Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Rain in Spain

The French don't care what they do actually, as long as they pronounce it properly. ~My Fair Lady

Scootch likes to talk. He's a natural chatterbox, just like Monkey. Only problem is that we all have a very difficult time understanding him. Since I'm the one home with him all day, I usually have a 70% success rate of figuring out what he's trying to say. Unfortunately, everyone else looks to me when we're in mixed company because they can't make out more than 50% of his chatter. Simple words, like the word "the" never comes out correctly. Even calling his sister sounds more like he's pronouncing the name of an exclusive southern island. I can't even describe what it sounds like when he requests to watch "Dora the Explorer." His pronunciation defies repeating. Compounded with that is the fact that he really has quite a large vocabulary for an almost 4 year old. He knows what he wants to say, and the words come out fast and furious. Its a trial to keep up and translate at the same time. So when I happened to have both boys in tow for Little Bear's last doctor's appointment, I asked their pediatrician about a speech evaluation and she wrote me a referral right then and there for Scootch.

I got an appointment last Monday with the Department of Speech and Hearing at the nearby hospital and hubby and I took Scootch in to see Dr. Ross. We went over his past history with his tongue and swallow studies from when he was an infant, and then - in Scootch's point of view - he got to "play" with the doctor for the next 40 minutes. He was happy as a clam talking about the cranes and trucks he was playing with. And then he got to spend time telling stories about the pictures in a flip book with the doctor. He thought it was a blast and even told the doctor he was coming back in 10 days to visit again.

I'm happy to say that the doctor immediately said at the end of the appointment that she didn't think he had any real issues with his speech that she was really concerned about. We received the official report of the evaluation today, and he scored in the 46th percentile for skill equivalency on the articulation test. Basically the boiled down result is that most of his trouble sounds aren't things that are expected to be mastered until age 7 or 8, so he has a few years to catch up. His speech is a bit muddled, but she just suggested trying to get him to calm down and speak more slowly, do some mirror exercises where someone looks in a mirror with him and repeats the same words so he can see how his mouth differs from one saying the word properly, and just keep trying to correct him in his everyday speech until he adopts the right pronunciation as his default. I'm also hoping that starting Preschool in the fall will give him more practice in adjusting his speech so he's understood by his peers.

Just another hurdle cleared. I'm glad we were rewarded for being more safe than sorry.

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