Boy Lacer was discharged from the hospital speech therapist a while ago and we’d been waiting for an appointment with the community speech therapist. We had an appointment at the beginning of this month but that got cancelled and replaced with one today (during sacred playgroup time, grrrhhh). So it was no playgroup today and a long walk instead, as ironically the community speech therapist is further away than the hospital speech therapist. We could have got the bus part of the way there, but I don’t know about anyone else but I hate getting the bus when I have to be somewhere at a certain time, I’d much rather walk all the way (where it’s a walkable, if long distance) than risk the bus not turning up.
Anyway we got our appointment, the speech therapist did her own assessment; Boy Lacer has apparently got a good attention span, a good vocabulary but does not speak clearly, I could have told her those three things when we walked in. Anyway, she gave lots of advice, to which, for every single piece I nodded and she goes “You do that already don’t you?”, “Yes”. I’m not being smug here, it’s just that Boy Lacer has been in the system for a very long time and I’ve heard the same pieces of advice, over and over again (and yes those pieces of advice have worked, which is why he has a good vocabulary – that and his love of books, speech therapist goes, “Why don’t you try him with very simple picture books?”. Me “Actually, he’s on things like The Gruffalo now, I should of mentioned Charlie and Lola, he can read the story from the pictures of those now). Anyway, the scheme of things, according to the speech therapist, is that Boy Lacer needs to work on his social communication skills and he will be put on the waiting list for a social communication group, however before he is put on the waiting list for the group, I have to attend a parent workshop, where I suspect I’ll be hearing the same stuff I’ve been hearing for the last two plus years, so I’m on the waiting list for that now. Those workshops are probably great for the parents of the newly diagnosed, the ones that didn’t go through the hospital speech therapy department first, but for me? So goodness knows how long all this ‘waiting’ is going to take, I strongly suspect Boy Lacer will be in nursery before a place at the social communication group comes up and that’s the thing, the nursery he is very, very likely to be going to, has a very strong record on social communication work with kids with social communication needs, so it almost puts speech therapy out of the system doesn’t it? What I really feel is more urgent, is Boy Lacer’s lack of clarity in his speech, in that Boy Lacer has a ‘babyish’ tone of voice that can sometimes be hard to understand. To paraphrase the speech therapist though “That would be worked on after the social communication work”. I think being able to be understood, is a very important part of social communication in itself and if his speech patterns improved he may be able to interact with his peers more, I know of course that’s not the only thing holding him back but I think some improvements would help. However, I do remember having speech therapy when I was a kid (5) and the sort of exercises they give you to help improve pronunciation, I doubt Boy Lacer would be able to follow them.
Anyway one interesting thing did happen today, we were in the shop after school, queuing up to pay, this small kid walked in, recognised Boy Lacer and called out his name and said hello. So I guess it was a kid from playgroup. I’m used to Girl Lacer being recognised where ever we go (she seems to have her five year old fingers in every five year old network going) but that was the first time any other kid has called out to Boy Lacer by his name. Could have knocked me down with a feather.