My Kid is in Therapy

Warning: Extremely long a wordy post about to commence. Best friends for life if you make it to the end.

This was a tough post for me to finally sit down and type.
I have considered writing it for months, and for some reason or another, have stopped myself on more than one occasion.

As Lil W gets older, I realize I will need to be more conscious about the personal details I post about his life.
Will he grow up one day and say, Hey Mom, I can’t believe you posted that for everyone to see.
That’s the least of my intentions. Which I suppose has been my main reasoning in not posting on this topic sooner.

But here’s the thing.
My kid is who he is. Which is not always like a lot of other kiddos his age.
I love him for it. And so do a lot of other people.
And most importantly, I want to teach him to love himself and all of his awesomeness.
I don’t want him to ever feel like he needs to hide a portion of his personal characteristics from anyone in this world.
So long as he is trying to be the best version of himself, I am a proud Momma.

And whatever special circumstances/opportunities Lil W encounters in an effort to help him BE the best version of himself, should not be a secret from the world. In fact, perhaps our experience with Wes can help other kiddos out there, and especially parents struggling to make the right choices for their littles.

So that’s why I’m posting today…
On what may seem a personal topic…
Or it may not…
I don’t know. But here it is.

My three year old Lil W is in therapy.
Speech therapy, occupational therapy and behavorial therapy to be exact.
And he has been for nearly a year.

It all started when he was 18 months.
We went to our scheduled pediatrician check up and the dreaded list of milestone questions came up:
How many words is he using? Hmm, about 10-15.
Does he string any words together in a sentence? Not even close.
The doctor wasn’t too worried, and said he would take a closer look when Lil W turned two.
I made a Momma-promise to myself that I wouldn’t read into this visit and I wouldn’t stress out about what I couldn’t control.
Lil W was happy and healthy, and that’s all that mattered to me.

Though I focused on not being a worry-wart, I would be lying if I didn’t say it was always somewhere on my mind.
And I started doing that thing where you notice just how well all your son’s peers are speaking–some even younger than him.
But I let it go, reminded myself that parental comparisons are the worst idea ever, and I waited for that 2 year check up.

By 24 moths, Lil W had increased his vocabulary, but he was nowhere close to using his words in sentences.
In fact, when we really thought about it, his expressive communication with us was limited to single words, sounds and sudden behavioral changes.
We knew what Lil W wanted and needed by the changes in his behavior.
Whining and crying meant bottle.
Spitting out food meant he wanted something else.
Frustrated and throwing toys meant he was bored.
And so on…

As parents, we had adapted.  Learned to accommodate to his behavior because we were clueless about how to encourage his verbal language.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times we would smile and nod as friends told us things like:
Don’t worry, one day he will just wake up talking.  Or…
My son didn’t speak until he was 4.5 and now he is in honors classes. Or…
Girls always talk waaay earlier than boys, so don’t compare.  Or…
He’ s only two. He’ll catch up.

As true as these statements may be, they didn’t make us feel any better.
We left Lil W’s 24 month check up with the phone number of a highly recommended speech therapist in our area.
Again, I tried not to worry.
But even something as minor as speech therapy, well…it’s just not something you imagine for your kid when they’re in your tummy and you’re making grand plans for their future. It’s a little to real.  Like your hopes and dreams that things will come easy for your children is not reality.

You want your kids to be blissfully happy.
And you know that they can’t experience true joy without the opposition. Without the knowledge and experience of some heart ache, disappointment and struggle.
But a part of you, as a parent, wishes it didn’t have to be this way.

I spent over an hour on the phone with the speech therapist later that afternoon.
She was smart. And familiar with so much of what I was feeling and worrying about. She even gave me practical answers and advice over the phone.
But she wasn’t cheap. As in a few grand a month not cheap. As in, she didn’t take insurance not cheap.
And you know what? I wanted to pay it. I wanted the best for my son. And that’s what I told Ben later that night.

Ben:
Honey, I will do whatever you think is best. I support your decision 100%. Boy is that expensive, but if its what we have to do then we need to suck it up and do it–for Wes.

And that’s just one of the reasons I love my husband.
He knew that eventually I would come to my senses and seek out an alternative form of therapy–a more realistic and affordable form.
But in that moment, I needed his support–to comfort me through this process.
I went to bed that night assured that my son would have the best.

And he did get the best…but not for nearly 5 more months.

***

The next morning I got a call from my sister in law, Kim.
Ben had talked to her and suggested she call to chat with me about Wes.
Kim is a talented children’s speech therapist–but all the way in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Other than give me her support, I wasn’t sure how she could help from such a long distance.

Kim: Lee, you have options. Good ones. FREE ones.
Did she say FREE?

Kim went on to tell me about IDEA, a program where children are entitled to government-funded therapy.
I googled it while we were on the phone:

IDEA

  • Under IDEA, children are entitled to government-funded services for diagnostic and evaluation purposes, physical and occupational therapies, and speech-language pathology if these services are necessary to help the child get the benefit of his or her education. States receive fixed grants from the federal government to assist them in paying for IDEA services and if children’s needs exceed the grants, must pay for the rest of the services needed out of state revenues.
  • States vary dramatically in how they cover the early intervention services mandated under IDEA.  State legislation determines what services are covered under private insurance and where children get other early intervention services.  Under federal law, every state has an obligation to make sure that there are early intervention services but it isn’t always through private insurance that those are made available.

She went on to tell me that if Lil W qualified, I would be able to obtain free services from very qualified therapists.
But every state offered these services differently, and I would need to contact the Regional Center in my county for details on getting my little man assessed.
I was both skeptical and optimistic.
I was guilty of judging the term “government funded”, but I was still hopeful that I had another option.
I thanked Kim, hung up, and started searching for the Regional Center in Los Angeles County.

Long story short:
There was a lot of paper work, even more questionnaires, and then an assessment was set to see if he would qualify.
I was assigned a case worker, with a direct phone number, who would help me through the process.
Ultimately, about 3 weeks later, it was determined that Wes qualified for speech therapy.
I was pregnant and pretty much bed ridden, so I opted for the in-home therapy.
My case worker gave me the information of a agency they brokered in-home sessions to, and a 10 days later a therapist was meeting at my house twice a week for one hour therapy session.

I’ll be honest.
It was stressful.
And I dreaded every session.
Lil W had trouble warming up to the strangers entering our home.
And when he did warm up, we spent more time correcting his misbehavior than was spent on developing his language.
Entire sessions would be dedicated to overcoming a temper tantrum, or attempting to get him to say sorry for throwing his toy at the therapist.
And each week it seemed worse. He put up a bigger fight with every session. Essentially, he regressed.
I had a sick feeling in my stomach.
It wasn’t supposed to go this way.

Finally, when my therapist became a bit more comfortable with me, she raised some concerns she had about Wes outside of his language.
She used words, like sensory condition, and OT, and behavioral modification.  I hadn’t heard these words before, and again I worried.
She told me she would put in a recommendation with the Regional Center for Lil W to get another assessment to see if he qualified for these other services.
What other services? I was still confused. What did she think was wrong with him?

I contacted my case worker, and by the next week, Wes had completed another assessment.
I was tired. And I didn’t see how this process was helping.
Based on the answers I gave on a 200 point questionnaire, and the observation of Lil W by a handful of therapist, it was determined that he qualified for speech therapy, occupational therapy and child development classes.

But the catch was, I had to drive him to a center 15 miles from my home three times a week.
While pregnant. And puking my guts out.
I was skeptical. This was a big commitment for something, that so far, wasn’t producing results.
But I signed the dotted line, and said yes.
I had decided we would try it, and worst case scenario we would drop out of the program.

***

I started our first Occupational Therapy session with a bad attitude.
A you can’t help my kid, and this therapy hasn’t been working kind of attitude.
Within moments, I was turned around.

Lil W’s occupational therapist, Aileen, had this beauty about her.
Tall, long wavy black hair, and the cutest little toe rings on her bare feet.
But aside from her physical beauty, he countenance radiated her compassion for these kids.
Immediately I knew we could be friends in “real life”.

Wes was hiding behind me whimpering, “no, no, no”.
Aileen walked over, and in a way that can only be described as “toddler whisper-ish”, she had Wes out from behind my leg and playing in the ball pit in moments.
I was stunned. My mind was doing a happy dance. This could work.

At the end of a rather successful session, I had the opportunity to sit with Aileen to discuss our OT goals for Wesley.
Occupation therapy is basically designed to help kids create alternate ways to play popular games and complete everyday tasks they might miss out on because  their brains or bodies process things a bit differently. For example, as you may have noticed from many of my Instagram and blog pictures, Lil W has an aversion to clothing. He hates clothes, rips them off the first second he gets a chance, and fights the entire time we try to put them on him.  He almost acts as if he’s suffocating in them. OT would help Lil W work to overcome his issues wearing clothing, amongst some other concerns we had.

***

Our next session was with Tessa, Lil W’s speech therapist.
I knew this session would be more challenging, as it didn’t take place in a room that looked like a Fun Zone.
Rather, Lil W would need to sit still and focus on the questions she was asking him–another one of his challenges.
His first session was a bit tough, but I could see that Tessa was going to get through to him.
It was obvious that she had a gift with reading children, and she understood Wesley right away.
She observed qualities about him that I thought only a mother could recognize, and this brought me comfort.
I was in good hands.

***

Poor Diana, his child development specialist, had the toughest sessions of all.
She was our once a week in home visit. And naturally, Lil W was on his worst behavior in his own home.
But there she was, on all fours, pretending to be a puppy right along side Wes, while I sat on the couch miserably pregnant and in awe of the love and attention these therapists were able to give my son. This was how it was supposed to be.

***

Switching agencies and therapists turned out to be the best move I made through this whole process.
Which taught me to trust my instincts as a parent. You have options.
And if the first option doesn’t work out, take a chance and give the second a try–especially when it comes to your kiddos.

***

Now, nearly 6 months after we switched to the new agency and added Lil W’s additional therapies,
I can honestly tell you that we have seen so much progress.
I have learned tips, tricks and techniques as a parent that are completely invaluable,
and Lil Sawyer will be the lucky recipient of a much better prepared Momma.

Lil W talks now. A lot. As in, all.day.long.
And while he still prefers to walk around in the buff, he has learned to compromise and agrees to put on clothes every day so we can leave the house.
He is more kind, gentler, more patient.
He has learned the skills necessary to tell us what he wants, what he’s thinking, what he needs…
Before his frustration leads to a melt down.
We still have our challenges every day.
And even some new concerns have surfaced.
But we have a plan now.
An intervention.
A course of action that has given Lil W proven results.

When Lil W turned 3 a few weeks ago, he was no longer eligible for the program.
His case was turned over to our local school district and new assessments were completed.
Today, Lil W attends preschool where his teachers consist of dedicated and beyond qualified therapists.
Every day, for the last two weeks, Lil W comes home with new words,
new coping skills for social situations,
a big smile on his face
and his mini Lightening McQueen “pack pack” strapped to his back.

He is a happier kid.
And we are happier parents for that reason.

