Monday, February 22, 2016

Calling It Quits...

I made the decision over Christmas to pull Bear out of the early Intervention / speech therapy program.  After a questionable evaluation I was told that Bear would receive assistance mainly for speech and that a therapist would be coming to our home twice a month for one hour.   They stated that their goal was to teach me how to teach Bear what he needs.  I instantly thought this was a waste of time considering my background in early childhood special education.  Yet, I went in with an open mind and willingness to learn.

Five months and ten session in the therapist kept attempting to get Bear to say or even sign the word "more."  Something he does for us, but has yet to for the therapist.  I asked if we could move on to something else as he says this for us without an issue so it feels like a waste of time all around.  This was after all the tenth session and he appeared in the sessions to have not progressed at all.  At home with me doing exactly what I had been doing prior to the evaluation his language we slowly growing.  I felt like he was ready for something else.  This is when I started to wrestle back and forth with dropping the service as it seemed totally useless if the therapist wasn't able to move on.

In early December we went up to my Dad's house in NY for faux Christmas.  While there my dad would flick on and off this little table top tree.  While he did this he would say "one, two, three" then flick on the tree.  Bear loved this.  After a few times hearing it Bear did what he normally does when I work with him.  He started to mouth the words along with my Dad.  Slowly he started to say them.  After 20 minutes he was saying "one, two, three" on his own prompting the tree to be turned on/off.  He had a blast learning it.  I even got a quick video of it.

A still from a video clip I took
The next week we had another session.  The therapist asked me how the trip went and if Bear said any words during the trip.  I tell the therapist about him saying "one, two, three" to get the tree lights on.  To which the therapist said "No offense but kids that don't say 'mama' or 'more' aren't saying 'one two three.' "  So clearly I show the therapist the video.  After two viewings and a rather dumbfounded look Bear started to say it along with the video.  This was the first word(s) Bear had ever said in therapy EVER!

A still from a video clip I took
I asked the therapist about her teaching technique and what she was trying to do.  She started that she wanted to pull Bear out of his own agenda and into someone else's agenda.  She felt that was the best way for him to learn.  She added that he gets to do whatever he wants and he needed some more structure to his day.  The session ended, but I thought about this for the longest time before talking it over with Hubby.

Bear is 2 1/2 now and he gets to do whatever he wants within reason.  I do work with him and pull him out of his agenda throughout the day.  It could be as simple as meal times where he is told to sit and eat or as complex as a multi-step art project that requires him to focus and listen for several minutes at a time.  However, pulling Bear out of his own agenda isn't necessarily my feelings on the best way to teach him how to incorporate speech into his everyday life.  It clearly wasn't working during the Therapists sessions.

What did work was when I joined him in something he was interested in doing like playing with his little people farm.  He would be engaged in playing and I would slip in beside him and play with a few toys on my own.  I would would say things like "cow says moo" or "the horse looks like he needs water."  Doing appropriate actions to go along with what I was saying.  Bear would watch a first then want to join in.  He would mouth the word(s) I was saying before trying to say them on his own.  When he seemed to have a handle on it I would slip away.  90% of the time Bear would continue to use the words we had gone over.  I didn't need to take him out of his agenda to teach him that.  Learning should be about fun for him.  Times like these you hear him pick up and retain those words.  A few days after that very interaction I open the fridge to get him milk and he says "moo cow milk."

Which brings me today.  Since that last session in Early December Bear has tripled his vocabulary without doing anything more that I was doing prior to his initial evaluation.  Hubby encouraged me to trust my instincts and so I dropped the paperwork into the mail to terminate his early intervention.  For our family this is the right thing.  It shows me exactly what I knew all along.  Bear needed to do things in his own time, in his own way.  I don't regret this decision one bit.


8 comments:

  1. I still think it's a great idea that you called it quits.

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    1. Thank you I agree now but took me too much time to make that decision!

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  2. I think this was a great idea.
    He sure is adorable!

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  3. Sounds like you did the right thing, mama!

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    1. Thank you! I feel like it was a hard decision, but the right one.

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  4. We also quit early intervention. It didn't help at all. What helped my son speak was watching LeapFrog videos with Scout (not the best but we were PCS-ing) and then when he started special ed. pre-k, he now works with an actual speech therapist and doesn't stop talking! All that to say, I think you did the right thing!

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    1. I've worked with EI and know how it can benefit the right children, but I didn't think my son was going to be one of them. It's one of those times when mama knows best for me. When we travel/PCS Bear gets more screen time then I would like. Family has even mentioned that they disagree with it but to each their own. What they don't see is when he's playing independently at home with his toys that he starts saying what the characters say or using vocabulary correctly that the show uses. He's taking something away from the show more than just using it for entertainment. I say you know your kid and if it works it works.

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