's Kindergarten parent/teacher conference this morning.

Curly is our brightest child (and the oldest and a girl, which helps. But I'm hoping her siblings aren't too far behind her, but it's hard to tell at this point, because the boys have more issues to work through.) But Curly's speech is still not as articulate as it should be. It's not horrible -we have done a LOT of work - but still enough that strangers notice.

I told the Kindergarten teacher about all of this before the year even started and requested that she see the school's speech pathologist (because we can't afford the $50+ a week for an actual therapist - because, yeah, yikes.) We are just now setting her up with the pathologist. IT'S ABOUT STINKING TIME. But I do have to say that I love love love love her school beyond school lovingness. We were ultra-blessed to get her into the Charter school near us. (It's an art school, I totally dig it.)

And the Phonemic Awareness? How that ties in is that when you don't process or say all the sounds in a word correctly, it really doesn't make any sense in your little 5 year old head that all those letters are needed to make up a word. (That was in total layman's terms.) Curly could totally be reading by now, if she had never had the speech issues. And I am not just saying that in a cocky, "ooh look at my kid way," she really just could have. But instead, now that her class is moving out of the "do you know your letters" stage to the actual sounds in words stage, she is going to struggle and possibly be left behind.

Which is why most kids with speech problems can't read until they are in 3rd grade. Which sucks. Sucks sucks sucks. (I hate that word by the way, but it is totally fitting for this situation.)

So yeah. My kids go to school/see therapists there, and I home school/practice self-taught therapy. And hopefully with all of the help that they are getting, they will be able to make it to 3rd grade already reading. HOPEFULLY.

And that's my serious post about serious stuff that's not about the new president, but whatever.

Except that also, Curly's kindergarten teacher had to add, "Did you notice that her physical skills are also a bit behind?" Yeah, THANKS FOR BRINGING IT UP. Honestly, it's been a struggle, and if she is a bit clunkier than the other kids WHO CARES?!!!

The End. (this is now my new ending for all things serious, and maybe sometimes not so serious, because it's fun to write. And so is: EL FIN.)


wonder woman said...

This sounds tough. And incredibly frustating - the lack of diagnosis, just basically blaming your and husband for the wrong gene combo. Sucks is an accurate description, in my perspective.

My four year old still messes up words. Kinda of dyslexia of speech - switching consonants around. It doesn't happen too much anymore, but sometimes with new words. I've never been too concerened about it.....and he still has two years till your honest opinion, should I be a little more worried?

Melissa Bastow said...

Wonder Woman, you are so nice to read all the way through my long serious post!

I wouldn't worry too much about your son's speech problems if they are getting better (and as long as they keep moving in the right direction.) I would suggest that if he has a hard time with a particular word, then you could try and get him to say it correctly and then have him repeat it back to you (correctly) 3-5 times. The biggest thing I've learned with all of my kids' therapies is that repetition is key to improvement!

Barbaloot said...

I'm sorry that you're having to deal with that in your family. But I'm impressed that you're aware of it, willing to let others know what's going on, etc. I know some people who refused to acknowledge their children's speech problems to themselves or anyone else...and it didn't pay off in the long run.

Good luck. And hopefully it'll only get better and easier from here on out.

Tracy said...

Oh my gosh! Total light bulb moment! My kindergartner has a speech delay and she's having tons of trouble with phonics. The teacher doesn't think she's going to be able to learn to read phonetically and wanted to try some other methods. I'm thinking I need to work with her on her sounds.

Thanks for sharing that!

*MARY* said...

That does suck, I love that word by the way.
I think my son has some speech problems too. He's three and a half and only barely started talking, and not well either. My two year old speaks better than he does. Thanks for the tips.

Anonymous said...

My youngest had a speech problem, too; she couldn't even pronounce her own name correctly.

She was also a little bit physically delayed, as well, now that you mention it. It took her forever to learn to tie her shoes and ride a bike. Maybe the physical delay goes with the speech problems.

Anyway, two years of speech lessons (which she loved--she thought she was special), and now you would never know she had a problem.

By the way, she doesn't have any trouble reading. She's actually above her level, I think.

My very long point is this: just because some kids might be a little delayed, it doesn't mean they are any less normal; it just takes them longer to reach certain milestones. But eventually they do.

You are doing everything right, and it'll all work out in the end. Good luck!

LisAway said...

Wow, Melissa! I respect you even MORE now that I've read this. First, with your 25 kids each born less than 9 months apart,then you get to deal with this as well!

I'm glad to see that so many of your readers have similar situations. Hope that comforts you.

Both of our first two were articulate (Evie spoke in complete sentences, perfectly pronounced at 18 mo, and David did a little consonant switching "(Gon'k! Gon'k goo dak!" don't do that) but otherwise very clear) but Aaron really seems to be taking his time. 19mo and still won't say mama!!

I love knowing that there are so many levels of normal-ish.