Ashley Stock
I'm Ashley. Sometimes I craft, occasionally I cook, everyday I write, and I'm always Momma. This is my blog. I keep it real while still seeing the rainbows and butterflies in all of life's lessons.
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock

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Comments

  1. My daughter was in speech therapy too! She just turned 3 a few weeks ago as well and had to stop using the program. We are in the works of trying to find something more for her. Love the lunchbox note!

  2. (First off, we’re BFF for life now – that was LONG, but so helpful and wonderful!)

    Isn’t it funny that no matter where you are and what kid you’ve got, you always worry and want the best. And worry that you’re not doing enough, or too much. And then you reach out and friends, doctors, whomever will help you through it. I worry about Liv’s behavior, but am grateful to know that others have reached out to ask for a “can you check again, please, I’m going nuts.”

    Hugs to you, and that BEAUTIFUL baby who I’m sure is right in your arms as you read this!

    LB

  3. You are doing great things for Wesley! I am so happy he has made such progress! Way to go!

  4. You know what?

    My son is 19 months old, and says only “BUM”,”DAD”, and “NO”.

    I wasn’t concerned…until now.

    • Alicia,
      From the bottom of my heart, I really wouldn’t worry!
      There is so much more to my story that had us concerned, and language was the least of it. Not only that, but once he was ready, he picked up new language skills like a champ. Their brains really are sponges! And in the next few months you are going to see so many fun developmental changes in your son that I’m sure you don’t need to stress. xoxo, ashley

    • Catherine says:

      I was touched by and empathized with you after reading the story of W’s therapy. My son has been in speech therapy for over 2 years. He stutters, which may not sound like a big deal, except that it’s rather severe. He’s sweet, compassionate, earnest, and surprisingly and thankfully confidant for a boy with his disfluency. We see a fluency specialist and another speech therapist once a week and have “homework” to do at home. We’re moving ahead slowly, but I fear that day whens someone makes fun of him or he starts to doubt himself. He starts Kindergarten in the fall. One night we were talking before bed. He told me how excited he was to start Kindergarten and that he would make so many new friends. Great attitude, right? I hesitatingly asked him what he would do if one of the children were not nice to him. He said that he would ask that child to stop doing that and tell the teacher if he were really mean. And ever so matter of factly, he said he would go find another friend who would be nice to him. I realized then that my son had a better grip on these things than I did. I just pray he will remain as sure of himself as he was that night. One of his preschool teachers told me something once that will remain with me always. When I expressed concerns about him falling behind, she said, “You are preparing for the worse, and maybe that’s smart, because he may in fact struggle. But, don’t forget to celebrate his accomplishments and what he does well. He’s so special.” Keep working on it, and celebrate those small steps. They pretty big, actually! :)

    • Alicia,

      If you’re concerned with your child’s speech or language talk to your pediatrician, and as another SLP posted seek out your early intervention program-everyone is entitled to an assessment. By doing so you’ll get great information and a better understanding of how you can help your child. The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (asha.org) has more information about early intervention as well.

      A website I love is Little Stories. Kim is a SLP and gives so much great advice and activities you can do with your child to facilitate speech and language…really it’s an awesome resource for parents and professionals who have/work with kids who do or do not receive speech or language services!

      Ashley, thank you for the great post! Congrats to Wes on all of his accomplishments!!

  5. I am so glad you posted this. It will be such an inspiration for all the moms and mommys-to-be out there!

  6. Ashley, this is a beautiful post! My twin cousins are the same way & have to attend multiple therapy sessions. My older sister also had to go to special classes to help her overcome her educational disabilities. If therapy makes a difference, why not go for it! You rock & I totally want to be like you when I’m a mommy!! :)

  7. Julie Morris says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing. Thank you for taking the time to talk about what you’ve learned so we can know how to help ourselves and our kiddos!! And huge congrats on precious baby boy!! Loved the video :)

  8. We have a similar program in Florida called Early Steps. Our oldest utilized their speech therapy services for a year and when he turned three, he outgrew their program and tested in the county school system. We were fortunate enough not to need any further speech therapy at that time but it was nice to know that we could get him re-evaluated at any time. It was such a blessing that we didn’t have the expense of therapy sessions (at his initial speech evaluation…he had just turned 2…he only said 8 words and only made 10 letter sounds). Our therapist was amazing and I’m so thankful for her. Hang in there and know that you’re definitely not the only one who has walked this path. I’ve been there through all the different feelings/emotions you’ve been through and I can now say proudly that my son, as brilliant as he is, had a speech delay. People are astonished to hear that because he has such an amazing vocabulary! Hang in there!!!

  9. So proud of you friend and of W for all his hard work. Sawyer is ref gonna thank you for this later ;)

  10. I read through this whole post and the whole time I was happy that you shared something so personal about Wesley. I have contemplated writing a post about my sons tremor. A month ago we mentioned his shaky hands to his pediatrician, we thought it was nothing but she recommended us to a neurologist to get him checked out. We are so blessed that there are no underline causes and he was diagnosed with a slight tremor in both hands. As mommas, it’s hard to see health problems in our children and know that we can’t just take them away. It causes a lot of worry and heart ache to know that our children might struggle. It’s nice to know that other can relate and to see such positive results in your son!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Just by reading this post (and I did read the whole thing :) I can feel your mommy love. It’s so hard deciding on what’s best for our littles. Good for you for following your instincts and for loving those boys with all your heart.

  12. well done. all the way around. well done.

  13. I am a kindergarten teacher and I just wish all parents(and some teachers) would understand the importance of early intervention like this. Now at home with my kids, I have some mommy friends who I’ll be passing along your story to.
    K

  14. I,m so glad you found help for your baby W.He is so sweet looking .Our son had behavior problems when when he was young.He got angry so quickly when he was crossed.We were so young and naive.He is now 45 and still has what we call a short fuse.We should have gotten him help early on.

    Bless you and your family,I enjoy your site and thank you for sharing

  15. you know he will be fine and he is still a baby, when they grow they usually are ok, when my son and daughter started kindergarten there teacher put them in speech thearapy, but a wise older teacher told me alot of times when there front teeth come out and the big teeth come in, there speech will get better….sure enough it did!!!! my son is 19 and my daughter is 13 and are fine, nowadays seems like if children aren’t by the “book” then there must be something wrong, I don’t think thats the case…they are just little and everyone progersses different….just love him!!! he will be fine with a good mom like you!

  16. You are a good mother, Ashley! :) You should be so proud for not “giving up.” What patience you have!
    I pray that Wesley continues to make progress each and every day!

    P.S. – LOVED the video diary Ben made of Sawyer’s birth.

    • Oops :( Sorry, Ashley! I realized I made a mistake calling your husband Ben! I was reading another blog before yours, and her husband’s name is Ben…so I got a bit confused. Sorry about that :(

  17. I’ve missed your posts. I appreciate you sharing these personal stories so much!! I made it to the end so I guess we’ll be best friends for life now. ;) Your son is ADORABLE!!!

  18. From the bottom of my heart, Ashley, I know what you are going through. I’m glad that Lil W has made such tremendous progress.

    I applaud you for sharing this openly.

    1 in 5 children in the US have some form of developmental delay- be it speech, sensory processing, fine motor, etc.

    Our son, Moose, didn’t progress much after a year of speech, OT, and DT. Like you, at age 2, I was worried. At age 3.5, he was diagnosed with autism. At age 4.5, we still don’t have sentences, potty-training, or the like. But his gastro issues are improving. And his sensory issues. Every day is a battle. A struggle.

    Like you, I had this therapy drama and doctor visits going on while pregnant with my second son, and in his newborn days…it was immensely stressful. I got on by the grace of God and coffee.

    But the blessings of Moose’s autism condition are profound. We’ve cleaned up our diets- organic, gluten & dye-free. My health is better as a result. It’s changed the course of my goals in life.

    Therapy is helpful, but I do believe it’s important to look at the food our children eat. Many kids with developmental delays have food allergies, intolerances, or celiac disease. I think it’s important to rule those things out while they are young.

    I could write a novel here, but I guess that’s why I blog. I am open and honest too, but have always done so using nicknames for my sons.

    Again, thank you for sharing this and raising awareness for this growing issue of speech and developmental delays. Should you ever need an ear, I’m an email away.

    My best to your family,
    Nicolette @ momnivore’ s dilemma .

    • Nicolette, bravo! I totally agree about the food!!! I just commented about food dyes and how awful red dye is for my son. I think when you have a kid with any type of issue the FIRST thing you should do is cut out all the bad stuff from their diet (dyes, crappy food, etc) and then figure out if food or dye is a trigger for them. Unfortunately I did it backward and my son was on ADHD medication for 3 years before I figured out it was really the Red dye. :( But at least he’s off the medication now!

    • I also had to remove all food dyes from my daughters diet. We have absolutely no food dyes in our home. They are in so many things! We also watch Gluten as well. :)
      Ashley, you are amazing! Hang in there! He’s so lucky to have such great parents!

  19. Chelsea P. says:

    Awesome post Ashley. Glad you were able to share your experiences for other people to read. There are so many families out there going through the same thing, and it helps to know that they aren’t the only ones. Little W is lucky to have such supportive and dedicated parents. I work with kids who also receive these services, and i can assure you that things will keep getting better. The changes you see now will continue to grow as long as you are consistent and loving in every action. I look forward to hearing about his progression, and have no doubt he is going to reach his full potential with you by his side. Bravo.

  20. Ashley,
    I can relate to this so much, I was crying.
    My son was in preschool when his teacher called suggesting we have my son evaluated for speech.
    me thinking the whole time..’WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? WE KNOW WHAT HE IS SAYING!??”
    But it was the best thing we could have done for my son, and he has come such a long way. I wasn’t even aware of how much better the kids his age were talking..but when I stopped to really listen and think about it..I would have been selfish not to send him for speech.
    As I read your story my younger son comes to mind..he has always been slower with his milestones..but the speech and tantrums fit him to a T. Again I will have to swallow my ‘THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY CHILD’ and just do it for his sake.
    Thank you so much for sharing something SO personal. And I am happy that things are going so well for him and your family!

  21. Cathy Kelemen says:

    Our oldest son has a lot of speech problems. His older sister (only by 16 months) used to interpret for him when he was 2. I did everything….tried to get him to pronounce things properly, read to him more, took him to his peds, took him to an ENT….only to find out all was normal. When he entered school…well he was behind and was so shy because no one could understand him but his family. Sounds like you have a good Doctor! And good for you for sharing this with the world….no reason to wait until he’s in Kindergarten to get him the help he needs! Thank you for sharing!

  22. Thanks for sharing this…I just asked my pediatrician for a speech referral to have my four year old assessed. I can’t put my finger on it but I feel that he’s harder to understand than his peers or my oldest at the same age and I want to get a jump on any issues as early as I can before he begins school. Take care, and I hope you are able to get some semblance of rest with your new arrival (I have three boys myself)

    Melissa

  23. My son started speech therapy around 3.5, I had him tested a few times but the first agency didn’t think there was much of an issue so I wanted and then tried another agency. He was at 20% speech intelligibility compared to 80% of a typical 3 yr old. He now goes to a public school speech program 4 days a week (out for the summer though) for 3 hours a day. There were only 6 kids in the class and that varied day to day. It has been absolutely awesome for him, getting to have that time with other kids and the teacher instruction has taught him so much beyond just “speech” and it’s FREE! He only had about 5 months in it before school let out for summer but we saw tons of improvement, he will be going back for the full year this year. This is a great thing to be taking care of now and recognizing the issue instead of having them start school and being pulled out of the educational parts for maybe an hour total every week. We joke now that we wanted him to talk and now he NEVER STOPS, LOL! Another trick that has been super helpful and he does on his own now is when we can’t understand something he says we ask him “can you tell me a different way?” You can see him thinking and everytime he comes up with another way to tell us, that has helped all of us communicate infinitely! It’s awesome to see them not be frustrated in day to day activities.

