31 for 21: Speech Therapy

This morning Finn had his first speech therapy session at school.  It was a group setting; he will be going twice a week, and one session will be one-on-one, and the other is group.  There were two other little boys in the group, so it’s a small group.  The other two boys seemed to be a bit older than Finn – maybe 4?  I don’t know what their diagnoses are, but neither of them have Down syndrome.

This was really Finn’s very first experience being placed in a group in an unfamiliar setting and being asked to follow instructions from someone outside his family.  I was a little anxious about how it would go, and it was a little nerve-wracking for me (I did stay for this session; I sat out of the way so as not to be a distraction).  While I have no doubt that Finn understands a whole lot more than he’s able to communicate, I really can’t say for sure just how much he does understand.

The speech therapist played two games with the kids, both of which required them to follow verbal instructions, identify objects on pictures, share, and take turns.  It hit me then that this is about far more than learning how to communicate – it’s about learning how to interact with people and the world around him, which is obviously a hugely important life skill.

Finn had trouble with the whole thing.  At first he was good about sitting in his chair, but the novelty of that soon wore off and he wanted to explore the room.  He can’t match pictures at this point – that’s just beyond the scope of his abilities, so there was some frustration.  He was his usual cute, charming self, but stubborn and somewhat uncooperative.  Which is why it was nerve-wracking for me.  I had to just sit back and let it play out, let the SLP do her thing, and not interfere.

The SLP is very good – she’s warm and unendingly patient, and she spent a few minutes talking to me after class, assuring me that the first few sessions for any three-year old usually go like today went, and that I shouldn’t worry or feel discouraged; it will get better as Finn grows used to the routine.

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3 Comments on “31 for 21: Speech Therapy”

  1. esther
    October 28, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    i bet you that it will get easier and easier for both you and finn..it’s very natural that he, or any child for that matter, would need somet time to adjust to things. there is a little 4-year old boy in my twins’ prek-3 program and he had such a hard time with separation…and he is the oldest of them all, mind you. So it’s all normal and every child is so different…and with some time, thisnew setting and the new people will become finn’s “new normal” …just my humble opinion….

  2. Jaida
    October 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    A couple thoughts for you, from a mama a couple years on…

    Your comments about learning to interact, follow directions, etc are a really big part of why I am such a believer in therapy. It’s another really great opportunity to start building a set of skills that will serve Finn really well throughout his life, and especially if inclusion is your goal for him.

    For what it’s worth, Pacey never did well with the picture identification. It was so interesting – he could do it with photographs, but not the clip-art type images. It could be really frustrating because I KNEW he knew what the objects were, and he could identify people in photographs so I could never figure out what the missing link was for that particular activity. I still explain this to anyone who is assessing Pacey and point out that he is more successful at that type of object identification using other techniques.

    And finally, hard as it is, I never attend therapy sessions. Partly because I WOULD be a distraction for Pacey, but also because it’s the job of the therapist to figure out how to engage the kids and keep their interest in order to help them expand their skill set. I’d be sitting there feeling bad too, when it is really something that they encounter every single day working with small kids. We’ve done partial group therapy too, and that’s been really beneficial for Pacey to see how the other kids are participating.

    I’ve blogged before about how slow and frustrating I find speech therapy and speech development. I want faster results because I want to know what’s in my boy’s head. But the progress is there, and it will be for Finn too. I know it doesn’t matter WHAT I think, but I really believe this experience is going to be a great step for Finn. 🙂

  3. L
    October 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Your son is SOOOOOOO precious!!! I also came across a little video on YouTube that you might get something out of. It’s the same actor who played “Corkie” on the show, “Life Goes On”. He really is amazing.

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