Sunday, September 20, 2009

Noah's Speech Evaluation

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Today was Noah's speech evaluation. I'm so glad that we did it on a Saturday so that way Chris could have a glimpse of the facility and see and hear first hand what a therapist had to say. It went well, Noah has some really strong points, he flirts, he babbles, he can make the sound of M, A and B. She says that he is age appropriate in his socialization. Which are all really great. Yet Noah does have some areas that are a little concerning. His expressions and mouth movements are those of a three to six month old, although that doesn't necessarily mean he won't catch up in the talking department. We went over techniques that we need to be implementing at home. More reading of books, more educational dance, learning DVD's for Noah to watch. Introducing simple sign language for words like "done" and "more."

Of course the therapists try to feel you out, to see how much you can take in. How much you're prepared to hear at the time. How much of the "bad" you can handle. I told her again nothing she could tell me would be so crushing that I couldn't hear it. So she brought out devices that Noah may or may not need in the future so I could be aware that they do exist should he need them. Computerized devices that make sentences, some that have pictures that he could push to tell us his needs and wants, some gadgets that attach to wheelchairs if need be. Medicaid will only pay for a speech device once every five years so we'll have to wait to see what Noah needs since they won't let us order multiple devices should we think he needs a certain kind and then happens to need something different. I'm not sure if Noah will need anything like that. I'm hopeful that he'll talk. He has his own language now, so I hope that he'll learn to speak.

We really won't know fully until Noah is around three years old what his speech is going to do. Speech might be complicated for him since motor skills are difficult for him. The therapist said she didn't think Noah would benefit at this time from adding another day of therapy to his already busy schedule. She said one hour a week isn't going to improve things at this time, and that speech is something Chris will need to work on daily with him at home. They'll re-evaluate him when he's a year old and then probably again in March to see how he's progressing. They recommended we enroll in a special class that Children's Hospital has called the HANA program. It's like a six to eight week class once a week for a couple of hours and they teach parents how to become basically a speech therapist for their own child. She also recommended after sick season is over that in the late spring or early summer taking Noah to free reading library children's clinics where they put on puppet shows and read to children.

She also thought Noah didn't know his own name yet, which she said wasn't a great thing, but he might who knows. I've told him "no arching" for so long that maybe he's confused with "Noah". I still think he knows his name maybe he just wasn't showing off all of his skills. He likes to keep some things a mystery I think. Even sometimes when he thinks I'm not looking he'll play different. I've seen him come to midline and grab something, which he rarely does for me or for a therapist, when he thinks my back is turned. He also makes more attempts to reach for things when he thinks I'm not there or watching. Maybe he knows that I'll help him get things more if I'm around. He is very smart. So I know that he's thinking very hard on things. Even when he's dosing in and out of sleep he'll bring both hands up open handed to help hold his bottle. During the day he's lazy about it, and wants me to hold it for him and if he does decide he'll assist he usually goes about it close fisted.

I'm still very anxious to get the tumble form seat ordered from Medicaid. It's going to help us play and do therapy so much better at home. I pray Medicaid doesn't stall with helping us get it. Chris got to see it for the first time at the speech evaluation and while he thinks it's a great thing, he doesn't understand why it's so expensive.

I still have such hopes that Noah is going to do all the impossible things. He's already come so far, he's going to get there, I'm determined to do everything in my power to help him get there. He's so determined and I love the strong will that he has. I purchased Noah some biscuits today to take to therapy for practice. I was comforted that the box said for babies ten months and up. That means at Noah's eight months he's doing okay I think for his first try at a biscuit.

Noah's been sweating a lot in the night lately, and the house hasn't been that hot. His sheets are very wet when I pick him up and it feels like he's been sweating from his back, and usually he sweats from his head. I can see both bottom teeth budding. Nothing white, but you can clearly tell exactly where each one will go. I don't know how much longer it will be until the white comes up. Maybe that's been part of his discomfort and sweating at night. Although I can't say that Noah's really complaining that much. He hasn't been fussy at all, so I kind of feel like teeth so far have been a non-event for him. Maybe that will change when they finally break through the gum line. In a way I'm really excited for Noah to get teeth and then in another way I kind of wish he wouldn't because I've fallen so deeply in love with his soft tender smile just the way it is.

Stacy, Chris & Noah