  24. It is amazing when a blog you have read for years talks about something that is your current situation. My son who is 2 1/2 started in home therapy this week. He was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum in May. We are doing a 4 week evaluation and will then start intensive early therapy for speech, occupational and behavioral. We are doing this 5 days a week for 3 hours…it is exhausting and we just started Monday! I appreciate your sharing your personal experiences! It is wonderful to have the reminder that I am not the only one in this situation and adjusting and learning is very possible. I look forward to seeing the progress in the near future.

  25. Julie Morris says:

    And just another thought – my little girl is 18 months, and we just were kind of concerned about her verbal skills as well, based on her doctors concerns at18 month check up. We took her to the county we live in in Texas for an ECI assessment, learned that she was in fact a little behind in words and verbal, but it’s going to be okay. We are going to work with her at home on our own, but the two important things we learned are – we are just learning how to be parents and to teach our little girl to speak, use words, sentences, etc, and it’s not like they send you home with an instructional manual for your individual child when you leave the hospital, and I had NO idea that she wouldn’t just pick up words on her own, and it would take effort on our part. I don’t need to feel guilty. and – 2. we had a lot of fears relieved just by getting that assessment. Getting your child an assessment is free with a state or county ECI provider, almost everywhere in the US, and even if your child doesn’t require services, if a doctor voices concerns, just got see the ECI folks! They love kids, and they will give you very practical tools to teach your kids, as well as allay any fears over development, or schedule any necessary therapies to get them on track. It’s been such a good experience, and we are now confidently teaching our little girl, and even in just a few weeks working with her and not getting discouraged by not having super immediate results, she’s flourishing in her verbal. Just wanted to share :)

  26. This is an awesome post! Thank you so much for sharing! I have a few family members and friends who are going through these same things, and I appreciate all the insight I can get. I know it’s not easy as a mom to write about things like this, but I know this will encourage a ton of people!

  27. Lindsey says:

    I came across your blog today and clicked on it because of the caption “My Kid Is In Therapy.” My daughter is too and logically I was interested in what you had to say. My daughter has been slightly delayed since day one, smiling late, cooing late and rarely at that, etc. She will be 3 in November and has been placed on the Autism spectrum.
    I LOVE therapy. Sometimes I want to roll my eyes at the effort of going. Sometimes I feel like sessions are completely worthless. However those therapists seriously know what they are doing and they hit the nail head on with how she acts and what she needs.
    I’m so glad you’ve seen so much improvement with your son!

  28. We had a very similar experience with our oldest daughter. She started out with speech therapy at 2 and soon after added an OT and a child development specialist we called a teacher. From sensory issues, frustration from not being able to express herself, trouble w transitions, major tantrums, trouble sleeping, every day produced new challenges. But wow what a great group of professionals who helped her grow in to a very chatty outgoing 11 yr old we have today. The OT and teacher were only with us for year, speech lasted until 4 grade but so grateful for it all. As he gets older continue to watch and see if you notice a challenge with reading. As the books got tougher she struggled again much like that 2 yr old we knew. But with a great speech therapist willing to help and a bit of reading support to get her over the hump she is now a 6th grader reading above grade level. Hang in there and be amazed at how much he will develop with the help of these excellent professionals. And never stop pushing for what he needs even if the first response is no.

  29. Bravo! I am so glad you wrote this post! There are so many people who are in your position and dont know where to turn when the very pricey therapist doesnt work out.

    I am an early interventionist! I teach at a public school in Louisiana I am assuming a lot like what W attends. I was holding my breathe as I was reading about your pricey therapist thinking in my head but …but… but…there are other options!

    I am so glad that therpy is working for W and for your family. It’s stories like these that make it easy to go to work every day!

  30. Michelle says:

    My daughter has been in some sort of therapy for YEARS. Just yesterday (my birthday) I found out she no longer needs orthotics for her feet. I FREAKED OUT. BEST birthday gift ever. I cried and cried and cried.

    So don’t feel bad about therapy. We could ALLLLLLLL use it sometimes.

    And it will get better. It won’t be PERFECT. But it WILL be BETTER.

  31. Sharon Painter says:

    We were in the same situation at my son’s 18 month well baby appointment. It was recommended, but not required, to put him into therapy. It was an in home visit therapy and our case worker was amazing! Unfortunately, my son only did this for about 5 months before we did a military move overseas. We have been here a year now and my little guy is turning 3 in a few weeks.
    We do not live near a military base, so our medical is done locally (not through the Army). And the UK has a National Healthcare System that I am a litte bit nervous about. Only because I don’t understand how it all works, but apparently we can use it in place of our military insurance since it is free? I’m still trying to figure it out. He is registered, at least!
    I plan on going into his 3 year appointment with loads of questions. Gavin is very sensitive to foods. I have finally narrowed down what I think he has: oral texture aversion (hypersensitivy) and tactile defensiveness. It’s been a challenge, for sure. I get loads of advice and solutions. But, what it comes down to is tht I need professional advice. I know it is more than my son being a “picky eater” and tough love is not going to be enough to help him.
    Thank you for posting your experience. I can definitely relate. It’s been a year since my son has been seen by a therapist. I am looking forward to getting past the doctor’s appt and evaluation and ready to start seeing some progress again.
    If I could get him to expand his palate without throwing up or gagging, to speak in two-three word sentences, and be able to communicate with us more effectively…I will be ecstatic!
    Hang in there! Thank you for sharing your experience.

  32. You basically just told my son’s story….it has been a frustrating road, causing me to doubt if I am doing things right or if I should be doing more. I know I am a good mom, but I worry that I am not doing enough or could be a better mom. My 1st son is 3.5 now, and has improved significantly since starting therapy…it has been challenging at times but I am thankful to speak his language and am happy to slowly give up my role as translator. I still don’t know if it’s timing or therapy or a mixture of both, but it’s nice to hear him say he loves me after all this time. I am also a mom of two boys, it scares me that I might have to endure the same path to speech a second time…my baby is now 15 months and I can see the delay is there. I’m thankful to know what to expect, but it would be so much easier not to have to deal with this extra challenge. I try to remind myself that everyone deals with challenges…hopefully we are just helping to prepare them for life and in 15 years this will just be a distant memory…

  33. Thank you for this post! My 4 year old sin receives OT for sensory processing disorder. I know the emotions that go along with this as a mom who wants to think that her kid is normal. It is so hard. However through this all I have noticed how God used this to make me notice all the small accomplishments he makes in life and that is joyful. We have been praying for some answers on switching our son and I got on here and readthisnpost and I felt like God was speaking to me through your post. I feel like making the switch is what will be best. Thank you for your honesty!

  34. I don’t have kids so I can’t relate to you like all the others here but I am so happy that he has progressed and found something that works!! My cousin has a son with autism and is constantly taking him along with her other 3 kids around to his therapies. Lots of hard work but certainly worth it. Keep it up momma!

  35. Lindsay Lee says:

    This story is awesome Ash! SO glad you found a solution. I miss this little guy so much. xoxo

  36. My 3rd child hasnt been OFFICIALLY diagnosed, but has been going to speech and OT for almost a year. Wow what a difference. He has sensory issues and attention challenges. So lil W sounds very similar. Thank you for sharing.

  37. This is great to know about!! Olivia was born 3.5 months premature do it is likely we may need these services as well! Thanks for being so honest and open about Wes! I am sure your story will help others! :)

  38. I’ve learned that being a mommy is one of the hardest jobs ever. You are doing a fantastic job!

  39. Great post! You are an inspiration to many! I work with an Early Intervention program in Minnesota and it is always interesting to hear a family perspective of their experiences with the services they receive for their child. You absolutely did the right thing by learning about what was available and finding the FREE services that eligible children have access to. Way to go!!

  40. my mama always wrote me notes on my napkins when we moved and i was at a new school. it was the BEST feeling reading a note from someone who loved me when i was sad or lonely, never stop them!! :)

  41. As I was reading your post, I was like ” wow…. This is me!”. My son just got tested and qualified for speech therapy through our school district. But it took a while for me to get there. I also thought ‘ this will get better’ and ‘he will start to pick things up’. I had talked to a speech therapist in the private sector and was about to pay crazy prices for her services UNTIL I found out about our programs with the local school districts.

    I commend you for posting about this!!

  42. Jennifer Niksich says:

    I have been where you are at and I am still singing the praises of early childhood therapists. I have two daughters. The oldest was communicating way above her age. So when we had the youngest, I went out of my way to not compare the two of them. But my gut told me otherwise. My husband told me to go with my gut, if she was tested and didn’t need help then oh well. But if I didn’t get her tested and she needed it, I would feel so guilty. So going against everyone in our family, we had her tested. She was 21 months old and had the speech of a 9 month old. I was crushed. How did I not know that she was that behind especially since I am a teacher? We also discovered at that time that she needed Developmental Therapy because she did not know how to play by herself. I had never heard of that before. After some time, the speech therapist recommended that she start Occupational Therapy. She needed the OT immediately before speech therapy. Otherwise she was not getting everything she needed out of her sessions. We discovered so many things we weren’t aware of at that time. My daughter was sensory seeing and that was why she hugged so hard. Even now she still is sensory seeking, but can control how hard she touches other things. She did not have muscle control in her mouth and that is why she ate with her hands in her mouth at all times. Once she was three, she graduated to getting services through the school district. At that time it was discovered that she was borderline needing physical therapy. She grew so fast that her muscles couldn’t keep up with her bones. Now she is seven almost eight. Has graduated out of all therapy, although she may need speech therapy in the future if she doesn’t get the last few sounds by a certain age. She has been accepted into a high ability program at school. I than and praise the help that she received from these services. They allowed my daughter to truly be who she is and be able to show it to everyone. I honestly do not know what we would have done without the services that she received.

  43. Naomi Bigler says:

    My son is in the same boat as well. He is 2.5 and started speech therapy about a month ago through a similar program that we have in Florida. I have to keep reminding myself that his vocabulary will not grow overnight….it is quite frustrating that he has such a limited vocab. I’m glad that Lil’ W is learning so much! Hopefully things with Carson will click soon and he will start talking more!

  44. I absolutely love you for writing this post. I am a special education teacher in an elementary school and I cover Kindergarten through fourth grade. I try so hard to put my parents at ease and communicate everything to them, but this post is so powerful coming directly from a parent. Lil W looks so adorable with his backpack and I’m so glad you stuck it out and made changes when you felt they were needed. Parents always apologize for calling me or asking for a meeting and I always stop them and thank them because parents are the advocates for their kiddos and parents like you make me love teaching even more!

