Sunday, May 13, 2012

Maintaining Home Therapy Momentum

Ava's speech has improved so much in the past 15 months. A little over a year ago my 24 month old daughter had only a couple of "words", a handful of phonemes in her repertoire, and was beginning to give up trying - turning instead to gesture. I spent a huge amount of time worrying about her speech, scheduling evaluations, setting up private therapy and early intervention, and working with her at home. I designed my own therapy materials. I worked with her daily. I monitored every tiny bit of measurable progress. Not an hour went by without me being engaged with her speech delay on some level.

Almost 15 months later, Ava's made so much progress. She's gone from a place with no words to a place with sentences and conversation. She's moved from a speech sound inventory where it was easier to list the few sounds she did have to a place where it is now easier to list the ones she's missing. She moved from early intervention and IFSPs to school age services and IEPs. I no longer worry about her speech on an hourly basis. It no longer is the major focus of my life.

All of that is wonderful and it is difficult to express the profound sense of relief that comes from letting go of the level of worry I had at the beginning. The progress has, however, had a direct impact on my sense of urgency and our home therapy momentum. When I was profoundly concerned, it was easy to remember to sneak in speech practice daily - sometimes multiple times daily. Now I'll find that a few days have slipped by without a structured therapy session.

Spring has contributed to the problem. Our habitual therapy session was after dinner and before the play, bath, and bedtime stories that make up our bedtime routine. The beautiful weather and late sunlight have drawn our family outdoors for evening picnics and play in local parks and I won't realize until after I've put them to bed that speech got lost in all the business and enjoyment of the season.

I need to refocus a little and find a new routine that works. I have been trying to shift our therapy sessions to the mornings when I know we'll be out in the evening. I make an effort each night to plan the activity, time, and therapy focus for the next day. Time slips away so easily and her speech will not continue to improve without intervention. And so I need to find a new sense of momentum even though the urgency isn't as intense and the weather is beautiful.


Happy Mother's Day everyone!

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