Obviously, there were a lot of therapies for us to choose. The very first thing we had set in motion was Speech Therapy. Prior to the initial assessment, I had no idea what “Speech Therapy” consisted of, and, if I’m being 100% honest, I thought it was for stroke patients, deaf people, lisps, and children that didn’t talk. Call me naive and narrow-minded, I really don’t care. I never in a million years thought that a child that NEVER SHUT UP would need “Speech Therapy.” The Speech Pathologist that did the initial evaluation told us the process. We had to get a prescription from our pediatrician sent to the Speech Therapy Department, then we’d go from there (CHECK.). After a month, I called to find out what was going on. At this time, I was told that since the feedback report hadn’t been released to ME, the Speech Pathologists recommendations hadn’t yet been released to the department, therefore, we were taken OFF the waitlist and put ON the waitlist for the waitlist. Silver lining moment: once they got the Speech Pathologist’s recommendations, Sophia would be put back on the waitlist in the same position that she was when she was taken off (so why take her off then??).
The call finally came. We were being put into the system. Because I still didn’t know WHEN school was (it was October, we still hadn’t had our placement), I couldn’t give them Sophia’s “availability,” so they put us with a SLP on Friday afternoons. Seemed reasonable enough. Even though it was recommended that she have weekly sessions, the only openings that this SLP had at the time was every other Friday. WHATEVER. I’ll take anything at this point, just get us going. PLEASE. So we are set for the first session, and make the trek over to the Dublin Close to Home center (so much better than that Hilliard place). The first session is mostly progress interrogation (again) and MY goals for her. Well…as I said before, I didn’t really know WHAT speech therapy was, so I was like this: “Ummm…..” until she just made her own goals. Then she said “I saw in the notes that she’s supposed to be weekly but you’re in a bi-weekly appointment. Did you want a weekly appointment? I have a weekly 9:30 Thursday mornings.” I told her I didn’t know what her schedule would be like, so I didn’t want to move to a morning appointment then have to change it because of school, so we stuck with the Friday afternoon bi-weekly. Then she did a little “talking” and playing with Sophia. Then we were done. Ok….
That night, around 4:45 (the sessions are 45 minutes, so we went until 4:15 and home by around 4:35-ish…), she called me. “Hey I just wanted to call you. I talked to my patients and moved some people around, so would you want to do a weekly time at 3:30 then?” Yeah that’s right…she moved her whole schedule around to get Sophia in a weekly slot, when the scheduling office plugged us into a bi-weekly spot. Sign from above #1.
When we started the sessions, Sophia was still very much having separation issues, so I usually accompanied her back to the room and watched. She always deferred to me, and if I’m being totally honest with the peanut gallery, I wasn’t a fan of the SLP at first, because I felt like she was judging me. I’m positive now she was just frustrated that my presence was interfering with her making any amount of progress. The week that Sophia started school, we got to the building and checked in as usual, then sat down in the waiting room to wait for our turn. In the last two sessions, we had discussed me staying behind, and I was all for it. 45 minutes a week where she ISN’T on my hip? OH TWIST MY ARM!! So Miss Christine comes into the lobby with her normal “Hi Sophia!” And Sophia answers “Hi Miss Christine,” and just takes off down the hall. That was it. No tears, nothing. She just went without me. And like that, we were done with separation issues. Sign from above #2. Also, in the month or so that we’d been seeing Miss Christine, she had convinced Sophia that homework was fun, and Sophia had already smashed through two of her goals from the initial assessment. Signs from above #3 and #4.
Since Christmas, Sophia has blown through nine of her speech goals, usually completing them after one week of work. For some, she would test at 20% one week (testing at the beginning of the session), then Christine and I would discuss what she could and couldn’t do well and what needs work, give us homework, then we’d go home. She would then test Sophia the next week and she’d be into the 85-90% range, thus mastering the goal. She has her speaking in near-complete sentences, and even has it down to just a look as a cue to get her to correct HERSELF when she uses the wrong pronoun or says something inappropriate to the conversation or scripted. SHE IS A GIFT FROM HEAVEN.
At the kindergarten speech assessment, in one-on-one situations, Sophia is now testing just below the AVERAGE level for her peers. That means that in 8 months, Christine brought her from nothing but “scripter” to someone that can have an actual conversation in a one-on-one setting. The next step is getting her to generalize in groups….
A GIFT FROM HEAVEN.