  45. First of all, let me commend you on such a tough, but beneficial post. I know this couldn’t have been easy for you, but I truly believe that your story will touch so many people’s lives. I worked with young children for about 6 years and then worked in a Special Needs program in the public schools for two after that. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for a parent to admit that there is something going on with thier child. I know that it comes from a place of love, but I don’t think a lot of parents get that by getting their child help they ARE doing the best they can for them! So many more parents need to know this. Thanks for sharing and SO glad that Lil W is showing so much progress!

  46. Desiree says:

    Thank you so much for sharing!!
    It recently came to our attention that our 3 year old son was in need of speech therapy too! I can totally relate to all of the emotions and thoughts that you experienced. But now the excitment of him getting the help he needs far outweighs all those other concerns!

    Thanks again for sharing, its always a nice feeling to know that we are never completely alone in our struggles, someone, somewhere is always going through similar trials with us and somehow we are making it through them together!

  47. We are right there with you. My son started OT and behavioral therapy at 2. He is 5 now and he “graduated” from behavioral therapy this year. Yay! We had very severe behavior issues like stripping naked in preschool and rubbing poop on the walls. No one understands unless they have been there. I tell you from my soul I UNDERSTAND.

    It takes a tremendous amount of courage to step up and admit your child needs therapy. I know the feeling of not wanting to make eye contact with the strangers in the waiting room because now they all know my kid is “crazy” and I can’t control him. I swear to you, it gets easier. You gain confidence in the decisions you make as a mommy and they are God-led.

    After one of our very first play therapy appointments, which all of my professional (I have a Master’s in education/child development) friends and even my mom (a certified psychotherapist) were against because there is not a lot of research to support play therapy, I took the kids to a farmers market and there was a book exchange table. The table was almost empty except for some old magazines and one tattered book: a copy of “Play Therapy,” a manual written in the 1940′s for play therapists. I took it as a sign from God that we were making the right choice.

    I’m sure you are too. Only you know what is best for your son, that is why God chose you to be his parents. Love and best wishes.

  48. I just want to applaud you for taking time to research your options, even though it must have been SO hard to go through that. My son who is 3 went through 9 months of speech therapy. It was tough, and I felt like a failure, but I am so glad we bit the bullet and followed through. It was what was best! Keep us updated!

  49. You are a very brave woman for writing this post, and I know it’s helpful to many mommas out there.

    I am so sorry you had to go through the confusion and pain you felt in the beginning, but I am so so happy for you and your family that things are headed in the right direction.

    We all love you, and I’m truly thrilled for you :)

  50. This post was amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. :) My now 15-year-old did speech therapy as a little guy, too. I have always been so amazed by their progress in these therapies! Lil W is such a beautiful kid and it is wonderful to hear of his amazing progress!!

  51. kimberlee says:

    I’m glad you’ve been able to find programs that work for you! Good luck on this journey.

  52. Samantha Bayer says:

    Wow, I am so grateful you wrote this post and understood/researched what was available for your son! I am studying to be a school psychologists (1 year left) and I have come to realize that so many parents do not realize what is available for your child. I am so happy he is making progress which means that he has awesome teachers and parents! Good job parenting, seriously!

  53. Ashley, I feel for you lady. Except I knew from the moment my son was 9 months old that he needed intervention. It was getting my husband and doctor on board that was the difficulty. He didn’t receive his first assessment until after 3, but then quickly got put into the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities. Because of the intervention, our son who is highly suspected of autism (they won’t diagnose yet) is going to be able to be in a mainstreamed kindergarten classroom in August! He has learned to cope with many emotions and situations, communicate better and has become a much happier child. He still has his difficulties which we are working on, but it does get better and easier. Read all that you can and trust your momma gut every time! I’m glad to hear that things are getting much better for your sweet little boy!

  54. Thanks for posting this. To be honest I’m a little worried now about my daughter who is 13 months old since she only really says “dada” and “nana.” I am really glad to know though that there are programs out there for families, especially in Los Angeles, where we live too.

  55. Thank you for this post about your life as a momma. You are always so open and honest about your life. So genuine, it’s inspiring. Lil’ W and Sawyer are very lucky boys who will grow into great men!
    Blessings!
    Megan

  56. Beautiful post! I am so happy you shared W’s story and hope there will be more to come. I’m a mommy and special education teacher. I’m a little biased, but some of my best friends are speech therapists, occupational therapists and their minds and humor have been so valuable to me. Stay iin touch with these awesome ladies and keep asking questions and reading as much as you can. Go with your momma gut, trust in God and be strong! (and on days when you’re not strong say F-it and just have some fun with your beautiful boys or grab a girlfriend and head to happy hour!). You can do this!

  57. I can totally relate to your situation. Maybe in different ways but our son was also in therapy for many years for his speech. I used to get so aggravated when people would say “I can’t understand him” I had learned to work around his speech and I understood him word for word while others couldn’t even make out a sentence. It takes a lot out of a worrying mommy. Hang in there and let me just say he is so handsome and you are doing an awesome job, xoxo

  58. That was a wonderful post! I work with children as well & I know it is very frustrating for them when they can’t communicate their needs like they want to. It sounds like you have a great support team ,that along with you, want what is best for lil W! My nephew had speech therapy that helped him so much, he was able to skip kindergarten and go straight to first grade! It seems overwhelming at first, but once he gets going he will be unstoppable! Believe me….now my nephew doesn’t stop talking….if it’s not about football plays, it’s about science or theater! Hang in there girl!

  59. Ashley,

    I commend you for writing about W’s situation. I following your blog and check it weekly, and this is one of the most inspiring posts I have read from you. I have a two-year-old son, and although we live on opposite ends of the country, I believe little W and him would be great friends.

    Too often, mommas are judged for being protective or concerned about their child, but you totally did the right thing, and you were so brave to go with your gut. Also, congrats on little Sawyer. You and Ben are truly blessed.

    Lauren

  60. I can’t imagine how hard this was to share, but that’s what our blogs are for. There are plenty of other moms who are struggling with similar issues. Even if we haven’t all been in this exact situation, as moms we can all relate. I’m glad you were able to get help and answers. So fantastic that he’s doing better!

  61. I must tell you then your post made my cry. I’m not a mom yet but I am a kindergarten teacher and rarely see the other side of a child that needs interventions and therapy. I truly look up to you for not sticking with it and seeking what was best for your son, but for opening up and being honest.

  62. First of all – we’re totally BFFs now :) Second – THANK YOU for posting this. I recently made the decision to leave my full-time teaching job (teaching K-2 Autistic Support) and I am now doing in-home therapy for children ages birth-3. I’m in “one of those” government-funded agencies that goes into houses free of charge to the families. It is SO helpful for ME to hear this coming from YOU, because the family acceptance piece is HUGE at this age. Sounds like your sweet boy is doing awesome, and you’re such a loving mommy who is doing everything you can to get him the best! Thanks again for being open and honest about something that SO many moms deal with every day!!

  63. These were such sweet and touching words to read. I have just graduated with my Master’s in Speech Therapy and will begin my first job in a couple of weeks working with preschoolers at a public school in Northern California! I commend you for being so brave and taking the first steps in the right direction in order to help Little W….Early Intervention is so important! You are awesome parents and are an inspiration to many! Keep doing what you’re doing :)

  64. Your story gave me tears and I am so thankful that you shared it with us. I too am a mom of a kid full of awesomeness that is different from other kids his age. I knew something was different about my son when he was 4. I was alone in this, no husband, no family and I was young. maybe it was me- like his doctor told me. but as soon as I put him in school they wanted to do an assessment on him right away. We found out that he had ADHD. That solved on problem. Which that though, came a whole slew of other problems. Thankfully his new school did more tests on him and we are now in speech therapy too- more like what Wes is in – behavior and occupational. He doesn’t know how to act around other kids. He is 9 years old now and there is a lot of improvement over this past year of therapy- we still have a long way to go but progress is progress.

    I just want you to know, you are not alone in this. there are many of us moms who are just like you. We worry about our children’s differences and hope that even with them they have the best and happiest life possible.

    Sending my hugs to you,
    Taylor-Ann

  65. I just wanted to say kudos to you for sharing! And who knows how many other you may have helped! I can tell you are one awesome momma! I’m a teacher, and I love to see when parents do whatever needs to happen to help their child be more successful in life!

  66. Oh Ashley!!! What a wonderful post! You are such a great momma! I don’t have any kids that have needed therapy, so I really can’t say I know what you feel like. But you wrote about it so well you make me want to say it! I’m sure if we were in the same place we’d be friends too! You’re little guys are so lucky to have you has a momma and for all the commitment that you give to them. I’m also glad for you that Wesley is making so many improvements. It must make your heart melt (in a happy kinda way) to see him make so many improvements. Best of luck with all his therapy!

  67. I admire your courage. Our children’s pain is our pain. As a Momma I never want to feel like I am not doing it right, so I sometimes refrain from sharing too many of my struggles. But its in sharing our experiences with other Moms that give us strength, and encouragement, and love. We do what it takes to fix it and make it better. I have learned how parenting is so much more instinctual than I ever thought it could be. You reminded me to continue to trust in it. Thank you for that.

  68. Wow, what an amazing story to read. I’m so happy for your family that your little guy is improving and that therapy has been a great thing for your family. I bet it’s hard to have such an “audience” of blog readers- but this story, your story, will be an inspiration to so many families, and so many women. Thank you for sharing!

  69. It will get better. It does get better. You are an excellent mom to do all this for Wes. He’s lucky to have you.

    I know we’ve talked about this before, but hopefully my {reader’s digest} story will give you hope that things really do get better…

    My son T wasn’t talking by 2 either. Just a few words. And you couldn’t understand him at all. “Gulk” instead of “Milk” for example. At 2 my pediatrician helped set me up with our state program. They came to the house every week and worked with T. We paid on a sliding scale but it was still super cheap.

    The real progress came when he turned 3 though. Just like Wes, when T turned 3 he started preschool at the local elementary school. This Speech Therapy was amazing and helped him SO MUCH.

    T had speech issues and delay but also had sensory issues – still does actually. He gets overwhelmed with touch or sound. He likes it quiet. Never liked music as a toddler and hated it when I sang to him. He loves having his back tickled but he HATES getting a hair cut – the cut hair bothers him so much. He also hates having his nails clipped and absolutely loathes wearing clothes – he lays around all day in his boxerbriefs if we let him (he’s 10 btw).

    Anyway, the therapy was amazing and by the time he started kinder he was talking perfectly. By 1st grade though he was diagnosed with ADHD (with a huge fat capital H for hyperactive!). He took Concerta for 3 years.

    A few weeks ago we took him off his ADHD medication – cold turkey. I was sick of the side effects. He’s doing amazing. We are all so hopeful and excited for him.

    Here’s the #1 thing that we have done that has made a complete 180 impact on him. It may sound cray-to-the-zeeee but I swear, you should try it for a week and just SEE how Wes does….

    2 years ago we quit giving T any RED DYE. A few weeks ago when we took him off his medication we started enforcing the No Red Dye policy 100%, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. He has done so incredibly amazing I can’t even begin to tell you.

