Speech and Language Evaluation

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Today was Finn’s Speech and Language Evaluation

Seashore-House
Philadelphia CHOP Seashore-

We went to Philadelphia CHOP which is a wonderful hospital. We trekked through our first real snow storm of the year, of course that happened this morning. We met with two women, one of which was Speech Therapist Abigail Rosenburg, who sat and interviewed us for about an hour and then proceeded to evaluate Finn on the basis of his means of communication with us and verbalization. Although they couldn’t see that while Finn was not behaving like a two-year old should, verbalizing or even speaking any real words at all, my husband and I knew today was a milestone for us. We explained some of the events of our previous visitation…

 

In November…

We took Finn here for his ABR Hearing Test. This was truly a different experience. First I recall the waiting room. This same room that we sat in just months ago that had a coloring table, abacus, and beads on the wall were of far far less interest to Finn then. I remember how tedious it was just trying to keep redirecting him to a new things so he wouldn’t grow irritable or bolt for the door. He put the crayons on the cold tiled floor that was only meant to walk on and lined them up and peeled the labels off. He flipped the letters once or twice and then wanted to be held. He didn’t want to play he wanted to go home. The examination room we were in today was the same type of room we were in before. Except before as soon as we entered the room Finn’s eyes filled with deep angst and concern that he could not express to us other than through those big blue tear-filled eyes. He clenched aggressively at us to lift him up. When we couldn’t get him to sit on our laps, he would run for the door crying. Granted we had to undergo a slightly invasive exam to check his ears, hoping we could bypass the sedated testing by confirming his hearing was fine with standard testing, but he wouldn’t allow for that. Despite the difference in-goal for our meeting today, Finn’s entire attitude was changed.

Truly Remarkable

Our snowy drive home after the eval
Our snowy drive home after the eval

Finn was not phased that we entered the room and shut the door. He played and babbled delightfully on the ground with the fruit puzzle as we had grown up talk about him. He was doing the one “inappropriate play” thing that he does and loves to do, line the puzzle pieces up. E.I. says he is a visual learner and therefore likes to be able to lay everything out before him and examine them together. We handed him the base for the pieces and he started to work with the specialist adding the pieces in bit by bit correctly. The two women clapped in unison as he got a piece right and he looked up at me nervously came to me slightly but then sat back down. This was tremendous. He fought through an anxiety and even the urge and need to be held. He was comforted enough that I was beside him. He looked up about twice when called and looked at them a few times in the eyes! He sat in the little chair quietly and colored as she held out and handed him crayons. She talked to him and he didn’t push her away. He didn’t “block his play” by turning away from anyone. He sat nice and used the crayons appropriately. She laid out some other toys which he didn’t have much interest to stop coloring for at the moment and then we played once more on the floor with a treasure chest and coin game. Both women cheered him on as he put the coins in the chest. It was nap time and he as getting tired. They discussed Finn privately and returned once more to conclude our meeting.

They said some wonderful things, it really made me feel like all the hard work and research I’ve been doing has been paying off. They said I was doing a terrific job, doing everything that I could they where impressed with all the home tools and learning methods (flash cards, body part songs, pointing tricks, sign language, etc) and how “on-top” of things I was as far as setup with appointments and therapists. They even joked to say, “are you sure you’re not a therapist?”

They said Finn’s speech is about the level of a 6-9 month old. This was quite disheartening. Most of the people you see are less straightforward and I think sometimes coddle parents feelings because it i such a sensitive topic, so most of the time people take in generalization and don’t want to label and don’t really through numbers out there… so to actually hear 6-9months truly hurt my heart.

However his skills are scattered and he has some strategy thinking and organizational skills of a 5-year-old. They said the developmental pediatrician can give us a better idea on his learning disorder and diagnosis but they could assure us if anything he did not have Apraxia. We will follow-up with them in another 6 months and they said they would like to request that he see the OT and ST twice a week rather than once issued by Early Intervention.They’ll be sending a letter so we’ll see. On to the next step…

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