9/25/2006

There is hope...

We had our appointments at the audiologist and speech pathologist today. As suspected, Super O has perfectly normal hearing but the hearing test was absolutely painful for me as a mother. They sat her in a chair in a sound proof room and I had to sit behind her so that I couldn't cue her to the sounds. They put these little ear buds in her ears and started playing low/medium/high pitched sounds with matching visual aids on the left and right sides of her. She wanted nothing to do with this. She sat in the big chair looking down and wouldn't acknowledge that she was hearing any sounds. Next, a nurse came in to play a game with her. The nurse put pegs in her hands and she was supposed to put them into a board with holes. Super O started whimpering and looking around for me. The nurse and audiologist decided to skip the game and tried to go back to the sounds. Super O started crying really hard at this point. It absolutely broke my heart and I started crying too! I wanted to let my baby know that I was right behind her, but I couldn't. I didn't want to ruin the test. Finally, after she had cried really hard for about a minute or so, they let me pick her up and hold her on my lap. Once she knew I was there, she completed the test with no problems.

After the sound proof room, we went into another room where they tested the cells in her inner ear. They play music into each ear using earbuds. The only response they're looking for is how the ear sends the sound back to the computer. Of course, Super O passed this one with flying colors. Speaking of colors, the audiologist felt so bad for making her cry that she gave Super O a new Winnie the Pooh coloring book with crayons!! Super O forgave the audiologist and we were on our way to the speech pathologist!

Super O isn't good with strangers. Especially when that stranger is interested in her speech. I was so proud of my little girl!! She warmed up to the speech pathologist in about 10 minutes. This woman is good!! She played several games with Super O and asked me about a million questions. We went through the words she can say and tried to get her to say some of them. The pathologist was most interested in seeing what types of sounds she can make. There's one disorder that involves not being able to make the correct sounds and usually vowels are affected. Well, Super O was able to say all of the vowels before any other letters so we decided that wasn't it. She tested Super O on her mouth movements, the thinking being that maybe she physically can't make the sounds. Again, Super O made all the appropriate mouth movements. I was very surprised when Super O actually spelled her name for the nice lady.

Long story short, the initial diagnosis is Expressive Language Disorder or Specific Language Impairment. The treatment? Super O will see the speech pathologist every two weeks, starting next Friday. She will work with Super O during their sessions and in the meantime, she'll give me the tools to help her at home. These tools will be passed on to Super O's teachers and our family. Everyone has to be on board for this to work. I count myself lucky that nobody has to be talked into it. Everyone is willing to do what it takes to help this beautiful, smart, funny little girl!

I've learned a valuable lesson in this. Since Super O's dad left, I've had to do everything on my own and the stress has been getting to me. I wasn't appreciating the precious gift that is my daughter. I've been resenting her language delays. Now that I have a game plan and she's starting to improve on her own, I'm starting to feel less stress and I'm enjoying her more. I'm starting to see that she wants this to work. She wants to talk, she just doesn't know how. She needs me to be strong and help her through this. They say that "God only gives you what you can handle" and "everything happens for a reason". I'm starting to see the reason behind this. Nothing matters except Super O. Petty work crap doesn't matter. Having a lot of money doesn't matter. Even paying bills on time every single month doesn't matter. All that matters is that my baby is happy and healthy and she knows that she's loved!! She will talk one day, with help, and I'll be there to enjoy every word she says!

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