    Last week he accidently inadvertently ate something with red dye in it. It was awful. He was awful. He acted like he had ADHD again. He hated the feeling and whined for hours that he just hated the way he felt inside. He was crawling out of his own skin.

    We’ve noticed as well that if he starts off the day with a good healthy breakfast he does so much better all day long. If he eats nothing but carbs and sugar all day, he has a bad day as well. So we typically give him a bowl of steel cut oatmeal of some eggs for breakfast with a side of Green Machine Odwalla Juice, or I’ll make some fresh juice in our juicer. If he eats cereal for breakfast (carbs) or an eggo waffle (carbs) he has a bad day, but if we start him off right and make sure he’s got protein all day with each meal (chicken, yogurt, cheese, etc) he does so well.

    So my advice, if you are still looking for little things you can do that will potentially make a huge difference, is to cut out all red dye, especially Red40 from his diet and start him off each day with a really good protein filled breakfast. Maybe it won’t have any impact on him, but maybe it will!

    My daughter is fine with the red dye and can eat lucky charms for breakfast and will be totally fine. My son reacts terribly to both. Some kids are just more sensitive than others.

    Take my advice with a grain of salt. I just share it with you because it’s made such a huge difference in our lives and in our sons life that I want to share it with you!

    Keep up your great work!!!

    xoxo

    Allison @ House of Hepworths

  70. I am sorry this has been such a stressful journey, but I am happy you have found peace. My one-year-old twins JUST qualified for services and will start receiving in-home therapies in a few weeks.

  71. Sharice says:

    Thanks for posting. Nice to know I wasn’t alone in this same aspect with my little boy. :) He can complain all he wants later on in life. Just tell him it helped other Mom’s out there. Good luck. My little boy starts preschool in September at the beginning of the school year.

  72. Amanda Miller says:

    I am in school now completing the speech pathology program. At times I get discouraged under my huge load of assignments and tests. This post has inspired me. It helped me remember why I want to be an SLP. I want to help the lil’s of the world live happier more talkative lifes. Thanks for sharing!!

  73. JessicaLynn says:

    My younger son Nathan is in pt because he didn’t crawl until he was almost 18 months old. Then when he did start to walk he broke his leg running and now je walks with a walker. Speech therapy is something we talk about a lot in this house with concerns to Nathan we plan on waiting until his 2 year check up to get him evaluated. It’s a lot of work for us moms to commit to two days a week pt and two days a week speech on top of the big regression we’re seeing from him breaking his leg. It isn’t what we hope for when we have put babies and I know I blame myself A LOT but it sure does make me love him more. Best of luck mama

  74. What a great mom you are! I am a special education teacher and have worked with kids of all ages. I know how hard it can be to ask for help for your kids and unfortunately we have some kids that never receive the services that they need. Wesley is very lucky to have such loving parents that strive to give him every opportunity and resource available to him to help him succeed!

  75. Our boys are almost the same age, it sounds like. And mine just graduated from his Early Intervention-provided therapy to the school district where he’ll start preschool in September. His therapy was a lifesaver for us and took him from a totally nonverbal 18 month old to a non-stop-talking 3-year-old. It can be such a tough road but I’m glad to hear it’s worked out well for you like it has for us. Hugs.

  76. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. My son who is almost 17 months just had his speech assessment evaluation yesterday. I’ve been concerned about his speech development for a while, since he only has a hand full of words. Like you, I was trying not to compare his development with kids at his daycare (even younger), but it’s hard not to. They recommended speech therapy for his speech delay, but everyone I’ve talked to about it, says that I’m crazy, paranoid first-time mom. I’m worried that if I leave it alone, I’ll regret not doing something earlier if there is a bigger problem down the line. I’ll have to look into the IDEA program and see if they have it here in VA. Thank you for your honesty Ashley.

  77. I just wanted to say, thank you! As someone who is just starting out on this journey with their 2 year old, this is just so encouraging! I truly needed to read this, almost like it was fate.

  78. Stacy P. says:

    Congratulations on figuring this out so young. My middle daughter went until she was 5 as undiagnosed dyslexic w/ processing issues. And I’m a former elementary school teacher! Talk about guilt. But after repeating kindergarten and 4 years of intense therapy with a fantasitc therapist/psychologist, she is reading on grade level and using the skills she learned from therapy to help her in class. She is 10 now and still struggles to express herself in writing and she HATES reading, but we are working every day because she knows that everyone has their struggles and the only way to overcome them is to practice at them every day. Best of luck to you, your husband and little man Wes (and baby Sawyer!).

  79. Courtney says:

    Hello! I am a speech-language pathologist and I absolutely loved reading this post. It’s so refreshing to hear the parents point of view and it sounds like your little guy is doing great! Don’t forget to celebrate the small achievements =) Congrats on all of Wesley’s success!

  80. Oh Ashley, I send you a big hug in this comment. Not an “I’m so sorry you’re going through this” hug, but a “you’re an awesome mom” hug. You are helping your children get the best of what they need, even while miserably pregnant. I admire you!

  81. Thank you for being so transparent with one of your precious babies. I have learned in the 3 short months my son has been alive that it is so much easier to talk about, ridicule & expose myself than it is to allow my son to be under such spot light. Youre a great mom!

  82. Thank you for being honest and real. W is blessed to have such an awesome mommy!

  83. Thank you for sharing this. It’s not an easy post to share but it will help so many! Glad you found the help you needed. We all need help as parents…it’s step one to realize it, then to get it, and then to learn. Congrats!

  84. Thank you for opening your heart up to us. You are a fantastic momma.

  85. Such a sweet post! I’m an occupational therapy student right now and my passion is working with kiddos just like your little guy! I can’t wait to actually get out there and make a difference like your therapists were able to do :) Sounds like you dealt with everything with grace & smarts!! I know your little guy is lucky to have you as his momma!

  86. So we are now officially BFF’s!! :) I am not a Mommy yet, but I work with adults with developmental disabilities and your post really resonated with me. I cried reading it. I think you are so amazing Ashley, and Wesley is beyond blessed to have you as his Mommy. I found your post so inspirational and Wesley is blessed for the sacrifices you are making to help him. Thank you for your honesty. The individuals I work with have taught me so many life lessons that I may have not learned otherwise. They are such good examples to me, and it is an honour to be able to support and work with them. Keep doing what you are- you are doing wonderful. You are an inspiration to us all!

  87. We have a lot in common in this area. Hang in there and some days are harder than others. I totally understand how you feel as we went thru and going thru it still. I think the best thing I’ve heard is that we are the biggest advocates for our children so I’ll do my best at being just that. I have a hard time with others treating him differently or judging him (fam members) so that’s my biggest struggle. Thats awesome your area has a program and preschool it will do wonders!

  88. Oops Sorry, Ashley! :( I realized I made a mistake calling your husband “Ben” in my comment I posted last night! I was reading another blog before yours, and her husband’s name is Ben…so I got a bit confused. Sorry about that :(

    • Oh ha ha! Your husband’s name is Ben! :) I read a post by the Busy Budgeting Mama (right before reading your post), and her husband’s name is also Ben, so I thought I’d gotten mixed up! Phew :)

  89. Sounds like my neice. At that same age, everyone just thought she was a terror and that the parents sucked at disciplining. After speech therapy and appropriate schooling, she is more tender, can express herself, ask for what she wants and doesn’t have tantrums as often.

  90. You have many comments but I hope you read this one. As a mother of 4 kids my 2 girls talked early and often…my 2 boys did not. My oldest son who is now 19 did not meet the milestones and was placed in a speech program through our local public school system. He loved it and was back on track by 4. Fast forward 16 years and I find myself remarried and pregnant at 42. I had another beautiful little boy, Ben who did not meet those milestones and at the age of 2 1/2 placed in the same speech therapy program as my older son. So I have some experience with what you are going through.

    All I want to tell you is these programs work. Each kid is different. And finally these little boys-seems to be more boys than girls in speech- turn out to be much smarter than little boys who talk on time. Its easy for me to tell you this…relax and enjoy him…he will talk, he will get his sensory actions in check and he will be so smart. You will be even prouder than you are now.

    I also want to tell you to ignore comments that other people can make. I have heard “What’s wrong with him?” “My son/daughter is only one and a half and has a much better vocabulary.” Ignore them, don’t try to justify, don’t get caught in their game. You know he is smart, you know he is loved and loves you. Lil W has a much bigger plan for life than we can imagine…just watch him. In 20 years you will look back at this and remember how worried you were and just be amazed at where he is now.

    Just love him!

  91. Once again, thank you so much for sharing so honestly (oh, and I read every last word, and most of the comments that came before mine – so we are definitely BFF’s for life!) … I’ve been in your shoes; my little one is in speech therapy at school (she’s going into 1st grade in the fall) but more than that, there was a time we worried she might be somewhere on the Autism spectrum… we had her evaluated and thankfully they disagreed, but there are so many worries in a momma’s head! So glad that you found the right set of therapists in the beginning, and now that he’s too old for them I am even more glad that he’s adjusting well to his new environment! :) God Bless your little family and thanks again for sharing!

    ~Jess

  92. Thanks for sharing! I struggle with what to keep private and what to share too, but I think if your story can help someone and give glory to God then maybe you can make an exception here and there to what you will share. This is a very uplifting and honest post…I think a lot of people will be happy for it :)

  93. I am an early intervention speech therapist and reading this post was immensely helping in letting me see into the thoughts of so many of the parents that I work with. Thank you for sharing this information. If any of your readers do have concerns regarding the communication skills of their children, I recommend getting in touch with local agencies. Everyone is eligible for an assessment!

  94. Good for you on getting him in therapy so early! Early intervention is the key to your son’s success in life. Your son’s story is my son’s story. He is almost 5, and I can finally say I really enjoy being his mom. I couldn’t say that for the longest time which equals lots of mom guilt. It has been so amazing to see him become more aware of himself and become more confident. He’s such a happier little boy. He is now in control. Well, most of the time :)

  95. I know exactly how you feel! When my son was 3, he was sent to an early childhood center through the public schools to work with a speech therapist. Now, at age 9, he is one of the top readers/spellers and talkers (Mr. Chatterbox!) in his class. I highly recommend it! When I was told he qualified, I was seeing special ed classes in his future, but no. He is very intelligent. In 1st grade, he was also diagnosed with ADHD and has ODD (oppositional defiancy disorder) tendencies. Once again, I felt like I failed my son. It’s been a long and stressful road with a lot of tears, but we are all finally at a point where we are completely comfortable and not ashamed of his condition. I actually love him like this and wouldn’t want him any other way!

  96. I love you for posting all of this. My bachelor’s degree is in Human Development and Family Sciences with emphasis on Early Childhood and I’ve totally worked with these types of therapists and Wesley’s type of struggles. They are great people and I’m so happy to hear you talk about his progress. I know it can feel hard at first but just remember that there is NO normal way of learning. Every child grows and develops in their own special way and honestly it’s what makes us stronger adults.
    Sounds to me like you are a pretty great momma with a wonderfully amazing little boy. ;)

  97. As I sit here waiting for (dreading) my almost 2 year old’s in-home speech therapy session, I want to say thank you so much for sharing this. It is so nice to hear someone else going through something similar. I don’t look forward to our therapy sessions because I just always get the feeling of “this is what you’re not doing” instead of “great job! Let’s try this now”. We’re transitioning to the preschool program and hopefully it will be better. I’ve seen so much progress in a short time, so that’s good! Thanks again for sharing your story!

