My child does not speak …. at all!

Isabelle is at a really terrific school, she has been there since January this year.

Isabelle turned three in June.  All good.

I might have spoken about this earlier on my blog, but the “strange” things about Isabelle is that she refused to move to solid food when she was younger.  We had been on pureed food until August/September 2011 – pureed to an inch of it’s life.

It was not that she picky about food, you could get it in her mouth.

But if the food you gave her had a texture i.e. even mashed potatoes, she would gag, gag, and then projectile vomit it out.  When this happens – several times – you start to feel that fine pureed food is easier.  You are less likely to be digging chunks out your hair, so you go with what is easier, and does not require a kitchen spray down mid-way through a meal.

The result was she ate yoghurt, and pureed vegetables.  I could not add meat to the vegetables as it would give the puree a grainy feel and if it went in to Isabelle you could pretty much guarantee it was going to come straight back out again.  On you.  On the cat innocently walking by.

That got sorted (probably more because Kennith decided to step in as he was frustrated) and now she is on normal food and that seems to be okay.  She is more likely to eat vegetables than meat, as I only introduced meat late last year.

There is nothing wrong with her growth, weight and size.  She is big for her age, both in height and weight. Her development is fine, she moved off nappies and got through nights without nappies or wet beds much earlier than our other two.

But she is a fair sized girl. I purchase clothes in the 4 – 5 age range, and some shirts go off Georgia (who is 7) and straight on to Isabelle.

Let’s just say you would not describe her as petite!

Once we got over the food issue, then it gave me time to start focussing on the other things that were just not “quite right.”

Isabelle does not speak.  I am not suggesting she does not sounds, she does, and they are audible from 100 kilometres away, but she does not form words and speak.  She has maybe 4 – 5 words that she says “MUM” “Oof” “Da” “peez” and that might be about it.

I sort of understand what she is saying by the tone of what she says, but no one else does.

I have tried not to panic and run around like a headless chicken.  I used the logic that all kids develop on a different scale and rate, so I should just be patient.  Worked quite well up until now.  Very “mature universal mom” thing going on here.

I got a report from her school – which I forgot to read and which lay on the kist unopened for about 4 weeks.  I saw a note at the school with ticks next to the children’s names whose reports had been returned.  Of course I said quietly to myself “reports, what reports? ….shit ….”

Found report and read through and was a bit alarmed.

The school has raised some concerns (it was in a red bold font) that Isabelle has not progressed with speech in the last 7 months.

She is still not making words.  She is making sounds that are not linked to any words (spoken outside Star Trek!) and worse, because she cannot communicate she is showing signs of aggression and getting in to scuffles with the other kids.

Cripes – my kid has become THAT kid who is beating up/on other kids up for the crayons.

I am a bit alarmed.  I am not blind to the problem, but I have been patiently waiting and thinking, no worries, she will get there.  SHE WILL GET THERE.

When I look over the list of what are considered “average” speech development milestones for a 3-year-old – Isabelle has reached none of these milestones – NONE:

Vocabulary around  150 words. (nope, barely makes 5 words, and those are not even super recognisable)

Able to give name, age and sex. (nope …..)

Produces 3-5 word sentences. (er …. still nope)

Marks plurals and possessives. (right ………… I think we are aiming a bit high on this one ……)

Uses verbs ending in –ing, e.g., “walking, running, etc. (cripes ….. do I get points if she actually is able to walk and run and jump?)

Answers questions with “yes” or “no.” (well she grimaces and screams …. actually she does sort of make an “essss” sound and a “nooohhhhhh” sound, so you know hat I am going to take this one as a tick in the positive direction)

Begins to use descriptive words, e.g., big, hot, color words, etc. (skip this question…..I am feeling somewhat perturbed right now..)

Begins to express feelings. (she expressed her feelings, but in interpretative dance …. no words required)

I have made an appointment with a speech therapist for an assessment.

I was hoping to wait a bit as we are in that wonderful medical aid self payment gap, but I also think I can’t afford to wait 2 – 3 months and address it then.

I do believe that every month that goes by whilst we do not address the situation will affect her in future development milestones.  The risk with Isabelle is that her speech developed issues may knock on learning development problems that are really going to come up and smack us in the face when we are trying to get her ready for Grade R.

Speech therapist assessment booked for next week Wednesday.

Yes, I am somewhat worried that my baby is a bit of a pumpkin head and this speech thing is robbing her of some development experiences she should be enjoying, and isn’t.

{insert huge mommy guilt!}