Out of all the long term complications from Charlie’s premature birth, her speech delay is currently my biggest concern and the most frustrating.
Why? It’s because I don’t understand it. Every few days, Charlie will communicate with me very well for one short exchange. It goes something like this:
“Ba ba” while she signs that she is hungry.
“Do you want a bottle?”
I am ecstatic after an exchange like this. I think, “Oh, she finally has it!” However, the excitement is short lived.
Immediately afterwards, she regresses to babbling like a six month old. She understands what is said to her. She tries to repeat words but is only successful about 10% of the time. She utilizes the signs she knows often. It seems she is having trouble forming the words with her mouth.
Her speech was predicted to improve as her oral aversion decreased. Her oral aversion is almost non existent (Yay!) but her speech progress is stagnant.
My frustration is not so much that her progress is moving incredibly slow. I have learned to be patient. Rather, my frustration stems from my poor understanding as to what Charlie is struggling with. Her therapists aren’t exactly sure. I lack resources from which to learn about the issue. I am stuck for the moment.
Charlie has her 18 month well visit next week. I plan to discuss my concerns over Charlie’s speech. I hope the pediatrician can help me understand.
How can I help or teach Charlie if I don’t understand what the issue is?