  98. So glad to know there are options for things like this… and that you’ve had such a good experience!

  99. good for your for sharing your story! I’m sending this to a friend right now, who I think will really benefit from it! Hugs to you, friend!!!

  100. I am so happy for your family to find great therapists. As a preschool teacher I watch too many parents not heed to what I have noticed and bring to their attention. I am so glad you listened and were able to help your child, so that he can gain the confidence in himself and to be able communicate with his peers better.
    You are great parents your children are very blessed to have you two, just as you are to have them. :)

  101. Thanks for sharing your sweet little man’s story! So glad you were able to find him the help he needs!

  102. I am so impressed with your ability to put yourself out there. There is no handbook to parenting…I really wish each kid came with one because my girls couldn’t be more different! You are a great mom, we all want the best for our kids and we definetly don’t want them to be “different” mostly for fear of what other kids will say. Wesley is in good hands and now baby Sawyer is too! Good luck in your journey.

  103. You did what you needed to do to provide the best for your son. It was an act of love. I, too, walked in your shoes and we had to put our son in speech therapy at that young of an age. But if you and I hadn’t made the hard choice to do it, they would have been behind in school and that really would have been heartbreaking. And leaving us with kicking ourselves wondering why we didn’t help our child earlier.

    You are one strong mama!!
    Stacey

  104. Ashley- you are amazing! You blog is amazing!! You are very real and honest, thank you for not being “fake” and acting like everything is perfect.
    I’m glad W has come around and loves the programs!
    xoxoxo
    A

  105. Crystal says:

    I am a Special Education teacher and we had the same speech issues with our eldest. He was evaluated at three and showed a delay in articulation. After ta year in a half-day program three days a week for students with disabilities, he is 95% intelligible to the unknown listener :) Pretty awesome progress for after a year! I am sure Wes will have similar progress if not better!

    From an educator and parent perspective, good for you for knowing your son well enough to have him evaluated. Early intervention is key and there is nothing wrong with him and his therapies will eventually be a thing of the past.

    I wish all the parents of my students were proactive and knew their children so well. You are not alone, Wes is not alone and neither are we now :) Thanks for sharing!

  106. Reading your little bub’s story was like reading my daughter’s story. My husband and I knew there was something off when she was 18 months old but being aka bilingual family, our pediatrician chalked it all up on the fact my kid was learning 2 languages at the same time. After insisting to get a proper evaluation, she was diagnosed with developmental delays and also got in the local infant and toddlers program then in special Ed pre-k for two years. She made huge progress but was still way behind her peers. After much struggling, we managed to get her seen at the Kenedy Krieger institute last summer. She was diagnosed with ADHD and put on medication just before starting Kindergarten. The changes have been immediate and radical. She is now reading, excelling in early mates skills and her command of language is comparable to other kids her age. Most of her behavioral challenges are a thing of the past. After 5 years of intense worrying we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. my baby no longer needs special Ed. She will be in first grade this coming school year in a regular class. So keep fighting for your son… It’ll be all good in the end. And don’t let anyone things are ok when you know in your guts they are not. Only you know your son’s needs and challenges inside and out

    Good luck and big hugs

    Caroline

  107. Michelle says:

    LMM, I feel for you!! My daughter is going through the same program here in Utah. Luckily it has been a smother transition for her, but still frustrating for me (along with relief & just about every other emotion). You are a great mom for doing this for him! My daughter is 2 1/2, and only says 4 words (not counting a few animal noises). It’s frustrating at times, but so nice to know we are doing everything in our power to help them. Sometimes I even feel like people judge me and think I am not doing ‘what’s right’ because she doesn’t talk yet. My daughter has had 3 surgeries that have delayed her speech (didn’t your son have at least one?,,, anesthesia can do that to them sometimes). Thank you for sharing your story! I know that everything will work out in the end for your cute little family, it’s just a journey to get there!

  108. Wow, this couldn’t have come at a better time. I read this post last night and decided to comment today. Today my beautiful son Blake was evaluated as he struggles with his speech. This is his 2nd evaluation but, this time we are taking action and are starting speech thearpy with the same program Lil W is in here in Wa. What a sigh of relief to know that I am not alone. I was so anxious and extremely nervous about this day. Thankfully, Blake warmed up quickly to the therapists and the evaluations went great. For some reason today after the eval was done I just balled my eyes out. Maybe it was relief, sadness, or me just being emotional. Like you said we just want our children to grow up blissfully happy with no struggle. I am so thankful to start this journey with our son. Thank you for sharing, it couldn’t have come at a better time for my heart to hear….

  109. Very brave of you to open up and post your emotions! I’m so happy Lil W is doing well in his classes! I’ll pray he continues to progress and for your family.

  110. Oh, this post brings back so many memories! My son is 4 1/2 now but we went through the exact same thing and he had the same therapies until 3. He didn’t qualify for speech after 3 and I too was pregnant and about to give birth so didn’t get the additional assessments. He is practically a different kid now but still struggles behaviorally and socially mainly. I just have him work with a great behavioral specialist once a week in a social skills class. Your guy sounds like he is doing great, don’t worry, you will see him grow and change so much!

    My 16 month old boy has no words so he may eventually need speech but he is such a different kid, he definitely won’t need anything else! Btw- were you driving to CDI in woodland hills? That’s where we drove every week for over a year! Is your guy going to buttercup now? That’s where we got assessed. I actually opted to go to a “traditional” private preschool in the area and it was a little hard for my son at first but he thrived! Good luck on your journey, it does get easier to parent these guys but is still so hard. And so many other friends and parents have no idea how hard it is, you aren’t alone! ;)

  111. Suellen says:

    Olá,li todo o seu post, e achei perfeito, mesmo com a dificuldade de tradução do Google, moro no Brazil, sou mãe, e achei tão forte seu post, isso é coisa de mãe, somos seres que amamos muito mais do que imaginamos, vc está de Parabéns!
    Acompanho sempre seu blog, com um pouco de dificuldade, pois não falo inglês,mas adoro vim aquim.
    Parabéns por essa família linda.

    Beijos :)

  112. We are in a very similar boat with our son. He’s about a year older than Wesley, and he’ll begin his second year of preschool starting this September. He did the whole in-home therapy as well up until he turned three and then began preschool. Our son was finally diagnosed as being on the low end of the autistic scale- but they seem to think when he is evaluated again at 6 he wont be on the scale at all. He’s made HUGE improvements in the past year- so keep doing what you are doing and you’ll be shocked and so pleased to see the leaps and bounds Wesley will make!

  113. Shirley says:

    Thanks for being real. He is so darn cute…

  114. I’m only commenting because of the meager show of support you’ve received. ;) wow, ash- I loved reading this. I *heart* your fam.

  115. You are SUCH a good mom! Those boys are lucky to have you!!

  116. My just turned 5 year old started “early intervention” last winter through the elementary school after a private speech therapist recommended we pursue that as insurance would say they would pay and then would leave us with thousands of dollars worth of bills. Thank God for her honestly.

    I dreaded speech therapy. The thought of it made me sick. But honestly, he likes it. He likes his teacher. And I’m glad I did it through the school now because he starts kindergarten in 2 weeks and he’ll have the same therapist. He’ll be comfortable and know her. We’ve seen improvements and we’ll see more.

    As a mother, you tune in to those things that are and aren’t “just right” but whatever we picture as normal, we have to let go of. You’re raising this little person with this huge personality and his own set of quirks. The ability to read and understand those quirks is evidence of your best mom-skills. I mean, I have quirks and I expect my husband and children to “get” them. Why shouldn’t I “get” theirs? :)

    I’m so glad your experience has been good and that you’ve shared. People need to know that as a whole, there are free services for everyone.

  117. Thanks for keeping it real! Government funded sounds scary, but that doesn’t mean that at all!

  118. I share our family’s story anonymously conscious that my children will grow into decisions about their privacy and equally aware that there is comfort and knowledge in joining voices with so many other mothers who open their lives to others with words.

    Your story is beautiful, thank you.

  119. What a great mom you are! Being an OT myself, I loved reading this post. Many parents are afraid, ashamed to have their children in therapy, which in fact is really the best thing for them. Part of that I guess is society’s views. But,kudos to you, Momma! Sounds like this is the best thing for your whole little family! Keep us updated on W’s progress.

  120. That is awesome that you took the initiative and started him at an early age! Most parents are wayyy too scared or way too proud to get their children the help they need. If my dad wasnt too proud (and too much of a rude person in general) I would have gotten help MUCH earlier in my life rather than my sophomore year at TO High when I was already really far gone and had so many learning problems. My mom is a teacher and helps children like Wesley..she lives in Thousand Oaks but works out in the valley so too far for you ;( I hope he loves his school and continues to be the best he can be!

  121. Your note to Wes just brought me to tears. So sweet! My nephew has autism and I remember him going to school on the little bus for the first time on his third birthday. It was so hard for my sister to send him off, but he’s now five and is doing so well! The therapies really work and I’m so glad that they have worked for your son too!

  122. I’m super proud of your for posting this. It was real and honest, hopeful and raw. And lots and lots of mommas need to hear that. You’re amazing, Ashley. Love ya lots!

  123. I love the fact that you posted about this and you open your heart to ours. Thank you so much! Have a great weekend!

  124. I have walked where you have walked! My boy is almost 6 and has struggled with speech, sensory and behavioral issues. Therapy and specialized preschool changed our home for the better! Good luck in your journey.

  125. Roberta Claire says:

    I honestly wouldn’t worry about saying little W is in those therapies. As a preschool teacher in Australia, a large portion of my children are in some kind of therapy from a young age to better prepare them for life ahead! It is of no failure of yourself or anyone. Just something some kids needs to reach thier full potential!

  126. It sounds like you are doing everything in your power to help him, and that says a lot! I hope you continue to see all these improvements!

  127. My heart goes out to you. My oldest daughter has similar problems, but they were not diagnosed until she was in in kindergraden. In fact the school wanted to flunk her. Who flunks kindergrarden,I asked them. Well anyway, she is 25 now. Happy, productive, went to collage and lives in another state. It’s not been an easy road, but as i look back now, it has been rewarding. Of course, she hated me as a teen, I was the worst mom ever, go figure. But now she knows, I never ever gave up. She is such a wonderful daughter now. I hope your road is easier than mine, but in the end, it sure was worth it.

  128. Jennifer J says:

    After reading this post, I was moved to just say what wonderful, caring and loving parents your children have. They are blessed to have parents who don’t ignore issues, even the little ones, but acknowledge them and find the best way to deal with them for their children’s best interests.

