The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Sunday, May 1, 2011]

What to Do...

As a Speech-Language Pathologist, people often want to show me their kids, especially for articulation issues. "Will you listen to little Johnny?" It's understandable. I'm sure I would do the same thing--you want to be sure your kid is developing appropriately.

But then there are the kids whose parents don't ask but who are screaming, "I have autism!" or "I don't understand anything you say!" Or occasionally there's a kid who is totally unintelligible, but the parents seem unaware that they should be able to understand their kid by that age. It's hard, because I know that early intervention brings great results.. well, appropriate early intervention does. Sometimes the early years are wasted by therapist doing things that fly in the face of reason (not to mention research), like gum brushing and tongue push-ups. But on the whole, early intervention is a very good thing, so I hate to see these kids not get any help until kindergarten.

Because of this, I feel a real conflict when I encounter kiddos who quite obviously are delayed or have a disability. On the one hand, it would be so good for the child to receive services to help their development. On the other hand, the parent has not asked for my expertise. So I keep my big mouth shut.

For example, a friend of mine has a toddler who has many of the signs of autism (or something else neurological). Even Laynie noticed--she can't identify the speech/language concerns, but her eyes got wide when she saw him toe-walking in his heavy Sunday shoes. This child would probably qualify for a special education preschool, with speech and OT. I haven't said anything, but sometimes I wonder if I should. If I were in the parents' place, I think I would want to know. I'm sure they're not ignoring the signs; they just don't know better. He's the oldest child, so they probably don't have a basis for what "typical" is. But maybe they wouldn't want to know or would not be ready to hear it if they weren't seeking the information.

I have thought about offering to have a church "playgroup" once in a while, where the parents could bring their kids if they had concerns or to make sure they were on track. Pediatricians are supposed to fill that role, but I've had so many of the parents of my students (who all have disabilities) say, "My pediatrician thought he was fine, but I just felt like there was something wrong." The child turns out to be deaf, have autism, have a severe language disorder, etc. So I think a lot of pediatricians may not be well-versed in child development.

Hm, maybe I'll talk to the Relief Society President and see what she thinks about having a playgroup or mommy workshop or something. And hopefully those parents would take advantage of it.


Post a Comment