Not easy to disagree with the world

by Stella

First I have to apologize my English... I'm from Denmark and my English is a little rusty but I hope you understand me anyway.

A little about our family situation and our believes.

We have a son who turns 4 June 12th this year and he is far behind with his speech. We have kept him home with me (his mother) until February this year (3 years 8 months) when he started kindergarten. We believe that we should discipline and care for our own children and not just let the day care system do it for us and that's why our kids haven't been "sent" out of the house before we felt they were ready. Our son is our first born and he has two little sisters now age 2 1\2 and 2 months. His oldest sister speaks perfectly without problems and people say she speaks very well for her age (but I don't know if that's true because we have never tested her).

Our problem began when our son turned about 1-1 1/2 when he said his "first" word which was actually a sentence "går det godt?" (in English it means "how are you?"). Everybody was high on happiness because he said a sentence instead of just one word. The problem was that this was all he said. He kept repeating this sentence over and over until one day he stopped. I think he spoke the sentence for about 2 months. Then we had his first sister and everybody told us that's the reason why he stopped talking because it was to much to handle to have a sister this young. We insisted that's he was just stubborn because he had stubbornness in other aspects of his behaviour but the people around us keeps coming with inputs and reasons why he didn't talk. People close to us said "have you considered that he might have a brain damage from the hard way he was born", "it's because you have kept him home to long", "you are over protective", you don't read enough with him", "you don't talk enough with him", "it's because you got pregnant to fast after his birth" and so on and so on and so on. And this is just from the people closest to us...

We kept "holding" him at home because we knew that the second he stept foot in the day care system he would get some kind of label that would be hard to shake off and we didn't believe anything was wrong with him other than he didn't speak. Then he turns 3 years old and the system in Denmark is made to "capture" children outside the day care system if they might have problems so we got a letter that our son should have tested his speech... we knew that time was running out for us and the speech therapist came and concluded what we already knew that he was late on developing his speech. A new meeting was arranged and he should show great aprovements by then the speech therapist said. We gave in and he started in kindergarten February this year because we wanted to be sure we didn't "harm" our son by keeping him home like some people said... his speech has improved we think. He says few words now. Banan (banana), cykel (bicycle), slut put finale (and that's the end), en to tre (one two three), se film (watch movie), bukser (pants), køre bile (drive car). So we can see an improvement. The follow up meeting came and the speech therapist had observed him and failed to test him (he didn't want to take the test se brought) and se said he didn't improve fast enough... the child psychologist started to talk about other problems than just late talking which we didn't recognise. Social problems (biting another child but our daughter have bit one as well. Not accepting a no(but our daughter doesn't either) and physical problems such as big arm movements and runs fast and he can't concentrate and can't sit still on a chair and can't play with pearls... at home we have no such problems... no big sudden movements and no problems with pearls and no problems at the table and as long as it interests him he has no problem concentrating... but yes he runs fast but that's not a crime...

They started to ask questions about his behaviour and his patterns at home and we didn't like where this was going... we knew right there that they tried to put a label on him... Autistic or ADHD... and that's not our son... his only problem is that he's not talking... the few episodes in the kindergarten have direct connection with his lack of speech... we now became desperate and started searching the internet for others in our situation but couldn't find any so we searched outside Denmark and found a woman who talked about Thomas Sowell's book The Einstein Syndrome. I read the book and OMG that sounds like our son! That's why I'm writing to you... because maybe I'm just in denial but maybe my Hosbond and I are right. Maybe our son is not "brain damaged" maybe he is just a late talking boy. Maybe he is smart.

A little about our son:

He loves puzzles and the puzzles his age are way to easy for him so we give him more advanced ones. When they become to easy he puts them together with the back side up so he can't se a picture.

He loves to play and create a long lanes with his train set.

He loves Lego and sort them in colours and build high towers.

He loves out door activities on the playground and on a cycle with no pedals.

He hacked the child security on the window and on the door when he was 2-2 1/2 and he started to unlock doors with keys.

He has an extraordinary memory. (we went back to a place we haven't been to in 1 1/2 year and he could walk the correct rute from the entrance to the playground without any mistakes.

He points to things he wants.

He plays with the preschool kids in the kindergarten.

He is very affectionate and loves to kiss and hug both his siblings and the people close to him but not people he doesn't like.

He gets frustrated when we don't understand him.

He knows the alphabet we think. He tried an app on the computer this evening and it crashed after k and we couldn't get it running again.

He knows numbers and colours and shapes by name. We ask for the blue pencil and he give it to us we ask him to find de square and he points.

He loves to play angry birds and other games on cell phone and tablets.

He loves to play games on the laptop and he's able to control the mouse.

He zips his jacket and put on his own clothes and shues.

He memorizes large orders of pictures (24) and put them up without looking on the manual.

He loves watching the same movies over and over (Garfield, ice age, Shrek and so on)

He's very curious and investigates new things if laid in front of him.

He tries to break our rules by almost crossing the line (we told him he was not alowed to go outside in his boxers and we actually ment that he could not go outside without us and he knew that, but instead of waiting for us to get ready he put on boots and jacket and went outside) technically he didn't break the rule.

Dad is software developer, mum is an accountant, granddad is software developer, uncle is software developer, other uncle is software developer, dad, granddad, grandmother plays piano, dad, mother, uncle, uncle, uncle, uncle, granddad is highly skilled in math.

I can go on and on about him for ages (a mothers habit) but the mail have to end at some point 😉

Maybe our son has a problem or maybe he's just a late talker... I hope you can help us with some advice on what to do... we really don't believe in our hearts that he is autistic or has ADHD... We truely believe that he is just a late talker.

Thank you very much for your time.

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Jul 10, 2014
You are doing a great job!
by: Bridget

I understand how difficult it can be when your child has trouble learning a certain skill. To set the record straight, there is nothing you did as a mother or during birth to cause a speech or language delay. Keeping a child home or sending him/her to daycare is a personal choice and both good choices. Don't doubt yourself as a mother, you are a good mother!

I'm glad that you have started seeking out help for your child. Having a speech or language delay can cause other problems down the road so it is good to start working on it at a young age!

For your concerns about a diagnosis, this can be a touchy subject. Also I believe that it is a bit misunderstood. I don't know how things work in Denmark; however, in my current job in the United States, a child needs a diagnosis to receive funding from the state for speech therapy. Without a diagnosis, you can't receive services.

However, a NEVER put much weight on a diagnosis!! Actually, if I am not part of a student's evaluation process, I hardly even look up the diagnosis. It is not important. As a therapist, I look at a child's unique strengths and areas of need and then create unique goals to help him or her. No child with Autism, ADHD, or a speech dealy is alike. Not even close! When I worked in private practice, I stayed away from using a diagnosis and created profiles instead. This may be how things work in Denmark as well.

My advice is to seek out professional opinions from trusted therapists. Evaluations can help to describe your child's strengths and areas of need and then help to create goals. Make sure you are part of the whole process. Your input matters! Remember that! Find a therapist that will respect that.

In the meantime, make sure to try some of our late talker strategies and keep working on developing functional language at home. Be patient, it is a long process!

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Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference.

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