  129. My youngest just turned two and I’ve been going back and forth on whether he needs to be evaluated. He only says one syllables for his words and has difficulty with lots of sounds. His big brother, just 15months older than him, had trouble talking at this age but was using multiple words together and jabbering WAY more than our Lucas does. He has his 2 yr appointment coming up and I know they will suggest it. It just makes me so nervous & your post really helped me see that this is best. You’d think I’d realize that as a former elementary & preschool teacher!
    So glad big boy W is doing so well.
    xoxo

  130. Thank you for sharing!! I have a similar post brewing and I have been procrastinating on finishing it. My son is 2 1/2 and his trouble with behavior/speech sounds identical to your son. It’s so emotionally/mentally draining to be dealing with a child that has trouble communicating. You want to be patient, and understanding, but at the same time… It’s so frustrating! I recently just called our regional center about early intervention speech therapy and made an appointment for my son. Hoping it goes as well as it did for you guys!!

  131. I went through the same process with my little boy and I’m forever grateful for the progress he has made. Here (TX) they start early childhood special education at 3 and offer the help through public schools. After a month at his new school his speech improved so so much. Huge changes in the best way! As time went on her utilized all kinds of therapies and has continually grown. It’s as if he never had any delay in speech! In my son’s case he was later diagnosed with a sensory disorder and now has an additional diagnosis of Aspergers. Here’s the cool thing-people who see him in social settings can’t tell that he has had to learn how to carry on conversations and interact…he does it naturally now, which is amazing. No matter what our kids struggle with it all comes down to one thing-can God help us as parents give the child what they need? And whether there’s a diagnosis of any kind or not the answer is YES!

  132. I have to commend you for sharing this story. I am a teacher of an inclusion preschool classroom with integrated services like the one you have described. Every day, I see the benefits of early intervention right before my eyes and see the changes daily. You will be so happy that you have taken this road and you have definitely helped your son become the best he can be. Continue to share your story to friends and family and spread the word about how beneficial early intervention and programs like the ones you used are. Thank you!

  133. roxanne says:

    im not quite sure how i ended up on your page but i saw the posting for the therapy and im going through the same thing right now.my 3year old has a very limited speaking vocab but he is very smart and understands almost everything we tell him and some things we don’t tell him.im a stay at home 22 year old mom of 2 now and i have very severe depression.we have done some in home speech therapy with the county therapist and was referred to a program very similar to the IDEA program where he will be in a school setting with other kids his age that are not quite caught up either. all the kids will learn off each other on speaking and using better communication skills. my problem is with my depression and the new baby i have a hard time getting out there and following through with program and the meetings. my therapist suggested support groups for parents with kids going through the same thing but i live in a smallish town in Wisconsin and there are not to many people around that are going through the same thing or willing to share support. so my night of craft searching online lead me to reading your post and somehow it has given me a more positive urge to go actually go through with it. i dont know you and im like a million miles from you but your choice to actually post this and write what you were going through makes it feel like you wrote it just for me to help me. (though i know its not). so im glad i did take the time to read ALL of it and thank you for deciding to post your personal experience.

  134. Erin Huss says:

    As you know we just barely went through the beginning stages of this process and Ry and Em both need speech but Ry needs at least early intervention therapy and they said that they will asses him for OT and others. Wes road sounds like the road I will be taking with Ry. Since at 18 months he only screams, grunts and throws stuff. So I’ll need to pick your brain about this subject, which I will do often, since you know we are best friends for life now since I read the entire post which for my ADD self is kind of a big deal! :)

  135. Thank you for this post. Our daughter was born in May, the day before our son’s 2nd birthday. Along with adjusting to having 2 sweet babies to love on, I finally had to deal with the realization at my son’s 2 month well check-up that he is somewhat delayed in his speech. I saw the signs, but really just excused them because he is a boy and because all kids develop at their own pace and because I didn’t want my son to be anything other than normal. Our pediatrician is having us wait 6 more months to see how he progresses before sending us to a speech therapist and I am nervous, but reading your post and some of the comments from others who have had to go through this makes me feel so much better.

  136. What a touching post! It’s obvious how much courage it took to take such a personal time in your life and allow your followers to share it. But I have to say Thank You!
    I am a wife, mother of 2 little boys (6 and 3), and a special education teacher! I work with children ages 5-9 in a public school who require similar services as Wesley is receiving now! All of my students are happy, healthy, bright little kids who just need something done a little differently to learn what their peers are learning! The biggest challenge we encounter is the hesitation and uncertainty parents experience. The hesitation and uncertainty is ALWAYS warranted because it’s a new situation and often it requires a leap of faith. Thank you for helping other parents who may be having similar experiences! Never stop advocating for your child!

  137. Thank you for sharing!!

    Question-
    how do you know the difference between normal childhood naughtiness and it being so bad your child needs therapy? I think my Elle might …

  138. I made it threw, bestie ;)

    But for real, I love how honest you are. You are so inspiring. It’s no wonder your blog is so popular!

  139. Thank you for being so open in this post. I know it will help many parents.

    A LOT of what you wrote sounded like I could have written it myself just a few short years ago. Now I have a talkative, (overly) compliant, well-adjusted, top-of-his-class 8 year old boy. It took me a long time to get him the help he needed as I listened to well-meaning people tell me what I should and should not do.

    School will also help him tremendously as he is around others!

  140. I’m glad you were able to find a program that works for you. I am a speech therapist who works at special education preschool, I assume much like the one Wesley is going to. It can be a great place for kids who just need a jump start. It’s amazing how much progress some of these kiddos make in the few years that they are there and many end up going on to kindergarten with few, if any, extra supports in place because they are doing so well. Good luck. I hope it continues to be a good and worthwhile experience for you guys!

  141. Thank you for sharing this story! I wanted to highlight something that caught my attention when I was reading the post…the fact that you didn’t give up on therapy even though you weren’t immediately seeing results. I see this from two perspectives: being a new counselor and a mommy. The mommy side of me only wants the best for my child and would be very frustrated and upset if my child was struggling and I wasn’t seeing results after being in therapy. At the same time, I have clients, especially kids, where sometimes I don’t see noticeable results right away. I then start doubting myself and worry if I am doing something wrong. Like you said though, different therapists just “click” with different children. It also sounds like you are actively involved at home, which makes such a big difference!

  142. I read your blog pretty regularily and was pleasantly surprised to find this candid one on your son. My daughter also struggled with the exact same issues and was diagnosed with SPD (sensory processing disorder). It’s a crazy confusing world, this therapy thing, and it’s like you’re supposed to know all the resources that are available to you. One day, I hope to create a foundation where these resources are available to all parents, nationally, so that when you are searching for help, it will be right there. Sigh… one day. Until then, I’ll keep fighting. It’s so nice to hear another story of a mom who knows just how it feels. Thank you for that.

  143. Good for you!! It can be hard to admit and accept that our children need more help than we as mothers are able to give them. We have had a similar experience with my now 6 year old son. He didn’t go to therapy but he went to “special” pre-school where he got speech and occupational therapy. He is delayed, and we have had words such as “autistic spectrum”, “asperger’s”, and “chromosome deficiency” thrown at us. Starting at his 2 yr old check-up.

    I decided to hold him back from going to Kindergarten, I had to take him to the school to receive his IEP services, it was good, but I haven’t been impressed with his progress since graduating out of pre-school, so we are going to go to a charter school this year and see how it goes. But I know I’m going to have to fight for him for the rest of his life so he isn’t swept under a rug and forgotten, and sometimes we just have to listen to our gut rather than the doctor’s opinions.

    I now think I need to have my 2 year old checked by early intervention, he is no where as delayed as my 6-yr-old, but I think he is still delayed. My oldest son gave me a false sense of security, because if the first one is totally healthy and normal, the rest of the children will be, right?!?

  144. Ashley, what a beautiful, loving post. A post mothers appreciate. I’m the adoptive mother of a 14 year old (freshman orientation was today!!). He’s the youngest of our five sons and by far the most challenging. Behavior is fine, but language skills stink. Sadly, he was assessed three times and each time just missed the mark for receiving services through the schools. He thinks he’s stupid (he’s not) and I dread homework time. Communication is sometimes off because his comprehension isn’t as well developed as it should be and his own choice of words don’t always convey what he means. A lot of deciphering goes on and, yes, frequently there’s a lot of frustration. But ultimately, he’s a wonderful young man, caring, loves doing things for others, talent that amazes us in some areas…he has a great future if only we can get him to believe in himself. So glad you found the help you need to ensure your children’s future success. I loved reading this post.

  145. Great post! You know you have encouraged many parents! :-)
    I have had many of the same experiences as you, but spread out with 2 out of my 3 sons. I would take my baby with us to all the appts. Then later that baby ded services himself! Knowing that the 1st one ‘survived’, made dealing with the other extra-special kiddo so much easier. My T is now 20 YEARS OLD & my ‘baby’ C is now 12 YEARS OLD!! T was in speech therapy thru the school district from the age of 3 til he graduated High School because of an auditory processing disorder. I’m so grateful for all of the speech therapists & OT therapists my kids had. They taught all of us soooo much. BTW: both C & T speak clearly now & are great kids!! C is even in the GATE program!!

    Yup! I’m a proud mama!!!

  146. Great post! You know you have encouraged many parents! :-)
    I have had many of the same experiences as you, but spread out with 2 out of my 3 sons. I would take my baby with us to all the appts. Then later that baby ded services himself! Knowing that the 1st one ‘survived’, made dealing with the other extra-special kiddo so much easier. My T is now 20 YEARS OLD & my ‘baby’ C is now 12 YEARS OLD!! T was in speech therapy thru the school district from the age of 3 til he graduated High School because of an auditory processing disorder. I’m so grateful for all of the speech therapists & OT therapists my kids had. They taught all of us soooo much. BTW: both C & T speak clearly now & are great kids!! C is even in the GATE program!!

    Yup! I’m a proud mama!!!

  147. I loved this post. I think you wrote my story.
    My little man started speech therapy close to 2 years old. We struggled with it and kept it to ourselves for a long time. He has improved greatly in the last year. We have now removed him from the therapy as I think he had stopped progressing with the therapist. Your story sounds so much like mine. Therapy was hard as the sessions were only 30 minutes and half of the time was trying to get him focused on the therapy so we ended up with 15 minute sessions. In my opinion it was not long enough to make a difference. I struggled with pulling him for months and we finally did. I hope I did the right thing… as I do see him make progress every day. He is not where some other 3 year olds are in fluent language but he will get there. I love my little wild child for his uniqueness and love that he is soooooo spirited.
    We have questioned behavior therapy as well as this year in school he has been acting out terribly and he has to be loud and the center of attention when we go out as well. I’m struggling with it as I am 6 months pregnant and daddy works a lot now and I think these changes may be the cause of it. ????
    It has been a private struggle with our family as other people do not understand and there is so much competition with other moms. It is hard to feel like you fit in with your child when other moms are bragging about how their 3 year olds now their ABC’s and can count to 10. They brag on how they can sing a song from start to finish and recite long sentences. My little guy does well to get to 5 and jumbles them when he does. He does nto know the ABC song through and he most definitely can not color in the lines. But hey is 3 years old! I so wish there was not so much pressure on us as moms and our little ones.
    I am 35 years old and I know when I was 3 years old all I cared abotu was playing with my dolls. When I went to preschool we played outside and took long naps. Guess what my husband and I both have done pretty well for ourselves. :)
    Thank you for sharing!!!

