At Jimi’s three year well check with his doctor we (well James, I had to work ) addressed our concerns with Jimi’s speech. While his vocabulary, comprehension, and ability to formulate complex sentences is outstanding, his pronunciation is not. Jimi leaves off the final sounds of most words. While we (James and I) typically understand him, most other people have a hard time if they’re not accustomed to Jimi-nese.
Our super amazing and supportive pediatrician Dr. Katsh referred Jimi to a speech evaluation at Seattle Children’s Hospital’s division in Everett. After the evaluation they noted that he was advanced in most areas but was behind in his termination sounds. The therapists there recommended that Jimi see a speech therapist once a week.
We had a lot of difficulty scheduling issues and were not able to send Jimi to the speech therapists with Children’s because we need a late afternoon/evening appointments and they did not have any weekly appointments currently available. We were fortunate to discover Bothell Pediatric and Hand Therapy which was able to accommodate our schedule, is only a few miles from my work, and has late enough appointments that I am able to attend his therapy sessions too.
Each week Jimi meets with his therapist, Danny, for “play sessions”. At Jimi’s age one of the most effective ways to help his speech is through regular play and activities he does everyday. The therapy center has a big train set that Jimi asks to play with every single week. While Jimi and Danny are playing, Danny works with Jimi when he hears Jimi dropping off the sounds of the word he ask him to repeat it and works on helping him figure out the sound. Before we started going to therapy we had been trying to work with Jimi to learn how to finish his words but he often became resistant and upset with us. Jimi loves going to speech therapy each week and has never put up any resistance towards Danny.
At the end of each session Jimi is sent home with some “homework” consisting of a terminal sound to focus on.
Jimi began the weekly therapy sessions in late November and I definitely feel like we are seeing some improvements. While Jimi still needs some prompting to finish his words, he frequently does so without prompting and is less frustrated with our attempts to assist him.
I know that Jimi is young and he would have likely developed his speech over time without assistance. But I also know what he is gaining confidence in his speech now with some assistance. There may be critics of early intervention in such forms as speech, but if we’re help to help eliminate some of his frustrations and give him the tools he needs to be a clear speaker early on, than I am all for it.