Nora had her early intervention evaluation for her speech last Friday.
It went really well. We weren’t sure exactly what to expect in terms of cooperation on Nora’s part, but she was great. A little shy when they first arrived, but she warmed up quickly. We scheduled the appointment for early in the day–9 a.m.–so that she would be well-rested and at her “best.”
Two women came to evaluate her. One was an early childhood specialist who was there to evaluate her development–social, physical, cognitive. The other was a speech pathologist who was there specifically to evaluate her speech.
All they really did was play. And ask us a lot of questions. They brought a lot of props and toys of their own, to test specific things–covering an object with a blanket to see if she would look under the blanket, hiding things under cups and moving them around for the same purpose. Practiced “feeding” a bear with a plastic spoon, practiced laying the bear down and covering him with a blanket, etc. All things that they directed her to do that she cooperated with. They gave her a hand mirror to see how she would respond to her reflection, and she performed–smirking at herself and moving her head to take peeks at different angles. HILARIOUS.
They also looked at books–random ones that they pulled off of her shelf–and asked her about objects in them. Nora pointed accordingly. At one point they were going through a Sesame Street book and the woman was asking Nora about the characters. She turned the page and Nora’s finger went out immediately, pointing, and her little voice said, “Boon!” Both women looked at us. “Balloon?” one said. Yep. Pointing right at the yellow balloon on the page, she had said it with conviction. Balloons are one of her favorite things on the planet.
That’s the funny thing. As I mentioned in my previous post–ever since I made that call to early intervention, Nora seems to have made a lot of improvements. Picked up a few new words, even since I last posted–Balloon. More. MAMA. That’s right, she says Mama now. Every day, multiple times a day. It is awesome.
So, an hour or so passed, and they were done with the evaluation. They had put Nora through all of the “tests,” and had asked us all of their questions. The full report with all of the results won’t be ready for us for a few weeks, but they told us her scores right away–and told us outright that Nora does NOT qualify for services.
Exactly as I suspected.
According to her scores, Nora does have delays. Not only in speech, but in the social and cognitive skills, too. BUT her scores were borderline normal, just a bit below. They said that the reason for her lowered scores in the social and cognitive areas were all for things related to speech, so… well, it all makes sense. That was why we were in this position in the first place.
At the end of the day, Nora’s delay is considered “mild,” and children need to have a severe delay to qualify for services. And Nora doesn’t, which is honestly a relief. They expect that she will catch up on her own, reassuring us that the range of what is “normal” at this stage of development is extremely broad. Some kids are talking in complete sentences. Some have only a few words. It’s just the way that it is.
Given the small sample of children in my family that we’ve since “surveyed,” it sounds like not really talking until after 2 years old is not as uncommon as I might’ve once believed. Two of our nephews were late talkers. So were a few of my cousins’ kids. All are bright, healthy children who eventually caught on–by themselves. No therapy needed.
So, it is what it is. We continue to do what we’ve been doing. Narrate our day, work with her. Encourage her speech. We do a lot of object identification exercises. Singing. Reading.
In six months, if Nora still seems to be below the curve, we’ll have her re-evaluated. But I’m not worried.
I see the light at the end of the tunnel. And there are a lot of words there. :)
AboutI'm Heather. I just turned 30. I'm happily married, and mommy to the most beautiful little girl in the world (what, you're saying I could be biased?). Determined DIYer and homeowner. Sarcastic. A perfectionist. A bleeding-heart liberal. Frugal. Loves a little dog way more than many humans. Loves food, hates exercise (it's an ongoing battle). A loyal football fan. I love to laugh. Value family and friends above all else. Vie to be a world traveler.
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