  148. I have a degree in early childhood sped/severe special ed. I am a new stay at home mommy, but it was great to hear your story from a parent’s view. As part of my schooling I helped with early intervention visits, and it was very eye opening. Thanks for sharing your story and getting the word out that these programs are available to kids who need it! What a wonderful mom you are to do whatever is needed for your child! p.s. I love the note you sent him in his lunch!

  149. I had the same sort of feelings when my dr suggested speech therapy. I almost felt like I’d failed as a parent. Then I realized what harm can it do? It’s a free program and they come to me.I know look at it as a good thing. He gets the extra help he needs and truly loves his therapist. He actually cries when she leaves! I think that’s the bestwaytoo lookat it. Extra help can never hurt them!

  150. I have a very similar story with both of my sons. We started therapy in Florida continued in California and then to Colorado. It is very important for families with pre-school children to get an Individual Educational Plan or IEP. This will carry you through into elementary school and on. Both of my sons qualified early for speech therapy, and my younger one was in occupational and physical therapy as well. Each state has different screenings but do not wait “for this to pass”. We chose to go with state therapy as well as private therapy and now they are all grown up and doing well. You really have to stand up for your children and don’t feel any stigma! Childhood is short, it goes by in a blink!! My older son is a freshman in college and my younger son is a junior in high school. If your child is delayed in any way it is shocking at first, and a little scary but therapy, and finding what works for your family is very important. Thanks so much for writing this and helping others make informed choices about early childhood intervention!

  151. Ashley,

    It’s been a while since I have stopped by and I don’t know why. I just love your blog. I miss reading about your adventures in motherhood. You are such an example to me of being true to your self and loving others with your whole heart. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story!

    Delia

  152. Hi! I just happened to find your blog via Pinterest for a craft and as soon as I saw the title of this post, I knew I had to read. My daughter was recently diagnosed with SPD, Rumination Syndrome and Severe Anxiety disorder. She is 5. We have just started individual therapy and will be doing group therapy for more social skills. Tomorrow is our evaluations for Speech/Feeding therapy and OT. I am both nervous for her, but at the same time relieved for the help that she will be getting. Thank you so much for your post. It feels better to know that others are in a similiar boat :)

  153. My son was in Speech Therapy as well! His speech was delayed & his docter just advised me he needed a small push. So we saw a speech therapist, he was supposed to be there for 6 moths & finished in 3 months. I was so proud of him & just like your child mine spoke all the time! BUT I am very greatful for it just as I am sure you are as well! He started school this year & he is far advanced in his vocabulary then the other children in his classroom. His favorite question is WHY even after you give him the answer he seeks deeper explanations which I praise him for all the time.

    My child as well is in behavorial therapy, we switched therapist due to the fact his school was concerned for him because he hadn’t had an improvement from his therapist and it had been a year. She reported to his school there was very minimal change, which made me upset because my son had been making progress with her and at home for the longest time. He is a super hyper child, he is an only child, & grew up with no one his age to play with or interact with. My mother took care of him when I went to work or school & he was never put in a daycare & so when his first year of school came around he had no idea how to interact with other children. Yes we have limits, rules, & bounderies at home but at school it was different. He plays rough with the other kids at school, if he didn’t get his way he would throw a tantrum, if he didn’t want to share he would hit, I honestly was so embarrassed it was an every day deal of picking him up & being told he was aggressive again. The last straw for me was being told he punched his teacher. We switched therapists & a huge change in him, I can honsetly say I am so glad we made the change. His first therapist kept wanting us to see a doctor who would classify him as Autistic branching out to Aspergers, but I didn’t see him with that because his only weak spot was getting along with children his age & it not being all about him. The new therapist said it’s just him kind of being in shock where he has never been in a situation like this where we are not together, no familiar faces, new people, kids his age, he just is having a hard time adjusting to the new change of going to school.

    It takes a lot as a mother or a parent to talk about something like this. I was afraid people would look down on me & say I failed as a mother. That I wasn’t doing my best for him or the discipline wasn’t there at home but in the end he is my son & to me he is a normal 3 year old. First year of school is something completely new to him that he himself is having a hard time adjusting to. I have no concern for what others think. I love my son just the way he is!

    I am very glad I came across this blog, it just goes to show I’m not the only mother going thru something like this.

  154. Thank you!
    It was a strange path that lead me to this post that started with a blog about your hair styling. Two posts later I’m reading about your son and it didn’t seem like a long post because I was so interested. I just started down a similar path with my 3 year old. Working through the system and learning where to get help for her.
    Thank you!

  155. I read your post and I felt compelled to share my story with you. My younger sister had some of the same problems as your son. Her speech impediment was pretty serious. She had literally made up her own language of the sounds and few words that she could pronounce. Clearly, she was a smart child to find a way to get us to understand what she needed and wanted. My parents also put her in therapy and had a horrible first experience. The first lady started to teach her sign language. She had not attempted to help her learn any words. It was as if she had thought my sister would never fully develop and thought the best course of action was to treat her as if she was mute. Obviously my parents were furious and they found a similar program through the school system. Then later we had a private therapist come to the home. All in all, it was a pretty hectic couple of years to get her through all of the obstacles.

    The whole point of this post was to offer you a little piece of hope. My sister is now almost fourteen years old, and you would never know that she had a slow start. I remember it all being very hard and frustrating to take her to appointments and everything else. Just know that it does get easier I promise! It is all worth it in the end.

  156. Kristen W says:

    Great post…. I’m going to be a momma in the spring and I would be lying if I said things like this don’t cross my mind on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing and putting me at ease :)

  157. I’m a recently graduated speech therapist, and I just loved reading this post. I am so happy that you have found such wonderful (free) options that are working for you. There were a lot of problems with the Early Intervention program in the state where I got my degree. Many of the families I worked with in my University’s speech center were seeking additional/alternative therapy due to the quality of the state funded program. It was typical for children to get only 1-2 in home speech therapy sessions a month, often with a different therapist each time and minimal parent involvement/education to continue therapy techniques between sessions. What you’re describing sounds like a breath of fresh air to me. I’m so happy that your little boy is talking more and benefiting from therapy.

  158. Lindsey says:

    I could have written this word for word and subbed in my sons name for your Wes.

    My 3 year celebrated his birthday and went to school for the first time today. It was the most stressful day of my life worrying about my baby out of my home, but he loved it. I hope we see the same advancements that you have.

    Good luck! Thanks for this post!

  159. Ashley~ I am new to your blog and LOVE it! I can not wait to get my “alone time” once the kids are down and the house is cleaned (again) to sit down and read your blog. I feel like you and this blog were a gift from God and finding this post proves it! My 3 1/2 year old daughter has been in Speech and Special Education therapy for the past 1 1/2 and started OT this past November. She was recently diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder which has severely affected her speech. There have been days that have felt like there was no end and so lonely. Many people don’t talk about issues with their children so finding someone to talk to is difficult and then when you (as a parent) find the courage to open up about your child you are always starting from scratch explaining everything. Without getting too lengthy (because I could type FOREVER to you now haha) I just wanted to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for showing people they aren’t alone in what can seem like a lonely road.

    New (& forever reader),
    Austin =]

  160. I just recently started reading your blog, and I absolutely love it! I am 19 and thinking about either speech therapy or occupational therapy as career options, and reading this post has definitely affirmed that decision. I hope I can someday be as helpful as the therapists your son sees. Thank you for sharing!

  161. Hello. thank you for posting this. i stumbled across your post via a pin on pintrest and soo grateful that I did. We have a great deal in common with our paths. our’s is 3 1/2 years old. completed speech therapy but now doing OT weekly. Our’s is also is being evaulated to ensure we are doing everything we can to help him. He is delicious and has stolen my heart. It is such a journey to understand that the issue may be and what we can do to ensure he is able to enjoy life that way he needs to. It is certainly not easy and our bad days (similar to yours i can imagine) are BAD days. But his heart is sweet… and kind…. and giving…. and pure.

    I read so many commonalities in your post. My email is included and I would love to correspond if possible. I believe that I can learn alot from your experiences. we are modifying diet and considering additional changes there. We have been working with his school since they echoed our concerns. He has a lot of energy and has a hard time listening/focusing/following direction.

    Our first day of pictures (or any round of picture taking) is almost identical to yours above. :) He too loves cars, anything in motion, and Lightning McQueen and Mater rock!

    sincerely, [email protected]

  162. What a wonderful post. Indeed, it does take a special individual to be an OT. My husband is one of them. I am an OT advocate all the way. So glad to hear of your positive experience. Way to go Wes!

    somethingus.blogspot.com

  163. I can’t believe I am just finding this post! I wish I would have seen this much, much, sooner as we are going through many of the same things with Wyatt. Thank you so much for sharing!

  164. One of my friends sent me your blog post about trichotillomania last week because I had been telling her about my hair and eyebrow pulling issue I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I told her it’s been worse since my now 21 month old daughter had started going through the process of assessments, evaluations and now therapy. Well my wonderful friend just sent me this post also! We started the process at Stella’s 15 month appointment because she wasn’t talking. At all. Now 6 months later we are finally starting therapy….it felt like a long process to finally get to this point! I was fortunate enough to be referred to the Regional Center after Stella’s very 1st evaluation. I couldn’t and still can’t believe all the help we are receiving for free. We have just started OT and I feel the same way you did about your Occupational Therapist! She’s wonderful and Stella adores her. Speech Therapy and in-home Behavior Therapy start next week. I’m overwhelmed at the thought of 1 or 2 hours of therapy a day for my little girl (with a wild 3 year old brother hanging out too) but I can see the progress she’s already made just in these last few sessions. Thank you so much for sharing your story! It is encouraging to see a mama that’s been where I am now headed.

  165. I read all the way to the end so I guess I get to be your best friend!

    My son Dylan had therapy through regional center for the first two years of his life. They came to the house twice per week and he had a special preschool placement two days per week. They were a godsend and helped in their very wise ways to change my sons life. He was born addicted to Meth and had to go through withdrawals in hospital. He was put in a foster home for 4 months before we got him. He was 18 months old when we finally got to adopt him. Because of his lack of speech we had to learn baby sign which was invaluable and changed his and our lives from that of frustration and anger to hope and understanding. Most people take speech and communication for granted. Dylan took us to heaven and hell throughout his growing up years. We had many people in our “village” whom helped get him to where he is today. He is an intelligent, handsome, strong, brave, disciplined soldier in our US Army. He is willing to die for his country if he has to. A big part of this, (he has told me) is due to the people who have been so unselfishly helpful to him in becoming who he is today. You can never, ever, ever! Give your child too much, or early enough intervention if they need it, or even if you think they need it. You done good Momma! Always advocate for you kids!

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  1. [...] response reminded me of a similar conversation we had when deciding whether to keep Wesley in his therapy. And he was right. We needed to give this a [...]

  2. [...] for a while, you know how much of a trial these small milestones can be for my little guy. (see here, here, here and here). Change is tough on him. And therefor tough on me. Even the tiniest [...]

  3. [...] little while back I wrote this post telling you a bit about our journey with Wesley–my sweet, intelligent, creative and [...]

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