Monday, March 27, 2006

Progress, at Last

I took Owen to speech today, his usual Monday routine. Lately, we have been doing something called "co-treat," where he works with both his speech therapist and an occupational therapist in a therapy gym. It's a great approach for him, since he has some sensory issues, to be able to try to get him to use his words while they 'play' with him in the gym. But the last three times I have been there with him he hasn't wanted to do anything (of course, it could be because he has been perpetually sick throughout the month of January and February). I have kept him from his speech therapy for two weeks now, just to let him get healthy again and not push him.

So today, after his initial shyness, he warmed up and began to play. His teacher, Jana, kept calling out to me every time he said a word that we had been working on. I could see a look of astonishment in her face when he said "up" instead of "pu" and then when he said, "swim," finishing the word (instead of dropping the 'm'). She was really impressed with him, and I could just see her mood go from good to overjoyed. Funnily enough, I had asked her last week when we did the one-on-one speech (he gets speech twice weekly), how does she not get frustrated. She said she does, but the reward is there. And today, I saw the reward. I saw Owen finish words, and say words, and I know that the repetition that I insist on at home was working. I was so frustrated with him the other day because he refused to say milk (he says "ilk"), he would only do the sign, and I wanted so badly for him to say the word, that I almost, almost tried to reprimand him by withholding the milk. But then I thought about how mean that was, and how a two-year-old has no idea why he can't have his milk.

But for me, it's so frustrating. I guess that is probably why I never became a speech teacher, because I wouldn't have the patience for it. And yet, and yet...ordinary people like me think we could never be the parent of a special needs child because we don't have the patience. God thought otherwise, because rather than being a speech teacher all week long, I am now a speech teacher for life: 24/7. So I will persist and drive away my impatience for as long as it takes. And just like many of my fellow parents of children with special needs, we don't question the calling, we just answer the call.


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