Hi, welcome to the start of J’s journey. Today, J had his first appointment with the speech and language therapist. For me, this was quite a daunting idea. The thought that I would be judged or that they wouldn’t believe my concerns was overwhelming. In reality it was the opposite. There’s so many emotions around children with additional needs and a sense of unknown when it comes to meeting professionals. This is why I wanted to document our journey. I want to show you what its like to live this life and how we move forward.
So, the first step was taken today. Let me introduce J…J is our first child, and as I write he is 21 months old. He is a big bundle of energy, and the reason for my grey hairs. J was a very much wanted baby and I had so many ideas of what motherhood would be like. I can safely say that most of these ideas have not gone according to plan (mostly for the better).
Thanks to reduced movements and low fluid he was induced a week early. He had a few challenges. For example he was jaundice at birth and had light therapy at a few days old. He was diagnosed as an atopic baby (allergies, asthma and eczema that all play off each other) and was born with plagiocephaly. However he was generally a happy baby and progressing well. He was actually quite a chatterbox (baby babble and a few baby words).
Then around 9 months J seemed to just stop. He went silent (apart from crying and laughing). Looking back, the only ‘event’ that seemed to have happened around that time was the start of ‘non-epileptic paradoxical episodes’. It may be coincidence, it might mean something – at this stage we don’t know.
Anyway, I was told by everyone from health visitor to family and friends that the speech and sounds would come when he was ready. Let me tell you that is so frustrating when your child was doing all those things. J didn’t wave, didn’t point, didn’t talk, didn’t babble. He communicated a lot with his eyes and facial expressions. In my head I had thoughts ranging from ‘what did I do wrong?’, ‘did I not eat the right food when pregnant?’, ‘is it just bad parenting?’. Half of me wanted to be told that I was right to be worried because then it wasn’t ‘my fault’ and it wasn’t me being a bad mother. But the other half was scared of there being a ‘something’ and what this would mean.
We started to use Makaton signing, flash cards, making animal and car sounds when playing etc. J began to sign a few signs and by about 1 and half J was communicating non-verbally (the day he first waved to me when I left from work will always be one of my favourite memories). J is beginning to point to things when asked or when he’s interested and will pull us over to things he wants help with. But J still won’t talk. He has regained minimal babbling (dadada and bu sounds) which he will do loudly and proudly when he feels like it but we can still go days without hearing a sound. So, after 7 months of assessments and home visits from the Health Visitor we were referred to speech and language team.
So, that takes us to today. Today we met our speech therapist and she is amazing. She listened and she got to know J. We now have a starting point and our journey can begin…