Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Speech Therapy

When we were in Poland our translator and Polish social worker had a hard time understanding my daughter (in Polish). She used incorrect words for items.

Example: The word cartoon. Polish has a specific word for cartoon (kreskówki). My daughter used the word for fairy tale (bajki). She was never corrected on that particular word when she constructed her sentence, "I want to watch fairy tale".

According to the social worker and our translator, my daughter spoke on a 2 or 3 year old level of Polish. She was 7 at this time. From the paperwork that we received with the referral it did state that she was in speech therapy and that she has a speech delay. We knew we would be working with her on her speech issues from the start but I didn't imagine her being on a 2 or 3 year old level. We had our work cut out for us.

We didn't want to put my daughter in speech therapy when she first arrived because of a lot of reasons. That's a lot of appointments, not covered by insurance, she is learning a new language, and she has other delays due to malnutrition. Let's work with her for a year and see where she is at and re-evaluate the need for speech therapy then.

Sounds like a big task, huh? Yes, it was. Physically and emotionally draining. It felt like we corrected her speech 1,000 times a day for the first 6 months of her being home with us. We would correct or help her practice saying a word every time she had trouble. But then it started to taper off a bit. Our persistence and hard work paid off. Her English vocabulary is that of a 5-6 year old. We are learning rhyming and opposite words. Her favorite subject is language-shocker!

I think it was the right decision to work with her this past year and I feel confident that she will continue to improve as she gains more life and schooling experiences.

If you are hesitant about doing speech therapy with your child for the first year home, don't fret. You are not going to "mess up" your child. You are connecting with them by teaching them your language. And yes it is exhausting, but it gets better. I consider this part of the adoption journey part of the bonding process.

One of my favorite websites is http://mommyspeechtherapy.com/. She has tons of worksheets that you can use with your child. We have used some of these worksheets to help my daughter say certain letters she had trouble with.

If you need a speech therapist or on the fence about one, ask your pediatrician. They can give you a referral. Some school systems even offer free speech therapy sessions. The least you could do is go for a speech evaluation and see exactly what your child needs to work on.



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