Thursday, May 13, 2010

Week 17 Labels

I wanted to mention a couple other thoughts about sounds coming in before I switch off this topic. One thing to notice is that your child will substitute an easier sound for a harder sound...for example wabbit for rabbit (the w is an early developing sound, the r is much later), basketti for spaghetti (b easier than sp), yuv or wuv for love, tookie for cookie, pone for phone, caw for car, etc. When you are listening to your child's words, look at the substitutions that they are using and see that typically you will hear an earlier developing sound for the later developing sound.

Also, when you put two consonants together the production gets much harder, for example poon for spoon. So bl, br, tr, cl, sp, st, str, spl, tr, etc. in a word are even harder to produce than the words with a single your child will substitute an easier sound for the blend. And usually that will be just dropping off one of the consonant sounds in the blend. This is very typical.

I want to chat a bit about labels. In the world of schools, therapy, media, everyone seems pretty "label" crazy right now. I know that labels do help with getting insurance coverage and are very useful for that. A label is also good for getting more information about what your family is dealing with. These are good things about labels.

But as a parent and family, labels are hard...they hurt! We never want our child to struggle in life and when a professional puts a label on your child it is pretty traumatic. So, let's be realistic about evaluations and labels.

When your child has an initial evaluation by a therapist, they will come up with scores and standard deviations and possibly some labels. In speech therapy your child may have a receptive language delay or disorder (they have trouble understanding language); or they may have an expressive language delay or disorder (they have trouble using words or stringing words together or with grammar), they might have an articulation disorder or delay (they are hard to understand because they say their sounds incorrectly), then there are words like apraxia, autism, PDD, spectrum disorder, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, etc. etc. What I want you to think about is that your child is not their diagnosis. Your child is still that wonderful little person that brings you joy and remember, is right where they are supposed to be. They may be having some troubles and we need to help them get to the next step, but they are not an autistic child, or a Down Syndrome child, no, they are a child with autism, or a child with Down Syndrome or a child with a speech and language delay. They are a person first, not a label.

Also, when I evaluate a child and I am sharing the results with a family I always let them know that this is just a snapshot of your child...for this a new setting with a new person. The numbers and percentiles and standard deviations are not in stone. Hopefully with lots of chatting with the family and interacting with the child, we get a good enough picture to determine if there is an issue that we can help with. And then we can decide what the next step needs to be.

So, as hard as it is to hear a label or results of an evaluation remember to put it in perspective. You know your child the best and you know what their strengths and weaknesses are. Use the information you get to find out more information and use it to make a plan to help your child get to the next step.

But always remember, your child is your child first and foremost!!! And they are to be loved and cherished and played with and kissed and snuggled and enjoyed to the fullest.

Have a great week!!

No comments:

Post a Comment