Because of a busy work schedule the last few weeks, I postponed several doctor visits and speech/language testing for Casey until this week. This meant that Casey had an audiologist appointment, an ENT appointment, speech language testing, and an IEP meeting with the school district all this week. He was also scheduled for another ear tube surgery, but the ENT allowed us to cancel it and wait until fall to see if he still needs it then. It was a long week and was trying for the little guy. The speech language testing itself required Casey to sit and focus and speak – for 2 hours! These folks are professionals. They noticed when Casey was getting bored and restless and changed games. They tried to stay a step ahead and it helped a lot, but in retrospect, this was just too busy of a week for the little guy.
He’s had ear infections since he was a wee one. He got tubes. They fell out. He got tubes again. He was slow to develop speech. His tubes fell out again. Anytime he’s had fluid behind his ear, he’s had slightly impaired hearing and he can’t hear higher frequency sounds. So this means that his speech, hasn’t developed clearly and frankly, I can’t understand but maybe 40% of what the child says. When I do understand, he says things like, “Mommy, my train had a malfunction. Me probably have to fix it. The train.” And I think to myself, this kid is brilliant, there’s no way he needs extra help. But most the time he’s probably uttering equally complicated sentences, it just sounds like gibberish. And he gets so frustrated when we can’t understand him. Sometimes he takes me by the hand and shows me what he’s talking about. He has such great coping skills. The other day he was trying to tell me something about a “star” and I kept thinking he meant “car” or “jar” and he responded to me, (singing) “you know tintle tintle widdle tar.” (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)
Hanging out this week at the appointments was actually enjoyable. He is so fun to watch and you can actually see him think. He can sit still, stay focused so much longer than Riley can now, much less at the age of 3. And even as he gets bored with the games they have him play, he’s fun to watch adapt. It wasn’t good enough at the audiologist to just put a chip in the can when he heard a sound. After 10 minutes of this, he grabbed a puzzle and put a piece of the puzzle together every time he heard a sound.
So after we endured a long week of appointments related to communication, I gathered up all the documentation from the week to take in to Head Start. We’re trying to get him in the same pre-school that helped his brother out so much with his ADHD and I needed to supplement his file with the new IEP and the new documentation.
I walked into the office and approached the woman at the front desk and our exchange went like this.
Me: “I have some supplemental information for my son’s file.”
Her. “Who requested the information?”
Me. “Um. I’m not sure of her name. She’s the nurse.”
Her. “Ma’am. We have a number of nurses. Can you think of her name?”
Me. “No. But she’s probably in her 40s. She’s shorter than I am. She’s Latina.”
Me.”No. I mean, she’s Latina.”
She stared at me like I had 7 heads.
Me. “The Latina Nurse. You know, Latina.” (In desperation…) “The Hispanic nurse in her 40s.”
Her. “Oh no. Her name isn’t La Teena. It’s Laura.”
Me. – obvious that I was not going to successfully communicate with this woman. “Um. I’m sorry. Yes. That’s right. Laura.”
Her. “I’ll go get her for you.”
The poor woman still had no idea what I was trying to say. And we’re both full grown adults. With decent hearing. And no required speech and language therapy.
How frustrating it must be for Casey.