Not too long ago, I heard of a family that was doubting the need of speech therapy for their young toddler. They were only in the beginning stages, but did not believe it was helping their child. They were considering stopping the therapy altogether.
I felt dismayed when I heard this. Yet, I related to the struggle and concern that these parents felt. I remembered the uncertainty of it all: Were the pediatrician’s concerns warranted ? Are we overreacting? Isn’t this a little too early to be thinking about this ? Are we really that family ? Do we really need a therapist ?
I also remember the difficulty of those beginnings stages. The slow process of building rapport with the child, the discovery of what teaching methods to use, and the doubt. Oh, the doubt – it hits you so harshly in the beginning. While common sense tells you that these things take time, the reality is, it feels like it’s not happening fast enough (or at all) in those first weeks.
In our situation, I couldn’t get away from what was unfolding before us. My son was utterly frustrated from not being understood or heard. His only way to communicate were difficult and long lasting tantrums. We needed the help.
We struggled and overcame those first months (yes, months) of initial work. We continued therapy weekly and we saw wonderful progress. I saw his true personality – a happy child who wanted nothing more than to talk and play with us. He joked with us. He talked about what he wanted to see and do. He enjoyed learning and was eager to work with his therapist.
The fears and the dread of nonverbal issues have finally faded. We still see tantrums, but they are normal ones that all children his age have. There are no longer any concerns of delays and he did not receive a diagnosis for any developmental disabilities.
I wonder where things would have been had we not opted to get the help. What if we had given in to the fears and the negative stigma? Would he be where he is today ?
It’s a long, hard journey, but I’m glad we did it. Therapy works with the right therapist. You’ve just got to find the right one who understands the situation and makes the connection. I’ll never forget the look on my son’s face when he realized that he was finally being heard. That moment alone made the struggle all worth it.
I never found out what happened with the family. I only hope that they gave it time or even sought the help of a different therapist. Choosing therapy for us was a turning point. It’s proven to be one of the important and impactful decisions we’ve made for our son. Everyday, I see the benefits and am thankful that we stuck with it.